Umami Hoisin Ribeye Steak



What you will need (approximate)


Yum

1 cup of pineapple juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Umami Powder

Take your steak and place in a gallon zip bag. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic powder, and ground ginger to bag. Mix all ingredients together well in the bag and massage steak gently. Put in the fridge for 24 hours.

30 minutes prior to cooking, remove steak from liquid and allow to rest at room temperature until time to cook. Discard liquid. I recommend a charcoal grill to cook the steaks on, so have some charcoal ready to cook.

5 minutes prior to cooking, season both sides of the steak with the salt, pepper, and umami powder.

Cook steak on the grill 2 minutes per side, cooking up to eight minutes. This will cook the steaks a medium-rare for about 1/2 inch thick steak. Allow steak to rest for 5 minutes.

I must say this was a delicious steak! You may want to test your salt tolerance, using more or less salt to season.

I also did a test where I seasoned on steak with all the ingredients except the umami and the other with the umami to see if there was any difference. Both were delicious in their own right!  The steak without the umami had a sweeter taste, the umami had a more savory flavor. I recommend both!

This was a great concoction, and I recommend you try it!

Carnival Fantasy Cruise Line: Chef's Table Review





Recently we took our daughter, Kelly, on a Carnival cruise because she is now a high school graduate. We are excited for her, and looking forward to the next journey we have together with her. 

Although this was a celebration for Kelly, my wife and I did take some time for ourselves to celebrate our anniversary coming up. We decided to enroll for the Chef's Table that is offered on most of Carnival's ships. I have experienced a Chef's Table before on Carnival's Elation, and it was a great experience. Now, after cruising on Carnival Fantasy, I wanted to share our experience with the Chef's table. And believe me, if you you are a cruiser and haven't experienced a Chef's Table with Carnival, you need to book a cruise just to experience one. 

If you do not know what the Chef's Table is, let me break it down quickly. There is a special night on your Carnival cruise that allows you to meet with a cuisine chef, get a tour of the galley, and experience a multi-course dinner from a menu prepared by the chef himself. The Chef's table is normally limited to only 14 guests or so. 

I'm going to lay out my review as I do with other restaurants, but I would not classify this as a restaurant. 


1. The atmosphere: You begin by meeting on a certain floor, with ladies greeting you with champagne or ginger ale. They were very pleasant and courteous as we waited for the chef to greet us. We were then greeted by the chef and he explained what we will be doing on the tour of the galley and also a preview of our culinary journey. We then were led through one of the dining rooms, and into the galley. There we experienced some hors d'oeuvres and a step by step process of how they make their delicious molten lava cake, which I have made at home and have a recipe for. We then were taken to the dining room, which is in the library of the ship. It was very elegant, with fine silverware and glasses prepared, with your name at a place setting. Also, there was a scroll at each seat that had the entire menu for the evening. The atmosphere was private enough that we could enjoy our meal, but there was an activity outside our room that involved singing.


2. The service: The service was excellent. From waitresses, waiters, chefs, and the cuisine Chef, they were very courteous, willing to answer any question, and provided fun but professional service. You can tell the wait staff was disciplined and trained. Well done!


3. The food: This food was the best on the cruise. What is unique about the food at the Chef's table is that these courses are offered nowhere else on the ship. Here is a list of the entire menu that we had that night:





I did not get to take photos in the galley, but we had the hor d'ouerves that were tasty.

1. Mango sphere, and rosemary biscuit-This was prepared in such a way that the mango sphere was filled with liquid that pops when you put it in your mouth. Note: Don't take bites! It will burst. It had a great combination of salty and sweet and the texture was one of the main highlights of this morsel.

2. Salmon tartar cornets, with sesame seeds- Hard to go wrong with salmon, and the chef added his twist to it.

3. Beef Carpaccio on air pillow, chocolate bacon, apple ribbons-What is not to like? Beef? Good! Air pillow? Good! Chocolate bacon? Great!  Also, I would like to note on any of these dishes, that even though the individual items are good, it is when you eat them together they are incredible.

4. Double cooked lamb, tapioca-This is the one I remembered the least, but if I remember right it was still yet tasty.



Main Course Meals: This is where the magic happens. We are sitting at our table after our tour, and the cuisine chef explains each course as it comes out.

Beet Blanket, Spiced Grape Tea
My wife doesn't like beets, and she was concerned by the first course. However, she did not dislike it. What makes this dish shine was the liquid that was placed in the dish. The textures, mixed with the tea made a great first dish.




Crab Stack
Out of all the courses we had, this was probably my least favorite, however it was still a great dish. What shines on this dish is the caviar that is on the top. It was created with passion fruit, so it had a good mixture with the crab. 



Duck Textures
 This was one of my favorite dishes. Medium rare duck, you can't go wrong. What was impressive also about this dish was the olive snow that was prepared on the side, along with the port wine just was a delicious combination.


Bisque Our Way
 This tomato bisque was prepared with two types of tomatoes and brilliantly placed in our bowl. It had a great combination of the crunchy brioche and the garlic. It was very smooth!


