Sunday, November 30, 2014

Leftover Turkey's Last Stand

You had some on Friday, and maybe Saturday; but by today, leftover turkey is the last thing you're craving. Well, we may have just the thing(s). The following recipes are perfect for using up the last of that holiday bird, while at no time reminding anybody of that holiday bird. If you're interested in seeing the full post, just click on the recipe title, and away you go. Enjoy!

Turkey Manicotti

The moist filling will bring the driest turkey back from the dead, and you can literally add anything that can be chopped up. Leftover green beans? Throw it in. Peas and Onions? You bet’cha. Cranberry Sauce? Don’t be ridiculous.

Turkey Matzo Ball Soup

If chicken soup is called, "Jewish penicillin," then we're going to have to refer to this as "American amoxicillin." Really doesn't have the same ring to it. Regardless, this is a great soup.

Turkey Noodle Casserole

Come for the great way to use up leftover turkey, stay for the crispy potato chip topping.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! We’re taking a couple days off, but I’ll be back with a new video before you can say, “Man, I can’t believe I ate that much turkey.” Enjoy your holiday!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftover Special: Tom Turkey Kha Gai

One of the great blessings, and curses, of Thanksgiving is leftover turkey. The next day it’s great reheated, or made into sandwiches, but by Day 3 you want something that tastes like not turkey. That’s where this spicy Thai coconut soup recipe comes in.

This is my take on Tom Kha Gai, and as usual I make no claim as to its authenticity. I do know it tastes amazing to me, and will make you forget you even roasted a turkey. There’s lots of everything going on here, so be prepared to adjust radically to your tastes. It should be fairly spicy, sweet, sour, and salty, all at the same time. 

If you can, see if you find galangal, or galanga root, as it's sometimes called. It looks like a thin-skinned ginger, with a sort of similar flavor, although people that make this soup for a living will say it's much different and far superior. I decided to use ginger, since that's what the majority of my audience will use, but I thought it was worth mentioning, in case you live in an area where this rhizome is available.      

As far as the chili oil goes, all I did was mash together a couple tablespoons of sambal with twice as much vegetable oil with a mortar and pestle. Once it settles, the gorgeous, red oil rises to the top, and you’re ready to drip. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and that some of your leftover turkey finds its way into this delicious soup. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 serving:
 6 cups turkey or chicken broth
3” piece ginger, sliced thin
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, bruised and sliced
kefir lime or lemon leaves, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro stems
1/2 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
Simmer for 15 minutes

1 pound cubed turkey or chicken
1 cup little mushrooms
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 (13-oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup green onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
Chili oil, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges to garnish

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry Sauce Like a Boss

Just in case you’re still deciding on which of the roughly one million different cranberry sauces you’ll be going with this Thanksgiving, here are a few ideas. Technically, the Cumberland isn’t a cranberry sauce, but it’s close enough, and serves the same delicious purpose. If you're tempted, just click on the bold titles, and away you go. I hope you give one of these great sauce a try, and as always, enjoy!

Tangerine Cherry Cranberry Sauce

Could you just use orange, and call it "tangerine?" Sure, why not, it's only your family you'd be misleading.

Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce

This one just sounds like it will be great with roast turkey. In fact, when you tell people what it is, they'll say, "Oh, that sounds great." Try it, and see.

Cumberland Sauce

Do you think they just name any old sauce after the Duke of Cumberland? Well, they don't 

Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

As you'll read, there was a time when I didn't think putting nuts in a cranberry sauce was a good idea. I've evolved on the issue.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Whole Boneless Thanksgiving Turkey – As Close to Turducken as I’ll Ever Get

If you’re a turkey, and you’re getting boned-out, there’s a good chance you’re about to become Turducken, which in this chef’s opinion, is one of the most overrated recipes of all time. When was the last time you sat down in a restaurant and thought, “I hope the chef’s doing a turkey, duck, chicken trio.”

