Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grilled Flat Iron – Make the Steak, Not the Mistake

Well, at least I don’t have to type the ingredient amounts for this could’ve-been-delicious, flat iron steak. I thought for sure maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon would be great together, but it turns out they weren’t even good together. 

Okay, they were bad. It reminded me of some daily special, gone really wrong, at one of those strip mall steakhouses. Luckily, we have several excellent marinades that will work perfectly with this great steak, and I will list a few below. 

Like I said in the video, the real point was to share what a great cut of beef flat iron is for the grill. It checks all the boxes, and requires virtually no trimming. Plus, and very ironically, it’s especially good for absorbing marinades.

So, enjoy this with your favorite pre-grill meat soak, or check out one of the following links. Regardless, I really hope you give flat iron steaks a try soon.  Enjoy!

Here are some marinade recipes that would be perfect for this:

Friday, June 23, 2017

American Gyros – Mystery Meat Demystified

If you’re from Greece, you’re probably pretty confused right now, and wondering why I’m calling this gyros. There, pork and chicken are used, in non-ground form, and as the meat turns slowly over a fire, the cooked, caramelized surface is shaved off into thin slices. 

It’s amazing stuff, but believe it or not, I prefer this Americanized “mystery meat” approach, which uses ground lamb and/or beef. The spices are similar, but the texture is totally different, and for me, more interesting. I can eat fresh, identifiable meat anytime, so when I’m in the mood for gyros, I want the stuff you can only get from certain street vendors. Of course, since the meat is ground, you’re taking their word for which specific animals made the ultimate sacrifice, which is why this stuff became affectionately known as “mystery meat.”

This style is perfect for making ahead of time. Once it’s chilled, and sliced, all you need to do is brown it in a pan, and find some flatbread to roll it up in. Preferably, that would be homemade Lebanese mountain bread, which I will attempt to show you in the near future. In the meantime, your favorite pita will do, just as long as you don’t forget to make some tzatziki. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly minced rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste (you can cook a small piece to test)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons bread crumb
- Cook at 350 F. for 45 minutes, or until an internal temp of 160 F.
-- Note: to make the pickled red onions, simply slice them about 1/8-inch thick, and cover with red wine vinegar for a few hours, or overnight. They will turn into the beautifully colored garnish seen herein.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Brutus Salad – Watch Your Back, Caesar!

I don’t post a lot of salad videos, since, other than the dressing recipe, what I’m I going to teach you? Most people are pretty good when it comes to tossing things in a bowl, but I made an exception for what I’m calling a “Brutus.”

I discovered this salad at a great restaurant in Healdsburg, called Willis’s Seafood, where it was definitely not called a “Brutus,” but simply described as a, Little Gem Salad, Dijon Vinaigrette, Fuji Apples, Aged White Cheddar, Fresh Herbs, Fried Pecans.” It sounded amazing, and tasted even better.

It was so good, I joked that it could replace the Caesar as America’s favorite tossed salad, and a few beers later, the idea to call it the “Brutus” was born. I’m explaining this not only to give credit, where credit’s due, but also to make clear it has nothing to do with politics. Yes, nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

Normally, I would tell you to add whatever you want to this salad, but not this time. Please make it exactly as shown. Having said that, you’ll of course have to adjust the dressing to your taste, but you already knew that. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
For the dressing:
1/4 cup real French Dijon mustard
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
- the dressing should be sharp and acidic, but please adjust to your taste
For the salad:
4 hearts of romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 ounces extra-sharp aged cheddar
1 apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons dill sprigs, chopped
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, seasoned with salt and 1 teaspoon of white sugar

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Butcher's Steak – Too Good to Sell?

This great steak is considered something of a butcher shop “secret,” but not because they’re selfish, and can’t stand the thought of you being happy. It’s just an odd looking cut, which requires a specific trimming technique to remove one of the toughest pieces of connective tissue on the entire animal.

Combine that with the fact that there’s only one per cow, and you have something that’s a little tricky to sell, although that seems to be changing a bit. This steak has become popular on restaurant menus, going by the name, “hanger steak,” and that’s led to it being carried in some of your finer butcher shops.

