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The Apron America's Hottest Chefs Are Wearing

The Apron America's Hottest Chefs Are Wearing


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An apron might be the most overlooked kitchen utensil. More trusty steed than shiny gadget, an apron can be the home cook's (and the professional chef's) saving grace when sauces splatter and grills pop. But aprons are overlooked by most folks. Most of us forget to even pull ours out of the closet until our nice shirt is covered in spaghetti sauce or red wine.

We all have at least one, right? We just might not all have one we really, really love. For example, my pantry is filled with four right now: one has black cats (a gift from a former roommate), one says "Grill Queen" (I rarely crank up my grill, but on the occasions I do, you can guarantee I'm wearing it), one frilly one that's really just for showing off when guests are over, and one prized Hedley & Bennett apron.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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The latter apron is my go-to apron, the one I tie on the moment I get into the kitchen. Whether I'm making hamburgers on a grill pan or rolling dough for cinnamon rolls, it's on. The thick, sturdy cotton means business. It absorbs spills and splatters while keeping my clothes protected and clean. But the best part? The best part is that it's just plain gorgeous. So many industrial kitchen aprons are ho-hum, but Hedley & Bennett founder Ellen Bennett knew aprons had the potential to be so much more. While working in professional kitchens in Los Angeles, Bennett noticed how sad and dreary aprons can be, and she vowed to stop it. What was born--a start-up apron company--has flourished into one of the most popular and trendy apron companies in the country with a ravenous following of home cooks, professional chefs, and the food obsessed alike.

But don't take my word for it. Just look at all these Hedley & Bennett fans, including our own Test Kitchen professionals.

Here's the deal with these aprons--they're not your average mass-market linens. Each style is carefully designed and constructed so it's beneficial to cooks of all stripes. But that comes at a price--most aprons are around $80. (You can always scout the site's Sale section for greatly reduced aprons.) This is an investment piece for your kitchen--or your spouse, best friend, neighbor, boss, or whoever you gift it to. This apron will last you years, even with all the washes it will require. That's precisely why our Test Kitchen professionals chose it. Aprons are washed daily, so we need something that holds up beautifully--but also looks super luxurious when we host events in the Food Studios and need to look our sharpest. Here, some of my favorite apron options:

Keep Reading:


Secrets of the Food Network

Chopped's a pretty straightforward of a concept: Four chefs compete in three rounds, creating dishes making use of four required ingredients found in a basket, until only one is left standing. But the Ted Allen-hosted series didn't start out that way. As revealed in Allen Salkin's 2013 book From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, the initial concept, inspired by Deal or No Deal, involved a silhouetted tycoon would plan a dinner party, and his butler, "a snooty John Cleese type," would pit four chefs against each other for the privilege of cooking the dinner. After each round, a chef would be eliminated by a panel of judges (including Rocco DiSpirito), and their dish would be fed to a Chihuahua named Pico. Luckily, then-programming head Bob Tuschman rejected the idea and producers decided to scale things back into the wildly successful series we all know and love today.


A Make-A-Wish kid was turned down by Ina Garten. twice

Ina Garten, host of Food Network's Barefoot Contessa, comes off as the sweet grandmother everyone wishes they had. She revealed a not-so-nice side, however, in 2011 when a child requested to meet her through the Make-A-Wish program. Enzo Pereda, a 6-year-old battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, watched Garten on TV while he was sick in bed, and had been dreaming of cooking a meal with her for years.

Pereda's family organized the request to meet Garten through Make-A-Wish, but was turned down because she was busy on the road, publicizing her new book. A year later, Pereda made the same request and was again tuned down due to Garten's busy schedule. His family wrote about the incident in a now-defunct blog, which is when the media picked up on the story.

After the news got out, Garten did some damage control, inviting Pereda onto her show. It was too little, too late. The Peredas rejected Garten's offer, saying that young Enzo had "moved on" and would instead fulfill his wish of swimming with dolphins.


