Jan 31, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Salad Crostini

Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching and hopefully you either have family and friends coming to the home or you are at the firehouse hoping for a quiet day so that you can enjoy what is the unsung zenith day of finger foods. It is the one day of the year when sport fans and non-sports fans, females and males, firefighters and police (a stretch, I know), dogs and cats gather around the TV and enjoy our version of modern day Gladiators entertaining us whilst we snack on an eclectic assortment of finger foods. 

Why finger foods you ask? We all gravitate to the Super Bowl spectacle for various reasons, be it the high stakes drama, the enjoyment of rooting for the underdog, the litany of comical advertisements, etc. There is enjoyment perfectly crafted for all. The point being, you don’t want to take you eyes off of it, not even for a second. It is non-stop entertainment at its highest level culminating in a perfect storm of sports and culture. Who has the time to use a fork and knife?

This recipe was born from a desire to mix it up with the Super Bowl classics (the wings, dips, chips, etc.) but have something stand out on it’s own. I have decided to share with you a version of another classic, my Chicken Salad recipe (of which, admittedly, there are many versions) that I feel will appeal to the masses and have them, if only briefly, look down from the TV to make sure they can find more of it. Enjoy!

Episode 31 - Super Bowl - Chipotle Chicken Salad Crostini - The most important day of the year is upon us (take that statement with a grain of salt), when we all gather around the TV and watch the sport and culture spectacle called the Super Bowl. It is when all the classic finger foods are on full display and I wanted to give you a FIrefighter approved recipe. In this episode we discuss the perfect food that is Chipotle, that Costco saves the day (again) and that flaming hoops are cool. For more, visit www.thefirehousechef.com. Stay hungry, my friends!

Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken (1 6-8 lbs. Chicken chopped)
*Mayonnaise (1 Cup)
Whole Grain Mustard (2 Tbs.)
Apple Cider Vinegar (⅓ Cup)
Almonds (1 Cup toasted and chopped)
Purple Onion (1 Cup minced and rinsed)
Garlic (2-3 cloves minced)
Rosemary (3 Springs minced)
*Chipotle (2-3, seed removed and minced)
Pepper and Salt


Baguette (French or similar)
Garlic (2 cloves sliced)
EVOO (2-3 Tbs.)


Small Skillet
Large Bowl
Baking Sheet
Fine Mesh Strainer
Small Painters Brush


For the Chicken Salad, place the skillet over medium heat and add almonds. While shaking the pan to avoid burning, cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve. In a large bowl, place the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, chipotle, rosemary and garlic then mix to combine. Add the chicken, almonds and onion and mix to combine. Season with pepper and salt to taste and then refrigerate the salad until ready to use.

For the Crostini, slice the baguette into thin ¼ rounds. Place the small skillet over medium heat and add the EVOO. Once the oil is just about to smoke, add the garlic and sauté until just about to turn brown. Remove from heat and pass the oil through the strainer to remove the garlic. Meanwhile, place the broiler to high and set the rack 6” from the top. Using the brush, liberally place the garlic oil on the slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook until the Crostini are just beginning to crisp up and turn brown around the edges.

For construction, add roughly 1-2 Tbs. of Chicken Salad per slice and top with optional pickled vegetable (Pickled Radish) and fresh parsley and/or crushed garlic chips.

*Optional: substitute the mayo with sour cream, Crema or Greek yogurt. Also, for added heat and smokiness, double the amount of chipotles. 

Jan 25, 2012

Pickling on my mind

I often find that culinarily, I have certain moods and desires that tickle my fancy for a stretch. Whether it is fish sauce, whole grain mustard, liquid smoke, or this most recent rendition, pickling, I run with it till I feel I have a good handle on it (Kimchi is a must try). My latest adventure into the world of pickling has had me making pickled radish as a topper for a future FHC video recipe.

Pickling is a form of brining where an ingredient is stored in a solution of salt and water or (most likely) vinegar. Adding various spices and miscellaneous ingredients adds the flare and thus changes the ordinary flavor profile of something familiar and offers a different spin. Pickling can be accomplished in as little as 10 minutes or months (this can be done over months due to the preserving quality the brining produces) depending on the amount of salt or sour you want the end product to have. I, however, am going to share a quick pickling recipe that can used as a topper in a variety of recipes or as my daughter loves to do, eat them just they way they are.

Pickled Radish


Radish (4-5 small)
Garlic (1 clove minced)
White Vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)
Sugar (1 tsp.)
Salt (1 tsp.)


Sealable Plastic Container


Slice the radish into very thin slices using either a small paring knife or a Mandoline. Place the radish slices in with the vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic and enough water to cover in the container. Shake to combine and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 10 minutes. Leave longer for a more profound sour taste but not so long as to render the radish texture mushy (you still want some bite to them). Enjoy.

Jan 20, 2012

Roasted Corn and Salmon Chowder

I wanted to wish my son a very Happy Birthday! Thinking of him at a very young age daringly trying most anything I put in front of him (well, maybe after some coaxing), made me think of this episode’s recipe. My son loves fish, something that I am very envious of, as my love for fish didn’t happen well into my 20’s. My transformation from steak and potato lover to fresh fish lover happened during my time spent living in Hawaii (as I chased after bigger waves to surf). I hadn’t experienced what fresh fish truly was, even though I lived in California, where fresh fish is abundant, but so is everything else under the sun. It was just in Hawaii, where fresh fish was so readably available, that I felt I was missing out on something. And missing out I was.

