Q & A With Red Haircrow discussion

Non-writing Topics > Life as a private chef & Recipes

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message 1: by Red (last edited Mar 01, 2011 09:42PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
I work for a private client and his wife. He prefers French cuisine, she likes basic, no frills New England American. That is quite a contrast. I only prepare dinner meals, create my own menus and there is little limit to what I might obtain to cook something unusual for him, basic for her. Here I'll add a daily post of what I prepare.

I usually post what I make on Twitter, if you'd care to follow http://twitter.com/redhaircrow

message 2: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
1 March 2011: Client's dinner was fun tonight: Appetizer-Snow Crab Legs w/ Butter, Entreé-Poached Eggs w/ Prosciutto, Parmesan & Braised Endives

message 3: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
5 March, I did Boeuf Bourginnon for entreé, with an asparagus and egg salad as appetizer.

6 March, tonight--There is a piece of yellowfin which I'll probably do sashimi style, and for my client's wife (since she doesn't like fish) I'll be doing my favorite and easiest standby (which she does like) wienerschnitzel!

message 4: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I love wienerschnitzel! I've had it prepared different ways, but I think my favorite is served with a lemon and a fried egg on top.

In Poland, it is called sznycel wiedeński and is very similar to the one I had in Austria.

In Switzerland, I had one with cheese on top. Very good, but a little too filling.

In New York, I had one with a tomato-based sauce. Good, but didn't seem right somehow.

message 5: by Red (last edited Mar 06, 2011 06:31PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
I was taught very simple preparation but it's all kinds of schnitzel, but you know that: veal, chicken, pork, or now turkey also, just with floured, egg wash and then bread crumbs. I've changed my personal recipe for it as NoveauGerman cuisine, and my clients like it.

I make the bread crumbs myself out of toasted weissbrot, add garlic powder, salt, pepper, fresh minced rosemary (or thyme or majoram) and lemon zest. Makes it extra crunchy coating and an individual flavor, so only needing a bit of lemon & parsley on top. Along with some bratkartoffeln and perhaps roasted asparagus :-) It's a meal I can eat two or three plates of.

The egg topping is very classic Holstein method, so tis said. Käseschnitzel is the one with cheese on top, and either Zigeunerschnitzel or Paprikaschnitzel is the one with the tomato sauce, it's paprika if it has peppers in the tomato sauce. If I had to choose one with a topping, it would be Jägerschnitzel, that one has mushrooms.

message 6: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
9 March. Today was particularly interesting as I prepared for appetizer Fresh Duck Liver Paté, and then for entreé- Roast Duck with Lemon and Thyme. It came out quite well, and I was relieved. When cooking a whole duck, it can be difficult to get the needed degree of doneness throughout while still keeping the breast portions medium rare and "rosy".

Day off tomorrow, so that's always a plus.

message 7: by Red (last edited Mar 13, 2011 08:42PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
13 March. Tonight I did a couple of lamb loin chops, but they rathered tended towards the "mutton", so the remainder of six I placed in a red wine & herb marinade and will slow cook for a stew on Tuesday. It's the perfect time for a nice Spring stew with fresh green peas.

Appetizer was Fried Oysters with a spicy Australian ketchup even I liked, though I dislike it in general unless it's German curry ketchup.

For my own dinner, I will probably have a sandwich. I rarely feel like cooking for myself.

message 8: by Red (last edited Mar 15, 2011 06:23PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
A busy day today foodwise. In the process of making a Michoacan Pork Stew for our dinner, having already prepared a Spring Lamb Stew for my clients. Their appetizer was Bacon & Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms.

My client's wife is Irish (and doesn't cook obviously), so I must prepare the requisite Corned Beef and Cabbage! I'll be starting that in the morning. Yes, tomorrow is the 16th and St. Patrick's Day is the 17th...but Thursday are my regular (and only) off day, so no bribes to bring me in. The housekeeper will have to warm it up for them then.

message 9: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
18 March-Back at work today, it was a simple meal, no real need to do two different menus. For both clients:
Grilled Ribeyes with Cucumber & Tomato Salad and Fried Parsnip Ribbons. For appetizer, Sheephead fingers with Spicy Cocktail Sauce. Very simple, easy and relatively quick.

