It’s Halloween, So How About A Pumpkin Contest

Halloween is here, and what better way to celebrate than to carve a pumpkin and light it up.  Recently Chef Brian and his wife Erica carved six pumpkins for Halloween.  When they were finished they decided to make a contest out of the results.  Chef Brian and his wife Erica are asking everyone to check out the pictures of each of their six pumpkins and choose which one you think looks the best.  The winner will recieve a special gift of either a free loaf of bread of your choice or a free dozen cookies of your choice.  We have a great selection of bread and cookies to choose from.  They can be found on our Homemade Goods page.

 

Now here are the pics:

Pumpkin 1

 

Pumpkin 2

 

Pumpkin 3

 

Pumpkin 4

 

Pumpkin 5

 

Pumpkin 6

 

In order to enter into the contest you need to leave a  comment at the end of this post.  Tell us which pumpkin was your favorite, 1,2,3,4,5, or 6.  We will tally up the comments next Sunday.  The winner’s name will be drawn from a hat out of those that voted for the winning pumpkin.

Thanks for voting in our contest and visiting our site.  Remember if you are planning a special Holiday party and want to ease some of the workload, or if you just want to to bring something special to your next gathering, consider our Catering, Private Chef, or Homemade Goods services.

 

Chef Brian

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Chewy Trail Mix Cookies

When I ask people what their favorite cookie is they usually respond, “chocolate chip.”  Chocolate chip cookies are great, one of my favorites, but they can be upstaged on occasion by a good oatmeal cookie.  Our Chewy Trail Mix cookie is the perfect incarnation of an oatmeal cookie.  It is what an oatmeal cookie should be.  I start with butter, sugar, and honey, mix in some sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, raisins, and rolled oats.  Then I roll the cookies in pumpkin seeds and bake them to chewy oatmeal goodness.  Though all of the cookies we offer at Custom Catering, Private Chef, and Homemade Goods are outstanding, this is my favorite.  This is for all of you oatmeal cookie lovers out there.  Here are some photos designed to perk up your tastebuds.

These cookies are great by themselves with a tall glass of milk, or they can be used to make an interesting sundae.  I used a Chewy Trail Mix cookie as a dessert base, draped it in caramel sauce, topped it with creamy mango ice cream and fresh ripe mango, and then topped it with whipped cream and chopped, roasted macadamia nuts.  This was so good I had to have it two nights in a row.  It was a great use for a great cookie.

If you are an oatmeal cookie lover, or would like to try any of our homemade goods check out the Homemade Goods sections of our page and order a half or whole dozen of cookies today.

 

Chef Brian

 

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Caraway Rye

Caraway Rye Bread is one of my favorite breads for sandwiches.  It is great with tuna salad or sliced turkey, but it is especially good when grilled with corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.  Here are some pictures of the caraway rye we sell in our Homemade Goods section of the website.

I personally think good pastrami is even better than corned beef on this caraway rye.  You could go the straight hot pastrami and mustard, but I like all the fixings for a Reuben.  The last three pics are of our handmade Deli-Style, Caraway Rye, layered with thinly sliced, homemade pastrami, Emmenthaler Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut braised with homemade bacon, onion, and mustard, and a side of homemade Russian Dressing.

 

If you want your own pastrami Reuben, order a loaf of our Deli-Style Caraway Rye today.

 

Chef Brian

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St. John’s, US Virgin Islands

I recently returned from a trip to St. John’s, US Virgin Islands where I had the opportunity to cater small wedding.  The wedding took place at Ocean Palm Villa in the southeast part of St. John’s called, John’s Folly. 
It was a wonderful trip and a wonderful wedding.  I had a chance to cook for 15 adults and 2 babies.  It turned out great.  Here are some pictures and descriptions of the food.

The first appetizer was a cold Coconut-Mango soup, garnished with diced mango, a chiffonade of fresh mint, and a grating of fresh nutmeg.
It was a great way to start a meal in the intense head of the Caribbean.

