Category Archives: Entrepreneurs

i8tonite with Moe’s Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe’s Cornbread Recipe

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread RecipeWhat do you do when you love BBQ? You learn from the best – and then smoke, cook, and eat well. And, if you’re Moe’s Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez, you turn that business into a way to give back, teach, and provide great food. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Fernandez, originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, learned how to fire roast meats from Tuscaloosa BBQ legend Moses Day. From there, he founded Moe’s Original Bar B Que out in Vail, Colorado (where he went to culinary school) – and has gone on to grow a business with over 50 franchises in a plethora of states.

Fernandez’s mission is two-fold – to provide a unique and delicious dining experience, and to be a cheerleader for young entrepreneurs by providing opportunities and education.

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread Recipe

The geography of the popularity of southern cuisine, especially BBQ, is interesting to track. When we talked, Fernandez noted, “people love BBQ – it’s unique, and you know what you’re getting into. In Vail, people eat BBQ four times a week; in Maine, once every few weeks…and in the south, everyone is always bbqing!” At Moe’s, people enjoy a meat and 3 – which is an entree, two side dishes, and a beverage. A look at their menu shows me that it would be difficult to choose exactly which, to be honest. But one thing that I always love is cornbread, and so I’m extremely pleased that Fernandez picked that recipe to share with us!

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread Recipe

What most impressed me, when talking with Fernandez, was his commitment to the growth and development of young entrepreneurs. Having been one himself, he knows how important it is to have a mentor. So most of Moe’s franchises are located in college towns, and hire young adults as staff. When these college students graduate, Fernandez helps them get a store. He said that he has a vested interest in these young people, and is always trying to figure out how to help them. When I remarked on this generosity, Fernandez said he’s humbled by his success, lucky as hell, and happy to teach and share what is important. Indeed.

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread RecipeStop by Moe’s, in one of their 50 and growing locations (come to Michigan, Mike, please!), and know you’re not only getting great food, but supporting a business that is a cheerleader for their employees and creating small businesses that serve communities. Win/win!

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
40 years. My mother taught me to cook when I was young. She is from Sicily, Italy, and we cooked together every Sunday.

What is your favorite food to cook?
Fresh fish that I catch myself.

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Various pickled vegetables, homemade jams, and homemade cured meats

What do you cook at home?
A lot of Latin food

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
One that knows about food and can tell when something tastes different. I love when they want to learn, because I love to teach.

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread Recipe

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
When they refuse to try an item I prepared “as it is”

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Pyrex

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Cocktail

Your favorite cookbook author?
Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn (Charcuterie)

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Kitchen Aid Mixer

Your favorite ingredient?
Cilantro

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread Recipe

Your least favorite ingredient?
Liquid smoke

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Clean floor drains.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Latin

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Pork

Favorite vegetable?
Golden Beets

Chef you most admire?
Frank Stitt and John Currence

Food you like the most to eat?
Fresh fish just caught

Food you dislike the most?
Overcooked Beef

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
None – my mom would kill me.

Moe’s Original Bar B Que’s Cornbread Recipe

 

i8tonite with Moe's Original Bar B Que Founder Mike Fernandez & Moe's Cornbread Recipe

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup yellow onions, fine dice
1/4 cup jalapenos, filet and fine dice
3 7-ounce packages Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix

Directions:
Beat eggs, add jalapenos and onions.
Add milk and then mix in 3 packages of cornbread mix.
Spray with Pam heavily (if old pan, add parchment paper to release) onto large 4×10 loaf pan. Pour in cornbread mix.
Preheat to 325. Bake 1 hour. When done, it should be firm to press. Do not overcook.
Using rubber spatula, slice into 12 slices at 3 quarters of inch each. It’s easier to cut cold or bread will crumble.
Brush one side with margarine or butter. Place buttered side down on griddle. Fry til crispy.

 

– The End. Go Eat. – 

i8tonite with Traverse City’s amical Chef Dave Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie RecipeTraverse City, Michigan is a special place. Globally known as an incredibly beautiful location, there’s so much more to Traverse City than Sleeping Bear Dunes, named the most beautiful place in America. It seems that everyone here loves food, as you can tell from the array of incredible restaurants, second homes of well-known chefs, and a farm to table movement that has been going on for over a hundred years.

Two of the things I love most about TC are the friendliness and sense community. Whenever I head north from our cottage an hour south, I ask my friend Mike Norton, of Traverse City Tourism, for a recommendation. He’s got the goods, and knows the best in town (including his contributions for my 50 best Midwest Coffee Roasters, but I digress). Mike recommended amical restaurant to me a while back, and I couldn’t wait to share this favorite restaurant with our readers.

Owner and Chef Dave Denison is one of those people you immediately love. He’s funny, creative, and extremely interesting. You’d pick him, if you were going to be stuck on a desert island (hopefully, his chef knife would come with him, because I would be carrying sunscreen). He started by cooking at a young age, and has always worked in restaurants. When he moved out west to California, he thought about getting out of this line of work. Luckily for us, his plan backfired, as he got a job at a growing chain restaurant, and moved up through the ranks and opened up restaurants all over the country for them.

Denison grew up in Southeast Michigan, as well as in Alamaba and Georgia. When he and his family decided to leave California and find a place to start a new restaurant, Traverse City fit the bill. He’s one of Traverse City’s top chefs, with his restaurant amical, which opened in 1994. amical started as a quick service gourmet cafeteria, and has evolved into a European-style bistro.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Denison remarked that they were fortunate in that through all these changes, their customers supported them and kept coming back.  He noted that “how amical started, to where we are now, is very, very different. We’ve always treated our guests and visitors with respect and knowing that they are the reason we are here.”

I was intrigued by his description of the local food scene. Denison said that “TC has obviously enjoyed national and international recognition over the last 10 years, and it’s well-deserved. It might look like it’s an overnight sensation, but people have worked a long time at their craft here, and many established chefs have been here for a while – in fact, moved to the area with the intention of practicing their craft, using local ingredients. Generations of families have been raising these local ingredients for 100+ years! The farm to table movement was always here, but we were able to utilize it well in our restaurants, and then people ‘discovered’ it. However, it’s always been going on in this area – now just on a bigger scale. This is an agricultural community that has lived for centuries with such natural beauty. We’re surrounded by farmers and people that create a bounty from the land, and we’re happy to be able to be a part of that legacy, and know that this will continue for quite some time.”

amical’s food is local, fresh, creative, and delicious. The staff are incredible – supportive, supported, and intent on creating an excellent dining experience in the community.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Cookbook School!

