Tim Ferriss Recipe Contest: We Have a Winner!

Abishai Powers makes slider buns for baby meatloaf burgers.

Abishai Powers makes slider buns for his baby meatloaf burgers.

Greetings, ChefSteppers. In May, we invited cooks to participate in a recipe contest, a partnership with The 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss in support of his TV show launching on iTunes. And we got some seriously impressive entries.

About the contest

We asked home cooks to create a dish based on a concept, technique, or recipe they learned from a ChefSteps class or video—free or paid—and then post the results on the forum. Next, our in-house contest committee (with Tim Ferriss also weighing in, of course!) reviewed the awesome entries, selecting a winner based on the creativity of the dish, the description of said dish, and the social media strategy used to promote it.

The prize: The winner will attend a special dinner cooked by our chefs in the ChefSteps kitchen. Joining this ambitious someone: Ferriss himself, plus CS founders Chris Young and Grant Crilly!

Meet the winners

The Powers family made the ChefSteps Slider Buns, adding taco seasoning for "pizazz."

The Powers made the ChefSteps Slider Buns, adding taco seasoning for “pizazz.”

Welp, we have a winner. Actually, we have more than one! First, there’s Dr. David Powers (who represents his 10-year-old son Abishai Powers), and some mouthwatering Mexican Meatloaf Sliders. At the tender age of 10, David’s son is already a budding chef and MasterChef Junior devotee. And David, as it turns out, is a hardcore Tim Ferriss fan. Abishai said he’d love to travel with his dad to the dinner if he won, despite the fact that “he’ll act like a little fangirl when he meets Tim.”

The Powers explained that ChefSteps inspired them to start measuring ingredients by weight instead of volume for better accuracy as well as less mess. And the family used our Slider Buns recipe, adding a Southwestern twist by sprinkling some taco seasoning into the mix. The delicious-looking recipe is on the forum and on Abishai’s blog. In addition to promoting the creation there, the family posted a video on YouTube along with a bunch of other social channels. All in all, pretty great.

And there’s another winner, too!

Sebastian's gorgeous dish, featuring beef chuck transformed via sous vide cooking.

Sebastian’s gorgeous dish, featuring beef chuck transformed via sous vide cooking.

We were also super-taken with the entry submitted by Sebastian Nava. “I was captivated by the idea of transforming a tough cut into a tender steak through cooking sous vide,” wrote Sebastian in his entry. (To learn all about that—and get a bunch of great meaty recipes—sign up for our Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics class.) He settled on beef chuck, cooking it at 136 degrees farenheit for 24 hours to yield a texture that rivaled premium steaks at a fancy chophouse. He served this meat with fresh chimichurri plus roasted red bell pepper spheres, buttermilk mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and crispy garlic chips. Dang, right? Sounds (and looks) delicious. He promoted this masterpiece on a bunch of social media channels, making use of new tool Periscope, and doing lots of smart tagging and hashtagging. All in all a very impressive show from Sebastian. So impressive, we named him a co-winner and invited him to attend dinner with Tim and the Powers men, too. We can’t wait to meet the whole crew.

Stay tuned!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest—it was so fun checking out what you made—and stay tuned for the next ChefSteps competition. Meanwhile, we’ll update here with pictures and details of the yet-to-be-scheduled dinner once it happens. Keep cooking, and keep sharing your pics with us on the forum, Facebook, instagram, and Twitter. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Cooking and Recipe Ideas: 5 Ways to Get Inspired

 

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Not spending a lot of time in the kitchen? Don’t beat yourself up there buddy; it happens to the best of us. The antidote to that epicurean ennui? Re-inspire yourself with novel techniques and tools, a chatty community of fellow food enthusiasts, or a new look at old classics. Here, we’ve got a bunch of ideas that involve all those things. Let’s get cooking.

Treat yo’self to a new tool

Sous vide can help you create the tenderest meats and vegetables, sure, but did you know it’s also an awesome way to make no-fail Crème Brûlée? You can get started with sous vide using nothing more than a pot and a thermometer, but investing in an immersion circulator is the fastest way to master this convenient, highly predictable method. The good news is, they’re pretty cheap now. And once you’ve got yours, you can embark on an epic journey into the surprisingly wide world of this remarkable cooking technique.

Creme-Brulee

Remember a forgotten tool

You know that pressure cooker gathering dust in your pantry? Bust that out, clean it off, and start exploring amazing recipes and techniques like our Kung Pao Carnitas. And if you’ve got an immersion blender in need of work, put it to use making Green Pea Mash to go with Sous Vide Salmon—a complete dish that’s delicious, healthy, and ridiculously easy to prepare.

KungPao

Play with powders

Go modern with these five powders—all integral to creating novel textures and flavors in the kitchen. A good start: our Mayo No.4.

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Make some friends

Getting to know an online community of enthusiastic cooks is a great way to stay inspired. The ChefSteps forum, for instance, is full of recipe ideas—like the Breakfast Pizza pictured below, from Erin Z—beautiful images, and hard-to-find advice for ambitious food folk who want to take their skills to the next level.

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Rethink a classic

Maybe you’ve made many soufflés, maybe you’ve never attempted that airy, always-impressive dessert. Either way, follow in the footsteps of all the happy cooks who’ve found success with our foolproof Molten Chocolate Soufflé recipe.

Not into sugar? Then learn the art of restaurant-level meatwiches with our house specialty, the Au Jus Burger.

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Feeling fired up? Join ChefSteps today for hundreds of recipes, techniques, tips, and tricks. 

 

You’ve Got New Year’s Resolutions. We Can Help.

Jess Voelker Preparing Staff Meal

Feeling a little doughy and broke? You’re not alone. After a long, indulgent holiday, a lot of us are inspired to tighten up a bit in the New Year—exercise more, drink and spend less, step away from those leftover Christmas cookies. But don’t close down the kitchen just yet. Preparing your own food is one of the best ways to ensure you stick to a healthy eating plan, the sort of plan that you can maintain all year until next holiday season, when—don’t worry—you can resume the nog chugging and snickerdoodle snarfing once more. Whatever your food goals are, we want to inspire you to keep cooking (and learning!) in 2015. Check out our suggestions for delicious ideas on how to do just that.

Resolution 1: Follow the Paleo Diet

Devotees of this massively popular eating plan eschew dairy products, grains, legumes, processed oils, and refined sugar. The premise is that these foods weren’t readily available during the Paleolithic era, when the human body evolved nutritional needs in line with the foods they could access. By following a diet closer to what our prehistoric ancestors ate, Paleo people eat in a manner befitting the way their bodies developed, or so the logic goes. Whether or not you swallow all that is your business, but sticking to this protein-and-vegetable focused regime is one way to cut down on those empty calories that come from (glorious) carbs and (delectable) sweets. How to do it: Investing in a sous vide water bath or circulator can prove crucial in sticking to a protein-centric diet, as it allows you to cook delicious meats with little fuss. To test the method without having to invest in any equipment, consult our Sous Vide 101 class, which includes recipes for amazing salmon, pork chops, and steak, along with instructions on how to create a water bath with a pot on the stove and a digital thermometer.

Coffee Butter Steak with Spinach

Resolution 2: Eat more vegetables

We all know we need them. With vital nutrients that help keep away chronic diseases, vegetables are a crucial part of any healthy diet. Focusing on eating more plant foods—rather than trying to stay away from stuff you love (we’re looking at you, Paleo)—can be a great recipe for success. The key to sticking with it is to make those vegetables taste delicious, and that’s where we come in. How to do it: Easy to make and surprisingly satisfying, our Microwaved Radicchio Salad is anchored by warm, slightly wilted chicory leaves; an awesome source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We dress them with rich buttermilk, verdant chive oil, funky blue cheese, and toasted hazelnuts. Speaking of the microwave, you can also use it to quickly cook up some mixed vegetables, then top those healthy fellas with some Bagna Càuda Foam.

Microwaved Radicchio  Salad

And at the risk of sounding repetitive, we should also point out the benefits of preparing veggies sous vide. You can achieve optimal chickpea texture (firmer for salads, softer for hummus) and maintain the vibrant crunch of kale. Carrots keep their color and signature sweetness, and tart red cabbage can be converted into a super-smooth purée that makes a great accompaniment to our pastrami.

Sous Vide Kale

Resolution 3: Eat breakfast everyday

Good one. Skipping breakfast is an easy way to wind up ravenous by the time that 11 AM meeting rolls around. Also, a morning meal sets a civilized tone for the day. How to do it: Learning to make awesome soft-poached eggs should inspire you to keep up the breakfast habit. Use our egg calculator to determine, then create, your perfect egg. And if you’re resolved to up your coffee game in 2015, be sure to consult our extensive Espresso class.

Egg White Hollandaise

Resolution 4: Spend less on food (but still eat well)

Look, we know how it is. Just like you, we’re constantly enticed by new restaurants, craft cocktail bars, and specialty shops stocked with the best ingredients. Trouble is, that stuff gets expensive. Is there a way to maintain your delicious-food lifestyle while spending a little less? Indeed. The trick is to find little ways to cut back so you can splurge on truly epic meals, tools, and culinary classes. How to do it: Pretty little microgreens are a super-impressive garnish for dinner-party dishes, and growing your own means you can afford to work them into weekday-morning smoothies or a salad to bring to work for lunch. Allow us to show you how—for free.

Microgreens

When you’re short on time, it’s tempting to order takeout for dinner—which adds up fast, and frankly often sucks. This is why we love having a pressure cooker handy. Flavor-packed braises and stews come out great in a fraction of the time they would take with other methods, and taste far better than most things that arrive at your door in a clamshell. Plus, you can use the cheapest cuts to create these comfort foods, as nothing transforms the tough stuff into succulent, velvety deliciousness as fast as a pressure cooker.

Chocolate and Mustard Stew

Ready to get cooking? Join ChefSteps today for one-of-a-kind recipes, tested techniques, and access to our lively forum.