Chef Dave's cooking page

Welcome to Chef Dave's cyberkitchen...serving up the finest in roadkill from the Information Superhighway.

The following are some of my house specialties. Some of these recipes are my own creations, others are, ADAPTED from other sources. Note that these aren't presented in the traditional form of a neat, precise list of amounts and times. Rather, they're presented the same way I cook: a pinch of this, a taste of that, ready when it's done...come to think of it, that's the way I program, too, except I use more garlic when I program.

Chef Dave sez: "Measuring cups are for amateurs."

Note for the humor-impaired: YES, these really are real recipes...and darn good ones, too, if I do say so myself...and I just did, so there we are.

Spinach & Leek Dip:

First, take a leek. Maybe two. When you're done laughing at that lame joke, chop up the white part, and mix with a package of Knorr leek soup mix (for that big, bold leek taste), a cup of sour cream, a cup of mayo, and a drained package of spinach. Stir everything up until well-mixed, then stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours to ferment. Cut off the top of a round of French bread, then pull out hunks of the inside until you have just the shell left. Fill the shell with the dip, and use the bread chunks to scoop it out. This might also be good warmed up. Haven't tried that.

Cream of Red Bell Pepper Soup:

Core and chop four or five red bell peppers, the white parts of two leeks, an onion, and a couple of carrots. Saute all this in about a tablespoon of butter for 10 minutes or so. Dump in two cans of chicken stock, and two cups of whipping cream. Simmer all that for half an hour or so, then run it through a blender until it's all pureed. Cook another 15 minutes or so, then add another two tablespoons of butter, salt if you need it, maybe some white pepper. This might be good chilled, too. Haven't tried it that way.

Corn & Tomato Soup:

Saute a chopped-up onion in a little butter until the onion is golden brownish. Dump about one and a half cans of corn, and two cans of tomatoes into a blender and puree. Add this to the onion, as well as another one and a half cans of corn (if you were thinking ahead, you'd have used the half left over from the puree step, right?). Add a can of chicken broth, and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Dump in a half cup or so of whipping cream. I'm told the Aztecs used to eat this, but I have no idea where they got canned corn, or where they plugged in their blenders.

Enough Vegetable Beef Soup to Feed a Regiment...or Even OJ's Entire Defense Team:

Get a big pot. No, a BIGGER pot...OK. Cut up about two pounds of stew beef, and dump it in three quarts of water, and bring it to a boil. As the scum rises to the top (yum!), skim it off with a scum skimmer. Or, you could just leave it in the soup...but then, you could also eat a can of Crisco with a spoon, if you're that enamored of atherosclerosis. When you've gotten all the scum, if you're still interested in making this, add a large chopped-up onion, a tablespoon of salt, and a couple largish pinches of thyme. Cover the pot and simmer all this for four hours or so. Hey, you didn't think this was fast food, did you? Listen, Sparky, you're not gonna be done TODAY, so wipe that hang-dog expression off your mug. Hope you're not expecting the gang early. After the long hot simmer, start lobbing the veggies in. Cut `em in big chunks. Try about a dozen carrots, a cup or so of diced celery (adds a zippy bland, stringy taste), a bag of frozen corn (WITHOUT the cobs, there's a good chap...), a couple of diced potatoes, a head of spinach or cabbage, as many boiling onions as you can stand to peel, and appropriate quantities of your favorite legumes...lima beans, green beans, peas, whatever. Toss four or five Roma tomatoes into boiling water, then into ice water. Take advantage of their shocked reaction to peel them, and scoop out the seeds. Chop up what's left, and into the pot with it. Maybe dump in a cup or so of ketchup, and chop up some fresh parsley and toss it in. If you're the type to use bottled parsley, well, you deserve what you'll get. Cook all that for another half hour or so, then dump it all into big storage containers (did I mention you needed big storage containers?), stick `em in the fridge, and go to bed...or whatever. No, that's NOT part of the recipe, it's just what you'll most likely need after all this work. In any case, the soup doesn't reach its best flavor until it has sat at least a day. The NEXT day, dump everything back in the big pot, heat it up, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, half hour or so.

