Friday, September 30, 2016

Apple Fritters – Not a Raw Deal

Just a few months ago, making something like apple fritters would have seemed crazy, but this time of the year, it makes perfect sense. Whether it makes perfect sense to spend the extra time and effort cooking the apple pieces before adding them to the batter, is something you’ll have to decide.

I didn’t think I liked apple fritters, but turns out I just don’t like chunks of almost raw apple, surrounded by a doughnut. Maybe I’ve just been going to the wrong shops, but I’ve never enjoyed the texture, and always wanted to try them with cooked apples.

For all I know, this is sacrilege to apple fritter purists, if there is such a thing, but it sure worked for me. I also like to use sparkling apple cider, instead of the usual milk, or regular cider. I’m not sure how much lighter it really makes them, but it seems to help. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!  

Ingredients for about 16 small apple fritters:
2 large or 3 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter to cook apples
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar, (plus 1 tablespoon for cooking apples)
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup sparkling apple cider, or as needed

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bulgogi Beef – How They “Barbecue” in Korea (the Good Korea)

This is going to be a pretty easy post to write, since I know almost nothing about the fine art of bulgogi. I do know that if you follow along with what I did in the video, you’re going to end up with something very delicious, and fairly gorgeous, so that’s a good place to start.

I also know that you can control the texture by making your slices thicker or thinner, as well as changing the marination time. Obviously, the thinner the slice, and the longer it’s in the marinade, the softer and more tender the meat becomes. However, you can go too far, ending up with something mushy, and unappetizing.

Unfortunately, this is a matter of trial and error, and so to avoid all that, I generally go with just an hour or two, which always seems like plenty to me. I don’t want mushy meat, in the best examples I’ve had of this in Korean restaurants, while tender, still had a little bit of chewiness to them. Besides, the fact that this is such a fast-acting marinade, is one of the big advantages.

If you don’t do the boneless short ribs, and go with pork loin, or chicken, you’ll want to be especially careful, since it has less connective tissue. By the way, if you are an experienced bulgogi master, please feel free to pass any tips along. I really hope to give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large portions:
1 1/4 pound boneless beef short rib, or any other meat, sliced about 1/8-inch thick
4 finely crushed garlic cloves
1 generous tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup freshly grated Asian pear
1/4 cup grated yellow onion
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 or 2 tablespoon light brown sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
sliced green onions to finish
steamed rice

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How to Make Perfect Instant Mashed Potatoes for Fun and Profit

I almost never do sponsored videos, and that has nothing to do with not wanting to sell out. I’d love to sell out. Who wouldn’t? No, it’s more the fact that very rarely does everything line up to make one of these possible, as it did with this video for Idahoan Signature™ Russets Mashed Potatoes.

Rarely do I get offered a chance to feature a product that I actually like, and use, so when they offered to sponsor a video, I jumped at the chance to show off one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Although, these are a far cry from the gummy, horribly artificial tasting stuff I ate as a kid. Made properly, they are remarkably close to freshly made.

And by properly made, I mean follow the directions on the package, which for an old chef is not easy. As you know I’m not big on measuring, but for this, that’s really the key. If you don’t believe me, go out and buy a package, and taste for yourself, as I think you’ll be impressed. I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Obligatory Sponsored Post Disclaimer: This post and video were sponsored by Idahoan Signature™ Russets Mashed Potatoes, and I was compensated for my efforts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pizza Dough Pretzels or Bavarian Bagels?

When you’re shopping, and get a sudden craving for homemade soft pretzels, there’s not a lot you can do to satisfy that yearning immediately. Sure, you can set some dough when you get home, and wait for it to rise, but by the time that’s done, how do you even know your still going to want pretzels?

Well, the solution to this probably not very common problem is store-bought pizza dough. While I don’t necessarily recommend it for making world-class pizza, if you’re willing to eat something that looks like a bagel, it works very well for making pretzels.

By the way, if you’re wondering exactly, specifically, and precisely what the difference is between bagels and pretzels, I’m not sure I’m the one to ask. I believe the doughs are slightly different, as well as the solution they’re boiled in, but above and beyond that, you should hit the search engines up for more details.

Normally, I would’ve done that before writing the post, but did I mention the pretzels and beer? Like I said in the video, if you do want to make your own pretzel dough, go for it, since the technique will work the same no matter where you’re dough comes from. Regardless of what you use, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 homemade soft pretzels:
1 pound prepared pizza dough, plus all-purpose flour as needed, divided into six balls
6 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
coarse salt

- Bake at 400 F. for about 20 minutes, or until beautifully browned, and stretch marks have formed. Exact times will depend the specific size and shape of your pretzel.

- Tip:  if you’re making rings, be sure to stretch them out, so your pretzels are not too thick. You don’t want them any fatter than I made, otherwise they become too bready. Larger, thinner dough rings we’ll give you a chewier pretzel, closer to the ones you get at the mall.