June 30, 2009
I am curious if the winner will be on the superfan panel.
My dilemma, enter the contest or not?
This video says the Good Eats page on FN site contains the info on entering the contest but I don't see it there.
June 29, 2009
Explaining why I enjoy GE and all of Alton's shows so much has been rattling around with me for awhile. First, in creating the website and blog I knew it was for more than just being a fan. With the blog, I knew a lot of posts would center on cooking in addition to news of Alton's projects. Recently, I've seen a few questions about why one watches cooking on TV and if recipes from these shows are tried on messageboards I frequent. That got me thinking about this more. And when I replied, I found a simple answer.
When I first began watching GE I knew my way around the kitchen fairly well. I had been cooking since a teen and watching TV cooking shows even earlier. I can still remember making blueberry muffins from watching the Frugal Gourmet and French Toast from a Disney cookbook. I even pined for sweet cooking gear like I saw on TV. While other girls were into hair, makeup and musicians; I wanted cookware, cookbooks and utensils. I'm sick, I know. ;)
Learning about cooking has fascinated me for a long time and when I came across AB's show it was the perfect fit. It was exactly what I wanted. There's more to watching GE to get a recipe. I have always found the lessons Alton teaches to inspire me to attempt and explore.
While I love trying AB's recipes from GE and his cookbooks, the most valuable element from Alton his ability to inspire. I've tried so many dishes because of watching GE. I now read recipes completely new way--I can spot potentially troublesome parts with ease. I'm not afraid to vary, add and experiment with cooking. And when AB discusses an interesting ingredient (this happens with ICA too!) or technique I want to try to do more with the knowledge and sometimes that morphs into making something of my own.
And that is what AB has done for me.
I even have a little AB inspired culinary madness planned for this week!
June 28, 2009
Anyway, I would have never, ever guessed tofu could be such a wonderful ingredient without 'discovering' that from Alton. "Tofuworld" is an older episode and this pie has been on my "to make" list for a while now. My first problem was locating silken tofu. Not a popular item locally.
But about a year ago I found it at the mega-mart. Instead of making the pie, I opted to make another recipe from this episode, the No Guilt Caesar, because I adore Caesar salad. It was mighty fine, by the way, and deserving of its own post.
I was in the mood to make a nice dessert, but with the warm (heck, down right hot and humid) weather settling in, baking was out of the question. So, the other day while roaming the mega-mart's "healthy" section I spied the silken tofu carton and knew what dessert awaited.
The only issue I had making this pie was locating coffee liqueur. I looked everwhere for that darn stuff but it was not to be found. Yet another casualty of living where I live. Oh bother.
But making the pie is flat out simple. Melt one bag of chocolate chips with a tablespoon of honey and the 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (if you have it!). Then pour the melted chocolate on a 16 ounce block of silken tofu and blend until smooth and creamy. I did mine in a bowl with my stick blender. I poured my mixture into a graham cracker crust and chilled for 2 hours.
It is plain awesome and very difficult to tell it has no dairy in it! I am also enjoying that fact since I have some issues with dairy products.
AB's Moo-less Chocolate Pie
June 27, 2009
The smoker was made from what looks to be an 18/10 stainless steel bowl, probably a six quart model like AB used as a popcorn popper.
The amount of shrimp is in question as well, but the gallon zip top bag held one quart of water as per Alton's instructions on the brine. The brine was one quart of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of salt and 1 teaspoon of red chile flakes. Soak for 45 minutes.
Smoking the shrimp, was straight-forward. One t0 two quarts of charcoal, remember AB said he weighed charcoal in the pork tenderloin episode! From the segment, it looked like the chimney starter was almost full.
The smoker was the large bowl placed over a terracotta planter bottom. Alton then put the glowing red coals in the bowl and added well soaked wood chips. Remember to use hardwood chips for this.
The soaked wood chips cause the charcoal to smoke and serve as the platform for placing the skewered shrimp on for the smoking process. AB used curved skewers in the method.
Lastly, another bowl is placed on top of the big bowl to capture the smoke.
The length of time to smoke the shrimp was not given, but it is safe to say cook until the shrimp turn pink. :)
I love this concept and if I can find a bowl suitable sacrifice for the process, I will be trying it. Of course, this is from 2007 and I still haven't tried it!
The mustard dipping sauce:
1/4 cup whole mustard seeds
1/4 cup dry mustard powder
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
a little water
a little cinnamon
a little ground ginger
Mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Blend with a stick blender and drizzle in olive oil.
I've even made a similar smoker to try the technique at home!
June 26, 2009
Catch Alton Brown with his Food Network colleagues grilling in sunny Florida from the 2007 SoBe event.
AB makes grilled Mahi-mahi and and smoked shrimp. This is must watch for the bowl smoker Alton makes! He's so dang cleaver, using a stainless steel bowl for a smoker!
All-Star Grillfest recipes
June 25, 2009
Try being the operative word here.
I learned a lot about making better choices in shopping for seafood at the Smithsonian's Understanding Sustainability event. Yeah, I went to it for AB but I got so much more out of the event.
Unfortunately, I could not find the Marine Stewardship Council logo on any of the seafood at this mega-mart. So I started looking at some of the options before me, just hoping I could find an acceptable fish for a future dinner.
