Thursday, April 17, 2014

Artisan Bread Easy Enough for a 5th Grader!

 I'm pretty sure most parents agree that their 5th grader is probably smarter than they are most of the time. I had the amazing opportunity to visit my son's 5th grade class today and share with them the simple basics of yeast and bread baking used by the pilgrims and bakers throughout history. Yup. I also get to teach at schools occasionally and I think those experiences are the sweetest ever!  I'm also pretty sure everyone in my son's class will agree that their teacher is freakin' amazing!!

When class was over, I sent each kiddo home with a little cup of yeast that we had activated with water and flour. I've heard back from many of them letting me know that they baked some pretty cool bread!

  If you and your kiddos want to join them, here are the simple instructions:

 For more information visit the post on 4 Ingredient No Knead Bread Anyone Can Make!
There you go! Enjoy Spring Bread and Easter. We'll be playing hard around here!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easy Bread Machine Caramelized Onion Slider Buns with Video Segment

Monday on The Sonoran Living Segments I did these crazy delicious bread-machine slider buns and I had a lot of requests for a separate posting on my blog with this video. Ace actually fell out of his chair laughing at his adorable wife. Hey. If it keeps the man happy, I'm good with sharing.  So here you go darlings! This is the recipe and video for the slider bun segment. Enjoy!

Chef Tess' Bread-Machine Caramelized Onion Slider Buns
1 c lukewarm milk

3T butter, softened 

1 1/2 tsp salt

3T white sugar 

1 tsp onion powder
3T dried minced onion

1/4 c potato flakes

3 c all-purpose flour

1T active dry yeast

1 egg white

1T water 

1/4 c dried minced onions

Directions: Place milk, butter, salt, sugar, onion powder, dried onion, potato flakes, flour and yeast into the pan of a bread machine in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select the dough cycle, and press Start. When the cycle has completed, remove the dough from the machine, and knead on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 equal pieces, and form into balls. For slider buns I usually do 16 pieces instead of 8. Gently flatten the balls until they are 4 inches in diameter. Place in a draft free place to rise until double in size, about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg white and water in a cup. Brush over the tops of the risen rolls, and sprinkle with remaining minced onion. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chef Tess Sanoran Living on ABC 15 {3 Full Fabulous Segments}

Today I had the amazing opportunity to visit the set of Sonoran Living! What an absolute honor...and an absolute blast!
It still never ceases to amaze me all the work that goes into putting together a show.

The show can be seen on the Sonoran Living Website along with the recipes. If you like the show, please let them know over at ABC 15. It means a lot to my family to have these wonderful opportunities. Thanks my darlings! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Filming 6 Pilot Episodes of the Cookin' with Chef Tess TV Show! Yes!

 Yes the rumors are true! The TV show is happening! I'm more than excited. I'm kinda just floating around in a wonderful fuzzy-happy state right now.  Of course, that might just be lack of sleep. Thursday and Friday we spent two whirlwind days of prepping, baking, cooking, and eating to bring together some pretty amazing stuff.  Filming a show with a small staff of darling Chef Tess friends has been remarkable.
So how does it happen? 
When does it air? 
Who is gonna see it?
Good questions. All of them. Usually, unless you are already a well knows Food Network star, TV shows don't and won't just fall in your lap. How does it happen then? Most often if a network knows your serious enough about having a show that your film pilot episodes, they are willing to look at you. The other thing that happens is that most networks won't even look at your work unless it is submitted to the network by a legitimate production company with an outstanding reputation.  For any chef wanting a show, this means finding a production company, marketing team, and a devoted crew of people who will cheer together and work hard to make things happen.  It usually means a big investment of time and money to put together a pilot.  In all honesty, I don't have a lot of either of those things (money or time). It takes a lot of faith to move forward, and a crew of remarkable people who have faith in one's abilities as a chef.  I am blessed to have found such a crew of devoted friends and associates.  Half came into town from Las Vegas headed by producer, Theresa Goss. The other half, from Maryland, with the marketing and directing insight of Mary Mazzullo.
Then the baby is finally ready to walk.
Once the pilot episodes are filmed, it will take hours and hours of edits, graphic designing, marketing and endless phone calls to get into doors of networks. Then, if we are as blessed as we can be, it will be airing nationally.  Our hope is to hit local markets first (Phoenix and Las Vegas) and then go national.  Having these episodes backed by full working interactive websites and teams of qualified internet genius dudes to make it all accessible to television viewers is another big project this crew is willing to take on here. So that's just a long way of saying...we're just starting to scratch the scratch that scratched the surface of what we hope to accomplish in the next few years.

