Kitchen Queers Blog

This BLOG is the companion to the KQ web site.
Here you'll find behind the scenes details about our recipes, cocktails, other ideas in development and more.
Thank you for joining us in our San Francisco kitchen, bar and dining room.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

HOLIDAY 2014: Christmas Dinner Report

Above: The KQ Christmas Dinner table setting for 2014.

HOLIDAY 2014: Christmas Dinner Report
by Chef Mitch

We hope you had an amazing holiday dinner whatever you celebrate.  We celebrated our good fortune with a feast of comfort food.  Following in this posting are images of the KQ 2014 Holiday Dinner and links to recipes and photo tutorials.


REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: The KQ 2014 table setting included vintage red and green glass plates and zebra print taffeta and colorful satin linens.

Above: A close-up of the table setting featuring red lacquer chargers, matching napkin rings and red satin napkins.

Above: Chef Philip made a meatloaf using a bundt pan to form a ring shape.   View the KQ Meatloaf recipe and tutorial here: 

Above: The table set with the food ready to serve.

Above: Chef Philip made a basic gravy to pour over the meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Above: The ring mold meatloaf was sliced in wedges to serve on a platter.

Above: Cheese sauce is a must when serving broccoli in the KQ kitchen.

Above: Broccoli florets were steamed for a fresh green element on the holiday plate.

Above: Mashed Potatoes are a must at the KQ Holiday table.

Above: Another view of the KQ Holiday table just prior to eating.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CONFECTION ALERT: Fudge Has No Calories During the Holidays

Above: KQ Peppermint Fudge served at a Holiday Buffet.

CONFECTION ALERT: Fudge Has No Calories During the Holidays
by Chef Mitch

I finally got the results I wanted and perfected my fudge recipe.  So I took a batch to a holiday party and the hosts put it out on the buffet table.  It was one of the first plates to be emptied and I got several nice compliments.  I consider food a success when it disappears from a buffet table quickly.

When I told Chef Bob about how much the guests liked the fudge, he said, "[The fudge] was popular because everyone knows that fudge has no calories during the holidays".

Find the new KQ Peppermint Fudge recipe and photo tutorial here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: The finished fudge batter is being spread in a foil lined pan. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

HOLIDAY FYI: We Hear Santa Likes Chocolate Cookies

Above: Chef Philip's Chocolate Cookies.

HOLIDAY FYI: We Hear Santa Likes Chocolate Cookies
by Chef Mitch

KQ partner and resident baker Chef Philip shares his recipe for chocolate cookies, just in time to bake up a batch to leave out for Santa!  Check out the recipe and photo tutorial here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: Plenty of high quality cocoa is added to give these cookies a rich chocolate flavor. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HOLIDAY BLING: Mantel Decorations

Above: A red, green and sliver color scheme is used for the holiday mantel decorations

HOLIDAY BLING: Mantel Decorations
by Chef Mitch

The mantel is one of my favorite spots for display in our house.  This year I employed a traditional color scheme, (for a change), and went with red, green and sliver.  And of course I worked in some of my vintage glass collection, such as the emerald green decanter.

More details about how I created this look can be found on the Kitchen Queers web site here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: Oversize clear glass apothecary jars have been filled with metallic and glitter ornaments and strings of metallic beads. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Above: The KQ Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail.

by Chef Mitch

I love the intense red color of this cocktail, and it's perfect for events this time of year. And the Sapphire Gin gives the drink that hint of juniper. It's easy to make, find the recipe and photo tutorial here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: Chef Mitch pours the "shaken" ingredients for this cocktail, prior to adding the seltzer water. 

Friday, December 12, 2014


Above: KQ Bacon Pie.

by Chef Mitch

This recipe has a pound of thick cut bacon.  What's not to like?  We tell you exactly how to make this recipe here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: Thick cut bacon has been microwaved and is being chopped for the KQ Bacon Pie. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PLACE SETTING: Red, Black and Zebra

Above: One of four versions of the Red/Black/Zebra place settings.

PLACE SETTING: Red, Black and Zebra
by Chef Mitch

I debuted my new red, black and zebra holiday table setting. Chef Bob said, “Oh! This is lovely”. Chef Philip indicated he also liked it, especially the shiny red lacquer. My friend Carol Ann was not quite so enthusiastic. She said, “This looks like a table a hooker would have”.

