Saturday, October 30, 2010

Freezer Burns and Veggie Burgers

I've been featuring some videos lately from my fellow creators on Hungry Nation, and today I'm happy to continue that by introducing Gregory Ng: The Frozen Food Master, from

I love the concept of Freezer Burns, as Gregory takes one for the team by taste testing all sorts of frozen products so you don't have to. This episode is all about vegetable burgers, a subject near and dear to my heart, as evidenced by my post "Meaty Mushroom Veggie Burger - The Least Terrible Veggie Burger Ever!" I've posted the video below, just in case you decide to forgo the frozen food aisle.

I hope you like The Frozen Food Master's Veggie Burger Frodown, and be sure to check out Gregory's great website for more information. Enjoy!

Chef John's Famous Meaty Mushroom Veggie Burger

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Beef Chili That's Great Under Pressure

I've gotten a ton of food wishes for a pressure cooker demo, all unfulfilled due to my serious lack of a pressure cooker. So, when my friends at IMUSA asked me if I was interested in testing their pressure cooker, I answered with an enthusiastic yes.

When you ask someone why they don't use a pressure cooker, one of the most common replies is something to the effect of, "I'm really not into being killed by an exploding stew."

Well, I'm here to tell you, if used properly (meaning you actually read and follow the directions), the chances of a pressure cooker injuring you in an explosion is in
credibly slim. You have a better chance of breaking your toe by dropping a bowling ball on it, and this assumes you don't bowl.

While the video features a quite acceptable beef stew-style chili recipe, which I've always called chili Colorado, the point of this post is to give someone new to pressure cookers an overview of the basic steps, tips, and techniques. I've listed the ingredients below, but this will work for any similar recipe.

As you'll see, these marvels of pressurized heat are very simple to use, and really do significantly reduce cooking time. Simply put, by increasing the pressure in the pot, you raise the boiling point, which cooks the food faster. For more info, ask anyone else.

I want to thank IMUSA for sponsoring this demo, and if you want more information about the model I used, you can get that here. Like I said in the video, no matter which brand or model you use, the method is basically the same. Enjoy!

Beef Chili Colorado Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1-inch cubes
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (10.5-oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon ground corn chips, optional
cilantro and chopped green onions to garnish

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread and a Good Night's Sleep

I just landed a few hours ago after an exhausting, but really fun and productive trip to Little Rock. I'm not sure exactly when the videos will be ready to air, but when they are, you'll be the first to know. I'm pretty excited for you to see what we did, and hopefully you'll be able to use some of the recipes during the upcoming entertaining season.

I have a new video on how to use a pressure cooker to post tomorrow, but will treat myself to a good night's sleep before finishing it off. Stay tuned, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy this incredibly fascinating TED lecture on the art of baking bread by Peter Reinhart.

Speaking of bread, if you click on the picture above, you'll be taken to a great no-knead country loaf recipe that features a touch of pumkin that would make for a wonderful seasonal treat. If you watch the lecture I have a feeling you'll be inspired to get your hands into some dough.Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Strawberry Cheesecake Sauce Recipe is the Lesser of Two Evils

I only had enough time to do one of two things; write a post with no video, or edit and upload a video with no post. Guess which one I went with? Okay, so technically this is a post, but since it's really about not doing a post, I'm not sure it counts. Wow, I am tired! Where was I? Oh yeah, here's video recipe for the strawberry dessert sauce I paired with the cheesecake. Enjoy!

1 pint strawberries, rinsed, green tops removed (frozen will work)
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (depends on sweetness of berries)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved into 2 tablespoons water

View the complete recipe

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello from Little Rock – I'm So Busy It's Scary!

Well, I was hoping to have a new video up today, but there just wasn't any time. We put in a full day getting all the scrips finalized and recipes prepped for the eight videos I'm here to film for Kellogg's (here are a couple iPhone pics of the studio). The next couple days don't look to get any easier, as tomorrow we begin shooting at 7 AM, and the same on Wednesday.

So, the best I can do is a frighteningly quick Halloween-themed re-run recipes post. To make it an even lamer post, other than the cheese fingers below, I don't even really have any typical Halloween recipes, but all these could work well if your planning a party and looking for some ideas. Just click on the title for the original post with ingredients and more info. Boo!! (yes, that was a double entendre)

Penne Pasta with Neck Sauce – Perfect for that vampire-themed party!