Michael Symon: Career, Salary, Net Worth

Michael Symon gave a start to his career journey when he started working for Geppetto’s Pizza and Ribs as a cook as his part-time job.

He showed a great interest in the cooking field. He moved to Piccolo Mondo as a chef in 1993 and to Caxton Cafe later on.

Source: Ellines (Michael Symon cooking)

This chef then decided to open his own restaurants called Lola, The B Spot, and Lolita. In October 2000, his restaurant Lola was considered as America’s Best Restaurants in Gourmet magazine.

Then he opened a restaurant Roast which is located in Washington, Detroit in the Washington B Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.

Roast was named as the 2009 Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press. He has opened various restaurants that satisfy the customer.

By gaining popularity in the food sector, He has shown up in various TV arrangements including Food Feuds, Iron Chef America, Cook Like an Iron Chef, The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

Symon is also an author. He has shared his cooking skills in distributions like Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Esquire, and The Oprah Magazine.

He has also written cookbooks like The Chew: What’s for Dinner, Michael, Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen, Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers, The Chew: Food. Life. Fun, and Symon’s Live to Cook: Recipes.

He has also appeared in Food Networks. In July 2010, he has also been part of the cooking show called Cook Like an Iron Chef. He was also invited for the late-night talk show Conan on 2011february 14.

Then he co-hosted the show The Chew on ABC networks, a daily talk show which started in September 2011. The show was about food-related topics.

By all the hard work he has a net worth of $4 million but he has not revealed his salary yet.

Awards and Achievements

As a great Chef, he has received many rewards in his life. In 1995, he was named Cleveland’s Hottest Chef which was declared by The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine.

Symon was the Iron Chef winner in 2007. In the same year, he was declared as Best Local Chef which was decided by Cleveland Magazine. In 2009, he has received the James Beard Foundation Award.

From 2010 to 2012, he was the winner of the best burger Award in Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival. He has also received Daytime Emmy Award as a host in the show The Chew.


What better way to honor world traveler Anthony Bourdain, who died in June of this year, by dressing as him this Halloween. Here’s how to replicate his signature, “casual badass” look: temporary hair color spray in a distinguished shade of silver a Ramones t-shirt under a black blazer candy cigarettes and dark sunglasses (to hide those hungover eyes after a long night of drinking with locals in Tbilisi). Bonus points for copying his forearm tattoos with a Sharpie.

Get ready to paint the town with Donkey Sauce this Halloween. To do the mayor of Flavortown justice, requirements include a blonde spiky wig along with an outlandish pair of wraparound sunglasses (wearing them on the back of the head is optional), and a button-down shirt emblazoned with flames. Most important is an arsenal of catchphrases such as, “I’d eat that on a flip-flop,” “That’s outta bounds,” and “Welcome to Flavortown!”


Farmer John Writes: About Buzz

This May Be Your Final Delivery of the Season
If you have a 2-week half extended season share that is delivered on the “odd weeks” schedule, this week’s delivery is your final box of the 2017 season. Thank you for being with us this year.

Please Make Sure Your Name is on the Checklist at Your Site
We have had several instances of vegetable and fruit box shortages at community pickup sites. Please make sure that your name is on the checklist before you take a vegetable box, and also make sure that you are signed up for an extended season fruit share by checking the fruit checklist before taking a fruit box. Thank you.

Your Box This Week — Thursday, Friday and Saturday Deliveries:

Please note: this summary is written before we pack your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Brassicas — Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts

Root Crops Potatoes, Celeriac (likely) or Daikon Radish

Cooking Greens —Spinach (in bag, likely), Kale Top

Salad Greens — Pea Shoots (in bag)

Fruiting Crops — Popcorn

Alliums — Onions, Garlic

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with your share. Local Thyme offers storage and handling tips and recipes customized to each week’s share. It has received many great reviews from our shareholders. Check out this sample recipe: Chicken and Pea Shoot Stir Fry.

