Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chef Recipes Made Easy promises to make chef magic with less time and fewer ingredients

Although I’ve never wanted to become a chef, I occasionally wonder what it would be like to have a chef’s magical powers.
   What would it be like to know how to combine flavors and types of foods to produce magnificent meals?
   This would be a something I would like to know.
   However, I’m perfectly content with trying out recipes created by chefs and enjoying the fruits of their imagination.
   That’s why I was instantly drawn to the Food & Wine magazine special publication Chef Recipes Made Easy: 50 of America’s Favorite Restaurant Dishes, on newsstands until Dec. 30, 2011.
   This publication offers the home cook a chance to make easier versions of famous chefs’ recipes at home, with far fewer ingredients and far less preparation time.
   Lidia Bastiniach, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Tom Collicchio, Bobby Flay, Gale Gand and Wolfgang Puck are just a few of the chefs whose recipes are featured in Chef Recipes Made Easy.
   Here are the recipes I have my eye on to try if time allows. Many of the recipes can be found on the Food & Wine website.
   - Daniel Bouloud’s Orecchiette Bolognese. Bouloud’s version: House-made orechiette with a Bolognese sauce of venison, pork butt, chicken liver, veal sauce. Topped with fresh porcini mushrooms, chestnuts and butternut squash. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Store-bought dried orecchiette, Bolognese sauce made with smoked ham and beef chuck. Topped with vacuum-packed chestnuts.
   - Andrew Carmellini’s Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu. Carmellini’s version: Fresh-made pappardelle with a ragu of house-ground lamb shoulder cooked in lamb stock. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Store-bought pappardelle and ground lamb.
   - Andrew Carmellini’s Ghocchi with Wild Mushrooms. Carmellini’s version: Homemade gnocchi is cooked in homemade mushroom stock, then tossed with porcini butter and white truffle shavings. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Store-bought gnocchi and chicken broth.
   - Nobu Matsuhisa’s Black Cod with Miso. Matsuhisa’s version: Black cod is marinated in sake-miso mixture for two to three days. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Fish marinates overnight.
   - Mourad Lahlou’s Sauteed Chicken with Celery-Root Puree and Chestnuts. Lahlou’s version: Sous-vide equipment is used to poach fresh chestnuts and chicken breasts. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Chicken breasts are sautéed in a skillet; vacuum-packed chestnuts.
   - Mark Sullivan’s Moroccan Chicken with Minty Date Couscous. Sullivan’s version: Chicken is marinated for two days; served with whole grain farro. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Bird marinates for just one hour; quick-cooking couscous.
   - Rick Bayless’s Carne Asada with Black Beans. Bayless’s version: Steak served with fried plantains and fresh guacamole. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Canned black beans are cooked in a chorizo-flavored oil; avocado slices stand in for the guacamole.
   - Jonathon Sawyer’s Grilled Steaks with Onion Sauce and Onion Relish. Sawyer’s version: Steaks are marinated overnight in fish sauce and olive oil. Housemade vinegar used to create pickled-onion relish and red onion-jalapeno sauce. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Steaks marinated for two hours; jarred cocktail onions.
   - Donald Link’s Spicy and Sticky Baby Back Ribs. Link’s version: Eight spices in the rib rub; barbecue sauce made with homemade pork stock. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Five spices in rub; canned beef broth in barbecue sauce.
   - Andrew Carmellini’s Pork Meat Loaf with Tomato-Chickpea Sauce. Carmellini’s version: Pancetta, ground pork loin and nearly 20 other ingredients comprise meatballs, which are braised in sauce. Chef Recipes Made Easy Version: Two meat loaves take place of meatballs; ground pork; loaves bake in the tomato sauce.
   - Michelle Vernier’s Lemony Semolina-Jam Cake. Vernier’s version: Cakes are baked in individual ring molds; flavored with Meyer lemon juice and Meyer lemon frozen yogurt. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Cake baked in single springform pan; regular lemons used.
   - Megan Garrelts’s Graham Cracker Pound Cake. Garrelts’s version: Cake is served with sage-glazed figs and spiced walnut gelato. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Figs and gelato are omitted.
   - Kristin Ferguson’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Ferguson’s version: Cake is baked as single servings and paired with homemade buttermilk ice cream. Chef Recipes Made Easy version: Cake baked in single round pan; store-bought ice cream.
   - Breanne Varela’s Chocolate-Chip-Pecan Cookie Bars. Not a lot of difference between the two versions!

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