A Day with: Aaron McCargo Jr.

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New Jersey raised Chef, Aaron McCargo Jr. is the season four winner of The Next Food Network Star. Now, with a show of his own, the Big Daddy’s House star can also boast his own brand of herbs and spices as well as a cookbook, Simply Done, Well Done.

Here are three of Aaron’s flavourful recipes. Trust us, you’ll want seconds.

Breakfast: Gruyère Cheese Omelet

A Day with Aaron McCargo Jr

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, whole or julienned
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Ina medium bowl, vigorously beat eggs with the salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes for 4 to 5 minutes, until frothy.
  3. In another medium bowl, stir together the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon and basil.
  4. Ina 12″ ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beaten eggs and cook gently, tilting the pan so the uncooked egg slides under the cooked parts. In 2 to 3 minutes, the eggs will begin to set. Sprinkle the cheese mixture evenly over eggs and remove pan from heat.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese melts. Slide the omelet onto a serving platter, folding it over onto itself as you do. Let the omelet sit for 1-2 minutes, and then cut and serve.

Serves 3

Lunch: Spicy Cheeseburger Soup

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  • 1 cup potato, peeled and diced (1 medium all-purpose potato)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup jalapeno chili pepper, diced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb blend*
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ quarts beef broth
  • ¼ cup beef bouillon powder
  • 1 ½ lb white American cheese, thickly sliced
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
  1. In a large saucepan, put the potatoes and enough water to cover them by about 2″.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and return to the pain. Cover and keep warm.
  4. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat slightly with a wooden spoon, until the beef begins to brown, 6 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Add the jalapenos and then the flour, herb blend, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until well mixed and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the broth and bouillon powder, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until heated through, taking care not to break the meat up too much.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, add the slices of cheese, one at a time, and stir gently until the cheese melts into the soup and the soup becomes creamy. Add the scallions and potatoes and cook just until heated through. Serve hot.

Serves 12

Dinner: Stuffed Grilled Boneless Pork Chops

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  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • ¼ cup scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup spicy chile oil
  • 9 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 6 oz smoked Gouda cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 6x 8-ounce boneless pork loin chops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, scallions, soy sauce and chile oil. Set half the marmalade sauce aside for cooking and the other half for serving.
  2. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill and oil the grates.
  3. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring an inch of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Steam the spinach in a steaming basket and set in the saucepan until wilted, about 2 ½ minutes. Lift the spinach from the steaming basket and transfer to a large bowl. Add the bacon, cheese and chipotle chilies. Mix well.
  4. With a small, sharp knife, slit the side of each chop to create a pocket that goes nearly (but not all the way) through the chop. Wiggle the knife in the incision to open the pocket.
  5. Using a spoon or your fingers, stuff each chop with the spinach filling. Secure the opening with toothpicks and then season the chops with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the chops with canola oil.
  6. Grill the chops for 6 to 8 minutes with the grill covered, turning the chops 3 times during grilling. Remove the lid and brush the tops of the chops with the marmalade sauce for cooking. Continue grilling, turning once and brushing the other side with the marmalade sauce for cooking, until both sides of each chop are nicely browned and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes longer.
  7. Remove the chops from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with the reserved sauce.

Serves 6

 

Salmon Stuffed Baked Potato and Apple Cider Peas

Recipe by Chef Kerry Sear

BLD_KerrySear - Dinner

INGREDIENTS:
4 4oz fillets of salmon (skin off )
4 Russet potatoes
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup apple cider
2 cups peas
salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wrap Russet potatoes in foil and place in oven for approximately 40 minutes or until done.

Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan, sear salmon on both sides.

With a knife, partially cut the cooked Russet potato down the middle, lengthwise. Scoop out a little of the potato inside. Place the salmon fillet inside the potato and cover the salmon with the potato that was scooped out. Pat with 1 tablespoon of butter on each potato. Reform the potato into shape. Place potato in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked to desired temperature.

