Saturday, September 29, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
You have to have a game plan when doing a vegetable pasta. If you are using vegetables that have different cooking times, you can't add them all at the same time, yet that's what most people do. One strategy is to cut the longer cooking veggies smaller and leave the more tender veggies larger, so they all cook at about the same time. Another trick is to precook the denser vegetables, like carrots, before combining them with less dense things like squash.
In this pasta, I separate the tops and stems of the broccoli. I basically make a sauce with the diced (and much tougher) stem pieces, and the tender flowers at the end so I get a nice uniform doneness. Anyway, all that being said, this is a delicious way to eat that broccoli all those doctors' keeps talking about. By the way, if you're a Chef that remembers the "garnish the edge of the plate" era (explained in clip), I'd love to get a comment from you. What we're we thinking? Enjoy!
(I'm going to try embeding two video players, from both YouTube and Brightcove, in case one of the sources is down, or one works better on your browser than the other. The Youtube embed is a smaller player, but not as temperamental as the larger Brightcove version.)
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 1/2 pound broccoli
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste
Monday, September 24, 2007
This is a classic beef brisket dish I learned from a German chef many years ago. As you'll see in this video recipe, it takes about 10 minutes to prep, and after a nice, leisurely 3-hour braise, you have an amazingly aromatic, and succulent brisket.
This is a great dish any time of the year, but it is especially perfect on that chilly fall night, or for that holiday dinner party. Since the average brisket runs about 5 to 6 pounds, it’s great for entertaining. And the leftovers? Forget about it; there is nothing like a brisket sandwich.
There is an aroma that this dish produces as the apple cider, garlic, and rosemary vapors somehow escape the tight foil wrap and waft throughout the kitchen and house that no scented candle has ever come close to surpassing. This is a great meal, and the best kind of aromatherapy. I served it with a new carrot dish I just developed that uses Chinese 5-spice with some surprisingly results. I will show that video recipe soon. It was a perfect match for this dish. Enjoy.
5 pound beef brisket
6 cloves garlic
1 tbl dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste (this needs to be seasoned generously)
1 pint apple cider
2 tbl olive oil
1 yellow onion
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Broiled Salmon Glazed with Dijon and Rice Vinegar, circa 1988 - Do two ingredients count as a "recipe?"
He said it was a French/Asian style salmon dish made with Dijon and rice vinegar. I was told to "grill off" (mark on the grill, but not cook all the way) the salmon filets and get them set up on sheet pans. No problem. It took about an hour or so, but I did a nice job and they looked great with their perfect diamond shaped grill marks (10 and 2’oclock, for you Culinary students out there).
Then he told me to make the glaze for the salmon. I asked him where the recipe was. He laughed and said there wasn't one. He was going to tell me, and I was going to remember it, or it would be my last night there. I was starting to sweat and pulled out my little note pad I always kept in my pocket (another tip for you cul students, always have a pen and paper) so I could write the recipe down. He said something to the effect of “put that f**king thing away!” He said if I couldn't remember this recipe then I had no place being in a kitchen. Then he said, take a quart of Dijon and mix it with a quart of rice vinegar, and brush it on the salmon. That was it; half
Anyway, this simple two-ingredient combo is a really great salmon glaze. The sugar in the seasoned rice vinegar caramelizes under the broiler, and the sweet, salty vinegar works perfectly with the tangy mustard. While the original, circa 1988, only had two ingredients I've added a couple of optional things, some Sriracha hot sauce and a pinch of salt. Nowadays they call this fusion cuisine. Back then they called it a great way to make a young cook sweat! Enjoy.
2 salmon filet
1 1/2 tbl
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
salt, if needed (rice vinegars can vary in sugar and salt content)
Monday, September 17, 2007
The main difference is the bread is sliced thicker, it's soaked in a custard batter (really, really soaked), and then after being brown slightly in a pan, it's baked. That is the real secret. The baking cooks the custard inside the bread and gives it an unbelievable texture. The outside is crisp and golden, and the contrast between the two is magical. The problem with just pan-frying is by the time the inside is really cooked, the outside is too dark and bitter. You can use thinner bread, of course, but then you don't get the same creamy, custardy, almost bread pudding-like texture, as from the thicker slices. Give this a try. The one extra step of baking it is sooo worth it. When you bite into this, I'm sure you'll agree. Enjoy!
