Cook Smarter with ChefSteps on PBS Food!

We’re pleased to announce that our web series  ChefSteps: Cook Smarter is now live on the PBS Food site! We’re very excited to bring our work to a new audience at PBS.

Each week on ChefSteps: Cook Smarter, we’ll publish some of our favorite recipes and techniques, which will appear alongside other amazing food series, like Made in Spain with José Andrés and The Mind of a Chef with Anthony Bourdain and David Chang.

We’re thrilled to be part of PBS Food, which is a curated resource for educational cooking shows, blogs, and recipes from around the world.

Favorite Cookbooks From Our Collection

We have a large library of cookbooks at ChefSteps that includes what is on hand in our kitchen and extends to the personal collections in our individual homes. Whether you follow a recipe to the letter, or like to peruse a stack of books (or our site) for ideas, it’s a great way to start the creative process of cooking. Here are some of our favorite, dog-eared volumes that you might want to add to your own collection.

Cookbooks_chefsteps_1

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of CookingNamed both the 2012 Cookbook of the Year and Best Professional Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, this behemoth—it weighs 40 lbs!— endeavored to bring a deeper understanding of food science and cooking technology into the culinary arts. It also brought our founders together as a team; Chris Young as the principal coauthor, Grant Lee Crilly as the first development chef hired, and Ryan Matthew Smith as the principal photographer and photo editor.

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook: A gorgeous tome from culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal. His restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, was awarded three Michelin stars in 2004 and chosen as the Best Restaurant in the World in 2005. Chris Young was the founding chef of the Fat Duck’s Experimental Kitchen, the secret culinary laboratory behind the innovative dishes served there.

El Bulli 1998-2002: One of our favorites of the El Bulli series from Ferran Adrià, but they’re all worth looking at if you can find a copy and pony up for the hefty price tag.

Herbivoracious: A little change in pace with this excellent vegetarian offering from our CTO, Michael Natkin. The recipes and photos in this book have even our most carnivorous team members drooling with appreciation and there are lots more recipes, techniques, and expert know-how on Michael’s blog, Herbivoracious.

Mugaritz: This cookbook is a favorite of our Development Chef, Nick Gavin. He spent time working with the development team there before joining ChefSteps. Located in northern Spain, Mugaritz continues its reign as an influential force and Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz is much respected for his creativity and innovation.

Pierre Hermé Pastries: One of Grant Crilly’s favorites—he worked with Pierre Hermé’s team at Grégoire-Ferrandi—this book takes you through master pastry chef Pierre Hermé’s recipes for the great classics of French pastry and other definitive desserts from around the world.

The French Laundry Cookbook: Our favorite book from Thomas Keller who aptly describes one of the great challenges of cooking; “to maintain passion for the everyday routine and the endlessly repeated act, to derive deep gratification from the mundane.”

AlineaGrant Achatz is a groundbreaker when it comes to creative cuisine and his Chicago restaurant Alinea has won numerous top awards over the years. Suffice it to say, our copy is well-worn.

Bentley: Contemporary CuisineChef Brent Savage’s cookbook from his Sydney restaurant, Bentley Restaurant & Bar, includes detailed photography and instructions on modern cooking techniques such as sous vide and is a favorite of our development chef, Ben Johnson.

Astrance: A Cook’s Book: This gorgeous set includes both an exquisite cookbook and a step-by-step guide from Pascal Barbot’s restaurant, Astrance, a three starred Michelin restaurant in Paris. Another Grant Crilly favorite; Astrance is also on his resumé.

Momofuku: The cookbook from the phenom that is David Chang. Chef/founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, master of the ramen noodle, this cookbook is filed under must-have.

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine: Named the #1 best restaurant in the world in 2010, Noma—located in Copenhagen, Denmark—is the brainchild of Chef Rene Redzepi. Gorgeously photographed, this book is a favorite of Kristina Krug, our multimedia project manager.

Tartine Bread: We love Tartine! That goes double for Tartine Bread. Reknowned baker Chad Robertson is the co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, where the bread sells out within an hour nearly every day.

Momofuku Milk Bar: Christina Tosi shares the recipes for her fantastic desserts—Compost Cookies, Crack Pie, and Cereal Milk™ to name a few—all from the legendary Milk Bar, the awe-inspiring bakery she started as the pastry program at Momofuku.

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life: The quote on the cover from Marco Canora; “If you crossed Jason Bourne with Julia Child, you’d end up with Tim Ferriss.” A blast to read and a great choice to include as a whip-smart survival guide.

Soon-to-be-released titles we’re looking forward to:

D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients: Alex Atala’s first major cookbook and we can’t wait to get our mitts on a copy.

Manresa: An Edible Reflection: the long-awaited cookbook from dear friend David Kinch, utilizing classic and modern techniques plus collaboration with nearby Love Apple Farms which supplies nearly all of Manresa’s exquisite produce. Preordered!

Coi: Stories and Recipes: a new cookbook from Daniel Patterson, head chef/owner of two Michelin starred Coi in San Francisco. It’s on our wish list.

Got some of your own favorites that you want to share? We’ve got a great cookbook thread on our forum, so please join in.

Tailgating with ChefSteps

With the start of this year’s football season and our devotion to BBQ, we wanted to put together a great menu of chow that will wow at your tailgate party.

First up, a shout out to Meathead Goldwyn and his AmazingRibs.com site for posting an excellent Tailgating and Camping Checklist to help you with all the nitty-gritty details.

Add an insulated cooler and a digital thermometer to Meathead’s list, and you’ll have an improvised sous vide bath on location. Or if you prefer, you can do your sous vide prep ahead of time so all you’ll need is a quick sear for perfect steaks and a few minutes on the grill to finish the bark with our Apartment Rib Rub on baby back Apartment Ribs.

Apartment-Ribs

 

Make our favorite potato salad. This American classic is the perfect accompaniment for BBQ and most of the elements can be prepared several days in advance and combined on the big day.

Potato-Salad-ChefSteps

 

Add a batch of pressure-cooked baked beans to the lineup. We’ve developed our recipe to leverage the speed of pressure cooking, allowing you to churn out perfect homemade baked beans in less than an hour without sacrificing flavor.

Baked-Beans-ChefSteps

 

Don’t forget the coleslaw! We’ve offered up two kinds: creamy and red.

Our creamy coleslaw features finely–sliced, crisp Savoy cabbage and Walla Walla sweet onion paired with grated carrot and rehydrated raisins for sweetness and contrasting textures. A bit of freshly grated horseradish adds heat and pungency to complement the cabbage and onions. Last, shortly before serving, the salad is lightly dressed with our own recipe for a brightly acidic, savory mayonnaise.

Red coleslaw is common to the Piedmont region of North Carolina, where it’s better known as slaw. In this region, sliced cabbage is lightly salted to soften it, and then dressed with cider vinegar to give the salad a fresh, mouth-watering flavor. We add finely sliced sweet onion and pickled mustard seeds to complement the pungency of the cabbage and grated carrots to balance the tart acid dressing with sweetness. Celery seeds add a distinct aroma that completes the dish.

Creamy-and-Red-Coleslaw

 

Have a great season, cook the best food you’ve ever cooked, and enjoy the company of your friends and family. Go team!

Cheers,
The team at ChefSteps

 

Puff the Magic Sorbet Dragon

Tim-Ferris-enjoying-aerated-sorbet-ChefSteps

Although we’re passionate about making modernist cooking techniques more accessible and relevant to home cooks, we also like to pull out all the stops and have some fun once in a while.

Here’s our recipe for Aerated Green Apple Sorbet:

We know this recipe calls for a vacuum chamber sealer and plenty of liquid nitrogen, which aren’t commonplace kitchen tools or ingredients, but even if it isn’t something you’ll actually do at home, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about how we prepare this dish. If you do have the means to prepare this recipe, the sorbet is sure to surprise guests both visually and texturally. It’s one of Grant Crilly’s favorites and can be adapted to a grape, wine, whiskey or pretty much whatever you can think of version. It is a very versatile dish. Besides, who doesn’t want to puff out a little dragon smoke like our friend, Tim Ferriss?

Tim-Ferris-enjoying-aerated-sorbet-ChefSteps

Enjoy!
Chris Young, Grant Crilly, and Ryan Matthew Smith

Disclaimer: Liquid nitrogen is very dangerous. Use at your own risk or with a trained professional.

Holidays Got You Down? Cheer Up With A Little Red Wine!

It’s that time of year again…you’re desperate to find the perfect way to express your appreciation to those influential people in your life. What gesture will really pay tribute to the courageous, caring individuals whose ideals keep you going day after day?

We are talking about Presidents’ Day, right?

Well, whether it’s Presidents’ Day or that other holiday with all the hearts and chocolates floating around, you can impress your loved ones and pay tribute (use some gorgeous Washington state pears) by making this recipe for Red Wine Poached Pear.

Happy Valentine’s and Presidents’ Day from
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

 

Michael Natkin Codes and Cooks | Gigandes Beans with Romesco in Saffron Broth

While many of our chefs were traveling last week, Michael Natkin, our lead developer stepped in. Many know him from his Herbivoracious blog and we’ve had a voracious appetite to get him in the kitchen to produce a step-by-step recipe for you. We thought this would be a perfect time to show off this multi-talented guy, so here is Michael’s recipe for Gigandes Beans with Romesco in Saffron Broth.

Gigande Beans with Romesco in Saffron BrothThe recipe has several steps, so we broke it down. You can prepare each part separately and then reheat and assemble with excellent results.

1. Prepare the gigandes beans. Alternatively, you can use jarred pre-cooked gigandes. You can also substitute a different large bean if you so desire.

  • Pick through the dried beans for any extraneous material. Rinse well.
  • Soak overnight, optionally in a vacuum bag with 450 grams water.
  • Repack with 1000 grams fresh water. Do not seal bag.
  • Cook sous vide at 90 °C, securely hanging the bag over the rim of the cooking vessel. After 90 minutes, start testing a bean every fifteen minutes until tender.
  • Drain and chill beans.

2. Michael prepares the potatoes and leeks:

 

2. Next up, Michael concocts the wonderful Catalan sauce, romesco, made from roasted (by blowtorch) red peppers, tomatoes, roasted garlic and toasted nuts:

 

3. Now to make the delicious saffron broth:

 

4. The last step before serving, here’s Michael assembling the final dish:

 

Cheers to Michael
and many thanks from
Chris Young, Grant Crilly, Ryan Matthew Smith and the rest of the ChefSteps team!

What Did We Do with the Pig? | Sous Vide Pork Cheek with Celery Root and Pickled Apples

Sooie, Sooie, Sous Vide!

Back at the beginning of October, we asked all of you to weigh in on our “So We Have This Pig… Poll.” Votes were tallied and pork belly had a slight edge over pork jowls, but since we already have a pork belly recipe on our site, we opted to offer a Sous Vide Pork Cheek with Celery Root and Pickled Apples recipe for your enjoyment.

We’re eager to find out what you think of this dish and your experience while preparing it, so please sign up on our forum page to ask questions or offer feedback on the recipe and other culinary concerns.

Thank you,
Chris, Grant, Ryan and the rest of the ChefSteps team