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
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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Grilled Fava Beans – Flavor Flav, Indeed

I bet fava beans would be a lot more popular if people knew how to cook them, or even what they were. For many people, these are just those mysterious, semi-scary, oversized green beans that they’re not sure what to do with.

Which is a shame, since they’re not only delicious, and easy to prepare, but also very versatile. Fava beans shine in salads, and pastas, as well as on pizzas.  The also, as I demonstrated the end of the video, make for a wonderful spread.

By the way, the ingredient amounts below are pure guesses, since this is not the kind of recipe we're going to measure stuff for. Let your conscience be your guide, but remember what we're eating is inside that charred pod, so season generously.

Fava beans should be readily available this time of year, especially at farmers markets, where they tend to be much cheaper that your high-end grocery stores. Regardless of where you find them, I really do hope you give this great bean, and even better technique a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 pounds whole fava beans
olive oil, as needed
2 lemons
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
3 whole, peeled, bruised garlic cloves
red pepper flakes to taste
2 tablespoons freshly sliced mint leaves

- Grill over high heat for about five minutes per side, or until the pods are soft and charred, and the beans inside are just tender.

WARNING: Some people have an allergy to fava beans. Make sure you don't.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hilah’s Happy Hour featuring Chef John’s First Podcast

That’s right, I did a podcast! Which, come to find out, is a great way to learn what those are. It’s basically like listening to the radio, only more complicated. Anyway, I appeared on Hilah’s Happy Hour, with the lovely and talented Hilah Johnson.

As you’ll hear, she does most of the heavy lifting in this free-flowing interview, but you'll also get a few behind-the-scenes tidbits from me, as well. I had a lot of fun doing it, and invite you to follow this link to check it out on her blog, as well as check out her highly entertaining recipe videos. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken – My Pad Krapow Gai

I don’t cook Thai food at home often, mostly because there are at least a dozen such restaurants within walking distance, but when I do, there’s nothing I enjoy more than this spicy Thai basil chicken. Thai basil sold separately. 

No, I didn’t use the real “Holy” basil, but even with regular basil, this simple recipe is spectacular. Aromatic basil is the perfect herb for pairing with the slightly sweet, sort of salty, and possibly spicy, chopped meat.

And yes, you really do want to chop, or grind your own chicken. Even if the worst-case scenario I shared in the video isn’t something you’re grocery store would do, it’s still very nice to know exactly what you’re eating, as well as being able to chop it as coarsely as you want.

If you decide to top with an egg, I should mention that they’re usually fried much more aggressively, with the edges getting brown and crispy. I tend to prefer something a little more gently cooked, but either way, or with none at all, I really do hope you give this delicious basil chicken recipe a try soon.  Enjoy!


Ingredients for two large or four smaller portions:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound freshly chopped chicken thighs
1/4 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced Thai chilies, Serrano, or other hot pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or as needed
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 bunch basil leaves, sliced very thin with a sharp knife (about a cup once sliced)

Friday, April 14, 2017

The French Omelette – Soft, Shiny, and Superior

There is no more terrifying experience at culinary school than the French omelette exam. With your classmates rooting you on, and chef instructors watching intently, you head to the stove, with little more than three eggs, and a little butter…okay, a lot of butter…but that’s it.

It’s just you and the ingredients, with no way to fake perfection. A French omelette, or omelet, as we Americans call it, is 10% ingredients, and 90% technique. The good news is, the technique is really simple. The bad news is, it takes a little practice to perfect. But, after making a few hundred of these, you could probably do this half asleep, which is how many brunch cooks actually do it. Just be sure to start the folding as soon as the surface is wet, but not runny.

Feel free to stuff this with your favorite fillings, before folding up, but if you’ve never had one of these before, I highly recommend making one as shown. You’ll be amazed at just how delicious these few ingredients can be, when elevated using this method. Either way, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one omelette:
3 large farm-fresh eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 for the pan, and 1/2 for when it’s done)
cayenne or white pepper to taste, optional

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hot Cross Buns – Mother Goose Would Love These

Pretty much all I know about hot cross buns, I learned from the nursery rhyme, but thanks to a recipe I found on Anson Mills, I was still able to make a fairly decent batch. Including real crosses, not to be confused with dinner rolls on which an icing cross has been piped.

In addition to its eye-catching appearance, the dough-based “cross” provides an interesting textual contrast, as it gets sort of chewy, and crispy edged.

Like I said in the video, any sweet dough will work with this easy technique, especially rich, and fragrant examples, like our Italian Easter Bread dough. Times may vary, but regardless of the dough, simply wait for the dough to double in size, and proceed.

