Valentine’s Day Dinner à la Chuck

Chuck's Chicken Dinner - Candy Coated Culinista

Chuck’s Chicken Dinner – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s no mystery by me having this blog that I absolutely love to cook and some days I can be in the kitchen for hours on end on my feet. To past the time I bring in my IPad to watch some TV shows and while watching a few shows the commercial breaks were filled with ads for LG presents Chuck Hughes with little snippets of recipes. Well since Chuck’s in my top two favourite chefs of all time it was obvious I was going to try some dishes from these mini ads and since the timing was right Valentine’s Day would be a great day to make this simple and succulent dinner.

From Chuck Hughes

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour & 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Roasted Chicken

• 1 whole organic chicken
• Handful of oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 lemon, zested and sliced
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ head of garlic
• 1 small white onion
• 1 medium white onion, sliced
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ chicken broth
• ¼ cup white wine (I skipped this)

1. Pre heat oven to 425°F.
2. Rinse chicken on cool water and pat dry inside and out.
3. Finely chop the herbs and mix into softened butter and add lemon zest in a small bowl.
4. Rub herbed butter under the skin and on top of the chicken and inside.
5. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
6. Fill chicken cavity with lemon, garlic and onion.
7. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
8. Place sliced onion in the centre of a cast iron skillet.
9. Rest chicken on top of onions breast side on top of the onions.
10. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°F and then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
11. Baste chicken every 15 minutes to brown the skin.


1. Soften the onions from the cast iron skillet skimming off any fat.
2. Place skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and using a wooden spoon scrape the flavour from the bottom on the skillet.
3. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
4. Slowly add in the chicken broth letting the flour dissolve.
5. Add wine if desired.
6. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and season with salt & pepper if desired.

Potato Smash with Olive Oil

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 4 yukon potatoes
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finley chopped
• Chopped dill, to taste
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender and drain.
2. Crush potatoes with a wooden spoon just enough. Leave some potato pieces chunky.
3. Stir in the olive oil and the remaining ingredients.

Zucchini Wedges

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1. Pre heat oven to 400°F.
2. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray.
3. On a plate combine all of the herbs, spices and cheese.
4. Coat zucchini with olive oil and then coat in mixture.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This couldn’t have turned out any better; well if I had finely chopped my herbs. My idea of finely chop versus the recipe was different and I recognized that upon its completion but it didn’t deter from the recipe in any way. It was just a visual thing for me. The chicken was moist and scrumptious and perfectly coloured and for the first time I had a gravy from scratch that actually tasted and turned out excellent; even with my omission of the white wine. The review was great as I tested this out in advance and at work when I was eating it for lunch I got many compliments on the smell and a co-worker was trying to track down where that smell was coming from; which made me chuckle. The addition of dill to the mashed potatoes and the zucchini was a delicious. I decided to not serve the zucchini with the Spicy Aioli recommended though and I was already in the kitchen for a long time at this point. I can’t wait to make this again. This recipe is so simple you could make it the first time on a special day and not worry about something going awry.

The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

When: October 17-19 2014
Place: The CNE Exhibition Place

For the first time I visited The Delicious Food Show this year. I took Friday off work to ensure I arrived pretty close to the opening time, as I just didn’t want to have to deal with an insane amount of people. My goal today was really only one thing to get my copy of Molto Gusto by Mario Batali signed and also buy a copy of his new book America Farm to Table. The Friday Celebrity Chef line up included Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, Mark McEwen and Chuck Hughes (who I have met prior, first in line might I add). Chuck was signing his books along with a quick snapshot so I just hung around and took a few shots of him. I will say I learned a few things about Chuck hanging around: He grew up in Etobicoke for a time in his childhood. I thought he had always lived in Quebec and he also lived very close to Humber College my alma mater. I overheard all this information when two girls from the culinary program at Humber College asked him to say a few words to the culinary class. He grabbed the microphone faced the camera and told the students to stay in school; and that this is the time when they can burn all the food they want and it will be ok, so do it now. He made a quick joke and did a mini mic drop. He shook the girl’s hands and was so helpful, encouraging and personable and this is why I admire this man, so much.

Now cut to Mario Batali and this did not turn out as I had hoped. I didn’t mind waiting 20-30 extra minutes for him, but others in line were complaining and mentioning other chefs didn’t do this. The one bummer was he wouldn’t allow a quick photo and to add insult he barely said a word unless you said something to him, which I did. I just thanked him for coming to the show and seeing us. Short and sweet and he said you’re more than welcome. Fans were also handing our books a helper to speed up this whole signing process, so we were feet away from Mario when he was signing. In comparison you could get close to Chuck and he’d chat with you for a second and even shake your hand of give a hug. I really haven’t had a signature from any U.S.A. chefs except for Cake boss & Georgetown Cupcakes; which are two TV celebrities and Smitten Kitchen a blogger, so I don’t know if this is a thing or just his personality, but lots of us were left feeling cold and turned off. I grabbed my book and went exploring the foods. The only upside to that experience was I was second in line behind Julie a contestant from the premiere season of Masterchef Canada who was knocked out seventh on the show.

The delicious food floor.
I ran into alot of my usual Food truck fare restaurants, but in a booth form today, so I passed on them. Oysters seemed to be popular again as well as gourmet doughnuts and cured meats, cakes, cake pops, tequila in 3 incarnation from one booth. My cocktail of the show consisted of J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Whiskey shaken with house-made sour mix topped with a splash of Jacobs Creek Shiraz. I don’t like wine but I love whiskey sours and this made me enjoy wine so much more. Of course I found Macarons from AG Macaron and left with 6 flavours and a sugar cookies from The Teeny Tiny Bakery. I also learned that Maille has over 6 flavours of mustard that can be found in Toronto in various store. I am now on the hunt for the fine herbs mustard and the and some delightful truffle flavored gouda cheese from the dairy farmers of Ontario section.

