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All posts for the month July, 2009

Cinnamon Peach Pie

Cinnamon Peach Pie

Stop the presses.  Stop what you’re doing and stare!  I made

Peach Pie

Yes, that’s right, he who does not bake made a pie.  He who finds the depths of dessert dark and dangerous prepared a perfect peach pie.  I made this pie last week and I still can’t believe it. 

If you have ever wanted to make a pie, I have proven anyone can do it.  Here’s how!

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Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that tomorrow, July 30th, from 9-11 Eastern (8-10 Central and 6-8 for my West Coast peeps), there’s going to be a Twitter panel which covers (taken from the Share Our Strength site):

  • The Ins & Outs of Food Blogging ~ Life As A Foodie Blogger
  • Building & Growing A Successful Food Blog, Best Practices
  • Food Blog Content & Photography
  • The panel contains several distinguished food bloggers, cookbook authors, and television personalities.  These include Kate Miller, Erin Chase, Jaden Hair, Ryan Stern, and Michael Ruhlman!  And me, too!

    Check us out on Twitter.  Look for the #sosfood hashtag and come with questions.  It’s going to be fun, there’s going to be some cool giveaways and lots of questions and answers.

    Hope to see you all there!

    Some Dude's Fry Sauce

    Some Dude's Fry Sauce

    It’s a special sauce, it Thousand Island, no it’s

    Fry Sauce!

    If you don’t live in Utah or if you haven’t seen Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about right now.  It’s okay, I only recently learned of the existence of fry sauce and I might never have had the opportunity to try it if not for Emily Hill (that’s @emihill on Twitter!) who sent me a bottle of fry sauce.  Thanks Emily!  I knew I couldn’t get to Utah, so you shipped a little Utah to me!

    It’s hard to describe exactly what fry sauce is.  The joke is that it’s basically ketchup and mayonnaise mixed together, making what the entire state of Utah calles fry sauce what the rest of the world calls Thousand Island.   That’s not too far from the truth, but it fails to fully describe the experience that is fry sauce.  Maybe it’s the air in Utah, but from what they tell me, calling fry sauce Thousand Island misses the mark.

    I know it doesn’t come close to explaining the spicy taste (mainly flavor spice, not hot spice, though there is some of that) of Some Dude’s Fry Sauce.  By their own admission, they use additional ingredients like chilies, garlic, and plenty of “secret spices” I can only begin to guess at.

    Even if I can’t guess at the spices, I can tell you that despite the jokes about Thousand Island (and my general disdain of Thousand Island dressing), Some Dude’s Fry Sauce is good.  I mean real good.

    So What Do I Do With Fry Sauce?

    Well… the obvious answer is put it on French fries.  That seems to be the Utah tradition.  That and burgers.  I heartily endorse both.  Some Dude’s also recommends chicken, fish, hot dogs, and shampoo (well, not recommends so much as points out it has been used as a shampoo.)

    To that list, I would also add:

    • Dipping Sauce for Wings
    • Dipping Sauce for Mozzarella Sticks
    • Salad Dressing
    • Sandwich Spread with Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, and Dill Pickles
    • Topping for Tomato Soup
    • A Finishing Sauce For a Potato Torte

    So as you can see, there’s all sorts of things you can do with the sauce.  So, now all that’s left is to head to Some Dude’s site, order a few bottles and enjoy!

    Shawna Coronado's Vegetable Harvest

    Tonight, I am combining two fantastic traditions: #MeatlessMonday and the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative. #MeatlessMonday is my weekly commitment to show you a delicious way to eat meat-free once a week while the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative is where Shawna Coronado grows the vegetables and I turn them into a dinner for four for under $11.50.

    #MeatlessMonday is all about getting more healthy fruits and vegetables into your life and what better way to do it than with produce fresh out of Shawna’s (or your) garden?  So maybe for this #meatlessmonday (or next), I hope you’re having:

    Fried Zucchini Napoleons, Cucumber Salad, and Mashed Beets

    Wow, that’s like a complete meal with sides and everything.  Look at me go! Continue Reading

    It took about ten seconds of tweeting with Chef Mark Tafoya (that’s @ChefMark on Twitter), a personal chef in New York City, for me to realize he knew great food.  Probably because I’m slow, it took me a couple of days to realize he was the same chef I had been listening to on his Remarkable Palate Podcast on the Culinary Media Network.