However, the idea of removing those pesky bones before your bird makes its grand entrance may be worth considering. Not only do you get an impressive looking roast to wow the table, but carving is significantly easier. I didn't have time to show here, but of course you are making a killer turkey stock with all those bones, so that's another advantage. Also, if you're worried about losing flavor, don't. This tastes virtually identical. 

If you’ve ever found yourself hacking up a perfectly good turkey in front of the family, while flop-sweat drips onto the mangled meat, then this approach may be for you. Sure, it takes a good hour to prep, but that’s pretty much where the hard work ends.  

These types of videos are near impossible to edit into any reasonable length, but the good news is this is a lot easier to do than I make it look. Just go slow, and keep that knife against the bone, and you’ll be fine. By the way, chickens make an affordable and delicious thing to practice on.

I’ve included my “prop” stuffing below, which was great. It’s more the style you’d see in a stuffed pork chop, but as I said in the video, your favorite stuffing will work beautifully.

I’ve also posted a bonus video below that goes into more detail on the tying technique. So, if you’re looking for a new and exciting challenge for Thanksgiving, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!

  • My turkey was about 15 pounds, but this will work on any sized bird.
  • I wanted to try salt only on the outside, without butter or oil, like in our salt chicken recipe, just to see what would happen, but nothing did. So, feel free to slather on the butter.
  • You’ll need about 3-4 cups of prepared stuffing depending on the turkey.
  • My pan sauce was nothing more than the drippings with a big splash of cream, reduced until slightly thickened, and strained.  
Start in a 450 F.  oven for 15 minutes
Reduce to 325 F. until you get an internal temperature of 150 F. (mine took about 1 1/2 hours more)

For the stuffing I used:
1 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely minced onions, sautéed golden
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, or enough to moisten
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary leaves

Bonus Knot Tying Video

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Singapore Chili Crabs – King of the Crab Recipes?

Living in San Francisco, I’ve had more than my fair share of crab; prepared in more ways than I can remember, but I’ve never enjoyed it more than in this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe. Just be sure to have lots of napkins around. Lots of napkins.

Apparently, this is the national dish of Singapore, and you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone eating a plate of it. By the way, that’s not something you’d want to try. Just ask Michael P. Fay.

As far as I can tell, there’s no one standard way to make this. Besides the crab, and some kind of tomato product, I couldn’t find two recipes alike. What you see here is my take on this, but it does contain many of the most typical ingredients.

Most are easy to find, except maybe the tamarind paste, although any high-end grocery chain should stock some in their international foods section. If you can’t find it, maybe add a little extra pinch of sugar, plus the juice and zest of one lemon.

Obviously the most important ingredient is the crab, so find something really nice. The store up the street had a special on freshly steamed, Dungeness crab, so that’s what I used here, but any similar variety will work. 

If you can somehow get live crabs, that’s the ultimate choice, but I know that’s not realistic for most of you. The good news is, this is incredibly delicious either way. I really hope you give this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Please Note: My friends in Singapore tell me they serve this with at least twice the amount of sauce, and a type of fried roll to soak up the goodness with. So, if you want to rock the chili crab like a Singaporean, then you should probably double the sauce ingredients!

Ingredients for four appetizer size portions:
2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2-3 lbs. each), cleaned and cracked
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots, or other onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tbsp minced serrano pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon sambal (or any spicy ground chili sauce)
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chicken broth or water

Finish with:
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp sliced green onions (the green parts) or 1 tbsp sliced chives

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade Flatbread – If You Have Flour, You Have Bread

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, possibly in our last post, today is National Homemade Bread Day. So, I decided to do a flatbread video, demonstrating what was probably the world’s first wheat-based bread.

It never ceases to amaze me how a little flour and water can be transformed into such delicious, gorgeous bread, and in just a matter of minutes at that. Inspired by the thought of these earliest flatbreads, I went with about half wheat flour and half all-purpose, as well as a little spoon of corn meal for some extra texture. 

I’ll be giving no ingredient amounts below. Flatbread’s not like that. Combine water, flour and a pinch or two of salt; and mix together as shown until you have a soft, sticky dough. That’s it. The other key is to use a very hot cast iron pan or griddle. You can wipe the surface with a tiny bit of vegetable oil, but basically a dry pan works the best.

