Mark Karney

St. Louis Seasoning

 Rubs & Marinades  Comments Off on St. Louis Seasoning
Jun 212019

When Natalie and I go to St. Louis to visit Kevin, Katy, and Evan, we usually have breakfast at one of the First Watch restaurants. They are a breakfast/lunch-only restaurant and their menu is unique with fresh and healthy foods cooked with care. On our last visit there, I discovered they had a cookbook, which I bought. Included was a recipe for their seasoning used in much of their cooking, First Watch seasoning. But, of course, I always adjust and modify recipes. (I can’t help myself.) I increased the spices a bit and added the smoked paprika.

So here’s my version which I call St. Louis Seasoning in order to avoid any copyright and trademark issues.

St. Louis Seasoning
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  • 1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt*
  • 1/3 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly. Store in a tightly sealed container.
  2. Keep it on your counter, you’ll use it a lot.


*If you decide to use Morton Kosher Salt or regular salt, cut the amount of salt in half.

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Beware Kosher Salt!

 Tips & Techniques  Comments Off on Beware Kosher Salt!
Apr 202019

Now, there is really nothing wrong with Kosher Salt except for the fact there are two distinctly different types, and if you use the wrong kind you will really mess up your recipe.

When we so to St. Louis to visit Kevin, Katy and Evan we will almost always eat breakfast at a restaurant names First Watch. I had always thought it was a small local chain, but recently found out it is a relatively large US chain.

We love the breakfasts at First Watch. They are healthy, they use the freshest ingredients, and do a superb job of providing an alternative to the sugary, fat-laden breakfasts that are typical in most places.

We went there the last time we were in St. Louis and I was delighted to find out that they have published a cookbook, which I immediately purchased.

The next week, I mixed up some special First Watch seasoning from the cookbook and proceeded to use it to re-create their fabulous roasted potatoes. With great anticipation of the potatoes on my plate, I tasted them and found that they were so salty, they were inedible.

Terribly disappointed I checked my recipe against the book and determined that I had followed the book correctly. Was it a misprint? Did they print Tablespoons for the amount of salt when they really meant teaspoons? I assumed that there was a misprint and was planning on contacting the publisher, but as usual got sidetracked with all the other demands of life.

A few weeks later, I was reading Samin Nosrat’s bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and got my answer. True Kosher salt is dried by a process that forms light, flaky crystals of salt that dissolve easily. The brand that most restaurant kitchens have is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. On the other hand, Morton Kosher Salt (the kind I had) is formed of large cubical crystals. A tablespoon of Morton Kosher Salt weighs almost twice as much as a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and thus is twice as salty. They are both pure salt, but because the Morton variety is much denser, it is twice as salty as the same volume of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt.

The problem is not in the salt, but the way we measure. If we measured by weight (grams), it wouldn’t matter which kind of salt you used. One gram of either would have the same saltiness. But, since we in the states typically measure by volume, (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons) we find that a tablespoon of Morton Kosher salt weighs almost twice as much as a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This makes a good case for measuring by weight rather than volume and is especially important in things like pickling, canning and baking.

I am assuming that most recipes that specify Kosher Salt imply a light salt like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt because that seems to be what most chefs use. It is also better to err by using a less salty product like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt because you can always add more salt if the dish isn’t salty enough. If you oversalt, there is usually no easy fix.

New Section on Tips & Techniques

 Other, Tips & Techniques  Comments Off on New Section on Tips & Techniques
Apr 202019

I decided to depart from the “recipes only” format and add a section on cooking tips and techniques. Now, that the kitchen remodeling is done and we have a nice new kitchen, I am spending more time honing my cooking skills and enjoying it immensely.

Newly remodeled kitchen.
Our new kitchen.

I’ve been taking some online classes from famous cooks at and learning some interesting ideas. I have also read Samin Nosrat’s bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and it’s the first book that I have read that talks in depth about balancing flavors in food.

So, I’ll periodically post some of the most useful gems that I find in this material.

Huevos Whatever

 Breakfast, Mexican, Vegetarian  Comments Off on Huevos Whatever
Feb 012019

We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.

Huevos Whatever
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2 ratings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Category: breakfast

Cuisine: Mexican

Servings: 2


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 medium Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tsp. olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, 6 inch
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/3 cup guacomole or avocado


  1. Dice the onions and jalapeno and fry in the oil until the start to brown.
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk and add the black pepper to the mix.
  3. Add the eggs to the skillet and scramble and add 1/2 of the cheese to the mixture and remove from heat.
  4. Preheat your broiler.
  5. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-5 or 20 seconds.
  6. Line a small sheet pan with foil or parchment. Divide the eggs into four parts. Fill half of each tortilla with eggs and then fold over the other half of the tortilla. Put them on the sheet pan and hold it closed with a couple of toothpicks.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over and put them under the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
  8. Put a layer of Arugula on each plate and then top with the filled tortillas. Remove the toothpicks and top with the salsa. Serve a small scoop of guacamole on the side.


You can add whatever you want to the scrambled eggs depending on your preferences. If you don’t have guacamole, diced avocado with a squeeze of lemon or lime can be served on the side.

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Fritatta with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula

 Breakfast, Other  Comments Off on Fritatta with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula
Jan 252019

When Natalie and I travel we often stay at Marriott Couryard’s and usually have breakfast in their Bistro. My favorite item on the breakfast menu was their eggwhite frittata. They have changed their menu and still offer the frittata, but it isn’t the same as the original one. Here’s my take on their original frittata, which is a healthy way to begin the day.

Fritatta with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula
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3 ratings

Category: Breakfast

Servings: 1 serving

Frittata with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula


  • 2 Eggs (1 Jumbo Egg)
  • 1 tsp. Olive oil
  • 1/2 Avocado, diced
  • 1 Small lemon wedge
  • 1 Baby cucumber, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 1 Cup Arugula
  • 2 Tbsp. Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. Mexican Salsa


  1. Warm up a warming drawer, or heat your oven to about 140° F and then turn off. Put your plate(s) in the oven to warm.
  2. Peel and dice the avocado into 3/4 inch cubes and squeeze the lemon juice over them.
  3. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, and dice into 3/8 inch pieces.
  4. Beat the egg(s). Heat a non-stick skillet and pour in the egg, spreading it over the pan as you would a crepe.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese over the egg. When the egg is done and cheese begins to melt, slide the egg carefully onto the plate and return the plate to the oven or warmer.
  6. Put 1 tsp. of olive oil in the pan and saute the arugula in the pan until it begins to wilt.
  7. Remove the plate from the oven and top with the arugula. Arrange the pieces of avocado and cucumber over the arugula and top with salsa.
  8. Serve immediately.


This is not a difficult recipe to make, once you get the hang of it. The heated plate is important as the thin egg pancake will cool quickly on a cold plate. Amounts are approximate, so adjust them to your liking. You can substitute egg whites for the eggs if you desire. I prefer a salsa that has lemon or lime juice in it rather than vinegar, so read your ingredients when you buy the salsa. If you are cooking for more than one, it might be easier to have a separate skillet to saute the arugula.

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