Category Archives: Catering

Welcome to the world of the Cigar Enthusiast and Gastronomist.

Toddy Hour was always a big thing for me growing up in Memphis and Milan.  My grandfather used to come in from work as a traveling shoe salesman and have his evening toddy while dinner was cooking. 

There a few things I enjoy in life, two of them are enjoying a fine cigar and being a Chef. The two really go together well as they create a certain level of Zen. The relaxation of the cigar coupled with creating recipes that incorporate experiences around the world. Call it bringing things home to roost.  

 The flavor profiles in the Premium Cigars bring to life or accompany the gourmand experiences involving some interesting food, wine and cocktail pairings. By the way, do not forget the hops as my first experience with a cigar involved the hops of the Budweiser! Yes, I might be a redneck, so be it. Ahum. That said, let us enjoy this journey together and this is the first issue for me and for the online zine. If any of you would to become a contributor, please feel free to contact me! The publication is online and will be available in print. A true gourmand and artist creates a world full of the regional gastronomy.   Jere “Ranger” Douglas

Toddy time was sacred in our household and revered.  Along with his bourbon and branch were various snacks and my taste buds developed along those lines.  Memphis cuisine was also developing with some firm roots in the South!  I loved it….

Indoor or outdoor, this was a time for the homemaker to show off her wares to all the neighbors.  No holding back on even the place settings for this seemingly casual daily event.

As I grew up, I began hanging out in the kitchen and learning the tools of the trade. The Lobster, Filet Mignon, Bone in Sirloins, Shrimp, BBQ of all sorts, Casseroles and Petit Fours.  And my Grandad, with his predominate Cigar.

Ukis Receipts

https://www.patreon.com/posts/pickled-shrimp-29255265

https://www.patreon.com/posts/beef-stock-29334177

https://www.patreon.com/posts/29244190 Mint Julip

https://www.patreon.com/posts/28575272 Gazpacho

https://www.patreon.com/posts/28518633 Kosher Deli Dill Pickles

https://www.patreon.com/posts/27254613  Curtido

https://www.patreon.com/posts/27082899 Remoulade

In November 1976, the first week, I called Marine Corps recruiter about wanting to enlist after I had been out partying for a long day. I made the appointment for 6 AM in the morning and promptly passed out.

At some ungodly hour of the morning (6:00 AM), there was a pounding on my front door, and I crawled out of bed and opened the door and there was a Marine in summer class C dress blues with spit shined shoes saying, “I am here to pick you up to take the test”. I had to shake my head and remember what I had done last night. “Looks like I need to get dressed and really quick, Sir!” He laughed.

Well, I ran to the shower and jumped in. I didn’t care the water was cold as I didn’t want to mess this up. When I got dressed two minutes later, we ran downstairs and into the van and it was off to Downtown Memphis for the ASVAB test. I took the test with hangover held high and after the free lunch, I fell asleep in the chair at the recruiting office. The Sgt. came back and woke me up to tell me the test results for back. He had this look on his face of concern and that made me concerned. Did I flunk the test? He fiddled with some papers and looked up at me and said, “Mr. Douglas, you have scored the highest I have ever seen on this test. You have a choice of anything you would like to go into in the Marine Corps.” I said, “Well, I have always wanted to be in the Marine Corps band and that’s what I would like to do.”

Back in the day, I was young!

What I learned from this period of my life is to be prepared to walk through the gates when they open up to me.  Test the waters and see if it is what I need or if it is a repeat of something I have already done. I do not like becoming stale in my approach to living and make each day an adventure

In 1976, I met someone as a young Marine fresh out of boot camp, another Marine that opened my spirit and soul to a world of compassion, self- discipline where Puritanical Ideas became obsolete and a spiritual awakening that was over whelming happened! The exploration of the pain/pleasure paradox is a continuous adventure.

As a cigar boy, good times, good drinks, good cigars and good food go together. A cigar man is the one that takes the time to enjoy a very full life and takes the time to enjoy a good cigar.  In a hectic world, it seems necessary to have that time to relax and enjoy camaraderie or solitude.

To lite up that roll of leaf is to say, “Screw the world, it’s MY time” and dare anyone to take that away. 

Living an Aficionado life is gorging on every aspect of living and challenging staid societal norms, perhaps rendering them asunder.

Gearing up in leather or denim is part of the process with the final putting on of the leather gloves to absorb that fantastic cigar smoke, is erotic and sensual.

