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Thursday, April 17, 2014




Native to central Asia, garlic has a lengthy history dating back 6,000 years. Long a staple of Mediterranean diets, garlic was a commonly used seasoning in the cuisines of Africa, Asia and Europe. China is currently the world’s biggest producer of garlic followed by India, South Korea, Egypt and Russia.

Regarded as a force of both good and evil, the Egyptians are said to have fed the herb to workers building the Great Pyramid of Giza because they believed it boosted their stamina. In the Middle Ages, plague-phobic Europeans ate whole cloves of garlic to fight off the scourge known as the Black Death. 


Known as nature’s wonder drug, garlic is recognized for its wide-reaching medicinal properties, in the treatment and prevention of disease. It has been credited with extending human longevity, preventing certain cancers, lowering cholesterol levels, reversing high blood pressure, resisting the common cold and overcoming fatigue.

The herb, which can also be deemed a vegetable too, is rich in protein, vitamins A, B-1 and C and contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. It also contains 17 different amino acids.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (a la Red Lobster)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: About 15 biscuits
2 cups buttermilk biscuit mix (such as Bisquick or Jiffy)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together biscuit mix, cheese and garlic powder. Add in milk, and stir until well mixed. (Heads up - the dough will get very sticky!)
With a spoon or with your fingers, shape the dough into biscuit-sized clumps, and drop onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until biscuits begin to brown slightly around the edges.
While the biscuits bake, prepare the warm butter mixture by mixing together the melted butter, oregano and garlic salt in a small bowl. As soon as the biscuits are removed from the oven, brush the biscuits (while they are still on the baking sheet) with the mixture until they are well-coated.
Serve warm.


How to roast whole heads of garlic in the oven so you can eat warm, toasty cloves right out of the garlic head. 
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
3 Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
4 Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.


·      A great Caesar salad gets its swagger from a great dressing. Squeamish about raw egg yolks and anchovies? Sorry. Yolks are what give richness to the emulsion, while anchovies provide a briny blast (and that whole umami thing).

·      Chop together 6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, 1 small garlic clove, and a pinch of kosher salt. Use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 large egg yolks*, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, then 1/2 cup vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Can be made 1 day ahead.

·      Make your own. Tearing, not cutting, the bread ensures nooks and crannies that catch the dressing and add texture. Toss 3 cups torn 1-inch pieces country bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375°, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.

·      Use whole leaves from 3 romaine hearts to feed 6 people. They provide the ideal mix of crispness, surface area, and structure.

·      Caesars crowned with a mound of grated Parmesan may look impressive, but all that clumpy cheese mutes the dressing. Instead, use a vegetable peeler to thinly shave a modest amount on top for little salty bursts.

·      Skip the tongs. Use your hands to gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing, then top off with the shaved Parm.

Friday, March 28, 2014


What can you do with a Turkey Burger? 
Anything you want to!!
Especially if it's our new Chef's Line Turkey Burger.
Gone are the days of the tough dry Turkey Burger.


Grilled Turkey Burger Patty Melt

Turkey Avocado Swiss Burger

Turkey Burger with Spinach & Feta

Turkey Burger with Arugula, Goat Cheese & Red Pepper Confit

Turkey Burger with Granny Smith Apple, Brie & Caramelized Onions

Turkey Burger with Srirachia Mayo

Turkey Burger with Cranberry Apple Relish

Thursday, March 13, 2014


You have one the the hottest "new" ingredients out right now.
Metro Deli Spicy Secret Sauce
I use the word new with some reservation. 
Gochujang has been around since the late 18th century.

Chef's are just starting to play with this in so many new ways.

- Use it as is for a quick marinade for beef, pork, chicken or turkey.

- Create an amazing Sauce for seafood:
                   2 c. Monarch Mayo 
                       1 T Rykoff Sexton Meyer Lemon Juice
                       1/2 c Metro Deli Spicy Secret Sauce
                       Sea Salt to taste
                          Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate.

- Make Braised Shortribs. Add 2 c Secret Spicy Sauce to the braising liquid.

- Add to Fish Tacos for a kick.

- Fold into your Meatloaf for extra flavor and juiciness.

- Create a Bahn Mi Burger. 

Friday, March 7, 2014


Creating new dishes that customers keep coming back for requires a few things.

- Cool ingredients - (That is where SCOOP comes in)
- Able to take a risk - (Opening a restaurant says it all)
- Marketing that catches the eye -(US Foods has it all)
- Staff that is excited or given incentive to SELL!! 

