The Kitchen Grimoire: Voodoo Jambalaya

For many years, just like my father, I have been writing a cookbook. My cookbook, however, was not designed with the average cook in mind. Instead of a standard American set of recipes with minor alterations, or my darling grandmother’s “Sunday Gravy”, I created recipes with slight variations, all to match one simply theme: Villainy. Now, perhaps I know what you’re thinking: Villainy? In cooking? Isn’t that just making a steak well-done? Perhaps you’re even thinking: Villainy in cooking just is an aesthetic and would probably taste horrible or gimmicky. 

While I happen to agree with you if you think that it is a crime against all things delicious to make a steak well-done, I hope to prove you wrong on the latter point. You see for as long as I can remember, I have always had a certain fondness and sympathy for the Disney villains. Between their cool color scheme and always having the best song in the movie, I began to incorporate them a bit more in day-to-day life. I won’t be boring you with those details, because while I could certainly use therapy (probably) this blog isn’t my therapist’s couch. One of the things I began to work on was a recipe book related to witchery, villainy, magic, and of course, tasting absolutely sinful. 

I called this digital tome of forbidden culinary rituals and hidden away confections, “The Kitchen Grimoire”. A grimoire is a book of spells and the like, because I hope that the flavors and recipes inside will bewitch your tongue. The first recipe I am choosing to share is one of my favorites and one which I make for myself as frequently as possible. It is my take on Jambalaya, but instead of using regular rice, I use a type of rice called Forbidden Rice. 

Forbidden rice itself is either black or purple in color, but the water, the sauce and anything that touches the rice is stained a deep purple. Despite the ominous name, it is actually one of the few things in my recipe book which can be substituted into almost any other dish with a similar counterpart to create a wicked effect. I’ve used this trick to make rice pilaf imitate the night sky and occasionally turn the usually pink flesh of shrimp to a creature of the deep, when cooked with the rice. 

Not only is the color a nice switch up, but rather than the nutty and earthly flavors of brown rice or the soft gentleness of basmati, Forbidden Rice has a floral taste to it, which may sound strange, but it can add a wonderful layer of complexity to dishes.

Setting aside the color of the rice in my dish, I have an actual dish and recipe to tell you about. The recipe I will be giving you today (as you may have guessed from the title of this article), is Voodoo Jambalaya. I decided that this is the right time for Jambalaya, as it is one of the few truly American foods. Seeing as the fourth of July is coming soon, I wanted to throw out another candidate for the ring. Burgers and hotdogs are great, but their origins lie elsewhere, and were already being consumed in the old world. Jambalaya is a mix of African, Spanish and French cooking styles, which was only achieved in America. 

So here’s my first recipe on the blog here and I hope you enjoy!


⅔ Cup Sliced Andouille Sausage

⅔ Cup Cubed Chicken Breast

⅔ Cup Raw Peeled and Deveined Shrimp

9 oz. Tomato Paste

3 Bay Leaves (Dried)

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

2 tbsp Minced Garlic (Preferably Packed in Oil)

1 Medium White Onion (diced finely)

1 Small Red Bell Pepper (diced finely)

1 tbsp Onion Powder

2 Cups Forbidden Rice

Olive Oil (As needed)

Tabasco (To taste)

Parsley (To Garnish)

  1. Start by placing your garlic, onion and bell pepper in a large pot with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the large pot. Continuously stir the vegetables over medium heat (preferably with an oversized wooden spoon, for added realism start cackling which will add a certain air of madness to the whole process).
  2. Wait until the onions are transparent before removing the mixture from your pot and placing in a decent sized bowl on the side. Repeat this process for each of our meats (Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp) and place them all in the same bowl as the vegetables. 
  3. Take enough water to cover the bottom half inch of your pot with water and pour over high heat. Use the oversized wooden spoon to help scrape the bottom and relieve it of any tasty bits which may cling to the pot. 
  4. Once you’ve scraped the pot to your satisfaction, it is time to add the tomato paste, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and onion powder to this concoction. Add the tabasco if desired at this point. 
  5. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the contents of the bowl that you’ve set aside into our cauldron- er… pot. 
  7. Add four cups of water to your concoction as well as the purple rice and cover, stirring every five minutes. Only cover the mixture once the water begins to boil. Once covered it should be ready in about fifteen to twenty minutes. 
  8. Serve hot and garnish! Enjoy the favors which have combined under your masterful eye and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished!


