Coastal men prove they can stand the heat in the kitchen
Any lingering notions that men don’t know their way around the kitchen or that cooking is women’s work are quickly going the way of electric fondue pots and Jell-O salads.
Men, according to a slew of polls and research, like to cook. And they’re pretty good at it, too.
As more female chefs break into professional kitchens long ruled by men, men are preparing more meals at home.
Allrecipes.com in 2010 surveyed thousands of online users about their eating habits and preferences. What they found was that 82 percent of men enjoy preparing meals, as opposed to 75 percent of women. And two years later, a survey conducted by online marketing company Conversion Hub and website Asia Food Recipe, found that 58 percent of women said their husbands were better in the kitchen.
Some of the men we feature in Coast Monthly agree.
Lucky for us, the cooking men of our June issue each shared a signature recipe.
– Laura Elder
Retired island builder Bob Berry has lived in places around the world, including Spain and Italy, where he picked up a culinary trick or two.
First meal that you made? Apple pie. I think I was 11 years old and I was baby-sitting my sisters. They wanted to make cookies. We got out a big cookbook, saw a picture of an apple pie and just followed the recipe. It came out so good, my parents accused us of lying when we said we baked it. They thought the neighbors brought it over.
Favorite kitchen gadget? Butcher knife.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Seafood pasta — anything Italian. I lived in Italy for a long time.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Salt.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? I think the biggest crime in America is no one is in the kitchen.
Seafood and Chorizo Paella
3 (5-ounce) packages of
Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice
1 large onion chopped
5 garlic cloves chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 ounces Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
2 cans Campbell Chicken Broth
3 cups water
2-3 cups Spanish chorizo
(not Mexican) or favorite smoked link sausage
3 cups of 2-inch cut boneless chicken, preferably thighs
1 pound medium raw, peeled shrimp
1 pound black lip mussels
1.5 cups fresh 2-inch cut green beans
1.5 cups frozen large green peas
1 cup roasted red bell pepper (fresh or in jar to garnish)
2 lemons sliced to garnish
Optional: Add calamari rings or little neck clams
In a paella pan or large, fluted edge skillet, add olive oil and pan fry sausage until brown. Transfer sausage out of pan and add chicken. Fry until brown. Transfer chicken out of pan with sausage.
In remaining oil, sauté onion and garlic and add dry yellow rice to pan, stir for two minutes then add tomato sauce. Mix water and chicken broth together and slowly add liquid a cup at a time to rice, reducing the liquid then adding the next cup. Always keep enough liquid on the rice to keep it from drying, much like cooking risotto. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add sausage, chicken and green beans to rice and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Then stir in green peas. Begin to add seafood. Fold peeled shrimp into rice and stick mussels tail end down into the rice.
Once seafood is in, you can no longer stir the rice. Lower heat and slowly cook until mussels open. Seafood will add liquid. If rice seems too wet, you can finish the dish off by placing pan in a 400 F oven for 5 to 10 minutes but if you let the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving, the rice should absorb liquid on its own. Garnish with roasted peppers and lemon wedges.
Lewis Jackson II
As an officer with the Galveston Police Department, Lewis Jackson II has a job that can be stressful. To unwind, he heads to the kitchen of his League City home.
First meal that you made? Eggs over easy when I was 10.
Favorite kitchen gadget? Chef’s knives.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Snapper Pontchartrain.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Garlic and lots of it — powder and fresh.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? Not having all of your cookware organized.
Grilled Red Snapper with Alexander Sauce
2 (6- to 8-ounce) fillets of red snapper
½ cup olive oil
Juice from one small lemon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1½ tablespoons flour
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup clam juice
2 cups whipping cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup uncooked shrimp (shelled and deveined)
5 ounces white lumped crabmeat
1 dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
For the red snapper:
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Place snapper fillets in lemon/oil mixture and make sure that the fillets are completely coated in the mixture. Allow fish to marinate for 15 minutes only.
Place fish on the preheated grill (if fish has skin on, place skin side down first) for 4 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Note: Cook fish just until opaque and fish is flaky. The total cook time should be 8 to 9 minutes per inch of thickness.
For the sauce:
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until soft (5 minutes). Stir in flour and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in clam juice and whipping cream. Season with salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, add the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes. Add the crabmeat and cook about 1 minute. Pour the dry white wine, cooking in with the shrimp and crabmeat. Cook for 1 minute. Stir shrimp and crabmeat into the cream mixture.
