Friday, July 29, 2016

Grilled Shrimp Louie – Dressing Up a Classic

I don’t do a lot of salad dressing videos, since it’s pretty much just adding things to a bowl, but when that dressing is going on a grilled shrimp Louie, I’ll make an exception. By the way, this is usually done with crab, but I think the smoky, grilled shrimp are a great summertime twist.

This is my take on a classic Louie dressing, and as with all such recipes, you’ll need to taste and adjust for acid, salt, and heat. Just be sure to wait until the dressing is nice and cold before tasting. You’ll get a more accurate reading, since that’s the temperature we’re going to be serving at.

If you do grill the shrimp, don’t toss it with the oil and lemon until right before you grill. This isn’t a marinade, and we don’t want the shrimp to start “cooking” in the acid. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 1 3/4 cups:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 packed teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

For the grilled shrimp:
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Next Up: Something with Grilled Shrimp

Just a little heads-up that Friday's post will be up a little later in the day than usual, due to a sudden and unusual problem with my camera. My Canon T3i just started giving me "Movie recording has been stopped automatically" error messages after a few seconds of filming, and I wasn't able to finish the video. Apparently, I need a faster card, which is weird since this one has been working for months. I know shockingly little about cameras, so if you have any additional info, or advice, please share. Thank you, and stay tuned!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grilled Mojo Beef – Rhymes with “Everybody Say Ho!”

I got a request for a Cuban-style mojo marinade recently, which sounded like something I’d enjoy making, but to be honest I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. I knew I was probably pronouncing it wrong, but other than that, I couldn’t remember having it anywhere.

I’d seen “mojo” sauces before, but they were at Spanish restaurants, and seemed to be chili-based; so I did a little of research, and of course, every single recipe I looked at was different. They all had garlic, citrus, and olive oil, but after that, the spices and seasonings varied greatly. So, this is basically a composite of what I saw, and it really came out well.

I think this would work great as an all-purpose marinade for just about any thing destined for the grill, but as I mentioned in the video, skirt steak would be my top choice.  Unless horribly overcooked, it always comes out juicy, and tender, as long as you slice it across the grain.  It also tends to really soak in the flavors of the marinade quite well, which I believe is due to it being such a well-marbled cut.

Once again, please excuse my makeshift brick grill, but I’m happy to report there’s help on the way.  So stay tuned for me to show that off soon, but in the meantime I really hope you get this delicious Cuban inspired mojo marinade a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 pounds beef skirt steak, cut into smaller pieces
1 large navel orange, juiced
3 limes, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6-8 cloves garlic, finely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
extra lime wedges

Friday, July 22, 2016

How to Make Sushi Rice That Even Works for Sushi

I don’t make sushi at home very often, or ever, since we’re surrounded by top-notch sushi chefs here in San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make sushi rice. I think sushi rice makes a perfect side dish for just about any grilled meat, and since it’s perfectly fine at room temperature, it’s great for picnics.

You can even turn it into some quick tortilla-less tacos using nori seaweed wraps, as seen in the video. They make for such a unique summer meal – the perfect delivery system for any and all leftovers. I even seen it rolled into balls, and tossed in toasted sesame seeds, or seaweed, and served like truffles.

What I’m trying to say is, you can do a lot with this stuff. Including sushi. There are thousands of videos on YouTube showing how to make literally every type of sushi in existence, so check those out if you’re so inclined. Maybe one of these days I’ll even give it a go, if only for the “constructive criticism.”  I really hope you give this sushi rice technique a try soon.  Enjoy!


2 cups sushi rice, rinsed well, and left to dry for one hour
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 to 1/3 cup seasoned *rice vinegar, or to taste

* I buy mine already seasoned, but to make your own seasoned rice vinegar; combine:
1 cup rice vinegar, or cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons kosher salt

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This Tuna Poke is No Joke

There are many of foods I’ll stand in line for, and/or pay too much for, but Hawaiian-style tuna poke isn’t one of them. I can’t make a world-class croissant at home. I can make a decent one, but not a perfect one, so I’ll happily queue up at a boulangerie that does.

However, when it comes to poke, the technique is so basic that even the most inexperienced cooks can get something pretty much identical to what they’d get out. There’s one catch though. You have to use only the freshest possible tuna, even if that means it’s frozen.

Hopefully you’ll be able to get a hold of some fresh, sushi-grade tuna, but if you can’t, frozen will work. What many people don’t realize, is that most of the fish they enjoy at their favorite sushi restaurants has actually been frozen beforehand anyway. Google it, it’s true.

So, as long as the tuna is Grade A, or sushi grade, the frozen variety will work. Above and beyond that, all the other ingredients, except for the soy sauce, are optional. So, please use this video as merely a guide to the technique, understanding that this will work with so many different ingredients. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 portions Tuna Poke:
1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna (aka yellowfin), cut into about 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup high-quality soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons roasted macadamia nuts, crushed
1 tablespoon finely crumbled dried seaweed
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Other delicious additions include (add to finished poke, not the marinade, otherwise you may lose that gorgeous appearance):
- seasoned rice vinegar
- lemon or lime juice

* Toss tuna with marinade, and chill for 2 hours in the fridge before serving.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nashville Hot Chicken – Yes Cayenne

It’s not often I reduce the amount of cayenne in a recipe, but that’s the case with this striking, and intensely spiced Nashville hot chicken. If you’ve never had it, we’re talking about an ultra-crispy fried chicken, doused with a cayenne-infused glaze, and by “glaze” I mean melted butter and lard.

It sounds crazy, but it's basically like being able to put lots of hot sauce on fried chicken, without it getting soggy. For the record, I’ve never been to Nashville, so I can’t tell you how authentic this is, but it works for me, and is fairly easy to pull off. 