Celeriac, Potatoes, Garlic and More
As you may have noticed, we gave no celery this year. We had two lovely beds of celery, but they succumbed to the floods. I thought the celery’s sibling, the celeriac, might survive, but most of it did not. We should have enough celeriac for everyone to receive one head this week, though you might get a small one. It will go well with the potatoes in your box. Also, we are giving garlic this week, another pre-Thanksgiving plus. We will also be giving cabbage this week. All of these items will store well until Thanksgiving–if you have the patience to hold them that long.

Pea Shoots
We transplanted a lot of hardy Romaine lettuce for the end of the season. If the Romaine had flourished, there would have been more than we ever could have put into your boxes. At one time, Primo and I calculated we had 3 to 4 heads per box for each week of deliveries from the 17th week until the end of extended season. I gasped when we did this calculation, which was in Week 14 or so. However, the impact of the floods reverberated into this fall, even though the flooding had long since subsided. Due to the rains into August, the flats of Romaine seedlings were held for an extra long time on the wagons, waiting to be transplanted. This caused them to become root bound. I did not anticipate a significant problem from this condition, but I now believe that this root bound condition is what lead the Romaine lettuce to bolt and spoil at a very young age. It was quite a shock to see bed after bed of small Romaine lettuce shoot stalks so early. The majority of it was ungiveable.

We do have a lot of extra pea shoots, however. We will be putting a large bags of pea shoots into your box this week. I know that a lot of our shareholders do not appreciate pea shoots, but we have actually received more raves about pea shoots than complaints, so pea shoots seem like a suitable substitute for Romaine lettuce.

Popcorn
Most shareholders shell the popcorn by hand and pop it in a frying pan or popcorn popper. You may also pop it in the microwave on the cob. Best to let your popcorn dry for a couple of weeks before popping it.

Thankful
The beautiful message of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for what we have. This season provides the opportunity to count our blessings, even if these blessings are not exactly what we had sought.

Delivery Schedule for the Final Week of the Extended Season
Deliveries to community sites for the final week of the season will be the same as for other weeks. This includes the Thursday of Thanksgiving.

Home deliveries will be made on Tuesday, November 21, rather than Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

Huh?
Read the following closely. Notice the buzz words—I have italicized them and bolded them. The various buzz words make the practices/services seem almost like gifts from the spiritual world.

National Organics Standards Board Decrees Hydroponics Can Be Organic : Hydroponically grown crops are now eligible for organic certification.

“By siding with current science and recognizing that existing law purposely leaves the door open for various farming methods, the NOSB is sending a critical message that sustainability and innovation are valuable in U.S. agriculture,” wrote RFC executive director Marianne Cufone in a release. Hydroponics and other types of high-tech farming… can potentially be very energy-efficient and reduce water usage. And there’s rarely a need for pesticides at all, since many of these operations are indoors.”

From Monsanto: Roundup and Glyphosate Herbicides
“Glyphosate has been a breakthrough for farming. Not only do glyphosate products work really well on weeds, but they also help farmers grow crops more sustainably. For example, glyphosate has helped farmers adopt what is called “conservation tillage.” With conservation tillage, farmers can disturb less soil and drive their tractors less. As a result, farmers can reduce soil erosion and carbon emissions, which is great for the environment. In fact, conservation tillage can reduce soil erosion by up to 90 percent and, in 2014 alone, reduced carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to removing nearly 2 million cars from the road. Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing agriculture and society overall. Glyphosate is helping farmers be part of the solution.”

Blue Apron
“Our food system—the way in which food is grown and distributed—is complicated, and
making good choices for your family can be difficult. We are changing that: By partnering with farmers to raise the highest-quality ingredients, by creating a distribution system that delivers ingredients at a better value and by investing in the things that matter most—our environment and our communities. This will be a decades-long effort, but with each Blue Apron home chef, together we can build a better food system. We are partnering with the foremost sustainability experts to create better standards for growing food and raising animals. This means better outcomes for our environment, guaranteed markets for our farmers and higher quality ingredients for our home chefs. Regenerative agriculture—putting more back into the land than you take—is essential for the long term viability of America’s food system. By building our menus around crop rotations that are best for our farmers, we help replenish their soil and increase their yields, while reducing their reliance on inputs like costly pesticides and fertilizers.”

