Tuesday, January 30, 2024

National Croissant Day - Videos

I prefer a heated plain Croissant with coffee in the morning. When I have them in bed it's a flakey affair. I usually have the L.A. Times newspaper laid out underneath my chin to catch the crumbs. That's how I like to start National Croissant Day

Croissants can be filled with chocolate or feta cheese and spinach along with many other sweets or savories. Usually associated with the French, Croissants originated in mid 1800s Austria. The pastry is layered with butter so you get a puffy and airy interior with a hard flakey brown exterior. 

While not the same by any means, Flakey Biscuits and Crescent Rolls in the can/cardboard roll give you a rough idea if you have never had a Croissant.

Croissants are now featured on many breakfast menus, even in fast food joints like a Jack in the Box Supreme Croissant made with scrambled eggs, cheese, ham, and bacon, and they are pretty tasty, too. If you are staying at a vacation B & B (Bread and Breakfast) they often serve a Continental Breakfast that includes Croissants. But Croissants are best fresh from a bakery deli case. 

Lately, I get mine cheaply from my local Ralphs supermarket bargain bin. They may be a few days old, but because I like them warm they reheat to an almost fresh state, crunchy on the outside, and buttery soft on the inside. 

I like to buy a container or two at a time as they freeze and defrost fine. Since I get a great deal there is no reason to make my own...maybe one day I'll give it a shot.

I reheat them on the stovetop in a pan, just for a minute on each side. A toaster oven works quite well, too. If I am heating up a few Croissants then I will heat them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or so - they don't need to brown anymore, just heat through - so check on them frequently just in case - warm to the touch is enough. Of course, they are delicious at room temperature.

I like my Croissants warm and plain, but lately, I've been making stuffed Breakfast Croissant Sandwiches. Check out my Scrambled Egg Croissant Sandwich video below. Nothing to it really just scrambled eggs anyway you like it, then load them into a sliced-open Croissant. I finally heat the Croissant for about a minute on each side.

For my next recipe video, I add cheese on top of the scrambled eggs. I use American cheese, but you can use any favorite cheese. Again, nothing to this simply delicious Scrambled Egg and Cheese Croissant Sandwich, it's so quick and easy to do!

My last Breakfast Croissant Sandwich is the most decadent with not only scrambled egg and cheese but add a slice of ham -- check it out below.

I'll celebrate National Croissant Day any day of the year, and when you try my above Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches you will, too.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Giblet Gravy - Video Recipe

Giblets are those extra parts of the turkey you don't roast on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. But don't throw out the heart, gizzard, liver, and neck before you read my Giblet Gravy recipe. But the question is "Can you handle it?"

Liver, heart, and the gizzard are textures that go from mushy and chewy to tough. Organ meat is not like dark or white meat, stringy and tender. My recipe is not for the faint of palate.

I used to make my Holiday gravy with pan-roasted drippings but lately, I've added cooked giblets and neck meat for the most pungent Giblet Gravy.

Giblets come in a pouch buried in the cavity of a store-bought whole bird. The long neck is usually separated but in the cavity as well. 

I usually saute or roast the liver and eat it when I bake a turkey or chicken. It's tender when cooked. The heart and gizzard are chewy and take an hour or two of boiling to tenderize. Japanese restaurants grill giblets on skewers while in the South they are deep-fried. 

The neck appears all bone, but it holds quite a lot of meat when cooked and peeled. 

For a Giblet Gravy, I will boil the giblets and neck in water for an hour with a little salt and pepper. I then chop them up and peel off the neck meat. Finally, I make a gravy with the giblet broth and flour then add the chopped and shredded meat.

Giblet Gravy is intense in flavor and may not appeal to sensitive palates. When I make a holiday turkey I just go for it, guests can always pour in the gravy liquid and leave out the chunky giblets.

So on your next Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, you can make a plain Gravy or my meatier and pungent Giblet Gravy.

Giblet Gravy - VIDEO      Play it here, video runs 4 minutes, 23 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.


  • Giblets - 1 neckbone of meat, heart, gizzard, and liver. I get the giblets from buying a whole chicken or turkey. Look for the giblets package in the cavity of the raw bird. The neckbone also comes from the bird cavity. If the neck is not included then it's okay to just use the giblets package.
  • Water from boiling giblets - 3 cups. Okay to use favorite broth or a bouillon cube.
  • Flour - 1/4 cup. Add an extra tablespoon if gravy is too thin for your tastes. Or add extra water to thin the gravy.
  • Salt and Pepper - to taste or about half a teaspoon. I add the salt and pepper to boiling giblets. No salt to the gravy as water from boiling giblets is salty enough to me, but I do add half a teaspoon of extra pepper to the gravy.


