Monday, April 10, 2017

Foil Dinners for Camping And Freezer Meal

Episode 3 of Cooking with Chef Tess aired on Saturday in Las Vegas on channel 34.2 and Cox cable channel 97. The Heartland TV Network! Here's the recipe...

We've got summer vacation coming up soon...and that mean camping trips. What mom, dad or granny wouldn't love to be prepared way ahead of time for that big camping trip...or dinner tomorrow? I think this freezer meal will shock and amaze even the pickiest eaters in your house. We call it a Hobo Dinner (or Foil dinner), but it's one of those classic comfort foods that we always had as a kid when we went camping. It's basically a hamburger pot roast cooked over hot coals in the woodland setting. Or, at home it can be baked in the oven (or solar oven) They can be made fresh for dinner, or frozen for later use. However you do it, be prepared to sing a rousing ensemble with your favorite hillbilly harmonica songs. It's campfire good. Down home good. If you precook the veggies and meat, it's even fast and good. we go:

Foil Freezer Dinner's A La Chef Tess

5-6 large russet potatoes, cleaned well and cut into cubes, cooked in microwave or stove top until fork tender OR 4 lb frozen cubed hash browns
1 lb baby carrots, steamed 5 minutes (or frozen)
2 medium red onions, chopped, steamed with the carrots
2-3 T Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning
3 lb cooked hamburger patties, about 12
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
2 Cups dark brown mushroom gravy of your choice (I use homemade Gravy Mix made easy)

12 sheets of heavy-duty foil (use the heavy stuff if you don't want a mess) about one foot long each.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, onions, potatoes, and seasoning.
Place one cup of vegetable mixture onto a lightly oiled sheet of foil. 
Place the cooked hamburger on  top of the vegetable mixture and wrap tightly.

 I roll the ends and sides very well. Repeat until you have used all your hamburger and vegetable mixture. You can use veggie burgers if you choose instead of meat. Top the meat with a few tablespoons of the prepared gravy. Place 4 meals in a gallon size freezer bag and remove as much air as possible.

 Label with baking directions:
Remove from plastic bag and place in a 400-degree oven for 35-40 minutes until heated through, or place in a solar oven Pot, cover the foil with a dark sheet pan, and close oven. Cook 45 minutes to an hour. In the on hot coals and cook 25 minutes.

Pour contents onto a plate and sprinkle with parsley if desired.
There you go. Quick and easy on the go for camping, oven baking, or solar cooking.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Monday, April 3, 2017

Full Video: 3 Freezer Meals from One Beef Base

For those of you who don't live in Las Vegas, here's the full video of last Saturday's show. It was so much fun! If you want the Recipes click here.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today's Episode:3 Quick and Easy Freezer Meals from One Beef Base

This Week's Episode of Cooking with Chef Tess on 
Heartland TV  in Las Vegas on
 channels 34.2 and on Cox cable channel 97 at 1:30...

The original post was:

Here's the information from today's show! 

Make-A-Head Ground Beef Base 

3 medium onions, peeled and chopped or minced fine
3 lbs. 90% lean ground beef or 93% lean ground turkey (or chicken breast pieces)
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 carrots, peeled and shredded finely
2 stalks of celery, chopped finely

Cooking Directions: Place all ingredients into skillet (12-in or larger). Cook over medium-high heat, breaking into crumbles, 15-18 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Divide beef mixture into three equal portions (according to your recipe choices below). Label clearly with cooking directions. Chill promptly!

Home-Style Chili

In a gallon-sized freezer bag or container, add the following:
⅓ of the meat base
1 (15 oz.) can roasted tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans
2 Tbsp. chili powder or Chef Tess Fajita Seasoning
1 small can diced green chile or jalapeno

Directions: Chill in the fridge up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months. Defrost and heat for 15 minutes over medium heat. Serve with shredded cheese and cornbread if desired.

Taco Rice Casserole

In an oven-safe non-aluminum 9x13 pan, layer in order:
3 cups cooked rice
⅓ of the meat base
1 cup tomatillo salsa or red salsa
1 packet taco seasoning of your choice (or homemade),
1 cup shredded cheese

Directions: Cover and store up to 5 days in the fridge or freeze up to 3 months. Defrost and heat for 20-25 minutes uncovered at 350 or 10-12 minutes in the microwave on high.

