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Tuna, celery and white bean bruschetta – quick and delicious!

November 17, 2010

Hello, I hope this finds you smiling with the taste of a great meal in your mouth!

My wife grew up in Rome and I grew up in Chicago but for both of us a can of tuna is the ultimate quick, simple comfort food. A touch of oregano and fennel seed toasted in good olive oil and stirred into tuna, creamy white beans and some finely sliced crispy celery. Check out the video and have a great day!

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

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Egg Tuesday – Crispy hash brown grilled breakfast burrito

November 16, 2010

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are off to a great day and are dreaming about your next meal!

I can never get enough Mexican food or enough incredible eggs.  As a result, this is a favorite – a breakfast burrito made with light, fluffy scrambled eggs and crispy, chewy hash browns with pinto beans and a little cheese.” Check out the video and enjoy!

1 tsp butter

2 large eggs

2 TB of water

Pinch of salt

3 oz. canned pinto beans

½ TB olive oil

½ C. frozen hash browns

1/8 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin (optional)

12-14” flour tortilla (you can do a taco version if you have smaller ones)

In a small skillet place the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add the hash browns. Stir occasionally and cook about 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Add the cumin and cook 30 seconds more. Turn the heat off. While the hash browns are cooking scramble the eggs.

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Whisk the eggs, salt and water together and pour onto the melted butter. Using a rubber spatula “paint” the bottom of the pan (do not stir) as soon as the egg begins to set. Continue to paint until you have light folds of egg. When still a touch wet turn the heat off and allow the residual heat to finish cooking the eggs.

Lay the tortilla on a hot grill press or in a large non-stick skillet to warm it up. This makes it more pliable to roll. In the center add the cheese, beans, cooked hash browns and scrambled eggs. Fold the sides of the tortilla towards the center and push down. Pull the front flap of the tortilla across the center to the other side. Tuck the flap under the fillings and roll up like a sleeping bag. Place back in pan or grill press and cook until slightly golden. You can add salsa inside if you like. Enjoy!

Feed the hungry by making a pledge (no cost) to eat good. Do good every day.  America’s egg farmers are donating up to one million eggs to feed the hungry.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

Premiere of my show!

November 14, 2010

To all of our amazing friends, family and fans we are so grateful. This show is because of you and for you! I am so excited. Nadia and I appreciate all the support. Please spread the word to your friends and family. I look forward to getting your mouths to water, your hearts to pound with passion and your minds racing about what your next meal will be!

This Tuesday, November 16th, 9:30pm Est on Cooking Channel.
Please click on the link below to see a preview of United Tastes of America.
http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/united-tastes-of-america/video/index.html

Breaking bread family style!

November 10, 2010

There are eating experiences that literally make me feel like I am having an outer-body experience! The rustic country loaf from San Francisco’s Tartine is one of those. It is a huge loaf with a crust that is so crisp only the sharpest of bread knives will cut through it without smashing the pillow like crumb inside. The good news is that the soft, incredibly chewy crumb does bounce back due to the perfect development of the gluten (the protein strands that give bread it structure and chew). The flavor is naturally sweet, mildly sour, and fully yeasty with such a great chew. The crust is like no other bread I have had. It is super crunchy (like you could chip a tooth) yet incredible thin. The crust tastes like a dark roux with a toasty nuttiness and almost clay-like earthiness. My wife and I had a coffee and pastry at Tartine in the morning and placed our bread order. The bread is ready at 5:00 and gone by 5:30 every day. My son and I drove across town in the pouring rain to fetch our pre-paid loaves from heaven! You know it’s good when the bag of fresh made bread warms your lap. My son couldn’t wait until we got home to eat it. He tore off a chunk and said, “wow dad, it is so crispy and flavorful, it melts in your mouth”. When is the last time you heard a kid get that excited about bread? I love it! The bread is so moist that when I put it in the grill press to make pan y tomate (bread grilled or toasted and rubbed with super ripe tomato pulp and olive oil) it took 5x longer for the bread to get crisp.

We decided to make the bread the centerpiece of our Tuesday night meal. We stopped at Bi Rite next door to Tartine and got some fresh whole sardines, prosciutto, cheese, olives and greens. I sautéed the sardines in chile flakes, herbs de Provence and olive oil. Their rich bodies gave off so much tasty juice it formed a sauce. Sometimes the best meal is the one you barely cook. It was about the best ingredients mixed and matched as each person liked. The excitement over the bread turned into a great family evening that was about so much more than the food. Getting everyone around the table every night is the key to great family. Having great food at the table makes it truly unforgettable. Cheers! Enjoy your next meal with a star ingredient!

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

 

Egg Tuesday – Perfect hard-cooked eggs

November 9, 2010

Is it too early to say Happy Holidays? I am feeling it so I guess not. I hope this finds you eating well and enjoying life.

