Uncategorized – Bungalow Chef | Mike Mech http://bungalowchef.net Tradtional Family Recipes Thu, 31 May 2018 21:55:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.15 Bungalow Chef’s Rhubarb Custard Pie http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-rhubarb-custard-pie-3/ http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-rhubarb-custard-pie-3/#respond Thu, 31 May 2018 21:51:37 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1699

With summer right around the corner, one of the first garden and kitchen food memories I have is the rhubarb plant. Otherwise known as the “PIE PLANT”, this gem is always more than plentiful in Midwest gardens. Rhubarb, due to its tartness, traditionally pairs well with strawberries in a jam, jelly or pie, which is a personal favorite.

Rhubarb Custard Pies

Rhubarb Custard Pies


My Rhubarb Custard Pie recipe is from my great grandmother, Rose Schade. Yes, it’s tart but the creamy rich egg custard is pure velvet and the height of perfection when served with a dollop of whipped cream! Using your favorite pie crust recipe, or mine from my “Marching On to the Best Pie Crust Ever!” post or even an easy pre-made crust from your local grocery store’s refrigerated case will do. Just follow the directions below!

Bungalow Chef’s Rhubarb Custard Pie

Yields 1-9 inch pie or about 8 servings.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. fresh rhubarb
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Dash of salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream or Half and Half


Pie Shell: (Preheat oven to 375 degrees)
1 9-inch pie shell. Chill the dough for 30 minutes after rolling and lining the pie pan, then line with a piece of parchment paper and, using pie weights or dried beans, bake for
15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights then continue baking for 5-10 more
minutes until the crust is light in color. Let cool.

Filling: (Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
Remove leaves from rhubarb and rinse well. Remove fiber like strings. Cut stalks length wise in half and then into 1 inch pieces for about 4-5 cups.

In a small bowl, combine the rhubarb with the granulated sugar and mix well. Let sit for 15 minutes tossing occasionally. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and cream or half and half. Add the salt, melted butter, flour and mix until smooth. Place the rhubarb into the pie-shell and pour on the custard mixture.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. Use a foil tent if browning too quickly and bake until the custard is slightly firm in the center. Cool before serving.

As a young boy in Cicero, IL, my father would “borrow a stalk of rhubarb” before his morning newspaper route to give a bit of added energy to his day! Back then, professional baseball players enjoyed it the same way!


Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”



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Bungalow Chef’s Chicken Liver Paté http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-chicken-liver-pate/ http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-chicken-liver-pate/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:44:23 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1672

A classic retro appetizer for sure! Rich in flavor and super easy to prepare. Great to serve with sliced and toasted baguettes, cocktail rye or upscale crackers. Serve ramekins filled with finely diced red onion, chopped hardboiled eggs, chopped dill pickles, cornichons, capers, or diced cucumbers for garnish.

My homemade paté. Yum.

My homemade paté. Yum.

Bungalow Chef’s Chicken Liver Paté

About 8 servings as an appetizer


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large Spanish onion diced fine
1 garlic clove minced
1 lb. fresh chicken livers, deveined, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup brandy, cognac or port wine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Using a heavy skillet (I always use my favorite Lodge cast iron skillet) melt the butter over medium heat, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until lightly transparent.

Flaming the brandy or cognac

Flaming the brandy or cognac

Add chicken livers and turn them over to brown evenly on all sides. Depending on their size, cook livers for 5-8 minutes until they are cooked through. Remove pan from heat and add the liquor of choice. Then return to heat using caution if the pan ignites. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the mixture sauce thickens up.

Using a food processor, pulse chicken liver mixture until finely chopped. Add the cream and seasonings then pulse until smooth. Cool, cover securely and place in the refrigerator. Serve chilled with the recommended garnish items.

Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”


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Bungalow Chef’s Baked Apples with White Wine http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-baked-apples-with-white-wine/ http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-baked-apples-with-white-wine/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:11:24 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1649

Do you remember baked apples as a child? I do. My Mother would bake them as a “sensible” dessert in the fall and winter months. And they were always served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Well here is my adult version! The aroma reminds me of a fresh baked apple pie, with all the nutty flavored spices and butter. This is the perfect light dessert and ideal as the finish to a Sunday family dinner of roasted chicken, beef or pork Roast.

Baked apples hot from the oven

Bungalow Chef’s Baked Apples with White Wine

Servings: 8
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

8 baking apples like Johnathan or Golden Delicious, cored
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup raisins
6 tablespoons soften unsalted Butter
1 cup dry white wine (I’ve used “White Vermouth” and it worked well.)
16 tsp brown sugar
Sprinkling of cinnamon

Adjust the rack to be in the middle position. Place the apples in an oven proof baking dish or small roasting pan. Add the water to the pan. In each cavity of the apple, divide the butter and raisins. Then drizzle the wine over the apples and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon

Cover loosely with foil, and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the apples are fork tender.  Service with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and a great cup of Coffee!

Enjoy!   Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”




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Bungalow Chef’s Chocolate Cognac Truffles http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-chocolate-cognac-truffles/ http://bungalowchef.net/bungalow-chefs-chocolate-cognac-truffles/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 17:41:54 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1636

It seems that I just finished Christmas Chocolate production for “House of Fine Chocolates” and now I’m working full steam ahead for Valentine’s Day! They say chocolate is for lovers and in the day of the Aztecs, chocolate was thought to be an aphrodisiac. (That made it quite popular because it was linked to romance!)

How to make chocolate truffles

Bungalow Chef’s Chocolate Cognac Truffles


Back then, common folks would use the cocoa bean as money and thus…the thought of “gifting” chocolate was born. Below is an easy Chocolate Truffle recipe for beginning chocolatiers at home. I started with this basic recipe over 30 years ago.
How about making these together with the one you love? It might be the start of romantic Valentine’s Day tradition!

Bungalow Chef’s Chocolate Cognac Truffles

18 oz. of bittersweet chocolate 66% to 70% in cocoa solids will do. (Chips or bars should be chopped and slivered into small pieces.)
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of table salt, salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cutting into small pieces at room temperature
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 teaspoon vanilla (or one vanilla bean steeped in the heavy cream)
1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (European)

1. Place chocolate (chopped or chips) into a mixing bowl.
2. Heat the heavy cream to a strong boil, pour over chocolate and mix until smooth.
3. Add the Cognac and vanilla and blend well.
4. Add the butter and stir just a few times.  Place into the refrigerator and let set for 3-4-hours. You might have to let it warm up a bit to form the truffles.
5. Using a small spring action ice-cream scoop, teaspoon or melon baller, make equal portion sizes about the size of a nickel.
6. Using the palms of your hands roll into smooth balls then dredge into the cocoa.
7. Place in an airtight container and store in a cool place.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy!   Mike Mech  “The Bungalow Chef”

Visit The House Of Fine Chocolates website



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Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Heart Cookies http://bungalowchef.net/chocolate-dipped-peanut-butter-heart-cookies/ http://bungalowchef.net/chocolate-dipped-peanut-butter-heart-cookies/#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 20:27:10 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1624

The pairing of peanut butter and chocolate has been one of America’s favorite flavor combinations for years. And my Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies are a special Valentine’s Day treat you can share with those that you love…or make just for yourself?

I’ve always cherished the classic Peanut Butter cookie. Did you know the first commercial recipe was published before WW 1? No wonder they have been a generational favorite.

Valentine's Day Peanut Butter Cookies

Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Cookies

I remember as a tyke in my parent’s mid-century home it seemed that we had an endless supply of these cookies in my Mom’s aqua kitchen. And they were always ready to be served after school with a tall glass of Borden’s Milk. (We had a milkman and a milk box on the porch, did you?)  I’m always asked why is the hash-mark design used for decoration on Peanut Butter cookies. Well, it wasn’t really a decoration. It was to assist in pushing down the dough so the cookies would bake evenly. I’ve always use a vintage family heirloom Rodger’s Brother’s silver fork dipped in ice water to do the trick.