It’s Wednesday, so close to the weekend yet so far. Last night, I was in the middle of cooking grilled chicken, rice, and grilled zucchini when Sam interrupts me. He says: “Don’t you get bored making the same thing. I thought you were writing a food blog. You need to make new stuff.” At his suggestion, I dumped in a packet of taco seasoning mix to the chicken that had already marinated overnight in salad Italian dressing.

Sam got up from his video game and started cooking. He began by adding cilantro and lime to my Basmati rice that was cooking in chicken stock. I added butter to it. He chopped an onion and sautéed it in a small pot with olive oil. Then he opened and rinsed a can of black beans. He added that to the pot with the onions. He added parsley and cilantro to the beans next. He covered the beans and let them cook on low.

I went outside to grill the chicken and the zucchini. Meanwhile, Sam made some kind of white sauce using sour cream for the chicken . What was in it, I don’t know. I was outside when he prepared the sauce. I do know it was good and went nicely with the chicken, rice and beans. I don’t remember the zucchini much except grilling it and taking pictures.

Grilled “Taco” chicken

The Zucchini

We (Sam, Jen, my mother in-law and me) ate and we watched Jeopardy. Once my mother in-law left and Jennifer headed up to bed, I had dessert. Dessert for me was a chocolate chip cookie with a glass of milk while watching The Community on Netflix. It’s a funny funny show. Sam gets a huge laugh out it! Then, I cleaned up and went to bed.

That’s all until tonight when I get to do it all again. So be well, eat tasty food, and stay happy!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


35 MAIN STREET SAYVILLE, NY 11782 PHONE: 631 589-5529

Happy Tuesday. Last night’s meal was a repeat. It consisted of filet mignon (what was left), whole kernel corn with butter, and a tossed salad. It was good but I feel like I keep cooking the same boring things. I did have a good lunch yesterday, however.

Yesterday, we went out to eat for a coworker’s birthday. At first, we tried two different sushi restaurants that still had no indoor seating, huh. Then, we decided to eat at Crickets in Sayville. Again, no dice. They are closed on Mondays. As we looked across the street, and there were two more OPEN restaurants. We let the birthday boy decide. He picked the Greek place called Aegean Cafe.

The Aegean Café is a cozy little place in the heart of Sayville, Long Island on Main Street. Ahh, Main Street in small town America. I felt all Norman Rockwellish as we crossed over Main Street and headed into this fine establishment.

The waitress sat us down promptly and took our drink orders. We all perused the lunch special menu and regular menu. Everyone ordered the standard Greek fair, Gyros. I said “how boring” and ordered the sole over rice pilaf lunch special for $12.

Sole over rice

We sat a reminisced about the New York City Food carts that of course included delicious gyros. Soon, our food was there. First out were the three gyros. They all looked and tasted great (or so I was told). Then came out the sole over rice and veggies. Everyone oooed and ahhhed and said how good it smelled.

It did smell good, just as good as the sole and vegetables smelled, and it tasted even better! I enjoyed every last bite of it. We talked about wine and beer as we ate our lunch but unfortunately, we all had to go back to work. We all had some kind of iced tea drink instead. Here is where I was boring and ordered a Snapple and my coworkers all ordered the fresh brewed stuff. Everything must have been good because there was nothing left on any plate and no time for dessert but I would happily go back to try their desserts next time.

The next time you’re in Sayville looking for a new place to eat, I would recommend the Aegean Café. The service is quick and friendly, and the food is amazing!

Now, I’m off to take Jen to the doctor as she is still in a lot of pain and didn’t get much sleep last night.

Until next time. Be well, eat well, and be happy!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

There has been NO COOKING

Good morning. I’m writing this as I wait for the coffee to perk. Its Monday, ugg. I have not cooked in days, or so it seems. I remember it like it was yesterday, because it was yesterday, and I went out to eat at Emilio’s in Commack. Saturday I managed to go out to eat at the Cheese Cake Factory but Jen didn’t really seem up to it. I killed too many brain cells this weekend drinking and do not remember what I ate on Friday. What day was it that I made Surf and Turf ?

The Cheesecake Factory we went to was in Bay Shore. I used to love going there and trying new things but I was always disappointed that the food did not taste as good as it sounded on the menu. It looked great when it came to the table but then tasted blah. Now, the food or menu no longer impresses me but everyone else I was with loved it. The place was packed so it must be good food. It was just me. It was not bad food, just not yummy I have to go back food. I had the Cuban Sandwich and it was very good but I was disappointed in the cheese cake. Can you imagine?! Jen didn’t like the cheese cake either but she is not feeling well.

