Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque – It's the Besh!

This spicy coconut shrimp bisque recipe was inspired by a similar soup I saw Chef John Besh make during a demo I attended at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. As I watched him make it, I couldn't wait to get back to San Francisco to give it a try.

How close is this to his version? I have no idea, as I was drunk on tequila. Besides the coconut milk, I can barely remember what he put in it. After doing a pre-show shot with his assistants, Besh jokingly instructed the floor staff to pour the audience a shot. Minutes later, much to his delight, shots of tequila were distributed throughout the room.

Just that would have made for an amusing anecdote, but it didn't stop there. By the time the demo ended 45 minutes later, we had enjoyed five rounds of drinks, with Besh and his sous chef more than keeping pace. Remarkably, when the show ended, the well-oiled chef had managed to produce a seriously delicious looking bisque with dumplings. What a show off.

Anyway, I know it's been a while since I posted a real video recipe, but I really think this one will have been worth the wait. I loved how this turned out, and I think you will as well. I hope you give it a try, and maybe tweak it with some different combinations of seafood and garnishes. Cheers! Err, I mean, enjoy!

1 pound shrimp, shells reserved
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced jalapeno
1/4 cup flour
2 cups prepared tomato soup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon red curry paste, or to taste
salt and/or fish sauce to taste
basil chiffonade
rice crackers

View the complete recipe

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Almanac Beer – Won't Help You Forecast the Weather, But Will Help You Not Care

I'd like to congratulate my friend, and resident Food Wishes beer consultant, Jesse Friedman, who has recently taken the plunge into the wild and wacky world of self-employment. You may know Jesse as the publisher of Beer & Nosh, but very soon, you'll also know him as the wildly successful co-creator of Almanac Beer. By the way, if you're going to quit your day job, and say goodbye to all the safety and security it affords, then having lots of craft beer around is probably not a bad idea.

After years of hard work and experimentation, Jesse and his partner Damian will be officially releasing their "farm to barrel" brew on Thursday, June 30. I had the pleasure of tasting some this spring, and was quite impressed. I've just returned from LA after three grueling weeks, and way too tired to come up with the appropriate adjectives to describe the beer, so instead I'll simply invite you to watch the video below, and then give the Almanac Beer blog a visit for more information.

FYI: I'm back in the kitchen tomorrow and should have a long overdue video recipe up by the end of the day. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Metaphorically Speaking

Wow, it's been three days since my last post, and six days since my last video, and that my friends, is a new Food Wishes record. That's how insane the schedule's been working on the show down here in Los Angeles.

Not only haven't I had much time to film, but I also haven't had any time to visit with my SoCal food blogger buddies, which means I haven't been going to any fabulous restaurants. However, I did have a very nice Korean lunch on Friday, at a place next to our office called, Genwa, where I filmed this 100% cotton-based excuse for a lame metaphor. 

Right about now, I feel exactly like those tightly wound wads of gauze, desperate to be soaked with lots of clean, warm time. I'll be back in San Francisco Tuesday, and I can't wait to get wet! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good News, Bad News, Good News from Hollywood

Photo (c) bdearth
The good news is that everything is on schedule and going great down here in Hollywood. The bad news is that the next few days are dawn to dusk television production insanity, and there will no time to post anything, not even one of my lame re-runs. 

The good news is that when I get back to San Francisco on Tuesday, my schedule is finally clear, and I'll have nothing to do except film video recipes – and believe me, I have quite an impressive list of dishes to share. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Does this Hollandaise-less Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict Make Me a Traitor?

I'm probably not the first person you think of when discussing adapting high-calorie recipes into lower fat ones. I know I've done a few, but generally I believe one should make something in its full fat glory, or not at all. I hate to break it to you, but shredded, steamed chicken with fat-free yogurt on quinoa chips isn’t really "nachos."

This hollandaise-less smoked salmon eggs Benedict, however, has me on the other side of that argument. As promised, here is a video recipe for the plate you saw in the How to Poach Eggs demo. You'll have to take my word for it when I say that despite the absence of the traditional hollandaise sauce, it was really, really good.

As I explain in the clip, the dill butter spread, and the yolks from the poached eggs combine to form a fine substitute for the world's highest calorie sauce. I think this idea can be adapted to feature any number of compound butters and meat combinations, and I'd love to hear about any such breakfast experiments. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for the Dill Butter:
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
salt, fresh ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste

View the complete recipe

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Food Woolf in New Orleans

I've been thinking about using my iPhone to do more quick movies for days in between the recipe videos. You may have seen my recent, How to Eat a Hamburger demo, which is the only type of thing I thought I should be using the ├╝berphone for. 

That was until I saw my friend Brooke's short film teasing a post she's doing on a recent press trip to New Orleans. When I finished watching it, two thoughts immediately percolated up. 

The first was why the hell wasn’t I invited on this trip? Hey, Louisiana Seafood Board, expect a call from my people Monday morning. Supplying us with delicious, sustainable fish doesn't get you off the hook (see what I did there? I think I've made my point).

