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.

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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BISCUIT POT PIES – Trial Number One

Above: The results of the first try at Biscuit Pot Pies in the KQ Kitchen.

BISCUIT POT PIES – Trial Number One
By Chef Mitch

Chef Philip and I had noticed several recipes recently where prepared biscuit dough was being used to create a shell/crust for pot pies. We love pot pies but often the idea of making dough from scratch just isn’t that appealing. So we were up for giving the biscuit dough a try, but the recipes we had seen called for filling the pies with canned soup or cheese spread from a jar. That just wasn’t going to please us.

So we made a roux and then created a sauce with chicken stock, white wine and some cream. In another pan we sautéed onions and bell peppers, later adding some garlic. Then we par-cooked some diced carrots and potatoes in the microwave oven. Our protein of choice was cubed chicken breast we had leftover from another dinner and some hot sausage patties that we didn’t eat at Sunday breakfast. We combined all of the ingredients in the sauce except the two meats. Then we separated the mixture in to two equal parts and added the cubed chicken to one and the cubed sausage to the other.

After pressing the “jumbo” sized biscuit dough circles into a muffin pan, we filled the dough shells with either the chicken or the sausage filling. Immediately we noticed that the dough shells didn’t hold very much filling, and we had lots of filling left over after filling all of the biscuit shells we had.

They baked up nicely and the biscuit dough became a surprisingly durable vessel for the filling. But there just wasn’t enough filling in these little beauties. When we plated them for dinner, we put more filling on the side of the plate. Overall the concept is good, but there was just not enough filling in ratio to the amount of dough.

Okay, so when we make these again for a second trial, we’re going to press the biscuit dough into larger muffin pans so we create a bigger, thinner shell that can hold more filling. And we’re going to steam or sauté the carrots and potatoes rather than microwave them because the end result is that they were not soft enough to suit our preferences.

More images of our recipe experiment follow below.

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Above: Chef Philip makes a roux by combining flour and melted butter.

Above: Vegetables are added to the sauce to create the pot pie filling.

Jumbo size biscuit dough circles are pressed into a muffin pan.

Above: Dough pie shells have been filled.

Above: After baking the dough was golden and crispy.

Above: We served the pot pies for dinner and later added more filling to our plates.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TEQUILA: Why Silver is Better Than Gold

Above: The KQ Blue Tequini cocktail made with silver tequila.

TEQUILA: Why Silver is Better Than Gold
by Chef Mitch

When we think of precious metals we usually associate more value with gold than silver.

But the same isn't always true for tequila.  Unless the tequila is very high-end, aged tequila, the gold color you find in the more common brands is created by adding caramel to the mix.  Not only does this change the color to golden hues, it also adds a significant amount of sugar and creates an oily consistency.  This is why gold tequila hangovers are so nasty.

Silver tequila, even lower-end brands will give you more natural tequila, (agave), flavor.

In this posting you'll find three of my favorite tequila cocktails.  They're easy to make and the bold colors create a great presentation for a party or other event.


REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.

Below: The KQ Melon Margarita Verde.  Find the recipe for this cocktail, CLICK HERE.

Above: Chef Mitch pours a Melon Margarita Verde in the online recipe tutorial.

Above:  The KQ Pink Raspberry Tequini is sweet and fruity.  Learn how to make this cocktail, CLICK HERE.