I think we can all agree that the spring and summer seasons brutally sucked this year thanks to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. However something that put a smile on our faces throughout was the art of cooking as we were all forced to switch from our restaurant-loving ways for a bit and head back to the kitchen for some deliciously home cooked meals.
Fall is shortly approaching, and even though a good portion of the spaces we know and love to eat at have opened back up in some capacity, it’s important to still indulge in using your kitchens during those times that you are feeling inspired from a culinary POV.
Luckily we have three amazingly talented gay chefs that are here to help! These tasty guys have provided some amazing recipes perfect for the fall season that are fun to prepare and go down easily (hehe). Take a look and enjoy!
Zucchini Ham And Goat Cheese Quesadilla by Chef Jonathan Bardzik
Sweet summer zucchini, rich, salty ham and the slight sharpness of goat cheese combine beautifully in between crisp flour tortillas for a perfect end of summer snack.
6 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 medium zucchini cut in 1/4” dice, about 4 cups
1 cup diced ham
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6-8 6” flour tortillas
1 cup softened goat cheese
Warm 2 tbs olive oil in a 12” skillet over med heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add zucchini and cook 5-7 minutes longer until beginning to brown on edges. Add diced ham and cook 2 minutes longer.
Toss with nutmeg and parsley. Season to taste with a splash of vinegar, pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper. Reserve.
Assemble quesadillas: layer half of tortillas with goat cheese and zucchini mixture. Spread remaining tortillas with goat cheese and place on top.
Heat 1 tbs oil in a 10” skillet over medium heat. Cook quesadillas, turning once to lightly brown tortillas, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Jonathan Bardzik is a storyteller, cook, and author who has traded live cooking shows with virtual cook-alongs for business teams, groups of friends and families. Jonathan’s second cookbook, Seasons to Taste: Farm-fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table is the inspiration for his new cooking show arriving on Prime Video and Here TV later this year. Follow Jonathan’s cooking adventures on Instagram and Facebook @JonathanBardzik and find his books and more recipes at JonathanBardzik.com.
Bananas Baked in a Rum Custard with a Gingersnap Crust by Chef Steven Frappolli
4 six ounce ramekins, baking dishes or oven proof bowls
6 bananas fully ripened but not brown
lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
1 box gingersnap cookies
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons melted unsweetened butter
For the Custard:
2 cups heavy cream ( i use organic it really does taste better)
5 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum
In a food processor with the blade attachment add all the gingersnap cookies and the 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and blitz this until it resembles fine powdery crumbs. Continue processing it and drizzle the butter in. Do not over process it – you just want lightly buttered crumbs. Reserve this mixture on the side. Take 5 of the bananas and peel and slice them about a 1/2 inch thick and reserve them. For the custard have a stainless bowl on top of another bowl filled with ice water to transfer the cooked custard into to stop the cooking process and chill the base down before you start making the custard.
Mix the egg yolks with the sugar with a wire whisk until it is well blended. Heat the cream and once it is hot and shimmering pour the hot cream over the yolk and sugar mixture while stirring the yolk mixture. When it is fully combined pour it back into the pot and put it over a medium fire. Whisk this mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. – about 6 minutes. It should read 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer and start to resemble a thin pudding. Do not let it boil. Pour the rum into the pot and cook a few seconds more to evaporate the alcohol and then pour it directly into the set up stainless bowls to cool it down. Stir in the vanilla.
Take your 4 baking dishes and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture on the base of each dish. Divide the sliced bananas between the 4 baking dishes and make sure there is space between the bananas for the custard to fill in. Pour about 3 ounces of the cooled rum custard on top of the bananas in each dish and give the dish a few taps to help the custard to settle to the bottom. Liberally top each baking dish with the remaining crumb topping and smooth it out to create a uniform flat top.
These can sit in the refrigerator all day or can be baked immediately in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. You will know they are done when the custard is bubbling around the edges of each baking dish. Allow them to cool slightly and serve them topped with some thin sliced banana and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Chef Steven Frappolli has had a wildly popular career in the culinary world that dates back to the mid-80’s during his first professional job at Larry Forgione’s An American Place in New York City, which was a legendary Modern American hotspot. Steven eventually left the Big Apple for Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he’s been successful as a private chef with clients all over the country including The Hamptons and Palm Beach. Follow his cooking adventures so much more on his Instagram page here.
Swordfish Pesto Sauce With Eggplant And Pan-Fried Spaghetti Squash by Chef Jeffrey Jew
Yield: 4-6 portions
Total Time: 1 hour
For The Squash:
1 ea. Spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
3 tbsp. Vegetable oil
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Cracked black pepper
For The Sauce:
½ cup Vegetable oil
2 lbs. Fresh swordfish, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Cracked black pepper
2 cups Eggplant, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Crushed red pepper
¼ cup Red wine
1 cup Tomato sauce
1.5 cup Red pesto sauce (I used sundried tomato pesto)
¼ cup Vegetable oil
1 cup Arugula
½ cup Basil, chiffonade
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
For The Squash:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Place seeded squash skin side down on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip squash on sheet pan to skin side up. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the squash indents when you press it down on the skin. Check after 30 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that until done. When done, remove from oven and turn squash over skin side down and reserve. Turn oven off.
For The Sauce:
After the squash has been baking for 15 minutes, in a medium stock pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add swordfish, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, carefully stirring/tossing often, to lightly brown all sides. You don’t want to break up the swordfish while tossing. Add eggplant and toss. (If the bottom of the pan is scorching, the heat is too high or there isn’t enough oil.) Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Sauté for another 3 minutes, carefully tossing frequently. Deglaze with red wine, stir, and reduce by half. Add tomato sauce, stir, and reduce by half. Add pesto sauce, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Turn off heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
While sauce is simmering, in a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. With a fork, fluff reserved spaghetti squash into a bowl or container. When oil is shimmering, carefully add the squash evenly in the pan (Don’t splash yourself with hot oil), and pan fry for 3 minutes, tossing often. Add sauce to squash a cup at a time, tossing each time after adding, to incorporate evenly. Add as little or as much sauce to your liking. Add arugula and toss until incorporated and lightly wilted. Divide evenly between bowls or plates. Garnish with basil, olive oil, and freshly grated parmesan.
Chef Jeffrey Jew is known by many Bravoholics for his time on Top Chef: Seattle where the eventual winner was luckily another member of the LGBTQ community (Kristen Kish). The Washington D.C. native now resides in St. Petersburg, Florida with his partner Jim where his new restaurant, Lingr on 6th Street, opens in Fall 2020. More on him and his career here.