Then I thought, instead of making one-note, me-eating-something-somewhere iPhone videos, why don't I actually try telling a story? So, thanks Brooke, for making me look at something in a different way. Every time I do, good things happen. 

Speaking of good things, after you watch the video, be sure to head over to her thoughtful and extremely well written blog, Food Woolf, to read the full post. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In Case of Emergency: How to Make a Tomato Rose

I like to have a few short, all-purpose how-to videos, like this tomato rose technique, already done and ready for a quick upload, in case something unexpected happens and I can't film a regular recipe.

You know, for emergencies like if my equipment fails, or I get injured saving a fireman stuck in a tree (he was up there trying to save a cat), or like in this case, I get called down to Los Angeles to produce a historically-based reality food show. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day Garlic Steak with Garlic Confit - Oh, Daddy!

If your dad is a fan of garlic, this garlic steak with garlic confit will surely put a smile on his face. And not just any kind of smile; one of those, "maybe they really do love and appreciate me, and aren't just pretending so I continue to work like a dog so they can have food and shelter. One of those smiles.

I have nothing against mothers, in fact, if it wasn't for them, most of us wouldn't be here. But, when it comes to Mother's Day vs. Father's Day foods, I have to lean towards the dad. You know, less artsy, more fartsy. When I think Mother's Day, I think flowers, fancy brunches, and maybe a couple Mimosas. Father's Day is more like a bad tie, a sizzling steak on the grill, and a few cans of domestic beer.

Speaking of bad ties, do the old man a favor, and don't get him one this year, and instead use that money to go to a real butcher and get an expensive, nicely marbled piece of beef. As I mentioned in the video, I was forced to use a couple unremarkable supermarket steaks, which came out pretty well, but try and treat dad to something a little more special.

I will be post a longer more detailed recipe for the garlic confit, but it really is quite a simple matter – cover the cloves in olive oil, and cook on very low until soft and sweet – and do NOT discard the oil, keep it refrigerated and we'll use it on some upcoming stuff. Enjoy!

2 NY Strip Steaks
8 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon good aged balsamic
confit garlic cloves, as needed

View the complete recipe

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Poach Eggs - Better Late Than Whenever

I mentioned in the recent Roasted Asparagus with Fried Prosciutto and Poached Egg video post that I'd be doing a new and improved "how to poach eggs" technique demo. I said I'd be doing it "soon," which to me means sometime this year, but apparently to many viewers that meant in the next day or two.

So, it's safe to say, this video recipe was truly "by popular demand." And by "demand" I mean constant harassment, and good-natured threats, or at least I hope they were good-natured. The lesson here is to never promise anyone anything.

In related news: I'm not saying exactly when, only that it will be in the future, but the breakfast I used as a destination for my poached eggs will also be turned into its own video recipe for a sort of hollandaise-less eggs Benedict, so stay tuned for that.

Anyway, this is fairly straightforward stuff, except for the fact that the really, really fresh eggs I bought to show how amazingly well they hold together in the hot water, were anything but. As you'll see, they spread out faster that a group of food bloggers in a free grand tasting tent. Enjoy!

For 2 quarts of water
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Upside-Down Burgers is Right-Side Up

You'll be happy to know I brought all my equipment with me down to LA, and I'll be spending my entire weekend filming a bunch of new videos recipes – none of which will include my "face for radio."

This little quick and dirty cell phone video shows a burger eating technique I've been wanting to share for a while. I like to leave my burger upside-down on the plate, so instead of the thinner bottom bun getting even soggier, the juices drain into the usually thicker, drier top bun. You're welcome. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Can't Boil Water" Starring…Me?

A couple days ago I mentioned that I was down in LA on some semi-secret business. Believe it or not, I was hired on as the Senior Food Producer for a new ABC pilot called "Time Machine Chefs." 

I'll be here for a few weeks helping make sure this is the biggest smash hit cooking show since Top Chef. I wish I could give more details, but for obvious reasons I can't. 

I was brought in by my great friend, Jude Weng, a very talented and accomplished producer who specializes in unscripted television shows (she worked on the very first Survivor!). Speaking of unscripted television shows, the video below is the sizzle reel (which is a sort of quick and dirty mini-pilot) we did together a few years ago for a show idea called, "Can't Boil Water." 

It hasn't been picked up yet, but who knows, maybe now that she's given me permission to post it, a bunch of offers will roll in. I'm joined by my student, Becky Nuse, her fiance Mario, and my good buddy, Sara (aka Average Betty). Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Cook Hamburgers So That Someone Like Me Would Like Them

I normally don't care too much about how absolutely accurate the color profiles of my photos are. I'm the video guy, so if the pictures are a little off, or my grammar's ain't perfect, I get a pass.

But here I was concerned that my average-at-best photography skills would give readers a false impression of exactly how cooked this hamburger was. You'll have to take my word for it, but this was a pretty perfect medium. It may have been the bright light, but the photo makes this look a little rarer than it was.

