Saturday, March 29, 2008

Firecracker Beef on Cold Rice Noodle Salad - Warning: Flavors May Explode in Your Mouth!

I love this recipe! It uses one of my favorite cuts of beef; skirt steak, maybe the most flavorful of all the supermarket beef cuts. It features a dizzying array of contrasting tastes and textures; hot and cold, sweet and sour, salty and bland, spicy and fresh, soft and crunchy, wordy and succinct. This video recipe also shows you how easy it is to prep rice noodles, which are great in all kinds of cold and hot dishes.

Skirt steak is extremely juicy, so it can take the "twice-cooked" procedure here. If you decide to substitute another cut, be careful not to overcook. A flank steak would probably work here, but I would try and find skirt steak. Don't let the scowl, and all that facial hair fool you, most butchers are nice, and will be more than happy to find you a skirt steak.

The level of spiciness is, of course, up to you, but what makes this dish so fun to eat is the warm, fiery beef on the cold, refreshing noodles. Don’t cheat yourself out of all those amazing endorphins because you are afraid of a little pain. Enjoy!

Click here for ingredients and transcript

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Matrix

I promised to post a photo of the crumb structure (aka "gluten matrix" if you're a bread geek) from my next loaf of sourdough. As several of you pointed out, I never photographed my last sourdough after it was cooled and sliced. Well, here you go. This batch used the same starter, but had a little bit of whole-wheat flour added to the sponge. Bread porn at its finest!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

White House Easter Egg Roll Ends in Tragedy

What are comedians going to do when George W. and Dick are no longer around to provide such an abundance of material? Oh well, might as well enjoy it while it lasts. If you celebrate, have a happy easter, and if you don't, at least there will be lots of chocolate rabbits on sale Monday. Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2008

TGIGF - Thank God it's Good Friday

Having been raised a Catholic, I had a "fish on Friday" kind of childhood. I'm grateful for this since it gave me a taste and appreciate for seafood at an early age. I always feel sorry for the "I don't like fish" people, and when probed, they always give the fact that they weren't fed fish growing up as the reason. Or, they were fed badly prepared fish.

I'm sure I drove my parents crazy with the hundreds of impossible to answer questions such as "why fish on Friday," "what does this have to do with Jesus?" "Why would God care what I eat," "what if I accidentally eat fish on Friday?" So, while I didn't really understand these "rules," I enjoyed the dishes they made possible.

Here is a very old clip (so please excuse the low-res film and photo), which shows one of the easiest methods for preparing fish. It is almost impossible to mess up and doesn't make the whole house smell like fish, as some sautéed fish recipes do. Also, below the sole video recipe you'll see a very simple lemon butter sauce that goes perfectly with it. So, whether you are eating fish because it's a certain day of the week, or year, or you just feel like fish, give this recipe a try. Enjoy!

Here is the Lemon Caper Butter Sauce video recipe:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where's Waldorf? My Second Favorite Way to Eat Apples

My favorite way is fresh off the neighbor's tree when they're not home. After that, this is my favorite raw apple dish - the ancient and excellent, Waldorf salad. It's a shame how some of the greatest American recipes fall out of fashion, and get lost in foamy waves of new, cutting edge cuisine.

The ingeniously delicious Waldorf salad is a great example. Why isn’t this very healthy, and addictive, salad on every menu in the country? It's a masterpiece of perfectly paired tastes and textures. Sweet, crisp, juicy apples, aromatic celery, exploding grapes, and crunchy walnuts - all brought together with a light and creamy lemon dressing.

This tasty bit of culinary Americana was invented by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. It first appeared in 1896, much to the delight of the early "ladies who lunch." Old Oscar is also credited with creating another classic - eggs Benedict. Do yourself a favor and whip up a batch of Waldorf soon. This is a fairly basic version (which I believe is best), but dried fruit is also a common addition. Enjoy!
Click here for ingredients and transcript

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Here's to Ireland's Greatest Culinary Achievement…Guinness Beer!

That's right, Guinness has to be considered Ireland's most famous food. Some of you may be thinking that beer is a beverage, not a food, and that this whole post is just an excuse to show a funny commercial. You have a point, but during my one and only trip to Ireland, about 20 years ago, Guinness was described, and used, as a food.

