Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Horchata – No Tigers Were Harmed in the Making of this Drink

When it comes to delicious, unique, and refreshing summer drinks, it’s hard to beat horchata. There are countless ways to make this, but my preferred method is easy, relatively quick, and doesn’t require any tigernuts, whatever those are.

Apparently, that’s what the original Spanish version contained, among other things, but we’re doing a Mexican-style horchata, which is done with rice and almonds. The result is something that sort of looks like milk, but is much lighter, and pairs perfectly with all your favorite summer foods. I know, summer’s almost over, but not here in San Francisco, where our hottest weather is just ahead.

Depending on your tastes, you can alter the amount of sugar, as well as the ratio between rice and almonds, but what you can’t alter is the need to strain this before serving. Unless you like gritty drinks, you’ll want to pass this through a very, very five sieve, multiple layers of cheesecloth, or both. I hear a plain white, cotton t-shirt also works nicely, but I’ve never tried.

As you saw, I tested a nut milk bag, which allowed a little too much sediment through for my tastes, but regardless, do not skip this step. It’s especially important if you’re not leaving the mixture to sit overnight, since the particles won’t have as long to soften. Other than that, there’s not much that can go wrong, and I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 2 quarts of Horchata:
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 cinnamon stick, or 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
7 cups cold fresh water (4 cups to blend rice, 3 cups added after)
ground cinnamon to garnish, optional

Note: Once blended, let sit overnight before straining, if possible. This way the water has plenty of time to leach out the goodness from the rice and almonds. The four-hour method does work, but you don't get quite the same flavor. Along the same lines, many horchata "experts" actually prefer to not blend immediately, but rather let the mixture sit overnight to soften, before blending the next day. If you like how this comes out, feel free to experiment, and test for yourself.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Rigatoni al Segreto – Dinner and a Movie

This Rigatoni al Segreto recipe was the most closely guarded secret at Gino’s, one of New York City’s most famous Italian restaurants. It was as legendary, as their signature zebra-print wallpaper, and it won awards as the best red sauce in town. 

While there were rumors that the secret ingredient was butter, no one really knew for sure. Once the restaurant closed in 2010, the recipe got out, and indeed, the butter legend was confirmed. Having never been there, I was excited to try it, but there was a big problem. Actually, a small problem. The recipe called for just a half-tablespoon of butter. Regulars knew this couldn’t be right, and so the recipe remained a mystery. Was it a typo? Was the old chef just trolling people?

We may never have known; had it not been for a documentary called, “The Missing Ingredient.” It’s a great film, but despite the name, it’s not about the butter. However, there’s a scene near the end, where the old chef makes this pasta for the filmmaker, and it shows how much butter goes in.

He made a much larger amount than the published version, but I concluded that it was a typo, and should’ve been half a stick of butter. So, not only am I recommending that you make this delicious sauce, but I also really hope you checkout the movie soon (it’s on Netflix). Enjoy!


Ingredients for four small or two large portions:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 or 3 cloves crushed garlic
a pinch of red pepper flakes (not in original recipe)
1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes, blended smooth
1/2 cup water to rinse out the can of tomatoes
Small handful of basil leaves, left whole or sliced just before adding
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1.5 oz by weight), plus more to top
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
*8 ounces dry rigatoni

* This recipe probably makes enough sauce to coat 12 oz of pasta, but I like lots of sauce.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Building a Better Sausage Roll One Bite at a Time

I used to work for a caterer back in the 80’s, and sausage rolls were one of our signature appetizers. I loved them, the guests loved them, and so it never occurred to me that there was another, vastly superior, way to make them.

We used to bake the rolls first, and then cut them into bite-sized pieces, but years later I tried doing the reverse, and was stunned by how much better they were. The biggest challenge with sausage rolls, is avoiding undercooked dough, which is significantly easier when you bake the bite-size pieces, instead of the larger logs.