Sea Bass
The sea bass was tender and flaky, and it was topped with a lobster foam. The sides once again complimented the dish. Interesting combination!


Wagyu
 I will say this was a very tasty dish, also with the souffle. As good as the wagyu was, and the tenderness, I will say I would rather have my wagyu cooked to a medium rare rather than braising it for a long period of time.  However, the dish was still amazing



Pastry Chef

This dessert has everything one could ask for. Once again this is one of those that was very good individually, but as you mixed them together, oh my! The two biggest highlights for me on this dessert was the sea salt praline chocolate, that was magnificent, and the apricot vanilla gel. I haven't had anything quite like it; it was fantastic!  Hats off to the pastry chef!

The food was great. It was a close race between the pastry chef course or the duck course. I guess i would have to say: DESSERT! It was phenomenal.

4. Price: The cost for my wife and I was $75.00 per person with a $22.00 gratuity added. So it was around the range of $172.00. While some may think this is pricey, I have to account not only for the food but for the experience as well. I feel like it was worth the money paid. If you went to a fine dining restaurant in the city somewhere, for what we got it could have been easily a $300.00 meal.

5. Overall: In my opinion, it is the best experience on the cruise. Great atmosphere, great service, excellent food, and a small party equal a great experience that will create a wonderful memory. The chef even included a signed picture of our dining party at the end. I wanted to give a hats off to the crew of Carnival and the Executive chef for providing this. This gave my wife and I a time to celebrate our anniversary as well. If you have not tried the Chef's Table, I recommend you try it!

Boneless Whole Smoked Chicken


Yum
 
1 whole chicken
kosher salt
black pepper
Weber dry seasoning
boning knives
cherry wood chips
smoker

This recipe was inspired from I video I watched from Youtube, which allows one to completely debone an entire chicken, without cutting off the skin. The result was a very moist, tender chicken with crispy skin, along with white and dark meat in your bites. If you would like a a challenge, I suggest you try this!

The first step is to debone the chicken. I would like to share with you the video that inspired me, created by Scott Rea. You can view his channel here, where he has many videos on how to butcher various animals.





I will say on my first try I cut into the meat a little, but it still turned out great.make sure to keep the bones for a great broth or stock. For the seasoning, season the inside and of the chicken with 1tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp Webers dry rub. Roll the chick up to resemble its shape as when  had bones, and tuck any remaining skin under. Season the top of the chicken with 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tbsp Weber dry rub.

In a 225 degree smoker, smoke for 2 1/2 hours with cherry wood.

This chicken was awesome! I'm definitely doing this again.

Butcher Box Review


My wife and I are always looking for quality meat. Here as of late, we are also looking for meat products that aren't filled with hormones, chemicals, etc. to help with our food lifestyle change. It wasn't until the past couple of years we have been more aware of what chemicals, hormones, and even what type of food the animal has been subject to. NOTE: We are not to the point that we are purists, and condemn anyone that is eating directly from the grocery store, but we are more conscious now of what we eat. We found a website online called Butcherbox.com, that claims they have only the best quality of meats, meat that is grass feed and grass finished where applicable. We decided to try the box and see how the taste, price, and customer service was for this product.

On the Butcher Box website, the founder says this:

"One night, our founder Mike Salguero ended up in someone's living room picking out his very own $400 pile of meat from a cow share. Not just any cow, either - a 100% grass-fed cow. He was instantly hooked on the pure, natural taste, and was thrilled to discover the health advantages grass-fed beef has over ordinary grain-fed beef.
 So why wasn't everyone eating it?

Mike learned that not everyone has access to grass-fed beef, or their exposure is limited to products like ground beef. Currently, only 1% of the total beef consumed in the United States is 100% grass-fed. Our goal is to make grass-fed beef (and now, heritage breed pork and organic chicken) more accessible than ever before."

It is true here in Alabama, one is very limited on pure grass fed, grass finished beef, and other locally sourced items. Yes, even in Alabama we are limited to specialty stores that sell those type products. 

I browsed the website to see what they offered. They offered a variety of boxes for you to purchase. It is pretty self-explanatory: Chicken box has an assortment of chicken, beef box has an assortment of beef, and there is a mixed box and a custom box. The website seemed simple enough to navigate and see what products you could purchase. I decided for our first box we would try a custom box. NOTE:The custom box is the only box you can choose what items you want in your box.  The other plans, like the chicken, the beef or the pork boxes, are a mixture of different products. I don't know really from one month to next what I'm getting.

The price at first seemed pretty steep for the amount of food we were receiving. I did have to account some variables however: time it would take to drive and get the food, quality, it being farm raised, grass fed, organic, and the price compared to a whole foods store. After looking at it, it actually was a reasonable price, with also free shipping! The mixed box is about $129 per box and a little more for the customized box. However, there are always promotional codes you can try to get up to $20 off a box. You also have a referral program, that allows you to get $43 off per person you refer. Not bad!

