This ultimate Brazil adventure includes a bike tour of Ipanema Beach and Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and a scenic train ride through the Tijuca Rain Forest to the Christ Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Looking for a great party snack to serve while you watch the San Francisco ep of Bizarre Foods this coming Tuesday evening? This one can’t be ignored. Rolling your own gold coins is about as tasty a way to watch TV as I can imagine. If you don’t have sugar cane (look in Asian and Latin markets), then just double skewer your coins. This recipe is easy, don’t be deceived by all the ingredients…
Golden Coin Chicken and Shrimp with Peanut Sauce
2T toasted rice powder
1# peeled and de-veined u-15 count shrimp
1# ground chicken
6 garlic cloves
6 ounces block of raw pork fat
3T fish sauce
2 each 1 foot sections of fresh sugar cane from an ethnic market
Vegetable oil for frying and shaping shrimp paste
Julienne mixed carrot, cucumber, mint and cilantro for rolling
4 heads Bibb or Boston lettuce
2T toasted ground peanuts
Salt and drain the shrimp to remove excess moisture.
Squeeze dry and place in a food processor along with the garlic, shallots and sugar.
Boil the pork fat for 10 minutes.
Drain and dice fine.
Pulse again adding the fat, fish sauce, rice powder and black pepper to taste.
Stir in the ground chicken.
Cut you sugar cane into 5 inch skewers, dipping your hands into the oil, shaping the paste around the cane in 2T portions, leaving one end of the cane exposed to use as a handle. Repeat.
Grill over medium heat until cooked through.
Serve with the lettuce as cups, garnishing with the carrot, cuke, mint and cilantro…and pass the sauce at the table
Hunan Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup roasted ground peanuts
1T peanut oil
2 minced garlic cloves
2t chili paste
2T tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 t sugar
1T peanut butter
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a small pan and add the garlic, chili paste and tomato paste.
Fry until the garlic turns light brown. Add the broth, peanut butter, hoisin and sugar… simmer for 3 minutes. Cool and add the peanuts and chiles
So tomorrow night is the Namibia episode, the highlight of which is my journey up north to spend time with the Himba. Set the DVRs for 9pm E/P on Travel Channel… this is an amazing episode. The Himba are a remote tribe whose existence is threatened by a huge hydro electric dam being built on the Angolan border and the advent of educational opportunities for young tribal members. Send kids to school (good thing) and by the time they are 15 they don’t want to live a pastoral lifestyle any more. It’s a fascinating dynamic.
Then next week we journey to San Francisco for a glimpse of a side of the city you haven’t seen before. As many of you know we are trying to raise 100,000 dollars for the 100,000 Homes Campaign. Check it out at www.travelchannel.com/bizarre for the details, but all you have to do is tune in to make a difference.
People have been asking me a lot lately about other ways I spend my idle hours…well, here are a few other causes that occupy my time when I am not diving for red abalone in shark infested waters.
Feel free to log onto www.theretreat.org and make a donation targeted for the Rishia and Andrew Zimmern Scholarship fund which helps addicts and alcoholics get the treatment that so many need desperately.
I am also a board member of the National Youth Recovery Foundation and our board chair Cathie Hartnett forwarded me these amazing videos from Peter Gaumond who runs the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Here is the link to this great series of stories and accompanying interactive videos featuring three University of Texas at Austin students in recovery.
If you’re snowed in due to crazy weather, try to make the best of it with good food. I like to make this Zuppa Valdostana, or winter soup of the Italian Alps. It’s a nice soup to serve on a cold winter day or night. Enjoy!
2 lb head of savoy cabbage
8 c homemade beef broth with vegetables and meat
6 sli slices firm coarse country Italian bread
8 oz imported artisan Italian Fontina cheese, grated
4 T butter
Clean, core and shred cabbage. Blanch in boiling water for 60 seconds, drain well.
Strain broth, reserving meat and vegetables.
Place cabbage and broth in a large pot over medium heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter in a large saute pan and fry the bread slices until golden brown. Arrange slices of bread in one layer in a large baking pan or in individual soup crocks, reserving some for the top of the soup.
