Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spicy Three-Bean Chili - Meatless and Possibly Vegetarian

As I prepare myself mentally and physically for the rest of the upcoming holiday feasts, I'm trying to stay away from rich, meaty dishes since they'll soon be eaten in abundance. This spicy three-bean vegetable chili recipe video shows a meat-free, but still very satisfying meal.

Eating a little leaner before the big holiday meals is a great idea for several reasons. You'll save money, get extra nutrients to protect your body from excessive partying (and gout), and you'll appreciate those rich foods even more.

I'm going to have a bowl of this chili right now, and then practice my King Henry VIII imitation - you know, drunk, belt loosened, shirt stained with gravy, pointing menacingly at relatives with a roast goose leg, or dripping beef rib. Ah, the holidays. Enjoy!

* Please help support free video recipes, and visit my new sponsor, MOZO Shoes. Find out why chefs (like me) are buzzing about their great shoes!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (more for spicier chili)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp Ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups water (more if needed)
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans, drained
1 pound package frozen sweet corn, thawed, drained well
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 oz pepper Jack cheese, shredded

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Food Wish Thanksgiving

Here is a short little slideshow of our Thanksgiving dinner just in case you were wondering if I actually use my own recipes. I thought everything came out pretty well, although the walnut chocolate fudge pie at the end of the video could have used about half the amount of chocolate ganache. There are worse mistakes.

By the way, I never got a photo of the cranberry sauce, but it was the same style used in the cabernet cranberry sauce video.

The flatbread appetizer you'll see was made with "Mango Peno" cheese from the Beechwood Cheese Factory. They're in Wisconsin and produce a great variety of very creatively flavored, and all-natural cheeses. I got to sample some a while back, and I was very impressed. Since we like to support smaller, family-owned producers, I encourage you to check out their offerings on the Beechwood Cheese website.

Here is the menu you'll see in the clip. Enjoy!

Olives, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Whole Wheat Flatbread with Mango, Jalapeno Cheese, and Fresh Apple
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Sauce (not shown)
Maple Meyer Lemon Candied Yams
Blue Cheese Green Bean Gratin
Crème Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
Pickled Roasted Red Onions and Garlic
Pear and Almond Bread Stuffing
Apple Coleslaw
Herb Butter Turkey
Turkey Neck Gravy
Pumpkin Pie (not shown)
Walnut Chocolate Fudge Pie

* Please help support free video recipes, and visit my new sponsor, MOZO Shoes. Find out why chefs (like me) are buzzing about their great shoes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Thankful for All of You - Have a Great Thanksgiving!

I want to give a sincere thanks to all the funny, smart, inspiring, provocative, and dedicated readers of this blog (and Scott from Boston). You all help make doing this blog the incredible pleasure it is, and thanks to your (mostly moral) support, 2009 promises to be a fantastic year for Food Wishes!

I will be taking a couple days off to cook, eat, cook, and eat. But, you know I can't keep from posting for too long, so you should see some photos of my Thanksgiving meal soon. If I don’t answer your email, comments, and questions, it's because I'm taking a nap.

Here is some advice I just published on my American Food site on If you're doing the cooking this year, you may want to check it out. Enjoy!!!

My Youngest Fan's Food Wish

A viewer named Louella emailed these photos of her darling son Nico, composing a letter asking for a food wish. I know there are a lot of Moms that visit the blog, so I thought I'd post them so you can go, "awwwww." Thanks Louella, I'll see what I can do!

Special Message to Nico: Thank you for your food wish, and the great pizza drawing! You are quite the little artist. You are obviously a very smart and creative young man. Even at your age, your writing is better than many of the comments I get. Thanks for watching!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More No-Knead Bread Success!

I made your recipe the other came out great.......!!!"

Jim Peterfeso sent this picture of a sourdough no-knead loaf. "The recipe was adapted from your sourdough recipe, but was wetter and cooked in a cast iron pot."

Martin says, "Here's my attempt at a no-knead bread recipe. I baked the dough in a very hot Lodge cast iron pot. Thanks again."

This fantastic pairing is from Travis A, who says, "Last night I made the no-knead bread and Fromage Blanc. They were sooo yummy, I ate the whole thing in one sitting.... with a few friends of course."

These beautiful twin
s are from Rosko. Now, why didn't I think to make a double batch? I do need leftover bread for stuffing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've Sold My Sole (and no, that's not a typo)

If you visit the site everyday, and you really should, you may have noticed me testing some advertising for Mozo shoes. Well, I can finally make the official announcement; Food Wishes Video Recipes has its first real sponsor!