I am still having leftovers of the Michoacan Stew...maybe. Might perversely order a pizza also.

message 10: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Last week menus:

Pan-fried Trout w/ Pickled Onions & ? ?

and...I should have written it before because now I've forgotten. Too many things happening this week.

Headed to work soon, and little idea what I will make, but perhaps a Duck Breast Salad w/ Pecans. It's one of my client's all-time favorites: and it's easy!

message 11: by Lori K (new)

Lori K Do you post your recipes somewhere? Great thread.

message 12: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Hallo Lori and thanks! No, I haven't posted any of my recipes online as yet. Rather like trade secrets :-) I will post some here, however at some point.

message 13: by Lori K (new)

Lori K Yes! post some here. I love learning new recipes tho I am a rotten cook. Lately I have been having better luck -if I exactly follow the directions.

message 14: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Tonight was a meticulous meal, but not for me: for my clients.

Appetizer: Warmed whole Artichoke with Browned Butter for her...Cold artichoke for him with Fresh Mayonnaise.

Entreé: Roasted Quail w/ Herbs de Provence, Parsnips, Pearl Onions and Carrots.

message 15: by Red (last edited Apr 01, 2011 07:01PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Tonight was again something rather easy. Appetizer--Caviar w/ Sour Cream & Lemon and wonderful new mixed radishes. Entreé--Sauteed Duck Breast w/ Potato Onion Galette & Green Apple Sauerkraut.

The duck was very nice, but it's not an item I care to have for dinner. I much prefer goose, although it certainly takes special preparations to cut the fat "emissions."

Actually one time, a goose almost got away from me at a Christmas dinner. A funny flash memoir I recorded in my blog entry: The Goose God Cometh Forth.

message 16: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Lori K wrote: "Yes! post some here. I love learning new recipes tho I am a rotten cook. Lately I have been having better luck -if I exactly follow the directions."

My mom tried to teach me how to cook, but I always preferred hanging out with my dad and tinkering around with tools. I learned the basics from an early Betty Crocker cookbook.

I don't think I'd be able to stay slim with your cooking, Red. I'd always want to have a second portion. :)

message 17: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
LOL Ironically enough, I do cook that way for my clients but I have a list a mile long of foods I don't like, and eating isn't interesting to me.

Everything I've made above, I wouldn't eat it. I love to cook and like it when others enjoy.

message 18: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Tornadoes and bad weather all around tonight. As a matter of fact, since I happen to live on a river...it's at my back doorstep at the moment and one hopes it doesn't get higher. It's still raining however.

Made it to work, in any case, as clients have to eat and I have to prepare it so they state very clearly. Mind was otherwise occupied so fell back on a very easy menu:

Appetizer: Roasted Asparagus Soup

Entreè: Lemon-Thyme Turkey Schnitzel, Mashed Potatoes and Dilled Carrots.

A meal I might actually eat..

♫ Emily ♫ Heda Lives On ♫ Do you have a least favorite food?

message 20: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Actually there are few foods I particularly like, and a long list of pages of those I do not.

♫ Emily ♫ Heda Lives On ♫ I'm like that, but opposite. I have a long list of foods i like, a list of foods i don't like, and the foods that have to be cooked a certain way for me to eat them. it really annoys most people, but that makes it more fun.

message 22: by Red (last edited Apr 05, 2011 06:12PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
The entreé tonight was something I could eat until I make myself sick. Maybe. Anyway, it was:

Herbed Salt Crust Prime Rib with a Tomato Mint Salad and Horseradish Cream..


4-6 beef rib roast
2 boxes Morton's Kosher Salt
Fresh herbs of your choice

Preheat oven to 500°. Pour into a large bowl both boxes of salt. Starting with a 1/2c. water, pour and mix together until you have a shushy paste approximately the consistency of sleet. It's better to have less liquid than more.

Line a deep pan, in which the roast will fit, with non-stick aluminum foil. Form the base for your roast using a couple of handfuls of your salt mixture, pat into the bottom until it is uniform 1-inch thickness. Lay a few branches of your herbs spaced out evenly upon it,(I used thyme, rosemary and parsley), then place your roast on top. Lay more branches of herbs on it, then pack your salt mixture upon the meat until it is completely covered, trying to keep thickness as even as possible. Make more of the salt mixture if you need it, playing with consistency so that it will stick to the sides as well.

