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Perfect Mashed Potatoes

There are times to question, and times not to question - and this is a ‘not to’ time. Just make these and all will be well. And yes you can use russet potatoes, but they just won’t be as good :)

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup whipping cream

Kosher salt & pepper to taste

Optional things to add…just because

Blue cheese & sautéed red onion

Bacon & diced green chilies

Minced chipotle peppers and shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  1. Put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and add a pinch of salt

  2. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered until tender enough to poke a small knife through, about 15-20 minutes

  3. While they cook, melt butter with cream and warm through

  4. Drain potatoes and using a potato rice (preferred) or potato masher get them back into the pot mixed

  5. Add butter cream mixture and season to taste with salt & pepper

  6. If you’re going to add anything optional - now’s the time

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Chorizo Crema

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 ounces pork chorizo

  • 1 pint whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook chorizo in a small sized saucepan until chorizo is done, about 5 minutes

  2. Add cream and let simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes

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Meatball Sliders

Makes 8 slider sandwiches


Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

½ lb Italian sausage (casing removed)

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ cup chopped fresh parsley

¾ cup bread crumbs

¼ cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 cup tomato sauce (store bought or make Sam’s Everyday Tomato Sauce)

8 Hawaiian Rolls, sliced

Butter

½ cup prepared pesto sauce (store bought or make Sam’s Fresh Basil Pesto)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • In a large mixing bowl add beef, sausage, garlic powder, parsley, bread crumbs, ricotta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper - mix well and form into 2 inch meatballs (should get about 8 meatballs) and place on an edged baking pan

  • Bake meatballs for about 20ish minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees in the center

  • Heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan on low heat then add cooked meatballs to the tomato sauce until all the meatballs are coated

  • Lightly butter rolls and cook in a non-stick pan until golden brown on cut sides

  • Build: grilled bun, pesto, “sauced” meatball and top bun - boom!

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Fish Stick Burrito

Makes 1 Burrito

And before anyone criticizes...you just gotta make it.

Ingredients:


6 frozen fish sticks (regular size)

1 burrito size flour tortilla

¼ cup refried beans, warmed

2 tablespoons chipotle lime sour cream (see recipe)

1 slice bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled

2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese

¼ cup prepared Mexican style rice, warmed

2 tablespoons prepared salsa fresca or pico de gallo

2 tablespoons shredded fresh cabbage


Directions:

  • Bake fish sticks according to package directions

  • Heat the tortilla just a bit o make them a little more pliable - micro or pan is fine

  • Build burrito: spoon beans on tortilla, then sour cream, bacon, layer cooked fish sticks, cheese, rice, salsa and fresh cabbage

  • Then roll up restaurant style - bottom over the filling, sides in then roll away from you


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Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream

1 chipotle pepper from a can (about a tablespoon) minced fine - but notice it’s not ‘one can of them, it’s just one’ as they're hot

1 lime

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro


Directions:

  • Mix well sour cream, chipotle, lime juice and cilantro in small bowl

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Kung Pao Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken

Damn I really love this, and not just cuz it’s crazy delicious - though that definitely makes a difference. It’s about the heat, cuz some Kung Pao is so over the top all you taste are peppers. But for me at least this is the perfect level that gives a nice warming to the forehead.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken - either breasts or thighs are fine, cubed

  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil

  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper

  • 5 green onions, white & light green parts, sliced into 1 inch pieces

  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 12 dried hot red chiles - 6 left whole and 6 each cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Put diced chicken in a large bowl, sprinkle evenly with cornstarch, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the soy - mix well to combine everything and set aside for 15 minutes

  2. While it marinates, combine remaining soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chicken stock, vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl - mix well and set aside

  3. Heat wok until just beginning to smoke, add a tablespoon of oil then marinated chicken - cook stirring often until almost cook through - about 3 minutes, remove to a bowl

  4. Return wok to heat, add another tablespoon of oil and put in red pepper, yellow onions, green onions and chilies - cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes then add garlic & ginger and cook another minute or so

  5. Add back in chicken, stirring to warn through then add the sauce - stirring constantly to mix through chicken until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.

  6. Serve with/on rice or noodles


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How to Season & Clean a Carbon Steel Wok

Before you can use your wok, you need to ‘season’ it. This helps build up a black, non-stick surface that makes wok cooking so great.

  1. Wash the wok inside and out with hot soapy water. Do not use an abrasive cleanser on the inside of the wok
  2. Rinse and dry the wok well
  3. Place the wok on high heat turning it and tilting it up to the rim and back until it starts to turn an even yellow-brown color
  4. Remove from the heat, turn down to medium-low
  5. With a basting brush or tongs holding a paper towel, add a thin film of neutral oil (avocado oil is perfect for this), just enough to coat the inside surface of the wok. Too much oil will clump and burn.
  6. This part can get smoky, so turn the ventilation fan on and put the wok back on the heat for about 5 minutes - again moving it around to get even heat coverage
  7. Then turn the heat off and let wok cool back down to room temperature before the next round of seasoning. When it's cool, wipe out any excess oil with a paper towel
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 three to four more times. You'll notice that each time the wok will get darker and darker.
  9. Your wok is now ready to be used and at this point I like to throw in a big handful of chopped garlic, green onion and ginger to cook for a few minutes. And you wok will continue to darken each time you use it, and that’s good. Now go make something
  • Remember when cooking, FIRST heat the wok until almost smoking, THEN add the oil

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR CARBON STEEL WOK

  1. Let it cool down first, but Do Not cool down with cold water - cold water could damage the wok and undo all your hard work seasoning it. Plus, the steam and spitting oil could easily burn you.
  2. Then, using water clean it with a soft sponge, dish-rag or bamboo brush - do not use soap or something scratchy inside as they can remove the seasoning. But it’s ok to use a more abrasive sponge on the outside of the wok to remove grease and anything stuck on
  3. When it’s clean, dry it really well because allowing a wok to air dry may cause rusting. Or you can dry the wok completely by setting it on the stovetop over low heat
  4. After cleaning, I add a very light coating of neutral oil again to further eliminate any chance of rusting

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Salami & Egg Sandwich

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Salami & Egg Sandwich

Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, like avocado
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 6 slices thin salami
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices sourdough bread, buttered
  • 2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise) -regular mayo is fine too
  • 2 slices Colby cheese

Directions

  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Cook onions until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, move to the side to make room for the others.
  • Next add salami to the same skillet, flip after about a minute on each side.
  • Crack your egg, smash yolk move around a lil bit and flip.
  • Place one slice of bread on the same skillet (if not enough room just use another heated skillet), top with Monterey Jack slices then spread Kewpie. Next, layer salami, egg and colby cheese. Top with second slice of bread, flip and cook until bottom side gets a little golden and cheese gets melty.

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Grilled Veggie Fajitas (using a grill basket)

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Grilled Veggie Fajitas (using a grill basket)

 Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes 4-6 tacos (depending on size of tortillas)

Ingredients

  • 10 asparagus spears, 1'' pieces
  • 1 medium size yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium size red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1-2 tablespoons Neutral oil, like avocado
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • tortillas
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons Adobo sauce (optional)

Directions

  • Heat grill basket on medium/high
  • Add asparagus, both peppers and 1 tablespoon of oil, saute for 5 minutes until they begin to soften
  • Add onion and continue for another 5 minutes or so mixing well, then add zucchini
  • Saute all for another couple of minutes, then the Napa cabbage
  • Season with salt, pepper and cumin
  • Turn down heat, and warm tortillas
  • Place a little sour cream, a tiny bit of the adobo sauce (it can be spicy) and some vegetables on each cooked tortilla and roll up

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Quick Chicken Stir Fry

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Quick Chicken Stir Fry

I know, I know - I love a stir fry. There... I admitted it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼-½ cup cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil, like avocado
  • 4-6 green onion sprigs, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sambal Chili Garlic sauce (depends how spicy you like)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • In medium bowl add chicken and ¼ cup cornstarch, coat the chicken well but shake off excess using a sifter - set aside.
  • Heat pan or wok until almost smoking - add 1 tablespoon oil and chicken
  • Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes then stir in green onions and cook for  a minute or so; remove chicken and set aside
  • Place same pan/wok back on medium heat, add a touch of oil, garlic and ginger - cook until fragrant about 30 seconds, then add soy sauce, honey and Sambal
  • In a separate small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup water then stir in with soy sauce mixture, cook until sauce starts to thicken
  • Add the chicken back in, stir and coat with sauce, cook for a few more minutes
  • Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds and serve

WATCH ME MAKE THIS

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Rotisserie Chicken Sauce

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Rotisserie Chicken Sauce

Featured on TV episode: We're in the Backyard Day

Makes approximately 1 cup sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Directions

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine

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The Best Homemade Black Cod

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The Best Homemade Black Cod

You can spend a lot of money at Nobu for their delicious cod - or you can make this simple & quick version at home, and spend the rest on wine, beer, cocktails and a mini vacation...

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup sake

  • 1 glove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

  • Juice of 1 whole lemon

  • 1 whole cod fillet - about 2 pounds

  • Green onion and sesame seeds to garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients except the cod in a saucepan and bring to a boil

  2. Turn down heat and simmer until slightly thickened and a bit syrupy - about 10 minutes

  3. Preheat oven to broil and cover a baking sheet with foil, it's messy

  4. Place cod on the foil and baste well with the sauce

  5. Broil the cod about 6 inches away from the glowing coils until done - approximately 7 minutes for every inch of thickness, and If it starts to get crispy and a little bit black in spots, that's good

  6. Remove from oven, baste with extra sauce and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds

WATCH ME MAKE THIS


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Pesto Parmesan Grilled Corn

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Pesto Parmesan Grilled Corn

If you’re not grilling corn, you’re frankly making a big damn mistake. And with pesto and parmesan, this version is stupid good. Imagine an Italian version of 'Elote'.

Makes 4 Ears of Corn
 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ears of corn, husks & silk removed
  • Neutral oil spray or 1 tablespoon of oil, like avocado
  • ¼-½ cup prepared pesto sauce (or make your own: Fresh Basil Pesto)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup grated/finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wrap each ear of corn in Saran wrap, microwave on high for 5 minutes - remove plastic wrap
  2. Heat grill to medium high
  3. Spray/rub oil lightly on each ear of corn and place on the grill - turning occasionally and get grill marks - about 5 minutes
  4. When corn gets color on all sides, brush pesto on all sides
  5. Serve with a pinch of salt and garnish with parmesan on top

 

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Grilled Sriracha Garlic Butter Wings

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Grilled Sriracha Garlic Butter Wings

These crazy delicious little flavor bombs are a hit wherever they go. And they’re grilled, not baked which makes ‘em even better.  Did I mention only 4 ingredients???

Appetizer Serving for 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs chicken wings (aka party wings)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like avocado
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup Sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat grill on medium/high
  2. Put wings in a large bowl, add oil, salt and pepper, toss well and place skin side down on grill, flip often until done the way you like it - which hopefully is not dry as toast
  3. While wings cook put butter, Sriracha and garlic in a small pot and heat over low until melted - stir to mix well and set aside
  4. When wings are done, mix them in batches with the sauce in large bowl
  5. Serve wings with sprinkle of salt and garnish with cilantro
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Watch me make this

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Carissa’s Cuban Black Beans and Rice

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Carissa’s Cuban Black Beans and Rice

She won your votes for the 'Cook 4 Sam' contest and now here she is in her video debut.

Makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb packaged dry black beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, small diced
  • 1-2oz jar of pimentos
  • 10 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. The night before, rinse the beans in cold water, drain and place in pressure cooker. Cover beans with 8 cups of cold water. Let them soaked overnight 
  2. When you are ready to cook, add ham hock and salt to the beans in the pressure cooker. Place on lid, set pressure to high and cook for 30 minutes
  3. While beans are cooking in pressure cooker, heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high. Add onions, green peppers and pimentos and cook until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes
  4. Stir in tomato sauce, lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
  5. When the 30 min is up and the pressure has reduced naturally, remove ham hock, then return pressure cooker to low heat
  6. Add tomato sauce and onion mixture to the beans in the pressure cooker-then stir in lemon juice, vinegar and sugar - stir to combine and allow to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  7. Optional- shred ham hock and add to bean mixture
  8. Serve over steamed rice
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SEE HOW IT'S MADE

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Grandma Lupita's Caldo de Queso (Cheese Soup)

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Grandma Lupita's Caldo de Queso (Cheese Soup)

Serves 8 – 10

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ large white onion, peeled and sliced thin

  • 5 small white rose potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/3”-1/2” thick rounds

  • Olive oil

  • 2 quarts water, brought to a boil

  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder (soup base)

  • Salt to taste

  • 6 - 8 large Anaheim chilies, roasted and peeled - you can buy them canned whole

  • 1 can evaporated milk

  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds ‘Queso Fresco’, Mexican cheese

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat a skillet and add 3 tablespoons olive oil

  2. Add the onions and potatoes and cook covered for 5 minutes or so

  3. Take the stems off of the chilies, slice open and dip into a small bowl of water to remove the seeds

  4. Shred the chilies by hand into thin shreds or slices

  5. When the onions and potatoes have cooked for 10 minutes or so – add them to the boiling water

  6. Add  salt to taste and a teaspoon of the chicken bouillon

  7. Add about half of the can of evaporated milk

  8. Cut the queso fresco into large cubes or chunks

  9. Add the cheese and the chili shreds to the soup

  10. Bring the soup back to a boil, stirring

  11. Serve in bowls with hot corn tortillas on the side

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Grandma Evelyn's Matzoh Brei (Matzoh French Toast)

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Grandma Evelyn's Matzoh Brei (Matzoh French Toast)

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 1 ½ cups Matzoh Meal

  • 2 eggs

  • A Pinch of salt

  • About ½ cup or so of milk

  • 3-4 pieces of Matzoh

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put matzoh meal into a shallow dish, like a baking dish

  2. Add the eggs, salt and milk (a little at a time)

  3. Mix well and continue adding milk until it becomes the consistency of a batter

  4. Break up matzoh into relatively the same size 4”x3” pieces

  5. Dip in the batter stirring to coat both sides

  6. Add about ¼ of oil across the bottom of a heavy bottomed skillet and preheat to medium-high

  7. Place the coated matzoh pieces in stacks of two (one on top of the other like a sandwich in the pan and cook until browned on each side

  8. Serve with jelly or applesauce AND sour cream

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Benedict Fries

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Benedict Fries

Carne Asada fries, cheese fries, chili cheese fries - so why not benedict fries?

Exactly.

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make fries and put in a bowl

  2. Add some bacon

  3. Top with a poached egg

  4. Add hollandaise and garnish with parsley

  5. Repeat.


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Sweet Potato Hash

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Sweet Potato Hash

This might be the 2nd best use for frozen sweet potato fries.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8-10 ounce frozen sweet potato fries
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ½ cup each red bell peppers, red onions and white onions - all diced small
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • Poached egg
  • Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook fries according to package directions – but get 'em crispy
  2. While they cook, heat oil in a skillet on medium-high, then add bell peppers and onions - saute until onions get a little caramelized, about 5 minutes
  3. Take fries out, rough chop then add to the vegetable mixture
  4. Add butter and a little oil to the hash and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder - mix
  5. Add green onions and parsley, reserving a little to garnish at the end
  6. Plate the hash and serve with a poached egg like I did, or do what you want
  7. Garnish a drizzle of olive oil, green onions and parsley

WATCH ME MAKE THIS


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MISO & GINGER SALAD DRESSING

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MISO & GINGER SALAD DRESSING

Making your own dressing is the best – and I love this one. 

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup light miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ cup neutral oil (I used avocado oil for this one, canola or vegetable works well too)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water
  • Honey (optional)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, mix into a thick paste
  2. Slowly whisk in oil until the dressing is emulsified
  3. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time to thin dressing to your liking - at this point you can add a little honey if you want on the sweeter side
  4. Add pepper to taste
  5. Use the dressing on your favorite salad, grilled vegetables or even fish.

WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT



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