Cover with 3/4 of the cheese, season well with salt and pepper.
Combine broth-cabbage mixture with the vegetables-meat mixture, seasoning well.
Pour soup and cabbage over the bread and cheese. Top with remaining toast and cheese.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes and serve.
Happy Friday from the Food Works office! Andrew is currently on location filming next season, which not only means longer lunch breaks for Dusti and I (just kidding AZ…), but also means he can’t stop me from posting these incriminating pics of his messy desk.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
First, you gotta have pics of the wife and kid. We’ve also got a photo from Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine’s Taste! party (with fellow bald chef Tom Colicchio and winemaker Salvatore Principe), and another framer from AZ’s appearance on the Tonight Show. In the upper right corner, you’ll also see a customized, handmade Bizarre Foods plate made by Kaas Glassworks.
99 new calls?! If you’re trying to get a hold of Andrew, might I suggest sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org? It’s the best way to get heard. The Son of a Pitch DVD is actually my brother’s online TV series. I think it’s hilarious, but I am biased. He’s currently working on taking his first short film (Bear Force One) to the 3-D screen. You’ll also notice the “Z” shaped post-it notes. They are the WORST thing to write a message on– there’s hardly any room to write a cohesive message.
Andrew reads more magazines, newspapers, and books than anyone I know. He saves all of them. We’ve got every F+W and Bon Appetit issue since 1992, and too many others to count. They’re all tagged with post-its, and covered with notes. This is a really big part of the research process for Bizarre Foods. Another random fact: He has three copies of the last Gourmet issue, wrapped in plastic.
AZ as a kid. I think this is a passport photo. I love the bowl cut. Too cute.
Ever wonder what people do with their James Beard Awards? Here’s his. I think need to get that framed eventually.
What’s the most bizarre thing at your desk? Here’s mine:
Me + my bro + 1987 = Denim on denim… on denim… with a denim background. Thanks Mom!
Every once in awhile, I get an email with a little Bizarre Foods-inspired art. I’m a total art guy (believe it or not, my college major was Art History!), and just love the stuff you guys send. Here’s the latest– a comic from an Italian couple. I’ve included the note they sent. Very sweet. To quote their message, it definitely “smiled me!”
Hello Mr Zimmern,
We are an italian couple, we are your fans and we love Bizarre Foods!
Your transmission has inspired us to sketch a range of comics with our hero (you) as protoganist.
At the moment the comics are not yet published and we add one of them in this mail in the hope that it will smile you.
If you like our project or if you are interested in our comics, please call us.
It would be great to talk to you.
Thank you for your time and your kindness.
Fuli & Pippi
Big thanks to Fuli & Pippi! You guys are fantastic. For a larger version, click on the image & it will bring you to our Flickr account. If you want to share some of your own Bizarre Foods art, send me an email to email@example.com.
Both Dusti and Molly in my office have been urging me to bring Bizarre Foods to the Windy City for years. It’s their favorite food city, and I gotta be honest, it’s one of mine, too. Some of the most interesting things going on in the food world are coming out of Chi-town; the hardest thing about producing this episode was narrowing our focus to just a handful of spots! But even though we had to skip over some of my favorite places, I think you’re going to love this episode. Crazy tube steaks at Frank N Dawgs, Grant Achatz’s culinary science lab at Alinea (truly one of the most important chefs of our time), Graham Elliot’s rock and roll approach to fine dining, and drinking Mexican hot chocolate with Rick Bayless… Dude, I can’t wait to get back to Chicago!
Catch the Bizarre Foods: Chicago premiere tonight, Tues., Feb 15, @ 9pm E/P on Travel Channel.
So when I got signed at Travel Channel almost six years ago, I had a lot of pink clouds in my eyes. Many are still there, but one day walking down the esplanade in Brooklyn Heights, I got some great advice from Bourdain.
“Television,” he said slowly and deliberately, for emphasis, “ is an evil mistress.”
