Thursday, December 27, 2007

Let's Get This Party Started Right - Announcing a New Appetizer Category!

Just in time for your New Years party planning; I've added a new video category for Appetizers. Many of the videos I've previously done will make great appetizers or first courses, but I've never had a menu choice for just viewing these types of recipes. Some of the items I picked for the new category were originally filmed as a main courses, but can easily be used as an appetizer also. So, take a look as you plan your festivities in case you've forgotten some of these fabulous finger foods (Now that's some quality alliteration!). Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wishing You the Happiest of Holidays!

I want to wish all of you, and your families, a very happy holiday, as well as a fantastic and fabulous 2008. I'd like to extend a sincere thanks to all of you for visiting, and contributing to this site. I can't believe the blog isn't even a year old yet. I started posting here in February, but it seems like much longer ago than that. It's been a lot of fun making and sharing these video recipes, and interacting with you. The amount of email and comments I've gotten regarding those who have made my recipes for friends and families (and then taken all the glory without mentioning me) has been staggering, and inspiring.

As you enjoy your holiday feasts, take a few moments to look around the table and remind yourself what a wonderful and magical effect good food can have on people. I will be taking a little break for the Christmas holiday, but will be back soon; filming, posting, and hopefully making some of your food wishes come true. Enjoy!!

Your Friend in Food,
Chef John

Photo credit (c) desi.italy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Dijon Pan Sauce - Déjà Vu to You Too

I've used pork tenderloin in several video recipes on the site, and I always say the same things; easy to cook, tender, tasty, fast, etc. So, I'm not going to bore you with why I love this cut of pork again. I'm sure you don't want to hear how it needs almost no trimming, and cooks in only about 20 minutes again. No need to explain about the delicious pan sauces that can be made once it comes out of the oven, like this amazing Apple Dijon Sauce. Deglazing, reducing, finishing with butter…you've probably been there and done that.

What I will say however is that if your planning on cooking a holiday dinner, and you're not the most confident cook in the world, you should consider this recipe. It's really hard to screw up, and believe me I've tried. Of course, that's assuming that by now I've convinced you to get a meat thermometer, and you use it on this pork to get a perfect internal temperature for maximum succulence. Teaser Alert: I also will be posting a great, health cauliflower and potato side dish video soon that will be perfect with this roast pork and sauce. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seared "Wild" Scallops with Pancetta and Leeks - It Only Tastes Hard to Make

The best recipes, especially ones you're making for those holiday dinner parties, are the dishes that only have a few ingredients, are simple and fast to put together, and taste like you spent all day on them. This Seared Scallops with Pancetta and Leeks video recipe I just did for About.com is one of those. It would make a great first course, or you could double the portion for a main course. The three main ingredients go together so perfectly that all you'll have to do is avoid the temptation to add a bunch of other stuff. Your restraint will be rewarded.

Many of the grocery stores are now selling frozen "wild" scallops. I got these at Trader Joes, and they are far superior to the "fresh" sea scallops in the fish case. Those fresh sea scallops are all soaked in a preservative brine to keep them white and prolong the self-life. That's why they have that faint chemical aftertaste, and shrink so much when you cook them. Frozen wild scallops are not soaked in any solutions, and have a much better flavor. They are definitely worth finding and serving. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mushroom Ragout on Garlic Toast - Maybe I Could Be a Vegetarian

No, I couldn't, but when I eat a meatless dish as delicious as this mushroom ragout (pronounced ragoooo), I realize there are plenty of recipes that are just as tasty and satisfying as my favorite meat dishes. Of course, almost anything is good poured over garlic toast, and you'll see a great trick for ultra-fast and easy garlic-scented toast in this video recipe I recently produced for About.com. I did sneak some chicken stock into the sauce, but if you are a vegetarian you can use a vegetable stock and it will be fine.

Whenever I do a video recipe that uses Marsala wine I get lots of emails about what they can substitute. You can't, go get a bottle of Marsala wine. Just regular Marsala, not the sweet dessert Marsala as it is way too sweet to cook with. Ask the person at the wine shop to help you; tell them you are cooking with it and don't want the sweet variety and they will show you the right one. Buy the cheapest one of the selection they give you, and you're all set. Even the least expensive Marsala will be fine for this dish, as long as it's the real stuff, and came from a decent shop. Having said all that, if you must use something else a good Sherry wine (NOT the cooking sherry them sell at the supermarket) will fill in adequately.

Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oxtail Stew - A Beef Stew You Can Really Get Behind

This delicious winter stew video recipe, produced for About.com, uses something they call oxtails, but are really just cow tails. Does that make you feel any better? Oxtail stew is probably the most flavorful beef stew possible, as the tail pieces have more connective tissue than just about any other cut of beef you can get, even the shank. This makes for a very satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs (literally, from all the collagen) dish.

Oxtail stew is sort of like eating lobster. Once it's cooked, which takes a looooong time, the meat is very soft and succulent, but nestled in the nooks and crannies of the tailbones. Remember that turkey neck you were sucking on a few weeks ago? It's sort of like that only bigger and more delicious. I won't do any lame "if you're not getting enough tail, try this recipe" jokes. Just watch this clip, and get your tail to the store for some of this delicious beef. I'm sure you'll be very happy with the "end" results. Sorry. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin - Don't Even Try to Count the Calories

The holidays are when we get to do things we deny ourselves the rest of the year. We give and get gifts we can't afford. We get drunk and tell relatives and friends what we really think of them. And, we eat things so rich, decadent, and delicious that we would never think of making other times of the year. Here's one of those I recently produced for About.com.

This amazingly delicious Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin video recipe is such a great combination of flavors. I had this dish at a restaurant in San Francisco called Bruno's and it was love at first bite. Green bean gratins and casseroles are nothing new around the holidays, but the addition of the tangy blue cheese makes for a very memorable side dish. Sure it's rich and loaded with butter-fat, but who cares? Did you hear what Aunt Edna just said about you!? Enjoy.
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Subliminal Advertising During Iron Chef? Please Alton, Say it Ain't So!

During a recent Iron Chef battle, a McDonald's logo flashed on the screen for 1/30 of a second. This was caught by someone who had Tivo'd the show and they posted the clip on YouTube. The Food Network blamed a "technical" error. As someone who edits video for a semi-living, I've never accidentally put a completely unrelated frame into the middle of one of my videos. My theory is that they did it intentionally, not as subliminal advertising, but for the publicity they knew the controversy would cause. Watch the clip and you be the judge, I'm going to grab a couple Big Macs.