I'm not a big fan of rare burgers, as I've always believed the beef fat therein should be hot and flowing, not cool and flabby. If I want raw meat I'll make a tartar. At the same time, I do want to keep the burger somewhat pink, if possible, so it stays moist and tender.

The technique you're about to watch is fairly straightforward, but like any cooking methods, it takes a little practice. The good news is, once you get a feel for this "cook it just over halfway up" system, you should be a perfectly pink hamburger making machine.

By the way, I won't engage in any inane debates on the wisdom of eating less-than-well-done burgers. The topic's been covered online, ad nauseam (pun intended). Is it potentially dangerous to eat a pink burger? Of course, but so is crossing the street. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coming Soon: How to Make Perfectly Pink Hamburgers

I just found out that amazingly delicious cheeseburger you saw in the Pinot-Glazed Mushrooms video can't air until July, 27th. It was a sponsored post, so I have no choice but to wait, however I did film some extra footage during that session on how to get a perfectly pink burger. I'm in Los Angeles on some semi-secret business, but I should have this hopefully helpful how-to up tomorrow evening. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Pickled Peck of Padron Peppers - Twist Your Tongue with Flavor

While I was at the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival a few weeks ago, I attended a demo by Donald Link, on the topic of working with hot peppers. When Link told the crowd he's used over 150 different varieties of peppers, we knew we were listening to the right dude.

During the presentation Chef Link made a quick and colorful batch of pickled peppers, and while they did look great, it was the vinegar they were brined in that really caught my attention. 

The James Beard Award winning chef said that every station in his kitchens have some of this spicy vinegar in it, and that this magic potion is used liberally in all kinds of things; rice, dressings, and marinades, just to name a few.

So, when Michele came home last week with a bag of oversized Padron peppers, I decided to give this a whirl. I was in one of those 'don't do any research before you start' moods, and just went for it. I decided to use vinegar and sugar, but no salt.

I know salt, and lots of it, is found in virtually all pickling brines, but I wanted to see what would happen if it was omitted. Since I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to use this vinegar on or in, I thought that would give me more flexibility

Of course, the only problem with an experiment like this is I have to wait a few weeks, at least, to taste my creation. I'm not a patient person, but hopefully I'll be rewarded. If you can't find Pardon peppers (see bonus coverage below), then any small fresh pepper will work, especially jalapeno or red Fresno chilies. Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: Like I said in the video, this is an experiment. Try this at your own risk!

Enough peppers to almost fill a quart jar
3 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

View the complete recipe

Bonus Padron Pepper Coverage!

Padron peppers are such a fascinating fruit (yes, like tomatoes, they are technically a fruit), and I covered them in way more detail in this post I did last August. I've posted the video below, but I encourage you curious culinarians to go check out the full post here. Enjoy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mahi Mahi with Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce and a Lesson Well Learned

Making this mahi mahi with spicy Thai chili mango sauce recipe didn't have me dreaming of tropical beaches, or some exotic outdoor market in southeast Asia. No, it reminded me of getting yelled at in the back of some dingy prep kitchen, a very long time ago.

I was given a recipe to make by an old French chef for a tomato pasta sauce. The first step was sweating a finely minced mirepoix in some olive oil. Since it was a fairly large batch, I decided to use the food processor to mince the carrots, celery and onions. Le chef was not le happy.

After teaching me a few new, colorful French phrases, he explained that while a mechanically minced mirepoix may look similar to a hand minced one, they were very different. He told me when you use a food processor, the vegetables are torn into tiny pieces, as opposed to being cleanly cut.

There is way more damage done to the cellular structure, and depending on the ingredient, that can create a noticeably different taste and texture than using a sharp knife and a little elbow grease, or as I believe it's called in France, elbow butter.

Anyway, this mango sauce is an example of how much I took that lesson to heart. For all I know that culinary theory has been debunked by Alton Brown, or some other food wonk a long time ago, but I don't care. I'll always believe my spicy mango sauce tastes better because I cut it by hand. Thanks chef! Enjoy.

UPDATE: I just listened to this video recipe again, and am proposing a new drinking game where every time I say "beautiful," you have to do a shot. ;-)

Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce Ingredients: (note everything in this is "to taste")
3/4 cup finely minced mango
1/2 small Thai chili, minced very fine
1 teaspoon sambal chili sauce, or other similar chili paste
1 large clove garlic, crushed fine
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from one lime
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

View the complete recipe

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coming Soon: Grilled Mahi Mahi with Spicy Thai Chili Mango Sauce

I will explain all this later. Thank you. Come again. UPDATE: This was edited and posted during my IACP session (which explains the brief and cryptic first sentence), that I blogged about yesterday. It went very well! I'll be back in San Francisco tomorrow, and will upload the full video then. Thanks!

UPDATE to the UPDATE: I'm back in San Francisco, but will not be able to upload the video today...unless you want it without any narration. :-) Stay tuned!