Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks cookbook

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

Charolette Amalie Wahoo
chef Michael's "deep" flavored GLUTEN FREE Wahoo dish

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

WAhoo Charolette Amalie

One of my favorite things to receive as someone who reviews gluten-free products is cookbooks. I am always looking for new recipes to expand what I make at home, so while it is always fun to read new cookbooks and share with others, it is also for selfish reasons, because I love to cook and try new things in my own kitchen. Native Floridian, Chef Michael Bennett offered to send me a copy of his new cookbook, In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks , which focuses on Caribbean cooking, so of course I was thrilled.

As soon as the book arrived, I started reading it from cover to cover. The dishes and flavors sounds really interesting, using combinations of spices and flavorings that are not typical in other parts of the world. Many of these dishes are naturally gluten-free and provide the reader with the comfort and knowledge that while many recipes need to be converted to be safely gluten-free, many that we already love are gluten-free in their original format, without the label “gluten-free”. Not only are they naturally gluten-free, but they are also healthy and made of clean ingredients, leaving out processed foods and empty cards, which is what really attracts me.

The recipes in this cookbook are very seafood/fish heavy, so if you like fish, which I do, then this is great for you. There are a couple of chicken, beef and pork recipes, but for the most part the book focuses on the sea as is typical for the Caribbean.

I did feel the bulk of the recipes were sauces, and that many of the non-sauce recipes in the book called for one of the sauces, so most likely you will be making one of the sauces in order to make many of these dishes. Most of the sauces and seasonings have quite a few ingredients in them, with most of them being pretty common things we may already have in the kitchen, and a few of them being less common that we may have to search for at an international market, such as guarapo (sugarcane juice), Seville orange marmalade, and guava paste.
Now, with how much I love the topic and flavors of the cookbook, I was disappointed in the actually quality of the physical product. My favorite thing about cookbooks are the photos and this book seriously lacked in quality photos. Having a background in editing, I can’t help but look at the photo quality, the font, the layout, etc… So, I was surprised to see the low resolution and quality of photos used, even for the cover. The photos throughout the book were stretched and grainy, and looked as if they were copied and pasted from the internet. The font was too big, and made readability difficult with the use of all caps and bolded letters. My last critique is the use of QR codes throughout the book, including the cover. I understand it is effective in driving the reader to websites about where to find certain ingredients or to learn more about a dish, but there are just too many throughout the book, and they are too large and distracting. His website has beautiful food photos, if only these carried on through the book.

With the above being said, I really enjoyed the content of the book, but feel the presentation of it may cause someone not to look twice. Unfortunately, it is not a coffee table book to flip through while drooling over photos, but if you are looking for unique, fresh and clean recipes this is a great cookbook to check out.

Review: In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks Cookbook

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Gluten free recipe from the new cookbook “In the Land of Misfit, Pirates and Cooks”.

Gluten-free, Savory Sweet recipe for Wahoo, a fish with unusually good flavor and this dish is as healthy as it is delicious

Charolette Amaile Wahoo –
a Caribbean-influenced gluten free recipe.
Serves: 6
Chef Michael Bennett says this is a simply elegant gluten free dish and its depth in taste equals that of the port for which it is named. The port of Charoltte Amaile (St Thomas U.S.V.I.) is deep enough for the Queen Mary 2 (largest steamliner in the world) to be docked.
The gluten-free recipe calls for Wahoo but, chef Michael Bennett says you can also substitute Mahi Mahi or Cobia. Both are great locally caught fish that is extremely popular in Miami. This sauce is a glaze to be “mopped” over the fillet of Wahoo as it cooks on a wood-fire grill. Chef Michael gives us this recipe to highlight some of the Gluten-free recipes in his new cookbook “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks”.

