My Writings. My Thoughts.

All messed up

// November 15th, 2016 // No Comments » // Recipes

It has been a while since I have been on this site and posted anything on it.  I realize it needs a little work.  Tin Chef Josh has went out on his own and started Smash Toledo and is a partner in Kengo’s.  Tin Chef Steve is still here, but he has always been the reluctant guy to post anything.  He is also been exceptionally busy being the Yakitori chef at Kengo’s in addition to his day job.  So it is just me know. 

As many of you know, my mom passed away recently.  She was an amazing cook and was known for her meatballs, spaghetti sauce, wedding soup, and cookies.  I will do my best to post her recipes here.  I am also planning to create a site in her honor to make sure that these recipes can be passed on for generations to come.  Check out in the future.

Jambalaya…My way

// November 14th, 2016 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Tin Chef Chuck

OK, I am not Cajun,  not even close, but I have been to New Orleans.  This recipe comes out pretty damn good for an Ohioan though.  I need to warn you though…this was on a really big scale.  I have made this Jambalaya for the last 3 years, I nailed it this time.  This was the ultimate tailgating dish.  It is “economical” in the sense that you can feed a hundred plus people for around $200.00.

You will need a 30 gallon cast iron jambalaya pot and the burner/stand.  All of the ingredients were bought at Costco this time.  I was running out of time before the came, so I made do.  It actually worked better than all of the other times.

I prepped everything prior to game day. This worked out really well, and really made cooking while tailgating.  So here is what you need.

  • 30 Gallon Cast Iron Jambalaya Pot (I got mine on the internet, made in the USA from Louisiana. I also order the stand and propane burner.  Make sure you order the hooks to move the thing around as well.)


  • 4 pounds of pre-cooked shrimp with tails on
  • About 5 pounds of chicken thighs
  • About 2 cups of olive oil
  • 5 pounds of chopped onions
  • About 18 chopped peppers, I used green, yellow, red, and orange)
  • 8 stocks of celery chopped
  • About 4 or 5 large heads of garlic chopped
  • 3 or 4 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 20-30 Bay leaves
  • 2-3 ounces of Franks hot sauce (get a big bottle and use what ever you like)
  • 12 pounds of brown rice
  • About 5 pounds of sausage.  I used Andouille in the past, but this year I bought Costco’s smoke Kielbasi and it worked perfectly.
  • Chicken stock….A lot.  I bought 6 cases of the organic chicken stock (32oz X6 per case) available at Costco.
  • About 1 cup of the following spices:
    • Pepper
    • Salt
    • Paprika
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder
    • Cayenne pepper, actually get more.  Use one cup when you are making the Jambalaya.  You will need more when prepping the chicken.
    • Oregano
    • Thyme


Chop all of the vegetables and place in large 2 1/2  gallon zip lock bags.

Coat the chicken thighs heavily in cayenne pepper and blacken in a cast iron skillet.  Once crispy, sous vide for about two hours at 165°.  I did the Sous vide thing to make sure the chicken was thoroughly cooked.  If you don’t have a Sous vide machine, then just cook your chicken all the way.

Grill the sausage and cut into 1/2″ or so slices.

I placed everything in a cooler with dry ice.  Frozen stuff at the bottom.

Game day:

  1. Set up the jambalaya pot and get the fire going
  2. Once it is hot, add about 2 cups of oil
  3. Add the peppers, onions, and celery.  Stir it every now and then.  Once it is starting to cook, add the garlic. 
  4. When it really starts to smell good, add the spices and herbs.
  5. When it smells really good add the rice.  Let it cook for 10 minutes or so.
  6. Add about a case (six 32 oz containers of chicken stock)
  7. Once it has absorbed the chicken stock, add the chicken and sausage
  8. Keep adding chicken stock as it is absorbed up by the rice.  (I use brown rice because it doesn’t get mushy.  It is going to take 2-3 hours to be perfect.)  Keep stirring.  Don’t let it burn on the bottom!  Don’t worry, if it does, it just adds to the flavor.
  9. Once the rice is about done, stir in the frozen shrimp.