Even though it takes a little bit of time, the trimming is pretty simple, and probably easier than I made it look. Carefully trim away any of the tough-feeling membranes on the surface, and divide in half lengthwise, along the center connective tissue. Once that’s cut away, you’re pretty much done, other than deciding how to cook it.

Butcher’s steak is great in a pan, under the broiler, and of course, on the grill. It takes to marinades wonderfully, and can sub in for any cut of steak in any recipe. It’s not only tender, and affordable, but also extremely beefy.

This is probably the most strongly flavored steak cut, and some even describe it as having a subtle gaminess, although I think that’s a bit much. There’s only one way to know for sure, so I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 whole butcher’s steak aka hanger steak, about 2 pounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon clarified butter
For the sauce:
2/3 cup chicken broth to deglaze pan
juices from resting steaks
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoon cold butter, cut in cubes
salt to taste

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Muhammara (Roasted Pepper & Walnut Spread) – Lebanese Adjacent

This muhammara video was inspired by a request we received for a Lebanese recipe. Not knowing any off the top of my head, I asked for suggestions, and this amazing red pepper walnut spread was nominated by several people. The only problem is, it’s actually a Syrian recipe.

Nevertheless, it’s apparently very popular in Lebanon, as well as across the rest of the Mideast, and once you taste it, you’ll understand why. Like I said in the intro, this may be the most delicious thing you’re not currently eating.

All great dips and spreads should be addictive, but there’s something very special about how this beckons you back for more, and more, even after you’re being stared at by the other guests. Let them enjoy their superior will power – we’ll continue to enjoy the muhammara.

You'll find pomegranate molasses at any Middle Eastern grocery store, or online, but if you can’t, you can make it by reducing pomegranate juice (Google for more details). Or, maybe substitute with some honey for the sweetness, and little extra lemon for the tartness. Either way, I really hope you give this amazing muhammara a try soon. Enjoy!

* Bell Pepper Buying Note: Sometimes bell peppers have large seed pods which makes them very heavy, and therefor very expensive. Depending on the season, a jar of roasted peppers will actually be cheaper than two fresh peppers. I usually weigh them at the store, do the math, and then make the fresh/jarred call.


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 cup roughly chopped fire-roasted red peppers (peeled, seeded)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/4 cup raw walnut halves
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Allepo or other red pepper flakes
Italian parsley, chopped walnuts, and pepper flakes to garnish

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Case You Missed It: Chef John's Facebook Live

Just in case you missed our recent Facebook Live, here it is, in all its unscripted glory. Most people seemed to enjoy it, which I certainly appreciated, but for me it was a reminder of why I don't appear on camera. I prefer a few days to gather my thoughts before answering questions, especially when discussing topics of such importance... like, "does peanut butter go with bacon?"

Anyway, we'll be back with a new video this evening, for those of you who prefer "prerecorded Chef John." In the meantime, enjoy!

Please Note: Apparently there was a sound glitch at the beginning, and you can't hear anything until a few minutes in. The good news is, you didn't miss anything.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chef John is Doing a Facebook Live!

That's right! I'll be doing a Facebook Live on Thursday, June 8! To enjoy what's being described as the second most anticipated public testimony that day, go to Allrecipes.com's Facebook page at 2PM, and as always, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu) – Take That, Take Out!

There are many unforgettable sights and sounds you experience walking through Chinatown for the first time, but I think it was seeing all those hanging chunks of florescent red meat that made the biggest impression. 

Sure, the Peking ducks were cool, but they actually sort of looked like roasted duck, where as the char siu looked looked like nothing I’d ever seen before.

So, it was a little disappointing to eventually find out that it was from copious amounts of red food coloring, which I’m pretty sure was toxic back then, and not from some ancient Chinese secret cooking method. Anyway, enough with the nostalgia; the important thing to remember is that in addition to its impressive, high-gloss appearance, and savory taste, this Chinese barbecue pork is quite easy to make at home, even if you don’t have a fancy ceramic grill.