There’s one more thing you’ll love about amical – the annual Cookbook school, held during the winter months. Denison shared, “for those new to the series, this is what we do: once a month, our kitchen staff will create a week-long dinner menu that consists of recipes from a cookbook. You will find a nice blend of cookbooks from the past, previously featured chefs with new publications, and first time cookbooks. Over the past 19 years, the kitchen team has developed menus from over 100 different cookbooks…while preparing almost one thousand recipes. We credit our loyal patrons for their support and our staff for their passionate drive in making this series an incredible success.”

A community treasure, indeed. 

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
The winner of the big game gets milk and cookies! Go (your team here)!

Chef Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
“Professionally” since I was 15. My mom was, admittedly, a lousy cook, but for some reason I had an interest at an earlier age. She says it was due to my survival instincts.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Amish chicken with ancho chile cream and tomatillo salsa

What is your favorite food to cook?
I like to prepare hearty soups, especially during the winter months. Can you tell I’m from the Midwest?

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Tortillas (corn & flour)… and cheese – usually a St. Andre or a local chevre or Raclette. P’tit Basque, too.

What do you cook at home?
For a quick bite, it would be tacos. Or a stir fry.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Cardamom-Nutmeg Custard

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
The fact that they continue to return!

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
Paranoia. A few people think “we’re out to get them” or treat them differently because they were late, not from around here, etc… and for the record, we are not, unless you are late or from another town. JK on that.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Pyrex, then it’s on to ziplocks.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Cocktail. Right now its tequila, ginger beer, and lime.

Your favorite cookbook author?
I plagiarize cookbook authors on a frequent basis. Everyone from Mario to Jamie Oliver are represented somewhere on our menus. Right now we are using Pickles, Pigs and Whisky recipes from John Currence. But Yotam Ottolenghi is quickly becoming a new favorite.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
A 10” French knife but I like having a good quality mandolin around. A garlic slicer is a neat little gadget to have around, too.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Garlic Shrimp, Potato Shells, Lamb Meatballs, and Mussels in Coconut-Chile Sauce

Your favorite ingredient?
Onions, onions of all kinds. Caramelized onions, grilled onions, roasted onions, onion soubise, fried onions, don’t forget the chives, red onion, Vidalia onion, green onions…

Your least favorite ingredient?
Eggplant. My mom would pan-fry it and pour maple syrup on it. Yikes! Did I mention she was not a very good cook? But I love you, mom!

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Re-make a dish because we made a mistake.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Asian preparations for their versatility, quickness, and healthy attributes. Mexican is a close second.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
C’mon. Pork.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Heritage appetizers

Favorite vegetable?
Local asparagus. It’s only around up here for a few weeks in the Spring.

Chef you most admire?
One you would recognize would be Eric Ripert. Locally, it would be Harlan “Pete” Peterson of Tapawingo fame in Ellsworth, Michigan. He is so talented but incredibly humble. He just opened Alliance here in town. Already a favorite of many!

Food you like the most to eat?
Fresh seafood and shellfish. Walleye is a favorite. But put a fried egg on something and I’ll order it.

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Rice Centennial Farm Ribeye ready for the Carnivore menu.

Food you dislike the most?
I never really acquired a taste for calf’s liver. I’ll get my iron somewhere else, thank you. (<<Look left)

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
None so far, but my wife has one. Does that count?

 

Recipe: amical’s Chicken Pot Pie

 

i8tonite with Traverse City’s Amical Chef David J. Denison & Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Servings: 6
Size: 1.5 Cup(s)
Prep. Time: 0:35

Ingredients:
2 c chicken breast, cooked and diced
1/2 c carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 c celery, diced
half a medium onion, peeled and diced
1/2 c frozen peas
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cooked, diced
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 c whole milk
1 T chervil
1/2 T dried basil
1/4 T salt
1/4 T pepper
2 c chicken stock
4 oz butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 T grated parmesan
2 pieces puff pastry dough
1 egg, beaten

Directions
1. Saute vegetables in butter in a small stock pot.
2. When onions are translucent, add flour and mix. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add milk, cream, potatoes, stock, spices, and parmesan. Heat until sauce has thickened. Check for seasoning and proper thickness. Add more roux if needed.
4. Place filling in individual oven-proof dishes. Cut out a puff pastry dough lid to fit the top of the dish. Brush with eggwash and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, and the filling bubbles.

– The End. Go Eat. – 

 

 

i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing Chicken

i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing ChickenSan Franciscan-born and bred Erika Lenkert is the creator and editor in chief of GFF (Gluten Free Forever) Magazine. She is also a bon vivant, a traveler, a culinary writer, a single mother, and –  importantly – a lover of great food. She says, “I’ve always been a food person. Growing up as a child of a single mother, my mother would take me everywhere to eat, but I also needed to fend for myself in the kitchen. When I was in junior high and high school, I was working as a receptionist, and then cold-calling at another job, but with the money (I earned), I would take myself out to eat.” Even more prescient of her future undertakings, as a child, Lenkert would gather her friends together and they would play how to create a magazine, creating subscription cards along with feature stories

After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in English Literature, Lenkert began a career as a freelance writer – and never looked back.  For twenty years, she’s been a food writer for both San Francisco and Los Angeles Magazines and penned prolifically for Food & Wine, InStyle, San Francisco Chronicle, Elle, Travel & Leisure, and numerous other outlets with an approachable but knowledgeable voice. Furthermore, she’s written several books, including Party Girl Primer, Raw with Chef Juliano Brotman,  and The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy.

Beet-Hummus - from i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing Chicken
Beet Hummus

 In 2014, Lenkert, who has been gluten intolerant since 2001, originated a Kickstarter campaign, raising close to $100,00 for a new culinary book about cooking without gluten; hence, GFF Magazine was born. “Starting a magazine was a crazy idea,” she says. “I feel like I bit off more than I could chew. I’ve always been more of a barter type of person but I found that I had to ask for what I needed without the possibility of giving it back.” At that time, she states, it was the most difficult in her life as she was going through a divorce, starting GFF, and found herself sick for the first time in her adult life with erythema infectiosum, commonly called the “fifth disease.” However, she never gave up her lifelong mission of creating a quality culinary magazine along the lines of Gourmet, except for the new health-oriented generation. “The food always has to be the star,” she says.

In March 2016, Lenkert partnered her second baby – she has another with two legs — with Meredith Corporation, who currently publishes well-read titles devoted to food and wellness such as Eating Well, Shape, and Better Homes & Gardens. Essentially, the relationship moves Lenkert’s quarterly publication from 12,000 issues to 250,000, with a newsstand price of $9.99 under their specialty titles. In today’s publishing world – with journals dropping like flies – it’s nothing short of a miracle. Truth be told, the deal was probably sealed with Lenkert’s infectious enthusiasm for her work in creating a culinary periodical. She – a runaway train knowing its’ true and right destination – states, “The name of the magazine might be GFF, but I want people to have the opportunity to cook and eat well. I want to give people happy food.” (Readers of i8tonite can receive a special price with the promo code: SPRING16. Sign-up via gffmag.com).

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust)

i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing ChickenWhat is your favorite food to cook at home? The “Best Effing Chicken”—a stupidly simple, over-the-top delicious boneless roasted chicken recipe taught to me by SF chef Daniel Patterson. It uses two ingredients and takes two minutes of prep, and it’s seriously fabulous.  Or caramelized broccoli – I regularly make a meal out of it.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Califia Farms vanilla almond milk, butter, eggs, and peanut butter.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? A penchant for skipping the small talk and getting right into the frank, honest conversation.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? Resistance to sharing food.

Frittata. From i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing ChickenBeer, wine, or cocktail? Depends. GF beer after a long day, wine at a dinner party, and a Manhattan out with friends.

Your favorite cookbook author? I don’t have time to read or cook from cookbooks. With 45 or more recipes in each issue of GFF, whenever I finish one, I’m off recipe developing, testing, and writing for the next.

Your favorite kitchen tool? A good knife. I’m not a gadget girl (less is more for me), but I do like my microplane, too.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Favorite? Japanese. Most common? Italian or “Californian” (i.e., a bunch of fresh stuff thrown together).

Acai Bowl with Fruit. From i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing ChickenBeef, chicken, pork, or tofu? Chicken, though I’m leaning more and more toward a vegetarian diet.

Favorite vegetable? Broccoli

Chef you most admire? Hiro Sone. He makes such beautiful food. Literally and figuratively.

Food you like the most to eat? Sushi. And French fries. 🙂

Food you dislike the most? I’m not a hater.

What is your favorite non-food thing to do? Travel, though that always includes food exploration.

Spread. From i8tonite: with Erika Lenkert, Creator, EIC of GFF Magazine & Her Best Effing ChickenWhere is your favorite place to eat? Anywhere there’s good company. Or good food. Or fun bar-dining. Or all three.

What is your favorite restaurant? I don’t have one. But Nopa is my San Francisco fallback—because it has the aforementioned elements that make up my “favorite place to eat.”

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? My skin is unadulterated—except for the sun damage from iodine-baby oil sun-tanning in the ‘80s and living on Maui in my 20s.

Recipe: Best Effing Chicken

Get the butcher to debone 1 large whole chicken (they’ll do it at Whole Foods). Salt it with 1 teaspoon of salt 1 to 3 hours prior to cooking and reserve in the refrigerator until 10 minutes before cooking. Lay the chicken flat, skin-side up, on a rimmed sheet pan and broil it about 3 inches from the heat, or until the skin is very crispy and brown, about 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 250°F and cook for 25 minutes. Cut the chicken into entrée-size pieces, transfer to a platter, and prepare to be blown away.

 

– The End. Go Eat. –

 

 

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon Noodles

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon Noodles Chef Kathy Fang is the daughter of one of San Francisco’s legendary chefs, Peter Fang of the House of Nanking. To the uninitiated, those who have never eaten Chinese food in Shanghai or one of the major Asian-American urban hubs such as Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Vancouver have probably eaten the domestic version normally laden with excess soy sauce, oils and fried. Shanghai food mixes a variety of regional Chinese cooking, primarily because the twenty-four million inhabitants  come seeking work in the big city. Street carts characterize the cuisine – eat and run – such as steamed buns, scallion pancakes, and a variety of rice balls. Each morsel can produce bold, complex flavors if placed in the correct hands – such as Chef Fang. Even today, more than twenty-five years later, queues are outside the first Chinatown located restaurant with far-flung travelers, guidebooks in hand, ready to dine on Fang’s Shanghainese-type eats.

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon NoodlesAlong comes his daughter, Kathy Fang, who is every bit her father’s progeny but personifies the new generation of chefs, realizing that there is more than just the kitchen to cooking. After working in the corporate scene, the younger Fang decided to follow in the family’s footsteps, learning about European cooking techniques at a premier local culinary school. Together, in 2008, the father and daughter team opened Fang Restaurant, an elegant establishment focusing on the Chinese regional foods, but with a more refined, gastronomic approach.

“I’m very blessed to be around my dad and parents,” states Ms. Fang about working with her parents and father. “My dad can be very stubborn but we work together many hours of the day. Ultimately, we have a very loving relationship inside and outside the kitchen.”

Last year, Ms. Fang, was a winner on Food Network’s Chopped, the broadcast cooking competition show which places four chefs against each other with the hopes of winning ten thousand dollars. Ms. Fang, a petite and attractive woman, beat three burly Caucasian men. She says of winning, “Now, we get customers, mostly female, who come into Fang. They say, ‘I was rooting for you all the way against those guys. It was great to see a woman win.’ “

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon Noodles Ms. Fang’s future is bright as she continues to cook with her father at their eponymously named gourmet hall. Outside the kitchen, though, she is branding herself as a culinary leader with My Fangalicious, her website and family recipes. Her hopes are to become the next Martha Stewart with a “branded wok” and other gastronomic items like her Caucasian predecessors. As her clientele has attested, it’s good to see diversity in the food mix, so all people can be included in the conversation.

Chef Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust)

 How long have you been cooking? Since I was 6 years old

What is your favorite food to cook? Pasta

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon NoodlesWhat do you always have in your fridge at home? Eggs, hot sauce.

What do you cook at home? Asian and Italian food

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? I’m lucky in that a lot of our customers come in to Fang knowing to trust the chef. I love customers who come in with an open mind to try new things to eat.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Customers who finish their meal and then tell you afterwards they didn’t like it. If you don’t like it, mention something right away. I feel like any restaurant would apologize and offer to make something different for you. Just be up front in the beginning, and we would be more than happy to make any changes for you.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Pyrex

Beer, wine, or cocktail? Wine to wind down at home or when having dinner. Cocktails for a night out, a gin martini to be exact.

Your favorite cookbook author? David Chang. I love how he weaves his own story into the growth of all his restaurants. You learn about him, his restaurants, and his recipes all in one book.

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon Noodles
Sesame Chicken

Your favorite kitchen tool? This may seem weird but my electric kettle at home. I’m obsessed with it mostly because it heats up to boil so fast. I boil water for tea, water for boiling pasta, water for blanching. I also heat up soups using the kettle because it’s so fast. I just let it go, brush my teeth, work on my computer and then it shuts off after it boils. I also boil eggs in there in the morning.  For the cost and how often I use it and in so many different ways, it’s really one of the best little kitchen tools I have.

Your favorite ingredient? Soy sauce (I grew up eating this and I can’t imagine my cuisine without it)

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon Noodles
Fang, lower dining room

Your least favorite ingredient? Lemon pepper. I always think it has this weird fake element to it. And I never understood why you wouldn’t just use fresh lemon or citrus and freshly cracked pepper.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Dishes

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Italian, Chinese, and Japanese

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu? Pork

Favorite vegetable? I know it’s an overused vegetable and it seems like it’s that overly popular girl at school that everyone seems to talk about, but KALE is truly one of my favorite vegetables. For one, I’m a health nut, so any vegetable that I find healthy, I like. But aside from that, I find kale super versatile. I buy in big amounts because I can go through it all week. I can bake kale until it’s crisp like chips, I can sautée with eggs in the morning for breakfast. Kale works well in soups and stews. It also makes great salads if done right.  And finally toss it in smoothies to get extra vitamins and fiber. There are just so many ways to eat kale!

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon NoodlesChef you most admire? Grant Achatz, Dominique Crenn, and Thomas Keller.

Food you like the most to eat? Sushi

Food you dislike the most? Natto

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? None.

 

Recipe: Pesto Udon Noodle Salad

i8tonite: with San Francisco Chef Kathy Fang, Fang Restaurant and Pesto Udon NoodlesServes 2.

Make fresh pesto by blending fresh Italian basil, 2 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoon grated parmigiano reggiano, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, 4 tablespoon high quality evoo, and salt. Taste and set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil (or use electric kettle) and pour the hot water over packaged udon noodles. Separate the noodles and let sit for 1 minute and stir.  Remove from water and run under cold water.  Set aside.  Dress the udon with freshly made pesto and plate. Slice some grilled chicken breast or roasted chicken and top the udon with it. Mozzarella balls and cherry/grape tomatoes are a great addition to this dish, as is a generous sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano.

  • The End. Go Eat. –

 

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating at Women-owned Restaurants in Los Angeles

Women work hard, and that includes being a mother, an actress, or a chef. Therefore, regardless of gender, women should be paid equally, and that’s this year’s International Women’s Day theme: Parity.  It’s the reason we decided to highlight women-owned places – more specifically female chefs of Los Angeles –  for our bi-monthly edition of Food Destinations. Tuesday, March 8 is International Women’s Day.

In the City of Angels, not only are there delicious places to eat, but there are many women creating delicious dining experiences, whether as an owner or as an owner-chef. If you want to choose an eating theme, why not an interesting food tour of women-owned restaurants?

Margarita Manzke, Republique. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating at Women-owned Restaurants in Los Angeles
Margarita and Walter Manzke

Breakfast: Margarita Manzke, Republique:

Start your day at Republique with one of the pastry creations by Philippines Islands-born Margarita Manzke, co-owner of the famed space with her husband Walter. While Mr. Manzke is noted for his French-inspired culinary prowess in the evening, the mornings belong to “Madge.” Her pastries are clouds of flour and butter in the former of buttery croissants, brioches, scones, muffins, and breads. Go ahead and eat her Brioche French Toast, dipped in the egg and served up with fresh fruit. The idea of never eating carbs won’t enter your mind again. Or even better, for something just a little lighter to get the energy going with a cup of the couple’s hand-selected coffee, have a few slices of Ms. Manzke’s daily selection, fresh from the oven, daily served with housemade butter, jam, or honey. Everyday it’s something different – rye, whole cracked wheat, 7-grain, raisin, pumpernickel, sourdough ($4).

Republique

  • 624 South La Brea Avenue
  • Los Angeles, CA  90036
  • (310) 362 – 6115
  • www.republicquela.com
  • Breakfast 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Coffee and pastries until 4:00pm

 

Alisa Reynolds, My Two Cents. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating at Women-owned Restaurants in Los Angeles
Chef Alisa Reynolds

Lunch:  Alisa Reynolds, My Two Cents

In a residential part of Los Angeles, far from the maddening crowd, Chef Alisa Reynolds crafted a small eatery, with a dedicated following – including Beyoncé – cooking healthy soul food cooking, definitely words you don’t hear together. With six tables on the sidewalk and about as many on the inside, Reynolds has become known for her gluten-free quinoa macaroni and cheese, Creole Shrimp and Corn Grits, and BBQ Fried Chicken. Her recipes are still rich in flavor and family tradition, but have lower calories and a higher nutrition value than what she grew up eating. Yes, you can have your mac and cheese, but with a dose of healthy grains as well. What a concept.

My Two Cents

  • 5583 West Pico Boulevard
  • Los Angeles, CA  90016
  • (323) 938 – 1012
  • www.mytwocentsla.com
  • Closed on Mondays
  • Tuesday – Thursday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Friday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Sundays: Brunch only  11: 00 am – 4:00pm

 

Restauranteur Amy Fraser and Pastry Chef Maria Swan: ICDC. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating at Women-owned Restaurants in Los AngelesSnack: Restauranteur Amy Fraser and Pastry Chef Maria Swan: ICDC

Last year, co-owners Amy Fraser and Pastry Chef Maria Swan created a loving ode to ice cream, donuts, and coffee (ICDC), right next door to BLD (Neal Fraser’s eatery — Amy’s husband’s place — with breakfast, lunch and dinner). Out of the gate, the freshly churned cream made into adult type flavors such as the Guiness with Bourbon Fudge Ripple, and the Grapefruit Campari, or the Salt and Pepper Donut, or Beer Nuts and Pretzels have become an immediate hit — sort of like a Stars Wars sequel. Everything is handcrafted and single-batched, so once a flavor is out – it’s out for the rest of the day (or even the week). Therefore, you keep coming back hoping to catch that favorite flavor – but never quite making it, so it’s discover another taste – which keeps you coming back for that, and before you know it – you are in a 12-step group saying, “Hi, my name is (your name here) and I’m an ICDC addict.”

ICDC LA

  • 7454 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
  • (323) 746-3346
  • http://icdc.la/
  • Monday-Friday, 11am-10pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 11am-11pm

 

 Susan Feniger: Mud Hen Tavern & Border Grill. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating at Women-owned Restaurants in Los Angeles
Chef Susan Feniger

Dinner:  Susan Feniger:  Mud Hen Tavern & Border Grill

Long before the Food Network was stuck on Guy Fieri road trips and Bobby Flay contests, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken were broadcast to millions of homes. Then, the gourmet duo known as Two Hot Tamales showcased mostly Mexican but Latin flavored cuisine in an epicurean setting at Border Grill. Prior to that – in the long forgotten eighties — the cooking partners had another nationally-recognized establishment named City, changing Los Angeles’ culinary landscape much like Spago’s Wolfgang Puck. Milliken and Feniger still operate Border Grill together in Santa Monica – but Feniger wanted to explore other tasty riches and opened the much-lauded Street in Hollywood – showcasing global cuisine. After a couple of years, Feniger morphed Street into Mud Hen Tavern – a cozy neighborhood eatery and bar. Whether you are eating at Mud Hen Tavern or the legendary Border Grill, the food you are tasting isn’t just by a female chef but by an historical figure in the culinary realm. Delicious food, farm-to-table, nose-to-tail — Susan Feniger has been there, done that, and thankfully is still cooking some yummy eats.

Mud Hen Tavern

  • 742 No. Highland Avenue
  • LA, CA 90038
  • (323) 203 – 0500
  • www.mudhentavern.com
  • Sunday – Tuesday 5:00 – 10:00pm
  • Wednesday – Sunday 5:00 pm – midnight

Santa Monica Border Grill

  • 1445 4th Street
  • Santa Monica, CA  90401
  • http://www.bordergrill.com/
  • Sunday – Thursday 4:00 – 10:00pm
  • Friday – Saturday  4:00 – 11:00pm

The end. Go eat. 

 

 

 

 

 

i8tonite with Eleni’s New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni GianopulosEleni Gianopulos began her career in the media world working at the venerable Time Inc., eventually moving into the editorial division of Life Magazine. Through a twist of fate, Eleni, who had a passion for baking, began a small catering business in her apartment. What began as a side business featuring Eleni’s mother’s famous oatmeal-raisin cookies quickly outgrew her home kitchen and evolved into a full-fledged cookie empire. Eleni is a business owner that is also committed to giving back to female entrepreneurs trying to start their companies today. Eleni is about to share some exciting news regarding her mission to help female entrepreneurs. Stay tuned!

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos
Language of Love cookies

Since 1997, Eleni’s New York has been a must-stop at Manhattan’s iconic Chelsea Market, later followed by her website, where irresistibly designed custom “Conversation Cookies TM” and other treats, including Color Me Cookies, await for fans located around the world. Today, Eleni’s custom cookie creations are a favorite of celebrities, luxury brands, Fortune 500 companies, and cookie lovers alike. Her cookie concierges design cookies around events, holidays, and popular trends. All of Eleni’s cookies are certified nut free. We love them.

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos
Eleni’s Day of the Dead cookies

Eleni and I had a lively chat about parenting, cookies, and growing and running a business. Eleni noted that it was challenging to be a mom in business, but it’s also rewarding and exciting for her kids to see that their parents have careers they love. She grew up watching her father, who owned his own company, going to work every day and loving it. Her kids are happy that their mom owns a bakery (lucky kids!), and Eleni said that she’s a better boss for having kids.

Eleni's New York butterfly cookies. i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos
Eleni’s New York butterfly cookies

Eleni remarked that she feels fortunate and is strategic in finding employees that are in different phases of their lives – many of her employees have kids of all ages. It is this wide range of experience within the company that helps Eleni’s New York continue with their business expansion – a recent Valentine’s Day partnership with 650 Target stores in the Northeast (crisp chocolate chip, butterscotch, and pink sugar cookies!), a new grocery line that will be launched at the Fancy Foods Show this coming July, as well as more retail locations and an expansion of the very popular Color Me Line of cookies.

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos
Eleni’s New York Sea Breeze cookies

What I loved most, as a non-New Yorker, was talking about living in the city with Eleni.  She’s moved to keep close to her work – starting in Chelsea Market, when she first opened; then a move to be near her cookie plant in Long Island City; and recently a move back to the center of the city to be closer to all the action as they open locations in Manhattan this coming year. When talking about the local bakery (Maison Kaiser) that she heads to every morning with her King Charles Cavalier, Lovey Pie, to pick up croissants and breads for the kids every morning, her love of her neighborhood shone through – she mentioned stores, spaces, colors, and flavors. And while she hits the farmer’s market many times a week, it’s closed on Sundays – and is a perfect place for her young kids to ride their bikes.

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni GianopulosEleni and her team are surrounded by design inspiration, so look for new cookies inspired by this neighborhood – as well as museums, parks, something from one of the kids’ schoolbooks, etc. And yes, they all still sketch on the back of a napkin at times, to save their ideas. But Eleni’s cookies are also influenced by technology. An exciting development in cookie design at Eleni’s is a new process which allows them to put ink onto a cookie with no sugar film. This adds more and more layers and intricacy – you can see this in the upcoming Easter cookie line, inspired by Faberge designs.

It is this creativity, passion for her work, and inclusion of family that makes Eleni’s work shine.

 

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking? Over 20 yearsi8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos

What is your favorite food to cook? Cookies, pies, cakes, and Greek specialty appetizers like dolmathes, spanakopita and baklava.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Milk for my coffee, butter for kids’ toast, and Pellegrino

What do you cook at home? Mexican food. I love America’s Test Kitchen Favorite Mexican Recipes and test new recipes on my family often.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Direct and to the point.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? This customer requested the most beautiful design, my team executed to perfection. The client received the order and complained that the frosting was off ¼”. From that point on, we insist on sample approval for custom work. And I just knew even if we remade the order this customer would never be satistfied, so I quickly accommodated the request and moved on. I have only seen something like this happen 2 times in 20 years, though.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Tupperware

Beer, wine, or cocktail? Cocktail

Your favorite cookbook author? America’s Test Kitchen Series of Cook Books, I love how they start off every paragraph…we made this recipe 34 times and found that …

i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos
Eleni’s Lemon Cupcakes

Your favorite kitchen tool? The plastic pastry bags I bring home from work, I use them for everything.

Your favorite ingredient? Lemon, I add it to everything.

Your least favorite ingredient? Orange, I don’t like orange in desserts nor entrees.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Dishes – my husband says when I cook at home I think I’m at work! I tend to make a big mess, and use every pot and pan in the house.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Greek, Mexican, Italian

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu? Chicken

Favorite vegetable? Broccoli

Chef you most admire? Thomas Keller

Food you like the most to eat? Indian

Food you dislike the most? Eggs, cottage cheese, odd scary meat.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? 0

Recipe: The Crispy Roast Chicken recipe from America’s Test Kitchen!

The Crispy Roast Chicken recipe from America’s Test Kitchen! From i8tonite with Eleni's New York Founder & Food Entrepreneur Eleni Gianopulos -
The Crispy Roast Chicken recipe from America’s Test Kitchen!

For best flavor, use a high-quality chicken, such as one from Bell & Evans. Do not brine the bird; it will prohibit the skin from becoming crisp. The sheet of foil between the roasting pan and V-rack will keep drippings from burning and smoking.

Ingredients
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds), giblets removed and discarded
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place chicken breast-side down on work surface. Following photos above, use tip of sharp knife to make four 1-inch incisions along back of chicken. Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, carefully separate skin from thighs and breast. Using metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken.