This method does take more work, but not that much more, and the crispier results more than make it worthwhile. Above and beyond the cut then bake method, the other way to make a better sausage roll, is to make your own sausage filling, as we’ve done here.

If time is tight, go ahead and just take some prepared sausage out of the casings,  and use that, but by making your own, not only do you get to season it anyway you want,  but you also know exactly what you’re eating,  which is not necessarily the case with store-bought sausage. Either way, whether for an indoor party, or outdoor picnic, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 16 Sausage Rolls:
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
1 sheet prepared puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm’s brand, which is probably the one you’ll find in the market)
1 large egg beaten with a teaspoon of water
sesame seeds to garnish

Monday, August 7, 2017

Oh Yeah, I’m on Vacation!

I must have been so excited about going over 2 million subscribers on YouTube that I completely forgot to publish the traditional, “Chef John is Vacation” post. 

Okay, that’s probably not the actual reason, but I did want to mention it. Hard to believe we have that many people following the channel, and that’s without the help of any Russian bots. Anyway, I’m on break this week as well, but will be back at it next week with two brand new videos. Stay tuned!

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Spanish Octopus – Now 100% Trick Free

I’ve never been to Spain, so to what extent this is actually Spanish octopus, I can’t really say, but after having enjoyed this underrated seafood in more Spanish restaurants than I can remember, it has to be pretty close.

Above and beyond the ingredients, the cooking method, or should I say methods, couldn’t be easier. As long as you braise it gently on low heat, until just tender, and then give it a nice sear before serving, you should be in great shape. Which is why I’ve never understood all the crazy tips and tricks, for achieving the perfect texture.

Some say to beat it on rocks before braising, while others insist a few wine corks are the way to go. If you have one of these magical techniques, I’d love to hear about it, especially if it sounds extra nutty, but I have to admit, I am a skeptic.

You should be able to find frozen Spanish octopus at your finer markets, which is the only kind I’ve ever used, so I can’t say how much better it is fresh, but one day I would love to find out, preferably in Spain. Fresh or frozen, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for two portions:
1 pound piece Spanish octopus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup white wine
- Serve with crusty roasted potatoes

For the sauce:
About 1/3 cup reserve braising liquid (boiled, strained)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley
salt to taste
cayenne to taste

Allrecipe’s Epic Grilling Giveaway on Amazon Alexa!

I don’t do a lot of giveaways, or any giveaways, but I’m not above promoting one, especially when I’m part of the prize! Sure, my Summer Grilling Guide is a consolation prize for those who don't win a new Char Broil grill, but technically, it’s still a prize. Here is the link to enter. Good luck!
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Baklava – So Good, It’s Nuts!

Assuming you haven’t used up all your homemade filo dough already, as promised, here’s my method for building what I think is a beautiful baklava. Like lasagna, there are as many versions of this, as there are cooks who make it, but regardless of the exact ingredients, or specific number of layers, the technique is the same. 

I tend to enjoy a generous ratio between nuts and pastry, as that makes me feel a little bit better about the copious amounts of sugar in this, but above and beyond that, I think this approach produces the best texture. As I mentioned in the video, you can use as many layers of filo as you want, but be careful, since too many may not cook through, and the only way to mess this up is to undercook the dough. The top and bottom layers need to dry out, and thoroughly crisp up, otherwise, once the syrup gets ladled over, you’ll have a soggy mess.

I would start peeking at it after about 45 minutes, but it’s probably going to need closer to an hour, or even more, depending on how much “stuff” you used. Once done, and finished with the syrup, you need to let this cool down to room temp, which is incredibly hard to do. But, your patience will be rewarded with one of the most delicious things known to man. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes one 9-inch round Baklava:
*Note: I don’t know how this translate to different size pans, but I’m sure you’ll figure that out.

