Back at the Coach House


 Breakfast with Gary and Kelly was back out at the Coach House this weekend and Tom had an October themed recipe for the hosts. Pumpkin Fritters with Caramel Sauce was the menu choice and while not the most difficult thing to prepare, the trio made it very entertaining as usual. With Kelly manning the deep fryer, Gary in charge of the Caramel Sauce, and Tom keeping it all together, the team created a culinary treat that appeared edible.





Cooking at the Coach House

Cooking with Kelly Bennett (photo by Steve Wylie)

It was the first time “Breakfast with Gary & Kelly” did their show at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. The whole crew worked their butts off showing up at 11pm the night before to start initial setup then back again at 5am Saturday morning to start the real work. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of about twelve of these shows so far and have a great time at each one. The show is broadcast live on 88.5 FM AND streamed live at AND done in front of a live audience! Just imagine the work involved to make sure everything works perfectly with no problems. Somehow, some way it always does. My cooking segment is just a very small part of the show that revolves around performances and interviews with some really great jazz players and musicians. If you’ve never been to a live taping do yourself a favor and stop on by. It’s free and lots of fun! For all the latest show updates go to Happy cooking. T



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Tom cooking Philly Cheesesteaks on Breakfast with Gary & Kelly


Homemade Bratwurst From Scratch

So I’ve embarked on a new adventure. Homemade sausage making. Got the grinder, the stuffer and anything else that might be needed. Years ago I did the home brew thing for awhile and did quite well so I figured what the heck.

The biggest obstacle I’ve encountered thus far is hunting down some of the common ingredients used in almost every recipe; hog casings and pork fat. If you have a butcher in your area both of these should be found there. If you’re trying to find them in a grocery store forget about it. Also sometimes the cut of meat can be a little difficult to find. Things like veal, boneless pork butt, and hanger steak may have you driving to a few locations before finding them.

The only other thing important to making sausage are the spices. These are relatively easy to find and if you’re planning on making sausage regularly, I’d suggest getting larger supplies of some of the common ones.

So all that’s left is finding a recipe and starting preparation. Since I’m new at this, I’m following each recipe exactly. Once I know what I’m doing I’ll start getting a little more creative. Once the grinding is done, add you spices and mix together well.

Next is the  actual stuffing of the sausage. My first two attempts went okay but I know I can do it better and faster with some practice. Just tie them off in a desired length and prepare as directed.

After lots of searching I found  a great Bratwurst recipe. There are a few extra steps involved but well worth it.

So for now I think this is my new hobby. Anything that involves cooking and eating is a great hobby in my book. Stay tuned for more great recipes.



Holiday Traditions

Turkey on Thanksgiving, ham on Christmas and Easter. These are the top three we all know, but there’s got to be more. I love turkey, but if it wasn’t for Thanksgiving I don’t think I’d ever throw one in the oven for a meal. Sadly, I don’t even know why. Every family should have at least one traditional holiday meal to pass down from generation to generation. If you already have one, you’re a step ahead of many.

So where do you start? How do you come up with a meal that relatives who aren’t even born yet will be enjoying 100 years from now? Talk about pressure. Keep in mind this whole “creating a holiday meal tradition” will only have at best, a 3% success rate of surviving a full century. If you can squeeze twenty years out of the same meal on the same holiday each year, I think that constitutes a victory. So, let’s get started.

First let’s pick “your” holiday. If you want to tackle one of the top three, be my guest. This will greatly depend on how your family currently feels about their annual turkey and ham dinners. If this is a problem choose another holiday. A few to consider in no particular order might be New Year’s Eve and Day, July 4th, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Groundhog Day (South Carolina only).

As far as the meal itself, think of something you’ve made many times before the family loves. Has there ever been a time someone has said, “When are we gonna have that great Spaghetti and Meatballs again?” Bingo, there you go, your first potential holiday meal. The key word being “meal’. You ALWAYS need to include other items in your meal. In this case, possibly some killer garlic cheese bread and one of your famous deserts. The reason you need to do this is simple. Many years after you’re gone and your traditional holiday meal has taken on a life of its own, your future unknown relatives will be fighting over who gets to bring great great granddad Tom’s famous meatballs.

Note: When preparing your new holiday traditional meal always remember to have at least two other people in the kitchen watching you at all times. These need to be people much younger than you who have many years ahead of them to pass the recipe on.

Have a great holiday and let me know what you ate!