Celebrate International Bacon Day With Beck’s Cajun Cafe’s Bacon Mac and Cheese Balls!

September 2, 2016

International Bacon Day ARTICLE - Saturday before Labor Day - bacon mac & cheese balls #1

‘Taste The Best of The Best at Beck’s Cajun Cafe!’

In celebration of International Bacon Day, which is always the Saturday before Labor Day, we creating Beck’s homemade Bacon Fried Mac and Cheese Balls!

We’ll even go one step further and share with you not only our ingredients, but how to create these tasty morsels in which your stomach will love you for life!

Ingredients

International Bacon Day - Saturday before Labor Day - bacon mac & cheese balls Ingredients

How To Create Beck’s Bacon Mac & Cheese Balls

Bacon Mac  Cheese Balls recipe

FYI – You’ll be able to purchase this weekend special from September 2 to 5 at our Reading Terminal Market and 30th St Station locations.

If you end up trying to make Beck’s Cajun Cafe’s Bacon Fried Mac and Cheese Balls, please let us know how you did and maybe share a photo.

You can also follow us on these social media channels:

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Mardi Gras’ Catholic Roots

February 4, 2016

Mardi GrasMardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. Its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

What is less known about Mardi Gras is its relation to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal “ordering” of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons.

Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.” Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.

The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings’ Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.

Epiphany is also traditionally when celebrants serve King’s Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.

Mardi Gras came to the New World in 1699, when a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River, about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. He named the spot Point du Mardi Gras because he knew the holiday was being celebrated in his native country that day.

Eventually the French in New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras with masked balls and parties, until the Spanish government took over in the mid-1700s and banned the celebrations. The ban continued even after the U.S. government acquired the land but the celebrations resumed in 1827. The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, were chosen 10 years later: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.

Why is there a baby in my cake?

February 2, 2016

 

King Cake2Mardi 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!

 

Bill Beck’s Shrimp-Andouille Scrapple

January 20, 2016

Crawfish ScrappleIf 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!

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:
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 King Cake Party @ Reading Terminal Market!

January 20, 2016

 

mardi-gras

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:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BecksCajunCafe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BecksCajunCafe
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/beck’s%20cajun%20cafe
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=beck%27s+cajun+cafe

Beck’s Turkey, Oyster and Andouille Gumbo!

December 1, 2015

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Servings

Original Recipe Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Classic Pecan Pie

November 30, 2015

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!

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Ingredients:

1 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup

3 eggs

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.

Directions:

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.

Beck’s Blackened Catfish Recipe

August 17, 2015

Beck's Cajun Cafe..30th St Station..May 9, 2013

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

Preparation:

  1. Coat catfish fillets with becks Devil Dust on all sides, shake off any excess seasonings.
  2. Heat skillet/pan till smoking hot. Have good hood ventilation and fresh air source.
  3. Add oil to the skillet/pan, low and slow as not to splatter, followed by the catfish.
  4. 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

Order your picnic meal for Dinner en Noir from Taste! Catering, through Sept. 4

August 17, 2015

Taste Logo Menu 4 Dinner en Noir

Dark is not Evil Picnic
September 10, 2015
Menu Option #1
Serves 2
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
484-919-5310
wjbeck@bytastecatering.com

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

Vegetarian Option
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
Serves 2
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
484-919-5310
wjbeck@bytastecatering.com

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

Fruit Salad
Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Pineapple, Strawberries and Mango
With Honey Lavender Syrup

$45 per couple

Menu Option #3
Serves 2
To order, call Chef Bill Beck
484-919-5310
wjbeck@bytastecatering.com

Classic Gazpacho
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 wjbeck@bytastecatering.com

Bill Beck Summer Recipe: Pulled Beef Brisket Sliders

July 15, 2015

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!

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

  • 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.

To Serve:

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
www.bytastecatering.com