Melvin Lewis Martin II
As a TV service technician for AT&T, Melvin Lewis Martin II knows how to put on a show in the kitchen. The La Marque resident said he cooks because he likes to eat.
First meal that you made? A simple eggs, bacon and toast.
Favorite kitchen gadget? A spatula. You can do everything with a spatula.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Steak and potatoes.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Butter.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? People who don’t clean while they cook.
Sweet and Funky Ribs
4 tablespoons seasoning salt
1 cup of barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 sweet pepper, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Season ribs lightly with pepper and salt.
Chop the peppers, lemons, onions and tomatoes to cover the ribs; cover one side.
While trying to keep your ingredients on the ribs, flip them and cover the other side with the chopped ingredients.
Place in the oven for 45 minutes.
Pull them from the oven and sauce the meat as heavy or light as you like.
Place the ribs on the barbecue pit at about 270 F and smoke for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pull ribs from the pit and enjoy.
Vu Nguyen, a professional knife sharpener, gets to the point when you ask why he cooks. This Friendswood resident and competitive cook simply says he enjoys it. And there’s never a dull moment or knife in his kitchen.
First meal that you made? I can’t remember, but probably something Asian.
Favorite kitchen gadget? Really sharp knives.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Stuffed flounder.
What’s your must-have ingredient? There’s never just one thing I need. It’s an experiment of flavors.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? I can’t stand a dull knife. That’s the worst for me.
Stuffed Wild Hog Backstrap
2 (10-inch) pieces of wild hog backstrap
3 cups diced shrimp
2 cups diced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups diced arugula
1 cup diced onions
1 cup feta cheese
1½ cups dried cranberries
3 cups port wine
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
Take knife and make an incision down the middle of each backstrap lengthwise, creating a pocket in the backstrap. Season outside with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and set aside.
Add port wine to small pot and bring to low simmer. Turn off heat and add dried cranberries for 15 minutes. Remove cranberries after 15 minutes. Reduce port wine on simmer until it thickens and put aside.
Sauté shrimp in butter with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and remove from pan. Add to pan mushrooms, arugula, onions and cook until onions are translucent. Turn off heat and return shrimp to mixture. Allow to cool and add in feta cheese, cranberries.
Tie one end of each piece of backstrap with cooking twine. Begin stuffing backstrap with shrimp mixture from opposite end. Once stuffed completely, tie off other end, too. Add butter to pan and turn on high heat. Sear backstrap pieces on all sides.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Once the backstrap is seared on all sides, finish the pieces in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on thickness of backstrap. Use meat thermometer. When meat temperature reaches 150 F, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
After resting, cut in medallions and serve with port wine reduction sauce.
William ‘Wild Bill’ Powell
William “Wild Bill” Powell is an award-winning competitive cook who resides in Santa Fe. He also owns Texas Select Seasonings (texasselect
seasonings.com), which sells seasonings, rubs and salsas, among other products. Powell credits his grandfather, his father and his wife’s family as inspiration for his flavorful feasts.
First meal that you made? Carne asada.
Favorite kitchen gadget? A whisk.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Smothered venison with red gravy over rice.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Wild chile pequin.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? Following recipes. The way I cook, I cook by scent — visualize and smell. A recipe should be a guideline because that’s when you get creative.
Rustic Rub Smothered Venison
5 to 6 pounds venison (trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices across the grain)
2 (14-ounce) cans natural chicken or beef stock
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
7 to 8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, minced
2 (28-ounce) cans whole Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 small lemon, juice and pulp
Rustic Rub Coarse Seasoning (available at Texas Select Seasonings)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
½ stick butter
Brown venison in a large electric skillet on high using 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ stick of butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons of Rustic Rub and a light dusting of flour.
Once the meat is browned and the gravy looks milky, add half of the tomato sauce. Cook down until the mixture gets thick and almost sticks to the pan.
Lower heat to medium and add vegetables, 1 can of stock, lemon juice, can tomatoes and 2-3 tablespoons of more seasoning.
Cover and cook until liquid starts to reduce again, then lower heat to lowest setting. Add second can of stock, rest of the tomato sauce and season to taste. Stir and check tenderness every 30 minutes until finished (2 to 3 hours).
Serve over white rice.
