Friday, December 9, 2016

Salt-Crusted Beef Tenderloin – No Lomo

I received a food wish for lomo al trapo a while back, which I learned is a Columbian method for cooking beef tenderloin. The meat is encased in salt, wrapped in a kitchen towel, and then set on top of hot coals. 

Crediting the intense heat, and salt crust, aficionados of this Columbian technique say it produces the juiciest, most flavorful beef tenderloin you’ve ever had.

It really sounded amazing, and I wanted to try it, but realized many of you would have trouble explaining why you were destroying a perfectly good kitchen towel in the process. So, I decided to try a towel-free salt crust technique I’d used successfully on prime rib before, and despite some minor aesthetic issues, it worked amazingly well.

Beef tenderloin is a lean cut of meat, which can make for a fairly boring roast, but that was not the case here. The tenderloin took on an intensely beefy flavor, and was so juicy that I thought something was wrong.  There was so much on the cutting board, I was afraid there wouldn’t be any left in the meat, but I’m happy to report every single bite was dripping with moisture.

Maybe this summer, when the grill is fired up, and I have one too many kitchen towels around, I’ll try the real lomo al trapo technique, but in the meantime I was thrilled with how this came out, and really hope you give it a try soon. Stay tuned for the béarnaise sauce video, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 pound center-cut beef tenderloin roast
1 garlic clove crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white
about 3 cups coarse-ground sea salt

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tarte Flambée – Alsatian Bacon & Onion Pizza (Not Pizza)

The hardest thing about this amazing tarte flambée recipe isn’t the prep, or finding some exotic ingredient, it’s actually trying to explain to your guests why it’s not called pizza. I’m reminded of that old saying, “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck, sometimes it’s a trout.”

That’s right, while this is a pizza almost everywhere else, in certain places on the German/French border, it goes by the totally dessert-sounding name of tarte flambée. Just tell people the name comes from the fact it used to be cooked in a fire, and then trail off.

Once your crust is pre-browned and topped, you have several options for bringing this to a successful, and hopefully crispy conclusion. Since the bottom is already browned, I usually just broil it on high, about 8 inches from the flame, for about 5 minutes, or until the top is looking just right.

The other method would be to pop it in a 500 F. oven, for about 7-10 minutes, or until you’re completely happy. Or, you can actually do both – start in a hot oven, and then give it a minute under the broiler to seal the deal. Either way, I really hope you give this tarte flambée a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 tarte flambée:
4 balls prepared pizza dough (about 5 ounces each) Note: Wolfgang Puck pizza dough recipe would would perfectly
12 ounces bacon, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced, cooked with salt, until soft, but not caramelized
For the cheese mixture:
pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Dream Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

And by dream, I mean nightmare. I don’t test recipes. There is nothing in my contract that requires me to only post successful videos, and as you longtime viewers know, I do enjoy sharing the occasional flop, but this new and improved, vanilla bean pastry cream was not a one-take affair.

I’ve wanted to update our old crème patisserie recipe for a while, and long story short, I became obsessed, and ended up suffering through seven non-perfect versions before I was finally satisfied. The key to a great pastry cream is using the minimum of starch. You need enough so the cream holds a shape, but not so much it interferes with the flavor.

I found flour-based pastry creams easy to work with, but they have more of a pasty mouthfeel that gets in the way of the vanilla. That’s why this version is all corn starch, which we need less of to do the same job. Just be careful not to keep cooking it once it has thickened, otherwise you may compromise its thickening powers.

With the holidays, and their associated fancy desserts, right around the corner, what better time to work on your pastry cream game? So whether it’s for Napoleons, pies, tarts, or cakes, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 3 cups:
1 large whole egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon fine table salt)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeded, plus pure vanilla extract if needed
Tip: Save the scraped pods, and stick them in your sugar container for lovely, vanilla-scented sugar!
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

Pastry Cream is Coming!

Despite a few minor and uninteresting technical difficulties, the pastry cream video will be posted tonight! Stay tuned!