Mardi Gras wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without a sweet supply of king cakes. The popular dessert is a cross between a Danish and a cinnamon roll with a sweet filling. It’s topped with gaudy colors of purple, green and gold, representing justice, faith and power.
The cake contains a small trinket, usually a small plastic baby, said to represent the Baby Jesus. In the past, the baby was made of porcelain or even gold. Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is traditionally awarded various privileges and obligations including hosting the next king cake party.
Beck’s is still taking orders for King Cakes, which may be had at $34.95 for a whole cake or $3.25 for individual portion. Get yours by calling 215-592-0505 or 215-382-2800. The cakes are available for pick up at either the Reading Terminal Market or at 30th Street Station through Mardi Gras on Tues., Feb. 9.
Get yours today, baby!
If you’re a lover of delicious and decadent foods, then you have to come to Scrapplefest at the Reading Terminal Market on Sat. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oh, but I don’t want all that fat you say? Then try this satisfying, surprisingly subtle, lower-fat version made Cajun style with shrimp and Andouille! It’s not too spicy and great with a fried eggs and cheese on French bread as a specialty breakfast po-boy. Take it from Chef Bill Beck, it brings a little “who dat” to one of Pennsylvania’s favorite foods!
1.25 Lbs. Andouille Sausage
1 Lbs Shrimp, peeled, deveined,and raw
3 Cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 Cups Buckwheat Flour
2 Quarts Pork Stock (use low salt bouillon cubes or make your own from scrapes)
1.5 Cups Onion
2 Tbl Fresh Garlic
0.25 Tsp Mace
1 Tsp Oregano
2 Tsp Beck’s Devil Dust
2 ea Tbl Vegetable oil
To Taste: Salt and Pepper
1. Slice Andouille sausage links into four pieces per link, top to bottom
2. Medium dice onion and garlic, keep separate
3. Heat skillet, add half the veg. oil and lay Andouille sausage out like bacon and lightly caramelize in pan, do all and set sausage a side
4. In same pan while still hot, add rest of oil followed by the onion, cook till lightly caramelized. Then add the garlic, cook two minutes while stirring.
5. Add shrimp to the onion- garlic mixture and let simmer until the shrimp have released their liquid and the pan is dry.
6. Cool mixture for a couple of minutes, then combine with Andouillie and liquefy the mixture in a blender.
7. Put pureed mixture into sauce pan; add the seasonings followed by the cornmeal, buckwheat flour and the stock, add stock slowly stirring all the while.
8. Bring all to a simmer, and reduce for 10 to 15 minutes stirring all the while until the mixture is very thick and paste-like.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Butter loaf pans 3-4, pour in mixture, and refrigerate 4-6 hours till firm. Freeze well.
11. When ready to cook, cut and dredge in flour on all sides, cook in grease or oil until crispy and brown.
Mardi Gras comes early this year at the Reading Terminal Market. Join two-time James Beard guest chef Bill Beck for a King Cake party on Sun., Feb. 7, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sample classic Nawlins’ dishes, participate in a king cake decorating contest and meet Philadelphia’s Marilyn Russell, host of Mornings with Marilyn on 95.7 BEN-FM and Tony Luke Jr., cheese steak magnate and host of Food Mashups. A $5 donation is requested to support MANNA.
“Let the good times roll with us right here in the Reading Terminal Market,” said chef Beck. “It’s a great way to kick-of Mardi Gras and support an organization that nourishes people’s bodies and spirits.”
The event will kick-off with a cooking demonstration in the market’s City Kitchen. Chef Bill will prepare traditional items such as oyster bisque and smoked collards with ham hocks and Tabasco. He will also introduce new creations like Eggs St. Rita, a take on eggs Benedict with grilled corn bread, shrimp and andouille scrapple, spinach and Creole Hollandaise.
A celebrity judged king-cake decorating contest follows at 12:30. Donors to MANNA will pair off to create their own masterpiece using a special “mystery” kit. Marilyn Russell, Tony Luke Jr., blogger Kass of Philly Food Girl and Jeff Belonger of MyPhillyAlive.com will number among the judges.
Beck’s Cajun Café has become known for King Cakes in recent years, providing the sweet and colorful pastry for Mardi Gras. The cake named for the biblical story of the three kings, is a ring of braided brioche topped with icing and sugar in purple, green and gold, representing justice, faith and power.
The cake usually contains a small plastic baby, said to represent the Baby Jesus. Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is traditionally awarded various privileges and obligations including hosting the next king cake party. Those wanting to order a King Cake are encouraged to call Beck’s Cajun Café at 215-592-0505 or 215-382-2800.
Beck’s Cajun Cafe is known for its exotic and spicy Creole cuisine made with ingredients from the Big Easy. With locations at Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market and Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, Beck’s offers authentic dishes including gumbos, jambalaya, muffaletta and bread pudding. Beck’s is the home of the Train Wreck, a culinary creation where po boy meets cheese steak with a name the pays homage to the reading terminal markets train shed history.
Find more about Beck’s Cajun Café at:
Original Recipe Yield: 6 servings
- 1 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, medium cut
- 1 cup chopped celery, medium cut
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, medium cut
- 2 ea bay leaves, medium in size
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 10 ozw andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 1/2 Pound diced turkey, white and dark meat
- 1 dz shucked oysters, medium in size
- 6 cups turkey stock
- 1 tablespoon file powder
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 2 cups water
- Kosher salt- to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- Stir oil and flour together in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly to keep the roux from burning, until the mixture becomes a medium chocolate brown, about 25 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers to the roux all at once, and continue to stir until vegetables are wilted. Add bay leaf, basil, garlic red pepper, and black pepper and cook 5 more minutes. Use a wooden spoon for all.