Then the most puzzling thing occurred. As I perused the frozen fish, I spied wild Alaskan salmon. Praise be, fish I can buy!
Back the boat up.
Checking the product's country of origin, I see this "wild Alaskan salmon" is from CHINA!
How... how can it be called Alaskan salmon if it is from China?
Perplex, I walked away and picked up chicken.
June 24, 2009
Over at Food Network, there is a little article featuring one of the people who make the promos for shows we see air during the breaks. This gal worked on Alton Brown's Feasting on Waves promo.
Apparently, AB gave her a bit of a challenge in creating the promo. Read about her work on it at FN Dish.
Still hope FN releases this on DVD at some point.
I first learned of cooking fowl with a big ol' brick on top of it from AB's cookbook "I'm Just Here for the Food." In there, he butterflies a whole chicken. That was one technique from the book I have used over and over for many years. In fact, my "cooking bricks" stay on the deck, wrapped in foil, all year long. Each time I break out a new grilling and mashing session, I rewrap the bricks and fire up the grill.
Since I found the butterflied chicken to be an excellent way to grill whole chickens, it cooks all of the meat together letting the white meat not over cook while the dark meat can reach the needed higher internal temp. When I saw the Cornish game hens being cooked on Good Eats, I wanted to try the grilled method AB showed because I knew it to be a great way to grill fowl.
The Cornish game hen was something I cooked often. The only time before this I had prepared the little chicken was roasting in the oven like a whole turkey or chicken. They were good but for whatever reason, I never returned to making them.
As of late I've been on a grilling kick. Serious grilling kick. Last week, I spied the wee fowl at a great price at the mega-mart. Since I had wanted to try AB's Curried Cornish Game Hen recipe, it was a great time to give it a try.
First, prepping the bird for flattening is so easy. I have been butterflying chickens for a long time now and thanks to Alton's clear and simple instructions, it couldn't be easier. I use my 5 inch Alton's Angle santoku knife to whack out the backbone, then two slits o the side of the breast and the keel bone is gone. That tip to tuck the legs in the skin is great and makes the little birdy lay nice and flat.
Next came using the puree. In AB's recipe there are almonds, so I had to omit them for the paste (I'm allergic). The curry portion of the program turned out awesome. The smell alone is worth making it. I gave the hens a little rubdown and let them soak for a few hours.
Just like using this method for the bigger fowl, both types of meat on the little hens cooked together. When the darkest, dark of the thigh hit 170 the white meat was not overcooked. The flavor of the curry rub is wonderfully spicy but not too hot. The skin crisped up so great with the grill and the oil from the rub.
This is now on the list of great grill favorites.
AB's Grilled Curry Cornish Hens recipe.
June 23, 2009
Anyway, the newest installment in the GE line "Feeling Punchy" taught us about the tradition of punch through the years.
Out on the high seas, Captain AB explained, punch comes from the Hindi word panch which means five. And this five is important because to properly balance punch, five categories of flavor are necessary to build the drink.
The ship set was quite an impressive bit of staging for AB and company. It had to be one of the more elaborate sets in GE history. I loved the waves, by the way. And AB in the captain costume was just too funny for words. When he was messing with his hair, I giggled every time!
The Long Island bit was great too.
Another century and costume change, brings us to the Cape Fear Club Punch. Again here, AB breaks out a few lessons for us by explaining the role of punch in clubs, societies, military regiments and other organizations.
The spirit lesson was good for me since I don't know a whole lot about libations, though the Cognac system once briefly in "Tender is the Loin I." I did, however, like the lesson on Cognac's birth and history and the rat on the barrel was so cute. Yeah, rat and cute I said it.
Oh, and nice labels on those bottles.
The information on aging of alcohols was great too.
As was learning tea is a common weak ingredient in punches.
Ice egg... excellent!
The best laugh of the whole episode was the thrift store comment about buying most of his clothes at one. But, once again, AB is spot on with info. Thrift store hunting is a favorite past time for my mom and me. She has found so many great culinary things for me on her expeditions and so have I! Yeah, AB just gave a great tip there!
Finally the Hot Toddy. Again, important information on the proper type of spirit to use in the drink.
Did you notice Alton didn't mention his standard line about keeping a nutmeg in his pocket once during the show! I couldn't believe it.
No matter, the episode was great and very, very entertaining. Lots of costumes, history, lessons, spirits and fun!
Check out the recipes on FN's Good Eats site.
This superfan raises a glass for a 5 punch bowl toast for a fabulous episode!
June 22, 2009
I was kinda expecting some ti punch to be in the mix, but according to the recipes on Food Network the three punches will be Cape Fear punch, Good Eats company punch and a Hot Toddy. I'm really hoping for a history lesson on these drinks, that or Robert DeNiro to show up for the Cape Fear part ;)
With all of the alcohol in the recipes I'm surprised AB didn't do a play on the title Punch Drunk Love. Maybe Alton will invite another advertising icon, as he did in "Tuna Surprise!" with Charlie, to the set. I can just see AB getting a little Hawaiian punch at some point in the show.
The recipes are here.
The new episode is followed by another GE epsiode, "Kinda Blue," at 8:30. I highly, highly recommend the blueberry buckle recipe from it. Last year I scored some fresh blueberries and made three of those cakes. Yum, yum, yum.
