Henry County’s Cooking with Alek Seams


Special to the Times



Alek Seams. Special photo



This week the Times is cooking with Alek Seams. Alek was born in Maine but moved around due to his mother being in the military. He graduated from Grace Christian School in West Columbia, SC and joined the Air National Guard in 1997. After attending college in Northern Wisconsin for an undergraduate degree, he taught six years in Midland, Michigan and two years in Hampton. Alek has two graduate degrees from Liberty University.

He has been married for 13 years and has four children ages 5, 7, 9, and 11.

Alek is currently a full time deli associate at the Lake Dow Publix.

Alek likes to read and listen to audio books in his spare time. He also enjoys writing in journals, running, cooking, and talking to people.

Alek learned how to cook in stages and says “My dad did most the cooking when I was growing up and I learned many things from him.” He learned a lot about cooking from his friend Mr. Lawrence while renting a room from him before college. Alek also learned to cook in military cooking school at Lackland Air Force Base. But the person that he credits with teaching him the ins and outs of cooking was his work study supervisor, Doug Bladine. He also cooked at the college dining facility to help pay for college.

His favorite dish to prepare is chili and cornbread and his favorite food is pepperoni pizza or Italian food in general.

He says the worst recipe ever tried was Irish Lamb Stew. “I don’t know what I did wrong while making it, but it was unpalatable.”

Alek’s favorite kitchen utensil is a 12 inch cast iron frying pan and he has so many cookbooks that he cannot choose his favorite.

A cooking tip he uses is putting a cast iron pan in the oven to cook store bought biscuits; not only does it help condition your pan, it is also easy to flip the biscuits out of the pan because of its handle.

The first main dish he remembers preparing is roasted turkey

According to Alek a food memory that sticks out in his mind was one time while preparing 30 gallons of beef stew while working at a college dinning facility they added baking soda instead of corn starch. They were supposed to be thickening the broth but made a volcano instead. The pot overflowed with frothing stew just like the baking soda volcanos many children make in science class.

If he could have any chef prepare a meal for him Alek would love for Emeril Lagasse to cook him an extra thick medium rare bone in ribeye with oven roasted green beans and potato wedges.




Chili

1 can of kidney beans
1 lbs. of ground round or sirloin (leanest possible)
1 can of salsa style fire roasted tomatoes or Tex Mex style fire roasted stewed tomatoes
1 heaping Tbsp. of minced garlic
1 medium to small onion (chopped up into very small pieces, not as small as the garlic but close)
1 packet of chili seasoning (I prefer Lawrys)
1-inch square of dark chocolate 80 percent dark or more.
Olive oil

Sauté both the garlic and onions in olive oil until the onions are nice and soft

Add the ground beef and brown it (I use a potato masher to make sure it is finely ground)

Add the seasoning packet, tomatoes, chocolate and continue to use the potato masher. (helps break up tomatoes)

Add the beans and simmer over low heat for 30 or so minutes or transfer to crock pot set to low heat.