May 29, 2012

Back in the Fire

Having just returned from a expedition across California, I'm eager to return to the kitchen (with new shows to follow). I was inspired by campfire cooking, California cuisine and being with family. During the excursion, I created some lasting memories whilst traveling with my son and father over 1,500 miles across the state. Introduced my son to some of the iconic spots along the way visiting San Clemente (surfing), Sequoia (General Grant's Tree), King's Canyon (one of the deepest canyons in the U.S.), Yosemite (more hiking then should be allowed), Big Sur (Redwoods on the coast), Monterey (arguably the greatest aquarium in the U.S.), and Disneyland (16 hours non-stop). Hope every one had a safe and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend spending time with family and friends over good food.

May 15, 2012

Campfire Cooking

In the next few days, I'll be embarking on a hiking adventure through the National Parks of California with three generations of my family. My son, myself and my father will be hitting the dusty trails visiting the fabled trees of Sequoia, the deep gorges of Kings Canyon, the picturesque Yosemite and the cliff sides of Big Sur. During the trip I'll be either sitting near the campfire or behind our portable grill cooking up fuel to get us through the day.

I'm reaching out to you for any suggestions on recipes and/or any requests on a possible FHC episode to film while out on the road. Any fool proof camping recipe that has been passed down generation to generation you can pass along to me? Any recipe that you'd like to see shown to you via the FHC lens? Please let me know either via Twitter or by leaving a comment below. I appreciate the consideration and time. Stay hungry, my friends!

May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!
Wanted to take the time to wish all of those mothers who have helped shape, nurture and love all of us! I know I wouldn't be the man I am today if it wasn't for my mother, and the mother of my children. So to my two ladies, thank you!

For those of you who want to express your gratitude by jumping into the kitchen and creating a meal, I have a few previous recipes that I'd recommend. I, for one, love nothing more then breakfast in bed (my wife and I are of like minds on this) so I have included links to breakfast recipes of Banana Pancakes, French Toast, Dutch Baby, and French Omelet. Any of these will more then satisfy their hunger come morning. And remember, your job isn't done till you've done the dishes too!

Banana Pancakes

French Toast

Dutch Baby

French Omelet

Stay Hungry!

May 6, 2012

S'more Rice Crispy Treats


Growing up as a youth I was a big fan of the cult 80’s show, the A-Team. With the former US Special Forces men branded war criminals for “crimes they didn’t commit”, it was the perfect blend of over-the-top action, humor and mid-eighties sensibilities. But try as I might as a pre-teen to identify with the scruff and unorthodox leader, Hannibal, the age gap was too large to fill. But I will always remember the show’s most notorious line (famously delivered by Hannibal), uttered as the most preposterous series of actions seemingly saved the day, ‘I love it when a plan comes together!”

The echo of that childhood line often comes to mind while I’m in the kitchen trying to make my most recent culinary epiphany come to life. As my son and I prepare for our upcoming camping trip across the National Parks of California, I couldn’t help envisioning the long star-filled nights around the campfire and quenching our daily sweet quota with the classic S’mores.  This thought was dancing through my head while I was currently working on a Rice Crispy Treat recipe. I immediately thought, marriage made in Heaven…

Though many an accomplished chef has disdain for the most simple of desserts (ALA Rice Crispy Treats), most will share that if you are going to focus on just a few ingredients, don’t complicate. On a side note, we Firefighters are notorious for complicating the most simple of incidents if given the time and license. (For any of you fellow Firefighters, just ask yourself how the last technical rescue incident went and if it all could have been made simpler). So when I combined the Rice Crispy Treats and S’more, I knew not to dress it up more then what it needed to be.

In this episode, I show you how to prepare the classic version of Rice Crispy Treats, and then I take my culinary epiphany and bring it to life with the invention of S’more Rice Crispy Treats. As a cook in the kitchen, there is little better when invention breeds life into a recipe YOU have created, so when the smiles of the ones I gave a slice of my invention filled the room, I couldn’t help myself but think, I love it when a plan comes together!






S'more Rice Crsipy Treats - When worlds collide! While getting ready for a West coast camping trip, the classic S'mores got mixed up with a recent tweaking to my Rice Crispy Treats recipe and a culinary epiphany happened. In this episode we discuss what Marshmallow Cream is, that every dessert needs a little salt and vanilla and that even big Firefighters have something to do in the kitchen.



Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)


Fuel

Rice Krispies Cereal (6 ounces or 3-3½ Cups)
Marshmallows (one 10 ounce bag of large gauge marshmallows)
Marshmallow Cream (or Fluff, ¼ Cup)
Unsalted Butter (3 ounces)
Chocolate (Hershey’s for an authentic take, Dark for any other, 8-10 ounces melted)
Graham Crackers (1 bag or 8 wafers crushed, not pulverized)
Vanilla (1 tsp.)
Salt (½ tsp.)

Tools

Baking Dish (I used a 9” x 9” Pyrex)
Large Pot or Dutch Oven
Parchment Paper
Small Glass Bowl
Plastic Bag
Skewer
Spatula

Tactics

Preheat Broiler set to High and the rack set 4-5” from the top. Arrange the marshmallows in a single, uniform level in the baking dish, reserving 4-5. Place the baking dish in the oven and continuously maneuver the dish to achieve a nice toasting on the tops of the marshmallows. Remove when browned. Place the reserved 4-5 marshmallows on the skewer and toast over an open flame on the stovetop. Char on all sides but avoid bubbling if possible. Place the Dutch Oven over medium heat and add butter. When melted, add the toasted and charred marshmallows and mix to combine. Continuously stir until the marshmallows begin to lose their shape then remove from the heat. Add the vanilla and salt and continue to stir until no lumps remain. Place the Rice Krispies Cereal in and mix until the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed. Add the Marshmallow Cream (in two installments) and mix till combined. Cut two parchment papers that overlap the baking dish approximately 2” on all sides (the excess will be used as handles to remove the treats from the baking dish). Place one paper in the baking dish and then dump the Rice Crispy mixture into the dish. Using the other paper, level out the mixture to ensure it is even on all sides of the dish. Place the melted Chocolate on top and using a spatula, ensure to cover the entirety of the top. Top with the crushed Graham Crackers and reuse the parchment paper to compact all the ingredients. Place in fridge and allow the chocolate to harden. Slice and serve.

May 2, 2012

Next Shift on the FHC: Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Crispy Treats, really? Aren't they so beneath your talents? And you're wasting an episode on them as well? I know all of these thoughts and more where burning through your head (well, probably not). But as the long day (shift) draws to an end and more then one sweet tooth amongst you is clamoring for sugar in any form, these are a great way to satisfy in a pinch.

I don't want that last statement to sell these "treats" short. I reach for these because it requires very little in terms of fuel, requires very little actual cooking, and utilizes one of may favorite forms of sustenance in the civilized world, cereal (and a very inexpensive one at that).  They can be as simple as you'd like, or, use your imagination and let it be your guide. I am in the mitts of preplanning a camping trip out West and my thoughts began dwelling on roasted marshmallows (and s'mores) over a campfire... See, with food, passion and imagination play as large of a part, if not equal, to that of hunger. Or in this case, satisfying a sweet tooth. Stay hungry!
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