6 thick slice of French bread
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
butter for frying
Sunday, September 16, 2007
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter
salt and pepper to taste
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
An employee at a store next door to the Great China Buffet, saw this cook crushing garlic outside the restaurant with his shoes. He snapped some photos and sent them to the Rockland County Health Department. In the understatement of the year, John Stoughton, from that public health department was quoted as saying, "We would not consider a person's shoe a proper instrument to use in food preparation."
The restaurant was cited and the employee is no longer employed there. He was not available for comment, but friends said he really feels like a heel.
Photo credit: Dan Barreto and the The Journal News
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Recipes are great for what ingredients you may want to use, but should be treated as an idea-started, not some government mandated edict. Cooking times are also useful, so we'll look at those, but as far as following a recipe to the letter when it comes to amounts of ingredients, I say "use the force Luke." We all have an inner Chef that will guide us as we cook, without the shackles of the measuring spoons and digital scales. "Top potatoes with 1 tablespoon of minced chives" ….what?? If I see that Food Network "Barefoot Contessa" lady measure parsley to sprinkle on something one more time, I going to lose it.
I much prefer proportions to recipes. For cous cous it's one part stock to one part cous cous, for dressings 3 to 1 oil to vinegar usually works out nicely, etc. If you visited a professional kitchen a few things would jump out at you right away. How fast-paced it is, how much cursing is being done, and how few recipes you see. So, today's artichoke is a celebration of the non-recipe; trim some chokes, drizzle some lemon and oil, stick in a garlic clove, sprinkle on some salt, and roast until delicious. I expect some comments from new cooks saying "but we need the measurements because we are not as experienced as you." No you don't. Use the force. Besides how do you know yours isn’t going to come out better because you used a little more or a little less of something? Cook, taste, adjust, and enjoy.
*Bonus foodie points if you are the first commenter to tell me what horrible Chef error I made on the plate in the photo.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I have been working long and hard on an extensive list of assignments for their site. Due to this very necessary outside work, I’ve been unable to post as often as unusual. The good news is that once these recipes are posted on About.com, I will be able to do a post about it, and link to the video on their site. So, even though you won’t be able to play the clip on the blog as you can now, you can at least see me in action. And, as an added bonus, you won’t have to listen to me say “be sure to check the site for the ingredients” as much! The photos you see here are from upcoming recipes that will appear on About.com soon.
By the way, I do plan on doing at least two Food Wishes videos per week, along with the usual array of other edible items. So, that’s the update. I’ve put a link below to my debut on About.com where I did a slightly different version (with new and improved jokes) of the old Watermelon and Feta Salad. Since you seen and read about that one already here, I didn’t bother with a new post.
Thanks, again to all the support and stay tuned for a whole new run of great video recipes on both this blog and About.com.
Monday, September 10, 2007
While this dish may appear to be inspired by Italian or Spanish influences (which it is), it’s also a take on one of my favorite Chinese dishes; spicy orange beef. I love to grill flank steak with a highly flavored rub of garlic, fennel, salt and black pepper. I wondered what would happen if I added a little orange to the marinade, and then I got the idea to caramelize some orange halves on the grill, and squeeze the juice over the meat after it was cooked and sliced. It was an amazing combination, and one you must try. I did a recent video recipe with some orange and fennel grilled chicken thighs, that was very good, but this went to a whole new place. Enjoy!
1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)
1 tbl fennel seeds
2 tbl black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tbl olive oil
4 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves garlic
cayenne pepper to taste
Saturday, September 8, 2007
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't feel bad, I'm not that sure either. Anyway, we are basically comparing the two clips. Any and all input is welcome, especially from tech nerds.
Here is the blogger video upload of The "Ultimate" Roast Chicken at same size as the YouTube version:
Here is the regular YouTube flash embed of the same clip:
Here is the blogger video upload of The "Ultimate" Roast Chicken:
Well, so what do you think?
Friday, September 7, 2007
Unless you are use to cutting up small animals, please have the butcher trim this rabbit into the individual pieces. Most rabbits are sold whole or by the half, like chicken. But, any meat shop that sells rabbit will have a butcher that will separate the legs and loin for you. As you’ll sorta see and somewhat hear in the video recipe, the key to this dish is the long stewed legs and the quick seared loins. Enjoy!