If you’re not in a hurry, wrap your dough and let it sit on the counter top for an hour or two. This will give the flour time to hydrate, which will provide a little nicer texture. Having said that, I didn’t wait at all, and mine came out fine.

So, if you’re interested in making flatbread like they did when people thought the earth was flat, then I hope you  get this easy and delicious technique a try soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lose Weight and Live Longer with the New Homemade Bread Diet!

Word on the street is that tomorrow, November 17th, is National Homemade Bread Day, and to celebrate I thought I'd post a few of our most popular, and critically acclaimed videos. By the way, I have this idea for a diet where you get to eat bread, but only if you bake it fresh yourself. 

Since most of us are fairly lazy, this would become maybe a once a week thing, which has to be a better alternative than that daily dosage of supermarket, pain d'preservative. It's still in the brainstorming stage, and there's no book deal yet, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, go make some homemade bread. Click on the title to see the original post, and as always, enjoy! 

No-Knead Beer Bread

You like beer. You like bread. So, what are you waiting for? Pro Tip: Even though you only need one beer, get a six-pack.

Perfect French Baguette

This is the video French bakers don't want you to see. People don't think they can make bakery-quality loaves at home, but those people are wrong.

No-Knead Ciabatta

One of the most popular Food Wishes videos of all time. If you've never made bread, this is the recipe for you. Warning: The dough is going to be sticky. Don't be afraid.

Pita Bread

What this amazing bread lacks in height, it more than makes up for in stuffability. And yes, that is a word.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Make Puff Pastry Shells – Vol au Venting!

As promised, here’s the video for how to make your own puff pastry shells, or vol au vents, as they'd be called in France, and select U.S. locations. These are fairly simple to make, and once baked the real fun begins, as they can hold so many amazing fillings, both sweet and savory.

The key is making sure your puff pastry dough is very firm, and very cold, preferably still partially frozen, before you start cutting it. You want nice clean cuts, because if you mash the layers of pastry together, your shells will not rise as high, and they can also bake into some strange shapes. Having said that, even though I was filming, and working way too slowly, these still came out pretty well.

Once they’re filled they look great, so it’s not that big of a deal, but in general, the colder the dough, the nicer the final product. Other than being too rough with the dough, the other common mistake is under cooking. Your shells might look beautiful at 15 minutes, but may still be kind of raw inside. As long as the outside is not getting too dark, don’t be afraid to let them bake a bit longer.

Regarding the scraps. You can’t re-roll the trimmed puff pastry and have the shells come out the same, but what you can do is cut it into irregular shapes, egg wash it, and dust with cinnamon and sugar. Once baked to a crispy, golden-brown, you’ll have a great little sweet treat to serve with coffee or tea. I hope you give this easy and fun technique a try very soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pumpkin Time

Yes, it's that time of year already. Time to unpack the sweaters, buy scented candles, and of course, figure out some new and exciting ways to cook with pumpkin. Here’s a collection of some of my favorite seasonal recipes. To read the original post, and get the ingredient amounts, just click on the recipe title, and away you go, Enjoy! 

Best Pumpkin Pie Ever

The name says it all. And, you know you can't just make a claim like that on the Internet, unless it's true. 

Holiday Pumpkin Bread

It's like banana bread, only with pumpkin. By the way, and you didn't hear this from me, but this is great served warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Pumpkin Scones

If you think scones are dry, crumbly, and boring, then you've never made these.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I used to think that there was no way to improve on the classic New York style cheesecake, but this has me reconsidering that notion.

Pumpkin Pancakes

10 years from now, your family will still be talking about the time you made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pastrami-Spiced Duck Breast "Reuben" – Prepare to Open Face

I first tasted pastrami-spiced, smoked duck breast about 15 years ago, and ever since I’ve wondered how it would be used in a classic Reuben sandwich. I never got around to actually trying it, but this is close, and I’m going to say, way, way better.

