Category Archives: Food TV

Amanda Freitag’s Pop’s Beer-Braised Bold Beef Stew and Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

Freitag's favorite dishes growing up -- her father's beef stew.

One of Amanda Freitag’s favorite dishes growing up — her father’s beef stew.

 

In the winter, there are few things as comforting as tucking into a big bowl of beef stew and creamy mashed potatoes.

It’s a stick-to-your-ribs — and everywhere else — kind of dish that fortifies on a long, dark night like nothing else.

So when I spied “Pop’s Beer-Braised Bold Beef Stew,” I was game to give it a go, not only because of the two bottles of dark beer in it, but also the half bottle of red wine. How good does that sound, right?

The recipe is from “The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef’s Recipes For Fun, Fearless Home Cooking” (William Morrow) by Amanda Freitag with writer Carrie King.

ChefNextDoor

You probably know celebrated New York Chef Freitag from her many TV appearances as a judge on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and a competitor on “Iron Chef America.”

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Scenes From Chefs’ Holidays 2016 At The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee looking as it should in winter.

The Ahwahnee looking as it should in winter.

 

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — Last week, I had the great pleasure of returning for the fourth year in a row to help host the incomparable 31st Annual Chefs’ Holidays event at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite.

Besides the stellar chefs, the welcoming staff, and the outstanding food, there was one other unforgettable highlight: snow.

Yes, after four years of drought, and a January a year ago where it was so dry and warm that I hiked in a T-shirt, it was a joy to see Yosemite dusted in powdery, fluffy white, looking every bit its picture-postcard self.

(L to R): Sous Chef Daniel Gomez Sanchez of La Toque, Executive Chef Ken Frank of La Toque, Sarah and Evan Rich of Rich Table, and David Bazirgan of Dirty Habit.

(L to R): Sous Chef Daniel Gomez Sanchez of La Toque, Executive Chef Ken Frank of La Toque, Sarah and Evan Rich of Rich Table, and David Bazirgan of Dirty Habit.

Chefs’ Holidays takes place every January through early February. It is comprised of eight sessions, with each one spotlighting three renowned chefs, each of whom does a cooking demo. There is a wine reception to meet all the chefs. Each session ends with a gala dinner prepared by the headliner chef or all three participating chefs.

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Jacques Pepin’s Poulet A La Creme

Chicken with mushrooms and cream in a fabulous dish by Jacques Pepin.

Chicken with mushrooms and cream in a fabulous dish by Jacques Pepin.

 

This dish is the equivalent of a big cashmere blanket wrapped around your shoulders.

It’s warm, comforting, and makes you feel well taken care of.

And of course, it’s by Jacques Pepin.

“Poulet A La Creme” is from his newest cookbook, “Jacques Pepin Heart & Soul In the Kitchen” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

JacquesPepinHeartandSoul

It’s also his last cookbook — well, at least the last one associated with his own television cooking show. That’s because his current KQED series of the same name is the last one he will film. He’ll turn 80 in December, and after 14 series, 24 cookbooks, and 32 years on television, he’s finally taking a break.

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Bryan Voltaggio’s Baked Applesauce

The beginnings of this applesauce.

The beginnings of this applesauce.

 

The applesauce of my youth was light and bright, the taste of sunshine in the park.

This applesauce, in contrast, is like autumn by a crackling fire.

“Baked Applesauce” is by Bryan Voltaggio, chef-owner of Volt, Lunchbox, Family Meal, Range , and Aggio restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virgina.

You probably also remember him as a finalist on “Top Chef” Season 6, my personal favorite season of the show because of the outstanding caliber of its contestants that year. Voltaggio lost to his brother Michael, who owns MVink in Los Angeles.

The recipe is from Bryan’s first cookbook, “Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends” (Little, Brown and Company), of which I received a review copy.

BryanVoltaggioBook

As the name implies, these 100 recipes are the ones he makes in his family kitchen.

Sure, a few recipes do call for a whipped cream canister or xanthum gum, items not necessarily found in your everyday home kitchen. But in general, these are recipes that are not geared for a brigade of cooks or fancy equipment. In short, they are accessible with familiar flavors and a sense of fun and comfort.

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April Bloomfield’s “If-It-Ain’t-Broke Eggplant Caponata”

Eggplant, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and a whole lot of love.

Eggplant, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and a whole lot of love.

 

She may be most know for her gutsy nose-to-tail cooking. But celebrated New York Chef April Bloomfield wants you to know she’s equally equipped with root-to-shoot flair.

Her first cookbook, “A Girl and Her Pig” (Ecco, 2012) may have been meat-centric. But her follow-up, “A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden” (Ecco), decidedly puts the emphasis smack dab on a cornucopia of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Bloomfield is the award-winning chef-owner of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, and The John Dory Oyster Bar, all in New York, as well as Tosca Cafe in San Francisco. She was also the star of season 2 of “The Mind of A Chef.”

In her cookbook, of which I received a review copy, she offers up dishes that home-cooks can actually make. That includes delights such as “Asparagus Quiches with Mint,” “Roasted Young Onions with Sage Pesto,” and “Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Butterscotch.”

a girl and her greens

With stands at my local farmers market piled high with brilliant purple eggplants at this time of year, I was drawn to Bloomfield’s recipe for “If-It-Ain’t-Broke Eggplant Caponata.”

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