Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wonderful Group of Students from Appalachian State in the kitchen with Chef Joe

A Group of Student and there professor from Appalachian State while on a field trip to Savannah join Chef Joe for a demonstration dinner class
at Chef Joe Randall's Cooking School

Chef Joe Placing Roast Rack of Pork in the Oven
Chef Joe steel in hand putting on a edge.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chef Patrick Clark Speak From His Heart

Memories of my dear friend Chef Patrick Clark

Patrick Clark
March 17, 1955- February 11, 1998

While I have many wonderful memories of my dear friend Patrick Clark, a few great moments do come to mind. Patrick was always willing to help whenever I called upon him to share his talents and expertise. He worked with me on several events for the National Counsel of Negro Women in Los Angeles. He helped me to coordinate the judges for the "Real-Men-Cook" Annual Gala, and was a founding member of board of trustees for the Taste of Heritage Foundation.

Patrick loved to cook and I never hesitated to ask him to do so, for those visions we shared, he participated in the first Elegant Taste of Heritage dinner held at the L'ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California and hosted the first Elegant Taste of Heritage dinner on the east coast at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington, D. C. The most memorial day was November 19, 1991 when Patrick came to The School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as part of our second annual Distinguished Chef Series. He conducted a master cooking class, and worked with my students to prepare a Gala Banquet, one of the greatest meals of my life. First course Cannelloni of Cabbage and Root Vegetables with Potato and Olive Oil Broth, Second course Sautéed Zucchini Wrapped Shrimp with Mixed Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Thyme and Light Shrimp Sauce, Main course Medallions of Venison with Roasted Beet Sauce, Butternut Squash Puree with Deepened Fried Sweet Potato Chips and Dessert course Warm Apple Bread Pudding with a Vanilla Custard Sauce. Patrick was the first chef I contacted to contribute to A Taste of Heritage: New African-American Cuisine, a collection of foods and dishes that reflect both the family histories and training of the chefs that contributed to the timely book. Chef Joe Randall 5/29/98

Mustard-Barbecued Lamb Chops
Makes 4 servings

Tavern on the Green's award winning executive chef Patrick Clark, presents his lamb chops

7 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 table spoon of dried oregano
20 black peppercorns
1/2 cup of olive oil
12 rib lamp chops
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 small red onion
1/2 carrot
Add 1/2 serrano chili
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 1/2 table spoons of dijon mustard
1 table spoon of honey

In a small bowl, combine 5 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 20 black peppercorns cracked and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Place 12 rib lamb chops trimmed of fat in a shallow baking dish or a ziploc plastic bag to marinate. Set aside to refrigerate overnight.

In a medium
sized saucepan over medium high heat, add 1 small red onion peeled and diced, 1/2 carrot peeled and diced and 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed. Sautee for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 serrano chili seeded and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. Stir for 1 more minute. Add 1/2 cup of ketchup, 1 1/2 table spoons of dijon mustard, and 1 table spoon of honey. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
Swap out with sauce that has already been sautéd for 25 minutes. Cool and puree in a blender. Strain and thin with a little water if needed. Wipe the marinade off the lamb chops before placing the chops on the grill. Grill the meat until medium rare. About a minute before the lamb is done, brush the lamb chops on both sides with the mustard sauce. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When you serve the lamb chops, spread both sides with the additional sauce.

This recipe developed by
Chef Patrick Clark
all rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chef Edna Lewis In Her Own Words

Memories of My Dear Friend Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis
April 13, 1916 - February 13, 2006

Today, I found myself reminiscing about the first time I spoke with my dear friend Chef Edna Lewis. At the time of our very first conversation, Ms. Lewis was a few years shy of retirement and was serving as the executive chef at Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn, New York. I called Ms. Lewis and introduced myself and right away let her know how proud so many of my fellow black chef's and I were of her contributions to the restaurant industry and especially for all she had done to set a positive example for all African American chefs.

Over the next few years we had many opportunities to work on projects together. In 1993, she had retired and was living in Orange County, Virginia with her brother George, who had also retired and returned home to Virginia from Pasadena California. George had a new home built just down the road from their sister Ruth. I invited her to come to Washington, DC and participate in a dinner at the Hay Adams Hotel, where my friend Patrick Clark was the executive chef. The dinner was great and so was her dessert course Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream. The next year she returned and did another dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel where she made She Crab Soup.

In 1996, Edna and I traveled to Chicago for three days to attend the African Festival where we hosted cooking demonstrations and she signed cookbooks. One morning , Ms. Lewis and I went to Glady's Lunchonette for breakfast. She was delighted to see scrambled eggs and brains on the menu. She immediately ordered them and began to tell to describe to me her love for hog brains since she was a young girl. I can remember Ms. Lewis saying, “During hog killing time the brains would be the first thing that got eaten.” She was especially excited to eat hog brains that morning. After breakfast Ms. Gladys came out of the kitchen to greet Ms. Lewis and myself. These are memories I will always cherish.