If you want to get all your buns the same size, weight your dough in grams before dividing, and then divide by 16. Then, weight each of your dough balls to that exact amount, and boom, your tray of buns will look like the ones you saw on that magazine cover. Or, just eyeball it and take your chances. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 15 or 16 Hot Cross Buns:
Recipe slightly adapted from this one from Anson Mills
1/4 cup currants, soaked in hot rum for an hour or two
3/4 cup milk warmed to 100 F.
1 package dry active yeast
1 tablespoon each orange and lemon zest
7 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 cups bread *flour, plus more if needed

* hold back a little of the flour until you sure you need it. You can always add, but can’t remove!

For the crosses:
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more to make a thin, pipe-able dough

- Bake at 425 F. for about 15 minutes

For the glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
- Cook syrup to 225 F., and brush over warm

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Jam – Because Man Cannot Live on Clotted Cream Alone

Actually, I don’t think you can live on just clotted cream and fruit preserves either, but regardless, as promised, here’s my preferred method for making strawberry jam. While amazingly delicious, and quite satisfying to make, I’ll have to put this on the same list as homemade ketchup. This is fun to make once in a while, but due to the effort, and time involved, Smuckers has nothing to worry about.

This version features a lot less sugar than many recipes, which is kind of crazy, since we use over two cups, as well as a homemade pectin puree, to help tighten-up the texture. Feel free to use pectin powder or liquid instead, but I think I did a pretty good job explaining why I don’t in the video.

Strawberries should be sweet, and plentiful this time year, so if you’re looking for a fun project, especially if your last fun project was making clotted cream, I really hope you give this delicious, fresh strawberry jam a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 3 cups of Strawberry Jam:
For the pectin puree:
3 apples, chopped
1 lemon, chopped
1 cup water
For the jam:
3 pounds strawberries, rinsed, and trimmed
1 1/2 cups (or whatever you got) pectin puree
2 1/4 cups white sugar, added in two additions
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Please Note: To test without a thermometer, wait until the jam starts to reduce and thicken, and spoon some of the mixture on a plate, and place in the freezer for a few minutes, until the jam is cold. If it's jelled, you're done. If it's still runny, keep cooking, and testing. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Name's Cream...Clotted Cream

If you invented a cream preparation so incredibly delicious that you couldn’t bear the thought of anyone besides you, and the other dairy farmers in the area enjoying it, adding the word “clotted” to the name is a pretty sound strategy.

While the name doesn’t exactly make the mouth water, the flavor and texture are the stuff of legends. The long, slow cooking sort of toasts the cream, which imparts a sweet, nuttiness that I don’t think I’ve tasted in any other preparation.

Most modern ovens go down as low as 175-180 F., which is ideal for this technique. 200 F. will work, but maybe check after 10 hours, and see how things look. The other huge factor here is the cream. Be sure to get the best you can. It should be from grass-fed cows, and have a fat content of between 36-40%.

Avoid anything that says “Ultra-Pasteurized,” since it’s been heat-treated, and you’ll not get the same results. Other than this taking a day or two, the technique could not be easier, and I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it’s one of the most amazing things ever. I really do hope you give this a try soon.  Enjoy!


Ingredients:
4 cups heavy cream
8 x 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish
- Bake at 175-180 F. for 12 hours. Chill overnight before separating the “clots.” Use the reserved liquid for baking biscuits.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Thai-Dipped Beef Tri Tip – Satay, Unskewered

There are so many examples of big foods being re-imagined into smaller, bite-sized versions, but going the other direction is not nearly as common. That's what I was attempting to do with this satay-inspired, Thai-dipped beef tri tip.

I enjoy beef satay way more than I do skewering small pieces of beef. Besides, I’ve never made satay, and not stuck a bamboo skewer into my finger at some point in the process. And not only did this involve less labor, but you can cook this in any number of ways.

I decided to go low and slow, over indirect charcoal heat, until I reached an internal temperature of 132 F.  If you’re in more of a hurry, you can cook tri tip over higher heat, and it’s perfectly fine, as long as it doesn’t overcook. You can also roast this in the oven at 325 F., just in case a thunderstorm tries to mess up your plans.

All the ingredients here are easy to find, with the possible exception of lemongrass. Most big city grocery stores carry it, but in other parts of the country, I’ve seen it sold as a tubed puree, displayed in the produce department. If you can’t find it, you can add some lemon juice and zest to adjust. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one beef tri tip roast:
2 1/2 pound trimmed beef tri tip top roast
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup chopped lemon grass (peel off woodiest parts, pound with back of knife, then chop)
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons grated raw onion
1/3 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- Grill, smoke, or roast to an internal temp of 130 to 135 F.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Again?

