Randel Cooks

Midwest Home Chef

Beautiful Burger Buns

Wonderful Huge Buns

Beautiful Burger Buns

3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water*

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

375°F oven for 15 to 18 minute

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
  4. Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter.
  5. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
  6. Cool the buns on a rack.
  7. Yield: 8 large buns.




Pork Gyro Recipe

How to Make an Authentic Greek Gyro

Lead Shot


I got so used to eating the darn things that I needed to figure out a way to make them on my own at home. After doing a bit of research, I found that a famous chef and a well-respected website had already covered the topic in great detail.

Traditionally, multiple cuts of pork are skewered together and slow-cooked, and finally charred on the rotisserie. In order to get that same texture and feel, I went back and forth to find the right cut of pork to put on a skewer, finally settling on pork tenderloin. Though it’s the most expensive of all pork cuts, it really takes well to the marinade and results in a tender, flavorful meat.

Sliced and stuffed into a warmed pita and topped with homemade tzatziki and other accoutrements, I promise you will soon feel painfully full in the best way possible.

Pork + Marinade

Skewered and Sliced

Serves 4


  • 1 8oz. pork tenderloin, silver skin removed and cut into 1.5″ chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Wooden skewers


  1. Combine all ingredients (except the skewers, of course) into a ziplock bag, seal, and marinate in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, skewer pork pieces together. Be sure not to overcrowd the skewers, as the meat will steam instead of char. You want to give a bit of space between each cut to ensure it takes on the maximum flavor during the grilling process.
  3. Place skewers on grill and cook for 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and tent with foil for 10 minutes to rest.
  4. Remove meat from skewers and slice as thin as possible for assembly.

The acidity from the yogurt and lemon juice really help to make a tender cut like pork tenderloin even more perfect. With the addition of some herbs and the overnight marinade, this meat will take on all the traditional flavors that you’ve come to love from a traditional gyro.

Tzatziki Sauce

A gyro ain’t a gyro without a great tzatziki. This yogurt sauce is infused with plenty of garlic and cucumber and is not only absolutely addictive, but healthy to boot. Try it as a dip for vegetables, on a baked potato, or basically any cut of grilled protein. I’ve simplified my version to the very basics, but you can always amp up the flavor of this sauce with fresh chopped mint should you choose.


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


Combine ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until evenly incorporated. Serve immediately or keep cold until ready. Keeps for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. (I’d advise adding the garlic last minute if not serving immediately.)

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower


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3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower, separated in florets
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper
chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Grease large casserole dish.
Place olive oil and garlic in large resealable bag.
Add cauliflower and shake to mix.
Pour into prepared casserole dish.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Top with Parmesan and parsley and broil for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown

Healthy Oils

Study still in progress …

Researching “Healthy Oil” and I getting alot of mixed messages. Many oils thought to be good are now bad.  So I am still working out all the mixed message on healthy oils.  Many so called healthy vegatable oils are suspect due to the chemicals used to extract the oil, therefore highly pressed and bad for you.

Butter Good

Fish Oil good

Is eating fish safe? A lot safer than not eating fish!

Good Oil List

CHOOSING THE BEST FATS AND OILS – Uncovering the Mystery

Bad OIL but thought to be good

Soybean Oil
Canola Oil

Canola Oil appears to be bad

Canola oil confusion: the good, the bad, the ugly

Soybean Oil appears to be bad

Dangers of Cooking With Soybean Oil (Vegetable Oil)

Soy’s Surprising Link to Obesity


Looking to make my own Italian Flatbread

Hogarts GingerBread Castle

Reference Photos




Sunday waffles

2 Eggs separated
4 Tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Cups Flour (all purpose unbleached)
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Cup Milk (Vitamin D Whole Milk)
2 TB Baking Powder (non-Aluminum – Rumford)

Whip 2 egg whites to hard peaks and add 4 then mix in TB sugar and vanilla.

Fold in remaining ingredients: Flour, Oil, Milk and Baking Powder but do not overmix or tough waffles result.

For my Belgium style or 50’s old vintage waffle irons, I preheat and add 1/4 mixture and cook for 3 minutes.  But your times may vary.

I have experimented with the recipe over the years and this is what recipe my family enjoys.  However, for a more lacey texture add up to 1 cup oil or even better butter.  More sugar results in a darker more caramelized color and flavor.  So experiment to fit your families taste.  Add cooked bacon for fun at Halloween and have the “legs” sticking our from the sides!

Syrup recipe – for more fun

Morena pure cane sugar

add 1 cup unrefined unbleached raw sugar into 2 cup Pyrex mixing cup, slowly add water until it reads 1 1/8 cup or reaches that line on the glass measuring cup.  Heat in microwave until you reach desired thickness about 3-5 minutes.  More water the longer you will need to cook out the water.  I place a lid or glass on the top to make sure no seed sugar crystals remain on the sides of the Pyrex measuring cup and can last in the refrigerator until needed again.

