Writing, Baking, and Preparing Quality Meals


Each week I try to write a blog. Each blog is a different subject meant to provide either factual information, or bits of wisdom that comes with experience.

That experience is usually based upon action, a movement towards or away from something. This strategy is usually constructed on physical or mental attachment or detachment. Experience is the  involvement in an activity that brings you closer to a goal. That goal can be attaching to a concept of discipline that propels everything to it’s desired conclusion.

In the case of writing, for me, it is broaching a subject that contains what I deem to be interesting content. If I’m excited about the content then I have a better chance to succeed in my desired goal… a writing that makes one think.

Living in a peaceful setting enables me to live in the mode of creativity. Being creative translates to many different mediums. Writing, baking, and preparing quality meals for dear friends are certainly satisfying past-times.

Each different task presents challenges that stimulate the brain and triggers the nuance of discovery. Each discovery is a stepping stone to more advancement in the subjects listed above.

When I write, it is spontaneous. It’s not done with an outline or prior thought process other than the subject headline. From there, it’s off to the races. I never know exactly where the writing will take me, but I know that as I progress through the subject I will tie things together. Then, at the end I hope the message is condensed and speaks to the reader.

As I relate to baking I think of the treats I’ve had during my lifetime and how special some of those treats were. The delicious flavors of a Grand Marnier Souffle, or the richness of a bread pudding, creme brulee, or chocolate lava cake that brings the meal to its desired conclusion… a wonderful, captivating  warmth that spells out “comfort food”.

Each baking process is about following the recipe. No matter how complicated the directions, I must be precise in the measuring and order of execution. The desired affect is a smile and sometimes even laughter that captures the beauty of sweet confections. Of course there are also sorbets for those quitters that have bought into the whole, “Sugar is bad for you”, mantra.

Unlike when I was a kid, baking is sticking to a plan. When I would built a model car as a kid, I could never figure out why I should build the engine? It’s hidden underneath a hood. So, I finished relatively quickly as those thousand engine parts were unnecessary.

It’s interesting how important in baking the nuance of altitude, water, and flour or other binding agents that intertwine to become the finished product. Each is a lesson in chemistry that makes you adjust to your circumstance. As you adjust you learn about the importance of things you never considered as a child.

The smells that permeate the air as you bake or cook become the sensory introduction to the meal or the finishing touch, dessert. I always try to start the hot part of the meal with caramelizing onions. The sweet smell of the onions flamed in a sweet liquor or a madeira always entice the guest to wonder, ” What are those fragrant smells?”

Starting off with a chilled salad featuring different marinated vegetables combined with distinct, contrasting fruits and textures makes the beginning an overture painted on a colorful sensory palate.

The same contrast of flavors and textures is important in designing the entree. Color, height, and temperature is equally salient. If the plates are all cleaned at the end of the meal, you know you’ve succeeded in the desired outcome.

Each creative part of life becomes a plant that is fed with practice, determination, and the satisfaction required to maintain that joy from having others smile at the effort.

Each written piece, baking creation, or savory meal is an exercise in skill that improves with repetition. It is however much more than that. It is the love garnered from providing a phrase or a flavor that will create a memory for as long as forever is.




PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools for the Discerning Chef

Recipes are the architecture that builds the foundation of a meal. Every recipe contains steps produced in a certain sequence that reveals the most effective and efficient way to extract the greatest flavor and presentation. Through-out this process (as in anything worth doing) the tools you use must be of the highest quality to ensure the greatest possibility of success.

Several years ago I enlisted a company to build my PAZAZ™Kitchen Tools. These tools were built to my specifications using the finest materials available. Each tool was tested to rigorous standards based upon strength of composition, ability to withstand extreme temperatures both cold and hot, and dishwasher safe.

The idea the PAZAZ™ logo would represent was sent out to a design website which contacted graphic artists from around the world. An amount was agreed upon to ensure designers would be interested and so the contest was on. Eventually the contest was won by a person from Bangladesh. The chefs hat and the magic wand, the wording, and ultimate design represent an exhaustive process that took several months to complete.

As I tested each manufacturers tools I realized that one stood out from the rest. That company I enlisted to produce PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools crafted each tool to my specifications so that the Silicone baking mat would fit snuggly inside the sheet pan with the cooling rack on top of the baking mat. Like a culinary puzzle each piece is crafted to accentuate the even flow of heat to ensure any product placed on the cooling rack will be cooked evenly through-out.

Currently my PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools are being used by three star Michelin Chef Jean George Vongerichten, Michael Mina, and Dave Adlard (Candle in the Woods, Idaho). These world class chefs understand that manufacturing of product for a multitude of guests requires sturdy, hand-crafted Kitchen Tools. The PAZAZ™ products could have only made it to the kitchens of these world renowned chefs if they stood up to the rigorous test of quality enriched by craftsmanship.