Humans don’t seem so good at sorting things out. How susceptible are people to the buzz words above? With a perspective that is narrow enough, and with enough repetition of so-called facts and trendy terms, certain things start to seem true and wonderful, even though in a broader context, they might actually be quite different from the so-called truth and be devastating.

Maybe there is a broader picture here that the conventional scientific method or the general population does not properly embrace, behold or evaluate that would upend these so-called facts that organic hydroponics, Roundup, and Blue Apron are doing their job to save the planet and uplift humanity. For instance, within a narrow framework, Roundup can seem like a gift. In a broader framework, one finds through an internet search scores of references to the carcinogenic attributes of Roundup. Save the planet while killing off humanity?

Rudolf Steiner said that the impact of a practice—for instance the practice of raising calves in confinement in low light—would often be manifested two generations in the future–that offspring from these calves two generations into the future would be less productive and healthy, due to this earlier treatment of the calves. A highly mechanistic society with narrow criteria for evaluating outcomes can come up with a justification for almost any practice.

So many practices/movements/trends seem mostly knowable through buzz words, data and graphs generated out of agendas by wealthy funders and savvy marketers. Even though the Angelic Organics web site uses some buzz words similar to those I indicate above, at least, you can easily investigate us further–read Farm News, visit on a Field Day, help with a pack—and get to know your farm personally and truly, not just as an idea or a concept.

Overheard, Farm News, Week 4, 1997
Farmer John (to Daniel, owner of a Rockford hair salon): “Angelic Organics is a fine name–I’m basically happy with it. But people often don’t get it right. They call it Angelic, or Angelics, or Angelica, or Angelic Farm. They just wouldn’t do that with your salon. You have the perfect name for your salon. It just rivets in your memory. No one would call your salon Buzzy or Buzzy’s or Buzz Off or Buzzy Wuzzy. It’s just impossible to get it wrong. It’s Buzz, no mistaking it–Buzz.”

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Each box costs the farm over $1.50. We appreciate getting them back so we can re-use them. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly, and then the box bottom might later burst open with fresh, organic local produce heading towards the floor. Please carefully flatten your box and return it to your delivery site. If you receive home delivery, place it in the location where your box is delivered.

Let us Know
Let our office know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box at email hidden JavaScript is required . Please note the week and day of delivery, your site, when you picked up your box, and any comments about your box.


Actress Martha Stewart Passes Away at Age 98

Famous actress and singer, Martha Stewart, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98, her daughter Colleen Shelley revealed in a Twitter post.

Shelley informed the public of her mother’s passing on Wednesday. In her Twitter post, she includes a lobby card from the noir classic, In a Lonely Place, alongside star actor Humphrey Bogart.

“The original Martha Stewart left us yesterday,” Shelley wrote on Twitter. “She had a new part to play in a movie with all her heavenly friends. She went off peacefully surrounded by her family and cat. Martha Ruth Haworth aka Martha Stewart 10-07-1922 – 02-17-2021 she had a good run. Fare thee well Mommy.”

Martha Stewart made appearances in just a few movies between 1945 and 1964. One of her husbands was singer and comedian Joe E. Lewis in the 1940s. She was also married to actors George O’Hanlon (the voice of George Jetson in cartoons) and David Shelley.

Her son, blues rock guitarist David Shelley Jr., unfortunately passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer.

Stewart is perhaps best known for her role as Mildred Atkinson in In a Lonely Place alongside Bogart. She portrayed an impressionable hat check girl whom Bogart’s screenwriter is suspected of murdering. However, she was also quite popular opposite Joan Crawford in the musical Daisy Kenyon. She plays the friend of Crawford’s artist character.

