Tag Archives: Alton Brown

Thanksgiving 2016: I’m Unprepared!

If there’s one thing I can say about myself, it’s that I’m consistent. I have consistently broken my promise to write on this blog consistently. I will try to be better.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which has become my favorite holiday as of late.

Christmas? It used to be cool. But now, it’s just a lot of build up for a whole lot of nothing. Like when I lost my virginity.

HEYO!

Anyways. Thanksgiving is 4 days away. Even with my proclivity for procrastination, I am normally flipping through Bon Appetit and browsing Food52 for inspiration. But this year, I have not been.

This year has been a bit weird. Between some pretty heavy family dramz and the fact I’m on production right now in Salt Lake City, I’ve planned almost nothing. In fact, I only decided to go home to Jacksonville a few days ago.

Which means, I need to cook.

So, here we are. Real life Top Chef Challenge. Put together a Thanksgiving Dinner in 45 minutes of meal planning/grocery list writing. Dad will shop for ingredients at the best grocery store in the world, Publix. I will fly in on Wednesday to prep and the big day is on Thursday.

Game on.

Here’s what I’m doing.

  • Rosemary and Citrus Turkey For a Crowd from NYTimes Cooking
    • I made this turkey last year and it was a real crowd pleaser. And by crowd, I mean: me, my mother and father.
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing from Martha Stewart
    • This has been my go-to stuffing recipe for the past few years. It smells and tastes like being home for the holidays. And unlike being home for the holidays, this stuffing will not ask you why you’re not married yet or if you are a lesbian. (‘I have a busy job’ and ‘no, but like, a little bit in college.’)
  • Best Ever Green Bean Casserole from Alton Brown via Food Network
    • Lovers of my prose will know that I have been searching for the right green bean recipe for Thanksgiving for a few years. Previous green bean casseroles have been too fancy. Regular green beans are too plain for Thanksgiving. Alton Brown has never let me down, so let’s audition this one.
  • Classic Mashed Potatoes from NYTimes Cooking
    • Potatoes? Good. Milk? Good. Butter? GOOOOOOOD.
  • Cranberry Sauce from Alton Brown
    • Cranberries? Good. Sauce? Good. Ridges made by molding cranberry sauce in your own can? GOOOOOOOD.

I’ll get a little help from Sis Schubert’s rolls and some sort of frozen pie. A frozen pie is not my preference, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Bring on the Thanksgiving pants!

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You are my Everest.–via Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

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I wasn’t ignoring you, I swear: My New Food Obsession

I haven’t blogged in over two weeks. Making me the worst real blogger ever, but still a PRETTY SOLID fake food blogger.

Can't Touch This

What have I been doing? Working. Eating. Thinking about food. Not really cooking it too much, though.

What have I not been doing? Blogging. Duh.

I’ve had a couple of amazing food days in the past two weeks. In New York City last week, I ate a phenomenal lobster salad for lunch at a bistro called Artisanal and the very same day had lobster and crab spicy spaghetti for dinner at a neighborhood Italian place called Novita. Lobster two-a-days? Don’t mind if I do. #fatdontstop

And I’ve had some less than amazing food days. Two nights ago, I got a chicken souvlaki from Hero House with a side of fries….and a side of chicken fingers. Good? Yeah. Gross? YEAH.

But the coolest food discovery of the last few weeks has been a reintroduction to an old friend. A nerd god among men. A clotheshorse. A good looking enough guy, sure, but his brain makes him one of the sexiest men on the planet.

I’m talking about Alton Brown, people.

He looks a bit of a Grouch there, really.

He looks a bit of a Grouch there, really.

Alton Brown is excellent. And his podcast, The Alton Browncast, is excellent. Why, you ask?

First off, he’s a food authority. He not only knows how to make food delicious, but he understands the science of the food. Why it tastes the way it does. What happens when you add this ingredient to that. Why you cook it this way. He gets the chemistry of it all. And he presented it to us for years in his phenomenally entertaining show Good Eats. Who knew Food Science + Cooking + Nerdy Glasses Guy could be so fun to watch? (Bonus: Alton was a Theatre major at the University of Georgia. So, of COURSE he made it fun. Also, I was a Theatre major. So, of COURSE I love him.) And the other thing about him, after listening to his podcast, he’s a regular guy with interests beyond cooking. So that makes him a terrific interviewer. He can talk about race horses with Bobby Flay. He can talk about daughters with Hugh Acheson. He can talk about Atlanta with Keith Schroder. And, by the way, he can–and does–talk flavors with all of them. Are you a Doctor Who fan? So is he. He even created a recipe for fish fingers and custard.

Do yourself a favor. Listen to this podcast. It’s a little less than an hour. You’ll learn something new. Every podcast, there is a food of the day and he answers questions from listeners. You’ll laugh. He’s opinionated. He’s cheeky. He loves a game. He said he’s doing his new culinary game show Cutthroat Kitchen because it is primarily fun.