June 21, 2009
And even better according to the description from the venue, AB will be facing down a panel of "super fans" as a part of the festivities. Hmmm. Superfans? I wonder who will be selected for said panel? Who?
Is it like getting on Jeopardy! with a test to take? Well, then sign me up! Do I need to list all of the recipes I've made, things I've learned from Good Eats and his cookbooks? I can get that for him! The handle for the blog, mise en place, is a term I learned from AB! Is that good enough? Shall I display my collection of the kitchen gear that I've tracked down because it has been seen on Good Eats?
I wish I knew what was needed to earn the title superfan!
Remember the begging, pleading, groveling I said I would do to get to interview AB? Well, the same holds true for this. I have to be there for this! I have to score that golden ticket!
I'm positively certain, AB would want his superfan blogger there, right?
He would want his #1 fan from West Virgina (he did give me that title back in March ;) ) there, right?
Yes for this opportunity I would head to steamy, hot Atlanta in August, battle more traffic than I've ever seen in my entire life and anything else to get spot on that panel.
I'm on the list as a superfan, right?
Suddenly, I feel like Ralphie from A Christmas Story desperately plotting to get this prized item. Perhaps I'll write a C+ worthy theme, well blog post, for the occasion.
Being selected for this would be a billion times better than the lame Dear Food Network Grilling show I was passed over for because it would be coming from Alton. Knighted by the culinary king himself!
What do I need to say/do to land the golden ticket? How many chocolate bars do I need eat or make, huh? Wax poetic on cacao beans?
Although, AB knows of this blog I highly doubt he wants to read it or has the time to do so. But, I'd like to think he would remember I'm out here in cyberspace and would have someone contact me about the show.
He'd do that for this superfan, right?
I know Alton has all of my contact info from the stuff I gave him about the blog back in March, but to make it easy for him here's the email for your superfan blogger Lisa: email@example.com. :D
Tickets are not available for purchase yet, but here's the link to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center's calendar and details about the show.
June 20, 2009
Earlier this week I was offered a great opportunity to add to the ever growing collection. Amid a horrible day at work that included spending 2 1/2 in the dark thanks to a power outage, I opened the my email to find an invitation for an advanced review copy of a new cookbook.
I do really enjoy copycats recipes. And make a few copycat dishes myself. In my post on the pork BBQ, I mentioned how much I love the KFC cole slaw copycat from Todd Wilbur. I have also found a great copycat recipe for the cheddar baked potato soup from Bob Evans.
Paging through the book, I saw several to place on the "try this" list. In the make immediately column: sweet onion sauce from Subway. I have that put on almost every sub I get from there. And Subway is usually a once a week lunch stop, so being able to make the sauce myself will be awesome! Another is Luby's Cafeteria's spaghetti salad. I've never had it from this particular restaurant, but I love it in general and never make my own. Good excuse to make some now!
I saw many dishes I'd like to try, but I've never had the original version because the restaurant is not in my area or I haven't been to it. I just don't eat out much but making new dishes at home... I'm all for that. In fact, the copycat version of the Bob Evans cheddar baked potato soup I make tastes better than the real deal. What I like is being able to make it with my touches.
I'm telling my best friend L there are recipes for Boston Market mac and cheese and Red Lobster chicken tenders. And I'll admit to liking Boston Market mac and cheese even though I'm not a big mac and cheese fan, but that will be one to try.
As for the book itself, the recipes are arranged alphabetical by restaurant so that makes it easy to locate a favorite. It is also arranged by category in the back and has a standard index. There are little factoids about restaurants, like when the first Hooters opened. You know I needed that information. ;)
For the newbie cook there are helpful cooking tips, information about unusual items, cooking terms and tips on buying ingredients.
There are also suggestions on how to make some dishes with alternatives such as other meat options and substitutes like egg whites for whole eggs.
Looks like a nice little cookbook for copycat recipe lovers. Or cookbook hoarders like me ;)
I'll report back on the sweet onion sauce, ASAP.
And thanks again, to Esther for making the offer.
June 19, 2009
I quip now, I'm allergic to my own kind. ;)
But when AB talked about nuts and what they are botanically and culinarlly, I began to wonder if there were other nuts I could try without having a reaction to them. I did find some. After watching "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut" I researched macadamia nuts further. A few years earlier I had tried them with no reaction, so wanted to know a little more about them. After finding out they grow on evergreens and knowing I'm fine eating pine nuts, I figured it was ok to eat these as well. Thus far, no volcanic reactions. Yay!
Thanks to AB inspiring me to learn more about macadamia nuts, I ventured to try the recipe for them offered in the episode. The crust for the mahi-mahi looked very enticing. But even more so was it could be morphed into a pie crust.
And what type of pie would be fitting for a fine crust such as this?
Coconut creme, of course.
The crust is, well, easy as pie to make!
AB's Macadamia Nut Crust
5 ounces (approximately 1 1/4 cups) roasted macadamia nuts, ground
1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix all of the dry stuff together and add the butter. Then press into the pan of your choice. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.
The filling was something I whip up, a combo of a few pie recipes. Basically, a straight custard with coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut added. This time I added some rum extract to the mix. Didn't really taste it, oh well another experiment for another day.
