Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Who is Chef Vinny? Chef Vinny would be me a.k.a Vince Steinman. I was given the moniker Chef Vinny by one of my senior editors at Men's Health magazine. Under my alias, I wrote two popular food columns first for Mans Life and then
I've always enjoyed cooking and experimented in the kitchen since I was 10 years old. It wasn't until after years as a graphic designer I decided I wanted a career change and packed my bags for culinary school. After receiving my associate's degree in culinary arts I worked in several restaurant and resort kitchens.

During my tenure behind the stove I developed my passion for writing. I was able, with a little luck and tenacity, to snag some prime food writing assignments for some local and national print magazines.

What is The XY Style? The XY Style is an outlet for my creativity. After returning to the kitchen I neglected my creative side. In short, I got lazy. Too tired, too busy, too much Facebook; any excuse not to keep writing. This blog (I hope) will be the like the gym for my mind. A place where I can workout those flabby and a little atrophied creative muscles.

What should you get from reading my blog? There are literally thousands of blogs on the internet, some more entertaining and informative than mine, however, if you do read my blog, I hope what you glean from it is just a guy finding his way through life with a little bit of style and panache. Let me be clear here, I'm not trying to be the male version of Martha or the Barefoot Contessa, I think Ina Garten does entertaining far better than me.

The heart of my blog will deal with my love of baking. I love to bake-everything from cookies to cakes and everything in between. I'm not a fancy baker. You won't see buttercream rosettes on my cakes or a Serpentine design on my pie crusts. The food and recipes, for the most part, will be simple to prepare and most of all, taste good. I'd take a great tasting cupcake that didn't look perfect than a perfect looking cupcake that tasted just okay.

Now for something completely different.  I may veer completely away from the kitchen.  I don't always want to talk about food. My writing isn't always perfect and there will be moments I will blog by sheer stream of consciousness. I may talk about the movie I saw last night, how the food sucked at the new French bistro down the street, the book I'm reading or how I really need to fix the leaking faucet in my bath tub. If I'm being very moody, I may pepper my sentences with a few choice words of profanity. You have been warned. 
Other things to be mindful of when reading my blog: .I'm a chocoholic; don't be surprised if you see a lot of chocolate on my blog. With that being said, I also make mistakes. I'm a good cook and an even better baker, but heck, even the most experienced chef has a setback now and then. I'll show you mine. We learn by our mistakes, right?  With this blog, you're going to get all of me. The good, the bad and the ugly. Enjoy.

Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup dark chocolate baking chunks or chips

  1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until fluffy; add the sugar and mix at high speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl if needed, then beat in the eggs. Lower the mixer speed to stir in the flour mixture and mix until just combined; stir in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half on a lightly floured counter into a log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Arrange the logs on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
  5. Bake 30 - 40 minutes, until the logs are firm to the touch. Cool on a rack 10 minutes.
  6. With a large, sharp knife, slice each log into ¾-inch wide slices on a slight diagonal and put them cut side down on the baking sheet.
  7. Lower oven to 325 degrees. Bake 5 minutes, then gently turn the biscotti unto the other cut side and bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. The biscotti are great plain or dip them into some chopped, melted chocolate if you like.

Based on a recipe from Gourmet magazine and originally posted on Family Style Food