Acting Career of Martha Stewart

Born in Kentucky on October 7, 1922, Martha Stewart (formerly Haworth) and her family moved to Brooklyn when she was young. She went on to get her start singing on NBC radio programs. And thanks to an engagement at the famous Stork Club in Manhattan, she caught the eye of a Hollywood talent scout.

Shortly thereafter she began her acting career. Her first film appearance was in the 1945 movie Doll Face. The next year she starred in Johnny Comes Flying Home, an adventure film about pilots starting an aviation company after World War II.

She then got more involved with musicals. In 1947 she starred in the musical I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now and, of course, Daisy Kenyon. Stewart’s other movie appearances include Convicted (1950), Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (1952), and Surf Party (1964). And finally, in 1950 was her role as Atkinson in In a Lonely Place, which is perhaps what most people know her from.


Craft Beer, Community and Creativity: An Interview with Locally Brewed Author Anna Blessing

In the introduction to Locally Brewed: Portraits of Craft Breweries from America's Heartland, author and photographer Anna Blessing writes that she wants "to tell the story of the people behind the beer." She provides glimpses of 20 Midwestern craft breweries and their oft-tattooed brewers, their music, their humble beginnings and cult-like followings. These breweries make anything from lagers to sours, from beers inspired by Latin America to beers inspired by candy bars.

They represent a sliver of an industry that has continued to grow while the overall U.S. beer industry has declined. This is an exciting time for craft beer, especially in the Chicago-area where there is no shortage of something new and creative to try. Even the neighborhood grocery stores and Targets stock some of the beers noted in Locally Brewed. I spoke with Anna Blessing on the phone about what she discovered while writing and interviewing for Locally Brewed and of course, about what she likes to drink.

Beer Tue Mar 25 2014


October 29

Virtual Event

October 29 marks the 10th outing of Voices from the Kitchen, nonprofit food business incubator La Cocina’s storytelling event focused on underrepresented stories within the food community. Typically, this is a ticketed fundraiser, but this time around, it’ll be broadcast for free to anyone who RSVPs via YouTube. Participants this year include Filipino catering company Sariwa founder Aileen Suzara, writer Jennifer 8. Lee, and the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino. You can learn more about the full event here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat and Drink

After months of few to no activity choices, this weekend offers too many options to choose from: With Halloween on Saturday and the tail end of SF Restaurant Week, there are loads of new food and drink experiences to be had. For example, there’s a socially distant pub crawl in Bernal Heights Saturday night, with stops at spots like Old Devil Moon, an occult themed-bar with distinctly Halloween-y cocktails. Or there’s Mahila’s three course Restaurant Week deal, which offers chef Azalina Eusope’s dinner menu of Malaysian dishes like tamarind makrut wings, mee mamak turmeric noodles and shrimp, and kaya pie filled with coconut jam, for $40. (You can even mash up the two events at Canela, which as part of SFRW is serving a Halloween special of “go for the jugular” gazpacho, ink-black paella, mummified beef tenderloin, and “trick or treat” bread pudding.) You can get the scoop on all the best Halloween treats here, and see our guide to the final days of Restaurant Week here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Read

Fall is peak season for cozy cookbooks, and this writer just can’t stop staring at the many layers of the new Baking at the 20th Century Cafe Cookbook. It’s the first cookbook from 20th Century Cafe, the retro-fabulous corner bakery in Hayes Valley. Pastry chef Michelle specializes in old-world European pastries, inspired by the grand cafe tradition in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. And her first book is a serious treat for the cake ambitious, with detailed recipes for sachertorte, dobos torta, and the iconic honey cake. Check out our full review with all of the dreamy cake photos, then stop by a local bookshop to nab a copy. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

