Mark Kaschube, aka the magic dentist, regularly brings tricks to audience members during the Halloween season with his haunted houses and spooky-themed shows. But Kaschube is also no stranger to performing a bit of magic in the kitchen.
"I like to cook gourmet style," Kaschube said. "I love flavors and the artistic display of food."
The professional dentist — who's also a talented magician — is a native of Chicago's Southeast Side. In addition to his medical expertise, Kaschube is also a master designer of haunted houses and definitely knows how to deliver the spookiest of Halloween tricks. He'll present his "Halloween Magic 2" show at 3 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont. The show is a fundraiser for Salute Inc., a non-profit organization that provides financial support for military personnel and their families. FYI: akootheatre.com
While Kaschube said he grew up eating Polish cuisine, he enjoys experimenting with various dishes in his professionally designed kitchen. He's traveled the world and experienced cuisine from stellar restaurants around the United States and overseas.
Among favorite dishes he makes is a seared venison loin coated with grape seed oil, coffee seeds and cumin seeds. Kaschube said he's also a sausage fanatic.
While he was growing up, Kaschube's family enjoyed a variety of homemade Polish favorites. His family made dishes such as the ethnic soup Czernina, various Polish sausage dishes and pierogi.
"My mother and I enjoyed cooking together," he said. And they also liked going out to eat. Among South Side favorite food spots he remembers frequenting are The Cottage in Calumet City, Gayety's Ice Cream and Mexican Inn on Chicago's East Side.
For Kaschube, it's always fascinating to cook for others.
"I like the experience of perfecting a recipe," he said, adding that he also enjoys cooking with others and the process of pairing wines with various dishes.
The dentist, who admits he's fanatical about Halloween, said the art of designing a haunted house is just like designing and executing a recipe.
"It has to have a flow, a pattern and it has to make sense," he said.
Try the following recipe from Kaschube.
1 tablespoon French roasted coffee beans
1 tablespoon dry basil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
Grape seed oil, for coating
Port wine or cabernet
Red grapes, for garnish
Salt, to taste
DIRECTIONS: Grind coffee beans, dry basil and cumin seeds to a fine powder. Take venison loin and lightly coat with grape seed oil. Roll venison loin in powder. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for the day. When ready to serve, wipe off bulk of powder, leaving light crust. Place in cast iron skillet and sear. Slice carpaccio-style. Heat chocolate sauce in a pan and add port wine or cabernet, to taste. Paint a stripe of chocolate port sauce about 3 inches long. Let it cool then stripe your plate. Place three carpaccio slices on the plate. Continue to decorate with several drops of oregano oil to the other side of the paint swatch. I prefer to make my own batch and use it in the weeks to come, spicing up even a simple breakfast. If it's not your cup of tea, then buy any herb oil that strikes your palate. Garnish the top of your display with a sprig of red grapes. I finish with a large grain salt sprinkled on the meat. The result is MAGICAL.
Source: Mark Kaschube