Jennifer is still in pain with her back so she has not been eating much. She ordered her favorite salad at the Cheese Cake Factory. It was the Barbeque Ranch Chicken Salad without tomatoes. She does not like and is allergic to tomatoes. When it came out it looked great and she said she was going to eat the whole thing. That was surprising because its a huge salad. In the end she ate most of it and we took the rest home.

Sunday I had plans to go see the Mets play at City Field. It was a beautiful but hot day and even though they didn’t win it was a lot of fun. I ate lots of food including two hot dogs, chicken fingers, French fries, Cracker Jacks and drank beer. It was all yummy! Then I find out, on my way home, that I was supposed to be going out to eat at Emilio’s Restaurant in Commack! Yikes!

I love Emilio’s and I usually get a big meal there. I have already tried the mussels marinara with linguini and all the homemade pasta dishes. All their dishes are fantastic. Yesterday, I was way too full to eat much so I ordered a salad for my main course. We also ordered a chopped salad for the table. My sister in-law was there with my nephew and my mother in-law and Sam. I did not take part in any of the chopped salad they ordered but I have had it many times before and it is delicious. For dinner, I had the beet salad. This salad comes with mixed spring greens and chopped beets, shredded goat cheese and sugared pecans on top. The dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette that is very good and served on the side. I ate only a quarter of it and then boxed the rest up to take home. Jen was in a lot of pain so she didn’t eat much either. She ordered a big plate of pasta Bolognese that came home with us too. My leftover salad from last night and the Cuban sandwich from the Factory is what’s for lunch today.

Speaking of lunch, I am off to work. Have a great day!



21 Fire Island Avenue, Babylon, NY 11702

Last night, I went to my favorite restaurant of this past year. The Babylon Carriage House has struggled to stay open following all the New York State guidelines through the entire pandemic. I would have surely missed this beautiful and elegant establishment if it had closed. It is located in an 1865 carriage house in the lovely town of Babylon. Throughout the entire COVID crisis, this would be the only restaurant we would actually go to and sit down to eat. To a foodie like myself, that was huge. We even purchased takeout food from them when they were not allowed to open for dine-in guests. Even after being forced into creating with their “new” take out service, their food was consistently good and we were never disappointed. SO, I was very happy to see last night that the restaurant was just beginning to fill tables with lot of boisterous people again, like ourselves.. 

When we arrived at the Carriage House, it was empty at 5:00PM, but by the time we left a crowd had started gathering. They have a small dance floor and on a Saturday night this was the place to be. I hope everyone who lives near me or comes to visit us can have a chance to try some of the marvelous dishes prepared by the chef here at the Babylon Carriage House.

We started dinner with a bottle of Pinot Grigio delle Venezie from Gabriella winery. The wine selection is excellent and they have fabulous mixed drinks too. Alyssa had the Bourbon Peach Palmer. It was bourbon, peach, 1/2 iced tea and ½ lemonade. (hence the Arnold Palmer reference). She enjoyed it so much I believe she may have had two.

Scott paired our first white wine with the baked clams and mussels. The baked clams here are large with just the right amount of herbs, and are served with a scampi sauce that makes me want shrimp scampi as I write this. The mussels too were in the garlic butter scampi sauce and served with two garlic toast points. I could have eaten the whole bowl of mussels if I did not know more food was on the way.

Soup and Caesar salad were next. First came the Caesar salad. This is Alison’s absolute favorite restaurant for this salad. I wonder if she has ever had mine. Hmm, I will have to make that one day for her. The soup would come next.

To pair with the soup, Scott had brought with him a Brian Arden West Kade Chardonnay from Nappa Valley 2014. I normally do not like Chardonnay unless it is paired with (wait for it) Lobster Bisque! Let me tell you, the Babylon Carriage House does not always have this item on the menu so you have to be lucky or like Scott, and have a waiter call you when they are serving it. Yesterday was just a happy coincidence. My wife now refers to this soup as Lobster BLISQUE. If nothing else on a cool fall day, I would come here for a glass of Chardonnay and this soup! This is a soup I will always remember with fondness too. It’s just like how I remember the French Onion Soup at the Tides in Freepost back in the nineteen eighties (dorky huh). I took my wife there on our very first date for that soup alone. I digress, there was more food coming and we were already getting full after the blisque!