Step one. Filming. Is finally done. 

My dear friend Dorothy was kind enough to let us film in her gorgeous home.
 Day one...after preparing for a week to make sure I had everything in place for this I could hardly contain myself!
It took me a minute to slip from "tv segment" mode to full-blown show mode. After almost 5 years of doing those 3-5 minute quick news show pieces it is harder than it seems.
 Day felt like I'd been doing my own show for years. It helped to have such an incredible group of gals to work with in this production.
 Photos and promotional recipes will be available online exclusively at a sight for the TV show. We'll have details on that as they come together.
Following a full day of filming on Friday we had a blessed event as we attended the Bread Art  book launch party at Shar's Kitchen.  I can assure you all that I will never forget all the hugs and love that you all poured out on us at that party. Each smile brought joy to my heart. Each word of courage and support brought strength to my mind. It was the perfect ending to a magnificent two days.

Someday, when I look back on this week I will wonder how it all worked.  Most of all, I will think of these few days as ones that have been blessed with courage and strength beyond my ability to achieve had it not been for the tender love and mercy of my family and friends. Thank you all for helping my dreams come true every single day.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Bread Art Book Launch Party! This week!

 I'm sharing a lot of pictures, because I am, for once in my life, without words for how I feel. A lifelong dream is finally coming true and my first bread book was released today!  Preparations are underway for the book launch party on Friday evening and all of  you are most heartily invited to attend.
Be among the first to see my beautiful new book, Bread Art! Come taste some of the recipes and get a signed copy! I'll be at Shar's for the full event for hugs, and love! I won't want to miss seeing you and you won't want to miss the party! Plus, I'll be there with some special prizes and gifts for those who attend! Come on down and bring a friend!

Shar's Bosch Kitchen Center
1130 N. Gilbert Rd. Suite 1
Gilbert AZ, 85234
Call us: Local:

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cactus Peach Venison Sliders AZ BBQ Festival

When the folks at the AZ Barbecue Festival asked me to do a cooking demo this last Saturday at their nationally attended event, I was a totally honored.  However, when they asked me to teach about cooking road-kill I almost panicked.  My thoughts immediately raced to images of maggot-riddled skunks and possums scraped off the road by a rusty old fork. I do believe I blurted out loud,  "I'm country but I ain't neeever cooked a varmint." Suddenly I caught a vision of myself with Ace dressed as  Jethro Clampitt sitting at my kitchen table with a gingham napkin tucked into his bib overalls ready to slam down some of my quality home cookin'...
Granted, I'd butter  my husband Ace's biscuits with my fabulous sauce any day of the week (does that sound wrong?), but I had no idea where to start on the main meat for a cooking demo based on road vittles... Then I remembered the poor deer that impaled itself on my brother-in-laws van last summer. Deer would work as road-kill right? Poor, poor, dear.
I didn't actually use the deer that died last summer. That would be wrong.  Sick and wrong.  Of course, with the right sauce can anyone even tell?  Just kidding. Seriously. I am.
This deer steak came from my bishop's freezer...believe it or not. I was super excited to get to mess around with something I didn't actually have to process. Thanks bishop. Actually I should thank his wife. She was the one who did all the actual packaging. She's so cute. Not like me in Daisy Dukes...that would also be wrong. Seriously. Sick and wrong. 

My Tips on Cooking Venison for BBQ:

  • Trim all the fat off, that's where all the "game" flavor is found.
  • Process the meat as soon as possible after the hunt. The longer it sits, the tougher it gets.
  • Use a doe instead of a buck, as the buck meat tends to be more difficult to tenderize. Remember that deer works for a living and the older trophy bucks may have the best antlers, but their legs and thighs are pretty over-worked. 
  • Marinate the meat in a flavorful solution and season well.
  • Use only venison you trust. Don't buy it from an old rusty van on the side of the may be my brother-in-law trying to make a fast buck. No buck deer pun intended either. Oh dear. 
  • Dry the meat well before cooking. This meat has a lot of juices (and by that I mean blood but that sounds sick so I'm not going to say blood I'm gonna say juice) The dryer you pat it, the better it will brown.
  • For tender bbq, cook slow and low (around 300 degrees in a tomato or vinegar based sauce for 5-7 hours). 
  • Yes you can also use a pressure cooker for the meat. I  actually prefer the use of a good pressure cooker. It only takes 20-30 minutes instead of 7 hours, and the flavor is incredible. I used This one.
  • Freezing the meat will add to the tenderness, since the ice crystals will actually break down the sinews and fibrous textures. 
My Cactus Peach Venison Sliders
3 lb lean, trimmed venison round roast, cubed (or beef)
1/2 cup peach puree
1/2 cup prickly pear cactus syrup
1 cups bbq sauce (I use my Great Grandma's Chile Sauce plus 2 tsp liquid smoke)
1 tsp salt
1T fresh ground ancho chile powder
2T fresh minced garlic
Chef Tess all purpose seasoning to taste (about 1T) It is here
Directions: Place cubed venison meat in a 4-5 quart pressure cooker (This one is my favorite) along with remaining ingredients and cook  on high for 30 minutes, natural release. If you want to use a slow cooker, you can do so as well, but it will take 5-7 hours on low. When meat is cooked tender, shred with a fork. Serve with any more

This slaw is off the charts darlings. Really.

Grilled Pineapple Citrus Slaw
1/2 medium pacilla pepper, sliced thin
1 cup red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 cups thin sliced cabbage or brussel sprouts. I used sprouts.
1 cup fine shred carrots
1 cup Big Daddy's Sweet-Hot Pineapple, chopped or regular pineapple
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (I use Lucero white pineapple)
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup fine minced red onion
1T minced garlic
1 T orange zest
2tsp lime zest
zest of one lemon
1T fine ground ancho chile powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Lightly oil the thin sliced pepper and place on a hot bbq for about 3 minutes. Do not over-cook, you just want some smoke and grill marks. Mix with the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse 5-6 times until smooth.  Pour over the salad ingredients in the bowl. Serve.

I served the venison on these slider buns...

That recipe for the slider buns is here

 "Oh Pickles!" {Have I mentioned that I used to say that instead of using a cussing word?}
 I also couldn't go to a bbq festival without some real quality pickles.

I've mentioned this guy before on my Facebook page...but I'm sharing these today here as well. Big Daddy's. True story. The first time I met this guy he walked in with two jars of pickles and asked me to try them. I figured I only live once. What the heck. We cracked one open right there. I figured they could be like Aunt Bee's Kerosene Cucumbers (y'all remember that episode of Andy Griffith?). Or, they could be amazing.

I put one in my mouth and I actually said, "Da...{insert cuss here} that is ridiculous!"  I never cuss. Daggumit!  I had to hug this dude. He has completely nailed pickle perfection. 

At the actual Arizona Barbecue Festival event that I was so excited to be part of, everyone loved the Deer...oh dear. Class went off without a hitch. I didn't cut off a finger. The oven turned on. 
I was thrilled to see one of my dear friends from Valley Dish, Dave Bernstein, in the crowd. It is always nice to see a familiar face isn't it? Dave is a local foodie and serious rock-star. He shared this picture on facebook and I had to steal it to share with all of you guys!

photo courtesy of Dave Bernstein
Oh yeah! This is Dave...who ate my slaw...and he doesn't really like slaw...but he loved mine. Gushing with joy...wowowowow. I'm a nerd. BTW. Dave does an amazing job as a DJ. For more info on weddings you can find him here:

There is it darlings. I dare you to make some venison...or beef. Most of all, I dare you to have an amazing Monday night! I want to see all kinds of bbq foodie selfies on my facebook page from all of you!  xoxo!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bread of Life Section: Courage and Faith in Trials

Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy. 

I've had one of the most difficult weeks...and I have to share this. I'm not really sharing any details of my trial here on the blog. Those who are close to me know what our family is facing.   Being brave doesn't mean you're  not afraid. When we know we don't want to face a challenge, but we know we don't have any other options, that is where we can rely on Faith or we can shrink in fear.
Surviving is about three things: Gratitude,Courage,  and Faith. 