Heat the apple cider in a small saucepan. Add peas. Cook until peas are done. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, take the potato out of the oven, cut in half to show salmon and serve with peas.

Serves 4

Eat Like a Cuban: Abuela’s Recipes

recipe

Recipes and photography by Lena Diaz.

“Frijoles negro” (black beans)

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups dried black beans

1 med onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste

splash of olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover the beans. Place washed beans in 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Meanwhile, in a pan sauté onion and garlic in a little oil. After a few minutes add oregano and salt.

When beans have softened, add the onion and garlic mixture and keep cooking on low heat for another 20 minutes or until beans reach a stew-like consistency. When ready to serve add a little olive oil. Serve over white rice (arroz).

TIP: To cut cooking time in half use a pressure cooker, an essential utensil in the Cuban kitchen.

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I love to watch my abuela sort patiently through the rice—a task that seems to occupy hours a day.

“Pescado sobre uso” (fish in tomato sauce)

INGREDIENTS:

4 white fish fillets (cod, sole)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lemon

salt to taste

For sauce:

1 med onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes

splash of cooking oil

salt & hot sauce to taste

Mix juice of 1 lemon with minced garlic, salt and marinate fish for 30 minutes (up to a full day).

To make sauce, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and hot sauce. Cook on low-medium heat. In the meantime, fry the fish fillets in hot cooking oil for a few minutes on each side. When golden, add to the tomato sauce and cook on low heat until sauce thickens. Season to taste.

A side of “tostones” (fried plantains)

Peel and cut green plantains into 1 inch slices. Fry them in hot vegetable oil for a couple of minutes. Take them out and with a side of a knife lightly squish them to 1/2 inch. Drop the slices in the hot oil again and fry for another few minutes until golden. Season to taste.

Ultimate Burger

Jason's Ultimate Burger

Recipe by Jason Parsons.

 

INGREDIENTS:

Burgers:

3 lbs lean ground beef

2 cups diced aged cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped herbs

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chopped bacon

2 eggs

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

3 tsp salt

3 tsp ground white pepper

Glaze:

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Garnish:

8 burger buns

1/4 cup grape mustard (or Dijon)

16 leaves watercress

16 slices tomato

8 slices red onion

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Burgers:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cheddar, herbs, onion, hoisin, garlic and Worcestershire.

Sauté the bacon over medium heat until cooked through. Add the warm bacon, including the fat, to the beef mix. Stir in the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Once it’s well combined, form the mixture into 8 evenly sized burgers and chill.

Glaze:

Combine the barbecue sauce with the hoisin, honey and cinnamon.

Assembly:

Cook the burgers on a very hot grill, brushing with the glaze each time they are turned. Warm the buns on the side or on the top rack. Once the burgers are cooked through, remove from the grill and brush once more with the glaze.

Spread the mustard on the bottom layer of the bun. Add the burger, watercress, sliced tomato, and onion; cap with the bun top.

Cook’s note: The chopped herbs can be any mix of your favourite seasonings. I like tarragon, parsley and chives.

 

For more recipes from Jason Parsons, check out 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men.

Sticky Honey-Ginger Chicken

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Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? Check out the amazing collection of dinner ideas at Chatelaine.com like this mouthwatering summer dish.

Prep time 15 minutes
Barbecuing time 20 minutes
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
3/4 cup orange juice, about 2 oranges
1 tbsp orange zest
1/3 cup honey
4 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 oranges, halvedDirections

1. Preheat barbecue to medium.
2. Whisk juice with zest, honey, ginger and salt in a large shallow bowl. Pour half into a small bowl and reserve. Add chicken breasts to juice mixture in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 min, flipping halfway.
3. Oil grill, then barbecue chicken, with lid closed, basting often with marinating liquid, for 6 min. Flip and continue grilling, without basting, until springy when pressed, 6 to 8 more min. Add oranges to the grill, cut-side down, for the last 5 min. Drizzle reserved orange mixture on chicken and serve with grilled oranges and Minted zucchini salad.Click here for the side dish recipe: Minted Zucchini Salad.To find out this recipe’s nutritional facts or a great wine pairing, visit Chatelaine.com.