Here is the original recipe with a few bungalow twists for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure your family will love these and they’re great for gifts as well! Heck they’re worth making if it’s just for yourself! Enjoy.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Heart Cookies
Yield: about 30-36 cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
12 oz. of tempered dark chocolate (or chocolate compound) for dipping

1. In a large mixing bowl whisk all dry ingredients together (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda).
2. Beat the two eggs well.
3. Using a medium size mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together, adding the eggs and peanut butter then mix until fluffy.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture and blend well.
5. Portion dough into 1-inch balls and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Repeat until all the dough is portioned.
6. Using the back side of a glass or coffee mug press down the dough ball until it’s nearly 1.75 inches in diameter.  Using a back side of a wooden spoon indent the top of each cookie to create the double crescent shape of the top of a heart.
7.  Using your fingers, taper the bottom of each dough portion to a “V” shape.
8. Using a fork dipped in ice water, create the traditional hash tags marks in each cookie.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. Watch very closely as they have a tendency to brown very quickly.  Let cool, remove and place on wire racks for one hour.
10.  Using your tempered chocolate or chocolate compound, dip half of the hearts into the chocolate and let set.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk! Happy Valentine’s Day!




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The Bungalow Chef’s Cool and Refreshing Onion Dip http://bungalowchef.net/the-bungalow-chefs-cool-and-refreshing-onion-dip/ http://bungalowchef.net/the-bungalow-chefs-cool-and-refreshing-onion-dip/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 15:50:51 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1556

My hand made Onion Dip is a welcome addition to any late summer pool or patio party. Mine is so easy to make and filled with fresh sweet onion flavor, that once you try it, you’ll never consider purchasing that dry boxed powder mix again.

Home made onion chip dip

Home made onion dip

As a child, our milkman delivered super-sized cans of potato chips along with his usual dairy selections. We always had them on hand. Do you remember the mid-century Sputnik like chip and dip bowls with the hanger above the base so the dip almost touched the chips below? With chips and dip as vogue as the Twist in those days, this iconic vessel was in a lot of homes…including ours.

I consider my cool and refreshing recipe “dipping perfection” for your favorite chips. And, I’ll be so bold as to say, it’s ideal for dipping anything from a crudité platter. But I also love to serve this as a topping on a baked potato with a big steak dinner or even as a filling for a brunch omelet.

Bungalow Chef’s Cool and Refreshing Onion Dip

Serves 8-10 people

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups finely diced Spanish onions or yellow onions
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground horseradish (optional)

In a heavy sauté pan, heat oil, add the chopped onions and sprinkle with the sugar and kosher salt. Stir often, slowly caramelize the onions over medium heat until they are deep golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream and mayonnaise and mix well. Add the garlic powder, pepper, salt, and horseradish. Then toss in the cooled sautéed onions and blend well.  Transfer to your serving bowl and garnish with the paprika.

Best if made a day in advance so the flavors can meld over night.




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Beef Bourguignon and Potato Soufflé … A Romantic Valentine’s Day Duo Indeed! http://bungalowchef.net/beef-bourguignon-and-potato-souffle-a-romantic-valentines-day-duo-indeed/ http://bungalowchef.net/beef-bourguignon-and-potato-souffle-a-romantic-valentines-day-duo-indeed/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 17:00:31 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1530

Beef Bourguignon is an easy, classic and delicious meal for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. I suggest you make this a day ahead then reheat it so the flavors come to their full bloom.

Bungalow Chef's Beef Bourguignon

Bungalow Chef’s Beef Bourguignon

When I a kid I wasn’t particularly interested in sports as I lacked two important physical components…speed and coordination. (If you’re imagining me in Husky’s you have the perfect visual. LOL) Early on, my playing field of pursuit was shaped by culinary icons such as Julia Child and Graham Kerr, and later by David Rosengarten. These masters would grace my home with their presence on our black and white Zenith television with rabbit ears. There I would sit in awe and be trained and entertained by my heroes.