    That’s why I was all a twitter (sorry…) when I got the chance to call him while he was on the job.  We talked about what it means to be a personal chef and how to make great food.

    The Meals Chef Mark Prepared

    The Meals Chef Mark Prepared

    “So, what is a personal chef?”

    I wanted to start the interview with an easy question.  Apparently, it wasn’t that easy.  According to Chef Mark, there is confusion over the terms “personal chef” and “private chef.”  Private chefs are employees of a patron and work only for that one employer.  Like a butler or a driver, they are part of the household staff and they are expensive.

    Mark is personal chef.  He is neither a full time employee, nor expensive.  Instead of living with his clients, he goes to their homes and prepares meals for them in their own kitchens.  After cooking the meals for his clients, he places them in storage containers and puts them either in the refrigerator or the freezer.  It’s kind of like having frozen dinners if your frozen dinners were made by a gourmet chef and cooked to your exact standards.

    “What’s the most important thing for a personal chef?”

    Chef Mark wastes no time answering that good communication is key to his business.  “I’m not here to stoke my ego,” he said.  Instead, Chef Mark wants to make food that his clients want to eat and the only way he can do that is if his clients tell him what this is.

    He recalls one client who kept apologizing that he didn’t like one type of food or only liked another in certain situations.  Mark laughs, saying he had to finally tell his client to stop apologizing.  “It’s going to hurt my feelings a lot more when you fire me than if you tell me you didn’t like my dish,” Mark informed the client.  This apparently relaxed the client and Chef were able to go on and provide his client with the exact dishes he wanted to eat prepared exactly the way he wanted to eat them.  Such is the way to success in the personal chef business.

    Over time, Chef Mark learns what his clients love.  For instance, the client whose house Mark was at was an admitted carnivore.  When I talked with him, he was making all sorts of amazing dishes like pork loin stuffed with chorizo and jalapenos, broccoli with a Dijon vinaigrette, a fresh apple salsa for another meat dish, and a salad (even carnivores need some greens.)   Of course, if the client had been a vegetarian or had special dietary needs, Chef Mark could have easily prepared dishes for them.  Believe me, I’ve seen his vegan recipes (available in Gilded Fork Cookbook.)

    “How did you get started as a personal chef?” 

    By asking this, I found that Chef Mark got started in the normal fashion: he went to Yale to study French and theatre.  Like you do.  After realizing he might not make it as an actor, he got hired as the food director/event coordinator at his friend’s party house.  There, he realized how much he loved cooking and eventually became a personal chef.

    “Do you do private events?”

    I figured he did, but I wanted to ask Chef Mark anyway.  I was right, they account for almost fifty percent of his business and are, in fact, one of his favorite parts of being a personal chef.  In fact, after he got done with his client’s weekly meals and our call, he was headed to a home in New Jersey so he could cook a three year anniversary dinner.  And, oh yeah, he cooked the couple’s proposal dinner five years ago.  (I have no doubt, the food sealed the deal.)

    Anything else?

    During his career as a personal chef, Chef has done so much more than I can fit here.  He was voted Marketer of Year twice.  He appeared on Fox News as an expert on personal chefs.  He is a member and an instructor in the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) and as I write this, he is in New Orleans teaching personal chefs to appear on television.

    As I mentioned before, he’s a great podcaster and he’s also a cookbook author, having recently worked on The Gilded Fork Cookbook with Jennifer Iannolo from the Culinary Media Network.  Oh, and he’s an expert in storing and cooking food so that it freezes in such a way that it reheats perfectly.  (Which may be of interest only to me.)

    The only thing that keeps Chef Mark out of my kitchen is the fact I live in Kansas, but it doesn’t stop me from asking him questions, listening to his shows, or buying his cookbook.  If that sounds like the type of chef you want cooking for you, head out to his website marktafoya.com or call him at 917.405.0088.

    The picture was taken by Chef Mark on his iPhone after we stopped chatting.  That is the actual set of meals he did for his client.  Looks good, huh?