Truer words were never spoken, and I think about them often as I travel around the world, making shows, some days selling myself out more than others, and on other days getting caught up in some nasty business that can be really tough to handle. When we set out to shoot a show in a given place we always establish a theme predicated on the simple question: Why do I want to go and what do I hope to learn? Once we answer that question, we have a through-line around which to vet our stories. Simple, but not easy. We shoot enough compelling TV to fill a show and a half every time we dive into a culture, and while it’s a difficult process our entire team is usually in unanimous agreement about the toughest decisions we make…what WON’T make it into the show. The cutting room floor is littered with some amazing stories that could make a whole season I am guessing by now.
Well, last summer we taped one of the best shows we ever made, Bizarre Foods: Chicago. It premieres this coming Tuesday. At BF headquarters, we are all thrilled with the show. Achatz, Bayless, Wiviott, Sula, Pang, Bowles and many other great local heroes and notables make their way onto the program. There are dozens of restaurants and food shops that we couldn’t fit into our schedule, many wouldn’t or couldn’t find time for us and many that are in the show will find that after a day of shooting they are only briefly on camera. Such is the crazy world of TV. And to everyone in the City of Chicago, I thank you for an amazing week in a city I visit regularly. I am counting on shooting another show there next year, BTW.
But I want to salute a man and an establishment that I loved visiting, and that’s Gene’s Sausage and their head honcho Mr. Gene Luszcz. Sadly, we were not able to include Gene’s Sausage in the version of the show that airs in the United States. Our story about Gene’s Sausage will be included in the version of the show that is seen in countries outside the USA. Travel Channel is available in 70 countries. The international version of Bizarre Foods runs about five minutes longer than the version that people see in America, so that gives us enough time to include what we shot at Gene’s and it’s a sure bet that more people end up seeing that version than the domestic one, but I wanted to tell all the people of Chicago and the rest of the country WHO HAVEN’T been to Gene’s to rectify that misstep asap.
I would eat my way across Gene’s sprawling expanse of edible nirvana before I set foot in the hundreds of places that are more quickly recalled as being outstanding in their class. From the cured meats to the dried sausage and the amazing choice of pickles and side dishes, I think Gene’s is in a league of their own. At the close of the day, the executives at Travel Channel, the production company and myself have to decide what the final show will look like and in the end, we had to choose to spend time on other stories. Can you tell I got out-voted?!
Television is an evil mistress in all the worst ways. But I love her. Interestingly, this is the first time I’ve ever felt the need to personally apologize for leaving a place or a person out of an episode. I am crushed that this funny and delicious vignette wont be seen on the first viewing in the USA, but if you visit my YouTube Channel, you will be able to see what the rest of the world will see shortly, a story about one of the best deli’s and sausage shops on the planet.
My pal Kevin Pang took me to Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen in Chi-town. This place is fantastic! Imagine: 20k square feet dedicated to smoked sausages, fresh meats, prepared foods and European imported specialties. This gives a whole new meaning to the term “sausage party.” Gotta love it!
Catch Bizarre Foods: Chicago Tues., Feb. 15 @ 9pm E/P on Travel Channel.
Here is a recipe I make all the time at home. Everyone loves to eat them right out of the pot, but putting the shellfish into bowls and sopping it up with delicious grilled or toasted country baguette is even better. My son loves the shrimp and mussel combo. Its cold now in Minnesota, so this creamy, rich French bistro-styled classic makes for a great meal. Serves 4 as a nice sized first course or as a lunch along with a salad.
Mussels and Shrimp “Mariniere”
2# fresh black mussels. Look for big fat heavy ones
1# U-15 sized wild caught shrimp
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced very thin
1 carrot, sliced into very thin rounds
3 shallots, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2T minced parsley
1T minced tarragon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 diced tomato, and juices.
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch or two of salt.
Clean and scrub the mussels and remove the beards. Reserve. Using a small sharp knife, make a shallow cut down the backs of the shrimp and remove the veins. Leave shells on, it makes the flavor of them twice as yummy and they wont dry out while cooking.