Pumpkin Brulee - Because if it has pumpkin in it, it's cool for Halloween!

"Severed Fingers" Cheese Sticks – So wrong, yet so right!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Big Job in Little Rock

I'm heading off to historic Little Rock, Arkansas, to shoot a series of videos for a new corporate client. I leave today, and will return Thursday. I can't give any details at this time, but you will see the fruits (not a hint) of my labor on this blog at some point. As usual, you can follow along with my adventure on Twitter. By the way, I do have some new video recipes already filmed, which I'll post as soon as I can finish the editing. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mmm Me Gusta's Picadillo with Apples and Walnuts

Better late than never! I've been wanting to feature more videos from my fellow creators on Hungry Nation, and what better choice than the lovely and talented Claudia Yuskoff, from Mmm Me Gusta. I love this recipe and it's been requested on the blog before, so until I get around to doing my version, please enjoy this one! Great job Claudia, and thanks for sharing!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York Style "Sunshine" Cheesecake - Crack isn't Necessarily Whack

This is my favorite recipe for New York style cheesecake, and includes a great technique for letting the citrus-kissed cake finish in the oven, so that no crack forms when cool. As you'll hear and see in the video, this isn't always the case.

It's ironic that the largest, deepest, most jagged cheesecake crack I've ever experienced would occur on the o
ne I'm filming for a video recipe. I've seen this method used to produce completely crack-free cheesecakes, but I was opening the oven to take photos, and ended up adding more time at the end to compensate, and apparently, from the look of the grand canyon-sized crack, it was a bit too long.According to my sources deep inside the cheesecake underground, if for whatever reason, the internal temperature goes above 160 degrees F. the cake will crack when cooling. The good news is the taste and texture was absolutely perfect. The moral of the story? Don't be afraid to make cheesecake!Cheesecake purists believe "crack is whack," but truth be told, slightly overcooking this recipe is not a big problem, and the crevice causes no issues when you serve it (as you'll see with some state-of-the-art Photoshop effects).

Crack or no crack, this is a classic, dense, rich New York style cheesecake with just a hint of citrus, hence the "sunshine" in the title. I paired it with a lovely fresh strawberry sauce, which had a little dash of balsamic vinegar in it. I also filmed that, and will air it soon. With the holiday entertaining season rapidly approaching, keep this super easy cheesecake recipe in mind. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chantals New York Cheesecake on
Crust Ingredients:
18 graham crackers
3 tablespoons melted butter
Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs
1 or 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 or 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

View the complete recipe

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese as Crunchy Potato Chip Topping Delivery System

Since everyone agrees that the best part of a macaroni and cheese is the crisp, crunchy topping, why not feature that as the star of the dish? That was the basic idea behind today's video recipe for crispy potato chip mac and cheese.

There are all sorts of "favorite" casserole toppings, but the one that seems to excite people the most is the potato chip crust. Maybe it's the extra crunch, or the cheesy flair, or that very few unpleasant memories include potato chips.
So, the concept here is simple. Make a batch of b├ęchamel (basic white sauce) using the recipe below. If you need to watch the technique, here is a video recipe for it, but use this post's measurements. To that add 12 ounces of really good cheese, and when it's melted, mix into cooked macaroni.

That would make a great meal as is, but when you add a big spoon of this impossibly crispy, cheesy, crunchy, buttery love…well, damn. Not only is this delicious, but it's a triumph of textural perfection. It's also a versatile recipe, as you can make the topping mixture and the white sauce ahead of time. I hope you give it a try, enjoy!

For the white sauce: (watch technique video here)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cups cold milk
small pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or few springs of fresh
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, or to taste

Cheeses I used:
1/2 pound shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 pound shredded Gruyere cheese

For the potato chip topping:
1 tablespoon butter
1 bag (minus 6-7 chips) white cheddar kettle-style potato chips, crushed into medium-fine crumbs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (real Parmesan cheese)
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

View the complete recipe

Monday, October 18, 2010

Coming Soon: No-Bake Mac and Cheese with Crispy Potato Chip Gratin

Trick or Treat? Thanks for the Apple

I can't help but think this post is the Halloween equivalent of ringing a doorbell trick-or-treating, and instead of a delicious candy treat, some truly evil soul hands you a piece of fruit. An apple? I spent three hours becoming Iron Man, and you give me an apple!?