Creole Corn `n Crab Bisque:

OK, right off the top here: if you don't know how to make a roux, go to the next recipe, which is a charming French dish inspired by the comedy stylings of Mr. Jerry Lewis. Still with us? OK, y'all. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a big ol' pot, and saute a half cup of minced onions, a cup or so of corn, and a tablespoon of minced garlic. Toss in a cup of fish or crab stock, some salt and pepper, and three bay leaves. Bring that to a boil, then add three cups milk, 1 cup whipping cream, and a teaspoon or so of crab boil. (Note for those of you who lack the experience of growing up in one of, charming areas of the country where "no grits" is a special order at a restaurant: although you might first assume that "crab boil" is some disgusting crustacean medical condition, it is, in fact, a rather interesting, pungent collection of spices, bits of bark, leaves, and twigs, little round hard things, and so forth, usually used to season the water that crabs go to their horrible deaths in. You can usually find it in better-stocked grocery stores in the "foreign foods" section. It is used in this recipe directly, without boiling anything in it, but you might want to strain out some of the larger little round hard things when the soup is done. Or, you can use LIQUID crab boil....if you can find it.). Simmer all that for 10 minutes or so. Look out, now! Here comes the roux! You need to whisk in about three tablespoons of roux....but I don't need to tell you what a gritty, mushy mess this is going to turn into if you don't get your roux dissolved thoroughly, now do I? You'll roux the day you tried to make this stuff. There ya go. Once it's all mixed in, simmer until the whole thing thickens up...which is, after all, the roux's purpose in life. Stir in as much lump crabmeat as you can afford (aw go on, use the canned stuff...), at least half a pound, about a quarter cup of chopped green onions, and a half teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Simmer all that for about 10 minutes.

Shrimp in Pernod:

Along with their inexplicable love of Jerry Lewis, perhaps the most bizarre aspect of French culture is Pernod, a sickly yellowish-green liqueur that tastes like licorice from Hell. The French apparently love this stuff...which kinda explains the whole Lewis thing. Nevertheless, it makes an interesting ingredient in this nearly-unappetizing appetizer. I "borrowed" this recipe from some hoity-toity hotel in L.A., and I make it mostly for the snob effect and the show. Chop up a clove of garlic, some parsley, and a half dozen or so shallots. Saute them for a minute or so in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper, maybe a little cayenne pepper if you're adventurous. Add a pound or two of peeled, deveined jumbo shrimp (boy, now there's an oxymoron...), and cook them until they're just barely done. You never wanna overcook shrimp...the consequences are too gruesome to contemplate. Finally, slosh a few tablespoons of Pernod over everything, and touch a match to it. Chef Dave sez: "Don't have your face over the pan when you do this." At this point, the smell might make you wonder if this trip is really necessary, but never mind that. Stir the whole mess around until the fire goes out by itself. If anyone starts lurching around with buck teeth sticking out yelling "LADY, LAAAADYYYYY...NYAAA," run for the nearest exit.

Roasted Potatoes in Balsamic Vinegar:

Cut about two pounds of new potatoes (no, no, that's a VARIETY of potato, not a comment on how long ago you brought them home...) into quarters. If you're not so hungry, cut `em into dimes. Whack up a couple tablespoons each of garlic and shallots. Fry all this in a couple tablespoons olive oil, and add about a teaspoon each of fresh thyme and rosemary, and a pinch of nutmeg. Toss all this around until everything is good and mingled, then spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven at 400 for 20-25 minutes...until the potatoes are golden (just like McDonald's french fries, except they use a coating of sugar to get the same effect faster...). Dump everything in a container with a lid (take the lid off FIRST...), then add a quarter cup of Balsamic vinegar, put the lid on, and shake the mixture up gently to get everything coated. Add some salt and pepper if you need it. Spread the stuff back on the baking sheet, and cook for another six or seven minutes.

Special bonus tip for that leftover Balsamic vinegar: pour it over fresh cut strawberries. YES, "and eat it, too?" Wise guy. No kidding. It sounds disgusting, and it tastes, er, different, but it's really quite good.


Chop up about a pound each of zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus. Set the asparagus tips aside. Saute the asparagus stalks in about 1/4 cup of butter and a clove or so of chopped garlic. After awhile, add the zucchini, then the mushrooms. Add the asparagus tips last. The idea is to cook everything until tender but still crisp. If the veggies get mushy, serve them to the dog, and make reservations instead. Otherwise, add a cup or two of whipping cream and a cup or so of grated Parmesan cheese, maybe some white pepper. Heat until the cheese is melted. Toss this all in with a pound or so of Fettucine (COOK IT first, fool. Do I have to spell it all out?).

