Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Meals!

I will be preparing delicious Christmas Meals to order.  Checkout to view the complete Menu and Pricing.  This would be a great holiday present!  You have an option to purchase items individually, whether you need a main dish, side items, or desserts.  Happy Holidays!

Chef Troy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everyone Loves Cheesecake!

Today the office had a Thanksgiving Pot-luck and I committed to making a sweet potato cheesecake.  That was before my son brought home a cold that infected by whole house.  Even though I was under the weather I still found a way to prepare the cheesecake.  I was actually looking forward to making this dish because there are so many different cheesecake recipe tips and tricks, that I wanted to work my way through my own recipe.  I have to say making a cheesecake is definitely a labor of love, but if done right it is absolutely heavenly.  People at the office loved it.  My son actually loved it, which definitely means its a winner! 

I am still finalizing the recipe, but once I test it, I will definitely publish it.  I topped my cheesecake with maple whipped cream and toasted pecans.  The cake itself was so light and fluffy, but I do attribute the texture to the cooking method.  I baked the cake at 350 degrees in a water bath for 55 minutes, after that I turned off the heat in the oven, and cracked the door and let it finish cooking in the water bath for another 55 minutes. I actually had a co-worker ask me to quote her a price to prepare 2 of these cakes for Thanksgiving next week.  Below are some pictures.  I apologize if they look a little fuzzy, the camera lens a was a little dirty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken Chili

Sometimes I wonder why I'm not working in a kitchen full-time, but until cooking pays the bills, this will have to be my side passion.  A few weeks ago for Halloween we had a few friends over so that our kids could go trick-or-treating together. It was a great time.  We usually do a pot-luck, and each family is responsible for preparing a dish.  I decided to make a Chicken Chili.  I used Anaheim, Pasilla, and Tomatillo chile's, roasted corn, and white beans.  I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika.  For the broth, I used chicken stock and coconut milk, and I thickened it with a blond roux.  I let the chili come together for about 4 hours.  During that time I seasoned it with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and red pepper flakes until it had the perfect taste.

To accompany the chili, I cut tortillas into thin strips and fried them.  Seasoning them with salt and pepper.  I folded in fresh cilantro before serving.  It was finished with a little dollop of sour cream.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Below are pictures.  Definitely will keep this one in the recipe binder.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Meals

I will be preparing delicious Thanksgiving Meals for delivery this year.  I am really excited to share my Thanksgiving favorites with others.  Below is the menu.

Thanksgiving Menu:


Roasted Herb Turkey with Giblet Gravy

Side Dishes
Apple Cornbread Stuffing

Sweet Potato Souffle
Smoked Bacon Green Bean Casserole
Bourbon Glazed Carrots
Cranberry Compote
Fresh Baked Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with Nutmeg Whipped Cream 

Troy's Taste Thanksgiving Meals

Friday, October 15, 2010

Catch of the Day

About 2 weeks ago I went fishing with my Father-In-Law and Brother-In-Law of the coast of Atlantic City.  We caught a slew of black sea bass.  It was a great trip!  After splitting up the catch, I cleaned and froze my keep.  Last night I felt like having seafood, so I prepared Lemon & Tarragon sea bass with Nutmeg Gnocchi. I decided to roasted the fish whole.  The fish was absolutely delicious, the tarragon added great flavor to the fish.  My wife, who was unfamiliar with the taste of tarragon, really enjoyed it.  The flavor of nutmeg in the Gnocchi went well with the tarragon and lemon in the fish.  I definitely will try this again with other types of fish.  I even persuaded my wife to try the cheeks on the fish..which were absolutely moist and succulent.  Pictures are below.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


My wife and I recently went to Chicago and had a great time.   Not only is Chicago a great city with phenomenal architecture and endless things to do, but it's a great food city.  Many great chef's have began their careers in Chicago.  While in the Windy City, my wife and I had to try some of the local favorites, Deep Dish Pizza, Italian Beef, the famous Chicago Hot Dog, and Garrett's Popcorn.  Everything was absolutely delicious.

We also went to a couple local Chicago favorite's - Hugo's Frog Bar.  Known for its seafood, Hugo's definitely delivered.  My wife had the Cod stuffed with King Crab meat, and I had the Bouillabaisse with Australian lobster.  We really enjoyed the meal and ambiance. Their desserts were huge.  We ordered the Banana Cream Pie, and they brought out half of the pie.  Then we noticed that all of the dessert portions were really big.   Our waiter informed us that they are known for their large desserts.

We also tried Heaven on Seven, a New Orleans inspired restaurant.  The breakfast was great!   Definitely can't wait to go back to Chicago.  I was inspired while I was out there and have some ideas for new dishes. Below are some pictures of the different foods we had.  As you will see, I dug into some of the food before taking the picture.

Hugo's Frog Bar -
Heaven on Seven -

Breakfast at Heaven on Seven - Fried Green Tomatoes, Scrambled Eggs with Andouille Sausage & Cheddar Cheese Grits, and Banana's Foster French Toast.

