Tribute to Chef “Princess Pamela”

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Hello ALL! Welcome back to my blog. This is the last and final chef tribute in our yearlong tribute to African American Chefs and their contributions to the culinary world. It has been a tasty journey, educational and fun! I learned things about these amazing people and I hope you did too. We will continue to do Chef Tributes in the future, let me know below if you liked this series!

Continue reading for our final tribute…

This tribute is to a woman named Pamela who made a loud splash in the culinary community before her untimely disappearance. Pamela Strobel or “Princess Pamela” as she was called to those who knew her was a no nonsense woman who was also caring and giving and loved to share her joy of food with those around her. It is said that people flocked to her small restaurant for great food and great jazz music. She was known to put people out of her restaurant if they disrespected her or her. She attracted celebrities like Diana Ross and Andy Warhol. Her soul food was said to bring people of all walks of life together during a time where there was much separation and racial divide. Princess Pamela was known for her greens, black eye peas, smothered pork chops, and oxtail stew to name a few. She also put her best recipes into a book “Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook”. (My copy has not arrived yet) It is said that she wrote the recipes almost in a poetic lyrical fashion.

Here is an excerpt from her book:

Practically every kind of people/ eat somethin’ that somebody/ else make a godawful face/ at. If that don’ tellya what/ this race-hatin’ is all about, nuthin’ will./ In this life, we gotta give / ourselves a chance to digest a/ lotta things we don’/ understand right off.

Unfortunately, she simply disappeared into thin air in late 1998, and no one has seen or heard from her since. Those closes to her has even hired private investigators but to no avail she has still not been found. Her recipes have been collected and retested but there are still authentic versions of her recipes available.

Many have speculated as to what happened to her, some say she moved to a different state, others have refuted that claim. No one who knew her back then knows of her whereabouts now. There are many people who love her and are still hoping for her safe return. Posts like these are hopefully going to bring attention to her name and we are hopeful that we will find out what happened to her.

 

There are no pictures, just her book. And I will not discredit her by posting a similar picture or recipe. Feel free to try her recipe for Buttermilk Pie and check out this lovely poem excerpt to go along with the recipe from her book.

Buttermilk Pie 3 eggs, separated
 2 cups sugar
 ½ cup butter
 4 tablespoons flour 2 cups buttermilk
 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 1 9″ pie shell, unbaked

Cream together the egg yolks, sugar, and butter thoroughly. Add the flour and beat. Stir in the buttermilk and lemon juice. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the buttermilk mixture. Add nutmeg and pour into pie shell. Bake at 300°F until firm—about 45 to 50 minutes.

Everybody ask me how come I kin do all my cookin’ in that closet- space kitchen. For anyone been in as many tight spots as I have, sweetheart, it’s easy as buttermilk pie.

Tribute to Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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Born in Ethiopia, he had a hard life losing his family in the Ethiopian civil war. And he and his sister were adopted by a Swedish couple in Gothenburg, Sweden. Like most chefs his interest in cooking started at an early age and he was introduced to the culinary world by his grandmother. He would later attend culinary school at the Culinary Institute in Göteborg (Gothenburg). After apprecenticing in Switzerland and Austria, he later came to the United States in 1991 as an apprentice at Restaurant Aquavit in New York and he would later become the executive chef there. He has had numerous awards and reviews like being the youngest ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times.
He has even taken on and mastered the feat of writing best seller cookbooks, appearing on Food Network shows as a chef and judge and also even served as guest chef for the first state dinner of the Barack Obama presidency. The dinner, in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He has many more accolades that we could go on and on about but I want to jump into my absolute favorite recipes of his. Normally I just choose one recipe but I couldn’t choose so this time I chose a drink to highlight and a dish.
This drink is warm and comfortable but versatile. Whether it’s cold outside, a cocktail party or simple unwinding favor this drink is everything and it’s his Jazz Fashioned cocktail.

jazzfashioned
Ingredients:
2 oz Jameson 0.1 oz Maple syrup 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Milk Stout to top
Directions:
In a shaker, mix together the Jameson, Maple Syrup and Bitters over ice. Strain into a rocks glass and top off with Milk Stout.

