I’ve recently discovered a new website that was created by a great chef and a cool guy, my friend, Nicolas Steenhout. The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is, of course, a cooking site. Since I love to cook, I find perusing cooking sites a fun pastime. Some of the sites I stumble upon are okay and some, not so much. But, this site is different, somehow. Every time I visit Nic’s site, I get this feeling that there is something more, a true passion for cooking and sharing, and I absolutely love that!
Honestly, I do not know a lot about Nic. I know he is a Canadian living in New Zealand by way of Chicago and Savannah. I know he was once a professional chef and he co-authored a cookbook on wild meat and game. I know he is an advocate for people with disabilities. His other site, Accessibility NZ, deals with web accessibility issues. I know he plays wheelchair rugby.
The first recipe I made was the Chicken Chorizo Clay Pot. Oh, I didn’t have a clay pot, so I used a Dutch oven. I didn’t have mirin sauce (mirin is a sweet Japanese wine) so I used sherry. I didn’t even have any chorizo (Spanish sausage) and had to use kielbasa. (If I lived even remotely close to a decent grocery store, I would have made a quick trip to purchase those ingredients. Using the right ingredients is important!) But, even with all those changes, I loved this recipe! The flavors were incredible. I have made this again, since that first time, with the correct ingredients (well, except for the clay pot) with fantastic results.
The second recipe I tried was the Pork Medallions with Orange and Ginger Reduction. Oh, I fudged this one up, too! I thought I had defrosted a small pork tenderloin to use, but instead had a small package of ribs. Sheesh! The orange and ginger reduction and balsamic vinegar reduction were fabulous, though, and it still turned out to be a great dinner!
Several other recipes that are high on my list to try soon are the Braised Beef Shin with Orange and Black Olive – Osso Bucco Style, the Mousse au Chocolat, Chicken Brochettes Marinated in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, and Spaghetti Carbonara. Nic provides U.S. Standard measurements alongside the metric equivalents to make it easy for us Americans, too! And, he always remembers to list the U.S. term for ingredients like red capcium (red pepper) and kumara (a Maori word for sweet potato).
What else is cool about Nic is that he has a passion for photography and takes all of his own food photos! Typically food photographers add a lot of crap that make dishes inedible just to make a picture look appealing, but Nic cooks his food, plates it up, snaps his photos and then he eats it! Nic’s food photos are fantastic! Both photos in this article (yes, even the self photo above) were taken by Nic.
The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is a work in progress. So, please visit it often! And, don’t be afraid to ask Nic questions, he loves to answer! And, if you are inclined to take a photo of your cooking masterpiece, he would like to see it!
Oh, and a clay pot, like the one featured on his site, is now on my wish list, in case you were wondering!