When Food Wishes was first getting started, and funds were scarce, I did some freelance video production for various outlets, and apparently lemon ricotta pancakes was one such recipe. I know this because I got a request for ricotta pancakes recently, and when I tried to refer them to the blog link, I realized there wasn’t one.

I’m looking at you, About.com. Anyway, as it turns out, this is a new and possibly improved recipe, featuring…water? Yes, I tried this recipe once, with water instead of milk, and I actually liked it more. Or I thought I did, which is really all that matters.

Most lemon ricotta pancake recipes call for the eggs to be separated, and the whites whipped to give the pancakes more “lift.” Feel free, but if these pancakes were any lighter, they’d float off the plate. Speaking of lightness, I prefer using self-rising flour for this, but if you can’t, I’ve explained below how to make your own. Either way, I really do hope you give these delicious lemon ricotta pancakes a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 2 large or 4 small portions:
3/4 cold water, or milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon lemon zest (just the yellow part of the skin)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons *self-rising flour, or as needed to achieve very thick batter

* To make your own self-rising flour (2 cups worth): Sift together 2 cups all-purpose flour, with 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon fine salt.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chef John is Taking a Break!

Just wanted to let everyone know I’ll be on vacation this week. I'd call it a "Spring Break," except that makes it sound like I'm going to be chugging beer through a funnel, half-naked, while listening to Flo Rida, which is not accurate. 

I'll actually be sipping beer, half-naked, while listening to Flo Rida. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a the break, and suggest you use the time to catch up on videos you’ve missed. We have so, so many. Thank you, and we’ll see you next week!
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Grilled Greek Chicken – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Erin go what? On the surface, this may seem like an inappropriate St. Patrick’s Day recipe post, but I’ve always considered this holiday one of the official signs of spring, and since that means it’s grilling season, then maybe this is appropriate after all? Yes, I went a long way for that.

As I mentioned in the video, the secret to this simple chicken is a very powerful marinade. This is one of those rare recipes where, when in doubt, we add a little more. Above and beyond that, the only way to ruin this would be to singe the skin/marinade with too high, direct heat.

We really want to sort of roast these pieces on the grill. So, don’t build a huge fire, and wait for it to turn ashy, before using semi-indirect heat to slowly cook the meat through. This way we get a tender inside, as well as and a gorgeous, caramelized exterior.

This is so flavorful that you really don’t need a sauce, but some fresh lemon is nice, as is a spicy yogurt. Just squeeze a little lemon into some nice thick, Greek yogurt, spike it with hot sauce, and you have a perfect condiment. And speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, this stuff pairs wonderfully with beer. I really hope you give this grilled Greek chicken recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


For enough marinade for 6 chicken thigh/leg sections:
6 to 8 cloves garlic, totally crushed or very finely minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano and/or marjoram
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 generous teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
1/4 olive oil
about 1 tablespoon kosher salt to season chicken

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eggplant “Bacon” – Because Fake Bacon is Better than Real Eggplant

I love that my wife, Michele, follows Questlove on social media, but not just because it makes me feel cooler by extension, which it does, but also because he’s a huge foodie, and this enticing eggplant “bacon” came from his Instagram.

Links were followed, and I discovered the recipe was from Minimalist Baker, and although I did tweak the technique and ingredient amounts a bit, the recipe is basically thieved from this gorgeous blog post. Thank you, Dana! By the way, there they were brushed, but I decided to dip. Because my slices may have been wetter, they did take way longer to cook.

Personal taste being what it is, you’ll have to experiment with not only your sweet-salty-smoky ingredient ratios, but also with how thick you cut your eggplant, as well as how long you cook it. I went for thin and crispy, but it was closer to a bbq potato chip in taste/texture than bacon. I may slice it thicker next time, and see if I can get some chewy bits, woven through the crispy bits.

These would make for some tasty vegetable chips, but were especially enjoyable in a BLT, which I inexplicably didn’t photo. I blame low blood sugar. Regardless of how you enjoy them, I really do hope you give this eggplant “bacon” a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes enough “bacon brine” for 2 medium-sized eggplants:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons tamari, or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, depending on strength
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, a little coarser than usual
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggplants, sliced to about 1/8th inch

The original recipe calls for a 225 F. oven, but I would probably start this like I finished it, and that’s in a 250 F. oven. I’d plan on at least an hour baking time, but that will depend on thickness, pans, etc. Simply cook until they are how you want.