No green in these eggs. Bright yellow, creamy yolk and tender white. Hard-cooked eggs are one of the simplest, tastiest cold pantry items you can have. They are great for a quick snack; breakfast on the go and to use in brunch and appetizers recipes. They are also the perfect holiday savior for last minute entertaining. The key is to first make sure you have tender, flavorful hard-cooked eggs by following these simple steps.

  1. Place an even layer of eggs in the bottom of a pot and cover with cold water an inch above the top of the eggs.
  2. Place the pot on the heat and turn to high. The moment the water comes to a boil shut the heat off.
  3. Cover the pot and set a timer for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the eggs under cold water as soon as the timer goes off. This stops the cooking as well as allowing the egg to contract from the shell making it easier to peel.

Store the eggs in a bowl or container in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

To Peel: Roll the egg on the counter while tapping to crack it evenly all around. Hold your thumb sideways and get under the shell AS WELL as the thin film under the shell. Once you get under the film you can slide your thumb across the egg and the shell will come off in large pieces. You can use a little cold running water to assist in the shell coming off.

Quick, easy recipe ideas:

Eat as is or with a touch of salt.

South of the border snack – Squeeze a little lime over the egg and dust with chile powder

Burrito – Break the egg up in a tortilla with hash browns (the freezer ready ones), a touch of cheese and your favorite salsa. Roll it up. Eat as is or place in a grill press to melt cheese and make tortilla golden brown and crisp.

Brunch – Break up over a piece of rustic toast. Take 3 hard-cooked yolks and puree in blender with 2 Tb milk, 1 Tb lemon juice, 1 tsp paprika, 1 Tb fresh chopped parsley and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the top to create a “hollandaise type sauce”. (Enough sauce for three servings).

SECRET: Eggs that are in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks will be the best for hard-cooking. The egg contracts from the shell making them much easier to peel.

Feed the hungry by making a pledge (no cost) to eat good. Do good every day.  America’s egg farmers are donating up to one million eggs to feed the hungry.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

Egg Tuesday – Spanish Egg bruschetta (“brew SKET a”)

November 2, 2010

I hope you had a Happy Halloween and this finds you heading into a great week! After all that candy it is time to get back to food that can fuel your mind and body! This is a quick, simple recipe that has no limit on the variations you can do. I always keep a handful of hard-cooked eggs in the refrigerator, which makes recipes like this very quick. Hard-cook eggs on Sunday and that way you always have a grab-and-go option all weekThis is a great breakfast but would also work well cut into pieces and served instead of deviled eggs. Check out the video.

Yield: 2

Prep time: 3 min (assuming you have hard-cooked eggs in fridge)

2 Large hard-cooked eggs

1 Tb olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)

1 tsp sherry vinegar

1 Tb fresh chopped parsley (or dried thyme)

2 slices bread, toasted or grilled in a grill press. (Preferably a rustic loaf)

Zest of half a lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice) optional.

Peel the eggs and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Smash together with a fork creating very small pieces of egg. Once mixture is evenly combined spoon onto the toasted bread. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy!

Feed the hungry by making a pledge (no cost) to eat good. Do good every day.  America’s egg farmers are donating up to one million eggs to feed the hungry.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!

Indian seared scallops!

November 1, 2010

When I was in culinary school at the California Culinary Academy I worked for free at 3:00am for several days at a fish company on Fisherman’s Wharf so I could learn about fish and how to clean it. Ever since smelling the first plump, sweet scallop there I have been in love with them. They sear like a steak yet their flesh is still tender. They have a unique sweet taste that is lobster-like yet unique. The contrast of the crispy golden top when seared properly and the off-white, creamy tender body is heavenly. The key to perfectly seared scallops:

Pull off the rubbery lip if it is still there. It looks like a 1” long piece of thick rubber band. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel (if you don’t the moisture makes them stick and steam instead of sear). Salt and pepper them. Get a pan that is just large enough for the scallops you are cooking allowing about 1” between each one. Don’t crowd the pan. Get the pan hot over med-high heat. Add a TB of oil and get it hot until you see a haze. Add the scallops. After a few seconds slide them back and forth to make sure they are evenly seated and have oil under them. This way they wont be spotty but fully golden! Let them cook 2/3 of the way on one side to get a great crust. Flip them over. When you see the flesh go from translucent to opaque (white) take them out of the pan. Remember, the carry-over heat will cook them more. In this case I dusted them with garam masala before searing. To the same searing pan I added some roughly chopped super-ripe tomatoes and 2 TB of sugar. The tomato absorbed the scallop flavor from the bottom of the pan. I let it simmer for about ten minutes turning the broken tomato and sugar into a chutney. The acidity of the tomato replaced the need to add vinegar. The sugar was a sweet contrast to the warm earthiness of the garam masala as well as brining out the best of the baking spice element of the garam masala. I hope you find yourself falling in love with the scallop as well! Enjoy.

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!