The meat: Everything we have tried thus far has been very good. The beef has a definitive different taste than what you would get in the store.  The best meat by far that we have tried is the boneless, skinless chicken breast, and the boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I can see a drastic difference between it and store bought. The Butcher Box chicken is very tender and moist when it is cooked, and not chewy.

Overall: We like Butcher Box. They are timely, food is good, and fairly reasonable in price. It is a subscription program, and you can change whenever you like, or cancel whenever you like. We have been pleased thus far, and use them every month.

I hope to try some new recipes in the near future with some Box products and have them on my blog. Stay tuned!

ALSO: If you happen to subscribe or try Butcher box, please be sure to let them know I referred  you! I do get the discount, if you do.  :-)

Visit their WEBSITE and order to get a referral for me: http://fbuy.me/h1VLD


Seared Scallops and Remoulade Sauce


Yum

4 Scallops
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter

For the Remoulade sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp ketchup
1/4 tsp sriracha
1 tsp horseradish
dash of lemon and lime juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 stalk green onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

For the Remoulade scauce, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least two hours. OPTIONAL: I mixed a small amount of honey to cut some of the mustard. This is not necessary but I wanted a little sweeter mixture.

For the Scallops:

Sprinkle evenly about half the amounts on one side of the scallops. Take a non stick pan and get very hot, on medium-high. Add olive oil to pan and place scallops season-side down and allow to cook for 2 minutes, or until it is a perfect golden color. Make sure to season with the rest of the salt and pepper before turning. Turn scallops over and toss butter in. It should only take about another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on the other side to cook. As they are cooking on the other side, I spooned the hot butter over the scallops to get some of the butter flavor.

The result was amazing! Tender, with a nice sear on the top. It went well with the sauce!

Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen Tupelo: Farm to Table at its Finest








My wife and I went out on an early Valentine's date and we decided to travel to Tupelo, Mississippi. We enjoy something unique, and we don't typically go to chain restaurants when we go out on special occasions. We are also very favorable to Farm-to-Table restaurants, looking to support the local farmers and community.






We searched and found this place called Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen. It promotes local farm to table ingredients and made from scratch items on the menu. We decided to try it, and we were very impressed.






1. The atmosphere: The restaurant is right on main street. It has a very rustic appeal, and my wife and I really enjoyed it. It is hard to explain, but it was romantic and rustic at the same time. There was a downstairs and an upstairs in the building that housed customers. The kitchen was in plain view downstairs, which would be a unique experience if one was doing a chef's table and was able to communicate and watch the chefs. Some tables were very nice and sit six people, some were composed of a barrel and glass top for two. We enjoyed the decor and the lighting was appropriate for a dinner with your spouse.




2. The service: We were immediately welcomed by the host who was pleasant an engaging. He had our table already prepared, as we had our reservation at 5:30, and we arrived at 5:15. Our waiter was named Jordan, and he was very down to earth and helpful with some questions we had about menu items. He asked if we have ever been here before, and explained what Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen does. He provided recommendations from the menu. We were overall pleased with his service.




3. The food: The food was amazing. We started off with an appetizer called the Char Platter, which contained: pork belly, local and farm cheeses, pickled onions, two different kinds of jams and flatbread with smoked salmon on top. It also had chow-chow on the platter. It was tasty! The jams with the soft cheese was my favorite. My least favorite was probably the harder cheese or the pickled onions. While the onions were good, they packed a lot of heat. The harder cheese was a little salty on its on, and should be eaten with something. The pork belly, was, pork belly. It was great.









For our entree' we got the Butcher picnic. It contained the following: pork chop, half chicken, vegetable medley in aluminum foil, pickles, slaw, and three sauces: chili ranch, chimichurri, one other sauce I didn't catch.






The pork chop was very well cooked, with a melt-in-your-mouth fat cap on the chop and the bone. The chicken was super-moist and had a good crusty skin on the outside with lots of flavor. The slaw was a good typical slaw, and the pickles were good but spicy. The sauces were great, especially the chimichurri. Perhaps the best on my tastings on this plate was the mixed vegetables in the foil. they were delicious! I have a smoking gun at home, and it seems to me after they were roasted they smoked the vegetables in smoke. A great smoked flavor that complimented the meal well! This entree' was a shareable entree' with my wife and int was more than enough for both of us.



For dessert we ordered smores. It was a hand-made graham cracker, with hand made chocolate and a roasted marshmallow. It was a game changer! The graham cracker had a different texture, but in a good way. It was one of the best things we ate all night.







4. Price: The price is average for a farm-to-table restaurant. I don't mind paying a little more for better quality food and vegetables that are locally sourced. With drinks, appetizer, and a huge entree' the bill was around $92.00. Not a place I would consider a family outing, but a great place to take for dates.



5. Overall: The atmosphere was good, the service was great, the food was amazing, and he price was moderate. I recommend if you are in Tupelo, Mississippi that you try this restaurant. It definitely a unique experience! My wife will have date nights here again in the future.




Check out Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen:


Website: http://kermitsoutlawkitchen.com/


Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/kermit.outlaw/


Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KermitsOutlaw