The weather for the weekend is getting warmer almost everywhere in the country. 
A balmy 45 in the Northeast. 
So, we can look forward to some patio planning activity. 
What will be some of the new hits?

Grilled Turkey Burger with Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado Aioli
        Crispy Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

Mahi Mahi Tacos with Shredded Kale, Pico di Gallo & Grilled Lime

Gochujang Braised Shortribs with Crispy Shallots

Black Derby


2 oz. Rykoff Sexton pink grapefruit juice
1½ oz. Kentucky bourbon, preferably Four Roses Single Barrel
½ oz. molasses (not blackstrap)


Combine juice, bourbon, and molasses in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This has been a record breaking winter. 
Cold weather and snowfall we haven't seen in years. 
Customers struggling through trying to 
make the most of shortened hours. 
Spring and Summer will be here soon...just not soon enough.
In the meantime.


1 1/4 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
2 medium shallots, minced
2 large celery ribs, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1/2 fennel bulb, cored and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
14 oz canned plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup baby arugula
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until tender, about 2 hours; add water to keep the beans covered. Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in another pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Add the shallots, celery, onion, carrot and fennel, and cook until softened. Add the garlic, crushed pepper and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add the beans and enough cooking liquid to thin out the soup. Discard the bay leaves; season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, toss the arugula and parsley with the lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in bowls; top with the salad.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I had the pleasure of working with 
Chef Jeff Bland of our Roanoke Division 
Baltimore Food Fanatic Perry Canestrano 
the past few days at Virginia Tech.

We were cooking and presenting for the Premier Winter Meetings.
 The focus of today's lunch was Allergens or better said Allergen Free.

We created and executed a menu that was free of the Top 8 Allergens.

The eight foods included in food allergy labeling account for an estimated 90 percent of allergic reactions. These eight foods are:
·         Milk
·         Eggs
·         Peanuts
·         Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
·         Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
·         Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
·         Soy
·         Wheat – Gluten would encompass Rye & Barley as well.

I thought that sharing the menu we did may help you and your customers when they have the request for a specific allergen to be removed.
Remember that this is only the start of keeping allergens from food. The area, equipment and serving area needs to be addressed as well to make sure that the guest is safe. 
If you have any questions or concerns, Please reach out - 


Serves 25 – 4oz portions

18 cups of diced fresh tomatoes, seeded
3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cup EVOO
4 pound Monarch Gluten Free Corn Fusilli
1 tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt

In a large ceramic serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Add in salt to taste. Let the sauce rest at room temperature to bring the flavors together.
Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until just al dente. Reserve 2 cups of hot pasta water in case you need to add some liquid to your final dish. Drain in a colander. Add the pasta to the ceramic bowl on top of the pasta sauce, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Serves 25 – 4oz portions

4 pound broccoli florets
½ c roasted garlic
2 c EVOO
1 c pasta water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 pounds Monarch Gluten Free Rice Penne

Toss broccoli florets with 1 c EVOO. Layout on sheet pan and roast in 375 oven.
Meanwhile, cook rice penne according to package instructions. Reserve 1 c pasta water.
Heat 1 c EVOO with the roasted garlic. Toss in the broccoli. Add cooked rice penne.
Adjust seasoning. Add pasta water if necessary.

Shredded Kale Salad
25 – 3 oz portions

2 bg Cross Valley Farms Shredded Kale
3 c dried cranberries
1 c EVOO
½ c fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 c garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, patted dry
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Deep fry the Garbanzo Beans in Rice Bran Oil until crispy. Drain well.
Toss together all of the ingredients. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Arugula Salad

25 – 3 oz servings

1ea/3lb cs Arugula
1lb Red Onion, peeled, shaved thin
3lb Ribbon Cut Hash Brown Potato
1 ½ c Lemon Olive Oil Basil Dressing
Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

Place the shaved red onion in ice water and hold until service.
Deep fry the hash brown potatoes in rice bran oil until crispy. Drain well.
For service, toss together the arugula, red onion and LOB. Season.
Add the crispy potatoes at the time of service.

3 cups

2 c EVOO
¾ c fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ lb fresh basil, cleaned, destemmed
2T water
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Place all ingredients in blender. Pulse until dressing emulsifies.
Adjust seasoning.

