Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Arrogant Chef's Can-Am Feast

Made some dogs. Not quite Michigan's, not quite Texas Chili dogs, rather The Arrogant Chef's Can-Am feast. A mixture of Michigan recipe, chili dog recipe, added some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to the sauce. Onions are buried under the dog, topped with the sauce, some extra Slap Ya Mama seasoning, and a touch of mustard on a super fresh bun. The Canadian poutine is made with local St. Albert's Cheese curds, gravy, and hand cut fries cooked in duck fat. Missing from the photo is the ice cold beer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Arrogant Chef Onion Ring Pizza

Well I could not come up with a more inventive name for this pizza. Basically, it is a veggie pizza, onions, green pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, and a four cheese mixture I picked up at the grocery store topped with my gourmet onion rings. The crust was the latest experiment. The crust is not really all that thick but you get a nice puffiness on the edge. This is the crust recipe.

Pizza Dough


2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


1.In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.

2.Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.

3.Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

4.Preheat oven to 500F. I use a two step method. First I put the pizza in the oven on a perforated pizza pan on the lower rack with the sauce only and bake for about 5 minutes. I then take it out top it with the rest of the ingredients and bake it on the middle rack for about 10 minutes or until the crust is a nice deep golden brown.

This is the recipe for the onion rings. These are not battered. They are coated in a flour mixture with spices.

Gourmet Onion Rings

3 vidalia or sweet onion
1 pint of buttermilk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup plain flour
1tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
oil for frying


Cut the peeled onion and seperate into rings. Soak the rings in the buttermilk mixed with the cayenne pepper. In another bowl mix together the flour, celery salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Drain the onion rings and drop them in the seasoned flour. Remove and deep fry a few rings at a time. Do not crowd the deep fryer or they will really stick together. Deep-fry until golden and crisp. Season and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tribute to my Father for Father's Day

My father past away about 30 years ago. He was a cook. A master pie baker. What follows is a story I have been working on for the last year. I am not a writer but I did want to share this experience with people who understand the wonders of cooking and the special relationship between a father and son. Also if you read closely you will find one of the best pie crust recipes ever. I had promised to publish this on SE but this seems like a more appropriate venue. I hope you enjoy the story...and you really have to try this recipe.