As you know, I am passionate about keeping these video recipes free, despite
the catastrophic damage they cause to my personal financial health. Originally, I thought I could offset the cost of producing these recipes with Google ads, Amazon links, and viewer donations. Needless to say it hasn't quite worked out that way.

So, I told myself I would try and find a sponsor to help keep the site going. Unfortunately, the offers I got weren't w
ith companies and products that I could honestly recommend. All kidding about the Kraft video contest aside, I would never actively promote a product I didn’t use myself.

I wore two pairs of these shoes for over a month before finally deciding to accept their offer. Mozo makes a line of shoes specifically for cooks and chefs whoe need super-sturdy, safe, and very comfortable shoes while they work those long days. You can check out their products yourselves, but I will say I really love my Mozo shoes, and am very happy to have finally found an advertiser with such a well-made product I can support.

By the way, this is an experiment for the site, and the terms of the deal are very modest to say the least. I'll be going month to month with this promotion, and I'm still a long way off, traffic-wise, where one of these deals would actually support the site fully, so please continue any support you already provide. This will hopefully show other high-quality food-related companies that this site can be a great place to showcase their products.

This video features the short intro you'll see at the beginning of the video recipes while Mozo is a sponsor. It also features my first (and probably last) attempt at modeling.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Have Met the Enemy, and He is Me - Please Help Me Win $1,000 Cooking with Kraft Salad Dressing!

I just produced the chicken stir-fry recipe below as part of a contest Kraft is having on Youtube. You have to use one of 10 recipes they have listed and, of course, use the Kraft products described in the recipe.

You've heard me countless times pleading with my viewers to make basic things like dressing, dry rubs, barbeques sauces, etc., at home. Better, cheaper, blah, blah…well, that was befor
e I knew I could win $1,000. I'm now rethinking my whole "take down the corporate processed food industry" business plan. Well, maybe not, but I sure could use the money to help keep the site going.

But seriously, as much as I'd like to think I'm changing my viewer's attitudes about buying and using these processed foods, I realize that there are times, and meals where they do make sense. This chicken stir-fry is a great example. It's super easy, tastes fine, and there's no overly complicated, multi-ingredient sauce to make.

So, you foodies just simmer down, this one's not for you, it's for starving students, bachelors, reality show stars, computer programmers, and other "busy" people. It's infinitely better than buying a frozen stir-fry microwave dinner, that's for sure (unless there's a stir-fry microwave dinner recipe contest I haven't heard about). Enjoy!

Help me, help you…Go to this video page on Youtube and vote for my video, and leave an embarrassingly positive comment. Thanks!!

8 oz. angel hair pasta (capellini), uncooked
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Simple Beef Pot Roast with Prep Cook Ragout

This delicious Beef Pot Roast video recipe is dedicated to all you hungry prep cooks out there. In a restaurant kitchen, real diner breaks are more theory than practice.

There is often not enough time to get everything done, and you can't really tell the chef that you didn't get around to dicing the mushrooms because you were enjoying a nice leisurely supper.

It's not that you starve; someone is usually assigned to cook a "family meal," as it's referred to. Leftovers are pulled together and laid out buffet-style to grab when you have a chance. This thankless job is normally done by the youngest cooks, who gain valuable experience, as well as learn profanity in several languages as the results of their labors are critiqued by the older line cooks.

Prep cook ragout or ragu, is what I call the stewed vegetables that are leftover from the making of stocks, sauces, or from roasting meats. This soft, cooked-to-death "mirepoix" (onions, celery, carrots) is the last resort "family meal" side dish of the "in the weeds" apprentice.

Here, however, these same vegetables make for a really nice topping to our simple, but comforting beef pot roast. Beef, mirepoix, butter, rosemary, salt and pepper…now, that's a recipe any busy prep cook would love. Enjoy!

Beef Chuck Pot Roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 stick butter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Peggy!

It's my mother-in-law Peggy's birthday today, and due to scheduling conflicts she'll have to settle for this lovely looking cyber-cake. Here's to a happy birthday, and many, many more. Enjoy!
Photo by Flickr user MShades

Pecan and Apricot Sourdough Bread Stuffing - All Stuffings are Dressings, but All Dressings aren't Stuffings

Sorry about that S.A.T. flashback. It's not easy to post dressing recipes this time of year, because of the annoying fact that they have two names - dressing and stuffing. They're the same recipe, except stuffing gets cooked in the turkey, and dressing bakes in a casserole dish separately.