Liege Waffle Recipe / Gaufre de Liège Recette Repost

Liege Waffle Recipe / Gaufre de Liège Recette

Authentic Liège waffles are one of life’s great indulgences — caramelized sugar glistening on the most delicious buttery-sweet, vanilla-laden treasure beneath. Unfortunately, they can be nearly impossible to find, even in their homeland of Belgium, where chains like Belgaufre have taken them so far afield from their 18th century brioche roots. Stateside, chains like Bonte (in Philadelphia) don’t use the right sugar and others like Wafels & Dinges (in NYC) simply import mass-produced substandard pre-made frozen balls of dough from Europe. Basically, to enjoy the curiously oblong Liège waffle, you need to make one yourself. Sadly, the vast majority of recipes found online and in cookbooks are appallingly bad. Some are over-yeasted. Many are just leaden or grainy. And, due to one factor or another, virtually all of them lack the smooth and complex flavors of a true Liège waffle. The recipe that follows is a culmination of A TON of research into recipes of the last 200+ years, study of artisanal Belgian street vendor techniques, and a heavy investment in the right tools (including the above 35lbs. Krampouz Liege waffle iron). Get ready to experience a traditional 18th century “Gaufre de Liège” — with some modern updates (e.g., a stand mixer and plastic wrap). And if you’re extra serious about using the perfect recipe, you can visit my latest metric version, which attempts to recreate the waffle with almost entirely period-correct ingredients. Baking these waffles is involved and takes patience, but the result is well worth it. The only caveat I must give is that the iron’s temperature is crucial in making an exceptional Liege waffle. It helps to have an infrared thermometer handy, as there’s a fairly narrow range in which the sugar will caramelize perfectly and not burn. You can make do without one though. It may take some trial and error, but you’ll get it right.

INGREDIENTS makes 5 Gaufres de Liège Click here for the updated and much more advanced metric version of the recipe

• 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

• 1/4 cup scalded whole milk at 110-115 degrees

• 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. of water at 110-115 degrees

• 2 cups King Arthur Bread flour

• 1 large room temperature egg, lightly beaten

• 1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. light brown sugar

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 8 1/2 Tbsp. soft room temperature unsalted butter

• 1 Tbsp. honey

• 2 tsp. Mexican vanilla extract

• 3/4 cup Belgian Pearl Sugar (“Waffle Pantry” is the best source for authentic Belgian pearl sugar)


1. Place yeast, milk, and water into the workbowl of a stand mixer. Stir for a few seconds to moisten the yeast.

2. Add the egg and 2/3 of a cup of the flour. Mix to blend. Scrape down sides of bowl.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1 and 1/3 cups of flour over the mixture, but do not stir it in. Cover and let stand 75-90 minutes (at the end of that time, you’ll notice the batter bubbling up through the cover of flour).

4. Add the brown sugar and salt to the workbowl with the other ingredients. Mix on low speed (speed #2) – just to blend.

5. With machine on low, add honey and vanilla. Then add 2 Tbsp. of butter at a time. Mix 4 minutes at medium-low speed; scrape down sides once or twice in that period. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and then continue to mix for 2 minutes. If you measured your ingredients perfectly, the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl in the last minute of mixing and then, in the last 30 seconds of so, will start to ball-up on the paddle. If this does not happen, let the dough rest for 1 more minute and mix for another 2 minutes.

6. Scrape the dough into a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 4 hours. This step is crucial for developing the flavor.

7. REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO STEP #8. This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.

8. Stir the dough down (meaning: gently deflate the gases from the dough, by pressing on it with a rubber spatula), scrape it onto a piece of plastic wrap, and then use the spatula to press the dough into a long rectangle. Fold that rectangle over on itself (by thirds – like a letter) so that you have a square of dough. Wrap it in plastic, weigh it down a bit (I put two heavy dinner plates on top of it) and refrigerate overnight.

9. The next day, place the cold dough (it will be quite firm) in a large bowl and add all of the pearl sugar to a bowl. It will seem like a lot of sugar, but it’s supposed to be 🙂 Mix it into the dough by hand until the chunks are well-distrubuted. Once mixed, divide the dough into 5 pieces of equal size.

10. Shape each chunk into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for 90 minutes.

11. If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 20 pounds) cook at exactly 365-370 degrees (the max temp before sugar begins to burn/decompose) for approximately 2 minutes.

** Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating. No syrup or toppings are needed, unless you’d like to add some fruit or a dusting of powdered sugar; they’re quite sweet on their own.

** If you have a regular waffle iron, heat the iron to 420 degrees (hint: many regular waffle irons go up to and over 550 degrees at their highest setting) , place the dough on the iron, and immediately unplug it or turn the temp dial all the way down. Otherwise, the sugar will burn.

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