Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Turkish Eggs (Cilbir) – You’re Never Too Old


When you get to a certain age, you think you’ve seen and done it all. Whether we’re talking professionally, romantically, or culinarily, by your mid-fifties, any real surprises are few, and far between, and this is particularly true when it comes to egg recipes. What can you possibly do with eggs that you haven’t already done many times over? Well, these Turkish eggs, that’s what.

To read the rest of Chef John's in-depth article about this recipe, please follow this link to become a member.

Follow this link to get the complete, printable written recipe!

And, as always, enjoy!

If you want more information about why the blog format has changed, and why we're now offering complete written recipes, please read all about that here. 


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Monday, November 4, 2019

The Story of Kismet and Other Major Breaking News

If you’re not familiar with the word kismet, it means fate, or destiny. It’s one of those old, beautiful words that you never hear, until you do, and then you hear it all the time. It also happens to be the name of a property in the wine country where Michele and I will soon be moving the show, and eventually our lives. 

That’s right, after filming more than 1,800 recipes in San Francisco, over the past 12 years, we’re heading to a little slice of heaven just outside Sebastopol. To hear the story of how this all came to be, is to understand the true meaning of kismet.

The seasonal pond at "Kismet," as it looked
several decades ago.
While we both adore San Francisco, for the past few years we’d talked about finding a nice, quiet place “in the country,” where we could work, relax, and enjoy fruit and vegetables grown on our very own tiny farm. It was a wonderful dream, but with northern California real estate prices such as they are, we feared that’s all it would ever be. Yet, we persisted in our search, driving out of town almost every weekend to attend open houses for any and all of the fixer-uppers in our budget.

These homes always looked great in the photos, but deep down we knew as we drove through the picturesque valleys of vineyards and fruit trees, that it probably was too good to be true. And, it always was. There are great houses in the wine country, and there are affordable houses in the wine country, but there are no great, affordable houses in the wine country. It was during one of these particularly disappointing trips that fate and destiny smiled upon us, and we learned about a local property, which would eventually, somehow, against all odds, become ours.

There are grapes.
After driving up from the City, on a beautiful autumn day, we arrived to a locked, open house. I don’t know much about real estate, but I do know the house is supposed to be unlocked, with someone in it to show you around. Anyway, while waiting outside for the realtor, we started chatting with a lovely woman who mentioned she might be putting her mom’s home up for sale in the spring. In case you’re wondering, the realtor finally showed up, and the house was predictably terrible. Anyway, she said that since we were already in town, we were welcome to swing by and take a peak. She gave us the address, and told us to look for a large wooden sign over the drive that said, “Kismet.”

These are called Naked Ladies, and they are flaunting
themselves in front of our persimmon tree.
Yes, believe it or not, the way we’d heard about “Kismet,” was literally the definition of kismet, and as we pulled into the drive, and looked up at the sign, we both knew instantly that this was the spot. Our euphoria was short-lived however; as we realized that even the most dilapidated fixer-upper in this area, on two-acres this gorgeous, was probably beyond our means. Actually, not probably – it was beyond our means, which will help explain the rest of the breaking news in this post.

For the first time in Food Wish history, I’m going to try to generate some extra revenue from the channel. And no, that sponsored instant mashed potato video doesn’t really count. I could have, and maybe should have, done this a long time ago, but I honestly never felt like it was something I had to do. Now, I do. You may have already noticed we’ve just started hawking t-shirts and other swag underneath the videos, and that’s part of this effort, but the much bigger, and way more important part is that we’re going to start offering a premium Food Wish membership for viewers who want to enjoy some additional content, and other fabulous perks.

This is the pear tree under which
I saw a tarantula hawk wasp.
I’ve never really done this kind of thing before, but I’m told by people who have that a certain part of the audience might get upset. No one can explain why. If you’re one of these people, don’t be. Not only will all the free content you’ve come to know and love still be free, you’ll also be getting something viewers have be clamoring for since the channel started… a link to a fully formatted written recipe, with ingredients AND detailed instructions! This link will be included in the description box under every recipe upload going forward, whether you’ve joined as a member or not.

I’d like to think that after sharing free videos for a decade plus, a certain number of people would join no matter what these extra offerings might be, but that little bit of passive-aggressiveness aside, I really do want those of you who are able to support this effort, to get your money’s worth. So, besides the obvious karmic benefits, here's what the membership gets you. 