Place giblets plus neck bone into a pot. Add 3 cups of water. 

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Simmer giblets plus neckbone for one hour. If you do not like organ meat it's okay to strain the liquid and make a flavorful gravy.

I find that the heart and gizzard are too tough and chewy if you do not cook long enough. They will still have a bit of chew, but that's just the normal cooked texture. 

The gizzard will have a tough clear connective tissue right in the middle where the two sides meet. You can slice this away when cooled as it will be rubbery. But, it's okay to just leave it as that is what giblets are all about, a chewier texture.

When giblets are done, remove them and allow them to cool down so you can roughly slice them. It's up to you how chunky the giblets are chopped. The liver is extra soft and may crumble a bit.

The neckbone takes the most work. I find a fork is the best way to scrape off the meat. You may need to get your fingers dirty because some of the meat will cling to crevices in the neckbone.

You should get a cup or so of neck meat and chopped giblets. Now it's time to make the gravy. Heat a pan or pot with medium heat.

Add a quarter cup of flour to the pan. Allow the flour to heat, and stir for a couple of minutes. This will take out some of the raw flour taste and make fewer lumps in the gravy.

Pour in the giblets broth, about 3 cups. If less than 3 cups it's okay to add some water. 

Stir water and flour making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the flour that may stick and clump. Heated flour should dissolve in the water. Look for clumps of flour to break up and stir. It may take a minute or two to dissolve all the flour. 

The gravy will thicken the longer it cooks. You can serve this as your Giblet Gravy, but to make my intense version you have to add the meat.

Add the cooked giblets and neck meat. Stir to blend. I like extra black pepper in Giblet Gravy, but it's okay to leave it out. I add about half a teaspoon of extra black pepper.

As Giblet Gravy thickens taste to see if you like more salt. I leave it out as the Giblet broth is salty enough for me.

Giblet Gravy will thicken as it heats up to a simmer or low boil, it may take two or three minutes. Keep stirring from time to time. The longer you simmer the gravy the thicker it will get. 

I like Giblet Gravy poured over sliced turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, how about you?

Sunday, January 21, 2024

National Squirrel Day - Composting & Squirrels Video

In the acting world, you shy away from performing with children and animals. Why...because, after all those years of distilling your experiences into being spontaneous and natural in front of an audience, there is nothing worse than being upstaged by cuteness.

It's all in the wrist if you want to compost like The 99 Cent Chef. With shovel in hand, the Chintzy Composter shows you a simple method that reduces the garbage you throw away by about half - so that means fewer trips to the dumpster. Plus, if you have a small garden you will never have to buy potting soil again. Just hit the play button below to see my Composting Video.

Composting, Squirrels, and the 99 Cent Chef - VIDEO

 Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 17 seconds.

In The 99 Cent Chef's latest video you'll see birds and squirrels upstage the Anthropomorphic Chef.

My neighbor feeds the birds and squirrels every morning. So I got the idea to set out some seeds and have animals do the work of making an opening title sequence for me. Only a nut would let squirrels and birds do the typography for my videos...well, I'm that Chintzy Nut.

And my front yard critters will work for 99 cent peanuts and birdseed.

For the final video scene, it's a squirrel feeding frenzy when The Doctor Doolittle of chefs scatters lettuce in the most unique way for the tree-dwelling rodents.

There are many techniques for Composting. Just Google the word and you'll see what I mean. It really just depends on how much you want to deal with. You can start a giant compost pile with everything from veggie table scraps to lawn trimmings, and even newsprint and paper. I live in the city, so composting is best not seen or smelt!

I've come up with an easy-to-do method. Every day my girlfriend and I collect the veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells into a small container with a top. I live in a condo complex with a lot of land per unit and there is an outdoor common area in the corner that is not used. So every 2 to 4 days I take my full compost bin and bury the scraps in a 4 by 4-foot square area. Nobody complains and some of my neighbors offer encouragement, even compliments.

With a minimal amount of compost area to work with, I find it's just enough. I bury my small scrap amounts and a couple of days later dig a new hole. If you roughly chop up the scraps with the shovel and mix in a little dirt, the decomposition is complete in less than 2 weeks.

So by the time I've filled my 4 food square, it's ready for a new round of veggie scraps. (You'll see black nutrient-rich-looking compost clumps as you work your way around.) It takes a month or so until the compost is ready for my garden -- just in time for Fall and Spring planting.

A quick gardening note: composting veggies with seeds, like cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes, means you will get sprouting seedlings popping out all over. I'll prune out most of them as they come up, but I like to keep a few plants just to see how they do. Every year I get some type of squash plant that yields a bouquet of edible squash blossoms -- just type "squash blossoms" into the "Enter Ingredient or Recipe Keyword(s)" search window located at the top right side of this page to see all the recipes I use them for.