Sloppy Joe Filling

In a quart-sized freezer bag or container:
⅓ of the meat base
¼ cup brown sugar
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
2 small red bell pepper, minced
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Directions: Chill in the fridge up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months. Defrost and heat 5-6 minutes in microwave. To serve, divide between 4 toasted burger buns. Serve with coleslaw or side of your choice.

How to Freeze Food Safely and Effectively 101

·         Buy Quality Fresh Ingredients: Freezing will not cover up inferior cooking or ingredients. Check the flavors and seasoning before freezing to be sure it tastes good.

·         Chill First: Make sure food is cold before you freeze it! This allows it to freeze faster and reduces the amount of drip loss (leakage of moisture that occurs during defrosting) the ice crystal will be smaller in chilled food, reducing the amount of water lost. The result is better texture and flavor. It will also reduce the amount of condensation (moisture that collects on the surface of food when frozen) when defrosted, the excess water will make the food soggy and tasteless.

·         Chill Cooked Food Uncovered: If you can’t bag and chill in labeled bags, it is essential that the food is chilled uncovered so the heat isn’t kept in the container (even plastic wrap!) If it’s a large pot of chili or meat, I freeze bottles of water and put them inside the pot to further hasten the drop of internal temperature.

·         Freeze Small: The smaller the item, the quicker it will freeze. Whenever possible, freeze in pint or quart-sized name brand freezer bags. Gallon size is perfect for pizza crusts and larger family sizes. I use quart-sized for my family of four. When you freeze it, do so with the bag laid out flat-- the increased surface area will not only freeze faster, but also be easier to store in stacks. I have a “freezer file” that I use. It’s an ice bin that I put the flat bags in just like files I can flip through!

·         “Open” Freeze Smaller Items: Smaller items like berries and cooked potato wedges can be placed on a parchment lined sheet pan (metal is best because of its temperature conducting qualities). Using this method will keep these smaller items from freezing in a block. I use it for twice baked potatoes and blanched vegetables.

·         Wrap Well: Squeeze out as much air as possible and label food clearly with permanent marker. Include defrosting and cooking instructions so anyone can cook it later (my husband needs it clearly marked to remove the ingredients from the bag before microwaving!) Preventing freezer burn is the key! There is nothing wrong with using two bags. I always use the name brand bags. If the store brand is used it needs to be double bagged anyway, so it is worth the cost of the quality bags. If able to use the specially made vacuum sealers and the freezer bags with them, it is a good investment.

·         Watch Freezer Temperature: On big freezing days, it is essential to check the temperature, as well as checking periodically to be sure the freezer stays cold on other days. Keep a freezer thermometer in the freezer. It should be between 0-30° Fahrenheit. If you are placing a large quantity of food in the freezer at once, turn the thermostat to the coldest setting until food is frozen.

·         Follow Defrosting Recommendations: It is best to defrost in the fridge or microwave. Do not defrost at room temperature because microorganisms like yeast, mold, and bacteria multiply quickly at temperatures above 40 degrees. It may still feel cool to you, but is a breeding ground for food-borne illness--don’t take chances! Cook defrosted food soon and chill leftovers as soon as possible.

There you go!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Pilot Episode! Full Video

In case you missed last week's pilot episode of Cooking With Chef Tess, my producer put it up on Youtube! Please feel free to share it...

You can find the recipes from the show in the links below:

French Onion Orange Chicken

4 Ingredient No Knead Bread Anyone Can Make

I am excited beyond words for this adventure on the Heartland Channels in Las Vegas!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cooking with Chef Tess to Air on the Heartland Network in Las Vegas

I received an epic call from the owner of TgoTV a few nights ago and I'm still having a hard time digesting the gravity of the news.  Since my pilot episode launched in November, there hasn't been another episode of the show added to her network, and I was beginning to think that it was a pretty dream, but that it might not go much further.  Theresa Goss, the network owner and my Producer,let me know that she had been in a meeting with the head of the Heartland TV Network in Las Vegas.  During her meeting, she had been able to show them my pilot episode. She said that they loved it and wanted it on their network on local TV with the possibility of it going national on all their affiliate stations.  After I dropped the phone and stopped giggling with joy, I was able to compose myself enough to just scream! Hooooray!!!!!! 