This dead cheese fingers video is the only real Halloween-themed recipe I've done before, so I thought I'd rerun it today, after a fun, but tiring trip to Los Angeles, which has left me video-less. This was inspired by a version I saw on the blog, Our Best Bites, and you can read the full, original post here.

Today, I'm very excited to start production on several very-requested food wishes including …drum roll …New York Cheesecake! Also, working on a revolutionary new mac and cheese recipe. So, enjoy, and stay tuned!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hello from Fugly Los Angeles!

Michele and I are in the City of Angels for the birthday celebration of our dear friend Jude Weng (seen here during her days as a tiger trainer), the Executive Producer and Co-Founder of Brand New Entertainment.

If that name sound familiar, it's because BNE was the company I signed a deal with a few years ago to develop a series of unscripted food-related television shows. There have been no major deals yet, but those efforts are still being shopped around, so you never know.

The theme of the party is the "Fugly Prom." You all know what proms are, but just in case you don't know, "fugly" is a combination of the words "f*cking" and "ugly." The pictures should be something, so stay tuned for those! We'll be back in San Francisco, Sunday night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chocolate, Egg, and Cream? Fuggeddaboutit!

This chocolate egg cream video was inspired by our recent trip to New York City, where my wife Michele and I enjoyed them on several occasions. As I watched the expression on her face while she sipped this unique treat, I knew I had to film a quick how-to as soon as we returned.

Contrary to the name of this New York City soda fountain classic, chocolate egg creams do not contain any eggs or cream. What is does contain is Fox's "U-bet" chocolate "flavor" syrup.

This uniquely American ingredient hails from Brooklyn, New York, and despite the picture of the woman on the label (why is she looking at me like that?), I love the flavor of this syrup. If you can't find it, I'm sure a certain brand from Pennsylvania will do just fine.

Along with the chocolate come the simple additions of milk and seltzer water. The magic of this d
rink is how the minimalist design produces such a rich, yet refreshing chocolate beverage. In fact, one of the reasons the beverage was so popular in its time, it was considered a cure for indigestion!

There are all sorts of arguments about the origins of this drink (when it comes to sports and food, New Yorkers do seem to enjoy a good debate), but most chocolate soda fountain drink historians think this was invented somewhere in Brooklyn, in the 1920's.

The technique is very simple, and as I suggest in the video, you'll want to adjust the trio of ingredients to the ratio that you find most satisfying. Some prefer this very light and frosty with extra milk, others go for the darker, flatter and richer.


Ingredients per glass:
1-2 oz chocolate syrup
1-2 oz cold milk
8-10 oz very cold seltzer water

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lard-Fried Brussels Sprouts are Good For You

This short video was produced by my buddy, Stephanie Gallagher, and I'm posting it for three very simple reasons.

First: to help me convince people that lard isn’t poison. Second: to show that surprisingly little fat actually stays with the food you fry. Third: to remind you to eat Brussels sprouts, which, as far as green vegetables go, rock! (if cooked certain fried in lard).

Stephanie is's Guide to Cooking for Kids, and her site is filled with wonderful recipes for children of all ages (including lots of great Halloween ideas). I hope you check her out. Enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kung Wow Chicken – Because Who Doesn't Love Fake Chinese Food?

Well, I'm back in lovely San Francisco after our whirlwind trip to New York City, and even though I have a serious case of jetlag, I wanted to post this highly simplified and quite Americanized version of Kung Pao chicken. Of course, I only mention the jetlag to explain any increase in the frequency of typos (I know you'll have my back as usual).

If I ranked my top email requests, "an easy chicken stir-fry" is certainly in the top five. Of course, as I mention in the video, I don't even own a wok, so this isn't technically a "stir-fry," but it's close enough for the internet, so save your cards and letters.

This fairly simple dish is loosely based on the spicy, Chinese take-out classic, Kung Pao chicken. The origins of the name, "Kung Pao" are difficult to trace, especially when you are too tired and lazy to do any research, but I assume the recipe's history is fascinating.

I've pretty much stripped this down to the bare essentials, and
as I mention in the video, it's a recipe that you'll really want to play around with. All the ingredients you see listed below are literally, "to taste."

