Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yo! Homemade Philly Cheesesteaks... You's Want it Wit or Witout?

Why am I posting a Philly cheesesteak video recipe while on holiday in Yosemite? Well, a new batch of videos I did just went live on, and since the Super Bowl is right around the corner (Go Giants!) I thought I would post a technique for making this classic American sandwich. While it's not a true cheesesteak, since I'm using flank steak instead of top-round, it is a great home version. Besides, unless you have a large restaurant-style flattop grill, the real ones are very hard to duplicate at home.

As you'll hear in the video, when ordering a cheesesteak in Philly, you are asked if you want grilled onions or not. But, it's not pronounced "with," it's pronounced "wit." It's even spelled that way on many menus. So, not only can you now enjoy a cheesesteak in the privacy of your own home, but you can also do a Philly accent. Just say "Yo" a lot, throw in a few "wits," and be sure to talk about how the Eagles (pronounced "ig-els,") are going to do next year. Yo, Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Holiday in a Forest of Foodies

I will be away for a few days attending the 24th Annual Chefs' Holidays at The Ahwahnee Hotel, in beautiful Yosemite National Park. Every year some of the country's top chefs gather at the historic Ahwahnee to showcase their considerable culinary skills. This is one of the country's great foodie gatherings, and the first time I've been able to attend. I'm really looking forward to seeing (and then sharing with you!) the styles, personalities, and trends that are shaping American cuisine.

The session I'm attending is entitled, "Chefs of the San Francisco Ferry Building" and includes presentations from Traci Des Jardins (you may remember her from the New Iron Chef competition), Peggy Smith and Sue Conley of Cowgirl Creamery (Mmmm...cheese!), and Amaryll Schwertner of Boulette’s Larder (Mmmm...has the word "lard" in it!). The festivities culminate with a fabulous Gala Chefs’ Dinner in the famous Ahwahnee Hotel's dinning room. I can't wait! I haven't been to a good gala in ages.

I will be taking lots of pictures, and stealing as many recipes as I can get my hands on. Time and technology permitting, I will also try and post from the actual event if I have any news or information that just can't wait. By the way, I just learned that "Ahwahnee" was the Yosemite native's word for "gaping mouth." - how appropriate!

Photo © Flickr user bryce_edwards

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is a Case of "Plantain Envy" Driving You Bananas?

I used to have a serious case of "plantain envy." I'd be standing in the supermarket checkout line, and the person ahead of me would be placing their big, bunch of plantains on the belt. I would glance down sheepishly at the puny bananas in my basket, suddenly feeling inadequate. The plantain dwarfed my banana in both length and girth. But, I was too afraid to try - not knowing what to do with them, not knowing if I would enjoy them. If only I had known how easy to prepare, and delicious to eat, these tropical giants were!

Well, eventually I had these fried at a Cuban restaurant, and they were delicious! I was shown how to prepare them properly, and I've loved them ever since. Unlike bananas, plantains are not eaten raw. Unless they are extremely ripe, with black skin, the flesh is way too firm and starchy to eat uncooked. In this video recipe I did for, I'll show you the traditional method for preparing the fried plantains, or "tostones," as they are called in Latin America. These would make for an interesting appetizer at your Super Bowl fiesta. I also show a quick dipping sauce that works great with these. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Shuffle Off to Buffalo

Over the last couple years I've seen ground bison meat appearing in the supermarket. Sometimes it's packaged as "buffalo," and is sold in one-pound packages. This ground bison is a great replacement for beef in almost any chili or meatloaf recipe. I just posted a couple delicious buffalo recipes, so you can give this tasty meat a try. By the way, I have no plans on converting this blog to a regular old recipe/food blog, but I'm still waiting for the backlog of video recipes to be processed at So in the meantime, I thought I would post a couple recipe links to some new content I just published on my American Foods site.

In case you're not quite sure about eating bison, here are a few facts that may convince you to give this wholesome and healthful meat a chance. Contrary to conventional wisdom, buffalo meat is not "gamy" at all. It has a lighter, and slightly sweeter flavor than beef. Buffalo has much less fat than beef, and contains 50% less cholesterol. It's also higher in protein, and because of a diet that contains natural grass, omega-3 fatty acids. The other advantages of being grazed on open grassland is they are not fed commercial feed, and don't need the antibiotics and growth hormones that cattle do. And, according to the buffalo whisperers, the animals are much happier and less stressed.

Bison meat can be used in anything that calls for ground beef. If you want a couple suggestions here's a chili and meatloaf recipe I think you'll like.

Spicy Buffalo Chili Recipe
Buffaloaf - Buffalo Meatloaf

Finally, for those of you that remember a certain "naughty" t-shirt from the seventies (regarding saving trees), what do you think about an "Eat a Buffalo, Save a Blade of Grass" version? Enjoy!

