techniques

Egg Tostada

Egg Tostada

Okay, I’m back and it’s #meatlessmonday time!

Yeah, I know it’s been a few weeks and I feel real bad about it, but I shall make it up to vegetarians everywhere I promise.  But enough of that for now, on to

Fried Egg Tostadas!

I wanted to do something a bit fancier for tonight’s post.  For instance, at some point in time I am going to expose my version of Jasper Mirabile’s recipe for green lentil soup (or you know, I might just ask him for it).  However, quite frankly, things just didn’t go as planned tonight between forgetting to pack BWD, Jr.’s swimming trunks and the fact I hadn’t eaten much all day.  So I gave up on anything fancy and instead whipped up a little Mexican sauce, fried up some eggs and happily went to town.

By the way, I promise you, my food tasted better than that picture.  Tonight was all about rush jobs, even with the picture!

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Homemade Gyoza

Homemade Gyoza

Okay, last one I swear.  It’s just having to eat the same thing four days in a row really gets my creativity going.  So in this post for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, we’re going to make

Homemade Dumplings with Leftover Turkey

So, I’ve got a rule when it comes to creating turkey day leftovers dishes: escape the traditional Thansgiving flavors.  On days four through twenty of Turkey Day leftover eating, the problem isn’t that we don’t love turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc.  We all still do!  The problem is eating the same thing from November 25th to December 25th is boring!!!

So, we are taking Turkey to the Orient with this recipe.  It’s just a simple dumpling recipe using storebought gyoza or wonton wraps.  No fuss, no muss.  Just a delicious turkey dish completely different than what you’ve been eating!

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Turkey Leftovers

Turkey Leftovers

Quick tip if you still have turkey bones lying around.   Whatever you do, don’t throw away those bones.  Locked inside your turkey carcass is the key to the most amazing turkey stock you’ve ever had in your life.   With that stock you can make delicious gravies, soups, stuffings, vegetables…anything you want.  It’s so easy.

So, let’s make

Turkey Stock

Now, the most basic way to make stock is to just put the bones in a pot, add water, and come back in two hours.

There is nothing wrong with that.  It makes good stock, but let’s see if we can’t gild this lily a bit.

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Fantasy Top Chef

Fantasy Top Chef

Yes, that’s right it’s Wednesday and that means it’s another Top Chef night.  (Can I get a hallelujah?)  My knockout pool pick tonight is Kevin.  After that I only have those  Voltaggios brothers.  However, after this week at least one guy is going to get knocked out of the pool completely and if Robin goes home, I am the big winner.  Yay me!

With that being said, what ever you do, check out Thursday Night Smackdown‘s Live Blogging of the episode.  Also, whatever else you do, don’t go to fellow Fantasy Top Chef player Michele’s Intensity Academy for some crazy delicious fiery sauces because she was mean to me.  She called me blog boy.  Do you believe that???

More to come!

—–

Wow…actually less to come.  Maybe I should check the broadcast schedule before I go blabbing about Top Chef.  Ugh.  So what do I blog about?

The one thing that caught my eye in the reunion dinner was

Salt Crusted Fish

So cooking something in a salt crust is a technique I first saw on Iron Chef (the original Japanese series.)  If you are not familiar with what cooking fish in a salt crust is, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  You take a whole fish, surround it with salt, and then throw it in the oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes, let it sit for about 25 more and you have a moist, flaky, delicious dinner that’s not at all salty.  Seriously…

BTW the following is my guess as to what Marcel and Ilan used in their salt crusted fish.  Feel free to play with the recipe.

You will need:

  • 1 whole fish, red snapper is perfect
  • 6-8 leaves Thai basil
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 6-8 kafir lime leaves
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 3 pound box of Kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 325.

Ask your fish monger to remove the scales and to make sure the fish is gutted.  When you get the fish home, make sure it is washed and patted dry.

Stuff the fish with the basil, lemongrass, and kafir lime leaves and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and the pour in the full box of Kosher salt.  Mix well until you have something the consistency of wet sand.

Take out a piece of parchment paper and lay it out on a baking sheet.  Make a bed of the salt mixture about half an inch wider than the fish itself.  Lay the fish on top of the bed and then cover with the rest of the salt.  Do your best to cover every inch of the fish with salt.

Put the fish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the fish rest for 25 more.  Then use the back of a chef’s knife to crack open the crust.  Cut out portions, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the top, look out for bones, and enjoy!