If you happen to be using your standard, backyard kettle-shaped grill, push all your coals to one side, and place your meat on the other. To add an extra layer of protection, you can also put it in a roasting pan, and place that on the grill. Or, forget the great outdoors, and simply roast it in the oven. The only catch is, you’ll need to place it under the broiler at the end, to simulate the caramelization we get on the barbecue.

As long as you roast it between 275 F. and 300 F., and do so until you reach an internal temperature of between 185-190 F., the cooking method really does not matter, and you should have something that rivals the finest take-out in town. So, I really do hope you give this Chinese-style barbecue pork a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for six portions:
3 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 4 sections lengthwise
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine (can sub sake, or dry sherry)
1/3 cup ketchup
4  garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon pink curing salt, optional
1 or 2 teaspoons red food coloring, optional
Kosher salt to season pork before grilling

Friday, June 2, 2017

Perfect Potato Salad – Just Like Mom Used to Make

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a recipe for classic American potato salad, especially since it was such a childhood favorite of mine. As I mentioned in the video, this is the first food I can remember eating, and apparently was one of my favorite baby foods.

This is my take on my mother Pauline’s potato salad, but the actual “recipe” isn’t the main point here. This is more about what I think are the best practices for making potato salad. As long as you follow this basic procedure, it really doesn’t matter how you accessorize your spuds.

Speaking of which, onions are always a very controversial addition. If you use too many, or cut them with a dull knife, their sharp taste can overpower the salad. This can be exacerbated even more if you make it way ahead of time. So if you are going to use onions, I suggest a sweet variety like Vidalia, or Maui; and be sure to use a sharp knife.

The other major factors are making sure you use enough salt, and waiting for your potatoes the cool to room temperature before dressing them. If you’ve ever had a bad, greasy looking potato salad, I can almost guarantee it was mixed while still hot. So, don’t be in a hurry.

Other than that, not a lot can go wrong. So, whether you’re making this for your next picnic, or you want to save money on baby food, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 portions:
3 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed clean
- Boil in 10 cups of water with 1/4 cup of kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely diced sweet onions, optional
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 large hard boiled eggs
For the dressing:
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus probably much more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
- After mixing, chill for 2-3 hours, before tasting and adjusting the salt. You’ll definitely need more, as well as usually another spoonful of mayo.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Smashed Cucumber Salad – I Crushed This

Your cooking skills might not be the best, but the word on the street is that you’re pretty good at smashing things, sometimes even on purpose. If that’s the case, this refreshing, and very addictive smashed cucumber salad is going to be perfect for you. Above and beyond whisking up an extremely simple dressing, the success of this recipe comes down to you being able to flatten a cucumber with something heavy.

It really is as easy as it sounds, and by crushing our cucumber before we cut it, we produce flavors that un-smashed cucs can’t. When you crush the cells in a vegetable, as opposed to cutting cleanly through them, certain compounds get mixed together, which can result in a significantly different flavor. 

This is not always a good thing, and onions are the perfect example. Use a sharp knife, and they’re sweet and mild. Use a dull knife, or that thing you ordered after seeing the infomercial at 2 AM, and you’ll get something much harsher. In fact, it’s no joke that most people who don’t like onions, grew up in a kitchen with dull knives.

However, when it comes to cucumber, these ruptured cells produce a more desirable flavor, and texture. The only decision you’re going to have to make, is how long to let the cucumbers marinate in the dressing, if at all. Many chefs will toss and serve immediately, while others like to let the cucumbers chill in the dressing for a little while in the fridge, which is the method I prefer.

You’ll just have to do some tests to see what you prefer, but either way, this is one of my all-time favorite cold summer side dishes, and one I really hope you try very soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 portions:
2 English cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds total weight)
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
(or regular rice vinegar with an extra pinch of salt and sugar)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Memorial Day-Away

Just a quick programing note that due to the holiday yesterday, today’s video will be posted Wednesday instead. I’m getting a little smarter in my old age, and actually try to take these off-days off, so I didn’t do a film yesterday. 

The good news is, we’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe video for one of my all-time favorite cold summer side dishes, quite possibly invloving cucumbers. Stay tuned! 