The natives were not shy about telling me how nutritious it was, how it is "fed" to patients in the hospital, how you can cook with it, how it's made, how to pour it, how to drink, and so on. What I really like best about Guinness is the fact that it can't be dyed green! Green beer…worst idea ever.

This Guinness beer commercial is dedicated to everyone who doesn't believe in evolution, and think the world is only a few thousand years old. It's also dedicated to all those scientists that have spent their entire careers hiding "fake" bones and fossils. I need a beer.
May you all have a safe and fun St. Paddy's Day!

Photo (c)
Scott Thompson

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cheddar Cheese Sauce and the Best Cheese Joke EVER!

This video recipe is my foolproof method for your basic cheddar cheese sauce. The cheese sauce is one of those sauces that every cook must have in their repertoire. During a recent trip to the supermarket I saw that they sell cheese sauce in a can. The list of ingredients was as long as it was phonetically challenging. If I had a nickel for every ingredient on that label, I would have…well, about 85 cents.

But, unlike many canned goods (like potatoes!!), I can understand why people would buy a canned cheese sauce. There is nothing worse than a grainy, separated, failed attempt at the homemade version. The security of the possibly toxic, yet perfectly textured, canned sauce is very alluring. But, once you see how easy it is to make this almost-impossible-to-screw-up recipe, you will no longer need the safety of the "can o' goo."

As a special bonus, at the end of the clip, you'll be treated to what I consider the greatest cheese joke of all time. By the way, I should mention that I only know one cheese joke. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Night of the Living Dough

The photo you see here is from Connie, a good friend of the site, and from the looks of these loaves, quite the baker. You can read her post here, and find out how she "cheated" to move along the sourdough process. Chefs always encourage cheating, especially when it works out so well!

The video that I've posted below is a short trailer I did for Youtube to drive some traffic to the blog. I thought some of you may get a kick out of it. View discretion advised. Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sausage and Egg Pizza - Fundamentally Delicious

I know what some of you are thinking. Eggs are for breakfast, and pizza is for dinner, and never the twain shall meet. I used to think like that. There was a time, early in my career, when I was a culinary fundamentalist. Chocolate was a candy, and not something one added to a sauce for short ribs (see post below). But, like all fundamentalists, I was missing out on a lot of pleasure. So, if your rigid belief system prevents you from giving this pizza a spin, then it's your loss. This is a truly magnificent pizza.

I first saw pizza topped with eggs in the Chez Panisse Café cookbook. Alice Waters, the chef of Chez Panisse, and one of my personal heroes, used eggs to top a similar pizza using proscuitto instead of sausage. I decided to try it, and it was a transcendent experience. The golden yolks oozing slowly over the spicy sausage and melted cheese is TDF (to die for). I hope you give this a try. Which reminds me to warn you that it may take a few tries to achieve the perfectly cooked eggs. But, when you do, there is bliss. Enjoy.

pizza dough (enough for 1 large pizza), brought to room temperature
2 tbsp cornmeal
3/4 cup pizza sauce
red pepper flakes (optional)
6-oz shredded fontina cheese (may substitute mozzarella, or Monterey Jack)
6-oz hot or mild Italian sausage, sliced, cooked, drained
4 whole eggs
black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
baby arugula, washed and dried
olive oil

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The "Squeezing Blood from a Turnip" Test - Phase 1

This scrumptious beef short rib recipe was first aired last February, when the blog was brand new, and I hadn't yet realized my free video recipe business model had a serious flaw. Apparently, if you spend more than you bring in, you don't make what my accountant calls a "profit."

To keep the site up and running, I've been posting video recipes I produce for While I enjoy doing them, I want to be able to do a lot more of my own clips. So, with that in mind, I'm reposting this clip to test a new way to generate some revenue. As you'll see, I've embedded some product advertising over the video.

Comments are welcome, unless you're just going to say, "I like them better without the ads." Without further ado, I present "Braised Beef Short Ribs with Chocolate and Cinnamon," now with annoying popup advertising! Enjoy.

Click here if you want to read the original post with ingredients.