The dish is along my favorite things. Cute, petite one biters, seafood, and loaded flavor. This dish looks like it’s award-winning I am sure the flavor will not disappoint. His Bermudian Fish Chowder Croquettes:

food

Ingredients

  • 2 Scallops, diced
  • 6 ounce snapper, diced
  • 1 cup boiled potatoes, soft
  • 1 Portuguese chorizo, small chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dill, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 6 ounce jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 eggs, whisked together
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup instant potatoes
  • 3 cups oil
  • Sherry Pepper vinegar to taste

Directions

In a food processor blend together snapper and scallops until mashed. Remove and in a bowl mash together with potatoes, chorizo, garlic, dill, chives, fish sauce, crab meat, mayonnaise and mustard. Combine well.

Place cornstarch, eggs and instant potatoes in three separate shallow containers.Form golf ball sized balls then roll in cornstarch, then eggs, then instant potatoes.

Heat oil in a large pot to 330F.

Fry croquettes until golden brown. Remove from the fryer and immediately season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with sherry pepper vinegar.

 

All Recipes can be found at his website:

Tribute to Chef Govind Armstrong

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Not much is known about Chef Govind Armstrong’s childhood other than he got his start in the culinary world at the tender age of 13. He was hand selected to work at the amazing Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Restaurant. He also worked for L.A. culinary luminaries Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at their seminal City Restaurant, and Joachim Splichal at Patina and Pinot Hollywood. He also worked in the kitchen at Arzak restaurant, the preeminent Michelin three-star establishment in San Sebastian, Spain under Juan Mari. He has a unique culinary point of view and a headstrong seasonal approach cooking. Chef Govind maintains that he is a purist in what is widely known as California Cuisine using only seasonal, market driven ingredients his cuisine is a representation of the finest local producers in his area.

He has many honors and critically acclaimed internationally. Some of his honors include: Being a member of the Marshall Fields/Macy’s culinary advisory board, has been a guest chef aboard the Queen Mary 2 and Crystal Cruises and a culinary ambassador to New Zealand. He’s also appeared in the following magazines (People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Issue, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, O Magazine) and appeared in the following television shows (Iron Chef America/Food Network, The Today Show/NBC, Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, Extra, Style Network, Fine Living, OPRAH and WE). In 2007, Govind released a cookbook “Small Bites, Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties”, which I am just absolutely obsessed with.

Lately he has been running his own richly acclaimed restaurant called Table 8 in Los Angeles.

Although Christmas is coming up and I originally set out to find a chef that made amazing holiday recipes. I would gladly trade in a traditional Christmas meal to be able to sit at his table and sample some of his delicacies. Please PLEASE try this recipe below for his Grilled Cheese with Pulled Short Ribs and Pickled Red Onions  it is definitely worth the money spent to savor these flavors!

 grilled-cheese-and-pulled-short-ribs-sandwich

Ingredients

  • Sachet:
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • Pulled short ribs:
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 celery, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 onion cut into large dice
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, cracked
  • 1 cup red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon)
  • Sachet (see above)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 2-pound loaf sourdough bread , cut into 16 slices
  • 12 ounces Bel Paese cheese , sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pickled red onions
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons grapeseed oil

Procedure:

  • For the sachet:
  1. For the sachet, wrap the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a small amount of cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.
  • For pulled short ribs:
    1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
    2. Beginning with a large saucepan or braising pan with a lid, heat the tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs on either side until caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan. Add the carrot and celery to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over the same heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook together until caramelized, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed. Add the short ribs back to the pan and deglaze with the red wine. Add the sachet and, stirring from time to time, allow the wine to reduce until almost evaporated, about 6 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and bring the braise up to a boil. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
    3. After the first 2 hours of cooking time, remove the lid. For the next hour, baste the short ribs every 15 minutes, leaving the lid off. Cook for an additional hour, until very tender, for a total of 4 hours cooking time.
    4. Pull the short ribs from the oven and allow them to cool in the braising juices for at least a few hours. Carefully transfer the meat to a plate and strain the juices through a fine sieve, then allow the fat to rise. Remove the fat. Using a dinner fork in each hand, lightly shred the meat along the natural grains in a pulling motion from the center outward, and set aside.
    5. To prepare each sandwich, begin by preheating the oven to 350°F.
    6. Take 2 slices of bread. On the bottom slice, place a layer of cheese (you’ll want approximately 1 1/2 ounces for each sandwich, just enough to cover the bread to the edges), then top with 1 teaspoon of pickled red onion, spread to the sides. Place 1/4 cup of the pulled short ribs on top, add another layer of cheese, and top with the second slice of bread. Brush each completed sandwich on top and bottom with 1/2 teaspoon butter.
    7. In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the grapeseed oil and allow it to get nice and hot. Place 2 sandwiches in at a time and flip so they will absorb the oil on both sides. Weight them down with a small sauté pan. After 1 minute, flip the sandwiches, return the weight, and place directly in the oven.
    8. After 2 minutes, remove the weight. Flip the sandwich one final time, and cook for 1 final minute. Pull from the oven, slice diagonally, and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Chef’s tips:

If you have a slow cooker, you can make the short ribs ahead of time. Any good-quality melting cheese, such as Wisconsin Cheddar, will work well. We make a “true” grilled cheese and grill the sandwich on our wood-burning grill. You should try that at home!

Tribute to Chef Leah Chase

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November’s tribute is to chef Leah Chase. This beautiful woman is out of New Orleans and is known as the QUEEN of Creole cooking. Chef Chase has been cooking most of her life and one of her first cooking jobs was at the famous French Quarters in New Orleans. She was a huge part of the civil rights movement being that her restaurant “Dooky Chase” was a meeting spot for many who participated in the movement. She authored many cookbooks and even hosted a cooking show based on creole cooking. She was the inspiration for Tiana’s character in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog; -Her many awards and honors include being inducted into the James Beard Foundation; Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2010. She was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2000. She even received honorary degrees from Tulane University, Dillard University, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Madonna College, Loyola, University New Orleans, and Johnson & Wales University. She was also awarded Times-Picayune Loving Cup Award in 1997. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana named a permanent gallery in Chase’s honor in 2009. This lady has accomplished so many feats that she even has an exhibition dedicated to her in the Smithsonian Museum. All of these accomplishments are just to name a few.

 

This Chef is truly inspiring. I am fascinated by her recipe for scalloped tomatoes:

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Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of bacon fat
2 cups (1/2-inch diced)
French bread, preferably a crusty baguette
16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice, about 2 1/2 pounds (use the best tomatoes you can find — beefsteak will be juicier
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the bacon fat in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic and sugar to then pan and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil and remove from the heat.Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Tribute to Pat & Gina Neely

neelys

This next tribute is to the most entertaining TV Chefs, Pat and Gina Neely. Both chefs got their starts the way most southern chefs do. And that’s by being in the kitchen with their mothers and grandmothers; and most of their knowledge about cooking has been passed down from generation to generation. (That I can relate to).

Pat started by working in his uncle’s BBQ restaurant and eventually opened his own  restaurant by age 23. With Gina by his side- the restaurant, Neely’s BBQ would be very successful allowing them to open other locations all over the united states. Being from Nashville myself, I basically grew up on BBQ and I’ve eaten at their Nashville location plenty of times and can speak from experience to the finger licking good amazing-ness that comes from their kitchen!

In addition to owning several restaurants, they also became the hosts of their own cooking show on the Food Network channel called “Down Home with the Neely’s”. There is where I fell in love with them as people and their culinary vision. They were all about big, bold flavors and most importantly BBQ. Gina added delicacy to the show and showed us how to open our minds as a community to things that are different (food wise) and she’s a genius by introducing new ingredients in a way that would make them seem familiar to their core audience.

Other endeavors include another TV show “Road Tasted with the Neely’s”, they serve on multiple culinary boards and associations. As well as written cook books and even appeared on an episode of wife swap. I am sure there is more to come from these two.