The second appetizer was Grilled Red Snapper, with a drizzle of scallion oil and lime juice.
Red Snapper is probably my favorite fish to eat.  This was a lovely rendition, and it was gone in a flash.

There were 4 main course options, a little something for everyone.  The first was Grilled Jerk Chicken.The chicken was marinated in a jerk seasoning paste for 24 hours.  It was then slow-grilled to perfection and garnished with fresh sprigs of thyme.

The second main course Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri.The flank steak was marinated for 24 hours in a red wine-parsley vinaigrette, then quickly grilled and drizzled with the Argentinian staple, chimichurri and garnished with fresh parsley leaves.

The third main course was Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin drizzled with Cilantro Oil.  It was coated in a special blend of spices and marinated for 24 hours.  It was then grilled and served sliced with a drizzle of bright green cilantro oil.

The fourth main course was Grilled Mahi-Mahi, with Mango-Butter Sauce.This was a great locally-caught fish that was simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and lime.  It was grilled and served drizzled with a sauce made from fresh mangoes and browned butter and garnished with cilantro.

There were four side dishes to go along with the main courses.  The first side was Marinated Grilled Vegetables.Thinly sliced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, portobella mushrooms, and Spanish onions were seasoned and grilled till done.  They were then carefully layered and drizzled with a red wine-parsley vinaigrette.  There were marinated overnight and served with more vinaigrette and fresh parsley sprigs.

The second side was Marinated Mixed Roasted Peppers, with Sherry Vinaigrette and Toasted Almonds.  Mixed fire-roasted peppers were sliced and tossed with fresh herbs and a Sherry Vinaigrette.  They marinated for 24 hours and then were served with more vinaigrette, olive oil, and chopped toasted almonds.

The third side was Coconut-Saffron Rice with Black Beans and Macadamia Nuts.The rice was prepared with saffron and coconut milk.  It was tossed with cooked black beans, and then garnished with chopped roasted macadamia nuts.

The last side was a Mango-Pineapple Salad.Diced pineapple and mango were tossed with lime, olive oil, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeno.

All the food turned out great, and I served it with a Caribbean favorite, Rum Punch, as well as Margaritas and of course a Champagne toast.  Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed what they were eating.  I hope I have many more experiences like this one.

I’d like to say thank you to the new couple, Gregg and Julie Jones for having me cater their wedding.  I would also like to give a special thanks to Mike Davis and Trillium Imaging for taking such great pictures of the wedding food.  Trillium Imaging is Canton, MI based wedding and portrait business.  For more information about Trillium Imaging, click on their link in the list of links at the right of this page.

Chef Brian

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Welcome

Hello to everyone and thank you for checking out Custom Catering, Private Chef, and Homemade Goods.  I am Chef Brian, founder of our business and author of this blog.  I plan to use this blog as a food discussion tool.  On my website you will find links to our catering and other services, but here I will talk about food in general.  I may discuss something I recently cooked at home or something that I recently ate a night out or on a recent vacation.  I would really like to use this blog as a way to get people interested in food and cooking in general.

 

You could think of this blog as an open forum, a place to talk food.  Any food or food related subject can be fodder for conversation.  I love to talk about food, talk about how to cook food, and also talk about how to consume food.  I would like to hear what you have to say when I post a link I like or ask a certain culinary question.  Feel free to comment on any of my posts.  I welcome the interaction.

 

I also am interested in helping anyone who may be interested with culinary questions of their own.  I have gathered an extensive knowledge of food and cooking over the years and want to share that knowledge with you.  Ask me anything about food, no matter how simple or complex it may be, and I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.  If I do not have the answer I will consult one of my colleagues and we will get down to the bottom of it.

 

Lastly, let me hear your stories.  Tell me if you used one of my tips or suggestions and if it turned out.  Let me help you, and please help me, create a one of a kind, personal food experience.

 

Chef Brian

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