By the way, do yourself a favor, and toss the chicken with a tablespoon of kosher salt the night before you fry, and you’ll get a nicely seasoned, moister bird.

You can cut up a whole chicken, or just buy a package of leg sections, which work great in this recipe. If you want to see how to cut up a chicken, check out this old buttermilk fried chicken video. I cut the breasts in half in that one, but the technique is the same. I really hope you give this amazing fried chicken recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for Nashville Hot Chicken:

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, tossed with 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and refrigerated overnight.
For the marinade:
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup pickle brine
2 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 large egg

For the flour:
2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons fine table salt or 4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the sauce:
1/4 cup lard
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

- Heat oil to 350 F. and maintain temp of 325 F. during frying. Cook to at least 160 internal temp.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Just Corn Soup – Finally, Less is More!

This is one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy fresh, summer corn, and a great lesson in just how little help these sweet ears need. If you’re using perfect, peak season ears, a little butter, salt and pepper is really all you need. And no, water never counts.

In case you’re wondering why we blended half the corn at the beginning, even though we were going to blend it at the end anyway, I have a great reason for that. The first time I made this soup, it came out so perfectly delicious that I’m now afraid to change the steps.

I blended the corn, and started cooking; not knowing it would look so terrible and broken. It tasted amazing, but looked like a horrible mistake, so I ended up giving it a little blitz with the stick blender. That did the trick, and I had something that looked as gorgeous as it tasted.

Would it taste the same if you simmered the corn in the water, and then blended it all at the end? I’m not sure, but my instincts say no. By the way, if you don’t have a stick blender, you’ll have to carefully puree about half the soup in a blender (in batches if necessary), and then add it back in. I really hope you give this amazing corn soup a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 small portions:
3 cups packed fresh sweet white corn kernels (about 3-4 ears)
3 cups cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
generously season with salt
cayenne to taste

Next Up: Something with Corn

Due to yesterday being my birthday, and my refusing to work on that day, this week's first video will be slightly delayed. It should be up later this evening, or tomorrow morning at the latest. Stay tuned! 


Friday, July 8, 2016

Basil Ricotta Gnocchi – The Other (Better?) Gnocchi

One of these days, I’ll do a proper potato-based gnocchi video, but it’s hard for me, since I enjoy this style so much more. Sure, once in a while, with the help of perfectly cooked potatoes, and trusty ricer, you’ll nail the classic technique, and achieve beautifully light, tender dumplings; but, that’s how these come out every time. Besides, I’m pretty sure since these don’t use potato, or as much flour, we get to call these “low-carb,” which is nice. 

Anyway, the point is these are easy to pull off, and great for a dinner party, since you can shape/boil your gnocchi ahead of time, and then simply brown them up in some butter when you’re ready to serve.

I tend to keep the plating fairly basic for these, but any of your favorite pasta sauces should work. They're great as a main course, especially if you accessorize with some seasonal vegetables, but "as is," they also make for a stellar side dish, or first course. I really hope you give this basil ricotta gnocchi recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Portions Basil Ricotta Gnocchi:
12-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese (1 1/2 cups), *drained well
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, blanched in boiling water
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 not-packed cup)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 unsalted butter for optional browning

Note: Cook a test piece of dough in salted water, and check for seasoning. Add more salt if needed

*My fancy basket ricotta tends to be low-moisture, so if you’re using the much wetter supermarket brands, be sure to drain in a strainer in the fridge for a few
hours to allow the excess water to drip out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Tale of Two Salts

I’ve been promising to do this video for a long time, since not understanding the difference between regular fine table salt, and kosher salt in a recipe, can cause all sorts of mayhem when cooking. 

Since chefs use kosher salt almost exclusively, and write many of the recipes you see online, that’s the type most often used. When you combine that with the fact that most home cooks typically use fine salt, there’s going to be issues.

Basically, if it’s not a recipe you can season “to taste,” and you’re using fine salt for a recipe that calls for kosher, then you’ll want to use about half the amount. Of course, it would be nice if every recipe were written in weight, but that’s not about to happen, and besides, there are already a trillion recipes out there.

So, why do chefs like kosher salt so much? It’s easier to handle, and doesn’t clump like fine salt. That’s big in a moist kitchen. It’s also nicer looking when finishing plates, as you can actually see the flaky crystals. Lastly, it’s a textural thing, providing a little crunch on occasion. By the way, there are different kosher salts, and other coarse salts on the market, but you can find all kinds of conversions online to fine salt. Good luck, and as always, enjoy!

xx

Friday, July 1, 2016

Cantaloupe Cayenne Sorbet – Hot and Cold

I think this is the first video in the history of Food Wishes to contain the word “Cayenne” in the title, and we have Humphry Slocombe to thank for that.

Humphry Slocombe is one of San Francisco’s top ice cream makers, and certainly its most creative; so when I saw something called, “Cantaloupe Cayenne Sorbet,” on their menu board, I knew I had to get the recipe.

My plan was to find out where their employees drink after work, buy a few rounds of shots (Jagermeister, of course), and somehow get it out of one of them. Unfortunately, I discovered the recipe had been published all over the Internet, so I never did get to do the shots thing, but the point is I found the recipe.

The vodka in this is optional, but I think it makes for a better sorbet. As anyone who has a bottle in the freezer can tell you, vodka doesn’t freeze like water does, so it helps create a smoother texture, or so they say. And by “they,” I mean Alton Brown, who was first person I saw do this. Whether you use the booze or not, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes just over a quart of Cantaloupe Cayenne Sorbet:
*Recipe slightly adapted from one found in Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book 
1 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded cantaloupe or any sweet, ripe melon (about 4 1/2 cups packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this was pretty spicy, so add less if you’re scared)