Italian Beef with Peppers, Char Dog, and Cheddar Char Dog

Deep Dish Pizza from Lou Malnati's -

Friday, August 20, 2010

Website is Launched!

I am excited to announce that my website for my Catering and Private Chef company is now live.  I have been working on getting the site up for weeks, and after dotting my I's and crossing my T's, the site is up and running.  Troy's Taste is taking another step in the right direction!

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Dish

It's been awhile since my last post,  but I wanted to write about the new dish I created last weekend.  Even though we were going through a heat wave in Maryland, I braved the heat of a charcoal grill to make this dish.  The dish consists of Grilled Rosemary and Balsamic marinated Lamb Tenderloin with Apple & Mint Relish,  Grilled Yellow Squash, and a grilled French Bread brushed with olive oil, butter, garlic, salt and pepper.  Conceptually I thought the dish was successful, but I would change some small things next time.  It's a keeper though!

 My next post, which should be this weekend, will be titled "Chef Troy's Flavor Basics"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Business Card

Troy's Taste Private Chef & Catering

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My First Love: "Pancakes"

In my earlier posts I mentioned how pancakes were the very first food that made me want to dig deeper to find out how to make them.  I have made pancakes probably hundreds of times in my life, sometimes using a box mix, and sometimes from scratch.  Recently I have been trying to really fine tune my pancake recipe, and my results have not really matched my vision. Usually trial and error have been my process in creating and tweaking recipes, but that really wasn't working. So I did some research on how baking powder and baking soda interact with certain liquids, and what liquids work best to achieve the best consistency.  Yesterday evening I told my wife that we were going to have pancakes for dinner, so I had my wife get the list of ingredients I needed, and this evening I went into the kitchen on mission to make the perfect pancake.

After putting together my batter I made my first 2 test pancakes, and they came out PERFECT!  They were light, fluffy, and delicious.  My taste testers (My Wife and two little ones) agreed that these pancakes were great.  I made 2 more pancakes for myself, and I have to say they were quite good.  I have to admit I was pretty happy.

I have made dishes with a much higher degree of difficulty, but to nail down the dish that made me want to become a chef is such a gratifying feeling.  Now that I have my base recipe, it is time to build upon it.  I made lemon ricotta pancakes with brown sugar & cayenne pepper bacon.  It was absolutely delicious.  Pictures are below.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday Night's Dish

Tempura Fried Catfish, French Fries, Chipotle Ketchup, and Ginger Aioli.  The Wife and kids really liked this one.

Dreaming Big

I had all intentions for this post to be about building flavors, but a project I did in Culinary School got me to thinking about long term aspirations.  Most chef's in the back of their mind always dreams about having their own restaurant, but I never really gave it much thought.  That was until I did this project and realized that being able to express myself through food to the masses would be exciting.  To open not just a restaurant but being able to have people get a true sense of me.  My passion, my history, my style, my taste would all be on display for people to absorb.  Something about this truly intrigues me and motivates me to figure out how to make this happen one day.

Many of my chef instructors and chef's I know in the industry say having your own restaurant is a colossal responsibility and in the end becomes your life.  I know many chef's who have gotten divorced and lost a lot personally pursuing this dream.  Many tell me, "Sometimes you should be careful for what you want or ask for."   I really believe in anything a person does, there has to be a balance.  A balance of ones professional and private lives.   Many people try to separate the two and it doesn't work, but I know I would never want to lose my family for anything, not even pursuing a dream. 

Having a restaurant allows a chef to be much more versatile in the dishes they can prepare.  Everything is prepared, cooked, and served in relatively short period of time which allows for the use of many more ingredients and the creation of many more intricate and complex dishes.  When you are a caterer one always has to consider is this dish or does this ingredient hold well, can it survive being held at certain temperatures for long periods of time without compromising taste, texture, appearance, and the overall success of the final product.  There are trade offs to both career path's but from a pure culinary perspective, restaurant chef's have the advantage.

Maybe one day I will be blessed to open a restaurant, but until then, I will keep working towards becoming the best Chef possible.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Pictures

I wanted to post these pictures because l am pretty proud of this work.  Garde Manager (Cold Food Production) is very detailed oriented food preparation and I was able to put this together pretty much on my own.  It is a Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetable terrine, deconstructed walforf salad, tomato pesto crostini, with Muhammara sauce.

Thinking outside of the box

The key to any dish is building a solid foundation of flavor that can be expanded upon, but some of the most classic dishes have been created by mistakes or experimenting with different flavors.  Any chef or cook should use food as a medium to be creative.  One thing that I particularly love to do is take an established dish and put my own twist on it.  This allows me to start with a solid foundation, and from there I can use different herbs, spices, proteins, veggies or fruits to make the dish my own.  Eventually through this process I come up with 2 or 3 completely new dishes in my head.  This is one of the main reasons I love to cook, the creativity it allows me to express.   Not only can you come up with new dishes, but the way you plate the dish can make it new and innovative alone.  Here are a few examples of dishes I have made and how I changed them to make it my own.