My PAZAZ™ Kitchen Tools can be used to produce the most amazing savory or sweet dishes. As many of us gravitate towards chicken and fish and away from beef we can access flavors that accentuate the nuances of the flavor profile. One such recipe which can feature chicken or fish is a “Classic Lemon Pepper Chicken”.

Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes, calories 221 using four ingredients and serving four people. Simple and delicious in one soul-stirring hot shot.


    • 1/4 cup of flour
    • 1 tablespoon of McCormick perfect pinch lemon and pepper seasoning
    • 1 pound of thinly sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
    1. Mix flour and lemon/pepper seasoning in shallow dish. Moisten chicken lightly with water. Coat evenly with seasoned flour.

    2. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Pan sear 1/2 of the chicken pieces 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

    3. Place chicken on steel mesh rack which is placed over the silicone baking mat on top of the aluminum sheet pan. Oven should be set for 300 degrees and chicken should cook for 4 minutes.

    4. If you’d like to “kick it up a notch” place chicken over mixed greens with avocado, tomato, and goat cheese or blue cheese. A homemade dressing of a mango or peach white vinegar mixed with basil oil 2 parts oil to one part vinegar will be the perfect balance of acid to alkaline.

Included if you purchase all three PAZAZ ™ “Kitchen Tools” at www.pazazshop.com will be a cookbook with original recipes tried and tested by me. Enjoy for yourself or as a gift for the upcoming months when the bounty of the earth is at its peak.

Summer Recipes, Part 3 – PAZAZ™ Style!

Dinner parties in the summer can be a wonderful exercise in creativity. Don’t just dip your toe in the pool, jump right in. The beauty of this season is captured with fruit and vegetables that will make your palate sing, your stomach salute, and your heart whisper to your soul.

Peaches and Herb, reunited and it feels so good. White peaches are lower in acid than the yellow peaches and taste sweet whether firm or soft. Now is the time to try these delectable treats that are both fragrant and delicious. Let’s get your peach on!

Recipe Number One is a show stopper that incorporates a combination of different textures and tastes to form an overture to the summer bounty.

This is the White Peach/Blueberry salad with goat cheese, apple and avocado finished with a peach vinaigrette and garnished with chive.

The ingredients:

    • White Peaches
    • Blueberries
    • Butter Lettuce
    • Avocado
    • Cashews
    • Goat Cheese
    • Apple
    • cilantro
    • chive

(Pick a colorful plate that accentuates the ingredients with colors such as turquoise, yellow, bright green, or red.)

In the center of the plate use a metal mold to form a lettuce tower. The base should be sliced avocado, then the butter lettuce mixed with cilantro and chive incorporated with cashews and topped with sliced apple. The dressing in this portion of the dish should be a cranberry/pear vinaigrette mixed with virgin olive oil.

Slice the peaches forming a half moon around the tower careful to leave space in between each peach slice. That in-between space will be filled with blueberries outlining the shape of the peach. On top of the peaches and blueberries you will drizzle a peach vinaigrette mixed with basil oil (two parts oil to one part vinaigrette). Then, crumble goat cheese over the top of the peaches, garnish with two full chives crossed and “Bingo”, you have a beautifully orchestrated dish.

The beauty of any dish is the collaboration of textures and flavors that provide a montage of different experiences with every bite. Here, the tower provides the textures of the silky smooth avocado, the neutral butter lettuce, the salt and firmness from the cashews, and the crunch of the apple.

Around the tower is the different types of flavors represented by the white peaches and the succulent blueberries. Then there is the grassy flavor from the goat cheese that provides the contrast needed to accent the beauty of the fruit. The acid from the vinegar adds another layer of contrast with the chive garnish the perfect “icing on the cake.”

Recipe Number Two is a savory dish that will most certainly make a grown man/woman cry. They will cry because of the palate exciting experience that elevates even the most mundane personality into a heel clicking, hoedown jumping, rumbling/tumbling ball of inner smiles.

This is the Wagyu beef carpaccio sliced very thin and wrapped around a panko Rogue River blue cheese truffle topped with Perigord black truffles and surrounded with a four leaf balsamic vinegar.

The Ingredients:

    • Wagyu beef
    • Perigord black truffle
    • Rogue River blue cheese
    • Panko bread crumbs
    • Four Leaves balsamic vinegar
    • Italian parsley
    • Himalayan sea salt

Take a Wagyu beef filet and cut it into small square pieces. Put each piece of the filet under a film of saran wrap. Take a metal mallet and pound the Wagyu into submission. Each piece should be an inch in diameter and flat as a pancake (dust with Himalayan sea salt).