Ms. Lewis gained tremendous accolades for her cookbooks on the pleasures of southern cooking and heritage. Some of her most prized cookbooks included, The Edna Lewis Cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking, and In Pursuit of Flavor. Chef Edna Lewis’ passion for fresh ingredients and authentic flavors will live on through the work of generations of African American chefs to come.

She-Crab Soup
Makes 8 Servings

Female crabs are prized for this famous soup because they contribute a potent but delicate flavor. Following tradition, she-crab soup should be prepared using female crabs exclusively, with their roe added for even more flavor.

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
4 cups heavy cream
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups crab roe or the yolks of 4 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Melt butter in a heavy 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. In a saucepan, heat milk, but do not boil. When butter is hot, whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook roux 2-3 minutes, do not brown. Slowly stir in hot milk, whisking well. Cook over medium low heat until hot, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Pour cream into a large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking occasionally, then reduce heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes until cream has thickened and reduced by [1/4]. Pour cream into hot mixture. Mix well, then stir in crab meat. Cook 30 minutes to allow the flavor to develop, stirring occasionally. Season with sherry and salt. Add crab roe. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and a generous sprinkle of cayenne.

This recipe developed by
Chef Edna Lewis
all rights reserved.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oyster and Shrimp Purloo

The Geechee-Gullah Influence

Some of the strongest influences on US cuisine came from African
slaves, the people who least intended to be here. American food is
inconceivable without barbecue in its many variations, all kinds of
fritters and a mess of greens. Indeed Africans brought with them
important techniques including smoking meats, frying grains and
legumes into fritters, boiling leafy green vegetables, and making up
hot, spicy sauces. Since African-Americans ran the kitchens on
Southern plantations, they played a major role in molding the renowned
cuisine of the South.

The geography of the coastal South Carolina and Georgia proved
conducive to rice growing and produced a rice-based cuisine.
Specialties such as Hoppin' John -- rice cooked with red field peas
flavored with salt pork, Limpin’ Susan -- a cousin of Hoppin' John,
made with rice, shrimp, okra and bacon and Savannah Red Rice -- full
of tomatoes, red and green peppers smoked sausage are just three of
many local rice dishes. Seafood specialties include the famous
Oyster and Shrimp Purloo -- contains celery, grenn bell pepper,
onions, garlic, a rich shrimp stock, smoked sausage, tomatoes and

Shrimp Stock
Makes 1/2 Quart

1/8 cup peanut oil
3/4 pound shrimp shells
1 rib celery coarsely chopped
1 small carrot coarsely chopped
1 small onion coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 quart water
1/8 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
2 each black peppercorns
1 each bay leaf

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells and
sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until the shells look dry. Add the
celery, carrots, onions, and garlic, continue to sauté for 2 to 3
minutes. Add the water, wine, tomato paste, parsley, thyme,
peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock through a fine mesh
strainer. Return to heat and boil until reduced to 1/2 quart. Will
keep 2 to 3 days refrigerated; can be frozen.

This recipe developed by
Chef Joseph G. Randall
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 10/1/09

Oyster and Shrimp Purloo
Makes 8 Servings

One of the most desired rice dishes of the Low Country is the pilau or
purloo pronounced piloe or puhr-loe. Some purloos call for meat some
seafood or both.

6 slices slab bacon cooked and drained
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup green bell pepper diced
1/4 cup celery diced fine
1/2 cup onion diced fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 pound smoked sausage diced
1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
1 pint oysters (reserve liquid) drained
1 1/2 cups rice (long-grain)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock (see recipe)
2 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a large sauté pan fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan
dice and set aside Add butter to the bacon grease. Add green bell
pepper, celery, onions, and garlic pan and sauté 2 to 3 minute until
tender. Add smoked sausage, shrimp, oysters to vegetable mixture,
sauté until shrimp turn pink and oysters curl at the edges. Add rice,
tomato paste and stir, add shrimp stock, oyster liquid, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and black
pepper Cover pan reduce to low heat and simmer until rice is tender
and has absorbed liquid, (about 20 to 25 minutes). Garnish with
diced bacon and chopped parsley.

This recipe developed
by Chef Joseph G. Randall
all rights reserved
Copyright © 10/1/09

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John is one of the dishes that Chef Lee exposed me to when I was at the Harrisburgher Hotel in Harrisburg, PA as a young cook in the mid 1960's. He had learn to make it from a black lady while he working in Charleston South Carolina. He said she was very clear that you should never uncover the pot once it started cooking until it was finish.

Hoppin' John is the Southern United States' version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout the Caribbean and peas and rice in Jamaica. It consists of field peas (or black-eyed peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock or fatback for the conventional bacon; Smaller than black-eyed peas, red field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere. Hoppin’ John is “a pilaf made with beans and rice.” Typical of the one-pot cooking of the South Carolina and Georgia lowcountry, the Hoppin' John recipe is said to have come directly to America from West Africa. The first written appearance of the recipe in English was in Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife, or House and Home by a Lady of Charleston, published anonymously in 1847. Whatever the origins, the dish, originally made with pigeon peas in West Africa, became a favorite of the rice plantation owners as well as the enslaved. As the recipe moved inland, it became the traditional dish for good luck on New Year’s Day throughout the South and a favority Gullah food.