Potato Souffle!

Potato Souffle!

Each of my social culinarians had their way with the delicious wine filled, slow roasted Beef Bourguignon. And while mine is traditional, I’ve added my own twists. I highly recommend that it be paired with Potato Soufflé as it is the perfect foundation for a special occasion dinner. And for a sweet finish, don’t forget my White Chocolate Dipped Green Grapes. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and make a tasty impression with those you care about most.

Bungalow Chef’s Beef Bourguignon

Yield 6-8 Servings

Equipment: Large heavy frying pan – cast iron works well, a large saucepan to reduce the wine and a large covered roasting pan, I use an old enameled from my grandmother.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 lb. bacon (Country or slab style) diced fine
Olive oil
4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1.5-inch cubes
1 cup or more of flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 lbs boiling onions (1 lb white or yellow and 1 lb red onions) skin removed
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch coins
15 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
3 cups low sodium beef stock or broth
3/4 cup Cognac
2 1/2 bottles of 750 Ml. Red Burgundy wine (Purchase 3 bottles and pour yourself a nice glass or two.) Simmer and reduce by one third. Cheers to the Chef!
1.5 lbs brown mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons dried thyme and a few springs fresh (optional if fresh isn’t available)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper

Sauté the bacon in the frying pan until it is crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve the drippings.

Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour. Using the same frying pan, brown the meat in small batches, using a small about of the bacon drippings combined with a little olive oil. Take your time! You want the meat to caramelize and brown before you turn it to the next to repeat the process.

Place the browned meat into the roasting pan, reserving those “fonds”, the brown bits of flavor from the browning process.

Now brown the onions, carrots, and garlic in the same pan using the same process. Place everything in the roasting pan.

Deglaze the frying pan by adding the cognac then the beef stock. Reduce until it is a glaze, making sure to scrape up the fonds and brown bits. Add to the roasting ban.

Add the brown sugar and tomato paste to the reduced wine and mix well then pour the mixture to the roasting pan. Toss in the mushrooms, bacon, and thyme.

Place in the oven uncovered for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Check the meat, when it is fork tender it’s done. Taste for additional salt and pepper.

(This can be cooled down and served the next day, heating on low heat.)

Bungalow Chef’s Potato Soufflé

Yield 8-10 servings

Equipment: 2 qt. soufflé or deep baking dish, stock pot and vegetable ricer or masher

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

5 lbs red potatoes
1 stick of butter (melted and warmed with the cream)
3 cups of heavy cream or a bit more depending on the starch of the potatoes
8 oz cream cheese (cut into small bits)
1 egg (room temperature and beaten)
1/4 tsp baking power

Peel and placed the potatoes in a stock pot with water just covering the potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of ground horseradish. Bring to boil and simmer until fork tender. Drain well.

Using the ricer or masher start processing the potatoes. Incorporate the cream cheese,
melted butter and cream. Mix in the egg and baking powder.

Place in the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes until it starts puffing up and turning golden brown. This can be made the day before.  Just bring up to room temperature before you place it in the oven.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Have a fire lit, martini’s waiting, and classic Sinatra in the back ground. And if find yourself solo, remember you are always loved and never truly alone in the kitchen!

Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”


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Onion, Leek and Pea Gratin…A Recipe with Roots http://bungalowchef.net/onion-leek-and-pea-gratina-recipe-with-roots/ http://bungalowchef.net/onion-leek-and-pea-gratina-recipe-with-roots/#respond Mon, 19 Dec 2016 21:30:57 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1505

My family’s Blue Island heritage goes back to the 1860s and as a kid growing up in this historical Chicago suburb, onions and root vegetables were plentiful and always made an appearance at Sunday family dinners. Perhaps it goes back to what was called Market Day in the horse and buggy era of where I lived.