Scott had ordered the Burrata next for all of us because he loves this stuff. The way they present the Burrata dish is superb. The magnificent cheese (which I will have to ask if they make there) comes on top of perfectly grilled squash (yellow and green), roasted red pepper (yum), balsamic glaze, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All that for $15.  Not that they should charge more! It’s perfection on a plate and at just the right price. The cheese however did not go with the Chardonnay. Oops, maybe we should have moved it up the batting order to line up with the Pinot. Next time we will, or maybe I should not have drank my Pinot so fast!

Scott also brought with him a red wine. Oh My GOSH! One more course. How many is that? Is anyone counting? I am getting dizzy, full, and sleepy but there was the red wine that needed to be drank. It was opened at the beginning of the meal and was just sitting there now mocking me. “You can’t fit me in! HA-HA!”

Scott ordered the Steak Bleu to go with the red wine which was an estate bottled Chardonnay from Schweinger Vineyards. The Steak Bleu is a 16oz NY strip steak with melted Maytag Blue Cheese and small roasted potatoes. He would split that with Ally. Jennifer loves the Slow Braised Short Ribs. They come on top of mushroom risotto with carrots and celery, with pan gravy poured over top. When you make short ribs like that, how can anything be wrong? Jennifer and I split the short ribs. Alyssa had the Caesar salad now for her entree.

The red wine paired perfectly with the ribs and was delicious, but I couldn’t manage to eat any more then a bite or two. I think I managed to finish one glass of red wine in the end. Shameful, I know.

There was no room for dessert and we were already taking food home. It was a good night, with good company and excellent food. The service at the Carriage House is outstanding, and the timing of the food perfect. I never feel rushed or hurried out the door. We came, we saw, we ate.

Surf & Turf

Last night I made “Surf and Turf”. Traditionally, the surf is a lobster tail and the turf is Filet Mignon. I didn’t make lobster tails this time. Instead, I used raw shrimp. After the the shrimp was cleaned, I skewered and coated with olive oil, garlic, and paprika. Then, I steamed some baby potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes in a glass bowl cover with plastic wrap. Careful, that bowl gets HOT. Just before tossing them on the grill over medium heat, I tossed them in olive oil, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

The Filet Mignon I purchased whole, as that is how it usually comes when it’s on sale now. The beef needs to be butchered a bit as they tend to leave on a the silver skin. This will be very chewy if it’s not removed. Then, I cut the beef into 2 to 3 inch pieces, maybe 6 to 8 ounces each. Salt, Pepper. and a bit of oil to keep it from sticking to the grill. I cook it on med to medium high until 140 degrees and let it rest.

I add the shrimp to the hot grill only after cooking one side of the beef and flipping it over. The shrimp cooks much faster then the beef. I cook the shrimp on low or medium low burners while keep the beef is over medium high burners. You must be careful not overcook the shrimp or the beef. They will both get tough and chewy if you do. This is all done while the potatoes are on the grill over medium heat in a grill pan and simultaneously drinking a beer or two. This is tricky stuff sometimes!

Well, that’s all for now. I’m off to help with a membership recruitment fishing thingy for BSA Scouts!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)




            I have explained how to make pancakes the easy way, with a premade mix. I have not told you as of yet how this can be expanded upon and made more difficult by making the batter from scratch.

            I was discussing the topic of pancakes shortly after my first cooking lesson post on how to make PANCAKES with one of my co-workers Pete. Pete is a reader of The Magic of a Perfect Pairing and suggested a recipe I should try where he makes the batter from scratch. He even emailed me a copy of his recipe. Henceforth, this Sunday I am planning on making myself either the pancakes or waffles. Jennifer does not like either of those two items, but perhaps my mother in-law would like some. Yay me, my mother in-law is staying with us for the summer. Sam will most likely be working at my sister in-law’s shop in Northport and will miss out on one of his favorite breakfasts. Perhaps, I can freeze the leftovers for him.


In 5QT capacity Oster blender

Using All-purpose flour

Method #1

2 eggs

1.5 cups milk

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 dash vanilla extract

up to 1 Tbsp shortening

dried active yeast 1/2 tsp

Whip everything in blender.

Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time hitting blender button each time to blend it in until the blender is almost full and the blender slows down to where it almost won’t blend anymore (almost to the top to about an inch from the top)

Let batter proof out until it starts to rise (15 min to 1 hour) and use.