All of the pictures showing several alternative looks from this series can be found on the Kitchen Queers web site:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: An alternative version of the Red/Black?Zebra place settings. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Above: Chef Mitch uses an immersion blender to create a smooth textured salsa.

by Chef Mitch

In our house it's Chef Philip that doesn't like cilantro, he says it tastes like soap.  He's not alone. Some online reports indicate that up to a third of the population finds cilantro distasteful, with soap being one of the more pleasant descriptions used by cilantro haters.

Finding a salsa recipe without cilantro is like trying to find a contact lens on shag carpeting.  So I created a cilantro free salsa recipe that has plenty of flavor and is great for dipping chips, topping burritos and more.

Find my complete recipe and photo tutorial here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Above: The KQ Salsa served with tortilla chips.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hot Chili on a Cool Rainy Day

Above: KQ Three Bean Chili makes for a hearty meal.

Hot Chili on a Cool Rainy Day
by Chef Mitch

The rainy weather continues here in San Francisco, and this type of weather always puts me in the mood to be in the kitchen.  So Chef Philip and I made our version of Three Bean Chili.  You can find the recipe and detailed photo tutorial here:

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: We used pinto, kidney and black beans in our chili.

Above: We topped the chili with grated cheese before serving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baking on a Rainy San Francisco Day

by Chef Mitch

After three years of drought, we finally got a good soaking the past 24 hours.  Rainy days always put me in the mood for baked goods.  Chef Philip whipped us up a batch of Butterscotch Brownies earlier this afternoon and we just finished gorging on them.  Chef Philip likes the edge and corner pieces.  I like the middle pieces with no edge.  Chef Bob seems to like them all.

Below: Chocolate cookies are another good rainy day baking choice. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

THANKSGIVING 2014: The Day After Report

Above: Fresh baked baguettes were sliced, toasted and topped with onion jam as an appetizer.

THANKSGIVING 2014 : The Day After Report
by Chef Mitch

I hope this posting finds you having had a great Thanksgiving Day.  Ours was a small celebration as just Chef Philip, Chef Bob and myself were at the table this year.

It's always important to be flexible and have a PLAN B when making a big dinner.  We had to employ a PLAN B when we discovered that the Haricot Vert, (French green beans), had oxidized in the refrigerator and had turned from gorgeous bright green to a scary shade of rust.  I told Chef Philip, "I'm not eating that".  Fortunately Chef Philip had anticipated the need for a back-up vegetable, so he had a fresh bunch of broccoli on hand.  We had other vegetables on the menu, but everything else was a starch, and we really needed something green. Of course broccoli is not allowed in our house without cheese sauce, so Chef Philip whipped up a batch.

We also changed the hors d'oeuvre to crostini after Chef Philip baked up two fresh loaves of bread.  And speaking of bread, instead of making Parker House rolls again, we made Clover Leaf rolls.

More pictures and details of our Thanksgiving 2014 dinner follow.

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: We used our white porcelain double serving dish for the broccoli, (which was steamed), and the carrots, (recipe here:  I modified the carrot recipe slightly.  I left out the bell pepper, and I cut the carrots into "coins" instead of sticks.

Above: Cheese sauce for the broccoli.  First we started with by making a roux, adding stock and finally stirring in a nice helping of grated cheese.

Above: Chef Bob made stuffing.  Since it wasn't cooked inside of anything except a pan, it's actually dressing.  But he insists on calling it stuffing so I just went with it.

Above: We heated the Honey Baked ham in the oven so it was nicely warmed when served.

Above: Apple sauce was served to top the ham.

Below: Chef Philip made classic candied yams.  He peeled the yams and then cut them into generous 1/2 slices.  First he par-cooked the yams in the microwave just until they started to soften.  Then he slathered the yams in butter and a hefty helping of brown sugar. The yams were then roasted in the oven for about ninety minutes. 

Above: We made our go-to Gold Mashed Potatoes.

Above: The Clover Leaf rolls are made from the same basic bread dough we often use.  I'll post the directions to make these in the near future.

Below: I used the purple chargers and tie-dyed napkins on a black tablecloth.  These are definitely not seasonal colors and that's what makes it cool.  And queer.

Above: The table has been set for three and the food is ready to be eaten.  I used some of Chef Philip's Lego® creations to decorate one side of the table.  Since we only had three guests we served the food family style.  If we have six or eight guests I put the food on the side buffet instead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THANKSGIVING 2014 – I’m Not Going to Tell You What to Cook

Above: The table is set for eight guests.