.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ice Cream Cones – Because Egg White Omelets Shouldn’t Be a Thing

When you make homemade ice cream, you always end up with spare egg whites, which just happen to be one of the main ingredients in homemade ice cream cones – and if you think that’s merely an accident, you don’t fully understand how the food Gods operate.

They obviously want you to make homemade ice cream cones, since there’s no other good explanation. These are surprisingly easy, and as long as you can wad-up some foil into a cone, there isn’t any special equipment, or tools required. Actually, you really do need to use a silpat to line the baking sheet, but you need one of those anyway.

Like I suggest in the video, please test your batter with the first few cones, to make sure they’re tough enough to handle a scoop of ice cream. Even spread thin, this stuff is fairly sturdy, but by adding more flour to the batter, you get a thicker layer on the pan, and that means a stronger, tougher cone.

You can also roll these into cigar-shaped cookies, or press over a ramekin to form an edible bowl. Regardless of the shape, I hope you make some homemade ice cream, and then sacrifice a few egg whites to the heavens, and make these crispy cones soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8-10 cones:
2 large egg whites
½ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon cold water, or as needed
1/2 packed cup all purpose flour, plus more if needed
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- bake at 400 F. for about 8 minutes, or until browned around the outside few inches

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Frozen Vanilla Custard – Western NY for French Vanilla Ice Cream

If you’re thinking that I’ve already posted a video recipe for vanilla ice cream, I have, but for what I consider a “real” vanilla ice cream, which means no eggs. That’s called an American-style ice cream, and features a cleaner, more pronounced vanilla flavor.

The French weren’t into that. They froze their famously delicious custard, and the rest is history. While I prefer the later, I have to admit they won, since it is the style that dominates the freezer case.

I like to use pure vanilla extract over the whole bean, mostly because it’s easier, cheaper, and always consistent. Having said that, it’s hard to argue against the whole bean, so feel free to go full foodie. Speaking of which, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, there are plenty of “hacks” online that work fairly well.

I would have called this French vanilla ice cream, but where I grew up, this is called frozen custard. It’s traditionally served soft, in cones, but I prefer to freeze it firm. That way, I get French vanilla ice cream, and as it melts, I also get soft-serve frozen custard. Now that’s a win-win. Anyway, stay tuned for homemade cones, and in the meantime, I really hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 1 quart of Frozen Vanilla Custard aka French Vanilla Ice Cream
5 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or one split/scraped whole vanilla bean)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Crispy Fresh Corn Fritters with Crab and Chipotle Lime Dressing – The Other Popcorn

Everyone loves fresh, sweet corn, but there comes a time every summer when you get tired of gnawing it off the cob, which is exactly when these crispy fritters should be made. Sure, you may get splattered with a little hot oil, but I promise, it will be worth it.

Freshly shucked corn is the star of the show here, and we’re going to pack a seemingly impossible amount into our batter. Beyond the amazing taste and texture, I think you’ll be shocked by how a batter this thin, light, and crispy, can hold together so many kernels.

If you don’t know how to remove those kernels from the cob, we welcome you to check out this video to see that very technique. Other than getting your hands on some perfect summer corn, the only other thing you’ll have to decide is how to serve this.

Crab is very nice, but so is grilled shrimp, or even a ceviche, which is how they serve it at the restaurant that inspired this fritter. Regardless of how you top them, or whether you top them, I really do hope you give this great fresh corn recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 6 Crispy Corn Fritters:
2 ears white corn (about 1 1/2 cups of kernels)
1 large egg white
1/4 cup ice water
1/4 cup self-rising flour (or 1/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp fine salt added)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* If need be, add a little more water, or cornstarch/flour, to adjust the batter consistency to what you see in the video.
- Shallow fry at 350°F for about two minutes per side
-- Use a seasoned cast iron skillet, as this will stick in a regular stainless steel pan
For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
2 teaspoons chipotle
juice of one lime 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bomba Calabrese – This Pepper Spread is the Bomb, Literally

This amazing Calabrian pepper spread is as delicious, as it is unknown. It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Hey, even I have a Wikipedia page. But, despite the fact there’s not a lot of information available, I believe I got relatively close, and really love how this comes out.