Ingredients:
3 lbs. Wahoo, evenly divided into 6 portions
1/2 cup Caramel mop, see recipe below
As needed Salt and white pepper, 5:1 ratio-mixed
2 tbs. Thai peanut sauce dry mix, found in Asian markets
1 cup Plantain chips, found in Latino grocery markets
As needed Oil
3 cup Yucca pieces, 1/2 inch chopped, blanched in boiling salted water
1 each Red bell pepper, roasted and chopped roughly
1 each Shallot, chopped
2 each Garlic kernels, finely chopped
2 bunch Pencil asparagus, blanched in salted water

Directions:
Dust the wahoo with a little of the salt and pepper mixture. Let rest in the refrigerator, while you are doing the other parts of this recipe. Grind the plantains into a meal with a food processor. Add in the Thai peanut sauce base mixture. Mix well.
Over hot coals, grill the wahoo fillet for 3 minutes per 1 inch of thickness on one side and then flip and cook 3 minutes more on the other side, glazing with the caramel mop as it cooks. Coat with the Thai peanut-plantain mixture on the top of the fillets of wahoo after the second side is cooked. Keep in a warm oven.
Next, saute the shallots and garlic quickly, add the yucca and continue to cook about three minutes. Toss in the peppers and saute (”to jump”) to distribute them in the pan. Press the yucca into a 4 or 5 inch ring mold in the center of the plate. Remove the mold and set the wahoo on top. Encircle this presentation with more of the caramel mop sauce. Arrange the asparagus around the yucca, pointing out to the edges of the plate like the hands of a clock.

Second part of recipe:
Caramel Mop
Serves: 25
One of my favorite “mops” for grilled NY strip steaks and richly flavored fish fillets like mahi mahi, wahoo, escolar and even salmon.

Ingredients
12 oz. Coca-Cola, reduced to a syrup
4 oz. Espresso
4 oz. Garlic, roasted, chopped
6 oz. Shallots, chopped
2 oz. Apple juice concentrate
3 oz. Kahlua liquor
3 oz. GF Soy sauce
2 oz. Balsamic vinegar
1 oz. Frangelico liquor
1 oz. Triple sec
5 oz. Pick a peppa sauce, see weblink QR code
2 tbs. Black pepper
2 tbs. Seasalt
2 tbs. Xanthan Gum

Instructions:
In a small pan, bring 12 oz. of Coca-Cola to a boil and let this volume reduce by 2/3. Add the next 10 items to the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Place in a food processor and grind well until everything is pulverized into a slurry. Add the thickener slowly to this mix and place in a squirt bottle.

To use:
Drizzle this “mop” (sauce) over top any grilled poultry, pork, beef or baby back rib and brush all around the food as it is cooking atop the grill.

Read more: http://www.thedailymeal.com/gluten-free-recipe-new-cookbook-land-misfit-pirates-and-cooks#ixzz1br7YOh28
http://www.thedailymeal.com/gluten-free-recipe-new-cookbook-land-misfit-pirates-and-cooks#ixzz1ZHs1Ukva