Chicken Pot Pie:
I made this dish for a get together with friends.  It consisted of paprika spiced chicken, onions, celery, carrots, apples, with a sweet potato biscuit crust.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.  Then I made a pot pie for my wife which consisted of lump crab meet, shallots, fennel, and peas with a pie crust.  She told me that this is one of her most favorite dishes that I have ever prepared for her.  The pot pie I made for my friends was done casserole style, while the dish I made for my wife was cooked in individual ramekins.  Each dish looked completely different but was a derivative of the Pot Pie.

I now have plans to create recipe for a Caribbean Pot Pie made with okra, jerk spiced chicken, yucca, onions, carrots, coconut milk with a plantain biscuit crust.  I will post the recipe once I test it.

Cioppino is a seafood stew in a tomato and white wine broth usually served with garlic toast.  I have made traditional Cioppino many times, so for a twist I added coconut milk, green curry, and red pepper flakes.  As I was making the dish I just got motivated to do something different, so I made the changes and it came out absolutely wonderful.   For the seafood components, I used cubed black sea bass, scallops, and shrimp.  Traditionally crab, clams, mussels, squid are used.  So you can mix and match ingredients for your preference.

French Toast:
Everyone seems to have their own recipe for delicious French Toast.  For a birthday party I was catering I decided to put it on the menu.  So I thought about how I could transform French Toast into something completely different.  I started with using Challah bread.  Challah is a Jewish braided bread made from eggs, flour, water, and sugar.  Then I made a Creme Brulee custard consisting of milk, heavy, cream, vanilla, and sugar.  I cook the mixture until it was at custard consistency.  Once it was cooled, I dipped my bread into the custard and then cooked it on the flat top.  I accompanied the French Toast with cinnamon butter, and a mixed berry compote of strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries cooked in red wine and sugar.  The dish was a hit at the party.  The combination of flavors worked really well together.  Now I am searching for ways to build upon this dish to make it different and even better.  One idea I had was for a dessert chocolate french toast, with a caramel butter, topped with whipped cream.  We will see how this one comes out.

You can do a lot with food, you just have to be creative and be willing to take chances.  Sometimes you win and sometimes it doesn't work out, but then you just go back to the drawing board and come up with a new game plan.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Friday's Night Dish

Wanted to post the dish I made for my wife Friday Night.
Spanish Spiced Pork Tenderloin,  Creamy rice with Pasilla Peppers, Roasted Corn, Manchego cheese, and cilantro, and a Pineapple & Tomatillo chutney.

What's your Niche

I have asked myself this question many times, and I really haven't sorted it out just yet.  As a chef, having a niche can mean many different things.   It could mean the specific type of cuisine you prepare, it could mean the type of career path you choose.  These decisions can very well dictate how your career will progress as well as define you as a chef. 

As a late starter in this field, I do not have the luxury to apprentice under a established chef and further hone my skills.  Time will not allow me to work my way through the ranks in a kitchen.  As a husband and father I have a responsibility to provide for my family, but I want to be able to do this while pursuing my passion.   With all of these factors I made the conscious decision to go on my own as private chef and caterer.  This gives me the flexibility to work full time and pursue my passion on the side.  The goal is to eventually be a chef full time, but you have to crawl before you walk.

Since launching Troy's Taste, in about 2  month's I have done several events including a few birthday parties, a salon grand opening, and a christening.  I have been blessed so far to have done these events simply by word of mouth, but I want the momentum to continue.  This lead me to this post..should I choose a specific niche cuisine and focus on that, or should I remain flexible and become familiar with all cuisines?  I am leaning to the latter because of my love for all food.  How should I market myself?  I am working through all of these different questions to figure out my identity as a chef.

Even though I do not have a specific niche carved out just yet, I do believe figuring out where I want to go in my culinary career is going to help me find my place.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some of My Creations

Just wanted to post pictures of some dishes I made in Culinary School.  This is a Garde Manger platter consisting of Chicken Galantine, Oxtail Terrine, Tomato Confiture Tartlet, Leek and Black bean Salad.

This an individual portion of the dishes from the photo above.  The sauces are Cumberland and a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.


 Smoke Trout with Waldorf Salad.

Asian spiced Smoke Duck with a Soy & Ginger dipping sauce.

Shrimp and Oyster Po' Boy with Old Bay Chips and pineapple & strawberry fruit salad.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting Started

As a recent culinary school graduate I wanted to find some way to discuss and write about my love for food. Like many Chef's my passion for kitchen started at a very young age. My obsession with pancakes is my earliest memory of wanting to find out how to make a dish and how adding different ingredients to would change the appearance and flavor.  I watched every cooking show that I found on TV, from Julia Child to Jack Pepin, even watching a show on the Country Music channel just because the host and I shared the same last name. Even in middle school, some of my closet friends remember me saying I wanted to be a chef. Now as a grown up, I fulfilled this life long dream. At a certain point in my life I never thought I would realize this dream, but all things happen for a reason, and here I am.

For me this blog will be my sounding board for all things food. Cooking is my passion so why not share it. More posts and pictures will be coming soon!