Obviously, this is a recipe on a really big scale.  There is nothing like this on line.  You can find a zillion recipes for dinner for two, but anyone can do that.  Keep tasting it as you cook it.  Bring extra everything in case you have to add spices or chicken stock.  Make sure you have a beer or two ready while prepping and while cooking.  If you do this right, make sure you have extra plates and spoons.  People will stop by just to see your jambalaya pot and you will have to share.  Think about doing this at your next really big party or tailgate.  Yea the pot is a challenge, but we are looking for other things to do with it.  It is really cool, but it does take up a junk of garage space for something I use once a year.  I will post some pictures, but check me out on Facebook.  Also, on a totally unrelated note, check out my new project.  I am now a combative firearms instructor with Pulse Fire Arms Training (O2DA Defense Academy).  Check out my site at

Tin Chef Chuck


Emily’s Potato Salad

// August 9th, 2015 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Tin Chef Chuck

I made this for a party last night. It was a memorable night for sure. I made my singing debut with “Messing with Emily”. Given my Singing talent, or lack thereof, I am guessing that career is over. Never the less, I had a blast. In honor of the band, I named my potato salad after them. I don’t have an exact quantities, this is one of those recipes that you throw together then adjust to your taste.


  • Redskin potatoes
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Corn on the cob
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Honey
  • Fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven coated with olive oil. Wash the potatoes and cut into small pieces. Coat the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the potatoes on the hot baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.

Cut the corn kernels off the cob, dice the peppers and onion and add salt and pepper. Cook on the stove in olive oil until soft and as the vegetables just start to brown. Once the potatoes are done, mix everything together.

For the sauce, mix mayonnaise, honey and sriracha sauce together. Adjust the proportions until you find the amount of heat and spice that you like. Mix with the potatoes and vegetables. Add fresh chopped chives. It can be served hot or cold.

Best fried chicken ever

// July 20th, 2015 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Tin Chef Chuck

I made this last night.  It came out exactly like the chicken I had in Napa.  This is by far the best fried chicken that I have ever tasted.  It isn’t quick, so you need to plan out all the steps.  I made the brine a day early, then put the chicken in early in the morning.  When I got home later that day, I pulled the chicken out of the brine and let it warm up to room temperature.  I put my trays of chicken into a warm oven for a few minutes to keep it dry until I was ready to fry it.  This is a must try recipe.

Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
8 pieces of chicken (I used breast and thighs)

1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup honey
6 bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic, cut horizontally
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 of a bunch of thyme sprigs
1/4 of a bunch of flat leafed parsley sprigs
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons (I used 3 lemons and all of the peel from the lemons)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
oil for deep-frying
Kosher salt
Thyme and flat leaf parsley for garnishing
For the brine: Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.
Rinse the chickens and place the chickens in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat the chicken dry, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Let the chicken come to room temperature outside of the fridge, 1 and a half hours to two hours.
Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl, transfer half to a second bowl and set up a dipping station: chicken, coating, buttermilk, second bowl of coating, tray.
Bring the oil to 320˚F in a pot deep enough so the oil does not come up more than one-third of the way. You want two inches of oil in the pot.
Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, patting off the excess, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a tray.
When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of chicken into the oil. The temperature of the oil will decrease, so adjust the heat as necessary to bring the oil to proper temperature. Fry for about 13 minutes, to a deep golden brown, cooked throughout and very crisp. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to cool slightly.
While the chicken rests, add the herb sprigs to the hot oil and let them cook and crisp for a few minutes. Arrange the chicken on the serving platter and garnish with the fried herb sprigs.

Back to Basics….

// June 3rd, 2013 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Tin Chef Chuck

OK, it’s been a while.  A lot has been going on, what can I say.  Since my last post I can’t believe how things have changed.  Has anyone noticed what has happened to the Food Network and the Cooking Channel?  They are terrible, all of the great shows that taught you how to cook are on TV at about 3:00 am, just before the infomercial for some miracle cure for acne or the newest way to shave your chest.  And they have been replaced with a series of stupid reality type shows about food, some idiotic cooking competition, or some “chef”  promoting some other chefs restaurant- or even worse, somebody drooling all over themselves after eating  something stupid hot or some 47 lb hamburger.  I finally get what Anthony Bourdain had against all of these TV chefs.

So I am going to get back to what I feel this site should be about.  We are not trying to sell anything, I am not looking to be the next “Food Network Star”- this is nothing more than an escape from the daily frustrations of practicing medicine caused by bureaucrats, regulators, administrators and the government.  The kitchen is my escape- there is nothing better than to open a bottle of wine, cook for my family and really enjoy the simplistic task of prepping a potato.  I don’t have to check the potato for 2 forms of identification and confirm that I have a potato peeler available and sign 7 different forms, I just slice into the damn thing.  Those of you in medicine know what I am talking about, those that don’t, humor me.