The dish goes back at least as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin' John.

Hoppin` John (Red Field Peas and Rice)
Makes 8 Servings

1 cup dried red field peas presoaked overnight drained
3 1/2 cups water
3 ounces streak-of-lean streak-of-fat finely diced
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup long grain white rice

Carefully pick over the red field peas and rinse them in a bowl. Add 3 cups of water. Soak for 6-8 hours, drain the peas, reserving water.

Heat a soup kettle or Dutch oven and saute the streak-a-lean 3-4 minutes. Saute the onion and garlic 1-2 mintues; do not brown. Add the water, red field peas and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat and addpeppers and butter. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, adding water, as needed. Stir in rice and simmer, covered for 20- 25 minutes.

This recipe developed by
Chef Joseph G. Randall
all rights reserved.
Copyright © 9/1/09

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Robert W. Lee A Legacy To Honor by Chef Joe Randall August 1. 1998

Chef Robert W. Lee
January 1, 1911 to November 24, 1999

Giving Honor to God and to the thousands of African-American chefs and cooks who came before me, establishing the very foundation for our great cuisine. Without their mastery and contribution, we would have had no basis to forge upon. Chef Robert W. Lee, is one of those worthy heirs to a great tradition of southern cooking we should honor. Chef Lee started his culinary journey in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of seven years old around 1918. An education was not a priority at the time, surviving was the task at hand to be able to work was to be able to eat. His father was deceased and he needed to help at home. While in the streets doing the best he could, he observed a man who went in and out of the Biltmore Hotel every day who appeared to be doing quite well. Young Robert discovered the man was Eugene Bruauier the French chef at the hotel and soon became his personal boy. Chef Lee worked and trained under Chef Bruauier for thirteen years. He then worked at the King and Prince Beach Club on Saint Simons Island, Georgia. Robert moved to Charleston, South Carolina He relocated to Atlanta in 1939 where he worked at the Hotel Henry Grady until he was lured to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania around 1939 by the chef he had worked for in Charleston. Chef Lee worked as a cook at the Harrisburger Hotel until 1942. He then joined the U.S. Army where he became a mess sergeant and instructor, returning to the Harrisburger Hotel as a cook in 1946, after being discharged from the army. Over the next year, the Hotel experienced a rapid turnover of executive chefs. Finally, Chef Lee was recommended for the position of executive chef which he excepted over the next twenty-seven years. Chef Lee managed the kitchens at the Harrisburger Hotel, with an entire African-American staff. He trained many young men and women for careers in the culinary field. Lecturing and demonstrating at Pennsylvania State University School of Hotel Management. Chef Lee built a clientele in several restaurants within the hotel and maintained a dedicated following throughout those years. In 1966 the owner of the Harrisburger Hotel died. Chef Lee excepted the position as executive chef at the Blue Ridge Country Club, where he worked until the fall of 1969. He took over as executive chef at the Sheraton Hotel Harrisburg for the Archris Hotel Corporation of Boston. His outstanding achievements in the Culinary Arts were recognized by naming him Chef of the Year from 1970 thru 1979. Chef Lee retired in 1979 and lived with his devoted wife Geneva in Harrisburg, PA until his death November 24, 1999.

Sea Island Smothered Shrimp and Creamy Stone Ground Grits

Shrimp Stock
Makes 1/2 Quart

1/8 cup peanut oil
3/4 pound shrimp shells
1 rib celery (coarsely chopped)
1 small carrot (coarsely chopped)
1 small onion (coarsely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 quart water
1/8 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
2 each black peppercorns
1 each bay leaf

Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until the shells look dry. Add celery, carrots, onions, and garlic, continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add water, wine, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring stock to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer. Return to the heat and boil until reduced to 1/2 quart. Will keep 2 to 3 days refrigerated. Stock can be frozen up to 6 months.

Creamy Grits
Makes 8 Servings

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup stone-ground yellow grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper, stir in grits gradually. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the butter then the heavy cream, cover and set aside.

Sea Island Smothered Shrimp
Makes 8 Servings

4 slices slab bacon diced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium vidalia onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon paprika
2 pounds shrimp (medium) peeled and deveined
3 cups shrimp stock
3 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
1/2 cup scallion thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Dredge shrimp in flour, shaking off excess. In a large skillet fry the diced slab bacon until brown. Add the Vidalia onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and paprika; stir and add the shrimp then cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Add the shrimp stock and chives; stir and reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add scallions and cayenne pepper; stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the grits into center of a warm soup plate then spoon the smothered shrimp over the grits. Serve immediately.

Recipes developed by
Chef Joseph G. Randall
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 9/1/09

Shrimp and Grits Competitions on Jekyll Island

Just returned from Jekyll Island for the Shrimp & Grits: The Wild Georgia Shrimp Festival. A weekend celebration of two of Georgia's most beloved foods - shrimp & grits. The festival featured cook-offs, shrimp boat tours, live entertainment and kid-friendly fun zone. I hosted a cooking demonstration and was a judge for the amateur and professional shrimp & grits cooking competitions.