THANKSGIVING 2014 – I’m Not Going to Tell You What to Cook
By Chef Mitch

Holiday dinners are personal, most often based on family traditions, cultural influences and individual preferences.  I don’t think it’s up to me to tell other people what to make or how to celebrate.  Meanwhile, people often ask me what we do at our house for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to tell you!

Some years we have guests, some years not.  Either way, we do as much work ahead of time as we can, and we take our time to enjoy the process of the meal preparation as much as the result.  Of course enjoying the preparation is more likely when you’re cooking with confidence, which is something that comes easily once you’ve pulled off a big holiday dinner party or two.  Or six.  Or maybe seven.

Chef Philip, Chef Bob and myself are all in agreement that turkey is not really high on our list of desirable meat proteins.  We all prefer ham.  Our friendly septuagenarian neighbor Mary gasped when I told her this, as she is a stickler for tradition and nothing other than turkey will do at her house.  It’s ham at our house.  And no, we didn’t make it.  Chef Bob ordered a Honey Baked Ham.  We’ve been doing that for several years and we love it.

Other than the ham, we’re making everything ourselves.  Some of the recipes we’re using are available to review on the KQ web site along with photo tutorials.  Our menu follows below.

Whatever you make and however you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving from the entire staff at Kitchen Queers!

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Thanksgiving 2014 Menu at Mitch’s House:


Hors D’oeuvre:

Wine and Ale:
Chef Mitch likes a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio
Chef Bob prefers a hearty Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
Chef Philip chooses a rich gold beer

Honey Baked Ham (served warmed)
Apple Sauce (okay, fine…this came out of a jar…happy now?)
Bread and Spice Dressing (it would be called stuffing if it was cooked inside a turkey)
Candied Yams

Pumpkin Pie

FYI: If we have guests that are coffee drinkers, I would serve a rich, flavorful dark-roast coffee with the dessert course.  Be sure to have cream and sugar on hand for those that like their coffee “blonde and sweet”.  –Chef Mitch

Above: Mashed potatoes is a must at our house.

Above: These sauteed french green beans, (haricot vert), will be on our table.

Above: Basic bread dough has been formed into classic Parker House rolls.

Above: Chef Philip bakes us a classic apple pie.

Above: Chef Mitch pour a Fog City Sling cocktail, his spin on the classic Singapore Sling.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

PLACE SETTING IDEAS: Purple Charger Plates

Above: Purple lacquer charger plates form the foundation of this place setting design.

PLACE SETTING IDEAS: Purple Charger Plates
by Chef Mitch

I recently purchased these purple charger plates online, as I thought they would serve as a great base for our white square porcelain dinner plates. As it turns out, I was right. These chargers are great. Both Chef Philip and Chef Bob had positive things to say when I set the table with these beauties. I'm going to order more colors as soon as I can!

FYI: I purchased these chargers, as well as several napkin rings and tablecloths from a popular web site that specializes in table settings for weddings and other special events. Nice selection, great prices and fast shipping. And no, they didn't pay me to say that! View the CV Linens selection here:

You can check out a place setting tutorial featuring these purple charger plates on the KQ web site, CLICK HERE.

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: A completed place setting featuring the purple charger plates. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SAUSAGE BALLS: My New "Go To" Hors D'Oeuvre

Above: The KQ Sausage Balls.

SAUSAGE BALLS: My New "Go To" Hors D'Oeuvre
by Chef Mitch

I was looking for a flavorful and easy to make buffet item and I came across a recipe for Sausage Balls from a famous TV Chef.  I made them as directed and the first thing Chef Philip and I noticed is that they were as dry as the Mojave desert.

We did some experimenting, and by adding some sauteed peppers and onions to the mix, we got a more moist result and a more flavorful outcome as well.  We also cut back on the amount of baking mix used, because the recipe we started with was a little too doughy.

This is a great choice for a party, because you can serve them warm, and they still taste good when they are at room temperature.  Though it's not likely that many of them will sit around that long.  Every time I've made these the past two months, they are gobbled up in no time.

I like to serve these with a dipping sauce, such as the KQ Honey Mustard Dip.

You can find our KQ Sausage Balls recipe in the most recent update on the Kitchen Queers web site, (CLICK HERE).  

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Above: The KQ Sausage Balls just after coming out of the oven.