Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Next Up: Salami Bread

Due to the holiday, the first of this week's two new videos won't be published until tomorrow. That's the bad news. The good news is you'll get to see what happens when I try to make pizza, and don't have all the necessary ingredients, but end up making something strange and wonderful anyway. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork – Surrounded on Three Sides by Flavor

If the early feedback from the YouTube channel is any indication, this may not actually be “Yucatan-style,” and I couldn’t be less surprised.  I did no real research into the traditional foods of the Yucatan peninsula, and based the name of this dish solely on a pork chop I once enjoyed at a sports bar.

They called it “Yucatan-style,” and it featured vibrant citrus/chile flavors, as well as a beautiful orange hue, which I figured out was from ground annatto. This is the signature ingredient in the famous braised pork dish, cochonita pibil, and can be found at any Latin market, or your larger, fancier grocery stores.

As I mention in the video, I think this easy marinade would work on all kinds of pork cuts, but the tenderloin is very user-friendly, and it’s mild flavor really takes to these ingredients. I think 4 to 6 hours is plenty of time to marinade the meat, but I’m guessing that overnight would probably be fine as well.

Once grilled, you have so many options for enjoying these. Sandwiches, salads, and tacos are all wonderful choices, and I’ve also heard from a reliable source that diced, they make for an epic pan of nachos. This weekend is the official start of summer grilling season, and what better way to kick it off than this tasty, possibly Yucatanian treat? I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 to 6 portions:
2 whole pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 oranges
2 or 3 lemons
2 or 3 limes
6 cloves minced garlic
1 rounded teaspoon annatto powder, plus more to sprinkle on before grilling
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil before grilling

- I garnished with cilantro, and pickled onions. To make your own, thinly slice some red onions, and cover them with red or white wine vinegar. Leave to soak for 4 hours or overnight, and that's it

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

“Cheater” Demi Glace – Because Chicken + Beef = Veal

I received a lot of email after publishing our classic demi-glace video, but not the kind I was expecting. Instead of being showered with praise for finally granting this popular food wish, I was being chastised for posting a recipe that required veal bones.

This seemed a little unfair, since veal bones are sort of a key ingredient when making what’s basically a reduced veal stock. However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I sometimes forget that people don’t live in restaurants, where things like veal knuckles are as ubiquitous as kale.

For your average home cook, veal bones can be expensive, and tricky to find. Plus, they come from baby cows, which many people are against harming. Nope, using adorable young calves is just not an option, although using the bones from ugly, fully-grown chickens is apparently fine.  

Anyway, possible hypocrisy aside, this alternative method worked amazingly well, and above and beyond the almost identical look and feel, the flavor was surprisingly close. This didn’t taste like chicken, or like beef, but was somewhere in the middle, which is basically how I’d describe the taste of veal. I really hope you give this cheaper, easier, and possibly more ethical version a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 2 quarts of “Cheater” Demi Glace:
5 pounds whole chicken wings
2 pounds beef shanks (about three 1-inch thick slices)
2 onions, chopped (including skins)
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 quarts cold water
bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Friday, May 20, 2016

Steak Pauline (The Steak Formerly Known as Diane)

As you may know, I haven’t posted for a while due to the sudden passing of my mother, Pauline. It’d been a tough few weeks, but she was the ultimate, “the show must go on” kind of lady, and so that’s what we’ll do. She had multiple surgeries in recent years that made it difficult, and often painful, to move around her kitchen. Despite this, she’d still somehow manage to bake a cake (or two), or make a big batch of cookies to bring to whatever family event she was attending.

While cooking and eating with family was her greatest joy, she also loved going to restaurants. Going out for dinner on Friday night was one of our great family traditions, and while I don’t remember having Steak Diane cooked table-side, this dish represents that bygone era for me. Looking back, I realize this weekly respite meant much more to her than just a short break from cooking and dishes.

Before I get into the recipe, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for all the amazing thoughts and prayers I received during the last couple weeks. I’ve never met the vast majority of you, but nevertheless, it felt like I was hearing from hundreds of old friends, who somehow knew exactly what to say. There’s no easy way to lose someone you love, but your kind, comforting words, gave me strength.

With that in mind, I present this incredibly delicious, Steak Diane, which I’m hereby renaming Steak Pauline, in my mother’s honor. Of course, there’s no official way to do this, except to simply do it, and hope it catches on. Even if it doesn’t, at the very least, many years from now, while surfing the web, I’ll stumble across a recipe for it, and I’ll smile, thinking of her.

The procedure here is very straightforward, and relatively safe, except maybe for the exploding fireball step. As long as you turn off the flame, and keep your eyebrows at a safe distance while igniting the liquor, there shouldn’t be any real danger, and all those Oo’s and Ah’s are well worth the risk. Hey, that’s what insurance is for.

However, the pyrotechnics are very much for show, and if you’re concerned, you don't have to ignite the cognac. The alcohol will still evaporate as the sauce boils, and the end result will taste the same. By the way, even if you don’t ignite the pan with a lighter, it can still flame up when you turn up the heat to reduce, so you still need to be a little careful.

If you do decide to make this, I hope that above and beyond calling it “Steak Pauline,” you will also enjoy it surrounded by the people you love. While the flames in the pan eventually die out, the smiles they ignite, and the memories they produce, will be with you forever. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:

For the sauce mixture:
1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup demi-glace (Or substitute 2 cups rich, low-sodium or salt-free chicken broth. It will take longer to reduce, but will still produce a great sauce. Just be careful with the salt.)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
two (8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, fully trimmed, pounded to 1/2-inch thick (top sirloin will also work nicely here)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon sliced fresh chives