Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Marinades on AM Northwest

Watch my newest cookbook Marinades in action in my recent AM Northwest appearance! I demo the Lapsang Souchong Marinade. Wish you could smell that lovely smokiness!

Want more Marinades? Visit HCP Dishes! for the lowdown on the book and the Shiitake-Soy Marinade recipe and HamptonRoads.com for the Arugula Marinade and Achiote Marinade recipes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Cut a Soft-Boiled Egg in Half

Have you ever gone out for a bowl of ramen and wondered how they manage to cut the soft-boiled egg in half without making a mess of the yolk? The question has certainly crossed my mind, so I seized an opportunity to ask a waiter at a local izakaya. He explained that it’s done with either dental floss or fishing line. Brilliant! But the problem is I use mint-flavored floss and I don’t fish. Besides that, the line would have to be held under tension, and I have neither a third hand nor the desire to drive a nail into my counter to secure the end of it. There must be another solution!

Enter the cheese harp, a handy little tool used for cutting soft cheeses.

Turns out it’ll do a bang-up job on bries and blues and soft-boiled eggs too.

Not a drop of yolk is spilled to mar the white, which makes for a smart-looking presentation.

So there you have it, a cheese harp is the secret to making a perfectly bisected soft-boiled egg to top a bowl of ramen.

Get your own cheese harp here. They’re also available from time to time at HomeGoods.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marinades Release Day!

My third cookbook Marinades hits stores today!

I can hardly contain my excitement! With this book, I’m out to prove that marinades are the secret to getting amazing dinners on the table every day. From the introduction:

Wouldn’t you love knowing at the end of a busy day that something delicious and homemade is already started for dinner?

Well, with the investment of just the few minutes it takes to blend a handful of ingredients into a marinade, you can have just that. While you’re out making the most of your day, doing absolutely anything but worrying about what’s for dinner, your chicken breasts, steaks, or chops are hard at work absorbing tons of delicious flavor. Dinner practically cooks itself; you just have to move it to the grill. It’s that easy. It’s that quick. It’s that delicious, and there’s that much variety.

Could this be real? Wouldn’t it be easier to just have takeout? Trust me when I say that marinades are the ultimate in convenience cooking. And yet the flavors are bold and vibrant, as if you slaved all day. Just give it a go for one dinner, and you’ll find yourself making marinated meals night after night and feeling very clever doing it.

The book has a whopping 400 recipes! There are 200 different marinade recipes, and each one is accompanied by an additional recipe showcasing a way to use the marinade to make a complete meal. Other suggested uses are listed as well for more inspiration.

Recipes cover the gamut of cooking techniques from braising to frying to smoking. As you might expect many recipes are for grilling, which is perfect now that the season for outdoor cooking is here. Here’s a little sampling of what you’ll find inside the pages…

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Asian Plum Marinade.

Chicken and duck are also recommended with this marinade.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with All-Purpose Tex-Mex Marinade.

This is one of my all-time favorites. I use these chicken breasts to make everything from fajitas and quesadillas to tortilla soup to chicken clubs and chicken Caesars. Other suggested uses for this marinade are steaks, fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops.

Grilled Lamb Rib Chops with Curry Marinade.

Chicken, pork, and shrimp are also recommended with this marinade.

Aside from the tantalizing recipes, perhaps what I love most about this book is how user friendly and versatile it is. Tools and marination times are highlighted in recipes in order to give you a sense of how involved they are and how far in advance to get started. A majority of the recipes are for what I call “blend-in-the-bag” marinades: ingredients are measured right into a large zip-top bag and then the food to be marinated is thrown in, making both preparation and cleanup a snap. An Index of Marinade Recipes and an Index of Suggested Use Recipes make it easy to navigate the book whether you’re in the mood for a marinade with rosemary or if you’ve picked up pork chops on special at the market.

I’m proud to say reviewers are enthusiastic about Marinades. LibraryJournal recommends it for “frequent grillers and protein eaters”, and ForeWord Reviews declares, “Home cooks who use this book will be enlightened and invigorated by the possibilities of such a wide variety of ingredients.” Publishers Weekly calls it a “snappy tome…out to prove that an herb or spice soak is more than a flavoring for meat—it’s also a means for simplifying cooking”. Reader reviews on Amazon are equally positive. Perhaps the highest praise is that Kitchen Arts & Letters deemed Marinades worthy of inclusion in their newsletter.

Want more Marinades? Watch me demonstrate a recipe from the book on AM Northwest this Friday between 9:20AM and 9:40AM. Then on Sunday, May 4, join me at the Portland Williams-Sonoma for a demo and tasting.

I may be biased, but I think you’ll find the recipes in Marinades to be inspiring and delicious as well as simple and easy to use. I truly hope you love this book as much as I do!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fresh from the Farmers Market: Dandelion Greens

Now that spring is in full swing the farmers market is up and running again, and there’s no better place to be. The lush, vibrant produce is so inspiring after the long winter.

If these displays don’t make you get excited about cooking and eating your vegetables, then nothing will.

Of course, there are sweets there too to tempt you as you load up on the healthy stuff.

Eat your vegetables and you earn your dessert, right?

Believe it or not though, I’m drawn to the greens more than the sweets this time. The rainbow of greens.

This day my basked is filled with eggs, kale, chard, arugula, broccoli raab, dandelion greens, red radishes, daikon radishes, a chuck-eye steak, and a pork rib chop.

The Clio Italian dandelion greens were mislabeled puntarelle, which is what gave me the idea for this salad.

Dandelion Greens with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing & Crispy Crumbs
Printable Recipe

1 1-pound bunch young dandelion greens, chopped
3 ounces sourdough bread, torn into pieces
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 anchovy fillets, minced
Freshly ground black pepper

Soak the dandelion greens in a large bowl of ice-cold water for 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pulse the bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Toss together the breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons of the oil in a small bowl, making sure that the breadcrumbs are evenly coated. Stir in the Parmegiano and a generous pinch of salt. Spread on a baking tray and bake, stirring once or twice, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and anchovies in a small bowl. Continue whisking while adding the remaining 1/3 cup oil in a thin stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the dandelion greens and dry in a salad spinner. Toss together the dandelion greens and dressing in a large bowl and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the salad on individual plates, divide the breadcrumbs among them, and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side salad. This recipe was inspired by the classic Roman puntarelle salad with anchovy dressing. Italian dandelion, like puntarelle and other chicories, has a pleasantly bitter flavor. Use young dandelion greens for this salad and other raw applications as they are relatively tender and sweet. Soaking the dandelion greens in ice water, though not absolutely necessary, leeches out excess bitterness and makes them crisp and succulent.
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