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Bravado Hotline November 22, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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It’s the big day and you have a Bravado crisis.  Forgot how to make gravy?  Need a substitute for some ingredient?  Is you partner hiding under the bed because he/she doesn’t like crowds?  We’ here for you.  Call the Bravado hotline – 772-245-6583.  Nothing is too bizarre – we’ll help you get things straightened out.

I Love New York September 22, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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Think agitation, density, and discombobulation.  Think pristine and filthy, courteous and rude, sleek and grungy.  This is New York, and make no mistake about it, there is no place like it.  And, I have a confession – I love the place and I think everyone needs a couple of days there every year.  (I’ve never tried more than two so I don’t know what happens after that.)

I have been coming to New York for over 50 years and it never ceases to amaze, craze and enchant.  As a wandering foodie, New York is an endless goldmine, which none of us will ever completely fathom.  However, here is my list of the five food related things you have to do in New York.  (I’d love to see all of your favorite things, so make sure you leave me your comments.)

Bagels for Breakfast:

New York is famous for bagels.  (more…)

The Three Best Cookbooks February 16, 2012

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Diary of a Wandering Foodie.
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Here is an interesting story.  As you know, the Bravado Cooking Society is an amateur organization and, as such, we get to make our own rules.  The moniker “Bravado Chef”, for example, is given out at our discretion and usually at cocktail hour.  One afternoon, a group of us, Bravado chefs each and every one, with a Napa valley cabernet in hand, chose three basic cookbooks, which we felt everyone should have.  In true Bravado fashion, we deemed these books the “Best in the World”. (more…)

A Perfect Super Bowl February 9, 2012

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Chili in a Whole Grain Bread Bowl

Sometimes we get carried away at Super Bowl – tons of junk food with too much salt and too many preservatives and stuff.  We had a smaller group this year so we kept it simple while preserving one of  the great traditional values – chili con carne. (more…)

Two Great Ideas for Super Bowl Sunday February 4, 2012

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You may need something for Super Bowl Sunday – a dish or an appetizer to enjoy during the game or take to a party.  Check either of these recent posts – they’re perfect.

Bravado Mac & Cheese:  You may have to run to the store to get the ingredients, but it is easy to make and the crowd will go wild.   If you are taking it to a party, prepare everything and put it in the oven when you get where you are going.

Cilantro Pesto on Crostini:  If you don’t have the energy to make the Bravado Mac & Cheese, try this one instead.  Ingredients will cost you about four dollars – two bunches of cilantro and one baguette and you can make it in under 30 minutes.

Julia Child Night January 19, 2012

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Julia Child Night – Guests and Chefs

As part of a charity event, a group of us offered a “Julia Child Night” for 10 people.  It was purchased at arguably one-half its true value by another group of friends.  The kitchen staff somehow managed to serve the meal and nibble and imbibe at the same time.  I am not sure who had a better time.  In any case, 16 bottles of wine were consumed in a flash. (more…)

Five Great Gifts for the Holidays December 1, 2011

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Ceramic Pie Pan

Le Creuset Stoneware Pie Pan

Now that you have all been practicing the “One-Handed Pie Crust”, you need to make sure you have a good pie pan.  I like the Le Creuset 10” Stoneware Pie Dish – about $35.  It comes in three colors – white, red (my choice) and cobalt.  I like this product because it looks great and it can be used in the oven, broiler or microwave.  Find it at Amazon, Williams Sonoma, Macy’s and others. (more…)

Thanksgiving is Bravado November 26, 2011

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Bravado cooking is all about making classic dishes from scratch, getting everyone involved and making a big show of the whole thing.  If that isn’t Thanksgiving, I don’t know what is.  Everyone has a special recipe that they’re proud of, and no one would think of buying something made in the store or supermarket.  There is plenty of time so no one is thinking of 30 minute meals.

The highlight of our day was getting the children involved.  Check out the kids peeling potatoes.

Getting the youth involved

(more…)

Lobster Poutine – The Canadian Vindication November 17, 2011

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Lobster Poutine

I recently made a trip to Canada to try to more fully understand their “Canadian cuisine”, which I have alleged is about as real as the Yeti or the Loch Ness monster.  You may want to review a previous post, “Canadian Cuisine – Oxymoron or Not?” where we talk about their national dish – Poutine.  Made with French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy, one is tempted to giggle thinking that this is a “national dish”.  Since I had gone public with my sentiments, I decided not to travel too deeply into Canada for fear that they might take me and my wife hostage.  So we went from home in Wisconsin to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario – close enough to escape on foot back to the U.S.