The Making of the Secret Pie Crust (A True Short Story from The Arrogant Chef)
It was hotter than hell in our apartment above Leduc’s shopping center. My father was out on the balcony as he always was on warm summer mornings, trying to catch a fresh early morning breeze. I was getting up after a long night of partying and joined him to see if I could clear my head with a little fresh air. My father was not a big talker.  Now that I look back we had had few actual conversations over the years.  That’s just the way he was.  I sat beside him and looked out over the shopping centre’s parking lot and watched as he wiped the small beads of sweat from his forehead with that old hanky he always kept in his back pocket. Suddenly this crazy idea came to mind, “You know Dad, what you should do today is show me how to cook pies.”  My father had been the cook in the Courtauld’s kitchen back in the late 20’s and was renowned for his pies.
There wasn’t much of a reaction.
“It’s too hot” he grumbled. “And you don’t “cook” pies, you bake pies.
“No seriously. And not with the recipes you gave to Colette, Joyce and Pat - your actual recipe with ALL the ingredients. EVERY single one of them nothing left out.
“Some other time, I am tired and it’s too hot. And why do you want to learn to make pies anyways. And I don’t leave out ingredients. They just don’t know how to make them.”
“Well then show me how to “make” them. What if you died tomorrow? The recipe would be lost forever.”
“I am not going to die tomorrow. It’s too hot and…
He got up, mumbled a little, might have even sworn under his breath and disappeared into the apartment. I had really hit a nerve. My father had never been sick a day in 75 years until the year before when he had a heart attack. He was very proud of the fact that that that was the first time he had ever stepped foot in to a hospital or a doctor’s office.
So much for that I thought. It was hot and he did look tired and he was probably angry with me now over the dying comment.
But then the screen door opened and my father said: “Look if you want to learn how to make pies then you will have to go to the store and pick up some stuff for me. Oh and on the way back stop by the liquor store and get me a 40oz of Seagram’s Five Star.” Five Star is Canadian whiskey, his favourite whiskey and this was a weekend and Five Star was a frequent guest in our apartment on weekends.
“Do you want to come with me?” I asked. My father didn’t drive and when I was home from university I was pretty well relegated to delivery boy most of the time.
“No it’s too hot and I’m tired. Just get what’s on the list and when you get back well we’ll see. And don’t forget the Five Star.”
Little did I know that the Five Star might just be one of the secret ingredients to his pies.   I just figured the “we’ll see” comment meant:  go get me the stuff, get me the whiskey, I’ll have a few drinks, fall asleep in my chair, you will forget about this crazy idea of learning how to make pies and that would be that.
I returned about an hour later not thinking much baking was actually going to take place that day. It was really hot and our tiny apartment would be much too hot to be baking in the oven. But as I entered the apartment there was my father in the kitchen, mixing bowls laid out, rolling pin on the table. He looked refreshed despite the heat in the apartment and looked like a man who was going to teach his son how to make pies. At that moment I thought just for a second that what my brothers had always said about me being his favourite might just be true. I was actually going to be taught “the recipe”, the secret recipe, the recipe that had never been given to anyone else on the planet, the recipe that my sister in laws had desperately tried to duplicate on several occasions without success.
“So did you get everything on the list?” he said.
“What?” I said, sort of coming back to reality.
“Did you get everything on the list?”
That warm fuzzy feeling I was having was suddenly beginning to fade. This was not a father/ son moment. This was serious. Pie making was serious business. It always was. Pie baking at Christmas was even more serious. Even my mother stayed out of the kitchen. Pie baking began early and ended late. Twenty pies later we were allowed back in the kitchen. My father would flop into his chair, prop his head up on his hand and fall asleep courtesy of his Five Star friend.
“Yes”, I stammered, “I got everything, the flour, the Crisco…yes everything.”
“The Five Star?”
“What’s that for anyway?
“You’ll see.  Just pay attention.”
And the process began. You know being twenty-two and somewhat hung over, and never having cooked anything more serious than macaroni and cheese, I realized this could be a life changing event. I was going to learn from the master. I had devoured his pies from the time I was a little boy. Countless people raved about his pies. My sister`s in law had cursed him for not giving them the whole recipe and here I was on a hot July morning and I was going to be taught how to make pies.
`’Did you hear me?
“What? I said.
“Get us a couple of shot glasses. The key to making great crust is hand temperature. You have to have the proper hand temperature to work the dough.”
“Really I said.”
“Yes really. Do you want to learn how to do this right or not?” Pour us each a shot.”
I opened up the bottle of Five-Star and poured us each a generous shot.
“Ok drink up”, he said.
It was ten o’clock in the morning and here I was having a shot of whiskey with my father. This had to be a father and son moment.
“Now just go and sit down.”
“What?” I said.
“Go and sit down.”
He flopped down into his chair, propped his hand onto his chin and looked like he was going to have a nap. I figured the lesson was over. This wasn’t going to happen. After all it was hot, and he did look tired.
Ten minutes passed. He shot up from his chair.
“Ok. Run your hands under cold water for about thirty seconds. That should do it. You have to get our hands to the right temperature to handle the dough.”
He then went to work. I watched somewhat in amazement as he began the crust making process. I realized that I had never actually been in the kitchen to watch him at work. When he was baking the kitchen was his and we had learned over the years to find something else to do while he baked. We stayed clear of the kitchen until the baking was over and then my mother would go in to clean up the mess and my father would pour himself a glass of Five Star, and a water chaser and then would go to his chair, his work done for the day.
“Are you watching this?” he said. “First you sift 5 cups of flour into the bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder,  ½  a teaspoon of salt, ½ a teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 pound of Crisco. Then you mix one egg, 1/3 cup of vinegar and one cup of water in this measuring cup and then pour it in like this. Now feel my hands.”
“What?” I said.
“Feel my hands. Feel the temperature. That is what your hands should feel like.”
I felt his hands. I felt the temperature. I was beginning to understand the secret behind his pie baking. This wasn’t about ingredients. It was about technique. Technique perfected after baking hundreds maybe even thousands of pies; technique that he was sharing with his favourite son; technique that he had never shared with anyone else. I realized then that he had been telling the truth. He never left out ingredients. He just never had the patience to sit down and walk my sister in laws through the process.
I focussed my attention on the process.
“The most important part, he said is how you work the dough. Pay attention. If you work it too much it will be tough. Here give me your hands. Feel the dough. See it is too moist we have to add a bit more flour.”
I watched with amazement at how he handled the dough. He seemed to barely touch it. I realized then that I wasn’t just watching a former cook from Courtaulds, I was watching a master pie baker.
“Now, feel this”, he said, taking my hands in putting them in the dough. “This is perfect. Remember this. You see not too moist or too dry. Remember this.”
I could see by the look on his face that he had taught me the secret, the feel of the dough. I think this was the beginning of my love for cooking. And yes maybe my brothers were right. I was his favourite son.
We made pies together a few more times before he died. The lessons were not as intense. He grew older and more tired. I would always get him to get up from his chair to feel the dough to make sure I had it right and then would pour the two of us a drink of his favourite whiskey.
By the time the pies were baked and on the counter we had had our share of drinks. My father went to his chair and I went to the couch.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Long Weekend Cooking