All About the Recipe with Chef John: While everyone will have access to the written recipes, the blog posts that accompany the recipe videos will be moving to the membership platform. I realize that only a small percentage of people who watch the videos actually follow the link back to the blog post, and most of them are just there to get the ingredient amounts, but still, I really do enjoy writing these posts. I love being able to provide some additional, and hopefully entertaining background info about the recipes, along with assorted tips and tricks, and so having access to this content will represent the most significant perk of joining as a member.

Live Chat Q&A’s: Twice a month, I'll do a live chat with members, where you’ll get to ask me anything. Literally anything. Of course we’ll talk about food, music, and sports, but I’ll also answer your questions about life and love. What could go wrong?

Embarrassing Outtakes and Bloopers: Who doesn’t enjoy listening to, and/or watching other people’s disastrous failures? Whenever things go terribly wrong, I’ll post the raw footage for all to see.

Keeping Up on Kismet: Come along with us, as we embark on this great adventure! We’ll share videos and photos of the new kitchen studio progress, as well as our attempts to landscape, garden, and possibly farm things. Not only will you be able to see what we’re doing, and criticize it, you’ll also be able to offer us much needed advice, and guidance, since there’s a good chance you know more about this stuff than we do. For example, how do I keep wasps out of my carpenter bee traps? 

Let me finish by saying I hope you find these perks compelling enough to join, but even if you don’t, I hope you join anyway. Whether it’s long term, or just for a month or two, your support will make a big difference. By the way, I’m going to need this week to set up the membership platform, as well as the new system for providing written recipes, so we won’t be able to upload any new videos until next week, when all this goes live. Thank you for your consideration, and, as always, enjoy!

Click here for the direct link to join!

 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Swedish Chocolate Balls (Chokladbollar) – Start'em Young

They say that these Swedish chocolate balls, known as chokladbollar, are the first thing a Swedish child learns to make, which makes a lot of sense. They’re easy to do, there’s no baking required, and mixing the “dough” together is just as fun as making mud-pies. What doesn’t make sense is that these aren’t the first thing an American child learns to make. Maybe this video will help change that.

It’s not like these are pure health food, but they sure are a lot better than eating a candy bar when those hangry feelings flood over you in the middle of the afternoon. The fat and whole grain in these keep you satisfied much longer than you’d think, and the little pick-me-up from the coffee, sugar, and cocoa doesn't hurt either.

I used quick-cooking oats in these, but I’ve also made them with regular rolled oats, and they seemed to come out just fine. Of course, some folks might have trouble eating raw oats, but that can be solved if you do the optional pan-toasting step. Above and beyond making these easier to digest, I like the very subtle toasty notes it provides. Either way, I really do hope you teach your kids how to make these chokladbollars very soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 14-16 small Swedish Chocolate Balls:
1 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, very lightly toasted
1/2 cup white sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup room temp coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brewed coffee or espresso
finely shredded unsweetened coconut for rolling balls
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Popeye’s Meets Chick-fil-A’s Fried Chicken Sandwich – Available Any Day, and All the Time

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve never had a Popeye’s fried chicken sandwich, but since I’m so familiar with their work, I thought I could figured out a decent copycat version of their very hard to get sandwich anyway. Which I sort of did, as far as the taste of the chicken goes, but texturally, I ended up with something much closer to Chick-fil-A, which by the way, I’ve been to exactly once.

So, if you’re one of these people that enjoy Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A, this is going to be like eating at both places at the same time. The secret here, and there, is working in a little MSG into the marinade and breading. And by little, I mean a lot. Monosodium Glutamate is famous for its ability to make food taste better, which is certainly does, but it’s also what makes fast food so highly addictive.

Personally, I’ve very sensitive to this aspect of MSG consumption, and as soon as I finish eating fast food that’s laced with it, I’m already intensely craving more, which is why I don’t eat too much of it any more. It’s also why I don’t stock any MSG in my pantry. I don’t trust myself with it, which is why the occasional packet of salad dressing mix works so well for something like this.

As I mentioned in the video, you really want to do this with a smaller, flatter breast than the one I used. The meat to crunchy coating ratio should be more like 2 to 1, and not the 4 to 1 that I featured here. Which reminds me, even though I only did two, the amounts below should be enough for four fast-food-sized portions. Anyway, no matter how large your breasts, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


For 4 Fried Chicken Sandwiches:

For the chicken and marinade:
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon ranch dressing powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 5-6 ounces each

For the breading:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon ranch dressing powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, for a spicy version
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the dip:
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk

For the rest:
canola oil for frying
4 soft hamburger buns, toasted with butter
dill pickle slices
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
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