Help me Hustle The Red Rooster Cookbook!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem! This book means a lot to me as it illustrates why I have come to love Harlem so much and why I call it home. I could use some help showing everyone that this cookbook is more than just a cookbook!

Social Media Superstar Gary Vaynerchuk has recently taken me under his wing. He tells me that it can be helpful to show people how to spread the word effectively. So, Gary V style, post it on your Instagram, write about it on your blog, tweet it out, review it on Amazon, or simply give it to a friend - any way you want to share it is cool. Check out his Insta tips below:



1.      Take a photo of yourself with the book. Make sure the front cover is prominent and in focus.

2.      Write a brief review of the book. Did it make you think of Harlem? If you've never been, did it make you want to go? Do you think you'll try any of the recipes? Share it all!

3.      Be sure to tag me (@marcuscooks) and use hashtag #RedRoosterCookbook. Other tags you might want to use include #RedRooster and #Harlem

A Labor Day Seafood Boil at Red Rooster

Labor Day, holiday, seafood, crab boil, Red Rooster, Harlem, restaurant

The countdown has began for the last few days of summer. While we dread the cold weather that awaits us, there are still a few warm days ahead and a few meals thats we can savor in the mean time. One of my favorite ways to wish summer a fair well and have a great Labor Day weekend, is with a seafood boil. A large pot heavily seasoned, full of the best that summer has to offer, including seafood, is a great way to close out the season. A seafood boil is also a great way to roll up your sleeves and have a good time with friends and family over a perfect meal. The Harlem Chowder for 2 at Red Rooster Harlem is a great way to also enjoy a end of summer seafood boil, without cooking. But how do you create a successful seafood boil? Here are a few tips for the perfect end of summer feast! 

Flavor Profiles: 

Although food is at its best when it is fresh and in season, and seafood has great flavor of its own, the cooking liquid for a seafood boil is essential. The cooking liquid has to be overly seasoned and heavily flavorful, due to the fact that it needs to cook a lot of seafood and vegetables that will essentially water down the initial flavor. You want the flavoring liquid to permeate and season all of your ingredients. A classic crab boil seasoning, or Old Bay seasoning, is always a great flavoring when making a seafood boil. Other flavor add-ins can include beer, wine, spices such as bay leaves, chili flakes and peppercorns, and also flavored salts.

Photo: ethan.john

Ingredient Checklist: 

A end of summer seafood boil is a great way to use up all of your farmers market produce. Fresh corn, potatoes, a head of garlic and smoked sausage are the stars in a classic crab boil. What's great about a seafood boil is that there are no set ingredients or options, and variations should always be encouraged. Whether clams and white shrimp are on sale, you have some extra baby red potatoes laying around, or you just purchased a fresh mound of corn at your local farmers market, a seafood boil doesn't have to be costly, and everyone can get something that they enjoy eating.

Cook it up! Pour it Out!:

When preparing a seafood boil, a little chef expertise comes into play. Timing is everything and knowing when to add certain ingredients in your pot will help create the perfect balance of cooked seafood and cooked vegetables. Once your cooking liquid is flavored and seasoned, you want to add the things that will take the longest to cook first. As your layering your ingredients, the potatoes should be one of the first things to begin cooking. After that, corn and sausage, followed by shellfish, lobsters and/or crabs, and finally shrimp. Adding your shrimp at the very end will assure that your shrimp cook through in the hot liquid, but will not overcook them and become mushy by being trapped on the bottom of your pot. Adding shellfish second and third will assure that the shells from the mussels and clams open fully and any lobster or crabs that will be added will be cooked as well. Typically, a seafood boil is served on a table, family style with no bowls or utensils--eating with your hands is all the fun. Place old newspaper on your table before pouring the seafood out onto the table. The newspaper will become another protective layer and will help catch all of the juices and shells.

And if it's Still Too Much Work?

Head to Red Rooster on Tuesday, September 3rd for a fantastic extended summer Crab Boil featuring Harlem Legend Crab Man Mike.