But the crust was a knockout! I've made this pie with pie dough crust, vanilla wafer crust and now macadamia nut crust. By far the winner is the macadamia nut crust. It offers a nice crunch to the pie. The nuts add a toasty goodness as well.
June 18, 2009
I have just discovered the level of my naïveté. Remember my attempt to land a spot to grill with Alton Brown from the Dear Food Network: Grilling show? I have uncovered that one of the "winners" is actually a food writer and has been on TV before!
It started with a harmless check of my website's recent hits. I saw an odd search term appear. Somehow searching the name "Chris Kohatsu" brought hits to my site. I hadn't a clue why or who this person was... until I researched.
Ms. Kohatsu was the first winner to appear with AB in the grilling show. Remember the culinary student who needed help with her burgers? The fan who used Emeril's catchphrase to ask Alton a question. In addition to needing help with her burgers and being a culinary student, she is apparently a food writer. Here's where she writes and posts.
Okay, she writes about food. So shouldn't she know a thing or two about about cooking? Well, maybe not if the topic is just food in general. It makes me wonder why someone who writes about food would want to appear on a show like this, a show about needing help in the kitchen (or with the grill).
Then I thought, maybe she honestly needed help from Alton more than I did. But a food writer asking for help on a simple thing like burgers? Really now.
I'll even give her that grilling is out of her realm and that's why she needed help with it.
Still, it is shocking because I was so embarrassed to submit my question knowing all that AB had taught me and knowing how big of a fan I am. I had to think about it, long and hard, before attempted to design a question to pose.
I didn't want to act clueless in order to get my chance, even as much as I wanted it. But I finally did it because I truly want to cook with Alton and tell him about what I have learned from watching all of his shows and using his cookbooks. My question may not have been the best one because I tried to ask it in a way that wasn't going to make me look stupid. If I acted like I didn't know anything and call myself one of Alton's fans, then I'm doing a disservice to him because AB is all about teaching his viewers.
Then it got worse the more I searched. In Google videos, I found she had been on some program on HGTV called I Want That. HGTV just happens to be owned by the same conglomerate that owns Food Network. Hmm?
Here's her segment:
Learning of this has taught me I'm naive at times.
Someone like me hasn't a chance to be selected for one of these shows. It's all that who you know thing. I'm a nobody and I don't have connections to anyone who could get me to an opportunity like that. An average Jane, like me, gets a raw deal 99.999% of the time. Should've known that from the beginning, but I had hope displaying my true and honest passion as a fan would help me would win.
All the passion in the world, all the skills I've polished from watching Alton, all of the blog posts I write about my cooking matters not in the grand scheme of things.And never will. As long as the producers of these shows select people with connections and past TV experience.
Though I'm saddened to learn about this, I am hopeful this was an amazing experience. I hope Ms. Kohatsu had a great time grilling with Alton. I hope she appreciated Alton's advice on the burgers, took in all of the information he gave and put it to use. I hope she realized what a treat it was to hang out with him and talk food with him. I hope she entered the contest just as I did, a passionate fan with a dream to grill with her all-time favorite cooking show host. I hope she is a real, true Alton Brown fan who was thrilled to get personal cooking tips from someone she admires.
The red gloves being the primary object of my lust.
But the cute little T-Rex spray bottle wasn't far behind.
First item up for examination, the gloves. Pulling them out of the bag, I found them constructed of heavy-duty materials. Many years ago my mom bought me some welding gloves for a Christmas present and while those gloves are nice and served their purpose well, the quality is nowhere near that of these gloves.
Now I have to make an important decision. To use these gloves or not. Judging the condition of my old welding gloves, I fear these would end up in looking a little battered. Tough call.
The next thing I looked over was the tongs. To me, these were icing on on the cake since my primary goal was to get those gloves. I have several sets of tongs, I love my latest set a 6 inch pair bought from a restaurant supply store. But these new tongs will be used. They have a nice heft to them and the pull up locking feature is far better than the sliding metal bar on my other tongs. Another added bonus, the tongs are made in the USA. ;)
I love this little guy.
Like the red gloves, the old T-Rex has been something I've drooled over purchasing. And now he's mine!
I got a chuckle from the note to fellow grillers from Alton on the enclosed recipe card. As reader Luke over at Latent Chestnut told us, there's a warning about not feeling like a superhero upon wearing of the gloves. I can't say I felt like a superhero, ok maybe a little. What could be my name... Grilling Girl? Captain Culinary? Oh wait... Mighty Mise en Place! ;)
The other thing I noted on the card was AB remembered not all grillers are male. The message said something like go forth and grill like madmen (or madwomen). Thanks for remembering we gals grill too.
Overall, I'm very happy with the grilling kit.
June 17, 2009
Stewart, Tabori and Chang's Good Eats page includes that cool video and the sneak preview of the book.
I see from peak of the back cover, there will be recipes that never made it in to the show along with a poster. Looks like a nice little package.
While I wait to bring readers my own interview with Alton Brown, we will have to settle for this 2003 article in a magazine about eye glasses recently uncovered. In it, Alton talks about his glasses. Okay, does that mean I'm way, way too much of a fan if I care about his glasses? I don't know... that's a fine line. ;) Let's just call it an interesting read for some trivia tidbits or I'm interested because I wear glasses too, yeah that's the ticket.