Photo © Flickr user organic.matter

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jalapeno Cornbread - Now with 75% Less Crumbs

For many years I thought I didn't like cornbread, but I finally realized I just didn't like crumbly cornbread. Many traditional American cornbread recipes tend to crumble into dust with the first bite, like something just pulled out of an ancient tomb. I know many people do enjoy this traditional texture, but the cornbread video recipe I'm posting today is much more on the cakey side. So, if you've always wanted to eat cornbread in bed, but were worried about all the crumbs, read on.

This buttermilk jalapeno cornbread recipe, filmed for About, is moist, tender, and while not completely crumb-free, it's pretty close. The somewhat sweet batter is perfect with the delicious heat of the jalapeno peppers. I served it with a touch of the honey and lime butter which I also demonstrate. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The First Annual Food Wishes Super Bowl Menu Super-poll - What are you serving for the big game?

I'm trying to put together an article for my American Foods site on regarding what American's serve during their fabulous Super Bowl parties. I would greatly appreciate your input on what kind of menu you're planning this year. To participate, please leave a comment and be sure to tell me where you are from so I can also determine if there are any regional trends.

For example, I hear that many people are eating crow this year in and around Dallas (Sorry!! But, as a lifelong NY Giants fan I just couldn't resist). Go Giants! By the way, all you fellow AARP members can save your "Brett Favre is gonna kick their asses this week" comments! ;-)

Video Recipe Update:

The Good News: I have just completed my 50th video recipe for The Bad News: Not all of them have "gone live" yet. So, you should expect a large and steady stream of new, exciting, and delicious videos soon. The fabulous producers and editors at About (Hello Bonnie and Gina!) are working feverishly to prepare these clips for the site.

I have the easy job of filming, editing, and eating. They have the tedious and daunting task of preparing the clips for the web, and creating each webpage where they will reside. Just thought I would take a second to thank the team over there who makes all the clips you see here possible.

Photo credit (c) Sports Illustrated

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My "A-01" Homemade Steak Sauce - Now Mine Will Be the First One in the Phone Book!

I've never been a steak sauce user. To me it's always been just another bottle on the restaurant table, or more accurately, the diner counter. Then, about a year ago, stuck at a mall, I was forced to eat at a certain steakhouse chain, which will remain nameless. When my "sizzling" steak came to the table, it looked all right, but one bite found it to be tough and tasteless. I should have known better than to order the "special." I have a feeling the meat company this came from is pretty "special" also.

Anyway, in a low-blood-sugar-induced act of desperation, I reached for the bottle of A1 steak sauce and covered my filet of "sole." Much to my surprise, the tangy brown sauce turned my inedible steak into a slightly less inedible steak. I started to understand the steak sauce phenomenon. It did a great job of covering up the less than stellar meat. So I thought, if this bottled sauce could make a bad steak better, what would an even better homemade steak sauce do for a good piece of meat? This recipe video I did for shows what I came up with. It's really a simple and tasty sauce, and I was very impressed with the results. It is similar to the iconic A1, but doesn’t have that slight bitterness, and is a bit less salty. Give it a try and enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Potato and Cauliflower Mash - Turn Off the Carbs, the Party's Over

Well, it was fun while it lasted. Were your holiday eating patterns anything like mine? I tried to eat a balanced diet, which by that I mean I tried to eat as much fat as I did carbs. While I wasn't crazy enough to make any food denial related New Year's resolutions (if you were, renounce them immediately before it's too late), I do intend to get back to a more normal diet while I wait for the annual Valentine's Day chocolate comma. This Potato and Cauliflower Mash video recipe I did recently for is a good way to gently get back into those healthier eating habits.

Yes, there's potatoes and butter in it, but you can't be expected to go from pumpkin pie and whipped cream straight to celery sticks! By the way, I never have a problem with "diet" recipes as long as they taste as good as, if not better than, the originals. The secret to this delicious combo is braising the cauliflower in the butter separately, and then mashing them into the potatoes. So many cooks boil it all together and it tastes watered down when its done. I think you'll enjoy this method better. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! It's 2000 and Ate!

I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year! May your 2008 be filled with lots of delicious food, and many memorable meals. Sorry I don't have a black-eyed pea recipe video to go along with this cool photo, but hey it's New Years Day, and my last "day off" for a while. As many of you may know, black-eyed peas are a very traditional New Years day meal in the American south. It's usually served with greens, which represents money and prosperity, while the peas represent all the good luck you're going to have in the year to come. So, here's to lots of greens and peas in 2008. Enjoy!