The Canadian team – actually family and friends – were going to show us how to make a gourmet Lobster Poutine.  They dubbed the meeting “The Canadian Vindication” – whatever. (more…)

As You Enjoy Bravado Cooking, Think About Supporting World Vision September 16, 2011

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Violette

Four years ago my sister-in-law, Ellen, returned from Rwanda where she had gone with an organization called World Vision on a “village transformation project”.  She told me that we needed to help a child named Violette in the village of Nyamagabe and it was going to cost $35 a month.  I was watching a football game and eating popcorn at the time – this was not the moment for any deep discussion of African problems.  I responded, “whatever”.

That was the beginning of an interesting experience and my introduction to a wonderful charitable organization.  Having spent most of my life working in developing countries on educational projects, I certainly knew the problems and I also knew how hard it was to make any forward progress.  That’s why I like World Vision.  They are making progress with a very simple model.  Here’s how they do it.

They link American churches with villages or communities overseas and they organize visits to these places. Thus, Ellen’s trip to Rwanda.  They then get individual families from the church and their friends to support a specific child in the village or community – a process that leads to letter communiques and photos every six months.  The program is administered by volunteer leaders in the village or community.

We enjoy the communications from Violette.  Certainly she has been prompted to stay in contact by the local program leaders, but they are still fun.  She was having trouble in school and my wife wrote her back to give her encouragement.  We might go see her someday.

Water

The money raised is used partially to support the child, and also to help the village or community become self-sustaining.  They will typically dig a well or otherwise improve the water supply, build or renovate the school and provide seed, fertilizer and agricultural tools to improve food production.

World Vision is now one of the largest Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) providing assistance overseas.  As you try some of the wonderful, marvelous Bravado Cooking recipes, remember that some are not eating so well.  World Vision is helping make room at the table for everyone.  Go to their website – www.worldvision.com – and get involved.

Canadian Cuisine – We’ve Unleashed a Monster! September 13, 2011

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As we have said before, men think about sex an average of 72 times per day.  As part of our program to try to focus on a few other things, let’s look at how we treat our Canadian neighbors.  Most of us don’t even know who their Prime Minister is.  Click here to find out who he is and see his 9/11speech:

http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=3&id=4332&featureId=6&pageId=26

We also don’t understand their cuisine.  In a recent post (“Canadian Cuisine – Oxymoron or Not” Sept. 9, 2011), we poked fun at Poutine, one of their national dishes – a Quebecois concoction of French fries, cheese curds and gravy.  The Canadians describe the dish as a “heart-stopper”, which I actually thought that was a tall busty blonde in high heels until they corrected me. (more…)

Canadian Cuisine – Oxymoron or Not? September 9, 2011

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Poutine – National Dish of Canada?!

I have a number of Canadian friends and they know that I am into cooking.  We trade barbs from time to time and half-jokingly I told one of them that I was considering a blog post called “Canadian Cuisine – Oxymoron or Not”.  That produced some quick retorts like, “You really think you’re funny, don’t you?!” and “I’m surprised you Americans can even spell cuisine”.  I knew that I had struck a nerve. (more…)

Basil – Part III August 3, 2011

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Let’s get some new ideas on how to use basil and pesto sauce.  To get the dendrons firing, here are some slightly bizarre, but exciting appetizer ideas that the Society loves.

Walnuts with Pesto Sauce:

Walnuts with Pesto Sauce

(more…)

Basil – Part II August 2, 2011

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My daughter-in-law called the other day and asked how to cut basil without ruining the plant.  It’s very easy.  Trace a stem downward and you will find new little shoots coming out at various points along the stem as shown in the photo.  Cut just above these new shoots.  You can harvest leaves and, at the same time,  stimulate the plant to produce more.

As we have said before, basil has a growth explosion in mid-summer and the plant tries to produce a spike-shaped flower at the end of each stem.  You can’t let that process start or the basil will become very bitter.   The basil must not complete its sexual cycle – it must remain celibate and you need to help by harvesting and making pesto sauce.  By the way, never buy basil if you can see these flower heads.

If you plant basil, never do more than three or four plants – that’s about all you will be able to handle.  They need full sun and they will produce an abundance of riches.  At the end of the summer, I always make a few batches to freeze.  Use the recipe in a previous post “Summer Pesto Extravaganza”, but don’t add the cheese.  You can do that when you are ready to use the sauce.  This makes a great treat in the cold of winter.  We have always served pesto on thin slices of baguette during the Holidays.


Summer Pesto Extravaganza August 1, 2011

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Across most of the U.S. and Europe, this is the season for basil, one of the herbs most revered by the Bravado Cooking Society.  All Bravado chefs grow their own basil – it is a requirement.  If you don’t grow your own, promise yourself that you will begin to do so next year.  You can add fresh basil to almost any salad or even put it on a sandwich like lettuce.  But, the best use, by far, is in pesto sauce.

Here’s how you make this great sauce (based on the recipe in “Joy of Cooking”): (more…)

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