April, 2011 Archive
Greetings from Food Works. Andrew is out of town today for a speaking gig at Harper College (for those of you in the Chicago area, there are still some tickets available… his talk is at 7pm tonight, 4/28.), and when the boss is away, we like to dig through his stuff.
AZ’s refers to his desk as “organized chaos.” My co-worker Dusti and I think of it more as “chaos,” but I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. Anyhow, he’s got a bunch of very sweet letters from some of his younger fans at his desk. Since we love reading these, I figured the rest of you would, too.
The above letter from Maile arrived with this beautiful drawing of a four-headed animal with bat wings, a sour apple flavored jelly bean body, four legs, and a tail sporting a bow-tie (?). I’m not sure what you’d call this creature, or where it comes from. Only from the mind of a first grader… or Stephen King:
Next, we have this note from Zenett B. from New York City. The nurse from her elementary school sent us the letter– apparently Zenett was sick, but mustered the energy to write this very nice letter– which includes a drawing of Andrew wearing a shirt that says, “I’ll eat anything!” and carrying a suitcase (?) that says “Show me disscasting food!” There’s also a 12-legged centipede.
It’s a little blurry, so…
I really like your show easpishly when you went 48 hours in the jungle. Me and my mom love your show. I can’t belive that you ate pigs brains! Wow I hope we can meet.
P.S. You are my hero!
The next letter comes from Charlie of Jupiter, Florida.
Dear Andrew Zimmern,
My name is Charlie B. and I’m 9 years old. I love watching your show “Bizzare Foods”. Even though you eat some of the most bizzare foods I ever heard of, I would still eat some of them. I want to ask you, “Can I have an autograph of you eating a bizzare food?” If not, you can just send me a picture of you. Autographed.
Thank you for writing me.
Love, Charlie B.
Oh, and don’t forget, if it looks good, EAT IT!
P.S. I had some beef tongue!
Our last drawing comes from Dusti’s 9-year-old daughter, Hattie, who drew this photo of her with Andrew. AZ loves this one because, as you can see, he has a lot of hair (kind of Donald Trump-like, don’t you think?).
Thanks to all you kids (and parents… and school nurses) who send along these kind notes. We love ‘em.
So, on Tuesday night (4/26 @ 9pm ET) is the Tropics Show– a gorgeous hybrid that we created out of several unreleased scenes from some Bizarre Foods and the best of the Bizarre Worlds. Pay close attention to the Villages of Toledo scene and the amazing family meal we had there.
Here is a great recipe as well, inspired by several trips to that part of the world. The sauce is one I adapted from an old Chris Idone or Chris Schlesinger recipe, I forget which. Both of those guys are geniuses at this kind of stuff and their cookbooks reflect it. Anyway, I changed some of it up a little over the years. This is one of those dishes that is syncretic in the sense that its not native Belizean cooking, but accurately represents the best of modern cooking from that country. All the Chinese and island-style points are a large part of Belizean culture and feel free to use any firm steak fish (this dish works well with swordfish for example) that you have access to.
The sauce is addictive, and works well with chicken. The recipe calls for a grill pan, but as often as not I grill this outside and simply drizzle sauce at the table. The sauce is a tad sweet, so passing limes at table is mandatory. I should also tell you that serving the dish with some grilled pineapple and white rice is pretty standard in our house.
Grilled Sugarcane Tuna with Rum Glaze
For the Tuna:
3# center cut sashimi grade tuna, trimmed and cut into squares about 5 or 6 ounces in size
One 12-inch section of sugarcane, trimmed free of ‘bark’ cut into six pointed skewers about 6 or 7 inches long, and about a quarter inch in diameter…pierce the tuna through the center and refrigerate the fish.
For the glaze:
1 cup coconut milk (canned is just fine, make sure it is unsweetened)
2 star anise buds
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 whole dried hot chile
quarter cup soy sauce
half cup dark rum (Myers or Barabancourt work well and are readily available)
half T whole black peppercorns
quarter cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup Coco-Lopez
Combine glaze ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and reduce, simmering, by half. Strain and reserve.