But most of all, this podcast is available to you for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. That’s right, folks. The absolutely low price of 0 dollars. You can’t beat that.

Don’t delay. Download the podcast player on your phone (if you didn’t have it already like me…) and download his old podcasts. You could do it in order. But I started with Alex Guarnaschelli’s and it was charming.

Or hell, listen for free online on The Nerdist.

Say yes to food. Say yes to science. Say yes to glasses. Say yes to fezzes.

Fezzes?

Yeah. Fezzes are cool.

I wear a fez now. Fezes are cool.

I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.

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Update: Thanksgiving Can’t Hardly Wait…to start

My dad sent me an email today about a couple Thanksgiving recipes from the Wall Street Journal that he was going to save for me. Which is pretty good, because this is what the menu looks like now:

Turkey made in some way, maybe Alton Brown’s brine?
Mac and cheese
Green beans
Another vegetable
Cranberry conserve from Barefoot Contessa
Can of cranberry sauce (back off, I love it)
Mashed potatoes and gravy (Gramma)
Some sort of Stuffing
More foodstuffs
Dessert

Sounds pretty vague to me. Good thing Thanksgiving is a good….OH HOLY HELL IT’S ONLY 5 DAYS AWAY.

Vomit vomit vomit.

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Homemade Peanut Butter. Subtitle: Why I am moron [sic]

I made homemade peanut butter today. What did you do today, Felix Baumgartner? 

No. I didn’t ask about yesterday, I asked about today. I WIN. YOU LOSE. 

I took today and tomorrow off, so I’ve been cleaning, making bacon, egg and gouda sandwiches (…you fancy, huh?) and watching Doctor Who on DVD.

I also have a fake food project I’m working towards. Someone asked me to make peanut butter cookies, so make them I shall. Peanut butter cookies aren’t my favorite, but I found a recipe that my Gramma gave me. So, it’s on. 

And why not make the peanut butter cookie process a lot more difficult and time consuming by making the peanut butter yourself! Like a dbag! 

Honestly? I decided to make this homemade peanut butter so I could justify buying myself a full-size food processor. I’ve had a mini one up until now, but unless you’re making a tiny marinade for like…one chicken wing, it’s not really that useful of a tool. 

So, I found a recipe for Alton Brown’s homemade peanut butter on foodnetwork.com. And this is where the trouble started. 

First thing, I could NOT find peanuts in their shells anywhere. George Washington Carver, the inventor of the peanut, wept in his grave. (I also could not find a joke that works…but whatever.) Went to Whole Foods. Went to Fresh Market. Found other nuts in their shells, but no peanuts. 

I settled on unsalted, blanched peanuts, because they already had their skins removed. But I tasted them and they taste like unsalted, blanched cardboard. I had to fix this or I would have spent $12 on peanuts that I would have brought home from the store and then more than likely thrown in the garbage. 

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I decided to roast the peanuts at 375 for about 15 minutes with a generous sprinkling of salt, which kind of does the trick. 

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A helpful hint: When you go to take a picture of something you pulled out of the oven, don’t grab it with your bare hands. Like I did. Who do you think you are, the husband in a Frigidaire commercial? (Callback machine!) 

Anyways. Now, here’s the rest of the recipe, minus the roasting fiasco. 

Ingredients: 

  • 15 oz. of roasted peanuts, shelled and skinned
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp of honey
  • 1 ½ TB of peanut oil 

Combine peanuts, salt and honey in your food processor and process for one minute. 

And process for one minute.

…And process for one minute.

….Why won’t this damn thing turn on.

I tried a different outlet. I tried a different outlet in a different room. And then I got angry. And went upstairs and put on regular human clothes (please note, I was doing this at 5 pm) so I could leave the house and speak to people and return the broken food processor. I threw all the peanuts away, washed the food processor bowl, when my friend Katie responds to my curse-laden text about the food processor with “did you have the lid on right?” 

…No… No, I did not.

After my large slice of humble pie, I roasted a new set of peanuts and processed.

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The smell of the freshly processed nuts had almost a coffee aroma to them. I had to add a bit more peanut oil than the recipe called for to get the peanut butter smooth, almost another 2 tablespoons

The results are tasty, but not the most spreadable. In his recipe, Alton Brown notes that for making peanut butter, one should use Spanish peanuts because they have a higher oil content. I don’t think I had Spanish peanuts because the texture of this peanut butter isn’t quite right. 

Jif would definitely win a beauty pageant and this peanut butter would get Miss Congeniality. (She sure is trying hard!) But there’s a really good roasted flavor with a background of saltiness. And it’s not overly sweet, which I think is nice. Not sure if I’ll bake the cookies with it yet. Maybe I’ll make one batch with it and one batch with the Jif, just to see how it turns out.

Felix Baumgartner makes history. I make peanut butter. He may have the upper hand, but mine tastes better.

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