Stir-Fried Random:

This is an ancient, traditional Hacker dish, said to have originated in the old country (Silicon Valley) ages ago (well, 1972 or so). The concept of a recipe for stir-fried random is a non-sequitur, but the basic idea is to stir-fry up a bunch o' smelly stuff in a wok. Typical ingredients include bean sprouts, chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops, onions, various veggies, maybe some noodles. The stuff is usually fried in lotsa garlic, with something like hoisin sauce or soy sauce. I'd tell you my "recipe," but then I'd have to kill you...

Lime Coke Steak:

Now I know what you're thinking...ol' Chef Dave has been snorting too much pumpkin pie spice. No, I swear I've tried this, and it's actually pretty good. If nothing else, it's a good way to get your dinner guests to go "eeeewwwwwwwww"... if that's the sort of thing that floats your boat. Anyway, start with a fairly thin steak that will not take too long to cook, and squeeze some fresh lime juice over it in a pan as it cooks. When the steak is just about done to your liking, squeeze some more lime juice on, then dump on a cup or two of Coke. Yeah, that's what I said, Coke. Coca Cola. The Real Thing. Choice of a, wait, that's the other guys. OK, so you can use Pepsi, RC, Shasta, whatever. Not sure I'd reccommend doing this with Jolt Cola; it could explode or something. Let the steak bubble in this for another few minutes. Let it drain a bit before you serve it. Just you wait. I'm working on a recipe for truffles and caviar in a kiwi root beer sauce. Eeeeewwwwwwww.....

Blueberry Pancakes (in case you didn't get enough to eat the night before):

Make up some pancake batter. Dump a can of drained bluberries into it. Duh. Actually, there is a trick to it: make it the night before, and the flavors soak in better.

Chef Dave sez: "If it ain't bad for ya, it ain't dessert."

Rum-Raisin-Pecan Chess Pie:

Dump a cup and a half of sugar (do you like it already?), a cup of raisins, 3/4 cup of half- and-half, and a stick of butter into a pan, heat it up and stir a lot until everything is melted and combined (well, OK, so the raisins aren't gonna melt. Deal with it.). Beat six egg yolks, and fold the sugar sludge into that. Keep everything mixed up good. Stir in a cup or two of coarsely chopped pecans, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a half teaspoon of vanilla, and a quarter cup or so of dark rum. Dump all this into a deep-dish pie shell (make your own, buy a frozen one, doesn't really matter with this load going into it), and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes, then at 375 for another 40-50 minutes.

The Amazing Cake O' Cholesterol Death:

Put three or four Heath bars into the freezer. Don't worry, we'll be back for them. Prepare a packaged German Chocolate cake according to package directions, in a 9X13" pan...or make your own from scratch, if you feel that reward must come only from hard work. Whatever. When the cake is done, and still warm, poke big holes in it all over with a wooden spoon. Pour alternating glops of sweetened condensed milk and caramel- butterscotch ice cream topping in the holes until everything is a big sloppy mess. Stick it in the fridge. When the cake has cooled thoroughly, cover it with as much whipped cream or Cool Whip as you can stand. Then get the Heath bars out of the freezer (told ya), put them in a plastic bag, and whack them into little bits. Sprinkle the bits over the top of the cake. For a special Halloween treat, use Butterfingers instead. Turns the whipped cream a ghastly orange.
Special lo-fat directions: Don't eat any.

Apres-dinner entertainment (if your social life is really this pathetic...I know mine is.): Take a worthless CD, like Yoko Ono's Greatest Hit, or something, and set it on top of a coffee mug or similar, label up (no, the CD's label...sheesh.). Put it in the microwave oven, turn out the lights in the room, and turn the oven on HIGH for a little while. Have a fire extinguisher standing by, just in case. Makes a real pretty light show for a few seconds. The intensity of this effect seems directly related to the oven's power, and (oddly enough) the colors and amount of ink on the CD's label. I've seen some labels hardly spark at all, while one all-black label went up in a spectacular ball of flame. This trick doesn't appear to hurt the oven, though you shouldn't press your luck by frying your entire Yanni collection...regardless of how much such an action might improve its artistic quality. For an apres-apres encore, hold the mutilated CD up to the light. Ooo. Pretty patterns. Glue some blinking lights on the back, scew a battery-powered clock movement into the middle, you've got art where none existed before. Keen, eh?

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