Aug 31, 2011

Fantasy Football has taken over my life...

I'm guilty as charged. As a born again fantasy sports fanatic (I converted about 2 years ago thanks to a friend who will go unnamed), I would like to apologize for the lack of an episode this week as it is the height of fantasy football drafts and I am neck deep in statistics instead of scripting, recipe testing and editing. I didn't want those who follow to go away empty handed so I included a recipe for Cauliflower and Wasabi down below. Rest assured that after the dust settles this weekend and I'm the projected champion in all my leagues, the last installment of my condiment series will arrive soon.

Aug 28, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Potatoes with Wasabi

Serves 4-6 comfortably as a side

Trying to decide what 7 grown men with different tastes want for dinner can be both a mix of discovery and restraint. Some have allergies, some have dietary restrictions, and all of us have dislikes. Balancing them can be like watching a youth football coach trying to juggle more boys then there is playing time. All the parents want to see their child being given their field time because they paid for it (whether the child shows any desire or skill is never taken into consideration, but I digress). The cook who steps up to the stovetop Any Given Shift (BTW, that will be the name of my first cookbook) always feels like that youth football coach. Firefighters all pay for their meals and feel entitled to get their monies worth and have no reservations in expressing that (ALA the parents). But there are some nights when the firehouse cook wants to do what the youth football coach could never do which is play only those players we wants in order to give his team the best chance to win the game. Last shift was one such night. I am a very experimental cook and the flavor combination intrigued me and I’m glad to report that those who gathered around our dinning room table for dinner agreed (14 thumbs up). If only they (the parents) that are in the stands of the football field would feel the same when their child has to sit out one quarter in order for the team to get a win…


Fuel

1 Cauliflower Head (chopped)
3 Medium Yukon Potatoes
1 Garlic Clove (minced)
Wasabi paste (1-2 oz.)
1 Cup of Whole Milk
Unsalted Butter (1 oz.)
EVOO
Pepper and Salt


Tools

Cookie Sheet
Medium Pot
Blender


Tactics

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the florets from the cauliflower and place on cookie sheet. Cover cauliflower with EVOO, pepper and salt and roast in oven for 30 minutes making sure to toss them 15 minutes in. Meanwhile, dice the potatoes then place them in a pot and cover with cold water to 1 inch over the potatoes. Place them over medium-high heat to reach a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork tender (approximately 10-15 minutes). Drain potatoes and reserve. Remove the cauliflower from the oven (allow them to cool slightly) and place in blender with ½ of the milk and garlic then blend until smooth (add water to reach desired consistency). Mash the potatoes, add the butter and stir until melted, mix in the cauliflower, and finally add the remaining milk. Add the Wasabi ½ oz. at a time to desired kick. Pepper and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Aug 21, 2011

Backyard Burgers

Episode 19 - Backyard Burgers - In this episode, we enjoy the waning days of summer and make some backyard burgers. We discuss what they are made of, how to make and cook them, and then top them with some of the homemade condiments from our previous episodes. For more, visit www.thefirehousechef.com.
Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


*Feeds 6-8 comfortably

Fuel

Ground Chuck (1 lb.)
Ground Sirloin (1 lb.)
Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
Worcestershire Sauce (1 oz.)
Liquid Smoke (½ oz.)
Unsalted Butter (1 oz., cold and cubed)
Pepper and Salt
EVOO
Cheese of your choosing (sliced)
French Bread Rolls
Tomatoes (2, sliced)
Onions (2, sliced)
Rosemary Garlic Aioli (homemade)

Tools

Charcoal Grill
Cookie Sheet
Medium Bowl
Medium Skillet

Tactics

Fire up the barbecue building a two-sided grill and allow it to heat up. Meanwhile, place a medium skillet over medium-low heat and place approximately 1 oz. of EVOO in. Cut up two onions and place in skillet and allow to brown for about 30-45 minutes. Place the ground meat, garlic, Worcestershire, Liquid Smoke, butter, pepper and salt into the bowl. Mix till combined. Working into roughly 6-8 oz. patties, place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Check on onions. Once barbecue has reached idea temperature (it’s ready when you can hold your hand about 3-4” above the hot side of the grill for no more than a second before it begins to feel as though it’s burning), place the patties directly over the hot side for about 3-4 minutes. DO NOT TOUCH THEM, POKE AND PROD THEM, NOTHING! LEAVE THEM BE. PROMISE? OK. Flip them one time and cook on the other side for about 2-3 minutes. Then transfer to the cooler side, place the cheese slice on, and finish to your desired doneness. Place the aioli on the buns, then stack patty, tomato, and caramelized onions. Enjoy.

Aug 13, 2011

Ketchup

Ketchup





Episode 18 - Ketchup - In this episode we take on the king of condiments, ketchup. We discuss what it is, how to make it, and what to eat it with. For more, visit www.thefirehousechef.com.

Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Fuel

1 28oz can of San Marzano Tomatoes
1 Cup of Water
½ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Garlic Clove (smashed)
1 Medium Onion (cut into eighths)
½ Jalapeno
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Ground Allspice
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

Tools

Medium pot or Dutch Oven
Food Processor

Tactics

Add tomatoes, water, garlic, onion, and jalapeno to the food processor. Mix until liquefied (approximately 1 minute). Add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and various spices to the food processor. Mix until combined. Place the pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the tomato concoction. Reduce by ½ or ⅔ or until the desired flavor is achieved (approximately 30-45 minutes). Don’t be afraid to add water if you reduce it too much.

Potato Wedges (Steak Fries)


Potato Wedges (Steak Fries)

Fuel

4-5 Yukon Potatoes
1 Tbs. of EVOO
1 tsp. of Garlic Powder
1 tsp. of Cayenne Powder
1 tsp. of Sugar
1 tsp. of Pepper and Salt

Tools

Bowl
Cookie Sheet

Tactics

Pre-heat the oven to 450 °F. Cut the potatoes into equal eighths. Place the EVOO, garlic, cayenne, sugar, pepper, and salt into the bowl and mix to combine. Place the potatoes into the bowl and coat them all. Place a tsp. of EVOO on the cookie sheet and then lay the potatoes evenly (and skin side down). Place in the oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes and watch until they are done. Remove the potatoes from the oven and salt them while the oil is hot. Serve immediately.

Recent Recipes


Forgot to post the last few recipes that I have used so here you go...

Mayonnaise

Fuel

1 Egg Yolk
1 Cup of Canola Oil
1 Lemon (juiced)
Pepper and Salt
* 1 tsp. of Mustard (optional)
1 Tbs. of water (optional)

Tools

Blender (or medium bowl)
Whisk (if no blender is used)

Tactics

Place the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard (if using), salt and pepper into a blender or medium bowl. Mix until combined. Slowly, and I mean slowly, add the oil. A few drops at a time, then slowly progress to a thin, steady stream ensuring that the mayo is never broken. Add all the oil until a smooth consistency is attained. Add optional water to thin and smooth the mayo out.


Garlic Rosemary Aioli

Fuel

Homemade Mayo
1 Garlic clove (minced)
1-2 stocks of Rosemary (minced)

Tactics

Mix all fuels until combined. QC and add pepper and salt to taste.


Mustard

Fuel

2 Tbs. of Ground Mustard powder
2 Tbs. of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. of EVOO

Tools

Medium bowl
Whisk

Tactics

Mix the mustard powder and apple cider vinegar until combined and there are no more clumps. Then add the EVOO until the desired consistency is reached. QC and add more EVOO or honey to smooth out the bitterness. Place the mustard in a plastic or glass container and allow it to sit for 3-4 days before serving.


Honey Mustard Dressing

Fuel

2 Tbs. of Mustard
2 Tbs. of Honey
1 Garlic Clove
½ Cup of EVOO
Pepper and Salt
1 Tbs. of water (optional)

Tools

Blender (or medium bowl)
Whisk (if using bowl)

Tactics

Place the mustard, honey, garlic, pepper and salt into the blender (or bowl if using). Mix all fuels until combined. Slowly add the EVOO until combined. Add the water to thin out the dressing if desired (though I recommend it).

Aug 6, 2011

Mustard

Episode 17 - Mustard - This is the second installment of my Condiment series. In this episode, I break down Mustard, demystify how to make it (and show how ridiculously easy it is to make it), and then throw together the classic Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. For more, visit www.thefirehousechef.com
Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Fuel

Homemade Mustard

Mustard Powder (2 Tbs.)
Apple Cider or SherryVinegar (2 Tbs.)
EVOO (1-2 tsp.)

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard (1 Tbs.)
Honey (1 Tbs.)
Garlic (1 clove minced)
EVOO (¼ Cup)
*Mayonaise (1 tsp.)
Pepper & Salt

Tools

Various Bowls
Whisk

Tactics

Mustard

In a small bowl, place the mustard powder and vinegar and mix to combine. Slowly add the EVOO until desired consistency. Taste and adjust. DONE.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, garlic and EVOO ensuring to emulsify as you combine. Slowly whisk in water until desired consistency is reached. *Consider adding the mayo to aid in emulsification and if you plan on storing it for more then a day. DONE




Aug 5, 2011

NYC

Living it up in NYC right now! Follow me on Twitter to get the latest and see where I am and what I am eating. Love this town, the Mecca of Cuisine. Hit the Twitter icon on the right to follow...

Aug 2, 2011

Mayonnaise

Episode 16 - Mayonnaise. In this episode we discuss what Mayo is, how to make it (with a whisk no less), and how to spice it up (Aioli). This is part one of the Condiment Series. For more visit thefirehousechef.com
Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v), MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)

Fuel

Egg Yolk
Lemon Juice (1-2 Tbs.)
EVOO (1 Cup)
Salt

Tools

Medium Bowl
Whisk
*Blender

Tactics

Place the egg yolk and lemon juice in the bowl and mix to combine. Slowly, incredibly slowly, incorporate the EVOO a drop at a time until emulsified. Slowly increase the amount until the mayo can sustain a constant small stream. Continue mixing until fully emulsified. Add water, a little at at time until desired consistency in achieved. DONE.

*Alternately, place the yolk and lemon juice in the base of a blender and begin combining on low. Follow the same instructions as stated above.
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