$18 -- 3 crabs and 2 sides
$30 -- 6 crabs and 3 sides
Sides Include:
 Mexican Street Corn
Potato salad
Mac and Greens
Buttermilk Mash
Blue cheese Slaw
Old Bay Spiked French Fries
Collard Greens
Bourbon mustard pole beans
$5 pints of Radeberger Beer and individual crabs will be available for $3 a pop.
It will take place upstairs on the patio and we will have New Orleans musicians providing the entertainment.

Rooster logo in window

How To Apply To Culinary School

Culinary Students Having been raised in Sweden, Marcus didn't go to culinary school in the States. Instead his path to becoming a professional chef started in high school when he applied to a specialized school where students could learn to hone their craft in fashion, dance, singing, and of course, cooking. Instead of the rigors of a program like the French Culinary Institute or the Culinary Institute of America, Marcus chopped and sweated his way through vocational school then through the toughest kitchens in Europe. Read his whole story in "Yes, Chef", his award-winning memoir.

Culinary arts has now become a major career choice for all ages. In a time when chefs and culinary professionals are the new age rock stars, the number of people enrolling in culinary arts schools has risen significantly in the past few years. The food industry is bustling and producing great chefs and food industry professionals alike, and now going to culinary school seems to be a great option. Like any other school you look to apply to, choosing the right culinary school is key to your success and you want to make sure that the school matches who you are and your needs and career goals.

A Look into the Future: 

With the dreams of becoming a celebrity chef, a published food author, or a prized food photographer, comes the harsh reality of actually going, not only to culinary school, but working in a food related industry. Long shifts, cuts, burns, standing on your feet all day, and more all play a deep roll in being in the food industry. It's best to sit down with yourself and think if you can deal with and manage all these aspects and more, prior to applying for culinary school. Your love for all things food and chef could drastically change once you begin culinary school, and you may realize that you  just like to eat in restaurants more than you like to cook in one.


Apply Yourself: 

Applying to culinary school is a lot like applying to a regular academic university. Aside from your undying love for food and hospitality, applying for culinary schools also comes with academic needs as well. A high school diploma or GED equivalent, GPA, extra curricular activity and more are all needed to apply to a majority of today's culinary schools. Also a crucial addition to all of these things are food related experiences and/or work experience in a food-related field, that is NOT fast food. Several culinary schools require you to have hands on work experience in a food related business (roughly 6 months) prior to applying for culinary school. This gives you the opportunity to test the waters and see if continuing your culinary education is best fit for you.

cooking, culinary school, chef, how to,


Know Yourself:

The culinary industry is very hard work, just ask any chef. This is truly a industry for passionate individuals who believe in their craft and the power of food. It is also a industry for the hard worker, the person willing to not go home until the job is done. That attitude is where people sometimes get mislead. Being a highly praised chef is essentially the ultimate goal, but ask any chef what they had to give up to get there are they will tell you a little bit of everything. Time is of the essence in a kitchen and speed is a necessity. If you are slow on a task, there is always someone in the kitchen that works faster than you. Be sure to be committed to the craft before you apply.


How To Make Quick Jam

Photo: julochka I always find that when I venture through the farmers market, I always seem to buy fruits and vegetables I wouldn't ordinarily buy. The strawberries, the blueberries, and every piece of fruit in between always looks so amazingly fresh at the farmers market that I get home and have an abundance, and of course you never want this beautiful fruit to spoil. Spoiling is wishful thinking, and you need to think fast on how to savor this seasons farmers market harvest. This is where quick jam fits in perfectly. Making a quick jam solves so many wonderful problems and also uses up all of the fruit you so anxiously bought. Whether it be spooned on top of hot waffles or the tomato jam served with the corn bread at Red Rooster Harlem, jam can add a nice touch to a variety of things. Here are a few quick and easy tips for making quick jam at home. 

You Already Have Half of What You Need:

Making quick jam is really easy once you realize you are actually half way there. There is no need to boil jars, sealing tops or any of those intricate details. What you need is already in your kitchen. A large pot to boil the fruit, a spoon, and a jar to keep your jam in, is really all that's required.