A Day with Mr. Food

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With a name like Mr. Food, Art Ginsburg is well equiped to whip things up in the kitchen.

As a veteren chef whose recipes fill more than 50 cookbooks, Mr. Food was one of the first to promote “Do it Yourself” cooking and food preparations. And, although his take on breakfast, lunch and dinner is “quick and easy”, it’s still long on flavour.

Spend a day with Mr Food:

Breakfast – Brunch Burritos

Lunch – Tuna and White Bean Salad

Dinner – Balsamic Flank Steak

 

Balsamic Flank Steak

A Day With Mr. Food Steak

Recipe by Mr Food (Art Ginsburg).

A flavourful marriage of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and a few fresh herbs and spices makes for a lively marinade for any grilled favourites like this Balsamic Flank Steak.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (1-1/2- to 2-pound) beef flank steak

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients except steak; mix well.

Score steak on both sides by making diagonal cuts 1-½” apart. Place steak in bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning bag over occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove steak from marinade and discard excess marinade. Grill steak 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until center is cooked to medium.

Slice steak on an angle across the grain, and serve.

Serves 4

Chef Jamie Oliver

A Day with Jamie Oliver

Imagine having TV personality Jamie Oliver as your personal chef for a day. It’s a happy thought, isn’t it?

Well, Jamie’s take on breakfast, lunch and dinner—Italian style—may just be the next best thing.

“I love Italy and everything it stands for,” says the famous chef. “The wonderful ingredients, the beautiful places, the lovely people and the neverending passion they have for their families.”

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Why not bring Jamie and a taste of Italy home with these three tasty recipes?

Buon appetito!

Breakfast – Spicy Scrambled Eggs and Crispy Bacon

Lunch – Fantastic Fish Stew with Tomato and Basil

Dinner – Roast Fish Wrapped in Pancetta and Pesto Mashed Potato

Roast Fish Wrapped in Pancetta and Pesto Mashed Potato

A Day with Jamie Oliver - dinner

Recipe by Jamie Oliver.
INGREDIENTS:

Rosted Fish

zest of 1 lemon

4 x 200g white fish fillets, preferably

organic, skin off

freshly ground black pepper

16 rashers thinly sliced pancetta or

streaky bacon

olive oil

1 jar green pesto, to serve

Mashed Potatoes

1kg floury potatoes, such as King

Edward

sea salt and freshly ground black

pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp green pesto

150ml milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Peel your potatoes and cut any large ones in half so they’re all a fairly even size. Add to a pan of boiling salted water and cook over a high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender and cooked through.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave to steam dry. Return the pan to a low heat and add the milk. Warm through for a few minutes, then tip the potatoes back into the pan with the extra virgin olive oil, green pesto and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash everything together until smooth and combined.

Scatter the lemon zest over the fish fillets with a good pinch of black pepper and gently rub this into both sides of the fish. Lay 4 rashers of pancetta or bacon, slightly overlapping, in front of you then lay a fish fillet across them. Wrap the rashers around the fillet, then repeat with the remaining slices of pancetta and pieces of fish.

Lightly heat a large ovenproof frying pan and add a splash of olive oil. Lay your wrapped fish in the pan and fry for a minute — turning halfway — to crisp up the bacon. Place half of the lemon fruit at the side of the pan to add flavour, then pop in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the bacon is crisp and golden.

Remove the fish from the oven. Individually plate and dollop the fillets with pesto then serve with mashed potatoes, a light green salad and a lovely glass of white wine.

Serves 4

3 Days in Barcelona

Day 1

MORNING Take in a late breakfast at Bar Lobo then stroll down La Rambla and marvel at the crowds and abundant shopping. Crossing into the city’s oldest neighbourhoods the pace slows, which suits architecture buffs who will enjoy the views of medieval buildings en route to Picasso Museu. With an impressive collection and equally magnificent surroundings you’ll need a minimum of two hours for the experience. The adjoining gift shop is lovely as well.