Another great review of Chef Michael Bennett’s GLUTEN FREE cookbook

Charolette Amaile Wahoo – Chef Michael Bennett

Charolette Amalie Wahoo
chef Michael's "deep" flavored GLUTEN FREE Wahoo dish

Char0lette Amalie Wahoo Credit: Chef Michael Bennett
Recently, I had the opportunity to read and review Chef Michael Bennett’s book on gluten free cooking. It’s amazing. So much so, that my daughter was quick to ask for it, since she knew I had just finished the review (still waiting to be published). Chef Bennett’s recipes are amazing, but his cook books are so well laid out, you will love them. Well worth the investment.
Charolette Amaile Wahoo –
a Caribbean-influenced gluten free recipe.
Serves: 6
Chef Michael Bennett says this is a simply elegant gluten free dish and its depth in taste equals that of the port for which it is named. The port of Charoltte Amaile (St Thomas U.S.V.I.) is deep enough for the Queen Mary 2 (largest steamliner in the world) to be docked.
The gluten-free recipe calls for Wahoo but, chef Michael Bennett says you can also substitute Mahi Mahi or Cobia. Both are great locally caught fish that is extremely popular in Miami. This sauce is a glaze to be “mopped” over the fillet of Wahoo as it cooks on a wood-fire grill. Chef Michael gives us this recipe to highlight some of the Gluten-free recipes in his new cookbook “In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks”.
Ingredients:
3 lbs. Wahoo, evenly divided into 6 portions
1/2 cup Caramel mop, see recipe below
As needed Salt and white pepper, 5:1 ratio-mixed
2 tbs. Thai peanut sauce dry mix, found in Asian markets
1 cup Plantain chips, found in Latino grocery markets
As needed Oil
3 cup Yucca pieces, 1/2 inch chopped, blanched in boiling salted water
1 each Red bell pepper, roasted and chopped roughly
1 each Shallot, chopped
2 each Garlic kernels, finely chopped
2 bunch Pencil asparagus, blanched in salted water
Directions:
Dust the wahoo with a little of the salt and pepper mixture. Let rest in the refrigerator, while you are doing the other parts of this recipe. Grind the plantains into a meal with a food processor. Add in the Thai peanut sauce base mixture. Mix well.
Over hot coals, grill the wahoo fillet for 3 minutes per 1 inch of thickness on one side and then flip and cook 3 minutes more on the other side, glazing with the caramel mop as it cooks. Coat with the Thai peanut-plantain mixture on the top of the fillets of wahoo after the second side is cooked. Keep in a warm oven.
Next, saute the shallots and garlic quickly, add the yucca and continue to cook about three minutes. Toss in the peppers and saute (”to jump”) to distribute them in the pan. Press the yucca into a 4 or 5 inch ring mold in the center of the plate. Remove the mold and set the wahoo on top. Encircle this presentation with more of the caramel mop sauce. Arrange the asparagus around the yucca, pointing out to the edges of the plate like the hands of a clock.

Second part of recipe:


Caramel Mop
Serves: 25
One of my favorite “mops” for grilled NY strip steaks and richly flavored fish fillets like mahi mahi, wahoo, escolar and even salmon.

Ingredients:
12 oz. Coca-Cola, reduced to a syrup
4 oz. Espresso
4 oz. Garlic, roasted, chopped
6 oz. Shallots, chopped
2 oz. Apple juice concentrate
3 oz. Kahlua liquor
3 oz. GF Soy sauce
2 oz. Balsamic vinegar
1 oz. Frangelico liquor
1 oz. Triple sec
5 oz. Pick a peppa sauce, see weblink QR code
2 tbs. Black pepper
2 tbs. Seasalt
2 tbs. Xanthan Gum

Instructions:
In a small pan, bring 12 oz. of Coca-Cola to a boil and let this volume reduce by 2/3. Add the next 10 items to the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Place in a food processor and grind well until everything is pulverized into a slurry. Add the thickener slowly to this mix and place in a squirt bottle.

To use:
Drizzle this “mop” (sauce) over top any grilled poultry, pork, beef or baby back rib and brush all around the food as it is cooking atop the grill.
Read more: http://www.thedailymeal.com/gluten-free-recipe-new-cookbook-land-misfit-pirates-and-cooks#ixzz1ZHs1Ukva

I hope to be able to share more of Michael’s recipes.

Culture of Cuisine: Chef Michael Bennett Writes a Workbook

By Laine Doss Mon., Oct. 17 2011 at 8:50 AM excerpt taken from New Time magazine on line
Chef Michael Bennett writes a workbook….
​Michael Bennett isn’t content to just sit around on a rare day off from his executive chef job atBimini Boatyard. Instead of sunning or fishing, Bennett writes.

With two Caribbean-influenced cookbooks under his belt, In The Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks,

In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks

 

 

and Underneath a Cloudless Sky,

Underneath a Cloudless Sky
Chef Michael's second book.

 

Bennett decided to write a book geared to professional chefs and culinary students.

The 140-page Culture of Cuisine is a cross between a textbook and a series of essays from a chef with three decades in the kitchen.

Culture of Cuisine by chef Michael Bennett
Chef Michael's third book about South Florida cooking and chefs.

