Friday, July 25, 2014

Shrimp Fra Diavolo – The Brother Devil Made Me Do It

This latest test of still how little I know about editing in Adobe Premier, features a devilishly delicious shrimp fra diavolo, or “shrimp brother devil,” if we’re being literal for comic effect.

I think this came out looking pretty good, although it took me so much longer to edit, since I’m still barely at novice level using the new software. So, with it being Friday afternoon and all, I’m gong to keep this short and sweet, and simply suggest you do two things.

First of all, if you know any great Premier tips, tricks or resources, send them my way! You’ll notice I don’t have consistent transitions, or captions for the times and temperatures; but I’m sure I’ll have that figured out soon enough. Secondly, make this. It’s really good, and turns any pile of pasta or rice into a memorable meal. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 smaller portions:
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (16/20 per pound size, bigger is better)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if you’re sexy
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil, enough to generously coat the shrimp
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano, or 2 tsp of fresh
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup drinkable white wine
11/2 cups can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
*some people like lemon, but I don’t think it needs it unless your wine was too sweet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Korean Fried Chicken is the Best Fried Chicken

I've always considered myself something of a fried chicken expert. Whether we’re talking sports bars, casual dining, or white tablecloth restaurants, if there's some kind of fried chicken on the menu, I'm going to order it. 

Because of that fact, and my advanced age, I’ve pretty much had every single style known to man, and this Korean fried chicken is officially my favorite. No other method I've come across has the same combination of tender, juicy, flavorful chicken, and plate-scratching crispiness as this recipe does. It's simply a must try if you're a fan of the genre. 

The technique is very straightforward, and you can actually do the first deep-frying ahead of time. In fact, I did a little test where I waited 24 hours before doing the second frying, and the results were still quite extraordinary. If you’re doing this for a larger group, the chicken will stay crisp, as long as you hold it in a warm oven (175 F.), while you finish frying the rest. 

Don't forget the sauce! Click here for recipe!
I highly recommend the boneless skinless thighs here, but chunks of breast meat will work as well. I believe real “KFC” actually uses chicken on the bone, but that means bigger pieces, and bigger pieces mean less surface area, which ultimately means less of the amazingly crunchy coating. By the way, I’ve tried beer and soda water in the batter, and for whatever reason, plain ice water works the best for me. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to buy some Korean chili paste (Gochujan), because apparently it's a crime against nature to make the sauce without it. Like I said, I've used it before, and really liked it, so I need to go out and replenish my supply, and get back into the good graces of the Korean people. Anyway, if you like fried chicken as much as I do, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Korean Fried Chicken:
(Note: these ingredients make enough batter for about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of chicken, even though I only used 1 pound here)

For the chicken marinade:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
1/2 yellow onion, grated (enough to generously coat chicken chunks)
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fine salt (1 1/2 tsp if using kosher salt)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black
*Marinate for between 4 to 12 hours

Ingredients for batter:
1/2 cup of self-rising flour (or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 3/4 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup very cold water, or as needed

Serve with this Korean Fried Chicken Sauce.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Korean Fried Chicken Sauce – The Sauce of Things to Come

Who says you have to read H. G. Wells to reference him? Anyway, this lovely sweet and sour sauce is part one of a two-part series on Korean fried chicken. That video will be posted on Wednesday, and if you want to enjoy it at 100% awesomeness, you’ll want to whip up a batch of this stuff.

As I disclaimed in the video, this is just my take, and while I think it’s pretty classic, there are a couple of things I do differently. I like to add lots of green onion and garlic, as well as not cook this quite as long as most recipes call for. The result is a sauce with those ingredients a little more up-front in the flavor profile. The only drawback is you don’t get quite as deep a red color, but I can’t even pretend to be concerned with that.

By the way, you should try to find some Korean chili flakes and/or paste if you can. I’ve used them before, and the flavor is great, and obviously more authentic, but if you can’t, any hot chili flakes or paste will work. Now, all we need is some “KFC” to spoon this over. Stay tuned, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 servings:
1/2 cup ketchup
2 green onions, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 tbsp honey
1 to 2 tsp red chili flakes, to taste
1 tbsp sambal chili sauce, or other ground chili sauce/paste, to taste
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced, or more to taste
1/4 cup water to adjust thickness, more as needed
*Note: everything in this is “to taste,” so adjust until you think it’s balanced between sweet, sour, and spicy.
-- Combine ingredients and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature.
*Click here for the Korean Fried Chicken recipe

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Next Up: Korean Fried Chicken Week!

The vacation is coming to an end, and while I certainly enjoyed my time off, I'm really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things this week by featuring the mind-blowing awesomeness that is Korean fried chicken. 

Tomorrow, I'll ease back into it by showing you my take on the traditional KFC sauce, and then Wednesday, we'll cover the actual chicken recipe. With apologies to the Colonel, this is the world's best fried chicken. Stay tuned!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Drinking

I know, I'm supposed to be on vacation, but I wanted to post links for a couple of spectacularly refreshing summer drinks. Not only is the timing perfect for either of these beautiful beverages,  but I was getting really tired of looking at that hairy, photoshop'd beach guy. To see the full post, and get the ingredients, click on the title, and away you go. Enjoy, and see you next week! 