Thanks to Bravo for the image!

Shawna Coronado's Fall Harvest

Shawna Coronado's Fall Harvest

When Shawna Coronado sent me that image you see to your right and told me to make something with it for the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative, I got really excited.  See, I love pumpkin and I love to make savory meals out of it.  And I knew, knew I could make a delicious dish with it for only $11.50.

So today we’re making

Baked Rice In a Pumpkin

For only $7.00!

I hope you’re ready for this.  It’s easy to make and easy to clean up.  It’s delicious and it’s got the coolest serving presentation: bake the rice in the pumpkin, then serve it tableside in a pumpkin.  It’s like the snake meal from Indiana Jones, but it’s pumpkin.  And there’s no baby snakes.  But other than that, just like it.

Also cool is the fact that this is one of those recipes that you can experiment with to your heart’s content.  All you need to do is keep the proper ratio of water to rice and make sure the pumpkin bakes through and you are good to go.

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Roasted Red Peppersa

Roasted Red Peppersa

Homemade Creamy Tomato Red Pepper Sauce

Happy 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative and happy #meatlessmonday!  Hopefully you are enjoying many a meatless dish tonight, but if you’re out of delicious meatless ideas have I got one for you?!

This one is super simple and delicious.  I was actually inspired to make it when eating at Em Chamas (please no nasty comments about getting meatless recipes from a Brazilian barbecue…)  They have this fantastic cheese ravioli dish on their buffet made from a sauce of tomatoes and roasted red peppers that was just terrific.  Right next to it, they have a tomato-based chicken stroganoff that is light, creamy, and more than a little tangy.  So I got the idea to blend them together and make a delicious creamy tomato red pepper sauce.

Better yet, you can make it for less than $11.50 as part of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative.  If you’re not familiar with the challenge, Shawna Coronado grows chemical and pesticide-free (ie nude) vegetables and I turn them into a dinner for a family for four for less than $11.50.  Ready for the recipe?

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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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Fried Wontons

Fried Wontons

I learned a great tip from the Kansas City Culinary Institute‘s Executive Chef Matt Chatfield tonight.  Apparently, the dough used to make wonton wrappers will continue to brown after it has been removed from the oil.  So only fry your wontons until they are firm and so the filling won’t come out.  Then remove them from the oil to a paper towel.

If you fry the wontons any longer, they will take on a brown, almost burnt coloration.

I also learned from a few of the students that wontons don’t necessarily float to the surface when they’re done.  I also learned that when they reach a deep black color, they’re burnt.  They still taste good, apparently!

Thanks to avlxyz for the pic!

SunchokesTonight I interviewed Chef Debbie Gold from The American restuarant in Kansas City, MO. I had a fabulous meal include a lamb dish that unseated Fogo de Chao’s lamb as the best lamb dish I had ever had. But that’s another blog post.

Today, we’re talking about

Sunchokes

While talking Chef Gold and touring her immaculate kitchen, she showed me some really beautiful sunchokes in her walk-in and she gave me a brief tutorial about them. Of course, later, when given the chance, Ihad to order the LaBelle duck which rested on a pillowy bed of sunchoke puree.

I thought I’d share what she told me with all of you:

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Braised Chuck in a Mexican Mole Sauce

Don’t look now, but this post is coming at you from Big Acres Gourmet Products!

I first learned of Big Acres Gourment when I overheard a conversation on Twitter (is that overtweard?) @melanieyunk talking about her amazing mole sauce that she demoed on the radio.

I. Love. Mole.

So of course I asked for a bottle.  I should have asked for case because I am so craving some more

Beef Mole

I promise not to say holy mole!  I promise!  But boy howdy was this stuff good.  For those who don’t know what mole is, it’s a Mexican sauce and the most widely known savory (non-dessert) usage of chocolate.  Mole is a combination of peppers and spices and bitter chocolate that forms this indescribable sauce.  When it’s done right, it’s mindblowing.

When it’s not done right… well, they’re called doggy bags for a reason.

The thing I liked about Big Acres is that their mole was sweet (from the raisins that they add), but also pleasantly spicy.  It also had good body (I am assuming that came from the nuts they add.)

Now, the traditional mole dish is chicken mole, where cooked chicken is combined with mole and usually served with beans, rice, and tortillas.  So of course, when I got my bottle, I couldn’t do chicken mole.  Where’s the challenge?

Ready to see what I did?

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