In a large grill pan over high heat place 1T of canola oil. Season the tuna with salt and pepper.
When oil is “smiling” and aromatic, and almost smoking add the tuna pieces, turning quickly, searing well on all sides. Then turn, every minute or so, for four minutes. Pull pan from heat.
Begin drizzling with the glaze to coat as the tuna cooks for a minute or so more, serve at medium rare with pan fried ripe plantains (maduros) browned in butter, sliced limes and plenty of Marie Sharpes hot sauce, the national condiment of Belize and one of my faves.
So, at Made’s Warung in Seminyak on Bali I ate an amazing curried mussel dish, Thai-style. I recreated it when I got home, and I think you should give it a shot for the premiere of our Indonesia show this coming Tuesday. We had two Bizarre World episodes sitting on the shelf, both shot in Indonesia (Bali and Sulawesi). We combined them, added some never before seen stuff and now have a brand new awesome show. I am thrilled, because some of these moments were “best ever” in my book and now you get to see them for yourself.
Curried Wok-Roasted Mussels
2 pounds cleaned and scrubbed PEI, Penn Cove or Mediterranean black mussels
2T peanut oil
1/2 cup sake
3 smashed garlic cloves
3T julienned fresh ginger
1 dried red chile
1t Thai green curry paste, and yes you should use a fresh one from your local Asian market, but barring that a commercial one is OK, just be careful of brand with too much sodium/stabilizers etc (Thai Kitchens brand is fine)
1/2 cup coconut milk
10 basil leaves
3T sliced shallots
1/2c up julienned carrot
1t fish sauce
1T lime juice
Mint and cilantro for garnish
Place a wok over high heat and add the oil
When just barely smoking and oil is ‘smiling’ add the garlic, ginger, chiles and curry paste.
Swirl and add the shallots, carrots, basil.
Add the mussels.
Toss several times
Swirl and add the sake and coconut milk.
Cover and cook until mussels are open. This will only take a few minutes. Remove lid.
Season with the fish sauce and lime. Swirl and count to 30.
Serve, garnishing with julienne mint and cilantro.
When it’s mud, not salt, that keeps your car from sparkling in the Minnesota sunshine, us northerners know winter is on its way out. While there are a select few hardy Minnesota folk that really love the cold weather, most of us count down the days to our favorite season: summer. I, on the other hand, count down the days to my favorite season: baseball.
My Dad had tickets but was out of town for the home opener. I’m his only offspring in the Twin Cities, so I got his tickets. I brought Mr. Katt, my boyf, EVEN though he is a life-long Brewers fan… Love makes you forgive things like that.
For me, baseball is as much about watching Thome dominate at the plate as it is about the grub. When Target Field replaced the Dome last season, I was beyond psyched for the food. Big press about Murray’s steak sandwiches, Kramarczuk’s sausages, the decadent Vincent burger– ambitious, even gourmet, food from local names. But after a full season eating my way through the ballpark fare, I discovered something about myself…
Who needs “gourmet” at a ball game? I’m sticking with the classics. It’s not that the food is bad per se (though what’s with Kramarczuk’s, which serves some good fare, not offering spicy mustard? Bummer!), but to me baseball is all about tradition. When else does a simple hot dog, peanuts, and cold, crappy lite beer taste so good?
My fave dog is the cheapest in the park– maybe $3.75? It arrives on a soft, squishy bun (not a hard, dry one). It’s small and probably supposed to be for kids, and they sell it at one lone concession stand on the main floor concourse, behind home plate. It was so difficult to find at the game that Mr. Katt went ahead and bought this foot-long dog, along with the Leinie’s cheese curds, served in a little cardboard canoe. Like I said, he’s a Brewers fan. It did the trick.