The new Charmed series isn’t too disappointing, if you’re looking for something witchy to binge this Halloween weekend, while distracting from canceled parties. Upsettingly, it is no longer set in San Francisco, like the original. But other updates are refreshing — clearly, the CW is making an effort to be more diverse. The three sisters are now Latina, two are Afro-Latina, and one is queer (although the show has taken some heat for only casting one Latina actress). They still “accidentally” make out with demons and mentors, while kickboxing in boots and vanquishing the powers of evil. But my editor would like to back up this conversation, because for fans of the original, we still have questions. How is it that three women in their twenties afforded a Victorian in San Francisco? Perhaps even less plausible, do you remember how Piper was a chef at a restaurant called Quake, before opening a club called P3? In real life, isn’t it remarkable how actress Rose McGowan was one of the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein, and costar Alyssa Milano made the #MeToo hashtag go viral? Haters can hate, but I still wish Alyssa Milano was actually a witch, and Charmed still kicks demon ass. — Becky Duffett, reporter


My favorite quarantine recipes Part VII

Week 7? That’s it? I’m just getting started over here! Say hello to a bunch of keeper recipes making their 2020 reprises. Here’s how this works: if we both like a new dish, it gets labeled a “keeper”. But if we find it a bit “meh”, we never mention it again.

SUNDAY

There are 2 fundamental issues with turkey meatloaf: it’s either too dry or too dry. This recipe uses rolled oats (yes, you read that correctly) which helps keep it moist and fluffy, and I took the liberty of doubling the tomato glaze ingredients, and so as God is your witness, you’ll never have to endure a dry loaf again.

TURKEY MEATLOAF

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch baking soda
  • ½ onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 pounds 85 or 93 percent lean ground turkey
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tblspn cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

Do not use 99 percent lean ground turkey in this recipe it will make a dry meatloaf. Three tablespoons of rolled oats, chopped fine, can be substituted for the quick oats do not use steel-cut oats.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line wire rack with aluminum foil and set in rimmed baking sheet. Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over low heat. Stir baking soda into melted butter. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire and continue to cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute longer. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl and set aside. Combine oats, cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in second bowl.

Whisk all the glaze ingredients in saucepan until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes set aside.

Stir egg yolks and mustard into cooled onion mixture until well combined. Add turkey, Parmesan, parsley, and oat mixture using your hands, mix until well combined. Transfer turkey mixture to center of prepared rack. Using your wet hands, shape into 9 by 5-inch loaf. Using pastry brush, spread half of glaze evenly over top and sides of meatloaf. Bake meatloaf for 40 minutes.

Brush remaining glaze onto top and sides of meatloaf and continue to bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Let meatloaf cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 6.

MONDAY

If you asked anyone what their favorite Peruvian dish was, they’d either say Ceviche or Lomo Saltado. Actually, to be fair, there are several dozen famous Peruvian specialties, but Lomo Saltado is without question the most popular standout. And this version (which is my own concoction) consists a stir fry of tender Beef filet chunks amid a drop-dead delectably dark and rich saucy sauce. I prefer my crispy French fries on top rather than mixing them in and getting them all soggy, but that’s up to the eater. Oh, and in case you’re wondering – the crema is literally the cream on top!

LOMO SALTADO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tsps cumin
  • 2 tsps ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef au jus, or hearty beef stock
  • 2 tblspn rice vinegar
  • 3 tblspn sodium-reduced soy sauce
  • 2 tblspn oyster sauce
  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 1 – 2 tblspn canola oil
  • 1 1/2lb beef tenderloin steak, cut into bite-sized chunks.
  • 1 red onion, cut into strips lengthwise
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • French fries

DIRECTIONS

Season the steak with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Blend the crema ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate while cooking the rest of the meal.
Pour a small amount of oil in a wok & turn on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the steak & cook until brown. Set aside. Add the onions to the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, jalapeño, peppers, cilantro, & marinade to the wok, slowly stirring until well blended. Simmer for 4 more minutes. Add back the steak and toss to heat through.
Serve in a large platter, top with hot french fries and scallions, and a drizzle of the topping sauce. Serves 4.