Make into a ball the Rogue River blue cheese then wrap with panko bread crumbs. Drop them in a vat of frying oil for 30 seconds. Place the carpaccio balls on a rock plate (to add dimension to substance) then place four in the middle of the plate. Shave the Perigord black truffles over the top of the carpaccio balls, surround with the Four Leaves balsamic vinegar and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

Enjoy this Summer of Love recipe fest to kick off the outdoors… indoors.

Bountiful Harvest and a Recipe – PAZAZ™ Style

Living a “Bountiful” existence includes the many facets of life integrated into a memoir that becomes a “Harvest” developed from dialog and connection forged in the memory bank of our mind.

Family, education, relationships outside the immediate inner circle, business, trips, and extraordinary events weave a tapestry of interesting stories that become the narrative of our lives.

Throughout this amazing journey we seek answers to questions that become riddles to be solved as we follow a path with twists and turns around a corner that reveals beginnings and endings.

The “Bountiful” life is nurtured by love and enriched by relationships that develop like a fine wine into friendships that last a life time. Many of us that read this blog will relate to those that fill our hearts. The joy and engagement within the beautiful nuances that exist between two people forming a shared history creates a bond only completely understood by those two spirits.

Have you ever had friends or family that you haven’t seen in “ages” and when you reconnect it’s like you spoke with them yesterday? That experience is a wonderful gift that catapults that relationship into the inner circle of trust formed years ago by the common memories of events we share.

Hopefully you are blessed to have at least one person in your life that enriches your existence and motivates your passion for living. That is when we can say we live a “Bountiful” life from the “Harvest” of the time spent cultivating those precious few relationships.

Below is a recipe that will surely add a smile to that very special person in your life:

“Peaches and Herbs… Reunited”

Recipe for two

    • 2 Large Organic White Peaches Drizzle EVO onto Peaches (Mark on Grill)
    • 2 Ounces of Goat Cheese Place Peach on PAZAZ™ Baking Mat (inside oven)
    • 2 Sprigs Fresh Organic Dill Inside PAZAZ™ Baking Sheet Pan at 350 degrees (5 Min)
    • 2 Fluid Ounces of Wild Anthos Dill Oil Combine Dill Oil with Vinegar and whisk together.
    • 2 Fluid Ounces of Cranberry/Pear Vinegar Create nest of Lettuce and Goat Cheese to taste.
    • 4 Ounces of Organic Butter lettuce Add Dressing to Lettuce and Goat Cheese with Peaches
    • 1 Sprig Dill Arranged on top. Serve with Garnish of Dill

This Blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic Of Cooking”, Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com

All my Kitchen products are hand-crafted and designed to help make your experience in the kitchen a magnificent one!

Summer Recipes – Part 2 – PAZAZ Style!

summer recipes pazaz style
Summer Recipes – Pazaz Style

This recipe will bring to you a sense of relief as you prepare it. The reason is because this recipe can morph into different variations as you broaden your culinary horizons.

You can add a protein to this salad if so inclined. This will expand your repertoire into several different possibilities based upon the protein you choose.

Whichever protein you choose you should place the product on my PAZAZ Silicone Baking Mat and then place on top of the PAZAZ baking sheet pan inside the oven. Then, you should cool the product (outside the oven) with the PAZAZ steel mesh cooling rack which integrates circulation technology with the latest in oven tested dynamics. These amazing kitchen products will bring “The Magic of Cooking” into your kitchen.

“Organic Strawberry & Beet Salad with a Strawberry Balsamic/Garlic Vinaigrette”

Serves 4

    • 4 oz strawberries
    • 3 organic beets
    • 1 organic corn
    • 4 organic mulit-colored carrots
    • 1 organic honey crisp apple
    • 6 oz organic butter lettuce
    • 4 oz goat cheese
    • 3/4 cup of pistachios

Take 3 small organic beets and par boil them in sea salt water until slightly soft but still firm. Then let cool in fridge. Slice into thin vertical pieces and place in salad bowl.

Take one organic stalk of corn de-husk and par boil corn off husk for 3 minutes again in sea salt water.

Let cool in fridge. Take corn and place in salad bowl.

Peel outside of 4 organic mulit-color carrots. Julienne slice inside of carrots into salad bowl

Peel outside organic honey crisp apple. Slice and then dice apple into salad bowl

Prepare 6 oz organic butter lettuce and place in salad bowl.

Mix 2 fluid ounces of “Sedona Divine” Strawberry Vinegar with 1/4 ounce of “Solvang Olive Press” Garlic infused olive oil. Taste and add vinegar or oil depending upon preference.

