Archive for March, 2010

“Please, Pass The Salt!” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 29, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

Since I work with the public in the Front of the House in a NYC restaurant,  I come in contact with many different types of people. As you would expect, some of those guests have particular ideas about how to eat the foods that they are presented. Some like it hot and some not, but as a condiment salt is still the king. When a customer’s dish arrives in front of them, they are engulfed in the aromas that the chef has spent many hours coaxing out of the freshest ingredients. It is no secret that 80% of the flavor is hidden in the smell of the food and if it smells good then it probably tastes good too.  So why then do some people want to reach for the salt automatically and sprinkle it over the foods that they are about to consume? In many fine restaurants there is no salt or pepper on the table at all, which requires the guest to ask the waiter for them. This tactic is designed to make the guest think twice about adding unnecessary components to the finished product. The rule that works best for me is to always taste the food before you make the decision to add any extra seasoning. When cooking, eating or creating the ultimate dining experience, one must rely heavily on all five senses. You can be certain as a diner, that if the chef has taken the time to make a the plate look and smell beautiful, then chances are that he has also taken the time to marry the flavors to make everything taste beautiful too. When I learned how to cook at the French Culinary Institute, the instructors always stressed the importance of the layering of flavors and taking the time to properly season the ingredients throughout the cooking process. They also told us to taste everything that we would be putting on the plate before serving the dish. This important technique is used by every chef to protect the integrity of his cooking reputation and to ensure the highest quality of each and every dish that leaves the kitchen. Tasting your food before you dive right in might seem like a simple rule to follow, but next time you’re out for a meal look around the dining room and you’ll be surprised at how many people will season then eat. My advice to all of you salt fanatics is: Let the chef do the work, sit back and enjoy being in the hands of a trained food technician at practicing at the apex of his craft or start eating at better places!


“I Smell Chocolate” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 27, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

Check out this link, where someone has figured out the ratio for creating luscious warm chocolaty souffle cake in a mug in minutes right inside your microwave. She’s my new hero!

“Tough Muffins Yo!” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 26, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

For those of you who’ve been wondering where he’s been hidin’ out, let me shed some heat lamp on the situation. Artis Leon Ivey Jr., AKA “Coolio” was born in Compton, California, the son of Artis Leon Ivey Sr., a carpenter, and Jackie Slater, a factory worker. His parents were divorced when he was young. This is not surprising as Coolio got into trouble outside his L.A. home while spending time with Compton’s Mona Park Crips gang members, although he was never officially accepted into the gang. After escaping his rough childhood and enjoying much success in the music industry, Coolio has been spotted recently trying his hands on those kitchen pots and pans. In 2008, Coolio hosted an online cooking show called, Cookin With Coolio, for the website and network My Damn Channel. A companion cookbook titled, Cookin’ With Coolio: 5 Star Meals At A 1 Star Price, was released on November 17, 2009. In one of the first culinary adventures with Coolio, he makes Strawberry Hills Banana Muffins Forever from the chapter, “Sweet Treats for That Sweet Ass.” The recipe is accompanied by a hilarious anecdote from Coolio which reads:

“You might think that muffins are for women, but you listen to me, motherfucker, muffins are for everybody! I ain’t never walked into a studio holding a tray of muffins and not had everybody grab one. From a hardcore rapper to a hardened criminal (like Martha Stewart), everybody needs a muffin, either in the morning or at night. This muffin’ll treat you right.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself and that’s just more proof that you gotta get up to get down!

Strawberry Hills Banana Muffins Forever

  • A few drops of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a few drops of olive oil to grease up a 12-cup muffin tin. Jarez Sez: “You can also use those little paper liners in your muffin tin, but I’ve seen people eat the muffin without removin’ the liner, so I just suggest you leave that shit out and go with olive oil.”

Combine the butter, milk, and egg in a small bowl and beat it lightly. In a larger bowl, pour in your flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar and gently mix it. Toss in the chopped strawberries and sliced banana, then stir to coat with the flour mixture. Pour in your milk mixture and stir it all up together.

Fill up the muffin cups with your batter, then place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let them cool down for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and serve these bad boys up!

Daily Culinary by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 25, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

Today’s quote is: “The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.  I am not alone and unacknowledged.  They nod to me and I to them.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Who Was First In The Chain Game?” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 22, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

In 1946, Judy Garland starred in a movie called The Harvey Girls. The Harvey Girls were the beautiful young women who waited tables at the Fred Harvey restaurant chain and they were as publicly recognized as the Hooter’s Girls are today.

The Fred Harvey chain restaurants popped up in a lot of the dusty railroad towns all over the Western part of the U.S. during the late 1880’s and early 1900’s.  Much like the successful restaurants of today’s modern society, a Fred Harvey restaurant was a place to get a decent meal, to take the family for a celebration or simply to eat when the train stopped. What made the chain unique was the owner’s decision to employ an all female waitstaff, which meant that the restaurants offered an important and rare service needed by the public in what was then extremely rough cowboy country.

As it goes it was an absolutely brilliant formula and for a long time Fred Harvey’s name was synonymous in America with good food, efficient service and hot young women. Today, almost everyone is  unaware of the prominent role Harvey played in civilizing the West and raising America’s dining standards. Fred Harvey has unfortunately become one of those household names that got stashed somewhere up in the attic collecting dust right next to those old pin up calendar girls!

“Just Your Standard Everyday Grocery List” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 19, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

Taking list making to the next level!

“Here’s to a Less Pungent St. Patrick’s Day” by MDC

Posted in Matthew D. Christianson on March 17, 2010 by houndstoothnyc

As everyone knows, the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is by over consuming  corned beef, cabbage and ,of course, green beer.  However, if you have an aversion to the smell of cooked cabbage, which can ruin the holiday for many, then cheer up there’s hope.  That pungent scent can be avoided altogether in the hands of a careful chef.  A little-known fact is that cabbage develops an unpleasant smell only when it’s overcooked.  Because cabbage contains substances that when broken down can turn into smelly sulfur compounds, cooks must adhere to strict time and temperature guidelines for their recipes.  The longer the cabbage is cooked, the worse the odor becomes. If you walk away from the pot too long and the broth could become wrong! Eat, Drink(Responsibly) and Enjoy Your Holiday!!!