TUESDAY

The 2 reasons why so few people dare to make Pad Thai at home is because it all happens faster than the Kentucky Derby which requires flawless preparation, and you need a bunch of fairly specific ingredients. Thanks to the good people at America’s Test Kitchen who have come up with a recipe that not only works well and tastes amazing, but the only tricky-to-find ingredient on the list is Tamarind juice concentrate.

PAD THAI

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 2 radishes, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
  • 8oz rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, separated
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate
  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined with tails attached
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts minced, dark green parts cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped coarse
  • Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Combine vinegar and chile in bowl and let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in small bowl. Microwave until steaming, about 30 seconds. Add radishes and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then let soak until noodles are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through soaking. Drain noodles and soak in cold water. Drain noodles well, then toss with 2 teaspoons oil.

Combine fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, and 3 tablespoons sugar in bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set sauce aside.

Remove tails from 4 shrimp. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss shrimp pieces with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Arrange pieces in single layer on large plate and microwave at 50 percent power until shrimp are dried and have reduced in size by half, 4 to 5 minutes. (Check halfway through microwaving and separate any pieces that may have stuck together.)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add dried shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add minced scallions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl with dried shrimp.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add remaining whole shrimp and spread into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until shrimp turn opaque and brown around edges, 2 to 3 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Push shrimp to sides of skillet. Add 2 teaspoons oil to center, then add eggs to center. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to bowl with scallion-garlic mixture and dried shrimp.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add noodles and sauce and toss with tongs to coat. Cook, stirring and tossing often, until noodles are tender and have absorbed sauce, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer noodles to bowl with shrimp mixture. Add 2 teaspoons chile vinegar, drained radishes, scallion greens, and bean sprouts and toss to combine.

Transfer to platter and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges and remaining chile vinegar separately. Serves 2 – 3.

WEDNESDAY

There are a few locations in Manhattan where street food vendors have been shoveling chicken shawarma into tin-foil plates for hordes of midtown tie-wearers – who will gladly stand in line for most of their lunch breaks. I’m often tempted to join the line when I catch a whiff of the most drool-inducing middle-eastern flavors, but in the back of my mind I can’t get over the fact that it’s still…well…street meat. Below is literally the same recipe but made in safety of your own kitchen. (And you’ll notice that New York City pigeon poop and taxi cab exhaust are not on the ingredients list!)

CHICKEN SHAWARMA

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Red-pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into bite sized pieces.
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • To serve (all optional):
  • Pita bread
  • Tahina sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Olives
  • Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Feta

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare a marinade for the chicken. Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red-pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken, and toss well to coat. Cover, and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. (Line with tin foil if desired). Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken from the marinade (leaving the onion behind), and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.

3. Put the chicken in the oven, and roast for 10 minutes. Remove any liquid that might have been released. Add the onions and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes until the chicken is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes.
Scatter the parsley and remaining olive oil over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita, white sauce, hot sauce, olives, fried eggplant, feta, rice — really anything you desire. Serves 4.

THURSDAY

Remember last week’s 10-hour Marinara sauce? Well, I’m still summoning the left-overs for double duty – and in this case they became the most amazing tomato base for our home-made pizzas. (This was supposed to be veggie night, but something happened.)

HOME-MADE PIZZA’S

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces) (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • Any other toppings

DIRECTIONS

In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.

Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

One hour before baking pizza, adjust oven rack to second highest position (rack should be about 4 to 5 inches below broiler), set pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 3 equal balls. Shape each into a smooth, tight ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray let stand for 1 hour.

Only use 1 tablespoon flour directly onto the peel. Discard any extra flour. Holding with the palm of your hand, grab the edges and pull outwards in a circle until the dough covers the peel’s surface. Using back of spoon or ladle, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in thin layer over surface of dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan evenly over sauce, followed by 1 cup mozzarella. Slide pizza carefully onto stone and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pizza halfway through. Remove pizza and place on wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat step 5 to shape, top, and bake second pizza. Serves 3 – 4.

FRIDAY

I dare you to try and hold a conversation while eating these ridiculously tasty, crunchy, fragrant and ever so irresistible beef tacos.