Exploring the floor I was wandering a little more and saw graphic tees. I looked at the designs and said I know this art; these are Pierre Lamielle’s designs from Top Chef Canada. I continued to look and choose what I was going to get and heard Pierre’s voice but the person didn’t look like him…he cut his trademark beard. I had seen him with a beard through Top Chef Canada and then many many months later on Chopped Canada, so I mentioned you are almost unrecognizable. To that he quipped – “my mother said you’re not my son” to his now absent beard. I choose a very culinary and totally cheeky tee and looked at some tea towels and went on my merry way. Pierre was a delight and just as funny and quirky as he was on TV.

My last stop of the day was the Tyler Florence demo to learn some tips as, I watch him on the Great Food Truck Race. I have learned following William Sonoma on Instagram that the two have a partnership together, so I made it a point to check this demo out. While he was cooking he answered questions and told us about his new book: Inside the Test Kitchen coming out at the end of the month. He even passed a copy of his book around for us to take a peek at, and showed us food pictures off his phone. Today he made an alternative to a Porchetta with a ham leg, buttered turnips and apple mustard. We were even treated to tasting the ham if we were willing to line up and wait. I will be trying this recipe on a smaller scale soon. Tyler showed so much passion and so endearing that I have become more than just a casual fan.

Overall the show wasn’t as big as I expected or that I hoped it to be. I went with the hopes of seeing and getting some tips and trick from some amazing chefs and that was definitely accomplished. I had a great time, even if I found the show rather small. I wouldn’t take a full day off work again for this unless I have a particular chef I want to see or am taking an exclusive chef series with a cooking personality. I left the show with a few more places on my quest and diaries list to try and an amazing peeler for those very hard to peel vegetables…I’m talking to you rutabaga.

Tyler Florence - The Delicious Food Show

Tyler Florence – The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards - The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes - The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes – The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes - The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes – The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats  - The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats – The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour  - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali - The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali – The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Oysters - The Delicious Food Show

Oysters – The Delicious Food Show

Tequila - The Delicious Food Show

Tequila – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks - The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks – The Delicious Food Show

Chuck Hughes

Who: Chuck Hughes -Chucks Day Off (Airs on Food Network Canada)

Alright so I am about to gush about Chuck Hughes, he is absolutely my most favourite Canadian Chef. Don’t get me wrong I have a bunch of Canadian chefs that I call my favorites, but there’s something about this man. Yes he is handsome and has an accent, but that’s not it. Yes he is tattooed which I find really cool; but it’s this man’s passion for food. Even the simplest of dishes he makes on his show “Chucks Day Off” exudes love and passion for his customers, employees, distributors, electricians, cleaners, the neighbours on his restaurants street and I could go on. He just loves making food for the people in his life in those minor and major roles. He’s a down to earth guy that loves what he does and nothing is better than that.

When he won Iron Chef America (a show I love to watch) I was glued hoping he’d win. The secret ingredient was Lobster and Chuck loves lobster, he has one tattooed on his arm. He made a lobster roll with a bloody Caesar cocktail, lobster poutine, lobster and onion ring salad with carrot butter and avocado and lobster-mushroom risotto and jerked-spiced lobster. (Some of these recipes are in his books.) Let me tell you it didn’t look good. I thought he was going to lose for sure, the critiques from the judges didn’t seem so nice and his face looked a little beaten down, but he won! He beat Bobby Flay who has a pretty good record on Iron Chef. So Chuck became the first Canadian to win and did what Roger Mooking and Lynn Crawford couldn’t do. I was so happy and even my dad watched it too and when we were talking the next day he said, “Did you see Iron chef, that guy you’re always watching won” to which I replied “Yes dad, yes I did and it was great.”

I have been watching his show for years but sadly the only book he had out was in French so my limited ability to read French would have ruined any recipe I tried. When he released Garde Manger in English I picked it up right away! This was my chance to finally try some of his cookbook recipes without the need of a translator!

Mr. C. and I were supposed to visit Garde Manger on our trip to Montreal, but those plans fell through and I was left wondering if I will ever get to visit his restaurant or have a chance to meet him, but my chance was on the way. His signing was at 12:00pm and I arrived minutes to 10:00am on a Mother’s Day. This was going to be my first mother’s day after my mom’s passing , so instead of staying at home and being down and depressed, Mr. C and I decided it would be a good way for me to get through the day and with it being Chuck and all, it felt designed just for me. I was first in line and was very thrilled about that thinking the whole time “This never happens to me!” Normally the biggest fans are there earlier, but then I realized I am the biggest fan.

He didn’t talk much prior to the actual autograph signing, but he made up for that when I got my book signed. Being the first in line has its perks, I got a few precious extra minutes with him. He shook my hand (I hadn’t had that yet at any of the book signings I have been to) and I told him that I loved his White Chocolate Meringue recipe; which was a hit with my husband who is not a fan of Meringue and an Irish co-worker who absolutely loved it. He told me that he is not a fan of Meringue himself either, but he makes it because people love it. The same can be said for Fennel and a lot of his recipes have Fennel in it. He then told me that you can’t be a chef and cook just what you like, which is very true, it would be hard to make any money. So I got my signature and thanked him for coming to see us in Toronto, and walked away one happy girl. We were treated to finger sandwiches, coffee and a lovely three tiered cake from Pusateri’s Fine Foods, a gourmet grocer in the same mall as the bookstore. All in all it was a great day, and my best book signing yet! It made a very hard day that much better.

Thanks Chuck.

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