- In a separate pan brown the diced turkey 3-4 min, and then add andouille sausage, bay leaves and the rest of the seasonings. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Now combine the meats to your roux pot, deglaze meat pan with your turkey stock and pour into the meat and roux pot. Stir until the stock, roux and mixture till well combined. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered simmering lightly stirring occasionally, for 45 hour. Stir in the fresh shucked oyster and the file powder; simmer for 1/2 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving, bring the rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Skim off any fat that rises to the surface of the gumbo; remove from heat. Stir in the parsley and green onions. Remove the bay leaves, and serve the gumbo in deep bowls with rice.
A classic! This recipe has been one of my favorites for years. It’s simple, elegant and is consistently good. Use it for your holiday baking or anytime you want to serve something special for dessert!
1 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
.25 teaspoon of Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Bourbon Extract
5 cups (6 oz.) pecans
1 9-inch unbaked deep-dish pie crust.
Preheat oven to 325 F
Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (follow tips for doneness below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
To use prepared pie crust: place cookie sheet in oven and preheat as directed. Pour filling into crust and bake on a preheated cookie sheet.
Recipe Tips: pie is done when the center reaches 200 F. Tap the center surface of the pie lightly – it soul spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If crust is over-browning, cover edges with foil.
August is National Catfish Month. So, in honor of this delicious nod to the majestic catfish, chef Beck is sharing his tips on how to prepare the perfect blackened catfish dish.
Bill Beck’s Blackened Catfish
I’ve been blackening Catfish since I opened my first farmer’s market location in the Flourtown Farmers Market, just outside of Philadelphia. Now you can blacken any kind of fish with Becks Devil Dust as well as chicken, pork chops, or shrimp. A common misconception is that blackening the exterior of the flesh is burning it. Blackening means to char, but not to the point of burning. The crust should be crisp, robust in flavor, spicy and the fish or meat, moist on the inside. It’s important to add a little olive oil (not extra virgin as it will compete with the other flavors) or clarified butter to add moisture that will not evaporate during the blackening process.
Using a cast iron skillet is best, but a heavy duty sautée pan will do. Keep in mind that it will be hard to clean and you will not be able to use it for any other cooking after a couple tours of playing Cajun Chef.
Ingredients: Feeds 4-6
4-6 Catfish Filets 6-7. Oz. each
2-3. TBL Olive Oil
2-3. TBL Beck’s Devil Dust
- Coat catfish fillets with becks Devil Dust on all sides, shake off any excess seasonings.
- Heat skillet/pan till smoking hot. Have good hood ventilation and fresh air source.
- Add oil to the skillet/pan, low and slow as not to splatter, followed by the catfish.
- Put the Rounded side of the fish down first so that when you turn it over it will be cooking on the side that will be put on the paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Cook on each side about 2.5 to 3.5 min till fully cooked
Dark is not Evil Picnic
September 10, 2015
Menu Option #1
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
Brie and Caramelized Pear Croustade
Black Sesame Linguini Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Medley
With Apple Cider and Tarragon Vinaigrette
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast on Croissant
With Lettuce, Tomato and Remoulade
Grilled Portabella, Zucchini, Squash and Roasted Red Peppers on Croissant
Hand Fruit Selection
Apples, Pears, Plums and Peaches
$30 per couple
$20 for single order
Menu Option #2
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
Quartet of Classic French Cheeses
St. Andre, Mimolette, Chevre and Gruyere
With Crusty Baguette, Fig Jam and Fresh Berries
Char Grilled Vegetable Platter
Asparagus, Red Onion, Beets, Green Beans and More
With Fresh Pistou
Chardonnay Poached Chicken Breast
Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
Angel Hair Pasta
With Heirloom Tomatoes and Julienned Carrots
With Black Truffle Oil Vinaigrette
Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Pineapple, Strawberries and Mango
With Honey Lavender Syrup
$45 per couple
Menu Option #3
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
With Crabmeat Garnish
Beet Fennel and Orange Salad
With Goat Cheese
Whole Wheat Fettuccini Pasta Salad
With Pistou Vinaigrette Dressing
Pinot Grigio Poached Salmon Filet
With Cucumber Crème Fraiche
Mini Assorted French Pastries
Flourless Chocolate Torte, Pate a Choux, Hazelnut Mousse
$55 per couple
Offer available through Fri., Sept. 4 at midnight. Call Chef Bill Beck at 484-919-5310 or email@example.com
This is an ideal recipe for a summer picnic or backyard BBQ. It involves a little work and planning, but the taste is well worth it!
- 3 tsp ancho chili powder
- 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 pounds beef brisket, cut into 3-inch pieces, or boneless short ribs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 24 slider rolls
- Arrange the tomatoes on baking sheet and broil, flipping several times to expose all sides, until the entire surface is charred, 5 to 6 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool slightly then remove and discard the charred skin.
- Combine the tomato, ancho, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, and 1 cup water in a blender or food processer and process until smooth.
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300°F.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over moderate heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking.
- Sear the meat until brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. As browned, transfer the meat to a plate.
- Once all of the meat is seared, return it all to the pot and add the chile-tomato purée. Bring to a boil and then place the parchment round over the meat.
- Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for about three hours, or until the meat is very tender.
- Transfer meat to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it into small pieces, discarding any excess fat.
- Skim excess fat from the braising liquid then return the meat to the pot and stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper.
Note: The brisket can be made ahead and stored with its braising liquid, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. To reheat, place the desired portion in an appropriate-size skillet over moderate heat and cook until warmed through.
Divide the pulled brisket evenly among the buns (about 2 tablespoons per bun) and serve immediately.
Finish it off by topping with coleslaw and pickle slices!
Recipe by Chef Bill Beck, Taste! Catering