Not sure if I've read this before, as a long time fan things are starting to blur together (no pun intended... okay, pun intended).
I'm pretty certain I have not read it before because AB mentions when he started wearing glasses and that he is myopic and has a "nasty astigmatism." I know I would have remembered that because that's what I have a very nasty astigmatism in my right eye. I joke, I need to wear a monocle because my left eye is fine. And don't you just know, one day I was at work and the left lens popped out of my glasses... I wore them all day not realizing the lens was gone! I felt like a huge dork.
Anyway, enough about my vision problems. Here's the link to the article from 20/20mag.com: Alton's part is at the very end. Yeah, its a wee bit dated with the info on when Good Eats airs, oh well.
I liked the part about how loyal fans can tell seasons by looking at AB's frames. So, so gulity of that.
June 16, 2009
Yes, absolutely, AB no home is complete without two or three copies! ;) I have two copies (at least) of his other cookbooks. And when I get mine autographed later this year, you know I'll have to purchase another copy.
Volume 1 hits bookstore shelves in October, followed by volume 2 in 2010. I have my volume 1 pre-ordered, of course.
Wasn't that thing AB couldn't remember what it was, the flamethrower Louis Pasteur used to fight the food police in "Milk Made?"
Sure would like to have that mock up book. I love the book jacket :D
June 15, 2009
If I had a list of the very best things learned from watching Good Eats, this recipe would score near the top. I made it right after first seeing it in "Raising the Steaks." Of course, my attempt at making it ended with not being able to find the correct items. Grr.
The problem was locating skirt steak. The ol' mega-mart only had pre-packaged, pre-cut skirt steak. Apparently, this makes it more convenient to cook fajitas. I just rolled my eyes and moved on trying to locate undamaged skirt steak somewhere. Eventually, I opted for another cut of beef because I so wanted to try this recipe. My discovery was an awesome marinade for any cut of beef.
The other problem, locating natural lump charcoal. I have since procured natural briquettes, but at first attempt I only had regular briquettes. So, cooking straight on the coals was most certainly out of the question.
Although I now use natural briquettes and can find whole flank steak, I still revert back to the way I originally made this recipe. This is especially if some other cut of beef is on sale.
When this recipe calls, at the beginning of the grill season, I break out my stained copy for review, just in case I have forgotten something over the winter. What I find, is that I can quote this recipe exactly. The first time that happened I was shocked, not realizing I made it that much.
Now after seeing the recent ICA battle skirt steak, I understand this dish cannot be called "fajitas" since a different cut of beef is involved... but, I guess what? I don't care! They are still great whatever moniker they have.
This marinade is highly recommended.
June 14, 2009
From the set and the shirt he's wearing, it looks to be made back in February when AB was doing all of those Valentine's Day guest shots on morning shows. It is a nice little lesson on salt and how Diamond Crystal makes theirs. Oh, and Alton breaks out a blowtorch! Nice. AB is probably the only person who could do that and not come off as psycho. lol.
So without further ado, AB on salt...
The original copy can be found here.
June 12, 2009
Some genius at Entertainment Weekly compiled a list called "15 for Foodies: TV's Top Kitchens." An apparently sad, sad attempt to name the best cooking shows failed miserably because there is no Good Eats. Their own saving grace was placing Alton Brown's other show, ICA, on the list.
But seriously, no GE? How, oh how, could they have done at that to AB? He makes the best cooking show on TV right now and quite possibly the best cooking show EVER!
- 30 MINUTE MEALS
- PAULA'S HOME COOKING
- THROWDOWN WITH BOBBY FLAY
- TOP CHEF
- DOWN HOME WITH THE NEELYS
- BAREFOOT CONTESSA
- JULIA CHILD: LESSONS WITH MASTER CHEFS
- EMERIL LIVE
- IRON CHEF AMERICA
- AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN
- MOLTO MARIO
- THE MINIMALIST
- EASY ENTERTAINING WITH MICHAEL CHIARELLO
- HOW TO BOIL WATER
Thank Heaven, they threw Julia in there. And "Molto Mario" was a pretty good show; one of the show I watched early on when I first started getting Food Network. But come on, how on earth does AB and GE get snubbed in favor of some of that crap?
You can add comments too. My favorite commenter:
So true Disappointed, so true.
Disappointed Wed, Jun 10, 09 at 02:13 PM
I clicked all the way through, expecting each time to see Good Eats, and then I fell off the end of the list. Guess I should've known better than to click to an EW story from CNN.com's homepage, even if it looked relevant. Alton Brown has a background in production (having done commercials, etc.). He's a trained chef as well. On top of that, he's an excellent teacher (although some of us apparently hate teachers, hehe). Leaving Good Eats off the list is a shameful travesty of epic proportions.
June 11, 2009
Alton's Grilling Essentials Kit. I have been debating whether to buy it for the red gloves. I absolutely, positively love those red gloves AB has on the show. And an added bonus, you can get the dino-spray bottle too.
I'm tempted, very tempted, to buy this.
Check out sale over at the store.
