Saturday, October 20, 2018

Green Chile Pesto and Roasted Chayote Squash Side Dish – Thanks, Rick!

If you’re going to steal one Rick Bayless recipe, you might as well steal two, which is exactly what I did here with this green chile pesto, and roasted chayote squash side dish. Like I said in the video, most great chefs encourage this type of thievery, as long as you give them credit, which I’m happy to do.

What I’m calling “Green Chile Pesto,” is really his Green Chile Adobo, but I thought my audience would better relate to a “pesto,” since that’s what this reminds me of the most. Although, I’m not sure how it would be in a pasta, and don’t have any immediate plans to find out.

What it was great in, was this very simple chayote squash dish, which is really more of a warm salad. If you can find chayote near you, I recommend you give it a try, but if not, grilled zucchini or other summer squash would also work, as would something like roasted acorn or delicata squash.

I’d try to choose a fairly mild olive oil for this, since we have enough heat and bitterness from the peppers. Which reminds me, don’t over blend this. While some chefs claim it’s just a wives tale, I’ve found that if you over-process an olive oil-based sauce, especially ones with garlic in them, it can get very bitter. Other than that, not much can go wrong, and so on behalf of Chef Bayless and myself, I’d like to say, we really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for the Green Chile Pesto:
6 Serrano peppers
1 Poblano pepper
6 cloves garlic, still in the paper
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or about 3/4 teaspoon fine salt)
3/4 cup mild tasting olive oil, or vegetable oil
juice from 2 fresh limes*

* You can add the lime right to the pesto if you’re going to use it all at once as a sauce for something, but this seems to keep longer in the fridge without it added in, and so I prefer to add it to whatever I’m using it with instead.

For the Chayote Squash Side Dish:
3 Chayote squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
juice from 1 lime (unless already added to your pesto)
2 or 3 heaping spoons of Green Chile Pesto
1/3 cup crumble soft goat cheese, plus more for the top
pumpkins seeds to garnish, optional
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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baked Potato Puffs – A New Way to Pomme Dauphine from a Potato Fiend

The hardest line cook job I ever had was working the broiler station at the Carnelian Room, where on a busy night I’d prepare over 250 steaks and chops, which wasn’t even the most difficult part. No, the biggest challenge was actually frying these potato puffs to order, to go on all those plates.

It was a lot of work, but a labor of love, since pomme dauphine, as my French friends would call this, is one of the greatest foods ever invented, especially for potato fanatics like me. However, as with most fried foods, they can be messy to make, and unless you have an industrial-strength hood fan, your kitchen will smell like a deep fryer for days, which is why I wanted to try and do a baked version.

I was very happy with the results, and while the outside wasn’t dark and crispy like the fried version, the inside was virtually identical, and thoroughly enjoyable in their own right. Whether you’re making them as a warm snack with a dip, or to go alongside some eggs, or a grilled steak, the baked version should work out just fine.

Of course, since we’re getting close to Thanksgiving, if you are one of these people who deep-fries the turkey, I would probably go with the traditional method. Especially since you’ll be cooking outside where sneaking a few of these while you’re working will be pretty easy to get away with. Either way, I really do hope you give these potato puffs a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Small Baked Potato Puffs:
(I did a tiny test batch, so I highly recommend doubling or tripling the recipe)
1 cup cooked, plain mashed potatoes (Yukon or Russet)
salt and cayenne to taste
small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
butter for the muffin tin
For the pastry dough:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 large egg

- For a mini muffin tin*, butter well, and bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes, or until browned and puffed.

- Or, deep-fry at 375 F for a few minutes until browned and puffed.

* These might work in a regular muffin tin, but you’ll need to bake longer.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Chicken Apple Sausage Patties – Doesn’t Feel Like Chicken

Imagine a sausage patty made from chicken that’s just as tender, juicy, and flavorful as one made from pork. What? A not-dry, not-rubbery feeling chicken-based sausage? Sounds impossible, and it is, unless you sneak in a little bit of pancetta, and follow a few simple techniques.

Instead of buying ground chicken at the market, which is always too finely ground, we’re going to use thighs, and grind our own. This makes for a significantly more succulent and tender patty, as long as you keep the meat very cold while working with it. I like to pulse it on and off in the food processer, but your can also use your grinder attachment, or go low-tech, and just chop it finely with a big knife or cleaver.

As I mentioned in the video, if you’re not into patties, you can make links, or simply crumble the raw mixture into a hot pan, and break it up as it cooks. Once browned, you can add your butter and flour, and continue with the pan sauce. Besides saving you a little time, this method probably makes for the most flavorful gravy.

By the way, most chicken apple sausage recipes call for some kind of sugar to be added, but I really don’t think it’s necessary, thanks to the natural sugar in the apples. As with all ground meat recipes, you can always fry up a small piece of your mixture, and test for yourself, but for me, the little touch of maple syrup in the sauce is all the extra sweetness this needs. Either way, I really do hope you give these chicken apple sausage patties a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 Chicken Apple Sausage Patties (about 4 ounces each):
For the sausage:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 ounces pancetta or bacon
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (toast in dry pan until fragrant)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh sage
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, grated, and squeezed dry

For the Pan Gravy (enough for 8 Patties)
6 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves, optional (remove when crisp)
6 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

- Click here for the Buttermilk Biscuits recipe.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Face Pie – The Halloween Pastry You Can’t Un-See

A few months ago I saw a pie image on Twitter so creepy, and disturbing, that I actually questioned whether it was too terrifying to post as a video. Usually, Halloween-themed recipes have the opposite problem, as they are almost never actually scary, but that’s not an issue here. By the way, can someone get sued for giving people nightmares?

Anyway, I eventually traced the image back to what I assumed would be some sort of food blog, but it was actually someone’s Etsy shop, where they were selling inedible versions of this basic design. So, I wasn’t able to see how it was made, but did use their “face” as a rough guide, and despite being somewhat anatomically challenged, I thought this came out looking great. And by great, I mean terrible.

If you’re disturbed enough to make this, you can use our tourtière recipe for the crust and filling, which is exactly what I did here, except for whatever reason I added a touch of ketchup to the meat. Of course, this technique would work for topping any pie, including all your favorite fruit versions, and the next time cherries are in season, I may just have to give this one more try. Or not. We’ll see. In the meantime, if at all possible, please enjoy!


- Follow this tourtière video link for the crust and filling recipes.