But fish for the uninitiated, can be a bad experience if not eaten under the right conditions. Fish needs to be eaten fresh and here in lies the problem for the vast majority of us land locked souls. We have the misfortune of eating previously frozen fish (and when I speak of fish, I speak of salt water fish). Can we still work with it, still enjoy it? The short answer is yes, but for those of us that know better (and you’re nodding your head right now), we do the best that we can. This is one such recipe. So, in the middle of January with the temperatures still too low, this will be the meal that hits the spot, warms the belly, and hopefully makes a new lover to the best protein in the world, fish.

Episode 30 - Roasted Corn and Salmon Chowder - It's the perfect transitional episode for the steak and potato lover to the wonderful world of fish. Have someone you care about that won't touch fish if their life depended on it? This is the perfect recipe to open them up to what they are missing. We also discuss that nothing beat cold weather like a warm belly, that Liquid Smoke is like bacon lite, and that eyebrows have a mind of their own.

Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Salmon (2 lbs., cubed into 1 inch pieces)
Chicken or Fish Stock (8 cups)
Corn on the Cob (4, roasted, cored and broken up)
Yukon Potato (skinned and cubed)
Onion (half of a medium size one, cubed)
Rosemary (2 Tbs.)
Unsalted Butter (2 Tbs., cubed)
AP Flour (2Tbs)
Liquid Smoke (2 Tbs.)
EVOO (1-2 Tbs.)
Pepper and Salt
Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
*Poblano or Jalapeno


Dutch Oven
Brown Paper Bag


Place the corn on the cob over a direct flame over the stovetop and turn to ensure even roasting on all side. Remove when blackened and place in brown paper bag. Roll the bag closed tight and allow the corn to continue to cook while prepping the other ingredients. Place the Dutch Oven over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they just begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Make a small well in the middle of the Dutch Oven and add the butter. When it melts, add the flour and mix until incorporated, then mix with all the ingredients and cook for another 3-4 minutes (until the flour taste gets cooked out). Now add the potato, corn kernels and cobs, and the stock. Bring it all to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cobs then add the rosemary and liquid smoke. Place the Salmon in the Dutch Oven and then stir to mix. Cook for about 3-5 additional minutes. When the Salmon is done cooking, remove from the heat, and then gently take a spatula and break the Salmon on the sides of the Dutch Oven to allow them to naturally flake into bite size pieces. Season with Pepper and Salt and enjoy!

*Add optional roasted poblano, jalapeno, and/or cilantro. All highly recommended. 

Jan 13, 2012

The 3rd Annual Tasty Awards

Wanted to take the opportunity to thank the Tasty Awards for nominating me and throwing a great event last night! It was a fun filled day for me as I got to visit Hollywood for the first time in years, ate at the highly recommended Murakami Sushi restaurant for a late lunch (it was fantastic!), got my picture taken on the red carpet, watched my face get plastered on the big screen (three times no less) during the event in front of all the industry heavies, and then mingle with the crowd and sample good food and company during the wrap party. It was unreal having people I've never met recognize me in the crowd and tell me they really enjoy the show (to those who did, thank you, I was very humbled). Makes all the hard work and time I put into the FHC worth it. But the highlight of the night for me was the fact that I had the two most stunning dates with me to share in the limelight, my Mom and Aunt. It will be a night not soon forgotten. Thank you again Tasty Awards!

Jan 11, 2012

Back in California

Just landed today back in Orange County, Ca., to vist with family and to prep for the Tasty Awards, which are tomorrow night. First things first, gotta dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean and surf in San Clemente (most likely Lowers) then jet off to the LA Clipper v. Miami Heat game tonight at Staples with  Pops. What a way to start!

Meanwhile, the Tasties will take place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and I will have the good fortune of taking two bodacious dates with me, my Aunt and Mom (I'll be the ugly one in the middle). We'll get the opportunity to visit Hollywood, a place I haven't visited in years, and enjoy a nice lunch before the event. The Tasties will include a walk down a red carpet, the event itself, then an after party (where we'll get to taste all the delectable offerings). It truly should be a memorable night and I'll hope to tweet you all throughout the event, so if you don't yet follow me on Twitter, now's the time.

P.S. If there's someone attending the awards show you want me to corner and pepper with questions (except Robert Irvine as I don't think he'll let me), let me know via Twitter.

As always, stay hungry my friends!

Jan 1, 2012

Hungry for 2012!

I'm hungry for 2012 as the FHC roars into its second season! Looking forward to spreading the knowledge, teaching you more Fire House techniques but most importantly, meeting more of y'all. I have many things planned for the year but as always, prefer you to become active and keep the conversation open by reaching out to me (there are many of ways to do this) and letting me know what's up at your Fire House or kitchen, what fuel (food) you want to have broken down, or just share stories. I love it all and it keeps me motivated for more.

Though it is impractical to film an episode at the Fire House, I hope to share more about life there and what it is that we do to help educate and enlighten those who are not indoctrinated into the lifestyle of a Firefighter. Even better, for those of you who live in the metro Atlanta area, my Fire House will potentially be hosting a first ever Pancake Breakfast. This will be a great opportunity to come visit, donate money to a worthy cause, and eat some of my food firsthand. So look for more in 2012, and as always, stay hungry, my friends!
Blogging tips