Guy Things

In which local men reveal some of their kitchen creations
MARYLOU UTTERMOHLEN
Eugene “Gene” Preaus

 

 

 

 

 

When men tinker at home it may be in the garage, workshop or yard. The kitchen, however has it all: tools and gadgets of all sorts. And, if they do it right they might be abel to treat others to culinary discoveries. Here are some kitchen revelations that keep the fires burning.


Arthur Cafiero

Specialty: Fried chicken
PROFESSION: Independent benefits consultant

“Some stores sell chicken parts cheaper than chicken feed costs. I don’t buy that stuff. Quality of the chicken, temperature control and seasoning are the three most important things. Get the best whole fryer chicken you can buy – all natural, no preservatives, uncaged and top quality in every way. If you’re going to take the time and considerable trouble to fry your own chicken, don’t scrimp. Season batter generously with more than you think you need; it cooks away. I use cayenne and Paul Prudhomme’s Poultry Magic. Temperature and cook time needs to be right – about five minutes per side at 350 to 375 degrees – or the chicken will come out soggy. And a fry thermometer is a must.”


Casey Burka

Specialty: Pickles
PROFESSION: Commercial realtor with a focus in retail tenant representation

“Good spices and seasonings go a long way when preserving food. The Hong Kong market on the West Bank is a great place to gather the essentials, especially when on a budget. Carrots, garlic, lemongrass and cucumbers are all in the arsenal. I am a huge fan of the Vietnamese five-spice pho seasoning package. Chop your vegetables, create a vinegar-based broth, let cool, pour the broth over the chopped vegetables and then use a pressure cooker to seal your mason jars. Be sure to bring jars to friends’ houses for a surprise snack.”


David Rebeck

Specialty: Apple-raspberry and rhubarb pies
PROFESSION: Multi-instrumental musical performer, educator, program producer and owner-operator of Piety Street Sno-Balls

“I am a big fan of flakey, well-done crusts that are not too sweet. Of course, I liked my mother’s pies the best growing up, and that’s how she makes them. She taught me her technique one Christmas break when I was in music school. The secret is using one-half unsalted butter and one-half vegetable shortening for the fat content of the dough. I also favor fruit fillings that are tart and not too sweet. My absolute favorite is rhubarb. We always had a large patch of it in the backyard growing up in Lansing, Mich. Rhubarb is hard to come by here, so I usually make my fillings with Granny Smith apples and raspberries.”


Eugene “Gene” Preaus

Specialty: Marmalade made from his own blood oranges, lemons and sweet kumquats
PROFESSION: Of Counsel with Fowler, Rodriguez, Valdes-Fauli

“I enjoy making my special marmalade with Meyer lemons, blood oranges and sweet kumquats, which I grow. Additionally, I use a Louisiana-grown grapefruit. The first step is juicing the fruit and reserving the juice; then soaking the skins and reserving the soaking liquid. I remove the pith and put it in a cheesecloth bag for later use. I have scissors with multiple blades that produce very thin strips of the skin – a secret to successful marmalade. Those ingredients are combined and cooked down. The cheesecloth bag is removed and sugar added for the final cooking. The process takes two days, but has become a holiday tradition. I like to share my marmalade with friends and family.”


Jeffery “Jeff” Davis

Specialty: Onion sandwiches
PROFESSION: Contractor

“I enjoy making onion sandwiches to take to Tujague’s Bar for owner Steve Latter and my friends. I always use Vidalia sweet onions (plain white onion will do). Peel and wash the onions and cover them with whole milk and marinate them overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, slice the onions very thin – thin-slicing is my secret of success. Mix sticks of cream cheese with sour cream until you have a nice soft spread. Trim the crusts off of soft white bread, and then spread the mixture on each piece of bread. Top with the onions and use salt and white pepper to taste. For presentation, I always cut the sandwiches in quarters. Wait at least a few hours before serving the sandwiches.”


Dr. Gerard “Jerry” Ballanco

Specialty: Salads made from his own vegetables
PROFESSION: Retired pediatrician

“Young, fresh vegetables nurtured by a caring grower are the real secrets of a great salad. Don’t hide those tastes with too many distracting elements. If garlic is in the salad, make a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle. Add the liquid component of the salad, such as oil and lemon juice, and one volumetrically significant component of the salad (i.e.) onion, cucumber, etc.). Macerate (grind and steep) for an hour or so. Toss with remaining ingredients just before serving. Macerating part or all of one significant ingredient in a salted, liquid dressing enriches any salad. It allows focus on the individual flavors with an extra spicy depth to some bites. It’s nice if plates are cold; the presentation should always be enticing.”


Mathew “Matt” Foss

Specialty: Fried pickles
PROFESSION: Physics teacher at Dominican High School

“I began frying after receiving a turkey fryer. Once I perfected turkeys, I remembered eating Liuzza’s fried pickles. The secrets to good crispy-fried pickles are oil type, temperature and time. This is where I use my science expertise. Add lemon pepper to Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri for extra tanginess. Drop a handful of dill chips into the batter and shake well, fully covering them. Heat peanut oil to 385 degrees, then add battered pickles. The oil’s temperature drops as they enter. Keep the temperature between 375 and 390 degrees. Once pickles are floating and sizzling, strain and serve. Be prepared to make several batches because they disappear quickly. If you like fried fish, use the same batter. The pickle juices add a zesty flavor.”


Stephen “Steve” Brauner

Specialty: Salsa
PROFESSION: Owner, Boundless Shipping and Cutee Pootee Gifts

“Who doesn’t love salsa? I cannot get excited by grabbing a bottle of something off the shelf – I don’t expect my guests to, either. So to pick up the pace (pun intended), I staged an assault on traditional salsa. To wake up the taste buds, my homemade salsa evolved from a simple mix of obvious players to adding as many fresh ingredients as possible. I hand chop everything; if that’s too time consuming, add Cuervo – for drinking, not the salsa. Get carried away with the cilantro and cumin. When complete, divide it in half and add a can each of shoe-peg corn and black beans to one half. Not one person has ever tasted it and said, ‘Yeah, it’s OK.’”


Dr. Terry Winstead

Specialty: Beer
PROFESSION: Gastroenterologist

“When I started brewing in the 1990s in my mom’s kitchen, I was into styles you couldn’t find in stores. Gradually, brewing became an obsession, and now my garage looks like a chemical weapons factory. Recently we remodeled and told the contractor that the garage was going to be a home brewery. Then things got out of control: I now have a stainless steel cart with three natural gas burners, a kegerator, a kitchen sink – the works. Recently I’ve brewed some really unique beers – hickory-smoked stout, sour Flanders red ale with cherries and Saison flavored with homegrown citrus. It allows you to explore the boundaries of taste, rather than the boundaries of what will sell.”


Terrance Osborne

Specialty: Gumbo
PROFESSION: Artist

“When I dine out, I rarely order gumbo because many gumbos are too thin, thick, bland or taste like stew. Gumbo has its own consistency. The roux is the most important thing. I brown flour in olive oil until it almost burns and is the color of milk chocolate. Then I pour chicken and beef broth in a large pot. I add chopped onions, onion and garlic powder, thyme, basil, Tony Chachere and sage – my one secret ingredient. Lots of sage! I add seared sausage, Alaskan king crabs, jumbo shrimp, and 1/4-cup of sugar. This is my best rendition of my mom’s gumbo. I serve it hot, over rice with a scoop of cold potato salad on top.”

 

Categories: Entertainment Features, LL_Feature

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