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The Rye Guy

Written on August 28th, 2011 by corakentno shouts

Boquete Gourmet Host Chef and Artisan Baker, Mort Rabkin has made a big name for himself among rustic bakers all over the world. First, Mort loves to bake, which is truly a passion with him. Folks from Ohio to Panama know of his love of baking, the attention he pays to details, and his passion for sharing his knowledge with others.

Mort has presented eighteen classes in bread-making in the Boquete Gourmet Host Chef Program, more than any other Host Chef. He has taught bakers how to make sourdough from scratch to use in French breads, pancakes, bagels and foccacia. Mort enjoyed sharing his holiday bread recipes, including challah and festive fruit breads.

Since his arrival in Boquete almost 3 years ago, Mort designed and, with the help of his wife Barbara and many friends, built a wood-fired clay oven behind his riverside home. Ever since completing the oven, Mort’s passion has been fueled for his newly-found “avocation”, baking rustic rye and sourdough breads.

The building and refining of Mort’s oven wasn’t easy in Boquete, as not many locals had ever heard of such an oven. To see actual photos of the building procedure, you may click here.

The oven took many weeks to complete.  A design had to be developed, construction materials assembled, builders hired and supervised throughout the entire procedure. Mort had to  dry the bricks, clay and mortar. After that, it took quite awhile to warm up and “season” the oven so it could be used to get consistent results.

Before he could even think about teaching, Mort had to perfect his recipes so he could produce the most delicious, crunchy and authentic artistic breads possible in Panama, especially at high altitudes. It took many weeks to develop the exact loaf of bread that Mort had been dreaming of baking.

Finally, Mort was really enjoying his new-found avocation, making authentic rustic rye and sourdough breads and teaching others how he does it. Some of Mort’s fellow bakers are helping to check the progress of their newly-created breads. Aren’t they loving it?

Doesn’t this loaf of Mort’s warm rye bread look like the best bread you have every tasted? All you need to add is a slice of tender ham, Manchego cheese and a little Dijon mustard, and nothing could be better!
If you’d like to get a loaf of Mort’s freshly baked bread or to learn about other breads Mort bakes, visit his website at  If you’re interested to learn how to make another of Mort’s favorite breads, traditional French baguettes, click November 17 on the calendar at the above right for information about Mort’s next class.  You’ll learn how to make baguettes using the classic “wet” method.

Thanks to Mort, Boquete residents are able to enjoy authentic rustic breads, and we’re learning how to create amazing breads at home in our own ovens.  Above all - everyone is HAVING A GOOD TIME doing it.

Come join the fun!

Grilling in the Highlands of Panama

Written on July 4th, 2011 by corakentno shouts

Living in the high mountains of Panama has lots of advantages, especially when it comes to outdoor grilling. It’s easy to stop by the fresh, open markets, then fire up the gas grill, and prepare the best backyard meals imaginable anywhere in the world.

My shopping list is short, a whole chicken or rack of baby-back ribs, whatever fresh vegetables are plentiful, and a pineapple.

The weather is always pleasant for firing your grill, even if it’s a rainy day, because the temperature is usually just right, about 72 degrees in the late afternoon. A 5-dollar gas tank will last for months of grilling, and they’re available at almost every mini-market in Panama.

Our favorite meat to grill is chicken, it never fails to please everyone. Chicken is low in calories, high in nutritional value, and very reasonable in Panama, as everyone knows. David loves to buy a can or two of Panama beer, punch holes in it along the top rim and perch the whole chicken atop of it. It cooks in about an hour on the closed grill, just in time to have your vegetables grilled and ready to eat.

The vegetables can be pre-cut and ready to toss in a grill pan.  Any kind of vegetable can be sliced thinly, tossed in a bit of olive oil and your special blend of herbs and set above the flames. Each time you glance into the grill, give the vegetables a little stir. The top photo shows our favorite grilling pan to use for any small ingredients. They cook slowly and never fall on the flames.

Dessert is easy when you’re grilling in the Highlands of Panama. Just slice off the bottom of a juicy, fresh pineapple and stand it on end. Holding the green top, slice off the skin from top to bottom. Divide in half from top to bottom and lay on cut side. Slice lengthwise again into quarters and remove the core.   Cut each quarter into 2 or 3 long pieces, depending on the size of your pineapple. Lay the long pieces on the hot grate after you remove the chicken. Wait for grill marks to appear, then turn over to brown.

You will have a luscious, grilled finish to your fresh, healthy and tasty dinner. Boquete Gourmet Host Chef, Greg Henry, on, inserted a skewer into the ends of his spears of grilled pineapple and placed them on a dessert plate with a small dish of dipping sauce similar to Dulce de Leche.

The sauce is easy to make the day before your dinner. Simply boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for about an hour and a half. When you’re ready to serve your pineapple, open the can and fill small dishes with your “homemade” Dulce de Leche sauce.  You may need to thin it with a bit of white wine.  Shave chocolate or sprinkle coconut flakes over your pineapple and serve.

