A Day with: Aaron McCargo Jr.

A Day with Aaron McCargo Jr4

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

A Day with Aaron McCargo Jr3

  • 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

A Day with Aaron McCargo Jr2

  • 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

 

Baked Beecher’s Cheese Sandwich, Applesauce and Apple Fries

BLD_KerrySear - Lunch

A recipe by Chef Kerry Sear.

 

INGREDIENTS:

8 slices thick white bread

8 ó inch slices of Beecher’s Flagship cheese

4 tbsp softened butter

1 cup panko bread crumbs

4 whole Washington apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup dried apple chips

2 Russet potatoes, peeled

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In small saucepan, add apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Cook until soft. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Refrigerate to cool.

In a food processor, blend the apple chips until they reach a powder consistency.

Cut Russet potatoes into wedges. Lay on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle with apple powder.

Spread the softened butter on all slices of bread. Place the cheese slices between two with buttered side facing out, then coat the sandwich in panko bread crumbs.

Heat an oven-safe sauté pan with butter. Place the sandwich in the sauté pan and brown on both sides. Place sauté pan in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.

Serve sandwich with cold applesauce and fries.

Serves: 4

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.

A Day with Mr. Food

A Day With Mr. Food3

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

 

Quinoa, Sweet Peppers and Fig Salad

A Day With Lorena - Lunch

Recipe by Chef Lorena Garcia.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dry sherry

1/2 cup dried currants

1 cup quinoa

2 1/2 cups chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh figs, stemmed and chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/3 cup Tangy Citrus Vinaigrette

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour the sherry into a medium bowl. Add the currants and set aside to rehydrate for 20 minutes. Drain the currants, discard any remaining sherry and set the currants aside.

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Scrape the quinoa into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Stir the scallions, figs, carrots, bell peppers, and cilantro into the cooled quinoa. Pour the citrus vinaigrette over the salad and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. The salad can be served cold or at room temperature.

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

Tuna and White Bean Salad

A Day With Mr. Food Salad

Recipe by Mr. Food (Art Ginsburg).

No ordinary tuna experience, this Tuna and White Bean Salad has all the flavour and crunch of a chopped salad and comes with the added healthy benefits of fiber-rich beans.
INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, chopped

4 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 (15.5-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

1 (12-ounce) can solid white tuna, drained well

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.

Stir in cucumber, tomato, onion, parsley, and beans. Add tuna and toss gently until evenly coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 6

Fantastic Fish Stew with Tomato and Basil

A Day with Jamie Oliver - Lunch

Recipe by Jamie Oliver.
INGREDIENTS:

600g mussels

olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

150ml white wine

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

4 x 100g small fillets of sea bass or bream, skin off, cut into chunks

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

1 loaf of ciabatta bread, to serve

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Give the mussels a good wash and a light scrub in clean cold water, pulling off any beardy bits you find. If any aren’t tightly closed they’re no good to eat, so throw them away.

Place a deep saucepan on a medium heat. Add a lug of olive oil and the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add the white wine, tomatoes and jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until reduced slightly.

Add the mussels and fish chunks, then cover with a lid and cook for around 5 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened up and your fish is cooked through. If any mussels remain closed, throw these ones away. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Divide the stew up between your bowls and serve with wedges of lemon for squeezing over and slices of griddled ciabatta to soak up all those lovely juices.

Serves 4

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

Miami Short Rib Sandwich with Smoked Mozzarella

A day with Rob Rainford - Lunch

Recipe by Chef Rob Rainford.

Miami-cut short ribs are a thin cut of beef rib. For best results they should be approximately . inch thick. Ask your butcher for these.

 

INGREDIENTS:

Short Ribs

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil (approximately)

1 tbsp liquid honey

1 tsp hot sauce

3 lb Miami-cut short ribs

Sandwiches

2 crusty French baguettes

2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella

Dry Rub

1 1/2 tsp packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1 1/2 tsp cayenne

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp kosher salt (approximately)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the short ribs, stir together the soy, mirin, rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, honey and hot sauce in a large bowl until combined. Place the ribs in the marinade mixture and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours if time permits.

Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the dry rub.

Fire up your charcoal or preheat your gas grill. You need a medium-high grilling temp of around 350°F. Prep the grill for cooking over direct heat.

Shake off excess marinade from the ribs and pat them dry with paper towels. Brush the ribs lightly with the remaining olive oil and rub the spice mixture all over the meat.

Place ribs on the grill and cook for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Trim the rounded ends from each baguette and cut the baguettes in half lengthwise. Remove the bones from the meat and discard. Pile the meat high on the bottom halves of the baguette and top with cheese. Replace the tops of the baguette and cut each into five pieces.

Tip: Don’t skip even the shortest quick marinating time here because a little flavor is better than no flavor. Avoid turning ribs too often; the meat will not scorch and will benefit from direct heat.

Serves 10
For more recipes by Chef Rob Rainford, pick up a copy of his latest book Born to Grill.

Sunday Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Cora_SteakSandwich

Recipe by Chef Cat Cora.

 

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 green bell pepper, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin

1 large onion, sliced paper-thin

2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 lb rib-eye steak, 1” thick

4 crusty Hoagie Rolls, sliced

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 lb Provolone Cheese, diced small

2 large egg yolks, beaten

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup whole milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the peppers and mushrooms. Sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until it’s just the way you like it. Transfer the veggies to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste and sauté quickly. As soon as the seasonings are hot, sauté the steak for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the steak and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare.

Remove steak from pan, place on a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. While is sits, make the Homemade Provolone Sauce.

Half-fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and place over medium heat. Melt butter in the top and add the cheese. Let soften slowly, while stirring. Slow, gentle heat is the key to a smooth, creamy cheese sauce.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour and milk. When the cheese has melted, pour the egg mixture into the top of the double boiler and whisk until sauce is warm and begins to thicken. Continue to cook while whisking constantly. Salt and pepper to taste. Once sauce is thick, lower heat to keep it warm while you assemble the sandwiches.

Thinly slice the steak. With tongs, divide the meat among the hoagie rolls and top with the onion mixture. Spoon the cheese sauce over the meat and vegetables, cover with the top of the roll, and serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftover sauce.

Serves 4
For more recipes by Chef Cat Cora, check out her book – Cooking from the Hip.

Matsutake Mushroom Risotto

Matsutake Mushroom Risotto

Recipe by Chef Marc Matsumoto.

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups dashi kombu

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp shallots, minced

6 oz fresh matsutake mushrooms, cleaned

3 tbsp unsalted cultured butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup sake

5 oz Carnaroli rice

2 tbsp panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/2 oz parmigiano reggiano, grated

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Soak an 8” by 2” piece of dashi kombu in cold water overnight or reconstitute powdered dashi in water according to the package directions to make 4 cups of kombu dashi. Put the dashi and salt into a saucepan and heat until steam rises. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and julienne them into matchsticks. Slice the caps into 1/8” thick pieces.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil until hot. Add shallots and julienned matsutake stems, stirring gently until butter is browned and mushrooms turn light brown in color.

Add rice and fry for 1 minute, stirring to coat each grain of rice. Add sake and stir until it evaporates. Then add two ladles of dashi. Stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding dashi 1 ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has reached a suitable texture. Al dente risotto requires approximately 3 1/2 cups of dashi.

While risotto is cooking, heat a second pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the sliced matsutake caps until browned and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer mushrooms to a plate. Then add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the panko and toast the bread crumbs in the butter, stirring until they are golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

When the risotto is done, add cheese and the remaining tablespoon of butter; stir until they are incorporated. Salt to taste if necessary. Plate the risotto and top with sautéed matsutake caps and toasted bread crumbs.