Friday, January 29, 2016

Hot Baked Reuben Dip – Deli Up Your Super Bowl Party

This baked Reuben dip works so well that you’ll be racking your brain trying to think of other iconic sandwiches to convert into dip form. Of course, thanks to the Internet, most of this work has probably already been done, but something to keep in mind the next time you’re out of things to daydream about.

I went with pastrami here, but corned beef is more common, and probably the safer bet. Pastrami is heavily spiced with coriander and black pepper, and therefor your dip will be too. I love that kind of thing, but something to consider depending on your audience. No matter what meat you use, you’re going to be enjoying a truly delicious hot dip, which is also great warm, or room temp.

The seeded crackers I used in the video were great, but they’re a little on the pricey side, especially when purchased at the fancy cheese shop, so one of these days I need to show you how to make your own. Unless we all get rich betting on the game, using my guaranteed chicken wing bone method. In that case, we’ll continue to buy the crackers. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 24 servings:
1 pound sliced corned beef or pastrami
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sauerkraut, drained well, squeezed very dry
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 rounded tablespoon ketchup
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
8 ounces “Swiss” cheese (4 ounces Gruyere and 4 ounces Emmenthaler)
crackers and bread

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Super Deluxe Steak Nachos – Regular Nachos for the Big Game? I Don’t Think So.

I’m still trying to figure out how this video for super deluxe steak nachos ended up being over nine minutes long. I’ll blame the fact that I showed you how to do the steak and faux refried beans, but still, I always feel a little uneasy whenever we go past seven or eight minutes. Also, I don’t get overtime.

Be that as it may, this is one of my all time favorite party foods, and I’ve wanted to show you my version for a long time. As you may have heard, the Super Bowl is just a few weeks away, and this should get serious consideration when formulating your snack line-up.

Feel free to cook your meat medium-rare, or less, but as I mention in the video, I think medium works best if you’re using the recommended skirt steak, or flap meat. These cuts have a beautiful, beefy flavor, which, in my experience, is only maximized if cooked to a certain point.

Even though the meat is reheated when we melt the cheese, I still think medium is the way to go, and not just flavor-wise. I think the texture is better as well. These cuts are a little on the chewy side, which is accentuated if cooked rare. Having said that, whether you used raw, or completely well-done beef, you’re still going to be thrilled with the results. I still hope you give these super deluxe steak nachos a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 3 of the same sized platters as I used:

For the steak:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or flap steak (aka flap meat) seasoned on both sides with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and chipotle to taste
- cook to a medium (about 135 to 140 F. internal temp)

For the beans:
2 tablespoons bacon fat or lard
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (15-oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

You also need:
corn chips
12 ounces sharp cheddar
12 ounces Monterrey Jack
diced avocado (tossed in lemon juice and salt) 
diced white onion 
diced tomato 
finely diced jalapeño pepper 
sour cream 
freshly chopped cilantro 
* serve with hot sauce on the side, and lots of beer

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chorizo Steamed Clams – How Do You Say “Ubiquitous” in Spanish?

I have always just called these chorizo steamed clams, "Spanish Clams," since it seems like there’s some variation of this on every Spanish restaurant menu I’ve ever seen.

What better evidence for a dishes’ deliciousness than that? Not to generalize about an entire culture, but the Spanish simply don’t put non-amazing things on every menu.

Sometimes they use beer, or white wine, or sherry; and many varieties of clams can be used; but the common denominator is the spicy, Spanish-style chorizo. Using such a flavorful sausage is sort of like cheating, and one of the main reasons the ingredient list is so short.

Speaking of which, you can really adapt this kind of thing to your tastes. Cilantro instead of parsley, leeks instead of onions, and mussels instead of clams, just to name a few. Just make sure you have plenty of grilled, or toasted bread around to soak up the glorious broth. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 appetizers, or 2 larger entrée size portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onions
3 ounces Spanish chorizo, quartered, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
3 pounds Little Neck clams
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons butter
grilled bread to garnish

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sandwich Rolls – Because Size and Shape Matter

As promised, here is our method for making your own sandwich rolls at home, and while “shocked” may be a bit strong, I think many people will be surprised at just how simple these are. Like, four ingredient simple. Sure you have to wait a few hours while it rises, but that gives you time to decide what sandwich to make.

Besides the super obvious reasons why these are better than the ones from the supermarket, you can make them the exact size and shape you want. We’ve all been there…you find the perfect sausage at the store, but the rolls in the bakery dept. are either too short, or too long, leaving you angry and disillusioned. 

Like I said in the video, you can pretty much use this technique with any yeast dough, and it just depends on what you’re going for. Speaking of which, a viewer who couldn’t wait for this recipe to make banh mi, used our no-knead beer bread dough, and reported they had great success.

This recipe is based on our French baguette, but if you happen to have luck using another one of our recipes, please let us know! I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 6 Sandwich Rolls:
1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cups warm water (100 F.)
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
19 ounces (by weight) bread flour (about 4 1/4 cups)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bánh Mì – More Than a Sandwich

I’ll never forget my first real bánh mì. It was here in San Francisco, at a place called Saigon Sandwich, and I remember thinking to myself, this just isn’t one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had to eat, but one of the best things, period.

Not only do we get amazing contrasts in flavor, and texture, but also the temperature difference between the crisp, warm, meat-filled roll, and cool, crunchy vegetables, makes this so much fun to eat.

By the way, the secret sauce should be just sweet enough to temporarily put out the fire from the sriracha and jalapenos. Which reminds me, everything here is “to taste.” The amounts below are just guidelines, and by guidelines, I mean guesses.

If you’re not into our roasted 5-spice pork for this sandwich, you can pretty much use any of your favorite sandwich ingredients. Ham is great, as is smoked turkey, and while I’ve not tried it yet, I bet many of our grilled chicken breast recipes would be stellar here. Just don’t forget the pate!

I prefer the smooth, buttery type of pate, and you don’t have to get to fancy. That one from the cheese shop, made with pork and chicken livers is just fine. Stay tuned for the French rolls video coming soon, and at some point very soon, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one Bánh Mì:
1 crusty French sandwich roll
3 tablespoons secret sauce (mayo, seasoned to taste with hoisin sauce, and sriracha)
4 ounces roasted pork
2 ounces smooth pate
1/2 cup *pickled daikon and carrot
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
6-7 jalapeno slices
6 thin spears English cucumber

* To make the pickled daikon and carrot, use equal parts and toss in enough seasoned rice vinegar to coat well. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies get slightly limp. Drain and use, or refrigerate. If using regular vinegar, add a pinch of salt and sugar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pan-Roasted 5-Spice Pork Loin – Pleasing and Teasing

Now that it’s been posted, I can admit this easy, pan-roasted pork loin was just an elaborate tease for a video I’ve wanted to post for years; the Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich! If you’ve had one, you’ll fully understand my excitement. If you haven’t, do not miss the next video.

Having admitted my true motivation, I will also say that this very tasty technique is impressive enough in its own right. The misleadingly simple marinade produces big flavor, and by splitting/scoring the pork, we not only have something that absorbs the seasoning quickly, but also cooked faster, and more uniformly.

I’ve been trying to get you to buy that bottle of Asian fish sauce for years now, and maybe this will be the recipe that does it. That really is a key here, as is the Chinese 5-spice powder. Mine included cinnamon, ginger, anise seed, fennel seed, and clove; but this can vary brand to brand. Whatever you find should work, otherwise, just combine equal parts of what I just listed, and you’ve made you own.

I think this particular marinade works great for a 30-minute soak at room temp. Just keep turning it over every so often, and that’s it, you’re ready to cook. Or simply wrap and keep in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or even up to overnight. So, stay tuned for the upcoming bánh mì video, and in the meantime, I really hope you give pan-roasted pork loin a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 pound boneless pork loin roast, cut in half lengthwise, and scored
For the marinade:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for the pan

Friday, January 8, 2016

Shrimp Toast – Is Toast the New Wing?

While virtually unknown compared to most other popular fried party snacks, these shrimp toasts are easy to make, and every bit as delicious, and addictive, as those Buffalo wings, or jalapeño poppers. Well, all that’s about to change.

Nobody goes to a friend’s house to watch the game, and expects to see a plate of these crispy-on-one-side, soft-and-savory-on-the-other-side treats, but after a few of you make these, and word spreads, I’m sure it will just be a matter of time.

Speaking of spreads, since we apply the shrimp mixture raw, it’s not like you can dip a finger in to taste it. So, to check for seasoning, especially the salt, you may want to fry a small piece (like during meatball production), and adjust from there. I added a tiny pinch of salt, but thanks to the soy, anchovy, and fish sauce, you may not need any.

These are significantly better served warm than cold, so maybe fry them in batches, and/or keep warm in an oven. And yes, if you don’t do shrimp, any other raw seafood will work. By the way, I have it on good authority that these are magnificent served with cold beer, and for that reason alone I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 16 Shrimp Toasts:
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup green onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 anchovy filet
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
4 large slices white bread
sesame seeds, optional
vegetable oil for frying

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One-Pot Chicken & Sausage Orzo – Tastes Like You Used at Least 3 or 4 Pots

There’s something extra satisfying about a recipe like this one-pot chicken and sausage orzo, where you just basically dump the ingredients in a pot, and wait until it’s cooked. Sure, you have to stir it a few times, and it helps if you add stuff in the right order, but for how delicious this comes out, you’re doing very little actual work.

Having said that, there are a few variables involved, so you will have to really keep and eye on the pot for the entire 10-15 minutes, or however long it takes. The size of the orzo “grain” can really vary, so be sure to check for doneness early, and stop when it’s 95% tender, as it will continue to soften as you complete the final steps.

I like to keep a little extra broth on the side, in case my mixture gets too dry, and the pasta is not yet cooked. Just splash some in and keep on stirring. On the other hand, if your pasta is cooked and there is a little too much liquid, well, that’s life. You’ll just be enjoying an extra “saucy” dish that day.

Of course this will work with countless combos of sausage, veggies, and other small-sized pastas, so go forth and multiply. By the way, the nice thing about using a very flavorful sausage, like a spicy Italian, is that most of the seasoning is done for you. Or, go with fresh ground meat, and you can flavor it any way you want. No matter what you use, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 (6 ounce) spicy Italian sausages, casing removed
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces, OR 2 chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
3 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese to garnish

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed a very nice holiday, and relatively painless New Year's Eve. Michele and I have been in San Diego to attend her sister's wedding, but we're returning tonight, and ready to get back to work. If you can call what I do work, that is. 

We're looking forward to uploading some brand new videos this week, and to make up for being away, I promise not to post any videos of me dancing at the wedding reception. You can't un-see something like that. Stay tuned!

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