We are having incredible weather for the long weekend. Last night I BBQ'd some ribs, fried up some wings in duck fat and had a little slaw.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pizza Dough

I love making pizza. I am really trying to find a really good dough recipe. I tried this out tonight. The dough was thicker than my usual thin crust dough and was quite tasty. Take a look at the recipe. If you think I should be doing something different let me know.

Thick Pizza Dough

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


1.In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.

2.Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.

3.Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

4.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
5.Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Christmas Morning Wife Saver

I make this every Christmas day but this could be made anytime for a brunch. It is delicious and can be made the night before. I decided to post this after someone on the FB Serious Eats Water Cooler posted about brunches.

Make this the day before and pop it in the oven in the morning.
16 slices of white bread crusts removed
16 slices of Canadian Back Bacon or Ham
16 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of pepper
1 tsp of dry mustard
¼ cup of minced onion
¼ cup of green pepper finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 ½ cup of whole milk
dash of Tabasco Sauce
¼ pound of butter
Corn Flakes

In a 9X13 buttered glass baking dish, put 8 pieces of bread. Add pieces to cover the dish completely. Cover bread with slices of bacon sliced thinly. Lay slices of cheddar cheese on top of bacon and then cover with slices of bread to make it like a sandwich. In a bowl beat eggs, salt, and pepper.
To the egg mixture add dry mustard, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire Sauce milk and Tabasco. Pour over the sandwich. Cover and let stand in the fridge overnight. In the morning melt ¼ pound of the butter and pour over the top. Cover with Corn Flakes and bake for 1 hour at 350F. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

BBQ Ribs

Last year I switched over from a propane to a charcoal BBQ. So far I have been very happy with my new charcoal BBQ. Last night I made ribs for the first time using charcoal. I was quite happy with the results. I got a pretty good char on the ribs, perhaps a little too much. I will have to watch them a little more carefully next time. The sauce which is simply 2 bottles of Diane's Original BBQ sauce, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of water, and two teaspoons of instant coffee granules, is super tasty. For the rub I use paprika, salt, pepper, and chili powder. This rub gives the ribs a fantastic taste. I usually begin my ribs in the oven for about 4-5 hours at about 250F. I rub them, put them in a large foil pan, pour in about 2 1/2 bottles of beer then cover with foil. Once they are ready, I then transfer them to the BBQ and begin basting with the sauce until ready.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fries Cooked in Duck Fat

I have always loved french fries. I remember when I was younger the chip truck would ring its bell as it came down the street and I would beg my parents to give me 75 cents for an extra large fry. Well times have changed and chip trucks no longer ring their bells on their streets.

If you want an extraordinary french fry experience, try making your own fries, fried up in rendered duck fat. I guarantee you will will never go back to chip truck fries.

Just buy some rendered duck fat, get a deep frying pan, bring the duck fat up to frying temperature. Hand cut a couple of russet potatoes and fry away. The taste is amazing. For you health watch people, duck fat is a very healthy fat. It is much healthier than butter. The only fat better is pure olive oil. French fries without the guilt: Priceless.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Parmesan Pork Tenderloin

Here is another super easy recipe that tastes great.