In the book, Bennett gives his thoughts on everything from the changing tides of modern American cuisine to a run-down of chefs who have influenced and changed the dining scene in south Florida.

You’ll find no recipes in Culture. Instead, students of cooking will find insider tips for running a restaurant usually not on a culinary school curriculum like how to design a brand, market yourself, and use social media to spread the word about your restaurant.

QR codes throughout the book unlock chef interviews, websites and blogs for additional insight into the south Florida cooking scene.

Michael Bennett
​Though written with professionals in mind, Culture of Cuisine is a good read for any south Florida food enthusiast. With chapters that include a timeline of Florida cuisine, features on influential south Florida chefs like Allen Susser, Norman Van Aken and Michael Bloise, and an intimate look inside a commercial kitchen, this book gives the reader a portrait of what it takes to be a professional chef.

Bennett told Clean Plate Charlie that Culture of Cuisine is actually the first in a three-part series. This first book focuses on chef ideals. Part two will work on techniques and the third book will tie everything together. The volumes are designed to serve as a non-traditional workbook for up and coming chefs.

Chef Michael Bennett featured in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper

Spiked sweets:

Desserts that get cheers and booze
Here’s proof that a little alcohol in treats can lift everyone’s spirits

Bimini Boatyard’s chocolate cake is made with Jack Daniel’s, Myer’s Rum, Kahlua, Frangelico and Grand Marnier. (Ginny Dixon, Sun Sentinel / October 6, 2011)

Recipe: Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate from Bimini Boatyard

by: Jan Norris, Correspondent

October 6, 2011

At Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale, chef Michael Bennett sometimes takes inspiration from the bar.

It was the Death by chocolate martini — vodka, half-and-half, chocolate liqueur and dark creme de cacao — that led him to create a dessert he calls Jack Black and friends’ death by chocolate.

Bennett starts with mini-cakes in muffin tins from a boxed mix. He soaks them in a buttery-liquor concoction and then coats them in a smooth chocolate ganache spiked with the same liquors.

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They may be mini, but their kick is mighty.

“It explodes with flavor,” says Bennett. “Even a little piece will send you to chocolate heaven.”

death by chocolate by chef michael bennett
Death by Chocolate, a five liquor ganache cake

Created three years ago, they’re so popular that he doesn’t dare take them off the menu.

Chefs across South Florida are taking their cues from bartenders. That’s because mixologists are the latest culinary geniuses. They create sweet, and sometimes savory, concoctions that elevate even the simplest bar experience. Think Cucumber-basil-mint juleps and Smoky maple bacon old-fashioneds.

Pickled fruits, infusions of herbs and vegetables, mad scientist-like foams are spun behind the bar and squirted into drinks. Inside kitchens, those concoctions get translated into some heady send-offs that pack plenty of punch.

At Spin Ultra Lounge in Boca Raton, chef Jason Feinberg riffs on popular melon martinis with frozen melon martini balls. He uses a vacuum bag to speed the infusion process, frozen with a spike of vodka. They make a fun and cool end to a patio party, especially when presented in an oversized martini glass.

At Prime, a Delray Beach steakhouse, chef Peter Masiello turns cookies and milk into an over-21 experience. Adult chocolate milk — nothing like the Hershey’s and milk of your childhood — is paired with a white chocolate chip cookie spiked with white chocolate liqueur. If you can’t make it to Prime, make them at home. Just keep the kids out of the cookie jar.

The Breakers has a different take on old stand-by tiramisu. Executive pastry chef Elmar Wolf tips in Kahlua along with Marsala wine to create a Spirited cappuccino tiramisu for the resort’s The Italian Restaurant.

Several restaurants, including Hyatt Regency’s Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, serve Mojito cheesecakes. We have a version of this mint-lime-rum cheesecake concoction that makes individual servings. Since these freeze well, you can pop a few in the freezer for impromptu desserts.

When serving these booze-filled desserts, consider serving a cordial glass of the liqueur used in the recipe for an elegant finish to your meal. Not that you’ll necessarily need any more booze.