Tag Archives: Cheese

I8tonite: Charred Broccoli with Lemon and Asiago

I discovered Charred Broccoli with Lemon and Asiago absolutely tasty. Tasty enough that there aren’t leftovers the next day.  I now believe roasting is the best thing for anything even broccoli which I like but isn’t necessarily my go to. So, when in doubt — roast. (My new motto.)

I discovered the recipe in “Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals, From Our Restaurants to Your Home”, compiled by Union Square Hospitality Group’s Culinary Director, Michael Romano and written by Karen Stabiner, with a forward by Danny Meyer, chef and owner of the just mentioned company. (Yes, Danny Meyer of Shake Shack fame.) I briefly worked for him as a waiter at Union Square Café back in the late eighties. Written in 2013, the cookbook’s recipes are staff meals from his restaurants that are part of the said conglomeration. These establishments include some of the Big Apple’s gastronomically acclaimed: Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, The Modern and others. (Sadly, Union Square Café will be moving from its current space of 30 years to another area of Manhattan due to high rents.) Traditionally, staff meals are served at the beginning of the dinner shift and end of lunch.

El Teddys. Courtesy of I Loved New York

Truth be told,  taking all the romance out of the cookbook, along with the “familial” sappiness  — the  staff meals that we were given before or after our shifts came from leftovers that didn’t sell – too much chicken, Bibb lettuce getting ready to turn, fresh pasta that needed to be boiled so it didn’t go to waste.  Working at the now defunct Soho Kitchen & Bar (SKB), we were served pizzas and salad pretty much every staff meal.  The kitchen quickly needed to use up any dough from the day before and replenish with freshly made.  The salad was at least a couple of days old but it was still had a good crunch going on. At El Teddy’s, torn down in 2004 — we were allowed to eat any of the appetizers such as chicken achiote, machaca or steak arrachera burritos, any of the salads or the quesadillas which included huitlacoche (corn fungus), nopales and a puerco.  We could order as much as we wanted as the back of the house had already made the dishes with fresh ingredients for that day’s clientele. (We were eating yesterday’s.) At the Cajun/Mexican fusion of How’s Bayou – it was mostly leftover fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, day old enchiladas, reconstituted black beans, red rice and sometimes something green. (Not complaining about any of this. It was free food and truly delicious. The pizza at SKB was some of the best I had. I learned a lot about life, cooking, drinking and made some of the best friends ever while working in restaurants. I loved it.)

This brings me back to this recipe and cookbook…yeah, I don’t think any of the staff at my restaurants would have eaten this as “family meal”. It would have would have been sitting under the heat lamps drying out…but now that I’m older and definitely stockier — it’s pretty stellar stuff.

Charred Broccoli


  • 2 bunches of broccoli cut into trees with stems. Trim off about two inches from the bottom.
  • ¼ olive oil.
  • 2 lemons.
  • Several dashes of red pepper flakes.
  • Italian hard cheese such as asiago, pecorino or parmesan. Two to three cups grated.
  • Maldon salt, fresh cracked pepper. (Okay, you can use kosher….but I love the Maldon stuff.)
  • ½ cup of Panko bread crumbs.

Let’s make this puppy:

Preheat the oven to 450 – 475 degrees. Toss the broccoli, olive oil and breadcrumbs into a large bowl coating the broccoli really well. Spread into a single layer onto a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, charring the ends of the broccoli but not burning them.

While the broccoli is cooking, zest the two lemons into a large bowl and add the grated cheese stirring well until mixed.

Once the broccoli is cooked, toss the broccoli in the bowl mix with juice of a ½ a lemon. Serve.

The End. Go Eat.

I8tonite: Chef’s Questionnaire with Kelly Chapman, Chef and Creator of Studio City’s Macolicious


Chef Kelly Chapman is a rare find in the culinary world. Her Macolicious, a restaurant serving up the comfort of macaroni and cheese, located in Studio City, California is from the heart. She has an earnestness not seen in the restaurant industry showcasing “paying-it-forward”, honoring recipes from her elders and good old-fashioned, taste-bud loving cooking. Chapman’s pasta and cheese started off as a food truck which road-tripped throughout the Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Fernando Valley before becoming a brick-and-mortar in September 2014. Currently, her menu features over 12 different variations of macaroni and cheese, all of it baked with it’s base being a sharp cheddar. (” …although The Dreamy Creamy Mac is prepared stove top because that’s the way kids like it”.) There are fancy versions such as “Frous Frous”  which is made with blue crab;  “5 Cheeses” which includes Asiago, Fontina, Gruyere, Parmesan and cheddar and “American Mac” which combines asparagus and bacon two of Chapman’s favorite ingredients. Some of the proceeds of her restaurant goes to Kelly Chapman’s Ministries Mobile Pantry which has fed over 20,000 people in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio including low-income families, battered women and single mothers.

How long have you been cooking?   Since I was 7 years old making breakfast pancakes with Mom.

What is your favorite food to cook?  Macaroni and cheese of course!

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What do you always have in your fridge at home?   Cheese, blackberries, raspberries and pecans

What do you cook at home?  Bacon, eggs, pancakes and cheese grits

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?  They appreciate the little details, like our pillows, the grass, the mac’n’cheese covered lamps or the noodle knobs in the bathroom.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?  Cheap and uninformed.  They don’t know the difference between “cheese” and “cream”, or “fresh squeezed juice” and “bottled fresh squeezed”.  Even worse?  The customer who is miserable.  They arrive miserable and want to make everyone else suffer.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?  Pyrex all day long because it cleans easily, and withstands various temperatures.

Beer, wine or cocktail?  Wine because it tastes great in a glass or in your food.

Your favorite cookbook author?   My late stepmother introduced me to Norma Jean and Carole Darden, Authors of Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine.

Your favorite kitchen tool?  A fork and knife so I can eat; second, my Crofton electric wine bottle opener.


Your favorite ingredient?  I put cheese on everything.

Your least favorite ingredient?  Curry.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?  Grate cheese.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Southern cuisine, soul food or Italian.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu?  Eat Right for your Blood Type says a B- needs red meat.  #lovebutton

Favorite vegetable?  Asparagus but I just heard that it makes your pee a bit stinky.  Oh well…

Chef you most admire?  First, my mom and second, B. Smith.

Food you like the most to eat?  Cheesy baked potato skins.

Food you dislike the most? Any type of fish.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?  None, but if I did you would see 4 noodles at the nape of my neck with the words #maclove.

Macolicious Logo

Kelly Chapman’s Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole


  • 1 pound of Hot Sausage
  • 8 slices of bread
  • 4 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can mushroom soup

Layer in an baking dish starting with the bottom layer:

  • 8 slices of bread – cubed
  • 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound of sausage cooked and drained

Second layer

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 5 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups of milk

Third layer

  • 1 can of mushroom soup mixed with 1 can of evaporated milk

Forth layer:

  • 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese

Bake at 300 for 1 1/2 hours. Cut into squares.  Serve with fresh fruit, Cheese Grits, and banana bread or a muffin.

Extra: Freeze squares in individual sandwich bags placed in one large freezer bag.  Thaw overnight and broil for 5 minutes.  If you must microwave — you can.

-The End. Go Eat. –