PS: I am not, in any way, getting a kickback for posting this. Just wanted everyone to know about the sale, especially if you've been drooling over those gloves like me.
I make this request to Alton (or should I address him as Mr. Brown?) not for myself (although it will be completely and utterly one of the best moments of my life) but for all who read this blog and are his fans. I want to give readers, especially those who found this blog early on, a bit of his wit and wisdom in means designed just for us.
Part of what drives this wish to interview Alton is the knowledge of the many, many—shall I say, lame—interviews conducted over the years. Usually these interviewers ask questions that encompass basic information a quick Internet search would uncover. These poorly prepared interviewers cannot even take the time to do a little research on their interviewee, what a shame. Moreover, there have been some amazingly horrendous interviewers AB has endured over the years. I still cringe at the thought of the radio interview back in January when the host called AB’s show “Great Eats.” And two words: David. Letterman.
Through all of these horror show interviews, Alton as been a gracious gentleman. Even when they mispronounce his name, misidentify his show, ask mundane questions and act asinine he gives a great interview.
Being a journalist in a former life, I highly value a great interview subject. Alton is one of the best I’ve encountered. What a pleasure it would be to interview him, but so many have fouled up their chance. With that journalistic background and now operating this blog, I am itching to pose a few questions to AB.
My sight is set toward the big goal for the blog. I am trying my darnedest to land that interview with Alton.
I realize AB is an extremely busy man with so many projects and so little time. I know he is an important person, a big time TV star. And I am merely a fan. Even though I do this blog to help my follow fans learn about AB’s projects and to give his projects more publicity, in reality, he doesn’t need me to publicize his projects and events.
Nevertheless, I freely offer this site and information on it for everyone to enjoy and use. I know this is a great place for fans because I have experienced so much of it in the time doing this blog. People I don’t know, from all over the US and the world, find their way to this little blog on a daily basis. All of them have commonality: an interest in Alton, cooking and a need for some information. And I am pleased to help in any way to fill that need. Also, I am grateful for everyone who reads this blog.
I say, assuredly, this blog is read. Read by many, many fans. Fans who enjoy all AB gives us. And by granting the interview it would become the pinnacle post for this blog no other could top. We would all enjoy and delight in it and appreciate Alton for taking the time to be interviewed.
Please Alton, if you have any time to spare, grant me the privilege of this interview. All of this blog's readers and I would greatly appreciate your doing this more than you will ever know. While my grand plan includes turning a phone interview into a podcast for everyone to enjoy, if I may have a moment or two with you at the Opryland in August that would be equally as great.
All I can say is please agree to do the interview. I ask in my nicest, sweetest voice with my biggest puppy dog eyes.
And I’ll even do some begging, groveling and sniveling if need be. ;)
AB can even have someone contact me at the brand, spanking new email address I have set up: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 2009
First up was the return of the chop to my plate. In the molasses episode, I was taken with the coffee-marinaded pork chops. I cannot tell you why, since pork is not a favorite meat, but it intrigued me enough to try.
The lead off dish for the swine fest was AB's Pork Wellington.
After seeing this dish in the "Tender is the Pork" episode, I immediately knew that pig in the blanket was going to be on my menu soon. Having all but the tenderloin, dried apples and prosciutto ham on hand, it wasn't going to be a huge undertaking to make the piggy.
It was equally easy to make. Thanks to two great demonstrations on cleaning sliver skin from both beef and pork tenderloins, this process was very easy.
Since the grilled pork tenderloin needed, at minimum, six hour to soak this became the second dish in the pork challenge. But it wasn't playing second fiddle by any means.
From a prep standpoint, this was much easier than the other dish, simply make the marinade and soak. Cooking needed more fussing, however. Following AB's instructions, I rotated the tenderloin every two minutes for a total of 12 minutes. Then, placed the beautifully seared meat into a foil pack along with the other half of the marinade.
I loved the grilled version. It was tangy and sweet with a hint of citrus.
Both dishes highlighted the pork very well. The meat was tender and had favor. I'm sold on these dishes.
The best part of my piggy challenge was learning two new methods and learning my way around the cut. Once again, Alton has inspired me to try something new and gave me the chops to make a great meal.
June 09, 2009
While AB's goal was to disguise the veggie to win a bet with his finicky niece, the food made with parsnips. This new character, MJ, played very well by Alton's daughter, was a cute little miss smarty pants with an aversion to veggies. AB's charge to get her to eat veggies.
I loved the return trip to the cellar, now featuring a clapper for the light. There was a nice little debriefing on parsnip background.
It was nice to see an expert (a horticulturist) giving us a the facts on "cold sweetening" of parsnips. The graphics were cheese and so traditionally Good Eats, loved them.
The recipes were interesting and surprising. The muffins are certainly thing to consider. If they are anywhere near as good as AB's carrot cake... well they would be amazing.
The other recipe that caught my attention was the parsnip-pear sauce. That looked both oddly interesting and yummy.
Overall, a wonderful episode with three new recipes, a new character, a horticulture lesson and an introduction to a not widely used veggie.
Four and a half parsnips for a nice episode!
June 07, 2009
I just finished watching the premiere episode and AB never say word one about store bought biscuits or angel food cake. Was this reporter watching the same program?
