Monday, June 29, 2009

Temporary sign off...

I'm going to be temporarily signing off the Chef blog.

Yesterday, we had a random summer time black out...and it zapped my computer. Like, it won't even turn on. Since we're busy trying to get ready to go out of town, and then we'll be out of town where there's no guarentee to internet anyway, I bid you a sad temporary adios.

Food for thought on the way out:

Next Food Network Star. I'm baffled that Katie is still there, and they sent Teddy home. Yes, I understand their reasoning - that he just didn't have the chops to be on TV. But you know what? She's not interesting TV and she's serving them raw food.

What's a girl got to do to get kicked off around here?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Twitter Taught Me Something. Get Out!

So, I just got friended on Twitter, if that's even the right way to say it, by the Ohio Food Service (shout out!), and I learned something from looking at their feed! :O

We all learned yesterday that I have a weird fascination with Michael Symon, and he's opening a new restaurant!

Bar Symon will open in Avon Lake Ohio, on June 29th. The head Chef will be Matt Harlan, who is coming to Bar Symon from Lolita. Andy Strizak will be taking over as head chef at Lolita.

Matt Harlan To Head Up Bar Symon

That is a link to a blog from a guy named Douglas Trattner, who is the food critic for the Cleveland Scene magazine.

Who knew?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Theresa Learns!

Thanks Bobby Flay!

I'm watching Throwdown: German Chocolate Cake right now, and I just learned something.

German Chocolate Cake is, in fact, not German. It's named for a man with the last name German.


German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans. This cake was not brought to the American Midwest by German immigrants. The cake took its name from an American with the last name of "German."

1852 - Sam German created the mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852. The company name the chocolate in his honor - "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate." In most recipes and products today, the apostrophe and the "s" have been dropped, thus giving the false hint as for the chocolate's origin.

1957 -The first published recipe for German's chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 and came from a Texas homemaker. The cake quickly gained popularity and its recipe together with the mouth-watering photos were spread all over the country. America fell in love with German Chocolate cake.

Food Network Is Doing Better Then I Thought, And I Still Love Michael Symon!

Food Network has been running advertisements for this show called "The Best Thing I've Ever Eaten" all week, and I've been looking at the commercials all week, going "zuh?". That sounds like a pretty one off situation, right? Like, how could they make a whole show out of that?

They did better then I thought. Every show has a theme - this weeks is "Totally Fried", and they are trotting out a mess of celebrated foodies to talk about the best thing they've ever eaten. So far, they've interviewed Aaron Sanchez, Duff Goldman, Giadia De Laurentis, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, and my culinary boyfriend (and I'll admit to that!) Michael Symon.

And if your interested, their favorite things included the fried shrimp heads at The Red Cat in New York (note: they aren't on the menu, you've got to request them), the doughnuts at Lola in Seattle, the pork rinds at The Publican in Chicago, and the Fried Brussel Sprouts at Lolita in Cleveland.

I'll tell you - I've personally had the fried brussel sprouts at Lolita, and they deserve to be up there on the list. Their kind of amazing - crunchy, soft, salty, with this little tang that you can't quite place. It's really, really unreal.

Guy Fieri is on right now, and his favorite fried thing is Mufungo. i'm kind of just getting a kick out of hearing him say Mufungo.

I love Michael Symon. Don't know why. I'm fascinated by the guy. I celebrate getting to watch him on TV, I drove all the way to Cleveland to get to eat his food (note: don't pass up the roasted caramelized onion soup with duck breast. Don't. You won't be sorry). I might lose it if I ever got to meet the guy. So he says the pork rinds at The Publican are the best there are, they are the best there are! And if you know Michael Symon, or if by luck you happen to BE Michael Symon, please introduce us! :D When I went to Cleveland, they said there was no guarentee if the Chef would be in town, which he I guess wasn't, because they said he was out of town most of the month I was there. If you had your choice between meeting with a tourist foodie and wannabe food writer, and going to South Beach in FEBRUARY, which would you pick?!

Me too. Hate to say it, but me too. :D

So, to sum up, since this got all kinds of tangent-y...

-The Best Thing I Ever Ate is a better show then I expected. Very informative.

-As if I didn't have enough reasons to want to go to Chicago already. I don't know how everyone in Chicago doesn't weigh 10,000 pounds. All the food!

-I am in love with Michael Symon. He is my culinary boyfriend. I should make that a little less stalkery and say "culinary hero", but I'll save the political correctness for when I've made it famous. :D

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Theresa Learns!

I'm watching a rerun of Top Chef Masters right now, and Hubert Keller made Scottish Salmon Mi Cuit.

I couldn't help but go "ok, but what did he DO?"

Oh, google!

Apparently, you can Mu Cuit lots of stuff. Tomatoes, chocolate, caramel, plums. Salmon. Lots of stuff!

After chasing all over google creation to find out, I learned that it means "semi-cooked" (you'll also see "partially cooked" as an option as well). So he served semi-cooked salmon.

And there you go...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Macaroni Grill And Some Twitter Randomness

Went to dinner at Macaroni Grill in Ann Arbor today.

Caesar Salad with almost no dressing. The waiter swore that that's just how they do their salads, but like - really? What restaurant is saving a ton of money by not putting dressing on their salads? The only people who got dressing were the people who requested it on the side.

Got Shrimp Alfredo. It was actually very good - not overly saucy, shrimp were cooked perfect. Enormous portion - I've got enough to have some for dinner tonight, and don't think I won't! :)

I got a Lemon Passion cake, and really, that's where it all started to go a little pear shaped. The waiter told me it was alot of citrus, and I was like "Yeah, dig it! Bring it on!" It seriously tasted like straight sugar. It was SO sweet. I didn't start to taste any citrus until I got into the frosting, but by then, my teeth were so itchy because of the sweet from the cake, that I didn't even make it into the frosting. Blech.

I did try my cousins chocolate cake, and that was out of this world. Deep flavor, sweet, mellow. Great mouth feel. Knock out. If I knew the official name of it, I'd name it, but I didn't order it, so I don't. Heh.

So it was a bit of a mixed bag, but I'd recommend it. The appetizers were good (they've got a basil pine nut pesto aioli on the menu that I seriously HAVE to find a reason to try. Like, what is that?!), the basil in the bruchetta tasted so fresh it was practically straight out of the ground, the chocolate cake was to die for, and they kept the wine flowing. Which, if your on the wagon, you don't care about. But I'm just putting that on the table.

So thumbs up-ish.

As for my twitter randomness...why? I'm searching out and following foodie people, and I don't understand. I searched for Bobby Flay (who has over 10,000 followers), and six or eight things came up. Who would fake being Bobby Flay? Why do you not have anything better to do with your life then that?

And don't sign me up for the "Twitter is teh awesome!" brigade just yet. It's OK. I'm not in love.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chef Searches Youtube...

...for foodie videos, naturally.

I found a kind of cool one, with Tom Collichio. Check it:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top Chef Masters

I'm going to kind of try to write this up week by week. My analasys might get a little more in depth as I watch reruns through the week.

Let me just say, I'm kind of glad that this is a show that isn't taking itself all that seriously. As much as they're all chefs and they want to win, they sort of all are acting like this isn't the be all and end all (which is the way some chefs act on Iron Chef, so this is a nice change). This is a show that kind of has the potential to choke on itself a little bit, and I'm glad to see that at least so far, it's not.

They are also doing it a little different then Top Chef. They have 24 contestants (a full half a seasons worth more then they are used to on TC), and rather then bring them all out at once and pick them off one at a time, they bring out four, and determine the "master", and that "master" goes on to the final round. They'll go through six groups of four, which will leave them with six "masters", and they'll compete for the official title of "Top Chef Master".

Tonights competitors:

Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys)
Christopher Lee (Aureole)
Michael Schlow (Radius Restaurant)
Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro)

Quickfire: Make a dessert for a panel of Jr. Girl Scout judges
Elimination Challenge: Make a three course meal in a college dorm room

The far and away winner for both was Hubert Keller, which kind of left me wondering if the producers had been thinking the show was going to have a bit more fight to it then it did. Because it kind of didn't. You saw Huberts food, and you just KNEW.

And, recipe of the week, because Tim Love kept talking about his pozole:

Authentic Mexican Pozole.

Naturally, technology won't let me just straight copy the recipe, and my sinus infection that kicked my butt in the middle of class earlier won't give me the patience to let me find out why. Click on the link. It's worth it.

Although, if that one is "authentic", then check out Chef Love's pozole on the show (I'll give them a little time to get the stuff up on the website). Now I kind of get why they were busting his chops over it. It's not even close. I mean, I understand the constraints and stuff, but his kind of looks like chunky chili (if you can imagine), and that's not really what a pozole is, as far as I understand.

Overall, good show. Can't wait until next week. Michael Chiarello is in the previews, busting someones chops for not getting to the cutting board fast enough. Good for him - never thought he had it in him. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tofu Alfredo...I Gotta Say, I Kind Of Love It...

I am nothing, if not open minded. Cloth diapering? Why not? Soy Milk instead of Cow? Bring it on. Tofu noodles instead of regular? Oh, sure.

So my recent culinary experiment was tofu noodles. I don't know if anyone has heard of Hungry Girl, but they are often singing the praises of the tofu noodle - all of the fun of pasta, with none of the bad stuff (gluten, sugar, CALORIES), and I actually found some at my friendly neighborhood Meijer store.

So I got the fettucini noodle, and made some alfredo sauce out of my Betty Crocker cookbook...which I'm madly looking around trying to find, so I can give you the recipe. Alright, found it. Check it out:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup rated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

In a 10 inch skillet, heat butter and whipping cream over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and mixture starts to bubble; reduce heat to low. Simmer 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper.

That's just almost painful it's so simple!

The noodles, you just drain, rinse, microwave for one minute (or boil on the stove for two to three), pat dry with a towel, and serve. You can have vegetarian - or with a little more work vegan or completely gluten free - alfredo on the table in six minutes. Tell me that that's not completely dangerous information!

With the sauce, I'll admit to taking a bit of a short cut, and having it not entirely pan out. I got green can parmesan cheese, and the sauce had to be RIPPING hot, otherwise you could tell the difference in the texture.

As for the noodles - a little more snap then a noodle might traditionally have (although I'll admit to liking my noodles a little overdone anyway, so that might be why I think that), similar mouth feel, smooth in my mouth, didn't taste any different then I'd expect any other noodle to taste.

I was truthfully impressed with both the sauce recipe, and the noodles. So impressed, that I nearly drowned myself in tofu alfredo last night. Eesh. So it's low cal, but your probably not supposed to eat the whole package by yourself. :D

Friday, June 5, 2009

From The "Theresa's Sure Up To Speed" File...

I got Bobby Flay's new burger cookbook the other day, and I noticed that he mentioned a burger from Bolo, his first restaurant, and spoke of it's success on the menu in the past tense.

Back to Google - Bolo closed!

Long story short, the building got bought out and demolished. Bolo had been on the NYC Culinary scene for 15 years. So...there you go.

Cat Cora's Crispy Fried Chicken

One of my newest cookbook finds is Cat Cora's Cooking From The Hip, and I made her Crispy "Fried" Chicken for dinner the other day. I made the comment on our twitter (follow us on twitter, @ChefBlog) the other day that I felt like it was a good Zehender's substitute, and I realized that to most of the world, that means nothing. So I had some explaining to do!

First, the recipe, and I'll explain a few tweaks I had to make, and one I didn't have to make, but did:


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light buttermilk
1 2 1/2 - to 3-pound fryer, cut into pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cornflakes


Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Pour the olive oil into a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single layer without crowding. Using your fingers, rub the oil over the dish so that it's completely but lightly coated.

Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a large plate, season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken piece in the flour until it's completely coated. Tap the chicken against the side of the bowl to loosen any excess flour and set the pieces aside. Discard the flour.

Crush the cornflakes by placing them in a big resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal the bag (leaving as little air inside as possible) and crush the flakes using a rolling pin. Pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a large plate.

In a bowl large enough to dip the chicken pieces, mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne (if using), paprika and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath all over, then roll in the crushed flakes.

Arrange the chicken pieces in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375° F, and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. (The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.) Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

As for my tweaks: I honestly didn't notice in the recipe that it says to put the spices into the buttermilk. I thought the recipe went "Dredge in the flour, dip in the buttermilk, the cornflakes, the spices", and I went "Yowza, that's alot of steps!" so I mixed the spices into the flour. Turns out, I was supposed to have put the spices in the buttermilk. So that was the tweak I made that I didn't have to make.

I also didn't have cornflakes, so I used crushed club crackers instead. I can't imagine the difference was enormous, but I'll try it the right way next time, so we'll see.

I also had to tweak the spices, because I found myself strangely out of both paprika AND sage when I went to make it. My Better Homes & Gardens cookbook says Marjoram is a good substitute for paprika, and Cayenne pepper is a good sub for sage, so I subbed. Cat Cora's tip for this recipe is that if it's got to feed kids, go a little light on the spices, and I did - not only because I had to feed a kid, but because I was subbing spices left, right and center. Next time I think I'll spice it up better.

Now, as for the Zehender's reference:

There's a restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan called Zehender's. They serve "authentic" German style chicken dinners. Fried chicken, cottage cheese, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes and gravy, butter noodles...trimmings that go on forever! And you can buy it all you can eat, so they will seriously just keep bringing you food for forever.

Now, I don't know that Zehender's would go winning any James Beard awards (sidebar: if you don't know the James Beard awards, I'll put it like this - a James Beard award is to a chef what an Oscar is to an actress), but it's good food, it's a crazy fun place to go, and sometimes, isn't that all that matters?

Cat Cora's Crispy Fried Chicken recipe is a pretty solid stand in for the Zehender's experience. I was really impressed. Although, it loses most of the "crispy" when you store it in the refrigerator overnight, so the leftovers weren't nearly as exciting. Ha!

Check them out online!

Zehender's Restaurant. Their website says they are the largest family owned restaurant in the nation. Who knew?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silk Soymilk - Is Good!

At my sons tap class on Tuesday, we were talking about milk, and one of the moms said that she'd started her daughters on soy milk, after one of them had a stomach bug in the fall.

She said that the Very Vanilla flavor was delicious, and you'd feel like you were drinking a dessert. Suffering from an incurable sweet tooth, I figured I'd give it a shot.

I don't know that I'd go as far as saying it was like drinking a big vanilla cupcake, but it was good - smooth flavored, sweet without being overwhelming. A little bit of a different mouth feel then regular milk, but really, if you didn't know you weren't drinking regular milk, you wouldn't know.

If you twisted my arm and told me I had to tell you something was the matter with it, I'd say it's that you can't cook with it. I got the Very Vanilla flavor, and I'm flipping through the recipe index on the Silk site, and don't see a single recipe that says you can use the Very Vanilla. With the sweeter recipes, you could probably get away with it, but none of them are calling for it. At $3 a gallon, I kind of need my drinks to multi-task!

Check them out online!
Silk Soymilk

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's New Cookbook Day!

Here at Chef, we're still grinning over our new cookbook find - Cat Cora's Cooking From The Hip. The book encourages improvised cooking. Get the idea of the recipe, and then sub at will. I've not tried any recipe in full yet, but to celebrate the day, I'm printing up a new recipe for everybody. Not from the book though, although that's coming! :)

Beef in Chipotle Sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 1/2 pounds beef roast, such as English or Chuck
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies (we use canned)

Combine salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Cut meat into 2 inch by 4 inch chunks and rub seasoning mixture over beef. Cover and chil about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add half of meat and brown on all sides, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pieces of meat. Reduce head to medium.

Add onions and garlic to the same pot and cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits.

Add tomatoes, lime juice, and chipotle chilies. Return emat to pot and arrange in a single layer. Bring to a boil; cover and cook in oven until meat is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Tip: This is delicious served in a heated tortilla garnished with guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream.

active time: 25 minutes
Passive time: 2 hours
Roasting time: about 1 1/2 hours
Yeild: 4 to 6 servings

Eat well, in celebration of new cookbook day!