Other highlights from the stadium included sunny weather, a first pitch from a berry, berry good ballplayer Tony Oliva (who stepped in when Hall of Famer and all around amazing guy Harmon Killebrew couldn’t make it due to his treatments for esophageal cancer… please keep him and his family in your thoughts), Carl Pavano’s mustache, the Twins beating the A’s after a pretty uneventful game, and learning that Hrbek’s bar serves beer well-after the game wraps, unlike the rest of the stadium that closes up shop after the 7th inning. Leave it to Hrbie to keep the party going.
Low point? Maybe this incredibly pathetic “Farmers Market” stand. Overly ripe bananas, oranges, two crummy apples and a lone lemon (why?). Seriously, Twins Territory can do better than this. Heck, a gas station does better than this. We do have farmers in Minnesota, right?
Though the Twins have had a slow start to the 2011 season, we’ve never been much for sprinting right out of the gate. We’re marathoners, and I think this will be a great season for us.
Who’s your team, and what’s your favorite ballpark food? Oh and by the way, Andrew is both a Yankees fan AND a Twins fan (don’t ask me how this is even possible), and his favorite food at Target Field is the Throwback Dog, Kramarczuk’s sausage, and the gelato.
Last night in NYC, Food & Wine magazine announced their Best New Chefs for 2011. I am done shooting for the season and on a nice hiatus of a few months, we are finishing post production on Season 4B which airs in May. In between, we’re airing a series of three special shows, culled from Bizarre Worlds episodes including material that has never been seen before. It’s thrilling to be able to share some of my favorite TV moments that never got out in the mainstream the way episodes of Bizarre Foods do.
Anyway, I was in NYC for some meetings and wound up at the F&W mag party…. Here are the current crop of winners:
F&W Best New Chefs
· Viet Pham& Bowman Brown, Forage, Salt Lake City, UT
· Jason Franey, Canlis, Seattle, WA
· Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin, TX
· Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, IL
· James Lewis, Bettola, Birmingham, AL
· George Mendes, Aldea, NYC, NY
· Carlo Mirarchi, Roberta’s Pizza, Brooklyn, NY
· Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco, CA
· Kevin Willmann, Farmhaus, Saint Louis, MO
· Ricardo Zarate, Mo-Chica Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA
It’s a great group of talented young cooks and the party for them in an old brewery on the Upper East Side of NYC was epic…best thing i ate all night was a tie between Lincoln’s Jonathan Benno’s chickpea tuna salad and A Voce’s Missy Robbins’ fonduta made with a perfect Tallegio. Benno was a class act all night long, serving from his booth even as other chefs abandoned ship to get their own party started. Everyone I spoke to told me Mendes from Aldea is the one to watch. I profiled Willman in an upcoming Delta Sky Magazine issue, so look for that next month. He’s a great chef. Congrats to all.
I didn’t see Fifty Cent there but i got to chat with a lot of old friends…Michael White and his wife Giovanna, Jeffrey Zakarian, Jimmy Bradley (best dressed dude at the party, JB..I want that leather blazer!), Susan Ungaro (whose Beard Foundation is launching some exciting neew educational initiatives and some childrens programs as well), Curtis Stone, Tom Colicchio (who told me his 2-year-old plays a mean ukulele), Gail Simmons, Pat LaFrieda, Josh Ozersky,Gavin Kaysen and his wife, and about a hundred former Top Cheftestants which is hysterical on some level. I like these folks, don’t get me wrong, but watching the 4th person voted off of season three lurking around waiting to be noticed just cracks me up. I did introduce myself to several of them because I had urgent questions, after all I am a Top Chef geek. Angelo DeSosa told me that in the Ma Peche episode, his fish and white chocolate sauce was inspired by a Bizarre Foods ep on Hanoi where we dined at Chaca La Vong and ate their specialty dish that they’ve cooked their for a hundred years. Love that.
So on the way out of the event we all received a copy of the May issue and SURPRISE, one of my recipes was on the cover. Look for it in coming weeks, and inside the mag is an eight-page feature as well. WOW.
Huge thanks to Dana, Kate, Kristina and Jen…i was blown away by what they did with my content.
Oh, and big thanks to Jen Heigl at DailyBlender.com for providing the photo of Dana Cowin, Christina, Grdovic, and myself. Awesome.