2. Combine salt, baking powder, and pepper in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture. Rub in mixture with hands, coating entire surface evenly. Set chicken, breast-side up, in V-rack set on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paring knife, poke 20 holes about 1 1/2 inches apart in 16- by 12-inch piece of foil. Place foil loosely in large roasting pan. Flip chicken so breast side faces down, and set V-rack in roasting pan on top of foil. Roast chicken 25 minutes.

4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 135 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes.

5. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Continue to roast until skin is golden brown, crisp, and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 10 to 20 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.

Recipe and photo: America’s Test Kitchen

 

– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite with Food Person Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend

i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking LegendThere is no arguing that Bob Warden is one of leading figures in today’s food world. His presence on QVC shopping network has pushed several billion dollars in sales, ranging from small kitchen appliances such as a pressure cooker, the Ninja bullet, and countless cookbooks. Furthermore, he is a pioneer in television shopping – selling the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing Systems in 1986 ushered in the first kitchen product infomercial.

Born in the Midwest, Warden studied to be an accountant. However, with the adage of being in the “right place at the right time,” opportunities began opening up in the food world, taking him to Alaska, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. Now, residing in New England and Pennsylvania, the seventy-one year seems to have no bounds and endless energy, starting a new project, The Perfect Portion Cookbook with actor and food entrepreneur Anson Williams and nutritionist and co-author, Mona Dolgov.

Flatbread Pizza for Perfect Portions Cookbook 2015 . From i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend
Flatbread Pizza for Perfect Portions Cookbook 2015

Warden has collaborated with a variety of kitchen companies, bringing over 1,000 products to the consumer. From 1998 to 2014, Warden was instrumental in developing QVC’s private label Cook’s Essentials® and Technique® cookware and small electric appliance lines. During that span, Warden personally appeared as a celebrated QVC on-air chef for more than 5,000 live presentations.

Great Food Fast. i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking LegendWarden and his team have authored, developed, printed, and published over 30 cookbooks, totaling over 3 million books sold. By doing so, he has become the recognized international expert in creating cookbooks specifically designed to support specialty housewares products, such as pressure cookers, Ninja blenders, slow cookers, steam ovens, etc. It’s quite an accomplishment, as he may be better known than Elvis, Madonna, and The Beatles.

i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend
Grandpa Bob needs help

Asked what his greatest accomplishments are, he replies, “My six children and fourteen grandchildren, but I’m almost proud on a professional level about bringing breakthrough kitchen concepts to the consumer.”

Food People Questions (with a nod to Proust):

Baby Back Ribs. i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
My over-researched and over-tested Short Rib recipe served over Risotto

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Fresh Berries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Intelligent, witty conversationalist!

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
Rudeness, especially talking on the phone, texting or reading email

i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend
Bob Warden’s perfected potroast

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Yes, Yes, and Yes. If only one, a really good red or white table wine to fit the occasion.

Your favorite cookbook author?
Americas’s Test Kitchen – I use their work as my reality check.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
My Sarah Weiner chef’s knife, because I am a snob when it comes to knives.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Discovery food, trying new ethnic combinations in old comfort food recipes

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Pork! I was raised on a pork farm and know how to pig out!

Favorite vegetable?
Eggplant, because it is so versatile

Chef you most admire?
So many for different reasons. If I could pick one to be my private teaching chef, it would be Eric Rupert.

Slow Food Fast. From i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend

Food you like the most to eat?
Flat Bread Pizza, because you can put and endless array of tasty food on a pizza, and always have crunch.

Food you dislike the most?
To look at: Overcooked Asparagus. I never eat it!

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
Play Tennis so I can eat more food!

Who do you most admire in food?
Anthony Bourdain, because he is brave enough to try the food that I am not brave enough to try.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
My local Pub, its like being wrapped in a comfortable warm sweater of food and people I know.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Le Bernardin because there is no better combination of food, service, ambience, and grandeur in America.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
No, but if I were to get one, I would wear a radish in the right place.

Recipe: Berry Good and Nutty Whole Grain Cereal Breakfast . From i8tonite with Bob Warden: QVC Pioneer and Cooking Legend
Recipe: Berry Good and Nutty Whole Grain Cereal Breakfast

 

Recipe: Berry Good and Nutty Whole Grain Cereal Breakfast

1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain cereal mix
1 cup water
7 walnut halves
5 pecan halves
1 pinch pumpkin seeds
1 pinch flax seed
1 cup of berries I like four at once: raspberries , blueberries, blackberries and strawberries
1 tablespoon demerara or brown sugar

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan.
Add cereal mix and stir, reduce heat, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients to a cereal bowl, spoon cereal over the top, and stir together.
Eat, feeling good about yourself, because you have all the darn grains, fruit, seeds, nuts, and fiber out of the way for the day.

The End. Go Eat. 

i8tonite with Anson Williams: Entrepreneur and Happy Days Icon

PerfectPortionCookbook-CoverWhat do stars of iconic television shows  —  such as Anson Williams from Happy Days — do after their show goes off the air? Do they continue to act like The Mysteries of Laura Debra Messing, leaving lovable Grace Adler of  Will & Grace behind? Or do they create entire behind-the-cameras careers, such as Laverne & Shirley’s Penny Marshall, who went on to much acclaim directing Tom Hanks in Big and Madonna in A League of Their Own? How about the Olsen Twins from Full House – Mary-Kate and Ashley — creating a billion-dollar fashion business? Williams, who played the adorable Potsie from Happy Days, turned out to be all those things and more. He’s directed many television shows, including episodes of the fabulous Melrose Place and The Secret Lives of An American Teenager. But he also became an incredibly successful entrepreneur with Joanna Connell, a Hollywood make-up artist. For the past 18 years, Connell and Williams have created a mini-empire with StarMaker Products, a skin line used by a variety of television actors.

French Toast for Perfect Portions Cookbook 2015
Williams, QVC’s Bob Warden and nutritionist Mona Dolgov

After a trip to his local store, there was a lightbulb moment when the actor-director-entrepreneur saw the 100 calorie snack packs. Williams said, “I realized it was all about portion control. I can eat all the foods I love, but I need to keep it at 100 calories.” Williams approached QVC’s Bob Warden and nutritionist Mona Dolgov to help him create The Perfect Portion Cookbook. Over a two-year period, testing and re-testing, writing and re-writing, tasting and re-tasting, Williams – along with his team of Warden and Dolgov – developed his vision, starting off with this debut cookbook. Eventually, Williams will turn the perfect portion into a library of cookbooks and healthy products.