Store leftovers in refrigerated loose cover container as it will still expand and could blow up all over the refrigerator. (Thanks Pete. That could be messy!)

Method #2

The doomsday, or backpacking the dry ingredients to camp recipe.

About 3 cups of water

1/4 heaping cup dried powdered eggs

1/2 cup of powdered milk

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

Up to 1 Tbsp. shortening

Dried active yeast 1/2 tsp

Whisk in bowl or shake vigorously in 2 quart or bigger container.

Then add flour 1/4 cup at a time, flour until it looks batter thick.

Use a small spatula here to help in getting some possible clumps mixed.

Let proof out until it starts to rise and use (warm water use could proof quickly, 10 min?)

For camping – mix and pack dry ingredients separately.

Method #3

Pete is replacing some of the milk with dry buttermilk, in recipe #1 or #2

Instructions: Refrigerate after opening. Bakers’ pro tip: First, mix the dry buttermilk blend with the other dry ingredients. Then, add the appropriate amount of water when the recipe calls for liquid buttermilk. Use Saco cultured buttermilk blend whenever your recipe calls for liquid buttermilk or sour milk. Use the following conversion (all measurements are level):2/3 cup buttermilk = 2 1/2 tbsp Saco buttermilk blend + 2/3 cup water.1 cup buttermilk = 4 tbsp Saco buttermilk blend + 1 cup water.

Peter’s note:

Saco Buttermilk 12 oz is authentic buttermilk, unlike the liquid variety, which is merely cultured skimmed milk. That makes this ingredient a healthy addition to recipes. The product is free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat and gluten, making it a safe option to add to meals for those with specific dietary needs. This cultured buttermilk is also Kosher dairy certified and extra grade milk, which is the highest quality one can buy. It has only 80 calories per serving, with no trans-fat. It is also a good source of protein and calcium for the next baked or cooked recipe. Enjoy the real taste of this buttermilk.

I have decided I will try method number one. I am not sure if I am making pancakes or waffles yet, but I’m leaning towards waffles. That I will decide on Sunday. You can follow my adventure Sunday on my Instagram posts here: DRUNKENCHEF82 to see how it goes as I make this recipe. For those of you who don’t do social media, I will post my results Monday, if I’m not too hungover again to write.

Until tomorrow, be well, eat well, and have fun cooking.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)



2 Parts Sparkling Wine

1 Part Orange Juice

Garnish with a maraschino cherry (optional)


You can use many Sparkling wines for this beverage, but I don’t like ones that are too dry. I use a Sparkling wine from Sparkling Point winery Long Island

Start by filling a glass a a third of the way with orange juice. Then, add the Sparkling wine. The bubbly nature of the wine will mix the flavors together, so there is no need to stir it. Just serve it ice COLD! For a bit of flare, you can add a maraschino cherry.


The Drunken Chef (Russ)



2 Parts Sparkling Wine

1 Part Peach Nectar

Splash of maraschino cherry juice (optional)

Garnish with a maraschino cherry and/or peach slice (optional)


The Bellini is an classic Italian cocktail so it is best made with what else? Prosecco, because of its peach, melon, and pear flavors. You can use other Sparkling wines, but trust me when I say the drink will never be as good as being in Italy Hee Haa-Haa!

Start by filling a glass a quarter of the way with peach nectar and a few drops of cherry juice. Then add the Sparkling wine. The bubbly nature of the wine will mix the flavors together so do not stir it. Just serve it ice COLD! For a bit of flare, you can add a maraschino cherry or slice of fresh ripe sweet peach.


The Drunken Chef (Russ)


Now that you have made hard boiled eggs way back in Lesson Two: HARD BOILED EGGS, you’re ready for DEVILED EGGS. This is a classic and simple appetizer from the 50’s that I think with the addition of the Cholula Hot Sauce has a bit of a zing that elevates it up to the twenty first century.


6 Hard Boiled Jumbo Eggs

3 Tablespoons Mayo

1 teaspoon Mustard 

1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot or Cholula Hot Sauce

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Paprika for garnish

Pitch of white pepper

Whostersire Sauce in pace of vinegar (optional)

Relish (optional)


Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, and pepper, and mix well using a fork until creamy. Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. To get fancy: use a large star tip and a pastry bag to pipe the yolk mixture back into each egg, filling yolk holes completely. Dust tops with paprika. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Note: For a real fare, add fresh chopped chives or scallion to the top before refrigerating.