This was one of the more delicious and interesting duck breast preparations I’ve had in a very long time. The pastrami spices are perfect with the duck meat, and the crisp, cheesy rye was a worthy base.  The quick slaw and mustard dressing helped balance the richness, and like I said in the video, the final results were stunning.

The key here, as it is with any duck breast recipe, is to not overcooked meat. I like to go about five or six minutes on the skin side, until nice and crusty, and then turn it over and continue until the breast springs back under your touch. Obviously, the cooking times I mention in the video will depend on how large the breasts are. Mine were about 5 ounces, which I found to be the perfect size for this.

If you’re using a thermometer, you’ll want to shoot for about 135–140 internal temperature. This will give you gorgeous, pink, juicy meat, that will rival the finest steak. If you can get past the idea of eating a sandwich with a fork and knife, I really hope you give this amazing pastrami-spiced duck breast Reuben a try soon.  Enjoy!

Ingredients for two portions:
2 duck breast, boneless, skin-on (mine were 5-oz each)
For the rub:
1 tbsp olive oil or more as needed
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch cayenne

For the Reuben:
2 slices rye bread
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon reserved duck fat
2 cups chopped Green cabbage
2-3 tablespoons Russian or Thousand Islands dressing
2 tablespoons mustard dressing (see recipe below)

Mustard dressing:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bananas Foster – America’s Favorite Flaming Dessert

When you think show-stopping, special occasion desserts, you usually don’t think “simple and fast,” but that’s the case with Bananas Foster. This delicious New Orleans classic only has a few ingredients, and takes just minutes to make. Except for the folks that burn their houses down, everybody loves this recipe.

Speaking of which, the best way to avoid that kind of thing is to make sure you have the flame turned off when you add the banana liqueur and the rum. Once in, you have a chance to stand back a little, and you should be fine to flambé. By the way, if you’re using an electric stove, simply use a long fireplace lighter to ignite.

As I mention in the video, try to find the largest bananas you can for this. We definitely want them to get nice and tender in the rum sauce, but we don’t want them falling apart. Along the same lines, only cook the bananas for about 30 to 60 seconds per side before adding the booze.

That may not seem like much, but by the time the sauce comes together, they’ll be perfect. Another great tip, especially for larger groups, is to scoop the ice cream ahead of time, and keep your bowls in the freezer. You want to spoon over bananas Foster piping hot, and don’t want it cooling down while you’re scooping ice cream for six people.

Of course, in New Orleans they prepare this tableside, which can be a challenge at home, so you’ll have to settle for turning down the lights, and gathering all your guests around the stove to watch the show. I hope you give this great American desert to try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for two portions:
2 bananas, peeled, cut in four pieces each
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 ounce Banana liqueur (mine was 17% alcohol)
2 ounces rum
2 pinches cinnamon
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Monday, November 3, 2014

Celery Root Puree – Come for the Flavor, Stay for the Low Carbs

As promised, here’s the celery root purée seen underneath our recently posted crispy pork belly video. To be honest, I’m not a huge root vegetable guy, but celeriac, as it’s called in certain parts, is something I really enjoy. Plus, I’m a sucker for ugly produce.

I joked in the video that celery root tastes like celery, if celery actually tasted good, and for the most part this is true. The flavor is quite mild and pleasant, and the texture is somewhat similar to mashed potatoes. Considering this stuff is only about 5% starch, somewhat similar it’s pretty good.

This simple puree is a very versatile side dish, but the tasty root will also work sliced thin and layered in a gratin, either with or without the aforementioned potatoes. I hope you give this great fall and winter vegetable a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 large celery root, about 1 pound
1 lemon
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup cream or milk, or as needed to adjust texture
cayenne to taste

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Re-Purposing Post Porch Pumpkin

I always get a few e-mails this time year asking what can be done with freshly harvested pumpkin seeds, so I thought I'd post this spiced pumpkin seeds video from my friends at You may have a couple decorative pumpkins in front of your house right now, and instead of just tossing them into the compost, why not go full-foodie and make a crunchy, seasonal snack? You can get the full recipe here. Enjoy!