Monday, September 1, 2014

Chef John is on Vacation!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be on vacation this week, visiting family in New York (my last one this year, I promise). Of course, we’ll continue to publish your comments and questions while I’m away, but I won’t be around to answer them. That means you’ll have to rely on your fellow foodwishers, which I’m sure will work out just fine. 

By the way, many of you have been contacting me with suggestions for my 1,000th video, which is only a few uploads away. If you have an idea, please pass it along. Thanks, and we’ll see you next week!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

National Toasted Marshmallow Day Eve

As everyone knows, tomorrow is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and while I’ve never done an actual toasted marshmallow video (because that would be ridiculous), I do have something even better to celebrate with...this s’more ice cream pie! Not only is this very easy to make, and a proven crowd-pleaser, but just think of all the money you’ll save on sticks. Follow this link to read the original post. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coq Au Vin – Rock Out with Your Coq Out

Some recipes just shouldn’t be translated to English. It’s not that telling your guests they’re having “Cock with Wine,” sounds so bad, it’s just that after dinner I want them tweeting about how great the dish tasted, not how funny/inappropriate the name was.

 The other issue would be one of false advertising, since I have no idea where you get an old rooster these days. I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs instead, which I think work perfectly here. Like all braised dishes, tougher cuts with lots of connective tissue work best, and on a chicken that would be the thigh/leg section.

Of course, someone will ask if they can use chicken breasts, and technically you can, but please don’t. They just will not add that sticky goodness to the braising liquid that the thighs will.

This really is a simple recipe, and all gets done in one pan, but there are several steps, as you build up fond after fond. Before any wine or stock hits the pan, we want a thick, gorgeous layer of caramelization, which is where much of this recipe’s flavor comes from.

I don’t want to sound cocky, but this really was delicious, and as I say in the video, the mushroom, bacon, and onion mixture alone is worth making this for. I hope you give it a try soon. And please, use the French name. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large portions:
8 oz sliced bacon
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
*note: after cooking bacon and browning chicken, discard all but 1 tbsp of the fat before cooking the vegetables
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced (traditionally they use pearl onions)
10 large button mushrooms, quartered
2 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup chicken broth
6 springs thyme
- Braise for about 1 hour 375, or until the thighs are tender

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bread & Butter Pickles – One of the Great Depression’s Greatest Hits

During the Great Depression, sandwiches weren’t quite what they are today. Forget about choice of aioli, or did you want roast tri tip or smoked turkey; back then it was more like, “Did you want cucumbers in your sandwich, or nothing in your sandwich?” Okay, cucumbers it is.

At the end of summer, the excess "cuc" crop was sliced, salted, pickled, and put up in jars for the cold, lean months ahead. If you thought summer Depression-era sandwiches sucked, it was much worse in winter, when you couldn’t even find a bland vegetable to slap between your slices of buttered bread.

I can just imagine what a treat it must have been to fill a sandwich with these sweet crunchy coins, or "bread and butter pickles," as they came to be known. I’m sure it was a wonderful break from what must have been a fairly flavorless existence. Happily, times are a bit better now, and we only make these because they taste really good.

So, make a batch, experience a little piece of American culinary history, and as you’re tossing them on that burger, think back to what those days must have been like. I mean, especially with no YouTube! I hope you give these bread & butter pickles  a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 2 pints:
2 lbs pickling or other firm, little cucumbers
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 red jalapeno pepper, sliced
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, sliced