Please be sure to try Gina’s Homemade  Lemonade a true southern classic drink:

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 gallon cold water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, sliced, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish ice

Directions:

Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Add a gallon of cold water and the lemon juice to a large glass pitcher. Add the simple syrup and the lemon slices. Stir well. Pour the lemonade into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish the rims with lemon wedges and enjoy icy cold!

lemonade

A Tribute to PRESIDENTIAL Chef James Hemings

hercules

This next Chef I am both excited and sad to blog about. This man unfortunately lived through the time where African Americans (Blacks) were enslaved and human trafficked for purposes that are inhumane. This blog isn’t about slavery or the mistreatment of blacks in this country. We are all well aware of that, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. This is about Chef Heming’s contributions to the culinary world as he had to be amongst the first to dawn this industry of work.

He had an amazing culianary career. He was trained as a chef in Paris, France; where he learned French cusine and pastry. Back in the United States he worked as President Thomas Jefferson’s head chef and was only paid 4 dollar an hour. Through his experiences with Jefferson he had learned that slavery was abolished and negotiated his freedom by training a replacement chef, who happened to be his brother.

There is very limited information about his actual culinary abilites.  While there are no known recipes belonging to him there are reports that he was a master at  Cakes. He would put cake batter into a pot with a bigger pot around it that had coals in it and he always knew when it take the cake out. (Of course, they didn’t have the luxury of a thermometer, so cooking back then required actual skill). People close to him said he cooked everything from souffles, to almond pudding, trifles, ficassee chicken and kidneys. Apparently he had a full kitchen staff and a huge fireplace from which he cooked and constructed hooks and cranes to lift and move kettles in and out of the makeshift oven. He sounds like he had  multiple talents to me!

I really hate that there are no records of his actual recipes but I would like to think that for his time he was a pioneer. As a African American Chef this is my way of paying homage to the legacy and opportunities that he afforded other people of color.

In remembrance of  James Hemings, I think it is only appropriate to tribute him with a modern day cake in the pot known today as mug cakes. See this recipe I found on Pinterest for a Strawberries and Cream Mug Cake.

mugcake

Strawberries & Cream Mug Cake

Adapted from Stacy Miller

Ingredients:

1 egg

2 tablespoons strawberry yogurt, well stirred

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream for serving

Procedure:

1. Coat the inside of the mug lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Mix the egg, yogurt, vegetable oil, baking powder, extract, sugar and flour in a small bowl until completely smooth.

3. Fill the mug to halfway full and place it in the microwave. Bake it for 3 to 4 mintues, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Top with strawberries and whipped cream and serve.

A tribute to Sunny Anderson

We are still continuing on our journey of honoring these amazing African American Chefs! A year tribute is still not long enough..

Sunny

Sunny Anderson is actually one of my favorite TV chefs! Her personality matches her cooking which is sassy and cute! She started life as an army child living in  different parts of the world. Being exposed to do many different cuisines sparked her love of food. She’s had an amazing culinary career on the food network channel, being a guests on the Emeril Live show.  She was also the host of “How’d That Get On My Plate?” in July 2008 and served as co-host with Marc Istook of the Food Network program “Gotta Get It” (beginning in April 2007). She then took on her own show called “Cooking for Real” which I was a personal fan and faithful watcher of that show. In addition to being a guest chef on popular talk shows like ‘The View’ and ‘Good Morning America’ she can currently be seen as a co host on “The Kitchen”.

It was so hard actually having to choose from the many recipes of hers that I love but I’m going to go with the Grilled Lamb Chops with Apple-Mint jelly. ( I’ve been meaning to try these and I will definitely post it when I do)

Recipe Courtesy of The Cooking Channel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 loin lamb chops (about 3 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Special equipment: cheesecloth

Directions

Quarter apples and place entire apple (seeds and core included) in large saucepan with the 1 bunch mint, water, vinegar and jalapeno. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook until apples are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Mash and pour into a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl. Let sit to drain until you have about 2 cups of juice. Do not squeeze the apple mixture in the cheesecloth to extract more juice. Pour the stained juice into the saucepan and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half and becomes thick. Reserve half the jelly for serving and half for brushing on the chops as they grill. Let jelly cool slightly before brushing the chops.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and lightly coat with oil. Grill on each side for about 3 minutes, for medium rare, continuously brushing with the glaze. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped mint into reserved jelly and serve alongside grilled chops

porkchops