    Big Acres® Ginger Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

    Big Acres® Ginger Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

    A few months ago, I wrote up  a recipe for Beef Mole using the Milagro Mole from Big Acres® .  In this recipe, I explained in no small detail how much I loved the Milagro Mole.  Well, after no small amount of pleading, Melanie was nice enough to send me another bottle so you can expect three new uses for that sauce very shortly.  However, tonight I’m going to talk about the other bottle she sent me:

    Big Acres® Ginger Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce

    I was pretty amazed by the ginger teriyaki marinade.  I’m not the world’s biggest fan of ginger (I like it in small doses, but it can get overpowering real quick), but I am a big fan of Big Acres® products.  So I knew I had to try it.

    The thing that is always so amazing about Big Acres® sauces is how well they balance their flavors.  In this case, the ginger can never get to that overpowering stage because it’s mixed with honey, red wine, soy sauce and Worchestershire sauce.  In turn, though, none of those flavors overpower the others so you end up with a complex marinade that makes some wonderful dishes.

    What to know my perfect Big Acres® Ginger Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce Recipe?

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    eggplant curryOkay, we’re back for another delicious installment of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative.  In case this is your first time, the walking gardening encyclopedia, Shawna Coronado, is (obviously) the gardening pro.  She grows veggies in her garden and then she sends them to me so I cook them.  This arrangement works out well since if we were relying on my green thumb to feed us, well, we’d be ordering a lot of take out.

    Forunately, we’re not.  So to show off the fruits (well, vegetables) of Shawna’s labor, we’re making

    Eggplant Green Curry

    Shawna's July Bounty

    Shawna's July Bounty

    Why?  Well, because when Shawna gives you eggplant, you make curry.  It’s a rule.  Look it up. 

    See, just yesterday she sent me the pic you see to your right.  There is so much in that picture I want to cook with, I hardly know what to do with myself.  But, first thing’s first.  When I saw that eggplant, I knew I wanted to cook it and eat it.  So I decided on eggplant curry.

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    Eggs and Peppers Breakfast

    Eggs and Peppers Breakfast

    Except for the brief time I was vegan, breakfast burritos are king in my house.  When there’s nothing else to eat, we always a half dozen eggs, a pepper, and an onion.  My wife and I take turns transforming these ingredients into

    Egg and Vegetable Biscuits

    They’re really very simple.  Just make the veggies like you were frying fajita vegetables and scramble some eggs.  Then wrap in a tortilla or do what we did and serve them on a biscuit.  Repeat as necessary.  I also like to add vegetarian refried beans to the mix and some rice because I like how they taste and because BWD, Jr. loves rice.
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    Jalapenos Pre-Candided

    Jalapenos Pre-Candided

    This recipe takes me waaay back (to you know, like 2005) when I was desperately trying to get on Next Food Network Star Season 2.  I wanted to be unique, I wanted to be different, and I wanted to do something that would make me stand out.  So I made:

    Candied Jalapenos

    Yep, that’s right.  I candied jalapenoes.  As one of my friends put it, “who woulda thunk it?”

    But if you follow my thought process it makes sense.  The fruit of the chili (its green minus the seeds and seed pods) has a light, subtle, and in some cases, sweet flavor.  The problem is you’ve probably never tasted it since the heat rushes in and drowns out the other flavors. 

    The key, then, to making the dish work is to remove the seeds and the seed pods so that the fruit can be enjoyed.  I had a video I shot once on how to do it, but I can’t find it.  Alton Brown also does it on one his shows, but I’ll do my best to tell you how.

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    So, I can’t really call this Recipe 5 of Shawna Coronado‘s and my 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative because it’s not really dinner, nor does it meet the rules of the challenge.  However, Shawna sent me this:

    A Radish, a Zucchini, and a Cucumber Walk Into a Brine...
    A Radish, a Zucchini, and a Cucumber Walk Into a Brine…

    And asked me what  I would do with all that lovely produce.  Immediatley, I had the answer.

    Pickles

    I’d make pickles.  In that basket, you have three perfect vegetables for pickling and frankly, this fall you’re going to wish you had some of summer’s bounty lying around to eat.  Pickles are an easy way to preserve the harvest and they’re something just about everyone loves.

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