Ingredients:
16 sheets homemade filo/phyllo dough (or 1 package frozen filo/phyllo dough, defrosted)
1 stick (1/2-cup) melted unsalted butter
- For the syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water (or sub some orange and lemon peel)
- For the nut mixture:
2 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

- Bake at 350 F. for about 1 hour, let rest for 5 minutes, and apply syrup

Friday, July 21, 2017

Homemade Phyllo aka Filo Dough – One Step Away from Baklava

At long last, we’re finally going to post a baklava video, which I decided to make a lot harder, by making the filo dough from scratch. 

While not using the incredibly convenient, and significantly faster frozen filo dough does make this a lengthier project, it also makes it much more interesting, and way more fun.

Fair warning, I’ve only done filo a handful of times, so I’m no expert at making this, or baklava, for that matter; but the good news is, despite that, I still managed to achieve some fairly excellent results, and suspect you will as well. I’m sure with a little practice I could probably do more than five at a time, but once you get rolling, the batches go pretty quick, and each one seems to get a little better than the last.

I'll post the baklava video next week, but if you want to practice, you could make a batch, and then do search on Allrecipes for recipes that use filo. There's no shortage of amazingly delicious things to do with this paper thin dough. Stay tuned for baklava, but in the meantime, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes enough for about twenty (10 to 12 inch round) sheets of filo:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
5 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3/4 cups warm water (about 110 F.)
For the starch mixture:
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spicy Chicken Noodles – It’s The Rice That Makes It Nice

The only downside to this beautiful, spicy chicken noodles recipe is that I’m now going to get even more requests for Pad Thai that I usually do. Which is understandable, since no matter what recipe they’re used in, rice noodles are a proven crowd-pleaser.

By the way, I’ll post a recipe for pad Thai just as soon as my version comes out at least as well as the worst restaurant example in town. I’m not quite there yet. In the meantime, we can all practice our rice noodle soaking technique. As I mentioned, check the package of noodles you buy, as the time will vary depending on the size of the noodle.

I think this dish is perfect for using up leftover chicken, assuming it wasn’t horribly overcooked in the first place. If you did want to use raw chicken, go ahead and chop it up, and stir-fry it for a minute or two, before adding your vegetables. Either way, I really hope you give this spicy chicken noodles recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
8 ounces dry rice noodles, soaked in 6 cups of boiling, lightly salted water (drain and rinse before using)
8 ounces cooked chicken breast, torn
1 tablespoon sesame oil
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons hoisin
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons Sriracha, or other hot sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
For the vegetables:
1 large carrot, finely sliced or shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
2 cups finely sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro

Friday, July 14, 2017

Grilled “Tandoori” Lamb – Hold the Tandoor

Since I didn’t cook this marvelous meat in a tandoor oven, it’s not actually tandoori lamb, which will save some of you the time letting me know all the other ways it isn’t the real deal. Accepting that, these days “tandoori” simply refers to the yogurt based, aromatically spiced marinade, whether you grill, broil, or bake the meat.

As usual, please adjust the spice amounts to your tastes, since you know you much better than I do. These should get you close to your friendly neighborhood Indian joint, but still, play around. If you want to add some veggies between the pieces of meat, go ahead, but I have more success cooking them separately.

I really like lamb sirloin, and see it in the stores more often these days, but like I said in the video, leg of lamb, or a shoulder roast, are also very nice for this. If you feel like splurging, you can do lamb chops, but for those, 4 to 6 hours is plenty of time in the marinade. But, no matter which cut you use, or animal for that matter, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Marinade Ingredients for 2 to 3 pounds of lamb
2 to 3 pounds lamb sirloin, cut into about 1 1/2 to 2-inch chunks
1 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more pre-grilling
1 big juicy lemon, juiced
1/4 cup grated or very finely minced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 generous teaspoons garam masala (click here to make your own)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
chopped cilantro
fresh lemon
grilled onions
flatbread or rice
spicy cilantro chutney (I don’t have a recipe, but here’s one)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lebanese Mountain Bread – A Peak Flatbread Experience

As promised, here is my take on Lebanese Mountain Bread. There are so many reasons why I love this simple bread. There’s the unique texture, gorgeous appearance, and fun-to-make technique, but discovering this also helped me solve a culinary mystery from my childhood.