I can honestly say that I now understand that there is nothing better than sharing dinner with your family and I appreciate that more now than ever.   Many of you know that I served for over 24 years in our countries military, I took an oath to defend the Constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic.  I love my country, but I am not optimistic for our future, at least not the way things used to be.  The national debt is out of control, there are more people reaping the fruits of  society than contributing to society.  I just don’t see how things can be sustained when the equation is so out of balance.  So for the past 2 years I have been busy, I just haven’t been diligent to keep up this site.  I have been learning to make cheese, making wine, and working on my own “suburban” garden.  Yea, I know… I really know what your thinking, but I really am not a whack job, at least not a real crazy one.  I was an Eagle Scout, a Sea Cadet, 24 year plus in the military-  I plan for the worst case scenario, you know the “be prepared” thing.  I really do take that part serious.  So getting back to Toledo Tin Chefs, I plan to start talking about cooking again.

I want to share my ideas, my successes, and my failures.  And I reserve the right to go off on tangents, as I have been known to do.  If I offend you, then…go somewhere else, the internet is full of sites that should suite your taste.  No apologies.  I am what I am, you know that Freedom of Speech thing.  If you don’t like what I say…go somewhere else, no worries.

So I’m back.  Please share your thoughts, successes, and failures.  Lets talk about cooking.  Some of the things that I will be playing with over the next few months include my raised gardens, food preservation, wine and cheese making, growing my own ginseng, and getting some of these “survival” foods and trying to make something something that I would want to stay alive to eat after TEOTWAWKI.  And bread.  I am still trying to recreate the magnificent bread I have had in Italy.  So far, not even close.

On my current reading list is Whole by T.Colin Campbell, PhD, great book about the science or lack thereof of nutrition and  The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal.

So check back, hopefully I will have a new post before 2015.  And please share and post your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

Tin Chef Chuck


Sometimes things just don’t workout…. (S**t Happens!)

// December 15th, 2011 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Do you know what the difference is between an Iron Chef and a Tin Chef?  We don’t have producers, editors, sous chefs or helpers.  Their is no one to edit out our culinary “disasters”.  I am sure that every one has had their own kitchen disasters, including Michael Symon, Bobby Flay and all of the others.  You just never see theirs on TV.

When we have our disasters, things end up in the trash or the dogs eat well.  There is no one to edit it out for us.  Sometimes my test kitchen staff, meaning my wife and kids  just have to grin and bear it or we order pizza.  It happens to everyone.  So just accept it and open a bottle of wine and laugh it off.  In fact, if it doesn’t happen, you are not trying hard enough.  One piece of advice, if you are cooking a fancy new dish for the holidays or for a big party, try it out ahead of time.  It’s much better to serve something simple and delicious, than to try and pass off something you really hosed up.

A few nights ago I had my own disaster.  Several years ago in Italy we were walking around in Capri.  My son and I walked into a small shop and they had these cake like things made of pasta that were filled with all types of delicious ingredients.  I really wanted to make it at home, but I couldn’t remember what it was called.  I finally figure out it was Timpano while talking with Tin Chef Josh.  He also gave me a copy of the movie “The Big Night”.  If by the way, I suggest you watch if you haven’t seen it yet.  So I decided to try it out.  I made two, one was a smaller vegetarian version for my meat hater daughter, and the other was larger and contained meatballs, veal, hard boiled eggs, sausage, egg plant and a bunch of other delicious ingredients.  I made a spinach pasta to line the Timpano- it was going to be an epic meal.

Unfortunately, it was an epic disaster.  The vegetarian one came out great.  The big one stuck to my bowl and came out as a large glob of pasta and everything else; red sauce, white sauce, meatballs…everything in one big heaping mess.  What could I do?  So I plated it up, called it Italian Goulash and opened another bottle of wine.  The dogs ate well that night…

Until next time…

Tin Chef Chuck

Macaroni and Cheese- My ultimate comfort food

// December 15th, 2011 // No Comments » // Recipes

Tin Chef Chuck

Chuck’s Lobster and Vegetarian Mac & Cheese Recipes

Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I will also admit- I grew up with the original Kraft macaroni and cheese and I still like it, powdered cheese and all.  It may be sacrilegious, but what I can I say.  This recipe is a little more, shall I saw “sophisiticated”- and it is delicious!  I came up with these recipes when my daughter volunteered me to cook for 50 people for her play practice a few years back- it was a big hit.  She is a vegetarian, so I have a two recipes, one vegetarian and one with seafood.  Make the cheese sauce first, then add either lobster or scallops or the vegetables with the pasta, depending on which version you want.  If using lobster, use about a 1 1/2 pounds of cooked lobster.  For scallops, use between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds, I prefer the smaller bay scallops.  For the vegetarian, I suggest a small package of frozen diced carrots and a package of small frozen pearl onions.  Of course, you can really use anything you like.

The ingredient list for the sauce is:

  • 1 lb Macaroni, Riccioli, Fusilli or similar shaped pasta
  • 1 qt of organic whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 12 oz Gruyère cheese
  • 8 oz Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 375°

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add flour to create a roux.  Heat the milk in another pan and add it to the roux, creating a Béchamel sauce.  Now added the shredded cheese, pepper, and nutmeg.  Once the cheese has melted, add the cooked macaroni and stir to mix the ingredients.  Add the cooked lobster, scallops or vegetables.  Pour the macaroni and cheese into a glass baking dish.

In a sauté pan, melt a little butter and add the bread crumbs.  Brown the crumbs on medium heat then sprinkle on the  macaroni and cheese.  Now bake the Mac & Cheese for 30-35 minutes in the oven at 375°.


Tin Chef Chuck

My Thanksgiving Menu

// November 22nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Blog

Tin Chef Josh





This year we are having Thanksgiving at my house… A little surprised about this because I will want to deviate pretty hard from basic classic (kinda boring) dishes that most are so used to having. With that said I agreed to not go toooo crazy, so my menu is more traditional with a twist now.


Pistachio and fresh herb stuffed roasted turkey wrapped in pancetta
Guinness lager pan gravy
Roasted garlic, leek and parmesan mashed potatoes
Wild mushroom cornbread stuffing muffins
Brussels sprout gratin with bacon and almonds
Homemade pickled beets, onions & eggs
Glazed whole carrots with cardamom and ginger (might make into a soup)
Cranberry, mint and vanilla custard trifle


Pinot Noir
Guinness Black Lager
Grand Marnier

I hope/wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving




Frita Batidos in Ann Arbor, MI

// November 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // Blog, Restaurant Reviews

Tin Chef Josh

Since Toledo does not have an Apple store the closest one to us is at Briarfield mall in Ann Arbor, MI. The negative is that it’s 40miles away. The positive is that there are some great places to eat in Ann Arbor. Since Zingerman’s Deli (the best deli I have ever been to) is in Ann Arbor there really isn’t any other place to go to… This has been the case for a while but I knew and heard of other great spots. While I was at the scotch tasting at Toledo Country Club a few weeks back, the Ann Arbor food scene was brought up and I was given some great recommendations. Frita Batidos was first on the list. Last Sunday myself,  Emily, Andy and Amy Rossi planned a trip up to the Apple store. I said we have to try this Cuban place while we are up there, Amy says she has been there a few times and loved it, and now so do I! The place is mostly white inside and small with a few bar stools and 5 picnic tables for everyone to eat at. I like the simplicity of the cafe/restaurant and the cool accessories like the vintage coke-a-cola cooler next to the register. The menu is awesome, not to big with good ingredients. The food doesn’t take a long time to come out which is really nice because it is really good. As always being my first time there we load up and try a bunch of things. We started with the ginger and fresh lime juice in a bag, loaded plantains and bubble bread, then Emily had a chorizo frita with guacamole spread and a fried egg, Andy had the pulled pork, Amy had the fish frita and I had the cuban sandwich especial. All were great. We ended with huge churros with a super gooey chocolate dipping sauce and I had for the first time a Cafe Con Leche. Soooooo good! So good that when I went back to Ann Arbor two days later I went back and tried a few other menu items. Very cool place. I will be going there many times in between my Zingerman visits. Now with these two places on my fav list how am I going to try any other places when I am there?!?! I will figure something out… Check out Frita Batidos and their menu here 

Single Malt Scotch Tasting at Toledo Country Club

// October 2nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Blog

Tin Chef Josh

I attended a scotch tasting at the club the other week with a few buddies that are also members at TCC. Now I am a big fan of tastings mainly because I get to try new things. This tasting provided this but the women that did this scotch tasting was Cheryl Alagna who has an unbelievable knowledge of what she was presenting and a real treat to meet. Her title is “Master of Whiskey” to put this in perspective there is only 15 masters in the world and she is 1 of 3 women in the world, wow! She gave about a 30-45min teaching information session before we got to taste the first scotch. We tasted 5 different single malt scotches through the spectrum from lighter with a hint of citrus to bold and very smokey. I will say that I drink blended scotches more than I drink single malts because I have limited experience with them and the ones I have tasted I haven’t liked as much as a blend. In the beginning I didn’t think there was a big difference in the progression of the single malts. But once we got to the last one and I went back to the beginning I saw a huge difference in the single malts. I do have a better understanding and appreciation for the single malt. Here is a list of what we tasted:
Glen Chinchie

TC Josh with Cheryl Alagna