 Long story short, the papers have been signed and my show will be airing on Heartland TV  in Las Vegas on channels 34.2 and on Cox cable channel 97 every Saturday at 1:30 pm starting March 25th! YES!!!!

There are several Heartland TV Affiliate Stations Nationally and this definitely has the potential to take the show across the country.  I'm trying to maintain some level of calm, but in my house, I've been squealing with absolute joy for days on end!  

That being said, not only has it been a remarkable few days, but I have been filled with so much gratitude.  The journey is still going to be long, but thankfully, there's new opportunities still ahead and I am so excited! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I have a New Job!

 I have had a remarkable few weeks.  The blessings that have come into my life have left me overwhelmed with gratitude and where there once has been extreme stress and frustration, there has come new levels of peace and happiness. So great have been the blessings, that I have frequently found myself just crying a little...because of the joy. 

Case in point, I was at a breaking point with my job as a traditional pastry chef.  The long hours on my feet and the wonky early morning hours (seriously 2 am was kicking my butt) were just getting to me.  I needed something with a lot more security and to feel like I was making a difference, not just making cakes. 

The good Lord heard my prayers.  Just over three weeks ago after a whirlwind of interviews and a flight to Colorado where I met the president of Panhandle Milling, I was offered a fantastic position as their Culinary Marketing Specialist.  That's just a fancy way of saying that I get to write package labels, food blogs, magazine articles, cookbooks and develop recipes for their company and its clients.  I get to do what I love best and they are taking good care of this girl.  I have never felt more blessed! Seriously. I am still based in Phoenix, but will travel a little more to their mill locations in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. 

That being said, not only has it been a remarkable few weeks, but I have been filled with so much gratitude.  So far, they are living up to their promises as a company in every way.  The journey is still going to be long, but thankfully, there's new opportunities still ahead and I am so excited to be part of what they are doing! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chef Tess Bakeresse Named one of the top 100 food blogs

I received an amazing email this week from the founder of feedspot. Chef Tess Bakeresse  was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 100 Chef Blogs  on the web. For more details, the article is  Here. I just had to share this outstanding news! Seriously. Especially after starting this little blog initially so that I could get a little peace at dinner time because my sweet cooking class students would call with cooking questions as they were preparing dinner and I wanted them to have a fast resource.  I am amazed at where this blog has gone and the things it has brought into my life along the way.  Thank you all for being a part of that journey.  I love you so much!

We've come a long way my darlings!  

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Monday, February 20, 2017

Streets Fine Chicken in Dallas TX, Rambling Review

 Y'all know that if I don't like a restaurant, I don't give it a review on my blog.  As a general rule, I just think it is classy to only share what is awesome and not rip another establishment down. That being said, I was in Dallas last week with Evil TARA ...the original giant brain in my Evil Think Tanks ...see the ETT for details on how those kitchen shenanigans ensued.  At any rate, she's the one who originally said, "Steph, you should start a blog." To which I replied, "What's a blog?"  I had so much to learn and she opened the floodgate.  We've had a lot of fun along the way.  Now, back to Dallas.

During a two day visit with my remarkable friend, we were looking for a place to have a quick dinner.  We found this one.  Streets Fine Chicken

I should have known that I'd love it just based on the first few items on the menu...Chickarones, fried chicken skins with chili lime salt, and the chicken lollipops, smoked 'n' fried chicken drumsticks rolled in a Grand Marnier horseradish molasses.
 We ordered the lollies. How could we not?
They were fall-off-the-bone tender smoked  and then deep fried giving it a very unique crisp-tender contrast.  That perfect little drumette was then covered in this sticky-savory molasses that literally made me giddy.  The presentation was spot-on and the flavors were perfect. 

Next we got the Chickarones. In Arizona and across the country people have fried pig skins all the time.  I thought this was a brilliant use of chicken skin, plus when I bake chicken, I really love the crispy skin!  These were so crispy and warm with a mild chili and lime salt.   