Roasted Pork Loin with Housemade Pear Sauce & Cider Jus
25 – 4 oz Servings

8 lb Pork Loin
1 lb Peeled Shallots, cut in half
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
4 c Apple Cider

Season pork loin with salt & pepper.
Lay atop the shallots in roasting pan.
Roast at 350 until internal temperature of 145F.
Allow pork loin to rest for 20 minutes on cutting board.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan on burner with shallots.
Slowly add the cider to deglaze the pan.
Strain the jus and keep warm.

Pear Sauce
3 cups

2 lb fresh pear, peeled, cored, cubed
1 c golden raisins
½ c Apple Cider

Place all ingredients in sauce pot.
Cook on low until pears soften.
Keep chunky or puree for smooth sauce.

Crispy Brussel Sprouts  with Frizzled Leeks
25 – 4 oz Servings

4 lb Cross Valley Farms Shaved Brussel Sprouts
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
1 lb leeks(white section only), fine julienne

Deep fry brussel sproutsin rice bran oil, in small batches, until crispy and brown.
Season with salt & pepper.
Fry leeks in rice bran oil until crisp and browned.
Toss leeks and brussel sprouts together.
Serve hot.

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes

25 – 3oz Servings

4 lb Peeled Sweet Potatoes
¼ c EVOO
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Cut sweet potatoes into 2” cubes.
Toss with EVOO and salt & pepper.
Lay on sheetpans and roast at 425F until brown and tender.
Serve hot.

Maple Baked Apples with Golden Raisins
25 Servings

25 ea Rome or Gala Apples
25 oz Pure Maple Syrup
25 oz Golden Raisins

Remove the core of each apple leaving a small amount at the bottom of each.
Place into greased hotel pan, side by side.
Place 1oz ea of maple syrup and raisins into each apple.
Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.
Keep warm until service.


Monday, January 6, 2014


As more than half the country struggles with temperatures and wind chill in negative double digits, warm flavorful, full of delicious fat food is the way to go. Here are a couple to try.
These are not New Year's Resolution diet food but hearty, good for the soul dishes.


1 lb. dried great northern beans
10 tbsp. duck fat or olive oil
16 cloves garlic, smashed
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 large ham hocks
1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1"cubes
1⁄2 lb. pancetta, cubed
4 sprigs oregano
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 confit duck legs (optional)
1 lb. pork sausages
2 cups bread crumbs

1. Soak beans in a 4-qt. bowl in 7 1⁄2 cups water overnight. Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic, onions, and carrots and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ham hocks along with beans and their water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
2. Transfer ham hocks to a plate; let cool. Pull off meat; discard skin, bone, and gristle. Chop meat; add to beans. Set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown for 8 minutes. Add pancetta; cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, onions, and carrots; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with twine; add to pan with tomatoes; cook until liquid thickens, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half. Add broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Discard herbs; set dutch oven aside.
4. Meanwhile, sear duck legs in 2 tbsp. duck fat in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown sausages in the fat, about 8 minutes. Cut sausages into 1⁄2" slices. Pull duck meat off bones. Discard fat and bones. Stir duck and sausages into pork stew.
5. Heat oven to 300˚. Mix beans and pork stew in a 4-qt. earthenware casserole. Cover with bread crumbs; drizzle with remaining duck fat. Bake, uncovered, for 3 hours. Raise oven temperature to 500˚; cook cassoulet until crust is golden, about 5 minutes.

SERVES 6 – 8


One 4-lb.Chef’s Line smoked pork butt
1 lb dried ridged pasta, preferably radiatore
Kosher salt
2 oz unsalted butter
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. grated Gruyère
4 oz. grated Emmentaler
4 oz. grated fontina
2/3 cup panko
2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T thinly sliced fresh chives

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water according to package directions until just barely al dente. Drain and set aside.

Shred the pork by hand, pulling it into 2-inch-long pieces. Discard the bone and any excess fat. Set aside 1 lb. of the pulled pork (about 4 cups) and save the rest for another use (see "Leftovers," below, for ideas).

Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large 8-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and very soft, about 20 minutes.

Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Raise the heat to medium high and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the white wine, sage, and a 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly.

Reduce the heat to low and use a wooden spoon to stir in the Gruyère, Emmentaler, and fontina. Stir in the reserved pork and pasta until well coated. Pour the mixture into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a small bowl, mix the panko, Parmigiano, and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over the mixture in the skillet.

Bake until the topping is browned and the cheese sauce is bubbling through the topping and around the edges of the skillet, 40 to 45 minutes. (If the topping begins to brown too deeply, tent loosely with foil.) Let the macaroni and cheese rest for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.