Tacos Dorados (Crispy Tacos)

TACOS DORADOS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tblspn water
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 12oz 90 percent lean ground beef
  • 7 tblspn vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 ½ tblspn chili powder
  • 1 ½ tblspn paprika
  • 1 ½ tblspn ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt
  • 2 tblspn tomato paste
  • 2oz cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Sour cream
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • Hot sauce

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine water and baking soda in large bowl. Add beef and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook until paste is rust-colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beef mixture and cook, using wooden spoon to break meat into pieces no larger than ¼ inch, until beef is no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef mixture to bowl stir in cheddar until cheese has melted and mixture is homogeneous. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

Thoroughly brush both sides of tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange tortillas, overlapping, on rimmed baking sheet in 2 rows (6 tortillas each). Bake until tortillas are warm and pliable, about 5 minutes. Remove tortillas from oven and reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees.

Place 2 tablespoons filling on 1 side of 1 tortilla. Fold and press to close tortilla (edges will be open, but tortilla will remain folded). Repeat with remaining tortillas and remaining filling. (At this point, filled tortillas can be covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.)

Set wire rack in second rimmed baking sheet and line rack with double layer of paper towels. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Arrange 6 tacos in skillet with open sides facing away from you. Cook, adjusting heat so oil actively sizzles and bubbles appear around edges of tacos, until tacos are crispy and deeply browned on 1 side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs and thin spatula, carefully flip tacos. Cook until deeply browned on second side, 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary.

Remove skillet from heat and transfer tacos to prepared wire rack. Blot tops of tacos with double layer of paper towels. Place sheet with fried tacos in oven to keep warm. Return skillet to medium-high heat and cook remaining tacos. Serve tacos immediately, passing extra cheddar, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, jalapeños, and hot sauce separately.

SATURDAY

There’s absolutely nothing exotic about shrimp toast, other than the way they taste. Here is a super easy, fool proof appetizer or cocktail party snack that will cause a sensation. And forget the gooey, sticky dipping sauce. These tasty triangles are just perfect as they are.

SHRIMP TOAST

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp-shelled, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the baking sheet
  • 20 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a food processor, combine the scallions, mint, garlic, pepper, coriander and salt pulse to mix. Add the shrimp and process to a thick paste. Add the eggs, sesame oil and chili-garlic sauce and process for 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp paste to a bowl.

Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. Stack the bread slices and cut them into 3-inch squares, cutting off the crusts. Spread the bread with the shrimp paste and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Cut each square diagonally in half and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the shrimp toast in the middle and upper third of the oven for about 10 minutes, until the topping is cooked through switch the pans halfway through baking.
Turn on the broiler. Working with one sheet at a time, broil the shrimp toasts 6 inches from the heat for about 2 – 4 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Transfer the toasts to a platter and serve immediately.

BONUS RECIPE

Ok, so while I might be the very last person in lockdown to bake banana bread (since when did it become a COVID-prevention?), I doubt if anyone else took the trouble to save a few slices to pop into the waffle iron before smothering them with caramelized bananas for an amped-up breakfast. I didn’t think so.

Banana Bread Waffles with Caramelized Bananas

BANANA BREAD

INGREDIENTS

This is a great way to use overripe bananas. But if you have fresh bananas, let them spend a day or two in the freezer which will soften them up nicely once they thaw out.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1/4 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tspn grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9X3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, oil and lemon rind.
Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture. Stir until moistened.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 60 – 70 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the corners are slightly burned.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf and continue to cool on the rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Serves 8.

CARAMELIZED BANANAS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Remove the peels from the bananas and slice them into 1/2″ inch thick discs.

Set a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil or butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.

Add the banana slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden and caramelized. Be sure to watch the heat and turn it down if it browns too quickly. You want enough heat to caramelize and brown the slices, but you don’t want them to burn. Serve on ice- cream, oatmeal or waffles. Serves 2.



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