 I think I can't admit how many of them I ate.  I was on vacation. Don't judge me. Seriously though, they were crispy heaven! They were everything one would expect in a fried pork skin, but with chicken...and way better than pork. Waaaay better. 
After that, we were on to the main stage.  They had two things that were their specialty.  Fried chicken and something called "Sin Killer Chicken".  Tara had had Peri Peri chicken in France and insisted that I'd love it.  I had to trust that, plus the description sounded absolutely divine!

We ordered it with the creamy baked brie macaroni and cheese.  I wish I had words to describe the flavor explosion. Tangy, sweet, spicy with hints of citrus and herbs then grilled to a tender perfection.  I was in love.  Life changing chicken.  I never say that, but this was awesome.
Sin Killer is flame grilled chicken marinated in olive oil, agave nectar, orange peel, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, onion, Peri Peri peppers, herbs and spices; There was also a light and super fluffy honey biscuit; creamy brie mac n' cheese made with gouda and creamy brie - baked then toasted to perfection. 
By the time we got to their signature fried chicken and roasted brussel sprouts, I could barely take a bite.  The few tastes I did have were really remarkable. It wasn't fried chicken that you could ever put in a bucket.  It was really delightful. 
Needless to say, I really adore this chicken place.  The service was every bit as awesome as the food served with a smile and a Texas accent.  Whenever I'm in Dallas, this will definitely be on my list of places to go!

There you go darlings! Go visit these guys!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tess' Top Secret Loaded Potato Salad (Banquet Sized Recipe)

Once upon a time my favorite friend Heather invited me over for a barbecue. She whipped out a giant vat of potato salad that she had made and it blew my freakishly adorable mind-space. Number one, because she made just enough for me, and maybe a tablespoon or two for the rest of the guests. You know, I love good potato salad. I do. Don't judge me. Secretly you do too. I bet I'm not the only one who has it as a midnight snack instead of cheesecake. Well. Maybe only if there isn't cheesecake in the house. Number two,  It was perfect. It had just the right balance of zing and zang. The best part...
It had bacon in it. Yeah. Bacon.  Then she confessed to me her ultimate secret for the best potato salad ever. The secret ingredient she used, besides the bacon fat in the dressing, was also the use of pickle brine in the dressing. That's when things got crazy! I started to squeal gleefully!  I pulled out ceremonial head-garb and started singing...The Heather and Tess Ya-ya Sisterhood dancing ensued as I confessed that I too had been using pickle juice in my potato salad dressing for years! After we removed our ceremonial head-garb and stopped dancing, we continued comparing recipe similarities, and it always came back to the pickle juice being the secret ingredient. Ya know...and the bacon. Confession...I have used pickle brine in my potato salad since I was in my twenties, So, since last week...give or take a few decades. This is just a brilliant use of an otherwise "useless" liquid that generally gets thrown away in the trash anyway! I couldn't wrap my head around the bacon fat for my clients, but for the family barbecue, it was absolutely spot-on!

Several years later as I was developing a potato salad recipe for catering and personal chef events, this loaded potato salad just kept appearing in my universe.  It was a sign.  It needed to be part of what I just served regularly.  It is a potato salad without eggs (though you could add those if you wanted to do so) and it is a potato salad that has to always use dill pickle juice instead of vinegar in the sauce. Don't ask me why...except that the saltiness of the pickle brine with the potatoes give it a punch of flavor! To give balance to the tangy zip of the pickle juice, I use sweet pickle relish as well.  It seems weird, but it works! Yes! This is a banquet size recipe that will make 60 servings. Obviously it can be cut back if you need to do so...but it will ensure that there is something for your guests to eat after you've had your "taste". 

Tess' Loaded Potato Salad

yield 60 ½ cup servings

5 pounds red potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes, skin on, washed

2 1/2 cups mayonnaise
 ¾ cup dill pickle juice OR white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme, ground
1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
1/2 tsp curry powder
1T  minced garlic
1/4 lb bacon crumbles
1 cup green onions, sliced thin
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

In a large pot of salted water, add potatoes and cook until just fork tender. Remove from boiling water and cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a large 2 gallon bowl. Mix with potatoes, adjusting seasoning as needed, chill well.

Serve with your favorite stuff...or just eat it at midnight in your jammies and slippers in front of the open fridge door. I'm not going to judge you. Just make sure to wear the ceremonial head-garb. Xoxo!

There you go.

Always My Very Best,

Chef Tess