Gratitude in All things...even trials. I'm not always perfect at this, but I have been a lot better this week at recognizing my blessings daily. Yup. It is easy to look at someone else's life and see their blessings. I for one have been guilty of not remembering some of the most basic blessings in the past. You close, living parents and siblings, children, the ability to breath, see, read, speak, feed my family, tie my shoes, have shoes...  
Stream of consciousness gratitude prayers are the best. Do you ever do these? The prayer I uttered on Saturday after the BBQ festival was, "Thanks for my bishops wife for letting me have deer meat from her freezer.  Oh she's so cute. Oh...Thanks for bishop for shooting a deer (yeah, if you were not at the roadkill cooking demo that won't make sense to you).  Thanks for a car that made it to the event...Oh it is so cute, even if it has stains on the seat.  Thanks for deodorant that worked and great warm weather...and that I didn't have to wear "Daisy Dukes"...because those are not cute (on me).   Thanks for that darling lady who drove me in a golf cart to my car so I didn't have to carry all my load by myself.  Help her get some sleep tonight. She was working hard.  Oh. Thanks for gas working on the grill and for the oven turning on.  Thanks for me not cutting off a finger. Thanks for friends who support me and give me courage at the demo.  They were so fun.  Thanks for steady hands and a cheerful heart..." It went on for a long time. It went far.

Do we really need to understand everything?
I've had one of those weeks where I've been frustrated. I don't understand the trial. I don't understand what I am supposed to be doing more...and then I had this thought come to me, "If you really trust Heavenly Father like you say you do then it really doesn't matter what you understand right now about this trial. It only matters that you understand that God is with you." 

You know what else?
 Rely on those who believe in you and the power of love during your trials. Tender mercies of thoughtful words can build faith enough to carry on when nothing else seems to touch our pain. I love that my mom cried with me on the phone this week.  I loved getting a random card in the mail from her that said, "Remember you are dearly beloved of God. Your father and I pray for you daily and hourly." It was in a yellow envelope, like a ray of sunshine from above.

Be the voice of courage to others.
Auntie Em told me today chatting on facebook, "Have courage to ask for help, and have courage that the Lord will open the doors for your life... when you knock. I am so proud of you! Your courage to move forward and WORK SO HARD (you are knocking pretty steadily!) is awesome. Because the alternative is to despair and shrink away. And that is not an option. I love you tons, turkey buns!"

Do the small things.  So my challenge to you and myself is to stand up for what needs to stand up for and do what needs to done. It sounds simple, but sometimes it all that we can do. Sigh at the end of a light day. Whisper your prayers to the Lord...He hears you even when you can't speak and there doesn't seem to be a voice for the blessings you need.  Have courage to get up in the morning and try again. God is aware of you.

There it is.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Random Thoughts. Rocket Science and Home Canning

My next book is Rock Science for Dummies. Just kidding. I always feel like a nuclear physicist when I put my canning jars in my pressure canner. I don't know if it is because it looks like the canner is a spy satellite  that should be floating around  Mars. I don't know if I should be colliding atoms in it. It just feels like I need a better lab coat and some really nerdy goggles. 
This morning I got up a little early to get some beans and meat canned before my class.  The canner makes a hissing sputtering noise when it is processing jars.

 My husband kept asking me, "Should it be making the noise it was making?" 
He asked persistently, " Is that thing going to explode?" 

 My response was, "Yes on the first question.
 No explosions.
 Leave me alone, I'm a professional. 
I'm making your beans."

Silence. Gigggggle. Knee slapping.
Then I almost sat on the floor laughing. Beans. 

"Should it be making that noise?"

Do you get it? 
Don't worry. Ace didn't get my joke either.  I think I was just giggly tired and it was starting to show.  I think it is evidence that I have teenage boys that talk about gas way more than they should. 

I told him I just needed more chocolate covered cinnamon bears.

Ace just looked at me like I needed more sleep...and maybe a vacation.

There you go.
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rambling Review: Fired Pie...Redefining Custom Pizza Fast!

I have to share this Post by Fired Pie.
 One of my favorite visitors this week on the Radio show Cooking With Jan D'Atri  came from a new pizza chain here in the valley called Fired Pie.  They brought 5 pizzas to the radio station and we were in hog heaven!  I loved their concept!  I have teenage boys. Anyone who makes pizza simple for me and still makes it ridiculously awesome is worth sharing.  Their whole concept is basically a "build your own" pizza that is then fired off in a 500 degree oven in 3 minutes flat. The crust is a thin, remarkably artisan crisp-chewy dough. The toppings are all first class. The price is great for an 11 inch pizza as well...

My favorite sample was the pesto chicken.

I'd suggest you  follow Fired Pie on Facebook
Seriously...they are redefining custom pizzas and salad.
Mention you heard about them from us on the Radio show on Tax Day, 4/15 and get a single item pizza of your choice for $4.15...Totally worth the trip.

There you go. A new favorite pizza place! Go check them out.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess