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.
Inspired by a casual meal on the road outside of Budapest, this easy stew is a classic.
The Best Beef Stew
2T canola oil
4 cloves garlic sliced
3# dry aged chuck or arm roast of beef, cubed and trimmed for stew
2 onions, sliced
2 chopped leeks, trimmed well and cleaned well
1 cup chopped rutabaga
2 cups diced carrots
10 new potatoes, quartered
Bouquet garni of bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 3 tarragon sprigs and 3 parsley sprigs bound with kitchen twine
1T dark brown mustard
2T red wine vinegar
1 cup beef stock or rich chicken stock…homemade works best!
1 bottle (12 ounces) Duvel or other strong dark Belgian beer
Place 1T oil in a large Dutch oven or casserole pan over medium heat, caramelize the onions and leeks being careful not to scorch them. Remove the leeks and onions and add the 2nd T of oil.
Add beef and brown, in batches being careful not to scorch the meat or the bottom of the pan. Borwn streaks on pan are great, black ones are not..
Add the onions and leek back to the pan, add the bouquet garni and paprika and stir, cooking for a few minutes…then add the stock and beer.
Bring to a light boil, cover and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 90 minutes.
Add potatoes, rutabaga and carrots, stir and bake for another 30 minutes.
Stir in the mustard and vinegar, remove and discard the bouquet garni. Season with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper and serve over egg noodles, with bread dumplings or spaetzle. If the sauce for the stew is too thin for your liking, simply simmer on stove top for a few minutes to reduce.
This recipe can be done completely on the stove top as well. Cook at a light simmer, covered, for the duration of the cooking time.
Tuesday evening we air our Hungary episode, a show that features one of my favorite scenes in Bizarre Foods history. The family of Roma, a Gyspy clan, hosted us for a day in the hillside village they call home when not touring the continent playing psycho-billy gypsy music. Just listen to the insanity (and remember that all clichés aside, and admitting freely that I am devoted to global understanding). At one point, I found myself alone with our van driver trying to prevent five of the little kids from boarding our bus and making off with all our personal goodies. Now I have to say right off the bat here that these kids were not hellbent on stealing. It’s just that some Roma are culturally attuned to hustling and grifting. I was howling with laughter at one point simply because the clichés of life sometimes rarely seen, and yet here I was trying to protect our knapsacks. In the end, I traded a case of soda, a box of candy bars and five bags of chips for peace of mind and an assurance from the oldest kid that they would treat our van like a no-fly zone.
Nothing like the thrill of traveling.
Second thing you need to pay careful attention to is Bock Restaurant, the laboratory of an evil genius with the sense of humor that comes straight out of the Louis CK playbook. Lemme know what you think of this guy. Tweet me at @andrewzimmern and give your two cents worth. Enjoy!
Watch Bizarre Foods: Hungary on 3/22 @ 9pm E/P on Travel Channel.
Happy Friday from Food Works HQs. Hope everyone had a fun (and safe) St. Paddy’s day. Cause some folks’ brains might be a little fuzzy today, thought I’d pass along some online fluff.
Nearly every road trip I’ve ever taken involves listening to Jerry Seinfeld’s I’m Telling You for the Last Time. Amongst other observations about nothing (airplanes, scuba diving, dry cleaning), he has this to say about New York cab drivers:
I don’t even know what it takes to get a cab driver’s license. I think all you need is a face. This seems to be their big qualification.
The “all you need is a face” concept resonates with a very specific aspect of my job. Most emails sent to email@example.com are filtered through yours truly (no worries, Andrew does eventually read your emails, too), and one type of email that continues to pour in are of the “I’m Andrew’s Twin” variety. And here’s where we tie it back to Jerry:
I’m pretty sure all it takes to think you look like Andrew is a bald head.
Here are some of my favorite look-a-like photos. Some of them are actually pretty good. Others, I just have to shake my not bald head. By the way, the above portrait by Raphael (the painter, not the Ninja Turtle) is of “Papa Leone X con i Cugini” aka “Pope Leo X and his Cousins,” shared by Sarah R… hysterical.
Without further ado, here are the AZ doppelgangers:
Hernan A. from Katy, TX…. Personally, I think he’s a dead ringer (and he’s got the clothes down!):
Dr. Bob, a dentist from Austin, TX is Andrew’s personal fave. When he saw this photo he literally was trying to figure out when and where it was taken. Sorry bub, it’s not you!
Mitch H. from Souix Falls, SD has the look nailed:
I’m liking the slightly unhinged look in this one:
Hrm… the distance in this one makes it hard to tell. Remember that line from A League of Their Own: “Marla Hooch… what a hitter!”
The chopsticks certainly help here:
This one came in all the way from Venice, Italy:
Something about this photo seems a little Andrew-meets-Duff-Goldman:
I think these two just miss the mark:
We love getting your look-a-like, travel, and food pics! Please keep ‘em coming.
You can find a great corned beef recipe for St. Pat’s Day just about anywhere, but here are my favorite Irish-inspired sweets that work for everyday of the year.
Port Wine Poached Pear with Cashel Blue Cheese
3 cups Zinfandel wine
3 cups port wine
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 split vanilla bean
2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
12 firm ripe, tall slender pears
Combine all the ingredients except the pears in a large sauce pan.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to maintain a slow boil.
Peel the pears.
Working carefully from the bottom, core with a small melon baller.
Place them in the poaching liquid and poach for @ 20 minutes until tender but not breaking.
Remove pears and refrigerate until cool.
Wrap and store.
Use within 24 hours.
Reduce the poaching liquid until the syrup thickens, Strain and cool for service.
To serve, plate the pear with an ounce or so of the cheese, spoon sauce over the pear just to glaze and add a few drizzles of the syrup on the plate.
* * * * *
Bread Pudding with Irish Whisky Sauce
2T sugar mixed with 1t cinnamon
4 eggs plus one yolk
¾ cups sugar
2 and ½ cups milk
2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup bourbon
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup toasted sliced almonds
1T vanill extract
¼ t salt
1 pound pullman style white bread, sliced ½ inch thick and cut in 1 inch squares.
2T melted butter plus extra for greasing the pan.
Plump the raisins in the bourbon for 30 minutes.
Grease a 13×9 baking dish
Whisk eggs, yolks and sugar together, adding the milk, cream, bourbon-raisins, almonds, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Stir 4/5’s of the bread cubes, mixing to moisten.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Pour into baking dish.
Scatter remaining cubes on top.
Push down on the pudding.
Brush top with the melted butter.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or so until browned and rising up the side of the pan.
Let cool for 90 minutes, racked.
Serve warm with Irish Whiskey Sauce.
Irish Whisky Sauce
8 egg yolks
2 and ½ cups milk
1 half of a split vanilla bean
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt.
Combine the milk and vanilla over medium-high heat in a sauce pan and scald.
Slowly whisk it into the egg mix.
Return to a clean pan and cook over medium heat, stirring gently until sauce coats the back of a spoon, @ 5 minutes.
Pour custard immediately into a stainless bowl and place bowl into an ice bath.
Stir until cold, and strain.
Season to taste with the best Irish whiskey you can lay your hands on.
Greetings from Bizarre Foods HQs! This past weekend was the first I’ve spent at home in about a month. From Milwaukee (where my boyfriend Josh and I got trapped in a blizzard) to Miami (where we got trapped at a Jersey Shore-esque party at the Fontainebleau), it’s been crazy… but lots of fun. Here are the highlights:
My sweetheart and I headed down to Milwaukee to celebrate his sister’s birthday. We hit up Lakefront Brewery for a tour (that basically means walking through a warehouse filled with giant vats of stuff while drinking *generous* beer samples). Let me just say, these guys craft some pretty delicious barley pops. I loved LOVED the East Side Dark… If you think dark is synonymous with heavy, give this brew a shot. Your mind = blown.
The brewery hosts a big Friday fishfry from 4 – 9pm (if you’ve been to ‘Sconnie haven’t done a Friday fishfry, go back three spaces). It was fantastic grub and they had a polka band to boot. Skip the combo platters and just go for the beer battered cod– it’s the best by far.
The following weekend, we swapped fried food and whiteouts for white sand beaches. Andrew did a few events at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival; the boyf and I decided to get in on the fun. We stayed at the Fontainebleau, which turned out to not be our speed. However, we did get this flattering photo snapped of us in the lounge… hot pink lighting apparently suits us well (although the price tag on drinks did not… yikes).
We were fortunate enough to spend a good portion of Saturday night at the Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach party. For the record, the best things I ever ate at that party were Lee Schrager/Epicure Gourmet Market’s mini brisket sliders on challah and matzoh ball soup shooters (doesn’t sound beachy, but it worked). Joelle’s Desserts banana cake pops– pictured below– were ridiculously moist (worst word ever, but best descriptor I can think of) and so fun to eat. I’m not a dessert girl, but uff-da, these did it for me.
And I have to give it up for AZ and the folks at Montaco Truck. Their fish tacos killed it. However, I think this was AZ’s highlight of the night. I’ve never quite seen him so giddy. It was hilarious:
Four days after returning from our beach getaway, the boyf and I (along with seven friends) headed to Lutsen, MN for skiing– near Canada. Yes, we have ski hills in Minnesota. It’s nothing like out west, but you do get spectacular views of Lake Superior, and you can still eat like a pig and burn it all off on the slopes. This year, I made the cover recipe from the March 2011 Bon Appetit. It’s a fancy Pimiento Mac and Cheese, but I added ground beef and hot sauce to jazz it up. It was almost as big of a hit as our Hot Tub Time Machine-inspired onesies:
You gotta love an 80′s-inspired long butt:
So this is how I’ve been beating the winter blues. How are you guys escaping (or simply enjoying) the cold? Please share!
I want to see me eat Gold Coin sandwiches at Manor restaurant, dine on the world’s best seafood at Sai Kung and learn what it’s like to go airborne in one of the world’s best martial arts studios, the Hit Hut. That, and the fact that one of the world’s greatest eating cities is yours for the watching makes this must see TV.
Have you heard of kau kee? It’s a simple little place on the hill, they have been open for decades and basically only serve one thing: beef brisket and noodles swimming in simple beef broth. It’s the best thing I ate all week in Hong Kong…well except for the coins, and the soy sauce noodles, and Maks shrimp dumplings and all the crew meals at the little pork bbq joints and dumpling shops around town. This place is a must for eaters looking to expand their culinary horizons and a trip to HK will increase your street cred with your food buddies by a factor of 10. Rest assured that you will never find a dining companion as beautiful, poised and food-smart as Amy Ma. I love my work.
AND JOIN ME FOR A LIVE TWEET DURING THE SHOW! I’ll be sharing my thoughts, comments and responding to your questions via Twitter throughout the premiere of Bizarre Foods: Hong Kong, Tuesday, 3/15 @ 9pm E. Make sure you’re following me (@AndrewZimmern) and my sidekick Molly (@in2BizarreFoods). Use the hashtag #BizarreFoods to follow the conversation. It should be a great time.
Now next week is the Hungary show, let me assure you the visit to the Roma, the gypsy family, was like a bad acid trip, all laid behind a sound track of electric psycha-gypsy-billy music that has to be seen to be believed. That, and the incredible facial hair on display, the meltingly delicious Mangalitsa pork and the sights and smells of shabat in the Jewish Quarter. I love this show and you will to. I will send you a nice Hungarian recipe later in the week.