Small and Personalized:

When making quick jams, it's better to make them in small batches. Using 1-2 pounds of fruit at a time is ideal. This helps keep the jam consistent  and also with smaller batches you can experiment with flavors. Strawberry jalapeño jam? Blueberry lime? Peach and chilies? Working in small batches will allow you to have variation and will also help when using up all of your farmers market finds.

Let's Jam:

For a quick jam, all you need is fruit, sugar and lemon juice. A key step in making quick jam is simmering or boiling the fruit, sugar and lemon together, but also allowing it to cool completely. As it cools, the jam will thicken and congeal, which is exactly what you need it to do, so you can smear it on your morning toast.

Here are 4 recipes that can accompany your jam! 

Red Rooster Harlem Cornbread Recipe 

Buckwheat Walnut Flax Bread 

Raspberry Jam Torte

Raised Waffles 

Coconut Macaroons, 5 Ways

With all the French macaron hype, coconut macaroons (Congolais in France) have been left in their almond flour dust. However, these gooey, chewy, coconut-y treats are just as delectable and way easier to make. And just like their French buttercream-filled counterparts, they can be flavored anyway you like it.  One of the many things my meins mideg (Armenian for grandmother) taught me was how to transform leftovers and not to waste what we have. Her leftovers-in-a-cookie-or-boereg (traditionally a cheese and herb filled phyllo dough parcel)  ideas don't always work, but when they do, they are magic. And like magic, it's impossible to figure out how it happened (because, of course, she can never remember what bits and pieces she put in it).  This idea of resourcefulness is a practice instilled in her by her mother, as they, like many immigrant families, had to make use of every bit they bought. To me, her tendencies to continue to use this "waste not, want not" mentality is not only about being economical, it's about keeping the memories of her mother alive by making these thrifty ideas part of our family's traditions.

Here are some traditional, and some quirky ways to remix those creamy coconut textures and flavors. Or maybe they'll just inspire you to come up with your own "crazy leftovers" or "what's still in the pantry" coconut macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons 5 ways:

coconut macaroons

1. Simple Coconut Macaroons (makes 2 dozen):

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Mix together:
    •  2 whole eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Place tablespoon-sized mounds onto a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake macaroons for 20-30 minutes (depending on how you like them, but keep an eye on them as they do tend to turn from perfectly golden to burnt quite quickly).

2. Chocolate Covered, Drizzled, Dipped or Speckled: Make (with 74% cacao chocolate nibs and 1/2 cup of heavy cream) your own chocolate sauce (heat heavy cream just until it comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until is fully melts and sauce becomes smooth) or just buy some (we won't tell) and either cover, dip, or drizzle the cooled macaroons. Have left over chocolate chips at home? Just add 1/2 cup (or more if you like it extra chocolate-y) to the mixture before you bake them.

Chocolate drizzed coconut macaroon

3. Sea Salt & Caramel: Make or buy caramel sauce, add sea salt (to taste) and drizzle on top of cooled macaroons. You can also add 1/2 cup of  chopped up sea salted caramels (like the ones below) to the uncooked mix and bake in the gooey goodness.

sea salt caramels

4. Raspberries: Jammed or Freshly Puréed: Or try any other fruit you fancy. If you like a sweeter flavor, add 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite jam to the uncooked macaroon mixture. If you want a more tart and fresh flavor, quickly puree your fruit of choice and add about 1/2 cup of the puree into the mix.

raspberry jam

5. Nutty, Fruity & Maybe Even a Bit Seedy: I'm sure, like me, many of you have a hodgepodge of leftover nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios), dried fruit (cranberries, apricots), or seeds (chias, flax, sunflower) that you bought during that "I'm going to snack healthy" phase. Add a 1/2 cup of roughly chopped favorites, or whatever you have, to the uncooked mixture. Trail mix type items are a great way to add extra flavor without too much added sugar. Think decadent granola bar.

mixed nuts


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