Lighting the chosen stick means I am taking the time to enjoy and relax.  In todays world, that says something about the person.  Regional gastronomy also comes into play with the enjoyment of the stick.

The famous Casa Blanca cigar is a mellow handmade smoke that has been pleasing cigar enthusiasts for decades, thanks to its quality, consistency, and affordable price.

Hailing from Santiago, Dominican Republic, these mild-to-medium-bodied cigars will provide you with a refined consistency normally found on much more expensive smokes.

 The series has a silky Connecticut broadleaf/shade and has a smooth, creamy, nutty taste, while the maduro variety features a dark broadleaf wrapper that adds a little more of a spicy kick to the blend. 

The 60 ring Magnum was my first venture into the big ring cigars during a Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Iwakuni, Japan.  By the way, this cigar series pairs well with Ribeye Steaks and a robust Burgundy.  That was on the menu that night and a lot of Tequila!

Today, I follow in those traditions as a homemaker/houseboy and relish the time I spend in the scullery concocting charismatic culinary adventures. I commenced my migration to Cigars as a young Marine and I proudly carry that inheritance forward!

Take time for a Casa Blanca today!

As a cigar boy, good times, good drinks, good cigars and good food go together. A cigar man is the one that takes the time to enjoy a very full life and takes the time to enjoy a good cigar. In a hectic world, it seems necessary to have that time to relax and enjoy camaraderie or solitude. 

To lite up that roll of leaf is to say, “Screw the world, it’s MY time” and dare anyone to take that away. 

Shopping

My supervisor! Miss Ethel

I have had a blast today, shopping at the Aisian Markets in Houston.  I actually save 150 dollars by bargin shopping and have stocked my pantry with the necessary items.  You will not believe this, but Napa cabbage, on sale, for ten cents a pound I bought 30 pounds and am making Kimchee for future use.  I am also making Cortido just because along with grinding pork and beef for freezing. At 99 cents a pound, I bought a lot of the beef and pork. Thank god for my KitchenAide mixer with attachments! 

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I also have a 25 pound bag of potatoes that I bought for 99 cents.  So, I am making Gnochi simply because I can and backing it up with this sauce. i do refuse to pay 5 dollars for two tomatoes at HEB, therefore, my Victory Garden is producing a lot for me and mine.  By the way, Hubert E Butts, HEB, was a native of Memphis, Tennessee along with Mr. Sanders of Piggly Wiggly fame.  I am so glad to be a native Memphian. 

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So, to the nitty gritty.  Today, it’s Saturday and I am in the creative mode.  Shopping is done and now it is time for chopping.  Miss Ethel has some new boxes to play in and Mr. Humphrey is wathching old Western Movies on the Tele.  

Today, I have Pinto beans soaking in one pot and butter beans in another. Tonight, I am making thisbeef dish along with this Strawberries and Cream Cobbler!  it is really tasty! Today, I have Pinto beans soaking in one pot and butter beans in another. Tonight, I am making thisbeef dish along with this Strawberries and Cream Cobbler!  it is really tasty!

August newsletter

Greetings on this first full week in August! 

Today, I am putting together food for the rest of the week and I have decided on a Creole/Cajun influence with the seasoning of Louisiana. 

First off, I am making my Remoulade Sauce to keep in the fridge for salads and such.  I garnered this recipe from New Orleans a long time ago and have put my touches on it. Along with this, I will be making the Emeril Creole Seasoning. This is a catch all seasoning combination made of dry spices and can be kept in the spice cabinet.

  Please help keep this going! Donate here if you wish

Please help keep this going! Donate here if you wish

I will be making Ceviche as it another thing I can keep for a lunch salad or dinner appetizer. It’s also good for breakfast. I am waiting until next week to do my cold Smoked Salmon better known as Lox for bagels and such. The Creole flavors are a mix of many cultures, developed over the ages in New Orleans and the Bayous of Louisiana. 

Moving right along, my Pickled Squash is always a keeper.  It pairs well with pickled Onions and Tomatoes in a multiple course dinner.

Shrimp Creole is the citified dish for New Orleans! The flavors are fantastic and while it is considered more cultured than the Cajun Jambalaya, the flavors are close. I always thought that the only thing separating us from each other is some type of arrogance on both sides of the fence. Perhaps that is why I consider myself as a personal representative of when the Cajun met the Creole, they produced me! I will be using the Lobster and Shrimp Stock from here.

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The Piece De Resistance is a subtle Cioppino from the fantastic city of San Francisco! 

Have a great week! My work is cut out for me. Always check the sales at the local markets and purchase well. Be creative and enjoy life! 