Watermelon Agua Fresca

 


Homemade Strawberry Soda

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chef John is on Vacation!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be on vacation this week. We’ll continue to publish comments and questions while I’m gone, but I won’t be around to answer them. So yes, it will be very similar to when I’m not on vacation.

I can’t say for sure where I’m going, or what I’ll be doing, but I’m posting this beach picture to show one place I won’t be headed. I didn’t have any photos of me at the beach, but this one is very close to what you’d see (although, the giant cross would actually be a clock).

By the way, I have nothing against the beach, or walking around barely dressed, but the “Hey, who called a cab?” jokes get a little old. Hope you have a great week, and as always, enjoy!
- Photo courtesy of Flikr user Mr TGT
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Pork Shoulder Roast with Blueberry & Port Pan Sauce – No Pulling Required

Pork shoulder is a popular cut of meat, but it’s almost always cooked until “fork tender,’” which to your average cook means falling apart. This is fine for pulled pork sandwiches, or many other amazing dishes, but sometimes I want something different. It’s sort of like, I love braised short ribs, but sometimes I want roast beef.

Like I said in the video, most people go with pork loin when they want to do a roasted dish like this, but the lower cost shoulder makes a great alternative. The good news is that pork shoulder is much fattier, which makes for juicier, more flavorful meat. That’s also the bad news.

Unlike the very user friendly pork loin, there will be larger veins of fat running through the roast. Big deal, I say. Nothing a steak knife can’t solve, and meat you do liberate will be more than tender enough, as long as you pull it from the oven when the internal temp is about 145 degrees F.

By the way, I’ve given up trying to answer questions about replacing the wine and other booze in these recipes. Of course you can leave it out, and/or sub other things, but since I never do, I can’t guide you very well. So, either start drinking, or start googling…and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients for about 4 large portions:
2 1/2 to 3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (aka pork butt)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to sear meat
1 large shallot cut in half
3 springs rosemary
1 cup fresh blueberries
2/3 cup port wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 or 3 tablespoons cold butter
-Roast at 325 F. until an internal temp of 145-150 F.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This is Only a Test

While I was testing a crispy, Korean-fried chicken breast for a future blog post, the real test here was producing a video in 1080p HD. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we will be transitioning to this new format over the next few months, and to accomplish that, I have to learn Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.

I’ve been using an old, and relatively simple version of iMovie all these years, and so staring at all these new buttons and dials is a little intimidating. I’m hoping most of them don’t actually do anything, and are only there to fill out the interface, but we shall see. In the meantime, thank you for putting up with this test, and as always, enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Coney Island Hot Dogs, Just Like They Make in Detroit

The story of how the Coney Island hog dog got to the Midwest is pretty straightforward, but no one really knows exactly how the wiener first came to be topped with what is basically a hot meat relish. 

We don’t call it that for obvious reasons, but it does add an entirely new dimension to the old frank. There are many stories, but regardless of how, it only takes one bite to know why.

Like every other ancient American recipe we post, I have no idea how authentic this is, and have never been to Detroit, or even Flint. I have had Nathan’s version, which I enjoyed, but the word on the street is that it’s not nearly as good as the relatives it spawned.

By the way, I’m assuming that if you’ve had the real thing, you’ll let me know if this is even close. Like I said in the video, it’s a long summer of hot dog eating, and I think this coney “don’t call me a chili dog” is a great way to shake things up. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for enough Coney Sauce for 8-10 hot dogs:
(all spices are to taste!)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (lean)
2 tbsp butter
2 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp chili powder or to taste
1 tsp cumin
pinch cayenne
2-3 cups water
1/3 cup ketchup
- Simmer about 1 hour or until desired texture is reached

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

I wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy Fourth of July! I was going to experiment with another 1080p HD upload today, but then I remembered it was a National holiday, and that I don’t need to work today. Still getting used to that kind of thing. 

Anyway, the point is I hope you can join me in not doing any work today…unless you consider grilling and drinking beer work. Have a great long weekend, and as always, enjoy!

By the way, if you're still needing to figure out a fast and very patriotic dessert to bring to that party later, please check out the no-bake, flag cheesecake pictured above!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grilled Marsala Marinated Skirt Steak – Thank You, Chicken Parm!

It’s not often that my recipe inspirations cross species, but this juicy and delicious, Marsala-marinated skirt steak is one such case. 

I was in Santa Monica a few years ago, where I ordered a chicken parmesan that featured a garlic, rosemary, and Marsala-spiked sauce; and I loved the subtle sweetness the wine added to the tomato.

For whatever reason, I thought of those flavors while brainstorming a quick skirt steak marinade, and this is what happened. Skirt steak is always great on the grill, and doesn't needs much help, but I loved how this came out. I can only wonder how much better it would have been if I’d actually let it marinate.

The plan was to prep this in the morning, and grill it for dinner after at least eight hours in the marinade. But, due to hunger-related circumstances beyond my control, it ended up being an early lunch. Even though it only soaked for a short time, it was still very nice, but hopefully you'll exercise a little more self-control. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 1/2 pound skirt steak
2/3 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp dried rosemary, or 1 tbsp fresh
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
- Marinate for 8 hours to overnight, and grill over high heat (brush grates with oil first, and wipe off excess marinade)