As I said in the video, I like this best served simply on sliced bread, but beyond that, this is one of the most versatile condiments I know. You can toss it with pasta; add it to a sandwich; fill an omelet; top a pizza; use it like a salsa on grilled fish; spice up a potato salad; as well as create the world’s best deviled eggs. Actually, I’ve never made deviled eggs with it, but I know it’d be the best.

I was intentionally vague with the cooking times and temperatures. Basically, once the onion, eggplant, and mushroom mixture is sautéed, you add your peppers, and simply cook until everything is soft and tender, no matter how long it takes. You’ll probably stay between medium and medium high heat, but be prepared to adjust as need be. This is not something we want browning in the pan, before everything is cooked.

Another key is waiting for this to cool down completely, before you finalize the seasonings. We always want to adjust a recipe at the same temperature it’s going to be served at, since that just makes sense. Another thing that makes sense, and a lot of sense, is you giving this bomba Calabrese a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients to make about 4 cups Bomba Calabrese:
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion
1 small eggplant
4-5 large button mushrooms
2 pounds hot cherry peppers (or about 1 pound after trimming)
1 pound sweet red bell peppers (or about 12 ounces after trimming)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or to taste

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Tart – Now with 100% Less Tart Pan

There shouldn’t be a lot of stress involved in making this free-form strawberry tart, since once it’s topped with fresh berries, and thickly glazed, it will look like something from a Paris pastry shop. And, I did say, “look like,” not “taste like,” but that’s not our fault. They have better cream cheese.

If you have a tart pan, go ahead and use it, but going free-form is always kind of fun, and even though we’re going to handle the dough a bit more, that’s not a problem with our almost foolproof buttercrust pastry. Just be sure to build up enough around the outside before you crimp, so that your tart is deep enough to hold the filling.

I joked about this being so beautiful that nobody will care what it tastes like, but of course, that’s ridiculous. Do not attempt this unless you can find some perfectly ripe, sweet strawberries. And when you do, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1/2 of our buttercrust pastry dough recipe
1 pound fresh strawberries
For the sweet cheese mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese or *fromage blanc
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
For the glaze:
1/4 cup apricot jam (the clearer, the better), plus 2 teaspoons water, heated until brushable. Let cool a bit before applying.

*Note: my cream cheese was suspiciously thin, so your mixture will probably be thicker, and a little easier to work with.

- Bake tart shell at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown, fill with cheese mixture, and finish baking for another 20 minutes, or until the pastry is browned, and the filling is set.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Grilled Hoisin Beef – Not Necessarily Mongolian

While this grilled hoisin beef features a very similar marinade to the one in our Mongolian pork chop video, I decided against calling it, "Mongolian beef," since I realized I’m not exactly sure what that is. Same goes for the chop, but since Mustard’s Grill coined the name, we're Grandfathered in.

Hoisin sauce is an underrated, and possibly underused ingredient. That's probably due to the fact that people aren’t exactly sure what it is. Far as I can tell, it's a thickened, fermented soy-sauce-like substance, flavored with chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and, of course, exotic spices. That’s really all I feel like I need to know, but if you happen to do some more research, and find out something interesting, please pass it along.

Like I said in the video, besides a decent marinade recipe, I hope this serves as a reminder for just how great a cut of beef skirt steak is. Unless you horribly overcook it, it’s always juicy, and tender, as long as you slice it across the grain. So, whether you serve it with coconut rice or not, I really hope you give this grilled hoisin beef a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes two portions:
* as with all marinades, feel free to add more of everything!
1 beef skirt steak, about a pound
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 cloves finely minced garlic
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 green onion, light parts, minced
toasted sesame seeds

Friday, May 5, 2017

Savory Coconut Rice – Sugar-Free and Easy

I love coconut rice, especially as a side for spicy, grilled meats, but when I order it out, it’s usually too sweet for my tastes, and more closely resembles dessert than a side dish. So, I decided to create a more savory version at home, which I eventually did, after a few short decades of testing.

Turns out that cooking rice in water is way easier than it is in the much thicker coconut milk, and that’s just one of the issues. We also have to account for the fat being introduced, which is why I suffered through countless failed attempts, before finally nailing this formula. For me this features a great balance between stickiness and separation.