Milton G. Sampson III
As the owner of Galveston market Sampson & Son’s Seafood, Milton G. Sampson III is quite the crustacean connoisseur. And, the islander says he spends a lot of time cooking simply because he’s
better at it than his wife.
First meal that you made? My mom taught me how to cook an egg.
Favorite kitchen gadget? My shrimp deveiner tool.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Maine lobster.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Garlic.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? Overcooking.
Crab Claw Fingers
1 pound fresh crab claws
(from Sampson & Son’s
Seafood, of course)
3 green onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of fresh basil
½ cup of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Chop the onions.
Melt butter in skillet.
Stir in all ingredients (except claws) and sauté two minutes.
Add crab claws and stir 2 to 3 minutes until hot.
Ray Tuttoilmondo is a major at the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department, but at his Hitchcock home, he enjoys experimenting with his passion for cooking.
First meal that you made? I don’t remember the first meal that I made. The one that sticks out was the first Christmas dinner that I made … a beef tenderloin.
Favorite kitchen gadget? A good, sharp knife.
What is your go-to romantic meal? Just about anything Italian.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Butter.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? Over-salting. Let the flavor of the food come out. Don’t drown it in salt.
Frutti Di Mare Fra Diavolo
This adaptation of cioppino adds heat — diavolo, Italian for “devil” — from crushed red pepper. In this stew, use any variety of fresh seafood such as shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels or any type of firm, fresh fish; squid also is a good addition. Some cooks like to add scallops or whole crab for a traditional cioppino, but Tuttoilmondo isn’t a fan of that version. Serve over linguine with crusty bread.
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2½ tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped, or about 1 teaspoon dry oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup dry white wine (more or less, to taste, but no more than ¾ cup)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, adjust to taste
2 pounds tomatoes, diced or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste (add more for a thicker base)
1 cup seafood stock
1 dozen each littleneck clams and mussels
1 pound (about 20) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 to 10 ounces firm-fleshed fish, cubed (about 1 inch)
Juice of one lemon
4 to 6 servings cooked linguine
To make the base: Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large stew pot over medium heat.
Add the onions and sauté until they begin to clear, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, season with a bit of salt and black pepper, to taste, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, taking care not to scorch the garlic.
Stir in the bell pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, seafood stock, half the herbs (Note: if using dried herbs, add all at this point) and crushed red pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until liquids are reduced and base has thickened somewhat. While this is cooking, prepare the pasta.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish, turning at least once so fish is golden brown, about 1½ minutes total. Add the base to the skillet, bringing to a boil.
Add clams and cover, cooking until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. Add mussels, cover and allow mussels to open. Add shrimp (and optional squid) and cook until shrimp are done, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
Squeeze juice of one lemon over the seafood, then serve hot in a large bowl over linguine.
A League City resident and Realtor, Rick Wade likes to cook for his family. Wade has the cooking credentials, having whipped up some dishes for the League City Chamber of Commerce and also the Seabrook Rotary Club Men Who Cook events each year. And he’s a participant of the NASA Go-Texan’s Cowboys & Cowgirls Who Cook.
First meal that you made? I was an early riser as a kid. Whenever I got up, I didn’t want to wait to eat. I would put bread with butter and sugar in the broiler and cook my own toast.
Favorite kitchen gadget? I love the KitchenAid blender.
What is your go-to romantic meal? My wife loves the way I cook steaks and steamed broccoli.
What’s your must-have ingredient? Tony Chachere’s seasoning. I use it in fish and shrimp batter. And sea salt, which is probably my favorite ingredient to use.
What do you think is the biggest kitchen crime? Someone who comes in and cleans up while I’m cooking. She (Wade’s wife) cleans while I’m cooking. I do the clean up after I cook.
Rick’s Margarita Pie
5 egg yolks — beaten severely
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup key lime juice
1 jigger of Tequila. I prefer to use the gold Tequila. (The silver Tequila I use for my personal enjoyment while I am cooking. That’s my secret ingredient).
1 graham cracker crust prepared carefully in a 9-inch pie plate.
1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs.
¼ cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
Combine the graham cracker, sugar and melted butter, mixing it well. Spread it evenly over the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Some people chill their crust but I prefer to cook it in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350 F.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, limejuice and Tequila. Mix the heck out of it. Pour it into your graham cracker shell.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Top with a whipped cream and garnish with lime slices if you so desire.