I used to spend a lot of time at my grandmothers house as a toddler, and every once an a while she would give me something called “Syrian bread,” which was made by a neighbor across the street. It was one of my earliest food memories, and at the time, probably my favorite thing to eat. It was just so much different than the sliced white bread, or crusty Italian bread I was used to eating.

However, the Syrian lady across the street must have been the only person in the area that knew how to make it, since, once she was gone, so was the bread. Over the years, I tried many versions, but I never did come across that exact same experience, and assumed it was lost to history, until I saw something online called Lebanese Mountain Bread, which looked remarkably similar.

After a few (dozen) experiments, I finally nailed it down, and was suddenly transported back to grandma’s kitchen. By the way, this might be as close to a time machine as we ever get. Fair warning, it may take a little practice stretching the dough over the bowl (or Lebanese mountain bread pillow), but your efforts will be richly rewarded, so I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 8 portions Lebanese Mountain Bread:
1/2 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
then add:
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup bread flour, plus more as needed

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Happy 5th of July!

I hope you had a great holiday, and that your food was just as impressive as the fireworks show, or visa versa. We’re going to take a few days off, so there won’t be any new videos this week, but that’ll give you time to catch up on the ones you’ve missed, as well as continue to build suspense for the upcoming Lebanese Mountain Bread video.

In related news, I’m also experimenting with a few new/old things to serve with the aforementioned, and thoroughly teased flatbread. So, stay tuned for all that, and, as always, enjoy!

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Crisp Peach Cobbler – Crispier than a Crisp, Which is Really Just a Crumble

Since we already posted a peach cobbler, I decided to do a peach crisp instead, but I wanted to do a really crispy crisp, and not the same old crumble style. 

I looked at dozens of recipes online, and came across one from the critically acclaimed, “A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus,” by Renee Erickson. I did change it up a bit, and tweaked the procedure, but that’s where the inspiration is from.

I didn’t mention it in the video, but make sure you put a pan underneath your cobbler as it bakes. I like the heat getting underneath my dish, so I placed the pan on the rack below, but this would probably be fine if you just placed the dish directly on the pan.

This technique should work with any, and all, cobbler-approved fruits, and no matter what you use, it would make a welcomed addition to anyone’s picnic or cookout. Of course, make sure you have plenty of vanilla ice cream around, preferably homemade. So, the next time you’re in possession of some perfectly ripe peaches, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
6 large peaches, cut into 8ths
zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Placed in a buttered baking dish (about 2-inches deep is perfect)
- Mine dish was 10-inches across, and holds 2 quarts

For the batter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/3 cups self-rising flour (or all-purpose flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup whole milk
For the top:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
cold water spritzed generously over the top

- Bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Grilled Flat Iron – Make the Steak, Not the Mistake

Well, at least I don’t have to type the ingredient amounts for this could’ve-been-delicious, flat iron steak. I thought for sure maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon would be great together, but it turns out they weren’t even good together. 

Okay, they were bad. It reminded me of some daily special, gone really wrong, at one of those strip mall steakhouses. Luckily, we have several excellent marinades that will work perfectly with this great steak, and I will list a few below. 

Like I said in the video, the real point was to share what a great cut of beef flat iron is for the grill. It checks all the boxes, and requires virtually no trimming. Plus, and very ironically, it’s especially good for absorbing marinades.

So, enjoy this with your favorite pre-grill meat soak, or check out one of the following links. Regardless, I really hope you give flat iron steaks a try soon.  Enjoy!

Here are some marinade recipes that would be perfect for this:

Friday, June 23, 2017

American Gyros – Mystery Meat Demystified

If you’re from Greece, you’re probably pretty confused right now, and wondering why I’m calling this gyros. There, pork and chicken are used, in non-ground form, and as the meat turns slowly over a fire, the cooked, caramelized surface is shaved off into thin slices. 

