Happy Holiday's

The holiday's for me have always been about the flavors and not so much about the retail madness. I can't remember what gifts I received when I was 8 years old but I do remember the taste and smell of my grandmothers Italian wedding cookies or my mothers decorated butter cookies. My brothers and I would disturb our younger sisters by dramatically biting the heads off the Santa cookies......I know that's twisted, but remember, there was no Internet, xbox 360, cell phones, texting or 400 channels on the TV....just cookies.

My kids have food memories too. One of them is rather recent, it's the Dutch egg bread that I wrote about last year, they asked me if I was going to bake some in the test kitchen this year and I realized they now had a permanent flavor memory that will last a lifetime. They won't remember 10 years from now what gifts they opened but I guarantee they'll remember the buttery bread filled with currants and golden raisins.

So, have a happy holiday season and I hope you will create some memorable flavors that will last you and your family a lifetime also.

The Dough

The Rise

The Bread

The Consumption

Global BBQ

Patrick McDonnell made a recent trip to the test kitchen. Patrick is a frequent writer for magazines such as Food Arts, a consultant, a photographer and most importantly, he's a chef.

Patrick & I started talking about regional America BBQ a couple of months ago. The discussion evolved into international BBQ and it's enormous impact on the food truck and street food scene. So Patrick and crew came in and did what we try to do a couple of times a year, he cooked and we sat back. It's always great to see someone else's perspective and it's always interesting to be on the tasting side of the process rather than the cooking side.

Here's a small sampling of what we tasted.

Catalan Shrimp Barbacoa
La Rambla Style Grilled Shrimp
Marinated and Grilled Shrimp with, Roasted Peppers and Catalan Sofrito Aioli Drizzle

Yucatan Lamb Pastore
Slow Braised Lamb Barbacoa Tacos
Marinated and Grilled Lamb Leg with Pico de, Fruta, Queso Blanco, on Corn and Flour Tacos with Sour Cream and Guacamole Aioli

Goan Chicken Barbacoa
Chicken Cafreal
Cafreal Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Grilled Naan Bread topped with Chopped Tomatoes, Onions, Coriander and Mint Paste with Mango

Korean Rib Eye Bulgogi
Korean Firecracker Beef Bulgogi with White Kim Chi Slaw
Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak, Peanut Lime Vinaigrette topped White Cabbage, Julienne over Mandarin Tacos

Peruvian Chicken Chifa
Peking Lacquered Chicken
Five Spice and Molasses Lacquered Chicken with Jicama and Cilantro on Chinese Pancakes with Ginger Aioli

Chimayo Lamb Chorizo
Lamb Chorizo Slider
Ground Grass Fed Lamb seasoned with Chimayo Chile, Garlic and Sage with Fried Tomatoes and Queso and on Toasted Bolitto