Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Newest Food Network Star Jason Smith to Judge Best Baker in America

Eight of America's most elite bakers compete in the all-new competition show Best Baker in America, premiering Wednesday, September 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network.

Through six episodes, bakers from around the country must showcase their baking skills and creativity, as they are tasked with challenges that not only test their technical proficiency, but also their ability to execute under pressure, while under the watchful eyes of the judges: Food Network Star winner Jason Smith and Food Network's Marcela Valladolid.

Each episode the competitors must compete in two difficult rounds, including a Skills Challenge that tests their mastery of the essential technical skills of baking, followed by a Master Challenge that tests their prowess in working with specific flavors and ingredients to create the most authentic and delicious versions of classic baked delights. In the end, the judges help determine which baker moves one step closer to winning $25,000 and earning the title of Best Baker in America!

The bakers competing for the title of Best Baker in America are: Brittani Brooker (Charlotte, N.C. - Executive Pastry Chef); Andy Chlebana (Plainfield, Ill. - Pastry Chef & Culinary Professor); Dwayne Ingraham (Oxford, Miss. - Professional Chef); Margarita Kallas-Lee (Los Angeles, Calif. - Pastry Chef); Adalberto Diaz Labrada (Salt Lake City, Utah - Executive Pastry Chef); Susan Mijeres (San Antonio, Texas - Pastry Chef); Thiago Silva (Boston, Mass. - Culinary Director); Cheryl Storms (San Diego, Calif. - Pastry Chef Consultant).

In the premiere episode, the bakers begin the first in a series of Skills and Master Challenges designed to spotlight their style and ingenuity, while putting their baking brilliance to the test. In the first Skills Challenge the bakers are tasked with baking flawless mini-upside down cakes, and in the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a double barrel or a three-tiered wedding cake for 50 people, using lemon as the featured flavor. Judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid join new Food Network host Adam Rapoport to determine which baker is the first eliminated.

Meet the competitors and get highlights from each episode at FoodNetwork.com/BestBakerinAmerica.

#LordHoney! Butter my butt and call me a biscuit! I'm so excited that Jason Smith, the #CountryBlingChef, is going to be a judge on this show. He's a real hoot and should be a great twosome with Marcela Valladolid.

Jason is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Give him a follow. He's so friendly, funny, and nice, and freely shares his fabulous recipes with his followers.

Countdown to Best Baker in America:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Recipes by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.: Meatless Casserole; Potato Curry; Vegetable Curry

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.'s Meatless Casserole

1 - 30 oz. can vegetable protein dinner cuts
4 ozs. fresh mushrooms, sliced
Flavored breadcrumbs
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
4 tbsps. vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream

Drain and reserve juice from vegetable protein dinner cuts.

Roll dinner cuts in breadcrumbs. Brown quickly on both sides in 2 tbsps. vegetable oil. Set aside.

Saute mushrooms and onions in remaining oil. Arrange half the browned cuts in bottom of ovenproof casserole. Top with half the mushrooms-onions mixture, repeat second later. Mix reserved juice with sour cream. Pour over all. Cover and bake in preheated 375 degree F. oven for 45 mins. Serves 4-6.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.'s Potato Curry

6 medium-sized potatoes
2 tbsps. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Peel and dice potatoes; set aside. Place vegetable oil in skillet; heat until barely warm. Add spices, stirring; add potatoes, stir until potatoes are well-coated. Add water, cover, simmer about 30 mins. (or until potatoes are tender). Remove lid, cook few mins. to reduce volume slightly. Add yogurt and season to taste. Heat until just warmed through. Serve over mounds of steaming white rice. Serves 2-3.

Efrem's Thoughts: For added touches, choose condiments from the following: chopped hard-cooked eggs (whites and yolks separated), fried chopped salted peanuts, grated fresh coconut, raisins plumped in water or sauteed in butter, mango chutney, chopped cucumbers and mint in yogurt, crispy bacon morsels, piccadilly relish, chopped bananas, poppy seeds, ground Bombay duck, shredded lettuce, watercress.

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.'s Vegetable Curry

2 cups string beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tbsps. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsps. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 tsps. cumin seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place vegetables in a saucepan with barely enough boiling water to cover. Set aside. Add spices to heated vegetable oil. Add to vegetables in boiling water. Simmer 20 mins. (or until vegetables are barely tender).

Add yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Heat through. Serve over hot rice. Serves 4.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Recipes by Darryl F. Zanuck: Chicken Hash; Dungeness Crab Cocktail with Mustard-Mayonnaise Sauce; Rumaki

Darryl F. Zanuck's Chicken Hash

1/4 cup butter
2 tbsps. chopped shallots
3 tbsps. flour
2 cups hot milk
1 ounce chopped veal
1/2 stalk of celery, minced
Pinch of powdered thyme
Salt and white pepper to taste
Ground nutmeg to taste
1 cup cooked (roasted or poached) breast of chicken, finely chopped
Scant 1 tbsp. sherry (or Madeira)
Buttered crumbs

Heat 3 tbsps. butter and chopped shallots in pan until shallot becomes transparent. Stir in flour, cook over a low fire for a few minutes until smooth and flour begins to turn light brown, stirring. Gradually stir in hot milk, cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sauce is thick and smooth. In separate pan cook veal and celery in remaining butter until meat begins to turn white in color. Add to shallot sauce in top of double boiler. Stir and cook about 45 minutes (or until thick and smooth). Strain sauce, spike with sherry and blend. Add sauce to cooked chopped chicken; mix well. Turn into two individual well-greased ramekins (or casserole), top with buttered crumbs. Bake in preheated 400 degrees F. oven until heated through (or until bread crumbs brown). Serve with crisp green salad. Serves 2.

Darryl F. Zanuck's Dungeness Crab Cocktail with Mustard-Mayonnaise Sauce

1 lb. cold, cooked lump Dungeness crab meat (or lobster or other cooked crab meat)
Crisp, cleaned, drained lettuce leaves
1 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 tsps. prepared mustard
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced chives
2 tsps. Escoffier sauce
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Lemon wedges

Arrange chilled Dungeness crab meat on crisp chilled lettuce on plate. Combine remaining ingredients, except lemon wedges, to prepare mustard-mayonnaise sauce. Top crab moat with mustard-mayonnaise sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve as first course or main luncheon course. Serves 4.

Thoughts: Dungeness crab is available fresh, frozen or canned. If preparing fresh, cook in seasoned crab water (flavored with piece of shallot or onion, parsley, bouquet garni and a twist of fresh lemon); crack crab in four parts, pick out meat carefully.

Darryl F. Zanuck's Rumaki

1 pound chicken livers
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock
1-inch piece chopped ginger root (or dried ginger)
2 tablespoons star anise (available in Oriental food shops)
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 cups soy sauce
1 can water chestnuts (12 to 15)
1/2 pound lean bacon, thinly sliced

Quarter chicken livers or cut in half. Combine sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon, chicken stock, ginger, star anise, garlic and soy sauce. Cook chicken livers in soy sauce mixture until barely tender. Cut bacon slices and water chestnuts in half. Wrap bacon around chicken liver and water chestnut, secure with toothpick (or metal skewer). Broil until bacon is crisp and brown, turn if necessary. Serve with a Mai Tai. Makes appetizers for 8-10.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Robert Young's Lobster Casseroles

Robert Young's Lobster Casseroles

3 tbsps. butter (or margarine)
3 tbsps. flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 can (10 3/4 ozs.) condensed golden mushroom soup
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 pkgs. (8 ozs. each) South African rock lobster tails
2 tbsps. instant minced onion
2 tbsps. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter (or margarine)

Melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually beat in cream and mushroom soup. Stir over low heat until sauce bubbles and thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Parboil frozen rock lobster tails by dropping them into boiling salted water. When water reboils, drain and drench tails immediately with cold water. With scissors, remove underside membrane and pull out meat in one piece. Cut meat into 1-inch crosswise slices. Stir rock lobster into sauce with onion and parsley. Pour mixture into six shallow individual one-serving casseroles. Mix crumbs and butter and sprinkle crumbs over casseroles. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes. For future use, freeze casseroles before baking, and then proceed with baking step. Serves 6.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Loretta Young's Chicken Curry

Loretta Young's Chicken Curry

1 medium onion
1 tablespoon green pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup diced raw potatoes
1/2 cup peas
2 cups diced chicken
1 teaspoon curry powder, stirred in a teaspoonful of hot stock

Brown the onion and pepper in butter, add stock, salt, celery, and potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add peas, chicken and curry powder. Let simmer for ten minutes. Serve with hot boiled rice and India chutney. Serves 6.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Recipes by Leigh Taylor-Young: Gateau Glace; Way-Out Beef Stew

Leigh Taylor-Young's Gateau Glace

For the cake:

1 cup cake flour
1 1/4 tsps. baking powder
3 tbsps. cocoa
Dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening

1. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Cream shortening with sugar until fluffy. Add beaten egg yolk and vanilla.

2. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately, blending well.

3. Beat egg white until stiff; fold into cake batter. Pour into well-greased 8-inch cake tin. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F. oven 25 minutes (or until cake tests done). Let stand a few minutes before removing from tin. Cool on wire cake rack. Makes one 8-inch cake.

To assemble cake:

1 pt. peppermint ice cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Chocolate sprinkles (or grated sweet dark chocolate)

1. Slice cake into three equal slices horizontally. Spread softened ice cream on each slice approximately 1/4-inch thick. Assemble cake slices by stacking one layer on top of the other.

2. Frost sides and top of cake with peppermint-flavored whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate sprinkles (or grated chocolate). Freeze. Decorate each slice with whipped cream. Makes 10 servings.

Leigh Taylor-Young's Way-Out Beef Stew

2 lbs. soup bone (shin bone), cut into large pieces
2 tbsps. shortening (or vegetable oil)
3 lbs. lean round steak, cut in 2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tbsps. butter
4 plum tomatoes, washed and quartered
6 carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large turnip (or several parsnips), peeled and coarsely chopped
3 qts. liquid (2 cans beef broth plus water or vegetable stock)
Bouquet garni: 4 bruised peppercorns, 2 sprigs parsley, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, and 1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 1/2 cups fresh string beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 green pepper, cut in strips
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin (or sunflower or squash) seeds
1/2 cup Armenian string cheese, cut in large pieces or handful cooked ham cut in strips
2 hard-cooked eggs, grated
Chopped parsley

1. Brown bones in shortening (or vegetable oil) in large stock pot. Lift out. Season meat cubes well with salt and pepper. Brown in same stock pot bones were cooked in. Cook onion and garlic in butter in separate skillet until onion is limp.

2. Add bones, onion-garlic mixture to stock pot with meat. Add tomatoes, carrots, celery, turnip (or parsnip), liquid, bouquet garni and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boiling; cover, simmer 1 1/2 hours. Uncover, cook about 15 minutes to reduce stock. Add green beans, green pepper and pumpkin (sunflower or squash) seeds; cook 20-25 minutes longer (or until meat and vegetables are tender). Discard soup bone. Spoon vegetables and meat into deep casserole. Thicken (or reduce) stock. Taste to correct seasonings. Spoon sauce over vegetables and meat. Garnish with string cheese (or ham), grated hard-cooked egg and parsley. Pass sauce in gravy boat. Serves 6-8.

Thoughts: For a richer, meatier flavor, add 1/2 cup dry Italian wine to stock with green beans and green pepper. Other tasteful vegetable variations include: spinach, lettuce, cabbage, watercress, green peas, or lima beans.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gig Young's Depression Stew

Gig Young's Depression Stew

2 lbs. beef kidney
2 1/2 lbs. lean top beef round, cut in strips (or 1-inch cubes)
2 tbsps. butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water (or 1 can beef broth)
2 1/2 tbsps. Escoffier sauce (or catsup)
4 large yellow onions, peeled, cut in quarters
1 leek (white part only), sliced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large turnips, peeled, cut in coarse dice
Half a yellow turnip, peeled, cut in pieces
4 large potatoes, peeled, cut in large pieces
6 medium-sized carrots, peeled, cut in half
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cored, cut in large pieces
1 small head of cabbage, cut in sixths
6 mushrooms, peeled (caps left whole, stems chopped)
Flour to thicken gravy

1. Scald kidneys in boiling water; split in half, remove connective tissue, fat, cut into 1-inch cubes, season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large stock or stewing pan. Brown kidney and beef quickly until meat loses its red look. Add onions and leek, cook until vegetables begin to brown. Remove from fire.

2. Add beef bouillon (or beef broth), Escoffier sauce, and additional liquid (enough to cover the meat, tomatoes. turnips and yellow turnip). Cook 2 1/2 hours.

3. Uncover, add potatoes and carrots, cover and simmer 45 minutes (or until vegetables are tender). Add cauliflower, cabbage and mushrooms, cook about 8-10 minutes longer (or until cabbage is tender). Remove small amount of stock; cook slightly, mix with about 2 tbsps. flour until smooth; gradually add to the stock pot. Cook a few minutes until gravy is smooth. Correct seasonings. Serves 8-10.

Thoughts: Typically, stews of the Depression era were made with beef blade that cost around 11 cents a pound. For flavorful additions, add oregano, basil or bay leaf.