Monday, July 26, 2010

FOX. MASTERCHEF by Chef Gordon Ramsay

Famed chef Gordon Ramsay is bringing MASTERCHEF, a new culinary competition series based on the smash hit U.K. and Australian format, to FOX. MASTERCHEF conducted a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America, and through a series of exciting elimination rounds, will turn one of them into a culinary master.




MasterChef conducted a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America.

Contestants on MASTERCHEF will be judged and mentored by Chef Gordon Ramsay, famed for his international empire of Michelin-starred restaurants and television series HELL'S KITCHEN and KITCHEN NIGHTMARES. Joining him on the judging panel are restaurateur and wine maker Joe Bastianich, owner of some of the most-celebrated Italian restaurants across the country; and Graham Elliot, the youngest four-star chef in the U.S. and mastermind behind Chicago's first "bistronomic" restaurant.



MASTERCHEF contestants will be put through their paces in a series of challenges designed to test their palate, food knowledge, passion and culinary skills both inside and outside the kitchen. As they're whittled down, they'll face increasing pressure, from being asked to slice and dice a truckload of onions to creating incredible gourmet dishes from boxes full of random ingredients to providing an all-American send-off meal for hundreds of U.S. Marines to catering a high-end wedding.



The winner will walk away with a quarter of a million dollars.

The series will serve as a unique platform for people from all walks of life who want to make a big change and follow their dream of becoming a culinary legend. The winner of America's first-ever MASTERCHEF will also walk away with a quarter of a million dollars and will publish his or her own cookbook.



MASTERCHEF is produced by Reveille, Shine TV and One Potato Two Potato and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Shine TV. Shine International handles distribution for the MASTERCHEF format. Elisabeth Murdoch, Franc Roddam, Mark Koops, Howard T. Owens, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Pat Llewellyn, J.D. Roth and Todd Nelson serve as executive producers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Top USA Comfort food recipes - Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich & Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Many recipes I found seemed to be rather dated as they called for frying the chicken in vegetable shortening. Most shortenings on the market have transfats in them, which we now know are very bad for us. We do our frying, of anything, in grape seed oil, which as the name implies, comes from the seeds of grapes. It is a high smoke-point oil, which means that you can get it pretty hot before it begins to burn, making it perfect for deep frying. It also has many known health benefits (see the Wikipedia citation). The recipes also called for frying the chicken in a cast iron frying pan. We love our cast iron pans, but they tend to be quite heavy, and retain heat so well, that if you have a problem and have to lower the heat rapidly, you won't be able to do it. Anodized aluminum can also take the heat without warping, but will be more responsive for heating and cooling.




Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe



Ingredients

1 (3 pound) fryer (see Wikipedia on the difference between broilers, fryers, and roasting birds), cut into pieces

 1 # buter cubed
2 cups buttermilk

1 large onion, sliced

1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme) or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs.

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper



2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 cups grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil such as canola oil, or peanut oil



Method

1 Soak chicken overnight (at least 8 hours and up to two days) in buttermilk with onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper. (Regarding the use of buttermilk, my mother has had good results from soaking chicken in plain yogurt instead of buttermilk.)


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2 Drain in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper or plastic (sturdy) bag, mix flour with seasonings. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum - something that can take the heat) on medium high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil (but not so hot that the pan is smoking). Remember when working with hot oil, always have a pan lid close by.









3 Place chicken pieces in bag with flour and shake until thoroughly coated. Add chicken to hot pan and fry on 1 side for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown, and then use tongs to turn the pieces over and fry for another 10-12 minutes, again until golden brown.



Be careful to keep the oil hot enough to fry the chicken, but not so high as it burns the chicken. To do this on our electric stove we have to alternate the settings between high to medium high several times while we are cooking.







4 Use tongs to remove chicken from pan. Place on a rack over a cookie sheet or broiling pan for the excess oil to drain. Add more salt and pepper to taste.



Serves 4.



Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich Recipe


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Ingredients

One 3-pound chuck roast, rinsed and dried

2 medium onions, chopped

3 EA. Star Anise
1 Tbsp olive oil

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)

1 18-ounce bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (or 2 1/4 cups of your favorite homemade barbecue sauce)

1 slice aged new england cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 sandwich or kaiser buns

Method

1 In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping them in the pot. Add the barbecue sauce, increase heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chuck roast. Bring to a low simmer, cover and slow cook until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.







2 Remove the meat from the pot. Use a fork and knife to separate the roast into small pieces. Set aside.



3 Increase the heat on the pot to medium/medium-high, uncover, and reduce the liquid until thick. Stir often to prevent burning.



4 Return the meat to the liquid in the pan. Warm both thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Serve on buns. Makes approximately 12 sandwiches.