As far as the taste goes, the only sweetness here comes from the coconut milk, and some toasted coconut on top. If you want it sweeter, which apparently lots of chefs do, you can add a spoon of sugar, but that’s not what I’m into. I’m going to be serving mine with rich, fatty, often sweet-glazed meats, so I want a fairly simple, savory rice, that’s just subtly scented with coconut.

Having said that, there are lots of things you can add, like herbs, fresh vegetables, and/or sliced spring onions, so personal adaptation is very much encouraged. So, whether you wait for the grilled hoisin beef teased herein, or you already have something in mind, I really hope you give this coconut rice a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 1/2 cups jasmine or long-grain rice
1 rounded teaspoon finely grated ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not coconut cream)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup toasted coconut to garnish
- Bring to a simmer, cover, cook on low for 18 minutes. Turn off heat, leave covered 5 more minutes, then fluff and serve.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Proper Pesto

There are lots of recipes people claim taste better if made by hand, but there’s no easier case to prove than pesto. That the name means, “to crush,” should tell you something, and while this method does take considerably more physical effort, when you taste this you’ll forget every pestle-pounding minute.

The intensity of the flavors is beyond compare, and as if by some kind of magic, this gorgeous spread develops an addictive spiciness. You can taste each ingredient, and yet when smashed together, new and wonderful flavors are released. If you’re in the market, I recommend the marble mortar seen herein, as long as the inside has some texture to it. If it seems smooth and glassy, keep looking.

Of course, you can play around with the ratios of the five ingredients, and easily adjust this to your tastes, but no matter how they’re combined, taking the time to crush them by hand is well worth the effort. I hope you give this fresh basil pesto a try soon. Enjoy!


4 cloves garlic peeled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large bunch basil (about 4-5 ounces)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated on microplace (about 1 1/2 cups unpacked)
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quick and Crispy Home Fries – Or as We Call Them at Home, Fries

It’s a kind of ironic that the only place many people enjoy top-quality home fries is when they eat out at a diner, but sadly that’s the case. Your average home cook’s home fries look great, and we’ll assume taste amazing, but they usually don’t get that nice crispy crust, like the ones at the local greasy spoon.

The reason is simple. There the potatoes are steamed or boiled ahead of time; then cooled, cut, and kept chilled until service. When you pan fry a cold starch, it gets a beautifully crispy surface, which is the secret to the world’s great French fries, polenta sticks, and Korean fried chicken.

To expedite this process, we’re going to microwave the potatoes for a few minutes, until just barely tender. This simulates steaming, which I think is the best way, since boiling can make them waterlogged. Once cool, all you have to do is keep cooking until you’re happy with your crustification. I really hope you give this easy home fry technique  a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large portions:
 3 large russet potatoes, peeled, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
pinch garlic powder
pinch onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne to taste
fresh chives to garnish are nice

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Calamari Marinara – Would You Like That In 45 Seconds or 45 Minutes?

Calamari is affordable, delicious, and sustainable, yet many cooks shy away from it, since it has a reputation for being tricky to work with. I should’ve said “unfair reputation,” because while it’s true calamari can end up with a rubbery texture if overcooked, there’s a very simple way to avoid this… by really overcooking it.

When it comes to calamari, it needs to be cooked in either 45 seconds, or 45 minutes, and nothing in between. If you sear it in a pan, or poach it in a sauce for a very brief time, you should get something nice and tender. However, after just a few extra minutes, the squid gets chewy.

Unfortunately, this is how most calamari is served, since it is easy to overcook, even for a professional. But, if we gently simmer for about 45-minutes total, something amazing happens. The calamari loses that rubbery texture, and becomes tender once again.

I also think it takes on more a meaty flavor, which I love, especially when using this to sauce pasta. So, if you’ve wanted to try cooking calamari, but were afraid of over-cooking it, I really hope you give this easy sauce a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1  yellow onion, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Serrano chili pepper sliced thin
1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more if needed
1/2 cup drinkable white wine
1 cup clam juice
6 cups crushed or puréed Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds frozen calamari tubes and tentacles, thawed, sliced into half-inch pieces
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
1 pound dry pasta