Fundamentally, all the recipes in the book are divisible by 100 calories, creating the perfect portion. Each recipe has a graph, calorie count, and how much is in that portion. For example, follow the instructions for the Pumpkin Pie cookie and once made, each sweet is 100 calories. Simply, it’s not so much a diet, which is restrictive, as it is a change in eating habits. Nothing is taken away, as much as everything is counted.

At the age of 66, with four kids, Williams – who over the phone sounds as if he’s thirty — states, “I’m as buff when I was in my 30s. I did the 100 calorie portion. Sixty is the new sexy.” And a new food trend is born.

Food Questions (with a nod to Proust):

PerfectPortion-Guacamole-StuffedCherryTomatoes
Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

What is your favorite food to cook at home? Gosh. Definitely Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast with my kids. I love getting together and making French toast as a family.

 What do you always have in your fridge at home? It’s what stays in the fridge when you have four kids. We are always adding to it. Always greens. Quick proteins. Healthy drinks. Mostly stuff for the kids.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? Connection with that person.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? Self-involvement.

Beer, wine or cocktail? Red wine. I love finding small, family-run vineyards.

PerfectPortion-photo-collage-6-300x300
Bob Warden, Williams and Mona Dolgov

Your favorite cookbook author? Bob and Mona. We put the cookbook together. Giada de Laurentis is good, too.

Your favorite kitchen tool? Blender.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? I’m not an expert cook, but I do love family recipes. Food that has meaning. My wife Jackie, who is Swedish, cooks family recipes handed down to her.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Chicken and tofu. But all of them in moderation are good.

Favorite vegetable? Spinach.

Chef you most admire? Hope Berk. She is our eighty-four-year-old next door neighbor and has made all the kids their birthday cakes for years. She’s been a huge influence on our family. Making food for us that has been generational.

Food you like the most to eat? Bob’s Pot Pie from our cookbook. Best thing I’ve ever eaten.

Food you dislike the most? I despise fast food. I think the companies are corrupt and greedy. They created an addiction.

PerfectPortion-BonelessBBQRibs
Boneless BBQ Ribs

What is your favorite non-food thing to do? Before the kids, I sailed planes. Now, I love being with my kids and spending time with them. I love creating. Writing scripts. I do more now than ever.

Who do you most admire in food? Bob and Mona.

Where is your favorite place to eat? Home.

 What is your favorite restaurant? Café Escobar in Malibu. All the food is made from family recipes and is really delicious. Inexpensive. No pretense. I can sit at the bar, have a great meal and a glass of red wine.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? No tattoos.

PerfectPortion-HotCocoaPretzelsAnson’s “Hot Cocoa” Pretzels (Adapted from The Perfect Portion Cookbook)

  • 100 mini pretzels
  • 1 large beaten egg white
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

 Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, mix the egg white and vanilla. Toss in the pretzels and coat well.

In a smaller bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa. Taking 2/3 of the sugared cocoa mixture, toss with the pretzels.

Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining sugared cocoa. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the pretzels over after the first 10 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

The End. Go Eat.

i8tonite: with James Beard Award-Winning Chef Naomi Pomeroy from Portland, Oregon’s Beast featuring her recipe for Lacquered Duck Confit

NOTE: This is the first post of 2016. You would think I would write something with a little more auspiciousness or something marking the occasion. However, I loved this story from 2015. I feel Naomi Pomeroy is a great chef making amazing inroads into an industry dominated by men. The recipe — although difficult is amazing. I would love to highlight more entrepreneurial female chefs like her, Kelly Chapman of Macolicious and Monica Glass.

I’ve been to Portland and had delicious food many times but not to Chef Naomi Pomeroy’s restaurant Beast. Portland has become one of the great food cities of our country. It’s placement on that list is certainly attributable to Chef Pomeroy.

Naomi with greens by door - Alicia J Rose
Photo Credit: Alicia J Rose

She has many accolades including stories in Gourmet and Elle Magazine; Bon Appètit named her one of the top six of a new generation of female chefs in September 2008; Food & Wine Magazine recognized her as one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America for 2009. In 2010, Oprah magazine named her one of the Top 10 Women to Watch in the Next Decade, and Marie Claire named her one of the top 16 Women in Business. She has given several lectures on creativity, including a TedX talk given in 2013.

In the local Oregon publications, Portland Monthly voted Naomi Chef of the Year in 2008. Beast was honored as Restaurant of the Year in 2008 by the Oregonian and chosen as best Brunch by the Willamette Weekly. Naomi has been the sole owner of Beast since 2009 when she paid back her investors.

In 2010, 2012, and 2013, she was selected as a finalist for the James Beard Awards in the category Best Chef Pacific Northwest. In 2014, she was selected as the recipient of this prestigious award.

How long have you been cooking? Since I was 5.

What is your favorite food? Corn Dogs.

What do you always have in your fridge? Condiments.

What do you cook at home? Right now I’m working on my cookbook, so whatever recipe I’m testing. Currently, that means a lot of soufflé.

What marked characteristic do you despise in your customer? I hate it when people really examine their food, pick it apart, and look at it too long before the eat it. I’m standing right in front of them!

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? When people come up after a meal and take the time to say that they loved it.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Pyrex, I don’t cook in plastic.

Beer, wine or cocktail? Rosé.

Your favorite cookbook author? Madeline Kammann.

Your favorite kitchen tool?  Ricer.

Your favorite ingredient? Demi-glace.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Scoop ice cream.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Indian.

Chef you most admire? José Andrés.

Food you dislike the most? White pepper.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? One. Not food.


Lacquered Duck Confit with Cracked Green Olive & Armagnac Prune Relish

Serves 8

For the spice blend:

  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 6 juniper berries
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 bay leaves

For the duck:

  • 10-12 duck legs (preferably 6-8 ounces each, from Muscovy ducks)
  • 1 head garlic, cut into quarters (no need to peel the cloves)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 3 quarts duck fat (more if the duck legs are closer to 10-12 ounces)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt per leg for duck /8 teaspoons

For the lacquer:

  • ½ cup aged sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • ½  teaspoon salt

For the relish:

  • 1 cup cracked and pitted castelvetrano olives
  • 1 cup Armagnac prunes, quartered
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
  • 1 generous pinch chili flake
  • ½ teaspoon fennel pollen
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Make the spice blend: In a medium skillet, lightly toast all spices, with the exception of the bay leaves. You will know the spices are properly toasted when they begin to slightly change color and their aromatic oils begin to release a lovely fragrance.

Add the toasted spices and bay leaves to a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder reserved for this purpose) and finely grind. Shake spices through a mesh strainer to ensure that there are no large, un-blended spices. Re-grind as necessary.

Make the duck legs: Rinse the duck and dry it well on a paper towel. At the end of the long bone opposite the meaty side, use a sharp paring knife or good kitchen shears to score all the way around the circumference of the bone to cut away any tendon, which helps prevent any meat from tearing. This will create a more beautiful presentation.