Speaking of ingredient amounts, the quantities below are what I think the average viewer would find most enjoyable, so don't be alarmed if what you actually see me tossing in is a little more or less. I don't generally measure when cooking something like this, and I think the more often you make it, you'll find yourself becoming just as carefree.

If you like your Kung Pao-esque chicken dishes to be extra saucy, thick, and sticky (more like the traditional Chinese-American take-out style), you can double the sauce ingredients, and almost triple the cornstarch/water mixture. It's really up to you – I just prefer a little lighter version. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Servings Kung Wow (Kung Pao) Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts. cut into 1-inch cubes
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
white parts from 3-4 green onions, chopped
For the sauce mixture:
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste (sambal), or more to taste
2 teaspoons ketchup
4 cloves minced garlic
Other ingredients:
2 tablespoons peanut vegetable oil for frying
2 cups cubed zucchini
1 cup cubed red bell pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoon water
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
handful roasted, salted peanut halves
4 cups cooked white rice

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Small Post Before Coming Home from the Big Apple

Wow, what a short, but amazing trip this has been! We are packing for our trip back to San Francisco, and as I try to cram an unnatural amount of swag into my too-small suitcase, I can't even process all that's gone on the last few days. All I know, is I can't wait to back back to work.

Last night we attended the birthday party of a new friend of ours, Sarah Simmons, pictured here next to my old running buddy, Jennifer Heigl, from Daily Blender (right). I've been friends with Sarah on Twitter for a while now, and we finally got to meet. Say what you will about Twitter, and its possible responsibility for the downfall of our society, but anything that allows like-minded people to connect to one another can't be all bad.
Sarah, who publishes the blog,, is a formidable foodie, and you'll be reading more about her on this blog in the future.

Thanks for your patience, and stay tuned for a brand new video recipe tomorrow!

Photo (c)
Jennifer Heigl

Saturday, October 9, 2010

On the Lamb

Hello there! Just a very quick update from New York. Last night was the big Burger Bash, which was a lot of fun. We got to go because I received two tickets for winning the American Lamb Board's third annual “Get Your Grill On” video competition. Below I've posted the wining recipe in case you missed it. You can read the full, original post here.

Since this is our anniversary weekend, I've been trying to just enjoy myself without worrying about taking pictures of everything and blogging every detail. I think I needed a little break, and thanks to the American Lamb Board and Food Network, I'm certainly getting a great one!

The Winning Lamb Burger Recipe!

Friday, October 8, 2010

If You Can Make It Here…Well, You Know the Rest

It's too late to go into much detail, but my meeting with the Food Network executives went very well. While no job was offered, I got lots of great feedback, and was strongly encouraged to take their notes and film another reel to submit to the Next Food Network Star show.

I was interviewed by the show's main judges, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, both of whom could not have been nicer, or more supportive for
what I'm doing. Not only wasn't I nervous, but for some strange reason it felt like I was talking to dear old friends. I was completely at ease, and enjoyed every moment of what many would describe as an unsuccessful meeting.

I passionately pitche
d the idea for a foodwishes-style show (where the food is the star, and the chef not so much), after which they thoughtfully articulated why such a show isn’t commercially viable. Deep down I knew that would be their reaction, but it was still fun hearing it from these two major star makers. I will think carefully about what they had to say, and maybe give getting on the show a real shot, or I'll simply go back to being one of the most watched and influential (not to mention happiest) chefs on YouTube.

After the meeting I was gifted a sweet swag bag, and given a tour of the operation. I had decided not to show up with a camera hanging from my neck, so I just snapped a few quick pictures with the iPhone, which you can see here (including a shot of Kitchen Stadium below).

As I left the Chelsea Market, I felt strangely contented, like I had truly accomplished something. I saw in their eyes, and heard in their voices, that they understood just how much I love food, and teaching people to cook.

So, thank you Food Network. Thank you for the opportunity, for the trip to New York, and for reminding me that while there are a million ways to make it, you only need to choose one. You haven't seen, or rather heard, the last of me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hello from New York City!

We arrived safe and sound, and thanks to the nicest staff in history, we were able to check into the Maritime Hotel a little 7 hours early. It's such a cool hotel, and features a nautical theme (to say the least). You can see from this photo, all the windows are portholes.