The trick is to keep the compost area clean and odorless. Instead of a smelly compost pile, I bury mine. Now, that means I can't compost everything, but it's good enough for big city living.

So, check out my Composting with The 99 Cent Chef video below. As I mentioned earlier, "It's all in the wrist," and I don't just mean how you handle a shovel, as you will see during the video's outrageous ending.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

And 99 thanks to Bob McGuinness, and Amy for shooting the Chef.

Monday, January 15, 2024

National Bagel Day - Recipes

 Time to get Schmeared on National Bagel Day!

I never had a Bagel when I lived in Louisiana and Texas as a youth, but now you can get them in almost any coffee shop and larger grocery stores. Bagels are boiled and then baked to create a crunchy surface and chewy interior. They go back to the 17 century in Jewish communities of Poland.

My wife, Linda, grew up a half-hour from New York City, the capital of Bagels. I got a crash course there when we visited her family. 

I never realized the different types of Bagels out there. Just look at the list from an NYC bagel shop. Can't say I really have a favorite, but I do lean toward an Onion Bagel.

The Bagel I had no idea about is the Everything Bagel, like, what makes it "Everything?" Well, I found "Everything" can come in a plastic shaker at the Dollar Tree. for $1.25.

Reading the ingredients list, it's comprised of poppy and sesame seeds plus other dried seasonings like salt, garlic and onion. I guess you can make anything "Everything" with this shaker, Hmmm...Everything Scrambled Eggs, Everything Pasta, and Everything Tacos?

Check out our breakfast video below at Ess-a-Bagel restaurant in NYC where they are baked on the premises and serving a dozen varieties of amazing Bagel Sandwiches!

Ess-a-Bagel - Movie

I do love a toasted Bagel in the morning, usually as a sandwich with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Also, you should try a simple breakfast recipe of Scrambled Eggs & Caramelized Onions served on a slice of toasted Bagel. A Bagel for breakfast gets the job done to get you out the door...or at least out of bed.

In past film commercial shoots the Non-kosher Cameraman /Chef was quick to line up for a catered breakfast; going past the multitude of sugary pastry confections and heading straight for Bagels, cream cheese, Lox (cured salmon), sliced red onion, and tomato to build a Jewish deli kosher classic. 

You should click here to see my Homemade Lox recipe. It's really easy to do, just coat a thick slice of raw salmon in equal parts of sugar and salt, wrap in plastic, or seal in a glass container, and let it cure in the refrigerator for a couple of days (unwrap and drain liquid during curing). Finally, rinse and pat dry, that's it.

Now Lox (mildly brined, cold-cured raw salmon) is too expensive for this Chintzy Chef but canned, or soft packaged cooked salmon is a fine inexpensive substitute for a Homemade Salmon Schmear (original blog post recipe is here.) 

Drain and fold it into room-temperature softened cream cheese, lightly mix with some lemon juice and you have a spreadable feast - a Cheap$kate Salmon Schmear.

I find small tubs and packages of cream cheese in the 99c only Store cold cases quite often; bagels, as well as small cans of cooked salmon, are usually stocked.

Here's my cheap$kate Salmon Schmear video below. I use salmon from the can or soft pack. Drain and blend it with room-temperature cream cheese. Couldn't be easier and cheaper to do.

Bagels still turn up in bargain bins at chain grocery stores, while 99c only Stores and Dollar Tree have them from time to time, too.

Salmon Schmear is also a delicious party dip, just set out your preferred cracker, pita, or toasted wedges of bagel. This kosher morning starter is a Chef's favorite; right up there with McDonald's decidedly non-kosher sausage and egg, syrup-filled pancake sandwich "McGriddle".

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (Philadelphia Cream Cheese is kosher.)
  • 3 oz. small package or can of cooked salmon (Pillar Rock salmon brand is kosher.)
  • Sliced tomato and onion (preferably red onion - for this recipe I used a yellow onion.)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice (optional.)
  • Bagels


Allow cream cheese to reach room temperature. Drain salmon and mix it into cream cheese. You can use less cream cheese for a fishier version.

Add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Mix lightly for a chunky spread.

Toast bagel then add Salmon Schmear with tomato and sliced onion.

A classic Bagel and Cream Cheese is just that. I also like them with a thin slice of onion and a fat slice of tomato. Nothing to it really as my video below will show.

Blueberry Bagels are somewhat controversial. I like them but Linda despises them - won't go near them.

Hey, we have to agree to disagree, I like them toasted with a smear of butter.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...