I fear that if I call it a Pecan and Apricot Stuffing, then someone searching for a delicious dressing recipe won't find it, and visa versa. I tend to go with stuffing since dressing is also something we put on salads, and that adds another level of confusion. Thus concludes my stuffing and/or dressing rant.
By the way, I'm going to repost this video recipe in July and remind you that dressing/stuffing is a great and easy side dish, and there is no reason to only eat it at holiday meals. Think of all the stale bread that goes in the trash in an average year. I estimate it to be about 570 pounds per person (this is just a guess and could be a little off). Enjoy…and not just at Thanksgiving!

1 loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon herb de provence (or other dry herb blend)
4 oz dried apricots, diced
1 cup toasted pecan halves, chopped
1 egg, beaten
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rickey Galloway's Bread

Looks like friend of the site, Rickey Galloway, had some great results with the no-knead bread recipe! If you make it, please send in a photo (or link) and I will make your loaf famous also. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Michele! I'd like to Make a Toast...

It's my wife Michele's birthday today, and this is a photo of her pumpkin bread French toast breakfast. If you think the pumpkin bread looked good, wait until you use the leftovers for French toast! Unreal. This would make the perfect day-after-thanksgiving breakfast before you take off for the mall to not spend money.

We're off to celebrate, and the San Francisco weather could not be nicer - we are having an unusual fall heat wave and it's going to be in the seventies today! Enjoy your weekend, and just in case you missed it, below you will see my patented method for the best French toast ever. Enjoy!

6 thick slice of French bread (or homemade pumpkin bread)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
butter for frying
maple syrup?

Read original post here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Pumpkin Bread - You Want It, But You Don't Knead It

I may never knead bread again, ever. I'd heard about this mythical no-knead bread method for years, but never got around to trying it. Like many cooks, I just assumed that how in the world could any decent bread be made without kneading. It just didn't make sense. Then, a few weeks ago, a commenter sent me a link for a no-knead video done by Mark Bittman. As the sender promised, it blew my mind.

The only thing I didn't like about the technique was the way it was finished by baking in a red-hot Dutch oven. I figured there had to be a w
ay to make this work by just baking on a pan as per usual. As I say in the video recipe, there is no trick photography, or editing to make this look easier than it is. It's the kind of recipe someone who has never baked before could master the first time.

Since the holiday season is almost upon us, I decided to replace a bit of the water with pumpkin puree. The results were quite stunning. The flavor is very subtle, just a slight earthy undertone, and the tiny dash of spice is perceivable only to the nose. For plain bread, just use all water, and follow the steps the same way. Make this bread. Enjoy!


1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree (use water for plain bread)
1 cup water plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
cornmeal as needed

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bumblebee Soup - A Hearty Bacon, Black Bean and Corn Chowder

No actual bees were harmed in the making of this delicious soup. Whenever I do a recipe that's going to have a long name, like Bacon, Black Bean and Corn Chowder, I try to come up with some short name that will fit in the video's subtitle frame. This time the yellow and black highlights inspired the bumblebee moniker.

One great thing about this chowder is the thick, rich texture isn't dependent on any blender action. I always cringe when I read a recipe that has the reader pour the soup into a blender and "blend until smooth." All I see is scalding hot liquid flying out the top of the blender at 500 RPM (been there, felt that).

As you'll see, this soup is thickened with a safe, simple, and gentle mashing in the pot, with a potato masher. The other great thing with this bumblebee soup is that it tastes like it was cooked for hours, but is actually relatively quick - perfect if you're busy as a, well, you know. So, make this for your honey, and enjoy!

4 strips bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2 (15-oz) cans black beans
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to Cook a Turkey: Part 2 - All About the Gravy

Gravy is the lifeblood of any real thanksgiving feast. It will moisten the driest turkey, and saturate the most solid stuffing. Lumpy mashed potatoes are no match for its slow-moving seduction. I like gravy, I like it a lot.

This is Part 2 in the How to Cook a Turkey miniseries. We join the turkey in progress, with about an hour left to cook. As you'll see, the f
oil is removed, the turkey browns beautifully, and then it’s time to get our gravy on. I hope this video recipe leads you to a nice boat of gravy at your holiday table, and even though your turkey will be moist and tender, you'll have this liquid love on hand just in case.

A few words for you advanced turkey chefs. These video recipes are intended for the novice chefs among us, which is why I tried to use a minimum of steps. There was no brining, frying, injecting, smoking, bagging, or upside-downing. That's not to say I don't appreciate all those techniques, and the endless quest for turkey perfection. So, enjoy your turkey no matter what you did to it.

