Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Turkish Chicken Kebabs – Expect More

I’d like to think that all the chicken coming off American grills this summer will be as tasty, juicy, and tender, as these Turkish chicken kebabs, but I know better. This has nothing to do with cooking skills, or quality of grills, but rather the unremarkable residue of low expectations.

People simply don’t expect much from their grilled chicken, and that’s exactly what they get. They use too little seasoning, and way too much time on the grill, followed by the inevitable barbecue sauce cover-up. Sure, the chicken was dry, but at least we couldn’t taste it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By using a flavorful, yogurt-based marinade, like the one seen herein, even inexperienced grillers can produce impressive results. The acid and calcium in the yogurt tenderizes the meat, and unless it’s horribly over-cooked, you’ll be enjoying the kind of succulent chicken you didn’t even realize was possible.

Like I mentioned in the video, I’m not sure how "Turkish" this is. It’s loosely based on a lamb marinade I’ve used for a long time, but it really worked beautifully on these thighs. I really hope you give this easy, and very adaptable recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp ketchup
6 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Aleppo red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 long metal skewers

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

I know, everybody says that, but I really mean it. These are, these have to be, the best chocolate chip cookies, ever. Crispy around the edges, chewy and chocolaty in the middle, and thin, oh so thin.

The only way someone doesn’t love these, is if they prefer thick cookies instead, which, in that case, makes their opinion invalid, since they’re obviously crazy. Besides, you know you can just press two thin cookies together to get a thick one. Right?

My “secret” formula has been adapted from Alton Brown’s famous, “The Thin” recipe, and is fairly foolproof. The only real variable is the baking time, since we all scoop slightly different amounts. Mine took about 12 minutes, but if you make yours a little bigger, or smaller, that time will change.

And yes, of course you can add nuts to yours! I’m a walnut guy from way back, but decided to go sans nuts for this video. Speaking of nuts, you’re nuts if you don’t try this very simple, and amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 32 Chocolate Chip Cookies (depending on size):
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon of fine table salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) very soft unsalted *butter
*I used a high-quality European-style butter, and recommend you do the same. Cheaper butters will have more water content, which can affect the fat ratio, and thickness of your cookie.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Bake at 375 F. for about 12 minutes

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil – An Exceptional Summer Exception

There are many people, myself included, that think cooking prosciutto is basically a crime against nature; but there are exceptions, and this plate of grilled peaches with burrata is one incredibly delicious example. 

Having said that, I used a domestic version, which works beautifully here, so we’re not expecting you to use up your precious prosciutto di Parma.

As far as the peaches go, you want something ripe, and sweet, but still somewhat firm. Above and beyond not being too soft, you must also make sure you’re buying “freestone” peaches. Non-freestone varieties will not separate as seen in the video. Ask the produce person at the market, and if they’re not sure, have them cut one open. They’re usually happy to do so!

After you talk to them, head over to the cheese department, and pick up some burrata. This extra rich and creamy cousin of mozzarella is not that hard to find, and really puts this over the top. You could use a nice, fresh mozzarella, or even a full-fat ricotta instead, but, if at all possible, find some burrata, and treat yourself to one of the world’s great cheese experiences. I hope you give this great summer recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 ripe, sweet, but not soft peaches (must be “freestone”)
3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn in ribbons
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) burrata cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves