Here’s one more yummy recipe worth trying out, fresh from one of last week’s episodes of Ready Steady Cook, by one of the show’s regular chefs, James Martin.

Perfect for a quick weekday supper and easy enough to whip up when unexpected guests arrive, this is one dish that will please the entire family (just omit the salsa for the little ones and serve it as in the photo above, with greens and pasta).

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
30g/1oz Emmental cheese, grated
sprig fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil

For the basil oil
1 tbsp olive oil
small bunch fresh basil leaves

For the salsa
avocado, peeled and stone removed
red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 lime, juice only

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket lengthways into the thickest part of the breast. Stuff the pocket with the cheese and fresh thyme and season the breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Fry for one minute then add the chicken breast and fry until golden-brown. Turn the breast over and transfer to the oven to roast for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.
3. For the basil oil, place the olive oil and fresh basil leaves into a food processor and blend until smooth.
4. For the salsa, finely chop the avocado into small cubes and place into a bowl. Sprinkle over the chopped chilli and squeeze over the lime juice.
5. To serve, place the chicken onto a warmed plate. Add a spoonful of the salsa and drizzle the fresh basil oil around the edge of the plate.

Steak Tartare ala Tony Bourdain


* 2 egg yolks
* 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (28 g)
* 4 anchovy filets, finely chopped
* 2 tsp ketchup (10 g)
* 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (5 g)
* Tabasco sauce, to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup salad (i.e., corn or soy) oil (56 ml)
* 1 oz Cognac (28 ml)
* 1 small onion, freshly and finely chopped
* 2 oz capers, rinsed (56 g)
* 2 oz cornichons, finely chopped (56 g)
* 4 sprigs of flat parsley, finely chopped
* 1 1/4 lb. fresh sirloin, finely chopped (560 g)
* French fries, optional
* 4 slices fine quality white bread, toasted, quartered, for toast points

Directions:

1. Place the egg yolks in a large stainless-steel bowl and add the mustard and anchovies. Mix well, then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and pepper and mix well again. Slowly whisk in the oil, then add the Cognac and mix again. Fold in the onion, capers, cornichons, and parsley.

2. Add the chopped meat to the bowl and mix well using a spoon or your hands. Divide the meat evenly among the six chilled dinner plates and, using a ring mold or spatula, form it into disks on the plates. Serve immediately with French fries and toasted bread points.

Some words of steak tartare wisdom from Tony:

Les Halles, the restaurant, was pretty much created to serve this dish. The key to a successful steak tartare is fresh beef, freshly hand-chopped at the very last minute and mixed tableside. A home meat grinder with a fairly wide mesh blade is nice to have, but you can and should use a very sharp knife and simply chop and chop and chop until fine. The texture will be superior. And do not dare use a food processor on this dish – you?ll utterly destroy it.”

I haven’t met a person who hasn’t said this recipe produced fabulous results. Its mindlessly easy too, so I urge you to try it for yourself.

*note: my sister and I like to temper the acidity by adding a little cream or milk during the last whisk at the end. Also, it is well worth the effort to pound the breasts as much as possible before cooking.

Giada’s Chicken Piccata

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and give it a shake to remove excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner.

Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

I think that you either love or hate True Blood. It’s one of those things that absolutely have to take sides. Personally, I started liking the series. About midway through the first season, however, I just got so bored! I stopped watching, but I am already thinking of picking up from where I left off. People have been telling me left and right that I should have stuck it out a few more episodes, and that if I had, I would be raving about it now.

Another reason that has got me thinking about watching the show – or at least getting the DVD set – is celebrity chef Tom Colichio’s appearance. In the Season 2 DVD, there are a lot of extras included – as one can expect of any DVD set. I am particularly interested in the segment where the chef makes a drink (blood, of course) for vampires.

The drink is for vampires who do not want to “eat” humans simply for ethical reasons. Yup, there are vampires who have given up this habit and stay clear of “free-range humans” as well. So, the chef, who has quite a few friends who are vampires, decided to come up with a solution to the dilemma.

If you want a taste of what the DVD has to offer, check out the video below. You’ll certainly want to see more after watching the chef showcase his talents. Oh yeah, did I mention that he’s kinda cute? Even if he’s not a vampire.

Do chefs smoke pot? If celebrity Anthony Bourdain is to be believed – and he is highly credible – then, yes, many celebrity chefs depend on marijuana to keep going. According to the TV host, chef, and author, the long and often intense hours require chefs to blow off steam – and they do, one way or another. In his book, he chronicles how marijuana is often the “herb” of choice.

He says that even those people you would not imagine smoking weed actually do! The idea is that these chefs just need something to keep them calm and relaxed and get the job done. If other people smoke weed, why not them?

Of course, there is the issue that smoking weed and getting high in the kitchen can actually alter the results of their efforts. I am not sure that the results are as excellent as they normally are without the high that weed brings. In fact, many people question the practice not because of the illegal nature of the drug, but because the experience it brings might compromise the quality of the food. More so, can you imagine a frenetic kitchen preparing meals for hundreds of people with stoned chefs? It’s an accident waiting to happen.

Then again, despite what Anthony Bourdain says, we all know that there are kitchens whose staff do not need any chemical substances to function properly. Then again, if stoner cuisine is just as good as any other cuisine, who cares if the chefs get stoned?

Jamie-Oliver_1494770cIf I were to meet celebrity chef Jamie Oliver face to face (or even simply talk to him on the phone), that would be the question to ask. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he is currently working on a new TV show, titled Jamie’s American Road Trip. The filming of the actual footages is over and done with, and some tidbits of information have been released.