Crawfish bisque

2 pounds fresh crawfish or 1 pound fresh and one bag frozen crawfish tails

Crab and Shrimp boil

2 bottles clam juice

1 stick butter

6 tablespoons flour for roux

Cajun Trinity finely minced (celery, onion and bell pepper)

1 medium can tomato puree (optional)

Water to fill stock pot for boiling crawfish

Fill stock pot with enough water to cover crawfish, shrimp and other shell fish and add bag of shrimp boil.  Additional Cayenne, Lemon and other herbs may be added to taste.  Bring to boil and drop the shellfish in, only blanching to a light doneness.  Remove from the stock and let cool before peeling or you might burn your fingers…LOL.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in other stock pot or dutch oven and have flour ready to add, 1 to 2 tablespoons at the time to make a golden brown roux.  Stir constantly over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, judging with the eye as there is really no way to say how long it will take, even for the most experienced chef. 

Have the trinity ready to add, as I do this almost immediately as the roux begins to brown and continue stirring.  When this reaches a desired doneness to you personally ( I like it still crunchy myself) add the clam juice and 3 to 4 cups of the boiling broth to the pot, let simmer over low heat for an hour. 

I actually prefer a lighter roux as the spices I add later on bring out that great flavor sensation of the head and the sweet.  Have ready fresh Nutmeg, finely grated, Cayenne Pepper to taste, Ground Black Pepper to taste, Paprika (at least a quarter cup of this great spice) and add about 15 to 20 minutes before the addition of the peeled and deveined shellfish.  The shell fish are added during the last 5 minutes of preparation.  Yum Yum….!

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Edamame Hummus

I took the plunge today and experimented with Edamame as a base for some spectacular hummus!  It turned out fantastic with a few tweaks from me.

I got the idea from a blog on wordpress to expand my horizons in the kitchen yet again and it has paid off.  I made mine a bit on the spicy side and added fresh tomatoes to it to create a different texture.

I do not have the flat bread to serve it with but living in Texas, I do have the taco chips.  Go figure.

This is my recipe and there is another great recipe from Alton Brown here.

To make this fantastic starter, I took one pound of Edamame, already shelled, and put them in the food processor.  I did not see the need to cook them as I like the full probiotic value these miraculous beans have to offer.  I processed them down to mush with additional EVOO and some Chili infused EVOO along with some chili powder that I made from Santa Fe chili’s.  Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice, three cloves of garlic, honey along with salt and pepper and there you have it!

Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen!

Recipe

1 pound shelled Edamame

1/3 cup EVOO

1/3 cup Chili Infused EVOO

3 large cloves of garlic, smashed and added to the food processor

3 tablespoons of sugar or honey

2 lemons, juiced with a scant teaspoon of lemon zest for extra punch

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put it all in the food processor on high and let it spin!  You may have to add a little more EVOO to get it to the right consistency but it is worth the effort!

Carpe Diem!

Scenes from a Kitchen…Mine!

I thought it would be great to begin sharing how I set my kitchen up and have on hand the things I need.
To begin, these are pictures of creations from my kitchen that I serve at home and professionally as a Chef, Caterer and Party planner.
I wear many hats and take pride in what I do. The adverse diversity in my life leads to some creative ideas and this represents the ideas becoming reality!

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My travels around the world have opened me to some great experiences. This is a starting point today.

Carpe Diem!

Banana Crumb Muffins

Casa Ukitena

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted…

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Alan’s Birthday Chicken Casserole

Alan’s Chicken Casserole is a dish I created for our roomies birthday a few years back.  He really likes chicken, broccoli and rice so why not make something special for him?

Casseroles are a Southern United States staple, especially for church suppers and such.  I took this to a bigger audience with the local meeting of the Presbytery of PCUSA under the banner of Charles Johnson Catering For Your Kneads.  I have worked with Chuck for over eight years and my creativity in the kitchen is growing.  His small company is based out of the kitchens of St. Philip Presbyterian in Houston, Texas.  Feeding the Presbytery was fun, by the way.

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Southern Fried Pork Chops with Creamy Gravy

Well bust my buggy whip and pass the shine!

This is one of my favorite recipes that I have developed from growing up in the kitchens of Douglas Nursing Home and with my grandmother, Mimi.

I grew up in the South on the Mighty Mississippi River and this was a staple not only for pork chops but for chicken also.  The seasonings provide the taste but the buttermilk marinade gives it a moist, chewy finished chop that tops the moon on flavor.

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