Gravy Ingredients:
3 cups cooking liquid from turkey pan (fat removed)
4 cups turkey stock from the neck
1/2 cup cooked onions from pan
*2-3 tbsp turkey fat
*1 tbsp butter
*1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped sage
*double for thick gravy

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Will a Change in the White House Mean the Return of America's Garden?

This animated video is from the folks at "Eat the View," a campaign to return some of the White House's lawn back into a fruit and vegetable garden, like our early presidents maintained and enjoyed. As we all face the tough times ahead, let's hope that one silver lining is the rebirth of "victory gardens."

I realize the new Prez has lots on his plate, but one thing he can do to help everyone get more on theirs, is to bring back America's Garden, and promote the rebirth of the backyard garden. If you want more info, check out

Friday, November 7, 2008

How to Cook a Turkey: Part 1 - A No-Fail Method for People that Would Rather Watch Football than Wash Dishes

The biggest myth in all of American cookery is the belief that a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is difficult for the novice cook to achieve. This video recipe for how to cook a turkey will show a very easy method for producing a moist, delicious, and beautiful turkey every time.

One of the secrets is a flavored butter under the skin. You can see that recipe here. You can tweak this any way you want, as t
he possibilities are endless. This video recipe for prepping and roasting the turkey is just part 1, and will conclude with how to make the gravy in part 2.

Be sure you buy a meat thermometer before thanksgiving. It is the most important tool in the kitchen that day. Other than that, you probably have everything needed, and yes, this method will work with the ubiquitous foil roasting pans.

So, proceed with confidence, joy, and the knowledge that since you're the one cooking the turkey, you won't have to wash any dishes! Even if this is your first time, don't play scared, this will work. There is nothing to fear, but the fear of dry turkey itself. Enjoy!

1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp poultry seasoning (fresh, not from 1997)
2 onions
3 ribs celery
2 carrots
3 rosemary sprigs
1/2 bunch sage
1 bay leaf
1 stick butter, or a flavored butter recipe

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jan Svankmajer's "Meat Love"

This is from his Wikipedia page: Jan Švankmajer (born 4 September 1934 in Prague) is a Czech surrealist artist. His work spans several media. He is known for his surreal animations and features, which have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay and many others.

Švankmajer's trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses very sped-up sequences when people walk and interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Food is a favourite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though his feature films also include live action to varying degrees.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meaty Mushroom Veggie Burger - The Least Terrible Veggie Burger Ever!

Sometimes I'll be standing at the neighborhood burger joint counter, waiting for my flame broiled, half-pound cheeseburger, when someone will step up, look over the menu, and sheepishly order the veggie burger. When this happens, I always say to myself, "you poor bastard." Now, before you get your hemp shorts all bunched up, let me explain.

This person I'm describing isn’t a vegetarian - if they were, they would have ordered the
garden burger immediately, and would not have looked so healthy. That they looked at the menu for a few minutes means, momentarily intoxicated with sirloin vapors, they thought about ordering a real beef burger. Then, listening to that little voice in their head (which sounds just like their wife's voice), they come to their senses and order the veggie burger.My empathetic feelings come from the fact that veggie burgers are usually dismally dry, flavorless discs of disappointment. Especially the ones burger joints serve just to spite their vegetarian customers. Well, things may be changing. This video recipe shows how to make a meaty, juicy, delicious meatless burger.

It's my dream that one day, someone will order this amazing mushroom burger, and a person standing next to them, waiting for their half-pound cheeseburger, will say to themselves, "you lucky bastard." Enjoy!

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 finely chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

View the complete recipe

Sunday, November 2, 2008

By Very Special Request - Great Grandma C's Pane di Granoturco

I was speaking with my mother, Pauline, last week, and she told me about a bread she used to eat at her grandmother's house. She said it was basic Italian bread, but had some cornmeal in it, and was one of her favorites.

She wanted to try and make a loaf to resurrect this family heirloom, but she wasn't sure of the recipe. She had tried one she found online, but while the cornmeal to flour ratio was good, the texture was off, and it was cooked in a bread machine, which we were both fairly certain Great G
randma C hadn’t used.

I love to play food detective, so I took her description and went to work. Since she had done the hard part and had a basic cornmeal ratio, the rest was just applying it to a recipe for rustic, Italian bread. I believe this is pretty close to what she remembers, and even if it's a bit off, it was still delicious.

By the way, the name, Pane di Granoturco, is what popped up when I did an online translation for "Italian cornbread." I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as "Pane di Granoturco" in Italy, so save those "this is NOT an Italian bread" comments. Enjoy!

1 pkg yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 cup bread flour
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 to 2 cups bread flour, as needed