"Soon, an irate Brown is at the cooks’ table, asking, 'Where did you get the biscuit?' They admit it’s Pillsbury, and he testily explains that they should have made angel food cake." Read it here.
I guess those given an advanced look at the show must have seen the "lost" episode or the director's cut because he never, ever uttered that so-called quote in what just aired. What irresponsible journalism this reporter shows in creating a quote Alton never said and claiming he did something he didn't. There weren't even store bought biscuits served! They couldn't find them!
Sheesh. What crappy reporting!
The reporter owes Alton an apology. I know, I'm sorry I posted that terrible article and believed AB would do such a thing.
June 06, 2009
Iron Chef America
Sunday night at 10 p.m. (note the time change) eastern
Next Food Network Star
Sunday night at 9 p.m. eastern
Alton will be a part of the hosts sizing up the new crop of FN stars. Apparently AB wasn't too happy about the contestants from train wreak that is TFNS using store bought biscuits. Read it here.
Monday night at 8 p.m. eastern
Alton sneaks vegetables into treats in an attempt to get his niece to eat them.
Niece? Perhaps little Zoey will be introduced into a new role? Can't wait to see if the niece is the spawn of Marsha or BA.
AB had a niece character in the hour-long Thanksgiving episode, but she never appeared in any more episodes.
June 05, 2009
Alton's life-long interest in the sea began in childhood as he watched Jacques Cousteau's TV specials and made his first scuba dive at age 12 in the Bahamas. Today, he is a supporter of the Seafood Watch, a ten-year-old program from Monterey Bay Aquarium that educates consumers on the importance of buying sustainable seafood and helps consumers to advocate for the issue. AB said the seafood guide from the organization changed his life and now carries one on his iphone.
The goal of the webcast was to raise awareness about oceans and the critters we eat from them. Alton said selecting items from the "good" list on the guide offer some great choices to eat well.
Many of the topics for discussion came from questions posed by listeners. Someone asked about good choices for a new cook looking for firm white fish. AB suggested striped bass either farmed or wild caught. For the little more advanced cook he suggests black cod (aka sable fish), which is a fatty fish containing more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon.
The question I posed to Alton was on sardines. While the moderator didn't tell the name of the people when presenting the questions, I knew this was partly mine. I asked about the recent article on sardines and AB giving the wee fish the Good Eats treatment.
AB said he has been "crazy about sardines" since having fried ones in Europe as a college student. The episode featuring them will be called "Little Fishy." He also added that he eats them 5 days a week. And believes there will be a paradigm shift in the way Americans think about the small fish. He also added rainbow trout in this new look at smaller fish.
He also stated he was working on a cookbook on sustainable seafood to help people cook these fish at home. Until we are buying and preparing this seafood at home, AB believes, we cannot fully make the needed changes. Everyone, both the chefs in restaurants and the home cook must participate. He wants this cookbook to educate and inspire people to try other seafood outside of the standard fare.
The other topic Alton passionately spoke about was fresh versus frozen fish. There is a mindset that raw equates to fresh. He believes the opposite and advocates frozen over raw. One reason Alton thinks frozen is better is the fish is frozen within hours of being caught whereas raw fish you do not know how long it has been around. It is also good for people in landlocked areas. Consumers can get the same high quality frozen fish anywhere.
Alton said he believes if we had people like Jacques Cousteau showing us the awe and beauty of the sea more people would be interested in learning about preserving it. Perhaps, AB's post-Good Eats life can be a seafood show on cooking and saving the oceans. After all, he said the ocean was wonderful because you can learn, protect and eat it all at the same time.
An archived version of the webcast will be available on June 9 at the Aquarium's website.
** Photos are from screen captures during the webcast, so they probably belong to the Aquarium's PR office.
June 04, 2009
The best part of the article, AB said an episode of Good Eats will be on small fish.
This article reminded me of his quip at the Smithsonian event, about sardines being sexy. I'd love for him to use that in the show!
My only experience with the little buggers is from the cans. I remember my mom getting them when I was a kid. Haven't had any since. In the article, AB says he travels with cans of them.
Can't wait for the episode on them. I certainly will give the little fishies a try.
Since Alton had recommended it, I had to watch it. Trusting his taste in films, I thought it just may be a good flick. I was amazed by it. First, being from 1996 the satirical look at celebrity chefdom is awesome and wickedly biting. Even more surprising, it is from Hong Kong.
The story is about Stephen Chow, celebrity chef aka The God of Cookery, who has a vast empire of restaurants, products and endorsements but there's one problem. He doesn't have much in the way of culinary skills.
Chow is ruined by his conniving business partner and ends up the street. While on the street, Chow meets some rival street food vendors and unites them to create a dish called "pissing beef balls." Oh, I can't explain! Just say the humor of the film is so bizarre at times. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it!
Anyway, the new dish returns Chow to prominence. He then competes for the title of God of Cookery against the rival who overthrew him. The competition is an Iron Chef spoof.
By far my favorite part of the movie was the scene when Chow finds out the street vendor named Turkey who he helped with the "pissing beef balls" idolized him. She claimed to be his number one fan and received scars on her face from her devotion to Chow.
When I saw that I busted out laughing.