Place a large (4 qt at least) heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the butter and when foaming add the salt, shallot, fennel, herbs, carrots and garlic. Saute until shallots are glassy and add the wine and tomato. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the shrimp and stir, cook for a minute or so, stirring.
Add the mussels, cover, and holding on to the sides of the pot and with your thumbs holding down the lid, give the pan a good shake to toss the mussels and distribute the solids.
Cook for 4 minutes, toss pot again.
Cook for one minute, toss again.
Cook for one minute and remove lid. Mussels should be open, shrimp should be cooked through.
Immediately remove from heat, divide shellfish into four bowls. Add the cream to the pot and cook for about 60 seconds or until the cream tightens up the sauce. This will happen quickly. Divide liquid over the shellfish and serve with a pepper grinder at the table, plenty of bread and napkins.
Make that 12…well I couldn’t narrow it down so guess what, you get a bonus!
I am forced to leave out lemon ice in Aleppo Syria, salumi in Sicily, smoked meats in Berchtesgaden, the World Body Painting Festival in Austria, eating street food in Hong Kong, chili crab and laksa in Singapore, market prowling in Hanoi, noodle soup in Bangkok, dining and dancing in Buenos Aries, going down the Pilchi River and the Suriname River on Amazonia trips, catching puffin in Iceland and about a dozen other experiences that would make anyone elses top five list. I am a lucky SOB.
1. Sunrise at Angkor Wat, being allowed in to the temple a few hours before it was opened to the public. Spiritual awakening on steroids.
2. A week at The Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg. The single best hotel experience of all time. Massive apartment suite, caviar on the buffet at breakfast, Arab princes Russian oligarchs, Chinese tong chieftains, international supermodels…all hanging in the lobby bar, the restaurants….the spa. Seriously the single coolest hotel on the planet.
3. Hunting big game in Namibia, getting lucky and then donating the meat to an Aids orphanage that hadn’t seen ‘beef’ in 6 months.
4. Spending a week with Unchartered Africa’s Ralph Bousfield in the Aha Hills of Botswana. Easily the coolest tented safari experience available, and the tribal immersion wasn’t too shabby either.
5. Enjoying a meal in Dashka’s tent on the wild steppes of Mongolia, as far removed from modern life as anywhere on the planet, huddling for warmth around a dung oven, drinking fermented mare’s milk, I accidentally married off my son to my hosts daughter. Best night of my life.
6. Buying a whole tuna at auction in Tsukiji market and eating some of every part of the tuna. Then spending the next four hours eating my way through the whole building.
7. Eating at three 3-star Michelin restaurants in one day in Paris. Oh and my morning was spent at Poilane and Pierre Herme and my afternoon was spent getting a private lesson in food deconstruction from Herve This. Not too shabby.
8. Lalumanu beach in Samoa. The best swim/snorkel/food beach on the planet. I have been told the beach and the reef was heavily damaged in last years tsunami and several people I met there perished in that horrific event. A beautiful country that everyone should see.
9. Cuba. All of it. But the best day there was the day spent sailing through the Queens Islands on the southern side of the island country. Diving for lobster. Deep sea fishing. Smoking the best cigar on the planet…and getting stalled in the middle of the ocean with a Cuban national on board the boat and realizing that this was against the law made the day even more special.
10. A few days spent on the Daly River, living with the aboriginal people there, eating huge fish pulled from the river and driving back and forth along “the track”, a huge dirt road highway system linking Darwin with the area known as “outback of beyond”.
11. Free diving a remote atoll of the Great Barrier Reef for rainbow crayfish and sailing to an uninhabited island for a grill out feast.
12. Spending a day cooking and eating with Ferran Adria at el Bulli. Revelatory in every sense of the word. I spent a day with him back in 2007, in what I think of as the heyday of this glorious restaurant and watching the master do a seaweed tasting, create a 3 course dessert form a pine tree with this brother Albert or simply make lunch for he and I (escabeche of baby rabbit) in the middle of a hectic day was about a cool a food experience as you could ever want to have.