Friday, August 28, 2015

Billionaire’s Franks & Beans – Welcome to the Top 1% of Comfort Foods

Maybe it’s the billionaire(s) in the news lately, but for some reason I decided to take one of America’s most frugal meals, franks and beans, and give it a high-end makeover. Besides, all the other classic comfort foods have been fancified, hipsterized, and/or molecular gastronomized; so I figured I would take this one down. And by down, I mean up.

Usually, franks and beans is made by opening up a couple cans of baked beans, and heating it up with some sliced hotdogs. Not exactly something you’d serve to visiting dignitaries. However, by adding some fresh veggies, plain beans, and high-quality beef hot dogs, we can achieve something much healthier, equally delicious, and every bit as comforting.

So, how much more will it cost you to make this usually cheap dish, using these upscale ingredients? It’s tempting to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, but that’s not the case. Sure, the Kobe hotdogs will cost you a couple extra dollars, but the rest of the dish is still quite inexpensive. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Franks & Beans:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced poblano or other green pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cayenne pepper, or other hot red pepper
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound hot dogs, sliced (literally any other sausage will work here)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, or as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- serve with buttered toast and champagne

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Make Fresh Spring Rolls – Authentic is as Authentic Does

Based on the YouTube comments appearing under the newly posted spring rolls video, lots of people missed the part about this not trying to be a specific recipe, but simply a demo featuring the magic that is damp, rice paper wrappers.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the “authentic” spring rolls I so often order at my friendly, neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. Loaded with sweet shrimp, and bursting with vermicelli noodles, they are among the most delicious things ever invented.

However, I do reserve the right to soak rice paper wrappers in water, and… (I hope you’re sitting down for this) ...not make those! What you see here is just what I had on hand that day, and the next time I do a batch of these, who the heck knows what they’ll encase. If I have a point, that’s it.

Speaking of soaking in water, many commenters suggested that I dunk these in warm water for just a few seconds to hydrate, instead of the longer dip in cold water. I’ve tried both methods, and had more issues with the warmer/faster approach. They seemed to get too rubbery, too fast, which I found made the rolling harder.

Anyway, to each his own, and that goes for water temperature, filling ingredients, and dipping sauce. By the way, there are no ingredient amounts below, since that’s up to you entirely. You should be able to get “rice paper wrappers” at any large grocery store with an Asian food section, but if not, they’re easily found online. I hope you give these, or something similar, a try soon. Enjoy!

Click here to see our peanut sauce recipe video!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Peach Financiers – Because French Bankers Hate Dirty Money

There are many different techniques used for making financiers, but as usual, I’ve chosen the easiest one. I would have been happy to try those other more complicated versions, but fortunately, I enjoyed this one so much, there’s no need.

I mention in the video that these are called “financiers” because they’re rich, and look like gold bars (if you use the traditional rectangular molds). Well, apparently that’s not quite right.

Word on the “rue” is that there was a bakery next to the Paris stock exchange that made these small almond cakes so bankers could enjoy them on the way to work, without getting their fingers dirty. I assume this is accurate, since I read it in the YouTube comments.

Anyway, not only is this an easy recipe, but it works beautifully with pretty much any summer fruit. Berries are popular, as are other stone fruits. Just don’t use too much. It’s merely a garnish, and adding too much could effect the texture and cooking time. I hope you give these delicious peach financiers a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 small cakes:
3 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal (or finely ground almonds)
3 tablespoons flour
3 oz unsalted butter (6 tablespoons), toasted to a golden-brown
12 small sliced of peach
- I used mini-muffin pans, so you'll have to adjust your time if you used regular muffin tins, or other molds.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 400 F., then top with fruit, and continue baking until browned, about 10-12 minutes.