Here's the view from our room, which looks exactly like a cabin on a cruise ship. You couldn't pay me to go on a cruise, so this is the closest I will ever come to the experience (by the way, if you're a cruise ship company, and were actually thinking of paying me to go on a cruise, I was just kidding).

In what I'll take as a harbinger of things to come, this beautiful pear, balsamic, and blue cheese salad was placed down on our table at the Green Table, in the Chelsea Market, and we were told it was compliments of the house.

Of course I assumed they had recognized me as the minor web celebrity chef I pretend to be, but when asked why we'd been given this lovely treat, the server said, "because we just had a bunch of guests who were very demeaning to the staff, and so we just felt like doing it for you." Okay then.

Stay tuned for updates, and maybe even a few of those beloved reruns. Oh, and to the rude, insensitive jerks who ate lunch just before us, thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It Doesn't Take Supreme Talent to Section an Orange… Getting a Show on the Food Network is Another Story

I've shown how to make orange "supremes" before, but never up-close and personal in HD. People seem to enjoy these occasional, quick-and-easy techniques videos, and since they allow me to post a video without much heavy lifting, I enjoy them too.

This is especially true today, because tomorrow Michele and I leave for New York City for my big interview with the Food Network. As most of you know, I won the Next Food Network Star YouTube Challenge, and the Grand Prize was a meet and greet with the show's executives at their studios.

I'm very excited to build some new bridges, which is a crucial first step to burning them down. I have no idea what or when I'll be able to post, so bear with me during what could be a life-altering week.

The best way to share in this great adventure is to follow me on Twitter. By the way, if you're still wondering what the hell Twitter is all about, this is the perfect opportunity to experience it in all its narcissistic glory. Wish me luck, and as always, enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Getting a Rise from a Ciabatta Bread Video Response

The entire time I've been posting videos to YouTube, I've been completely ignoring the messages that people were sending me video responses to my recipes. Actually, when I first started, I did look at a few of these, but they were always something spamy or much worse.

So, I never bothered to check back. Today, I was playing around with my account setting, and saw a huge backlog of these notices, so I took a gander. While most were not up to snuff, a few were pretty good, and I'll probably be posting them here at some point.

Here is a really cool one featuring our famous no-knead ciabatta bread recipe. It's called "18 Hour Time Lapse of Ciabatta Bread Dough Rise with Recipe" by brinstar117. Enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seared Scallops with Orange Supremes and Jalapeno Vinaigrette – Styling and Flavor Profiling

When I posted the tease to this seared scallops with orange "supremes" and jalapeno vinaigrette video last week, I got a few comments and emails asking how it would differ from the seared scallops with orange and jalapeno dressing video I posted last year.

While the dishes' flavor profiles are almost exactly the same, I find it fascinating how different this new version seems, with only one real change. Instead of the jalapeno being cut into a very fine dice (also known as "brunoise"), here I've used it in a simple vinaigrette.

In fact, the real reason for this video was to show you how to make this incredibly basic, but extremely versatile dressing. When it came time to decide what to pair it with, I could practically hear the scallops screaming at me from the fridge. By the way, the leftove
r vinaigrette was used the next day to dress a white bean salad, and it was fantastic.As long as you trim all the seeds and white membrane, jalapenos are not a really spicy pepper, especially when blended with the sweet rice vinegar. I realized after editing the video that I never showed how to prep the peppers, so if you're not that experienced working with them, check out the original scallop recipe here to see a great technique for getting just the meat of the pepper.

I'll be interested to hear from those of your who made the original, as to which you prefer. I definitely like this version better, but that may be for the simple fact that I love having such a delicious dressing around. Enjoy!

Seared Scallops with Orange "Supremes" and Jalapeno Vinaigrette Ingredients:
Makes 4 Portions (not a bad idea to make a double batch of the v
inaigrette)2 navel oranges
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, any white membranes removed
1/4 cup rice vinegar
*1/4 cup regular or light olive oil (extra virgin may be too strongly flavored for this subtly flavored dish)
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grape seed, or vegetable oil
12 large fresh scallops, look for "day-boat" and/or "dry-pack" for best quality

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
*if you are making this for a salad dressing, maybe increase the oil to 1/3 cup.

View the complete recipe