It’s amazing stuff, but believe it or not, I prefer this Americanized “mystery meat” approach, which uses ground lamb and/or beef. The spices are similar, but the texture is totally different, and for me, more interesting. I can eat fresh, identifiable meat anytime, so when I’m in the mood for gyros, I want the stuff you can only get from certain street vendors. Of course, since the meat is ground, you’re taking their word for which specific animals made the ultimate sacrifice, which is why this stuff became affectionately known as “mystery meat.”

This style is perfect for making ahead of time. Once it’s chilled, and sliced, all you need to do is brown it in a pan, and find some flatbread to roll it up in. Preferably, that would be homemade Lebanese mountain bread, which I will attempt to show you in the near future. In the meantime, your favorite pita will do, just as long as you don’t forget to make some tzatziki. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly minced rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste (you can cook a small piece to test)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons bread crumb
- Cook at 350 F. for 45 minutes, or until an internal temp of 160 F.
-- Note: to make the pickled red onions, simply slice them about 1/8-inch thick, and cover with red wine vinegar for a few hours, or overnight. They will turn into the beautifully colored garnish seen herein.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Brutus Salad – Watch Your Back, Caesar!

I don’t post a lot of salad videos, since, other than the dressing recipe, what am I going to teach you? Most people are pretty good when it comes to tossing things in a bowl, but I made an exception for what I’m calling a “Brutus.”

I discovered this salad at a great restaurant in Healdsburg, called Willis’s Seafood, where it was definitely not called a “Brutus,” but simply described as a, Little Gem Salad, Dijon Vinaigrette, Fuji Apples, Aged White Cheddar, Fresh Herbs, Fried Pecans.” It sounded amazing, and tasted even better.

It was so good, I joked that it could replace the Caesar as America’s favorite tossed salad, and a few beers later, the idea to call it the “Brutus” was born. I’m explaining this not only to give credit, where credit’s due, but also to make clear it has nothing to do with politics. Yes, nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

Normally, I would tell you to add whatever you want to this salad, but not this time. Please make it exactly as shown. Having said that, you’ll of course have to adjust the dressing to your taste, but you already knew that. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
For the dressing:
1/4 cup real French Dijon mustard
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
- the dressing should be sharp and acidic, but please adjust to your taste
For the salad:
4 hearts of romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 ounces extra-sharp aged cheddar
1 apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons dill sprigs, chopped
3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, seasoned with salt and 1 teaspoon of white sugar

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Butcher's Steak – Too Good to Sell?

This great steak is considered something of a butcher shop “secret,” but not because they’re selfish, and can’t stand the thought of you being happy. It’s just an odd looking cut, which requires a specific trimming technique to remove one of the toughest pieces of connective tissue on the entire animal.

Combine that with the fact that there’s only one per cow, and you have something that’s a little tricky to sell, although that seems to be changing a bit. This steak has become popular on restaurant menus, going by the name, “hanger steak,” and that’s led to it being carried in some of your finer butcher shops.

Even though it takes a little bit of time, the trimming is pretty simple, and probably easier than I made it look. Carefully trim away any of the tough-feeling membranes on the surface, and divide in half lengthwise, along the center connective tissue. Once that’s cut away, you’re pretty much done, other than deciding how to cook it.

Butcher’s steak is great in a pan, under the broiler, and of course, on the grill. It takes to marinades wonderfully, and can sub in for any cut of steak in any recipe. It’s not only tender, and affordable, but also extremely beefy.

This is probably the most strongly flavored steak cut, and some even describe it as having a subtle gaminess, although I think that’s a bit much. There’s only one way to know for sure, so I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 whole butcher’s steak aka hanger steak, about 2 pounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon clarified butter
For the sauce:
2/3 cup chicken broth to deglaze pan
juices from resting steaks
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoon cold butter, cut in cubes
salt to taste

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Muhammara (Roasted Pepper & Walnut Spread) – Lebanese Adjacent

This muhammara video was inspired by a request we received for a Lebanese recipe. Not knowing any off the top of my head, I asked for suggestions, and this amazing red pepper walnut spread was nominated by several people. The only problem is, it’s actually a Syrian recipe.

Nevertheless, it’s apparently very popular in Lebanon, as well as across the rest of the Mideast, and once you taste it, you’ll understand why. Like I said in the intro, this may be the most delicious thing you’re not currently eating.

All great dips and spreads should be addictive, but there’s something very special about how this beckons you back for more, and more, even after you’re being stared at by the other guests. Let them enjoy their superior will power – we’ll continue to enjoy the muhammara.

You'll find pomegranate molasses at any Middle Eastern grocery store, or online, but if you can’t, you can make it by reducing pomegranate juice (Google for more details). Or, maybe substitute with some honey for the sweetness, and little extra lemon for the tartness. Either way, I really hope you give this amazing muhammara a try soon. Enjoy!

* Bell Pepper Buying Note: Sometimes bell peppers have large seed pods which makes them very heavy, and therefor very expensive. Depending on the season, a jar of roasted peppers will actually be cheaper than two fresh peppers. I usually weigh them at the store, do the math, and then make the fresh/jarred call.


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 cup roughly chopped fire-roasted red peppers (peeled, seeded)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/4 cup raw walnut halves
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Allepo or other red pepper flakes
Italian parsley, chopped walnuts, and pepper flakes to garnish

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Case You Missed It: Chef John's Facebook Live

Just in case you missed our recent Facebook Live, here it is, in all its unscripted glory. Most people seemed to enjoy it, which I certainly appreciated, but for me it was a reminder of why I don't appear on camera. I prefer a few days to gather my thoughts before answering questions, especially when discussing topics of such importance... like, "does peanut butter go with bacon?"

Anyway, we'll be back with a new video this evening, for those of you who prefer "prerecorded Chef John." In the meantime, enjoy!

Please Note: Apparently there was a sound glitch at the beginning, and you can't hear anything until a few minutes in. The good news is, you didn't miss anything.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chef John is Doing a Facebook Live!

That's right! I'll be doing a Facebook Live on Thursday, June 8! To enjoy what's being described as the second most anticipated public testimony that day, go to Allrecipes.com's Facebook page at 2PM, and as always, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu) – Take That, Take Out!

There are many unforgettable sights and sounds you experience walking through Chinatown for the first time, but I think it was seeing all those hanging chunks of florescent red meat that made the biggest impression. 

Sure, the Peking ducks were cool, but they actually sort of looked like roasted duck, where as the char siu looked looked like nothing I’d ever seen before.

So, it was a little disappointing to eventually find out that it was from copious amounts of red food coloring, which I’m pretty sure was toxic back then, and not from some ancient Chinese secret cooking method. Anyway, enough with the nostalgia; the important thing to remember is that in addition to its impressive, high-gloss appearance, and savory taste, this Chinese barbecue pork is quite easy to make at home, even if you don’t have a fancy ceramic grill.

If you happen to be using your standard, backyard kettle-shaped grill, push all your coals to one side, and place your meat on the other. To add an extra layer of protection, you can also put it in a roasting pan, and place that on the grill. Or, forget the great outdoors, and simply roast it in the oven. The only catch is, you’ll need to place it under the broiler at the end, to simulate the caramelization we get on the barbecue.

As long as you roast it between 275 F. and 300 F., and do so until you reach an internal temperature of between 185-190 F., the cooking method really does not matter, and you should have something that rivals the finest take-out in town. So, I really do hope you give this Chinese-style barbecue pork a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for six portions:
3 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 4 sections lengthwise
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine (can sub sake, or dry sherry)
1/3 cup ketchup
4  garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon pink curing salt, optional
1 or 2 teaspoons red food coloring, optional
Kosher salt to season pork before grilling