1 rabbit, dressed (2 1/4 pound)
1 celery rib
1/2 cup chopped San Marzano (or any canned plum) tomato
4 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and pepper
4 tbl balsamic vinegar reduce by half
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tsp fennel seed
fresh parsley, chopped
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
So, in the meantime, since it’s such a simple sauce, I’m just going to talk you through it. You can see most of what’s happening in the photo of the pan. I can’t give exact amounts because it’s just not that kind of sauce.
While the pasta is cooking (I think we cooked about 2 pounds), put a heavy sauté pan on low heat. Add lots of olive oil, maybe a good cup. Add 5 or 6 anchovy fillets, and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté on low until the anchovies melt and the garlic begins to sizzle. Add some chopped fresh basil and some hot pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Do NOT brown the garlic. Turn off the heat. In a large pasta bowl, cut up a stick of butter into small pieces. Grate about a cup of Parmesan cheese (the real stuff!). When the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the pasta bowl, and toss with the butter for a few moments. Pour over the olive oil mixture, and add the grated Parmesan (save a little for the table), and toss until everything is coated. This is best served as a side dish due to its obvious richness, and was great with the Chicken D’Arduini, as it would with any similar recipe.
This is not the type of pasta to eat if you are thinking about grams of fat, or calories, or those new “skinny jeans.” In fact, this is a dish best eaten when your brain is completely void of all thought. So, clear your mind as you slurp the buttery, salty, spicy, garlicky, cheesy goodness. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
It's incredible simple to make (much easier than saying "canned clams" as you'll hear in this clips running gag). It takes about 15 minutes start to finish. It's bursting with flavor, yet only uses a few ingredients and except for crushing a couple cloves of garlic, requires no prep. This sauce is great on any pasta, but I enjoy it best on angle hair or spaghetti. And, yes, I DO put some Parmesan on my clam pasta, thank you very much. Never say never when it comes to food. Some Chefs (fascists) say you can never put cheese on seafood pasta, never, ever, never. Well, while I agree that Parmesan would not be a great choice on some seafood pastas using very light, delicate varieties of fish and sauce. On this red clam sauce and its strong, bold flavors and meaty clams, the Parmesan tastes wonderful, and no one can prove me otherwise.
Please note while watching the video recipe the secret to what I think makes a great pasta dish. Under-cook the pasta by a minute, drain it, add it back to the pot (off the heat of course) and pour over the hot sauce, cover and let everything meld together for a few minutes. The hot sauce and steaming pasta will finish cooking and the pasta will absorb all those amazing flavors. I can't believe it when I see a plate of plain pasta with the sauce just ladled over! Anyway, give this a try and maybe it will become one of your "go to" recipes. Enjoy!
1 pound pasta
2 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams in juice
3 cups tomato sauce (plus 1/4 cup water to rinse jar)
1 cup good white wine
1 tbl anchovy paste or 2 fillets
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbl capers
2 tbl olive oil
Parmesan to taste
salt and pepper to taste
fresh herb to taste, basil or Italian parsley
Monday, September 3, 2007
I hope you all enjoyed this summer, and were able to cook and eat lots of great food. I appreciate all the visits, and comments, as the blog has really grown rapidly the last few months. Special thanks to all of you who helped spread the word about Food Wishes. It’s been a lot of fun learning and using the new equipment (I took the plastic off one of the manuals the other day), and I hope the videos will become even better, and more enjoyable for you.
So, as days grow shorter, sunflowers go to seed, crunchy leaves cover the lawn, and some idiot tells you how many shopping days until Christmas, take heart; we are entering the prime cooking and eating time of the year. I hope you will visit this blog often for ideas on filling your fall and holiday tables with an array of delicious and somewhat healthy recipes. Finally, here’s to all the poor cooks, chefs, and other hospitality workers that celebrate Labor Day by working. Don’t feel too bad though, they’ll catch up after work…they always do. Cheers!
Btw, the sunflower photos were taken on a recent walk through San Francisco. You can even see parts of the beautiful Victorian they were planted in front of.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
It’s basically a running gag by now, and several Chefs will no longer appear on the show for fear of being made to look like a fool again. Well, Jamie Oliver does a great job in this clip of holding it all together. He actually keeps Letterman under control (sort of), finishes the dish (which looked great), got his plug in for the Children’s School Lunch Program he was involved in, and, my personal favorite part of the demo, tells guest Tom Cruise “to be a man.” By the way the dish he was making was a Thai noodle dish that translated to “Fairy Purse.” Insert your own joke here. Enjoy!