Parmesan Pork Tenderloin

• 1 pound pork tenderloin
• 3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
• 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
• 1 small onion, thinly sliced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 small zucchini or summer squash, thinly sliced

1. Cut tenderloin crosswise into 12 slices, approximately 3/4-inch thick. Place each slice on its cut surface and flatten with heel of hand to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; dredge pork slices to coat.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in nonstick pan. Saute pork for 2 to 3 minutes per side; remove and keep warm. Add onion, garlic and zucchini or squash to skillet and saute 5 minutes or until tender.

When You Can't BBQ Your Steak Try This

Sometimes it is just too cold out to BBQ but I have found a pretty good alternative for cooking steaks. First, I marinate them in olive oil over night in the fridge and then I take them out and let them come to room temperature. I then get a fry pan good and hot and sear the steaks. I do flip them more than once. I picked that tip up from I also season with seasoned salt. My favourite is Lowry's. Here is a photo of last night's supper.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy Chicken

This is the simplest chicken dish you will ever make. Put chicken breasts in a casserole and pour Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano dressing over them. Put in the oven uncovered at 350 for approximately one hour depending on the size of the breast. Serve with a salad and some hot sauce. Super easy and very tasty.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Halibut With Tomato Salsa

After seeing Brian's halibut dish, I decided I would make some for dinner. This really tasted great. The tomato salsa was excellent.

Halibut with Tomato Salsa

■5 cocktail sized on the vine tomatoes, some cut in half and some cut in quarters
■2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
■1/2 of a lemon
■1 tsp finely chopped fresh red chili pepper
■pinch of dried thyme
■two splashes of white wine
■salt and pepper (to season the fish)
■olive oil

The Method

For the Salsa:

1.Heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a non stick frying pan.
2.Add the garlic and sautee for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tomatoes, chili pepper and juice of half a lemon and sautee for another 4 minutes.
3.Add the thyme and stir.
4.Add the wine and stir until wine is reduced to about 1/4 of the volume, about another 3 minutes.

For the Halibut

1.Rinse the filet, and pat it dry with paper towels. Get it as dry as possible.
2.Season the flesh side with salt and pepper.
3.Heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat in a non stick frying pan.
4.When the oil is hot, add the halibut, skin side down.
5.Let it cook skin side down for 6 minutes. Now, the key is not to move the filet, just let it cook. It will look like it’s sticking to the pan, but when it’s ready to flip it will release from the pan very easily.
6.After 6 minutes, lower the heat to medium, flip the halibut and let it cook flesh side down for about 4 minutes (again, don’t move it until it moves easily).
7.Depending on how thick your filet is, you may need another few minutes at this point. If you do, flip the fish back onto its skin side for the remainder of the time. I gave mine another 2 minutes. When the fish is completely opaque and flakes easily it is ready.
8.Plate the fish, skin side down, squeeze some more lemon juice on it and spoon the tomato salsa over it.

BBQ Challenge Held at Home and Trade Show

It certainly has been a long time since my last post. I have been very busy with a couple of other websites but I am going to turn my attention back to this blog. I attended the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce BBQ Challenge on the weekend. Two of my cooking friends entered the challenge. Sylvain cooked an outstanding quail dish and Brian an equally outstanding halibut dish. You can see how great these looked in the photos below. Neither Brian nor Sylvain placed. Brian was defeated from the beginning. Two of the three judges were allergic to white fish. Go figure. Also strange was that a rib dish placed second. The rules were 20 minute preparation and 20 minute cooking time. Ya can't cook ribs in 20 minutes. The ribs were falling off the bone. They had been cooked for many hours prior to the competition. Seems a little unfair. First place was jerk chicken. I even wonder how chicken with bone in could cook in 20 minutes. Anyhow it was a good event. Hopefully next year the rules will be a little clearer.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I have never tried pheasant but my friend Sylvain from "The Arrogant Chef" invited me and my wife for a pheasant supper. This was a truly outstanding meal. The sauce was incredible and I hope to post the recipe soon. For now here are some photos from this outstanding meal.

I have never tried pheasant but my friend Sylvain from "The Arrogant Chef" invited me and my wife for a pheasant supper. This was a truly outstanding meal. The sauce was incredible and I hope to post the recipe soon. For now here are some photos from this outstanding meal.