Blue Island Market Day

Photo courtesy of Blue Island Historical Society and Browntown Communications

Back in the 1870s, Market Day took place on the first Thursday of every month along the southern stretch of what is now called Olde Western Avenue. This was when farmers within a twenty five mile radius would eagerly bring their livestock and produce to sell to Blue Island residents. My Great Grandma Ma Schade often shared her memories of Market Day and it was easy to imagine her strolling through the market in search of the best vegetables she could find. And yes, root vegetables like onions were high on her shopping list.

Photo by Stephen Hamilton Photographics

Photo by Stephen Hamilton Photographics

My Onion, Leek and Pea Gratin pays homage to the onion root vegetable and the farmers who worked the rich Midwestern soil in days past. This is the perfect accompaniment with roast chicken, holiday ham, as well as beef or pork roast.

Onion, Leek and Pea Gratin

8-10 1-cup servings


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, extra for buttering the casserole dish
2 strips of bacon
3/4 cup panko or Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 leek diced fine
1 lb. pearl onions (fresh or frozen), peeled. If using fresh, par boil for one minute in boiling water, then shock them in an ice bath to stop cooking. Remove skins and drain well.
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a two quart oven proof casserole dish, butter bottom and sides well.

Pan fry the bacon, remove from pan and drain. Retaining the drippings, add the diced leek and sauté until golden brown. Chop bacon and reserve. In a mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs and grated cheese. Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan and add the onions, leeks, and peas. Pour in the cream and broth. Bring to a light boil and cook until the vegetables are fork tender.

Now blend the flour and remaining butter in a small bowl and mix it with the vegetables and broth. Cook for two minutes over medium heat. Pour the vegetable mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the diced bacon. Top with the cheese-bread crumb mixture. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until golden brown.


Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”





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Gingerbread Folks http://bungalowchef.net/gingerbread-folks/ http://bungalowchef.net/gingerbread-folks/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 01:59:00 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1488

Who doesn’t love the spicy peppery flavor of Gingerbread?  From cookies and cakes, to bread and lebkuchen, I’m completely addicted…especially around the holiday season. And nothing accompanies gingerbread better than a glass of cold milk.

Gingerbread Folks, a bungalow tradition

Gingerbread Folks, a bungalow tradition

Gingerbread Folks (politically correct) have been a staple in the bungalow for years. In addition to serving them to friends and consuming many of them myself, I always hang these “folks” on my holiday tree. You’ll see the original hand written recipe, circa 1920, is quite versatile. You can roll it out and use it with your favorite cookie cutters or shape the dough into two logs, wrap them in parchment paper, refrigerate, slice and bake. In no time your home will be filled with their magical scent. I also make a great honey glaze to give them a wonderful shine after baking.

Gingerbread Folks

Yields 20-24 cut cookies or 3-4 dozen sliced refrigerator cookies

1 cup unsalted softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar (and a bit more for rolling out the dough)
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark molasses
4 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger (4 teaspoons if you dare)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Add the ground ginger, mix well and set aside.  In another large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Then add the eggs and molasses, mixing well. Incorporate the flour mixture in two steps. Mix well, and split the dough into two equal portions. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for one hour. For the roll-out cookies, cover the surface with granulated sugar to avoid sticking to the rolling pin. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thickness and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Cookie Glaze: (optional)

1 cup honey
1 cup water
Juice of one lemon

Blend all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan on top of the stove. Heat and stir until reduced by 50% and mixture is caramelized and golden amber in color. Using caution, remove from heat and brush on the cookies.

You can also dip the cookies in tempered dark chocolate or tell the younger generation to decorate as they wish!

“Every Family has a recipe and every recipe has a story!”  Mike Mech “The Bungalow Chef”




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The Kitchen Courier Newsletter – Fall 2015 http://bungalowchef.net/the-kitchen-courier-newsletter-fall-2015/ http://bungalowchef.net/the-kitchen-courier-newsletter-fall-2015/#respond Sat, 24 Oct 2015 02:48:23 +0000 http://bungalowchef.net/?p=1315

Click here to view the Kitchen Courier Fall Newsletter!


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