You can enjoy this spectacular grilled dinner wherever you are, but it’s especially good when you’re in the Highlands of Panama!


First of Three “Eye-opening” Brunches

Written on March 8th, 2011 by corakentone shout

Boquete Gourmet “Host Chef” Alie MacArthur, presented three (3) complete brunch menus to sixteen (16) eager folks wishing to hone their culinary prowess, even if it meant attending a 10am class on a Sunday morning. Fifteen (15) new and different dishes were prepared using techniques that inspired participants to stretch their imaginations and to create delicious, zestful and eye-opening flavors.

“Eye-opening” is the original meaning Guy Beringer, back in 18th century England, put on the phenomenon of the modern day portmanteau word; “brunch”.

Mr. Beringer wrote that this new meal would be taken late on a Sunday morning, it would be cheerful, sociable and exciting, and it would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. Brunch would promote human happiness, be talk-compelling, put guests in good temper and sweep away worries and cobwebs of the week. This sounds like exactly the type of event that I would want to promote!

The “rules” include offering a variety throughout each dish. Keep in mind the flavors, spicy, sweet, tangy and mild. Watch for brightly-colored foods, some hot and some cold, and dishes with snap, as well as smooth textures. Remember, this meal is meant to “brighten life”.

After doing quite a bit of research, I found that the possibilities for designing and making a meal that would meet Mr. Beringer’s criteria were endless. Following a few simple rules, Alie developed three such menus, and this is her first design.

Jennifer is setting up her colorful Omelet Bar for guests wishing to design their own omelet, exactly as they like it, including a bit of spicy hot sauce.

Proper shaping and forming of the potato cakes is demonstrated by Cynthia in the photo below. Her cakes were as tasty as they were beautiful!


Boquete Strawberry Champagne
Designer Omelet
Brunch Potato Cakes
Toasted Ring Bread
Rumtopf with Yogurt

Probably the easiest recipe on this menu to prepare is the toasted bread, made with local Rosca bread.


1 loaf of ring bread (Rosca)
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ stick butter

Slice bread horizontally, making 2 thin rings. Butter cut side of the bottom of the loaf and place the buttered side on a skillet. Mix the sugar and milk to form an icing. Frost the bottom of the loaf, which is now facing up in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Top the frosted bread with the other half of the loaf, cut side up. Butter the top of your “sandwich” and toast until both sides are golden brown. After Jack perfectly toasted the ring of bread, he served it on a vintage plate and cut a piece for everyone. It was hot, crunchy and delectable.

After cooking and sampling this “Grille Room Brunch”, everyone agreed that each dish on the menu was a winner, especially when so much of the preparation could be prepared ahead of time. This menu, if served buffet-style, allowed more time for the hosts to share fun times with their guests and less time in the kitchen when the guests arrive.

Alie got a huge round of applause for sharing so many of her recipes and techniques with us. Thanks, Alie for making learning so much fun!

Please check back for the second in the series of three brunches entitled, “The Kitchen Brunch”.

Thanks also to Betty Dabney for her “eye-catching” photographs. You may see more of Betty’s photos at

www.Sippitysup Comes to Boquete

Written on November 22nd, 2009 by corakent2 shouts

star2The Boquete Gourmet Host Chef Program is very happy to present the famous editor and writer of www.sippitysup and professional Hollywood photographer, Chef Greg Henry!

Greg will present “The Golden Age of Hollywood” Cooking Class on Monday, December 28, 2009 at 5pm, in my kitchen in  Boquete, Panama.

Five (5) Hollywood dishes will be created using original recipes from The Brown Derby Restaurant, established in 1932 on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood, California, the center of the movie industry at that time.  Because Greg lives and works in Hollywood, his specialty dishes come from menus of the stars, the dishes presented during the “Golden Age” of movie-making.

If you’d like to see an example of what Greg might prepare, go to to see some of his photos.  You can tell by his blogs that he loves to cook and he loves his L.A.-Hollywood lifestyle.

Once located in the heart of Hollywood, The Brown Derby helped define glamour, sophistication and romance during the golden age of the stars. This legendary haunt was once the most famous restaurant in the world.  Sinatra, Davis, Bogart, Tracy, Olivier, and Leigh all dined, partied and romanced at its tables. The Cobb salad was created there. The Brown Derby Restaurant has become part of our vernacular ever since it opened, and it continues to provide gourmet dining to the rich and famous who visit there today.

Reserve you seat today at $35 per ticket, which includes the class, the complete Hollywood gourmet dinner, recipe book and a glass of wine. Class will be held at the Kent’s home, El Santuario, Boquete, Chiriqui, Rep. de Panama, where Greg will be visiting over the holidays.

For reservations, please email or comment directly to Greg at Class size is limited to 12, first come, first served, so please make reservations now for this once-ever event!

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