Friday, December 30, 2011

Horns, Champagne, Glitter & Regret!

Picture it...

New York City...2011... the air is crisp, wintry but cold all the while still giving you that invigorating feeling. You are dressed in your best outfit via H & M and in some of your friends' best bangles which you've borrowed. You are on your way out and you realize you're not wearing any underwear as you run into delicious radio superstar Blake Hayes cause Marti Gould Cummings called you out in only a way she could! "WHORE!"  she yells it so gingerly...
                    Marti Cummings             Blake Hayes (Isn't he delicious?)
                                         (remember Pink = link so check them out cause they are fab!)

Why do I feel like Sophia Petrillo all of a sudden..?? "Thaaaaankss for the meeedicaaree..." (This is a dramatization, any likeness to real occurrences is purely coincidental. No cute boys or drag queens were hurt in the writing of this New Year's blog)

Random I know...but no joke that is only the beginning of most of my New Years celebrations.

New Years... What can I say about New Years...start poppin the Advil and Emergen-C now! (consult your Dr. before taking any unprescribed medication or supplements)

Well... This past year has been full of amazing things in the life of The Gay Gourmet!™ I've met fabulous people, made amazing new friends, have had the pleasure of experimenting with all sorts of new recipes, got to delight in many a new restaurant, got to eat a million cookies during National Cookie Week and much more! The outpouring of love and support from all of you has also been something else!

As I approach this new year I sit and ponder "What's next?" What IS next?!?!

I guess only the universe will know but I will tell you the 2012 is going to be an amazing year. My resolutions begin with bringing you the best recipes and info I can. (which is a given) I also want to start giving back. All of you have given me so much love and support that I have been inspired to put The Gay Gourmet!™ to good use and give back. In what form? That has yet to be determined but I have some things in the works. You're going to be seeing a lot more of your favorite mirepoix mary! I promise you that!

"Maybe it's much to early in the game...Oh, but I'll ask you just the same. What are you doing New Years...New Years Eve!"

Every year my friends and I end up in one of our regular gay haunts paying an exorbitant amount of money for the same meal we had last week at half the price. So, this year I told the boys to darn their aprons cause we're havin' a pot luck!

I love makin' a good piece of meat and truth be told some of my limp wristed friends put those wrists to good use in their own kitchens!! (Don't you get any ideas!)

So this year it's all about loins! My pork loin that is!

You'll need..

about a 4 lb pork loin
1 lb bacon
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs onion powder
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries chopped
fig jam
1/4 cup dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375.

What you want to do is take all the dry spices and mix them together in a bowl then dry rub you loin!

Get a pan nice and hot with about a TBS of oil in it.

Sear the loin on each side for a couple mins till browned.

Once browned transfer your meat to a rack lined baking pan.

Brush the browned loin with mustard and then cover in your cherries/cranberries then lay bacon on top.

shove it in the oven for about 20 to 30 mins or till the USDA recommended final temp of145 degrees on a meat thermometer.

During those last 8 minutes of cooking in a sauce pan mix a little water in the fig jam to thin it out and then baste the loin in it!!

let the pork rest, covered, for a good 15 mins before serving.

Well that's it folks! Have the happiest and safest of New Years...and don't drink yourselves in to a state of projectile vomiting. Every year I say I'm not gonna throw up then someone hands me a mystery drink, or i don't eat enough and lo and behold I praise the porcelain goddess at the end of the night! This is where the regret comes in...hahah!

Be safe, drink responsibly, be merry and I will see you in the New Year!

Deliciously Champagne-ing,

Michael Muñoz
The Gay Gourmet!™

©2011 Michael Muñoz

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's The HoliGay Season...

And whoopty doo and hickory dock I'm here to help you chop chop chop! I'll be cookin' in the kitchen yeea!

Okay! okay! That wasn't my best lyric but they can't all be gems!! Well folks the holigays are upon us once again and I'm here to reflect a little on the past year and give you some of my fav picks for the food lover in your life!!

The holigays are always a nostalgic time for me. Thinking of when my brother and I were young, fighting over who gets to play the Atari next. Momma Gladys makin' a pork shoulder and cookin' up a storm, A Christmas Story playin on the television and joy all around us. Now we are all older, Cesar  has a wife and family of his own to create new memories, Momma G is a little less inclined to surprise me with a gift from Santa and rather tells me what I'm getting. Throw a little family drama in the mix and the holidays are less than gay.

I mean why is it that when you get older the fun, mystery and that overall sense of the joy of Christmas giving kinda dissipates? I can't speak for all of you for sure, but I know amongst my family and friends no one is ever excited as I am to be in the hustle and bustle of shopping and winter. Everyone is hard-up and stressed out about cash and overall just wants it to be done with. BUT when it's over is like "Awww, it went by so fast!" WHAT?

I don't get it but there is another clue into how I will know I have met the man that is going to be my husband. Besides being assertive and outgoing, he will love the holidays for sure! I mean is it really so wrong to want/have a Bing Crosby/Judy Garland style white Christmas?!?!

Anywho, This past year has been amazing! I mean freakin' amazing! Who knew when I started this little blog the out pouring of love, support and all things good and yummy would come of it!?!? I am so thankful for all of you, my readers and supporters! This little gay cook couldn't have asked for anything more this holigay season....but if I were to ask for something here would be my favorite picks of the season! Feel free to send me any or all of these!

I will always start with a cute Kitchen-Aid Mixer (cause I still don't have one) maybe in hot pink or turquoise or anything gay and fab!

I was also really surprised about how gay fabulous everything was on the shelves of Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table

Cuisinart had an array of rainbow colored items from ice cream makers to hand mixers to immersian blenders.

I think everyone needs a rainbow wooden spoon in their life! Put the gay right into your sauce! Don't you get any ideas!

This popcorn maker seemed really awesome! My air popper shoots the kernels everywhere!

I love this popsicle maker from Zoku!!  It can make a popsicle in something like 6 minutes!! WHAT!?!

Breville is bringing it with this cute personal pie maker! Set it & forget it folks!

Joseph Joseph is reinventing the kitchen tools and creating them to make more sense. Like these utensils with built in rests or a cutting board that folds! They also come in a variety of fun colors!
I saw this quick whipped cream maker doo-dad at Williams Sonoma and no one could tell me how quick it actually was. So just for curiosities sake I want one to play with. I mean I am a masterbeater after all....

Could you imagine having your own home rotisserie? Cuisinart makes one. I hardly have room for my bed in my apartment with all my kitchen appliances but I'd plug it in the bathtub if I got one! (Not recommended by the way!)
Or if you're thinking about what to get for a cute stocking stuffer (shhhh....) These rubber gloves by Gloveables are super fab! (So many jokes can be made..I know..)
Did I mention I wanted a Kitchen-Aid?

A hot boyfriend would be nice to have for Christmas too wouldnt it? Maybe one covered in sprinkles?
mmm...Yigit Pura...

That's all for now my little Elves! I encourage you to enjoy every last minute with your loved ones this year. Who cares if the money is tight, the family is fighting, the pheasant isn't succulent enough. Remember why we are doing all of this and bask in the glory of the spirit of Ol' Saint Nick!

Deliciously Christmasing,

Michael Muñoz
The Gay Gourmet!™

©2011 Michael Muñoz

Friday, December 2, 2011

Saucy Pizazz!

Some would say I have a way with words, I would say I am just expressive and the rest would say I have no filter! I guess that's why I can be such a fire starter (all puns intended) sometimes! That's where my tag line comes from...what tag line? Fearless cookin' with a side of saucy pizazz of course! Where am I goin' with this? Who knows?

In an attempt to create a fabulous/seamless way into my love for all things that are sauce and dips that's how I began and this is where I'll just get to the point.
Inspired by my recent trip to Leña and Chef Ronny's diligence to bring you great Latin cuisine I decided to try his recipe for Chimichurri. (If you have no clue about what I am speakign of click here -> Read My blog more often!) It's sweet, herby, spicy and oh so good. I marinated chicken breasts in it over night and served it up for lunch with a black bean and corn salsa & avocado!

Ladies and those pretending...I give you... Ms. Chicky Chimichurri!
(This would be her song -> Werq)

First make Chef Ronny's Chimmichurri


1 Cup of chopped Parsley no stems
1 Cup of chopped Cilantro some stems
5 Garlic cloves minced
2 Shallots minced
1 Cup Olive oil to cover
1/2 Cup of Rice vinegar
1 Tbsp of Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Make sure to chop the parsley and cilantro by hand with a knife, never use a robocup,
is faster but it will be very bitter.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for 12 hours.

Now if you are impatient like I am you'll make it and use it..but like with lots of things it does get better with age.

I marinated two large chicken breasts that I cut in half over night in about 1/3 cup of the sauce reserving the rest for other garnish, dipping and other fun things. (Don't you get any ideas)

Next make my Blackbean & Corn Salsa

1 can black beans (low sodium is best)
1 small can white corn
1 red onion diced & rinsed
4 jalepeños de-ribbed, seeded & diced
1/3 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of fresh chopped oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lime juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

This is super easy to make...

 Throw all ingredients into a bowl, salt and pepper to taste. You can choose to let it sit and marinate or just eat it asap!

Whilst all of that is sitting make the chicken. Pull out your grill pan, get it nice and hot and throw those breasts on the fire for about 7 mins or so each side!

Put it all on a plate with some fresh avocado slices and garnish with some extra chimichurri! Enjoy cause she's truly a delight!!

Choochy Choochy darlings!

Deliciously Living,

Michael Muñoz
The Gay Gourmet!™

©2011 Michael Muñoz

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eat Me Out! - Fast Food Revolution!

If you've been following me since the beginning you will know that early on I created a blog/video segment called Eat Me Out!

It's a column about the best eats out there!! (Don't you get any ideas!)

Well its time to bring it back!

As a born and raised New Yorker I feel that there are sections of this city that people don't go to unless they work there or have some sorta business there. Yes I mean places like Washington Heights and Battery Park City that you would ask yourself why do I need to travel so far just to eat? But I'm actually talking closer!

There are sections of midtown that I feel are very uncharted territory, especially for eating. We all know ninth ave is a haven for restaurants as well as a good section of midtown east but what about central midtown? Like early/mid 30s from let's say fifth ave to seventh ave. I mean what is there? Macy's? Porn Stores? Fabric Stores that have been "going out of businesses" for years? It's December in NYC no thank you... but as far as food... hmmm... The Tick Tock Diner is really all that comes to mind and that's unfortunate because I just happened to stumble upon someplace quite fantastic.

Leña , much like another one of my favorite places called Peter's Since 1969, is reinventing they way we think about fast food. No more is it just chicken nuggets and fries!  Now we are being offered home cooked meals at a reasonable priced, that is locally sourced, within our calorie allotment and really freakin' fantastic!

I had a chance to sit down with Chef Ronny and in his own words...
          "In New York people tend to believe that Latin food is Mexican food because most of the Latin restaurants in the city are Mexican. Restaurants like Lena can show people that there are many more Latin cuisines available in Central and South America that are as flavorful, with more diverse ingredients and more innovative than Mexican cuisine."
  "Leña is a Latin grill that fits right in the middle of a quick service restaurant and a table service restaurant, grabbing the best characteristics of both worlds into one, which means we have someone who takes the food to you/cleans after you but still the customer orders at the counter and pays before they eat. "
           We have a seasonal menu full of fresh ingredients everything made from scratch in the house from beverages to sauces. We have a limited service but best of all we are quick and affordable."

I couldn't have said it better and let me tell you it's the truth! When I was invited to dine at Leña I had no idea what I was in for! From fresh squeezed juices (blackberry was my fav!) to tostones (fried plantains) to my steak were perfection!  I say this is a great place to be daring and create your own meal from the menu cause you are sure to be pleased! Oh and get a few different sauces! My fav was the chimichurri! If in a rush they have pre-decided items that you can order so you don't have to think! Either way you are bound to have a great Latin meal! Don't forget to order some churros as well! I had some residual salt on my fingers while I was eating them and it sent me over the moon!!

Overall, I would say avoid the holiGay crowds by shooting over to Leña for lunch or dinner. It'll definitely give you the much needed refuge from the crowds and a happy tummy!! Tell them I sent ya...i don't know how far it'' get you but it's worth a shot! haha! You can also check them out here ---> DELICIOSO!

 Leña Latin Grill
34 Wet 35th Street (bet 5th & 6th aves)
646 274 1995 (we shan't discriminate just because they don't have a 212! HA!)

Deliciously Living,

Michael Muñoz
The Gay Gourmet!™

©2011 Michael Muñoz

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big Gay Thanksgiving Season 3! - The Gay Gourmet!™

The "dreaded time of year" is upon us, well for most at least! Christmas commercials have been playing for at least a month, stores have been prepping us with presales, chirstmas music has been slowly creeping onto the radio and in stores. It's a little crazy but that's why I like it! Someone out there is just as crazy as I am and can't wait for the hustle and bustle, the carols, THE FOOD, the cheer and all that comes with.

Yes I realize I put a most positive spin on corporate America trying to capitalize on the holidays as early as possible but I prefer to be blind to it all and revel in the good spirit that these holiGAYS are all about. So shhhh!

Which brings me to Big Gay Thanksgiving!

For the past three years I have thrown what I call Big Gay Thanksgiving (BGT) a holiday celebration that I throw for me and my boys to gather, spread some cheer, be thankful that we have such an amazing group of supportive friends, be merry and get drunk on great food and LOTS O' WINE!
I only invite 10 to 12 gays in my life as that's usually all the space I have. I also try to mix up the guest list including people really close to me, yes, but also trying to diversify the group by inviting people that not everyone knows, new friends etc. I like having an eclectic group of personalities cause it always proves for an interesting night of conversation and laughs.

The rules of BGT are that no one is allowed to bring any food whatsoever and I suggest that everyone brings at least 3 bottles of wine...Let's face it we all know that I travel in a group of people who like a little thin the blood.

It's 3 days of cooking and this year I used three ovens to help me master these dishes... I even threw the cooked turkey in the back of a cab to get it cross town! It was very exciting!

The Menu was...
My Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Carrot Soup with blue cheese croutons (which has been a staple for the past three years & now is always expected) click the pink to get the recipe! don't you get any ideas! This soup is sweet, hearty and this year and a fantastically spicy finish! It also has gone through more name changes than Prince the artist formally known as that symbol thing.

Next course I served...

Turkey OBVIOUSLY! - if you remember last year I took a Chef's advice and butchered the turkey and made a roulade. This year I brined the turkey in half pickle juice half water for about 10 hours, dried it off covered it in a herb compound butter of cilantro, sage, rosemary, pepper, and lemon zest and then cause I was bored, covered it in a lattice work of BACON!
Don't you just love my apron?!?!
Gravy - I has a little help/inspiration from Anne Burrell and used her recipe for cider gravy which you can find here.. CIDER GRAVY! Let me tell you that it was not only the perfect compliment to this fantastico turkey but also a hit with the boys!
Stuffing- This year, after my failed attempt at making someones not so tasty stuffin' muffins, I decided to forgo stuffing and make my own version of "Stuffing muffins." I made a cornbread batter to which I added 6 jalpeños, sauteed celery, leeks and chorizo. Poured it into muffin tins and topped it with pepper jack cheese and baked it. Best idea I ever had! Nuff said!
 Cranberry Sauce- Every since I discovered this recipe on Epicurious it has been demanded every year at the BGT Table! It's called Cosmo Cranberry Sauce! Since discovering it it certainly has become my own as I add orange zest and cubed Macintosh Apples. Oh! And I not only use orange/citrus flavored vodka but I also up the alcohol a little to 1/2 cup of vodka and 4 TBS of Cointreau

Sides - This year, as I had a few vegetarians with me, I tried to make everything but the turkey veggie friendly. (Yes I left the meat out of some of those muffins for those herbivores!) So I went on a hunt for delicious and different sides and I came across three recipes that inspired me... one was Bobby Flays - Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate & Hazelnuts - which I turned into Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranite & Chestnuts! (I needed the oven for other things and I thought chestnuts were more seasonal!) either way YUM!

The next was Giada De Laurentiis' Spicy Parmesan, Green Bean & Kale Salad to which I peeled and roasted some butternut squash and added it to the mix at the end. (I know what you're thinkin'! Why can't you just leave well enough alone?!?! Well, that's why I am The Gay Gourmet!™ takin' the ordinary and makin' it extraordinary!)
The last recipe that I was inspired by was a Donna Hay recipe for a beet and potato bake. Now the only adjustment I made was using real horseradish & mayo as opposed to horseradish cream. It's just more intense! - I have to find it again and post it! I promise!

I also made my famous twice baked sweet potato cups! So easy.. bake the sweet potatoes on 400 till you can easily stick a fork in them. Let them cool. Cut off 1/3 of the potato and stand them up. They are soft so they should stand no problem. Scoop out the filling and add butter, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste. Put a couple of mini marshmallows in the bottom as a surprise! Pipe the filling back in the cups and put some marshmallows on top and bake for about 15 more mins till hot. DELICIOSO!

As if that wasn't enough Dessert consisted of two things...

Food & Wine Magazine published a recipe for Apple Cider Cream Pie that intrigued me so much there was no not making it. Find it here... Almost Better Than Sex

And Martha Stewart a long time ago published a recipe for a Chocolate Pumpkin Tart in her magazine. I still have that recipe but always forget to bring it home with me so it resides in Momma Gladys' house. Easy right...just go online and find it...well the lovely people at Martha Inc. decided to dumb it down and it's not as good. womp womp!  Soooo, I ventured out and made my own version of it... recipe is below!

Nabisco makes these chocolate wafers and I used a whole packet. Throw it into a food processor...or using a rolling pin and zip lock...crush them into crumbs and then combine it with 3TBS sugar and about 5 TBS butter... mix that together and it should come together and feel like it's still crumbly but it'll hold form once pressed into the bottom of a pan...

Press that into the bottom of a tart pan.. mine is 10inches.. yup I said it... and throw it in the fridge for like 15...

Now I have used dark chocolate but for this one the grocery didnt have dark so I used 60% bittersweet, Ghiradelli... preheat your oven to 350... throw the tart shell in with 2/3 of the bag of chips on it for about a minute or two till chips start to melt...

pull it out and using a spatula spread the chocolate evenly...throw it into the freezer till firm..about 5 mins or so..

meanwhile make the pumpkin pie filling...
1.5 cups Libbys plain pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

The next ingredients are approximations... taste and adjust as necessary
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger

mix it up pour it into the tart shell and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until set... the middle will always set last... youll be able to tell cause it won't be jiggly anymore...

remove and let cool... take the last 3rd of chocolate and in a clean dry heat proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water (dont let the water touch the bttm of the bowl) let the chocolate melt... then dip a fork and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the tart...

if you have trouble getting the tart out...CAREFULLY! run a hot knife underneath where it is supposed to separate and serve!
So 30 empty bottles of wine later, great conversation and maybe a short lull that my friend Jeff started being the first one to fall into a food coma, the evening was a grand success! Did I mention that this year's BGT was held at the most fabulous hotel in NYC? Can you guess which one it is?!?!

Many thanks to my friend Ryan for the fab hotel hookup!               (No I'm not trying to kill him in this photo....)
 Many thanks to my Chef de Cusine Adam who helped me tremendously the day of!

And of course Jeff for letting me put my Turkey in his oven! You all should be so lucky! Lastly, thanks to all the boys for being fat gerls/so supportive and making this event more amazing as each year passes!

 May this Thanksgiving be delicious where ever you are!

Kisses & Pumpkin Pie!

Deliciously Living,
Michael Muñoz
The Gay Gourmet!™

©2011 Michael Muñoz