Friday, March 22, 2019

Baked “Fried” Rice – Once Cooked

If you have a bunch of cold, leftover rice around, you should probably just use the classic method, but if you don’t, this easy oven method for making fried rice will not only produce something very similar in taste, but the texture of your rice comes out perfectly every time.

That’s because we’re using the same method as we do for rice pilaf, where the grains of rice get coated in fat before absorbing the cooking liquid. This ensures plump, tender, separate grains, and never sticky clumps of rice. By the way, this technique will work no matter what you include in your mixture, as long as you’re using long-grain rice, and cooking it in a similarly sized pan.

That’s not to say you can’t use other types of rice, or other size pans, but that will change the cooking time, so just something to keep in mind. Also, as I warned in the video, some sesame oils can be very strongly flavored, and if that’s the kind you have, the amount I poured over the top of my egg could overpower the dish, so be careful. Okay, that’s it for the warnings. I really do hope you give this baked “fried” rice a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
(I used a 11.5” x 8” x 2.5” pan, but your standard 9” x 12” casserole dish will work the same)
2 cups white long grain rice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil (mine was mild, so you may need to adjust this down)
optional 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, depending on the saltiness of your broth and ham.
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced peppers
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup diced ham or Chinese barbecue pork
3 cups boiling hot chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili paste, optional

- Bake at 400 F. for 32 minutes, and let rest for 10 minutes before unwrapping and fluffing.
- To brown the top, place in a 475 F. oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or under the broiler for a few minutes until the surface is nice and crusty.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Instant" Mac and Cheese – Thinking Outside the Box

I’ve wanted to do another “one-pan” pasta video, where we cook everything right in the sauce, like we did in our famous Orecchiette with Sausage and Arugula recipe, but then I happened to see someone eating mac and cheese on TV, and those plans changed.

I decided to adapt the same approach, and see what would happen if I cooked the macaroni right in the milk, before making the cheese sauce, and what happened was something just as creamy, cheesy, and delicious as recipes using more traditional techniques. Besides loving the taste, and texture, the whole procedure only took a few minutes longer than the boxed stuff; not to mention we avoided about a dozen ingredients we probably shouldn’t be eating.

This is a simple procedure, but there are a couple things to keep in mind. Be sure to turn your heat off as soon as the cheese has melted, or almost melted in. If you continue to cook the cheese it will separate and get grainy. Also, please buy high-quality cheddar, and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheeses are of lower quality, and the shreds are coated in a cellulose power that can give the final product an odd texture.

Thanks to being a little arrogant, and a lot delusional, I assumed I had stumbled on to some new, game-changing recipe here, only to find out that literally thousands of people had discovered this great trick way before me. Which is fine, since deep down I know I could’ve invented it, but simply didn’t need to. Regardless of who gets the credit, or which high-traffic YouTube chef eventually claims to have invented it, the technique works quite well, as so I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon fine salt), plus more to taste
pinch of cayenne
pinch of dried mustard, optional (I didn’t add, but many people do)
very small pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup small elbow macaroni
2 packed cups freshly grated cheddar cheese (about 6 to 8 ounce by weight)

For the panko topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
- Cook crumbs in the butter over medium heat until golden brown.
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Coney Island Knishes – St. Patrick’s Day Leftovers Edition

One of my earliest “exotic” food experiences was eating potato knishes with my Dad when we’d visit Coney Island. There were the square variety, and we’d buy them from a hot dog cart, and since potatoes were my favorite food growing up, I was in heaven. I mean, mashed potatoes in a warm, flaky pastry? I’ll have two, please.

Back then they were still made with copious amounts of chicken fat, also know as “schmaltz,” which was the real secret behind their awesomeness, but you can make a perfectly fine version without that, especially if you have some leftover corned beef around. Regardless of how you fill these, the technique seen herein will work, and half the fun is trying new versions. As long as the base is mashed potato, spiked with onions fried in lots of fat, anything goes.

I think the baked version is the easiest, but if you feel so inclined, these can also be deep-fried, or pan-fried. No matter how you cook them, one of the keys is getting the dough nice and thin, so your finished product is mostly filling. Other than that, these are relatively simple to make, and the kind of snack that fills more than just an empty stomach, which is why I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 16 Knishes:
(Please Note: I only used half the dough in the video, and only made enough filling for 8 knishes, but the following ingredients will make 16 total)

For the dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup warm water

For the filling (might make extra):
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and boiled in salted water until tender
1/2 cup melted butter, and/or rendered chicken fat
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine salt), plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
8 ounces diced corned beef
1 cup finely chopped cooked cabbage

- Bake at 375 F. for about 40 minutes, or until golden-brown
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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Irish Tea Cake – Was this Barmbrack Wack?

Every year I try to post at least one Irish recipe, and this time around I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary, and try my hand at Barmbrack. I love corned beef and cabbage as much as the next guy, but you can only film it so many different ways. Anyway, the thought of a nice, moist, dense, fruity tea cake for breakfast, with a cup of hot, black tea, sounded just about perfect, and so I started researching this ancient loaf…and researching…and researching, until I had seen and read so many recipes that I didn’t know which direction to go.

There are a huge variety of styles, from light, yeast-raised versions, to super-dense ones, similar to the often-maligned holiday fruitcake. So, I decided to just wing it, and use the force, which usually works out well, but this time, not so much. This is traditionally a Halloween treat, and my experience was equal parts trick and treat.

I’m hearing from my Irish friends on YouTube that I should have probably used baking soda, plus more tea to get a little more rise. They also say that using half wholegrain flour will inhibit the verticality as well. Notwithstanding my results, at the very least, I’ve hopefully made some of you aware of barmbrack, and maybe you’ll give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one 9” x 5” loaf pan:
2 cups warm black tea
1⁄2 cup golden raisins
1⁄2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried currants
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole grain flour (I’m told this makes the loaf a lot heavier, so maybe use all regular flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I’m told I should’ve probably added a teaspoon of baking soda)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup milk
2 tablespoons reserved black tea
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey or any whiskey
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons melted butter
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