Place your roast in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°, and continue cooking for 2 hours, depending on the weight of your roast. The preference here is for rare prime rib. After removing roast from over, wait at least 30 minutes before slicing, as you do not wish it to "bleed out" and lose its juices. For a larger roast, 45 minutes is better. It can feed 8-10 moderate eaters, but freezes and reheats well.

Tomato Mint Salad (2 servings)

4 large Roma tomatoes, in bite sized pieces
1/4 quarter Sweet Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
4 leaves of mint, julienned
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 large pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 small pinch of sugar

Place your tomatoes, onions and mint in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk together your vinaigrette, then pour over & lightly toss with your vegetables. If it's your preference allow to sit at room temperature for flavours to meld, no more than 30 minutes before ready to serve, if longer, do place in the refrigerator.

Horseradish Cream (1 serving)

2 TBSP. mayonnaise
1 TBSP. fresh grated horseradish
1 pinch of each: kosher salt, paprika and cayenne
Juice of one wedge of lemon

Stir together, place in refrigerator to completely chill before serving.

message 23: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Decided to make crepes tonight but it's up in the air on what to fill them with. Perhaps mixed mushrooms, leftover duck or smoked salmon. We'll see....or I might scrap the idea altogether and prepare something else for my clients. Not exactly in the cooking mood at the moment.

message 24: by Lori K (new)

Lori K They don't tell you what they want?

message 25: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Lori K wrote: "They don't tell you what they want?"

No, that is one of their preconditions. There is never a physical plan or direction. Based upon ingredients, I usually decide daily what I wish to prepare.

They have a housekeeper who does the weekly shopping to my specifications, and from that I have a general idea of what I might wish to prepare. It can change from moment to moment, if I don't feel like doing something. I know their general likes and dislikes which does influence what I make. I've known them almost five years so it's no longer hard to guess what they might wish for dinner.

message 26: by Lori K (new)

Lori K Wow, it must be great to have that kind of freedom and skill.

message 27: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
It's a mixed blessing. I work either six or seven days a week, and sometimes run out of ideas or it's tiring to try to come up with something they will like. Also, I learned it affects my own diet, and I usually don't wish to be bothered cooking something for myself although it's healthier.

Then there are the quirky bits: I'll prepare something and it's well-liked. I try it again a month later and they swear up and down they hate it, have always hated it and never want it again. I do believe that's their consumed Scotch whiskey talking when that happens.

message 28: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
13 April, I let my browsing of Epicurious.com result in dinner...somewhat: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Appetizer: Spicy Gazpacho (a favorite)
Entreé: Bison Burgers with Garlic Crisps and Cherry Peppers

Buffalo is the word I use for it, but it's quite lean so I never, ever add salt when mixing the ground meat. That only leaches moisture out of it.

Instead after you form your patties, dust lightly with salt and pepper only on the outside. I use either kosher salt or some kind of rock salt which slowly dissolves yet leaves a crunch behind. It's important to cook your burgers around three minutes each side, medium high flame. Because of the lesser fat content, more than medium will make them tough. As I have a client with no problems of cholesterol and before the French methods, I saute in real butter which adds flavor.

The cabernet onions came out terrific, and I didn't have any problem with burning as some reviews on the site suggested. I don't move away from the stove or kitchen in general, so it isn't an issue.

I used Swiss Cheese instead of the Wisconsin Cheddar, a little spicy brown mustard with mixed greens. It was a menu given a thumbs up.

message 29: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
It's been great days with recipes, which is nice. I think it has something to do with the weather improving also, makes for less crotchety clients.

I've done Smoked Salmon (we've a unit which can be used indoors. I used Alder, which is a light, clean taste). I served that with lemon-caper butter and a salad. Very simple.

I did Lamb Shanks in Mint Sauce on Sunday. I don't eat lamb but the sauce was nice. It's from a recipe in the "Titanic Cookbook" we have, which is a collection of all the dishes actually prepared and served on the ill-fated cruise ship.