Finally – add strawberries, goat cheese and pistachios with dressing and mix salad. Form with metal mold to complete presentation in center of plate. Serve… and enjoy!

“Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Arugula, Capers, and Parmesan”

Serves 4

    • 10 ounces of lean center-cut beef tenderloin
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 4 ounces of Arugula
    • 4 teaspoons capers (rinsed)
    • 4 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 1 lemon

Trim Tenderloin of any fat and connective tissue. With a sharp knife slice thinly across the grain into 8 equal slices (about 1 ounce each). Lightly oil two sheets of wax paper. Place 2 slices of beef side by side on one of the oiled sheets. Lay the second sheet, oiled side down, over the beef. With a heavy mallet pound down with enough pressure to flatten but not so much as to penetrate the beef. Rotate and continue to gently pound the beef. As the beef becomes thinner use less pressure to avoid tearing. Flatten enough to form a 8 inch circle.

Repeat to make the remaining 3 portions. Cover and refrigerate while gathering the garnish ingredients.

To serve, remove the top sheets of paper from the pounded meat. Invert the carpaccio portions onto 8 inch plates, carefully peel back the remaining paper sheets. Lightly season each portion with salt and pepper and EVO. Mix red wine vinegar with EVO to taste and mix with arugula. Place Arugula over beef and then shave Parmesan over the top and finish with capers. Serve with lemon wedges.

Each of these dishes can be followed with a wonderful light pasta dish which I will highlight in my next blog.

Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase my PAZAZ products which include the Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, the Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. Bring PAZAZ into your life “The Magic of Cooking” kitchen tools for the discerning chef.

These Suggestions Can Make a Meal Great… PAZAZ™ Style

Making a meal great doesn’t mean you have to cut onions into flowers or prepare a souffle (although that would be fine with me).

It means that the ingredients you use are superior and the kitchen tools you prepare the food with from cutting the product to placement in the oven for an exact temperature dispersement are exceptional.

These tools and the simplicity of preparation speaks to the flavor profile that lifts the dish from good to sublime.

First course:

Fruits or vegetables should be organic period. The nuanced flavor permeates your taste buds and elevates the experience.

Quality oils and vinegars are a must as they intensify the aforementioned fruit or vegetable profile and add another dimension of flavor that you can mold to perfectly pair a specific wine.

Rieslings because of their many different styles, or sauvignon blancs are impeccable pairing selections – because of their composition and because of the acid and balance they provide to enhance the organic produce.

My favorite oils and vinegars are from a company called the Olive Solvang Press:

    • Tuscan Herb infused Olive Oil
    • Wild Anithos Dill infused Olive Oil
    • Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar
    • Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar
    • Cranberry/Pear White Balsamic Vinegar

Second Course:

Any protein be it fish, poultry, pork, or steak must be of exceptional quality. Your local butcher is the perfect choice for specific cuts of meats or Costco and Whole Foods for proven excellence across the board.

Prime steaks at Costco are wonderful examples of quality without breaking the bank. Make sure that when you choose fish it is wild caught and preferably the Atlantic Ocean (more on that in my next blog). All meat products should be chosen by marbling and color.

Jidori chicken is the only chicken to mention. Jidori chicken is raised free range on small farms using natural grains no meat by-products, hormones, or steroids.

Smithfild Duroc pork or Comparte Duroc are very good products. Specifically the best breeds for a certain use, Berkshire for loins, Tamworth for belly, Red Wattle for ham, and Mangalitsa for the jowl.

The best ranches to procure beef from are as follows:

Snake River Farms – Idaho

Craig Angus Ranch – Colorado

Nebraska Star Beef – Nebraska

On Line:

    • Chicago Steak Company
    • American West Beef Company

A wonderful way to end the meal is with an impressive dessert that doesn’t take forever to prepare.

Bananas/Strawberries Foster is simple and memorable. Get the recipe and blow the guests away!

Regarding the wine pairings you should keep it simple:

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Gruner Vetliner for Fish

Oregon Pinots, Russian River Pinots, Santa Rita Hills Pinots, or Burgundian Chardonnays for Chicken or Pork

Malbec, Cabernet, or Syrah with Beef

Ice Wine, Sauternes, or Tawny Port with Dessert

So for any meal to be successful you need quality produce, exceptional protein, and a WOW dessert.

All of this is possible with  PAZAZ™ “The Magic of Cooking”, kitchen tools for the discerning chef. The Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Baking Sheet Pan, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. Go to pazazshop.com, Amazon, or E-bay to purchase these AMAZING KITCHEN TOOLS.