Combine the salt with the spice mix. Season each leg with about ¾ teaspoon of the salt-spice mix, evenly on both sides, and place in a single layer in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or Dutch oven. Place the dish in refrigerator overnight.

The next day, take the duck legs out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove and dry each of the duck legs. Clean out the dish and return the dried duck legs to it. Add the garlic and thyme. In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the duck fat. Pour the fat over the duck legs so that they’re completely submerge and covered by at least ¼” of fat. (If necessary, some of the legs can be moved into a second dish and covered in fat, so long as they’re all still completely submerged, meaning that you may need a little more fat.)

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the top of the dish, then completely cover the top with foil. Place the dish onto a sheet tray to catch any bubbling fat that might spill over into the oven. Place the dish into the oven and set a timer to check on it in one hour. Depending on the size of your legs, they can take anywhere from 1 ½ to 3 hours to cook.

You’ll know the duck is finished when you carefully remove one leg from the fat and place it on a plate, then, using your tongs, press down with medium pressure at the place where the meat and the bone join in the crook of the thigh. The meat will begin to release easily from the bone.

When the duck is cooked, remove the foil and parchment and allow the legs to cool for 20 minutes in the duck fat before moving them onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Reserve the duck fat in a plastic container and place the sheet tray with the legs in the refrigerator overnight.

For the relish, combine the olives and prunes in a medium mixing bowl. In a small saute pan, warm half of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add shallot, garlic and chili flakes. Lower heat to ensure nothing gets color. Add fennel pollen. As soon as the shallot and garlic are translucent, after about 5 minutes, remove them from heat and add to the prune and olive mix. Add sherry vinegar and additional olive oil and stir. Set aside.

On the day of serving, make the lacquer: Pull the duck legs out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature.

In a small saucepan, heat the sherry vinegar over medium-high heat. Add muscovado sugar and salt and bring to a boil until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

If this mixture has thickened too much upon cooling, add a splash of sherry vinegar. Its consistency when hot should be slightly thinner than honey (when room temperature it should be thicker, but still brushable). Leave this out at room temperature; it will harden it it gets too cold.

Preheat oven to 400F°. In each of two medium-sized nonstick or cast iron (oven-proof) pans, heat 2 tablespoons of the duck fat used to confit the duck over medium-high heat. Sear the duck legs, skin side down, weighing them down onto the pan with a heavy plate, until golden brown, approximately 1-2 minutes. Check frequently for an even, golden brown, crisp surface. Remove the plate and flip the legs.

Brush the legs with a thin layer of the lacquer. Add about ¼ cup water to the bottom of each pan to prevent the sugars from sticking. Move the pans to oven and cook until the lacquer is bubbling, 5-6 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and serve immediately. Serve with cracked green olive & Armagnac prune relish.

 – The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite: My Favorite Recipe from 2015: French Apple Cake and Becoming Us

 

Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

I8tonite is simply about food. On the surface, we hope — along with the contributors — to engage the reader in what chefs cook, what makes them human and why they love their profession. (Chefs love their work.) We want to share new recipes we’ve discovered and talk to food industry people. We want to learn. As we’ve said in several posts – without food, we can’t be artistic, physical, intellectual or emotional. Food, water, and shelter are fundamental human needs.

Underneath, we want food to be a main topic of discussion  – whether it’s becoming a vegan, how to butcher a pig, pick coffee beans or discuss biodynamic wineries – but try and leave the politics out of it.I8tonite is not meant to be solely a cooking blog. As the creator of this blog, I don’t have that warehouse of culinary knowledge. Although, I do have a vast amount of food experience including working as a waiter and bartender as well as in hospitality marketing. From these practices – which meant a lot of travel – I ate very well and learned cooking techniques from culinary teachers including Michelin-starred chefs, well-known cookbook authors, and international epicurean eateries.

Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

Working in restaurants taught me another thing: chefs love other chefs. They admire the work of their peers. Therefore, I8tonite is meant to be a storehouse of what other chefs and people in the food industry are cooking – for the professional and the home cook. I8tonite will not only focus on chefs who have publicists, but the unheralded cooks are who are chopping onions somewhere in Peoria, Arizona or  Ubud, Bali.

In the five months, since I’ve devoted myself to i8tonite, the blog has amassed unique monthly views of over 12,000. How? Well, I’m a damned good marketer plus i8tonite was meant to be different. It’s supposed to showcase the cook as a creative individual and where they get their inspiration. It’s also meant to inspire by learning what and who inspires them. For me, there is no better indication of who you are than by what you eat.

Photo: Michael Stern
Photo: Michael Stern

The other key to the blog is that I cook religiously. Others go to church, I go to a stove. People can quote scripture from their chosen faith, I can recite a recipe. Same thing…but not. The commonality resides in a spiritual devotion.

As the readership develops, we grow and learn together. With i8tonite; I want people to become motivated by the chefs, food people and places we cover.  Editorially, we want the reader to get inspired by the individual behind the recipe’s development, and then possibly become creative themselves and write a cookbook, a cooking blog, become a chef, start a garden, or just become a more conscious eater.

#             #             #

Photo: Nolan Williamson
Photo: Nolan Williamson

As my parting gift to 2015, I wanted to share my Favorite Recipe of the Year: Dorie Greenspan’s French Apple Cake from her cookbook Around My French Table. I’ve made it about a dozen times, and it’s now committed to memory. I also played around with the fruit and the required liquors which are not necessary but hey – everything is good with a glug or three.

It was a close contest between cake and poultry. I thought about Sascha Martin’s Hungarian Paprikash –I make it almost weekly — found in her memoir “Life from Scratch,” a book full of hope and lovely recipes. Ultimately, sweet won out over savory and adaptability over dependability.  Regardless, they are both delicious. I encourage you to read Martin’s book and her blog: Global Table Adventure. Both are memorable

Dorie Greenspan’s French Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Other adaptations and suggestions:

  • Chopped crystallized ginger and substituting Bloomery Sweetshine’s Ginger or Domaine de Canton for the bourbon.
  • Calvados, a brandy made from apples, is also an excellent choice instead of the dark rum.
  • Pineapple and peaches can be used in place of the apples. The cake will still be moist.

Let’s Make This Puppy: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch Springform pan and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet parchment paper.
  • In small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt
  • Peel, core and cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and mix for a minute or so to blend. Add the liquor and vanilla.
  • Stir in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter
  • Fold gently after each addition so that you have a thick batter.
  • Add the apples fold in the apples, rotating the fruit so that it’s coated with batter.
  • Scrape the mix into the springform. Flatten the top so it becomes even in the pan and along the sides.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake before removing the pan.

The End. Go Eat.