Even if that #1 fan thing hadn't been a part of the storyline, the movie was hilarious. If you can handle subtitled films and have a satirical streak this is certainly a foodie film to enjoy.
Thanks to AB's recommendation, I sought this movie out. I'm glad I did.
June 03, 2009
Back in 2001, I saw AB using the device in the "Grill Seekers" episode and thought it was a great way to light charcoal and much safer. That summer I looked high and low for one. At the time they were not easily found. But at some point one was located at a local Lowe's. And after that my grilling life changed.
The first thing that is so great is no lighter fluid! One thing my mom use to complain about grilled food was the lighter fluid taste. Well, that's gone now!
The other thing I love about the device is it quickly and always lights the charcoal. Sometimes battling the starter fluid took more time than the cooking. I have yet to have that problem with this item. And like AB says, the coals get jet engine hot. Amazingly hot.
My little charcoal starter has been with me since 2001 and has seen better days.
I'd love to have one of those big shiny Weber chimney starters, but I just can't part with my little guy. I'll use it until it falls apart, I suppose.
Last year, I almost bought a new one. I was telling a co-worker she needed to buy one because she was complaining about lighter fluid. She told me about the one from Home Depot. Silver, shiny and big. She also said her husband didn't believe one wad of newspaper could light all of that charcoal. After trying he was convinced. So convinced, he told his son-in-law to get one.
Yeah, this is most certainly one of the best tips I've picked up from AB.
June 02, 2009
Back when the episode "Q" originally aired, I was transfixed to make that terra cotta smoker. And guess what I did a few days later? Yeah, I really did.
My only problem was using the electric hotplate. The one I had was old and a tad bit unsafe. The cord melted a bit and I didn't want to burn down some in the process of making BBQ, so I gave up my homemade smoker and smoking. But yeah, I can say AB caused me to make a flowpot smoker!
A few years back, after I gave up on the flowerpot smoker, my mom found a Brinkman charcoal smoker being given away for free at a near by church. She got it for me. It was a beauty. And opened my need to smoke again.
Over the years, I've smoked tons of thing in it. My personal favorite is salmon. And when it came time for BBQ sandwiches, it was beef brisket. But for some unknown reason, never smoked a pork butt. I had operated under the false assumption that beef was better than pork for BBQ sandwiches. But this year it was time to settle this once and for all... I would smoke a pork shoulder to see if this notion was correct.
Being the AB uberfan that I am, I turned to his method of brining the pork shoulder before smoking. And after soaking the little piggy for 12 hours, I followed his rub recipe as well. Early on Sunday morning the shoulder headed to my smoker. From smoking beef and watching the Q episode, oh I don't know 47 times maybe, I knew this was an all day event. I had plenty of newly found natural charcoal briquettes and a bag of hickory chips at the ready.
All totalled, it took about 10 hours of smoking, three chimneys of charcoal and three refills of hickory chips to reach the target temperature. I allowed the shoulder to cool about an hour before pulling with two forks. I found this procedure to be a little easier than with beef. The pig pulled apart nicely. Then into the chill chest until morning.
Bright and early (ok, not so early--I'm not a morning person) Memorial Day, I began the sauce. Something that I whip together, couldn't tell you precisely but it includes tomato sauce, Worcestershire, molasses, ketchup, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, red wine vinegar and what ever else I feel like tossing in. After the sauce cooks for a while, I poured on the shredded pork.
The order of the day was BBQ sandwiches, of course, topped with my all-time favorite cole slaw. And that would be a copy cat recipe of KFC's slaw from Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes cookbook. It is very simple to make and can be found here, if you'd like to make some mighty fine cole slaw.
So with piggy properly topped, the only thing left was the tasting.
I am now convinced pork Q is superior to beef Q. The meat itself is not as chewy as beef and a little sweeter. I can foresee more smokin' butts in the warm summers days ahead.
AB's Q brine and rub recipe.
June 01, 2009
The visit happened quite by accident. During my excursion I wasn't planning on visiting a restaurant supply store, there's actually one in Charleston I wanted to visit but never have found my way too. But that's another story as to why I haven't been there. Anyway, I was catching a repeat of Iron Chef America at the hotel on Thursday night when the bolt of inspiration hit.
So nearing midnight with a big day of things on my to do list, I decided to search one more thing. Quickly popping open my trusty Macbook, I googled restaurant supply stores Hagerstown MD. And I found Restaurant Equipment Emporium. It was probably less than a mile from the place were my friend L and I were to have lunch. Awesome.
The shop was tucked away from the road and a little small. But inside was great. That kid in the candy store feeling hit walking around looking at all of the cool restaurant supplies. I spotted some whisks. I'm a sucker for whisks. There was this one ginormous one. Just a wee bit too big. But there was a nice normal sized one with a hefty handle. At only five bucks, I had to have it. Next to the whisks were spring loaded tongs. I found the smaller, six inch pair that have been on my list for years.
However, the pièce de résistance was finding something featured on Good Eats. Something AB recommended buying and using.
From "Pop Art" remember the salt shaker AB used? The one with the three changeable lids. I've been looking for that thing since the episode aired.
Look what followed me home...
AB's advice to shop at a restaurant supply store is just plain brilliant! Another reason why he is the best culinary personality on TV! Who else tells viewers to shop at such a locale?