The Telegraph recently published a feature on the 34-year-old chef, and they revealed what is perhaps the most exotic dish that Jamie Oliver has sampled to date. You guessed it – sheep’s penis. The new TV show revolves around Jamie’s trip all over the United States to sample local dishes. Of course, one would normally think of hamburgers and hotdogs; but the Naked Chef went out of his way – literally – to get a taste of the “real” America.

In Arizona, he bypassed famous American fast food chains and went deep into the desert instead. He paid a visit to an almost extinct American Indian tribe in a Navajo reservation. There, he was treated to a plethora of traditional dishes, many of which the tribe has been enjoying for more than a thousand years.

The highlight of the visit? Sheep penis and intestines. YUM! Jamie, like most hosts of foodie shows, has a strong stomach and an even stronger spirit when it comes to trying out new food. A source from the production team says, though, that the sheep’s penis was quite a test for Jamie.

So, Jamie, what was it like?

tyler-florence-fork6Yes, it is a fork, literally. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence has been operating a cookware store for about a year now in Mill Valley. Dubbed the Tyler Florence Shop (no mistaking who owns this store!), the shop has had a signature fork as its storefront symbol. There is nothing ordinary about this fixture – it weighs a hefty 50 pounds!

Early this month, the police received a report that the 50-pound fork was missing. This was on the 10th of June, although the employees already noticed that it was missing about two days prior to the report. (Well it would be kinda hard NOT to notice a missing fork that big, don’t you think?) Anyhow, they thought that it might have been a school prank so they didn’t think much of it in the beginning.

Now, the missing fork is causing quite a stir, with celebrity chef Tyler Florence himself appealing to people over Twitter. He even offered a reward to whoever finds it and returns it!

The celebrity chef, as much as he might be missing his fork, is not so dense as not to see the humor in the situation, though. Together with his wife, Tyler continues his search for his fork but also welcomes the laughter that it occasionally brings. Indeed, where else have you heard about such an online buzz about a missing fork?

So, if any of you have heard about or seen this fork, let the chef know. You’ll make him happy AND get a reward for it too!

Photo courtesy of Food Network

32267_1_230Who is your favorite celebrity chef? I bet that I would get tons of different answers from each of you. More so, I bet that all of them would be at least 30 years old. I would even go as far as to say that no one would be less than 20 years old, much less someone who is 5 years old.

But yes, there is a celebrity chef who is aged 5! His name is Julian Kreusser and boy, is he cute! At this very young age, Julian says that he has always dreamt of having his own cooking show, well, at least since he was four years old. Now that he is five, his dreams have come true. Talk about getting your wish!

Julian is the host of The Big Kitchen With Food, a TV program that is shown over the Portland Community Media. True, it is not The Food Network or some other big cable channel, but hey, how many 5-year-olds can say that they have their own cooking show?

I have never seen his show, but Sylvia McDaniel, the executive director of Portland Community Media, says that viewers are loving Julian and his show. She says that in spite of his age (did I mention that Julian is only 5?), he actually understands what he is doing and is not simply following orders.

What can I say? I have to see this show. Heck, I can’t even trust my 8-year-old brother to make me a scrambled egg yet!

Jamie Oliver Opens New Dinner Show

Now that sounds rather fun, doesn’t it? Food fight? Heck, count me in! So what is this all about? TV channel 4 in the UK has gotten together 4 of the most popular celebrity chefs in the country. Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – these are the 4 heavyweights that will battle it out over the 2 weeks that the show will be aired.

So what will the platform be? Would we be seeing something similar to Iron Chef? As much as I love that show, I find the idea of this food fight quite interesting as well. The platform is such that each of the celebrity chefs would have his own program and his own challenge. Let’s meet the challengers.

Heston “The Geek” Blumenthal
His challenge? To turn Little Chef restaurants into something of a success. Currently, these restaurants do not have the best reputation. The Geek has £350,000 and 6 months to do his job.

Gordon “Raging Bull” Ramsay
His challenge is to “force” the locals to eat out at restaurants. It could be a tough one since people are cutting back on extra expenses.

Jamie “The Kid” Oliver
The pretty boy chef is going on a campaign to rescue British pork. He needs to encourage the people to buy locally grown pork products as opposed to cheaper imported ones.

Hugh “The Squire” Fearnley-Whittingstall
If Jamie is to take on the case of pork, The Squire is going to take up for chicken.

Now the variety in the challenges is sure to present interesting episodes, isn’t it?

Gordon Ramsay - Book Signing

Who is the sexiest chef on TV today? If you were to ask the women in UK, they would probably say Gordon Ramsay. At least, that’s what the polls have shown. One Poll carried out the research last month and announced the results late in November. In The News has this report:

The F Word host and richest chef in the world topped a poll of TVcooks voted for by more than 4,000 women.

Though tabloid reports recently emerged claiming Ramsay has been cheating on his wife for seven years, his alleged infidelity seems not to have dented his sex appeal among female fans.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com, which carried out the research, said: “We weren’t surprised that Gordon came out on top.

“Women go for bad boys all the time. The fact he’s rumoured to be cheating on his wife for years only adds to his appeal.

“It makes him more obtainable for everyday women on the street.”

Hell’s Kitchen’s Jean-Christophe Novelli, 47, was voted second while Marco-Pierre White, Ramsay’s former mentor, came in third.

Saturday Kitchen host James Martin came fourth while Jamie Oliver rounded off the top five.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com added: “Most of the men in this poll aren’t purely chefs. Most of them are highly successful restaurateurs, broadcasters and TV personalities.

I do not agree with the results – I think that Jamie Olivier has more sex appeal than Gordon Ramsay but then that is just me talking. Who is the sexiest chef for you?