12 NOON Return to La Rambla and wind your way to Mercat Bouqueria where bustling doesn’t quite describe the market scene; it’s more of a contact sport. Inside, grab a stool at Universal Kiosk and enjoy light tapas that is fresh, fast and reasonably priced.

EVENING It would hardly be a trip to Spain without a little Flamenco dancing, so ask your concierge to recommend a show before dinner.

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Day 2

MORNING Immerse yourself in Gaudí’s Barcelona today. Purchase a Hop On, Hop Off bus pass or hire a knowledgeable, private guide to lead you through the primary sites.

LATE AFTERNOON With a serious dose of culture under your belt, it’s time for some guilt-free shopping on Passeig de Gràcia. There are hundreds of shops to visit and nearly as many tapas and wine bars, so pace yourself.

EVENING No doubt exhausted from the day’s festivities, make time for a siesta so you’ll be awake for a late night dinner at one of our recommendations.

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Day 3

MORNING A light breakfast is all you’ll need this morning and a trip to Caelum’s for coffee and a pastry is sure to satisfy.

MID-MORNING Brush up on your Catalan cooking skills with Cook and Taste. Since you’re in the neighbourhood anyway, don’t forget to visit the nearby Roman ruins.

AFTERNOON There’s more shopping in the Born neighbourhood and no reason to hurry back since dinner is late tonight anyway. Save the rest of the day for aimless exploring.

Barcelona 3

Rotisserie Herb Prime Rib

A day with Rob Rainford - Dinner

Recipe by Chef Rob Rainford.

For maximum flavor allow the prime rib to sit in the thyme rub overnight, but don’t apply the salt until just before you start to cook it.

 

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

10 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

7 to 10 lbs bone-in prime rib roast

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or just enough to coat the prime rib)

Kosher salt to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Stir together the thyme, garlic, rosemary, oregano and pepper. Rub the prime rib all over with the oil then coat with the thyme mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Fire up your charcoal grill or preheat your gas grill and prep the grill for using the rotisserie.

Grilling temp should be around 325°F (160°C). For charcoal grilling, you’re ready to grill when a thick white ash has appeared on the coals. Move most of the hot coals to the middle of the grill and place a few on either side to create heat in the middle of the grill where the meat will be rotating.

Rub the prime rib with salt to taste and load it onto the rotisserie rod, doing your best to center the roast. Finger tighten the rotisserie forks on either side of the prime rib (you may have to use a pair of pliers to tighten the forks securely).

If you’re using a gas grill, place a drip pan directly on the grates in the middle section of the grill. This will help to catch any fats that drip from the prime rib. You can place a little water in the bottom of the drip pan to help create a moist environment if you wish. Just remember you will be cooking with the lid closed for about 1 ó to 2 hours, depending on how you like your meat.

Put the rotisserie rod on the grill, making sure the rod is secure. Close the lid, set the motor speed to low, then let your grill do the rest of the work. A good rule of thumb is to cook the prime rib for 20 minutes per pound (500 g). For medium-rare meat, you will be looking for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C).

Once your prime rib is done to your liking, take it off the rotisserie and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing it.

Serves 8
For more recipes by Chef Rob Rainford, pick up a copy of his latest book Born to Grill.

Chef Marc Matsumoto

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One bite at a time. That’s how Marc Matsumoto savours the world around him. A globetrotting chef, he shares international recipes with fellow foodies on NoRecipes.com and complements the pairings with beautiful photography on WanderingCook.com. He’s so busy, he has Dabble wondering how he ever has time for his day job, as a private chef in New York City. Busy or not, Marc says he always makes time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Cooking is simple. It’s 50% technique, 40% inspiration and 10% ingredients. Armed with some basic techniques and a little inspiration, you can make a tasty meal from even the most derelict pantry.

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Spend a day with Chef Marc:

BreakfastBaked Eggs

Lunch – Matsutake Mushroom Risotto

Dinner – Shiso Pesto Pasta