Tonight I am going to do the crepes I mentioned above, and will fill them with chicken, mushrooms and asparagus.

message 30: by Red (last edited Apr 24, 2011 06:20PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
23 April Saturday, I celebrated my going home with a traditional German dinner for my clients:

Appetizer--Green Salad with Feta, Black Olives & Sundried Tomatoes

Entreé--Roast Bratwurst w/ Bratkartoffeln & Onions, Spicy Brown Mustard and Homemade Garlic Pickles. Delicious!

24 April Sunday, today was more usual fare:

Appetizer--Vinegar Marinated Halibut Tapas w/ Capers & Lemon

Entreé--Three Meat Lasagna with an Arugula side salad.

I am now having a neat vodka while continuing to be amazed and dismayed looking at the stacks of books sitting in my office waiting to be packed. I have boxed 7 large boxes, around 200 books in each, and there are still as many in the floor. Not to mention the ones at the shop. I do believe I am just going to take a bidder on the whole thing, lock, stock and barrel.

message 31: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Beginning tonight, 9 May 2011, I'll be observing and judging possible successor for my clients. I remember my "test" as well, it was rather an Iron Chef set up, where you have to prepare a meal from ingredients of their choice with no prior knowledge. Then you are critiqued.

I am curious to be on the "other side" now, and watching them :-)

message 32: by Red (last edited May 30, 2011 07:25PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Making my last meals for my clients:

30 May Appetizer--Sea Scallops in a Lobster Sauce with Watercress Salad

2 Entreés--Grilled Ribeye with Tomatoes & Parmesan
Pork Lo Mein with my special twist of lime.

For myself and son the last days, I made Vegetarian Egg Rolls, Roast Pork with Root Vegetables, and tonight I'm preparing Bulgogi, love that. Don't have any kimchee though, which is a travesty of justice. The last crock I made spoiled during the power outtage after the tornadoes in my area.

Before we return to Germany though, we will be visiting our favorite local restaurant The Korea House. Buffet. All the kimchee you can eat. There's other stuff and plenty, but that's my first priority. I just might be denied entry to the airplane if I reek of it though LOL

message 33: by Nancy (last edited May 31, 2011 03:33AM) (new)

Nancy I am enjoying your mouth-watering meals, Red. I'm assuming by now you've found a successor who passed the test and will please your clients?

And what about your books? Will you be using an international moving company or ship everything yourself? Do they charge by weight or cubic foot?

I think I'd be heartbroken if I had to leave all my books behind.

When will you be leaving for Germany?

message 34: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
The "successor" my son says is creepy. LOL

The guy will be alright though seems the very opposite of me: he's very talkative, touchy-feely and doesn't listen enough. But that's their issue to deal with, and they are very, very direct. He'll learn. I put his idiosyncracies that bothered me down to eagerness.

My books I'll ship a little at a time as needed really as the most of them are research or textbooks, so I wouldn't need them terribly. The others are rare or collectibles, and they have to be insured, etc. I'll have them shipped myself. With my book shop I mailed several thousand packages yearly, so that part I'm used to doing. I create the labels and schedule pick-up.

The house is set up for minimalism as it's partly a dojo, partly for meditation and performances, so there's lots of open space but not set up for books per se. I will have to build shelves. We're leaving in two weeks.

message 35: by ♥Lynn ♥ (new)

 ♥Lynn ♥ Clone yourself and send Clone Red to me please!! Your seafood dishes sound wonderful!

message 36: by Red (last edited Jun 02, 2011 03:24PM) (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Well, that I'm glad they sound good, since I'm allergic to most seafood, so I'm never able to taste any of the dishes to make sure.

message 37: by Red (new)

Red Haircrow (redhaircrow) | 183 comments Mod
Last meal for my clients, 3 June 2011. It's a wistful evening as I've just completed the final dinner for them, so I did their favorites:

For her:
Bacon Bread French Toast with Cranberries

For him:

Appetizer--Chilled Artichokes with Mayonnaise
Entreé--Roast Duck Breast Salad w/ Raspberry Vinaigrette & Pecans

The cats had tuna. Well, one of them also had tidbits of duck because he's a connoisseur.


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