Posts Tagged ‘Rick Bayless’

Nothing says “I’m having a super fun time at a New Year’s party” than taking a break to blog. But, seriously, I was the odd man out for Catchphrase, and I needed to get some more recipes in. Looks like I’ll have to finish up the rest of the recipes tomorrow, but this has been a solid effort…enough to make me not feel guilty.

Let’s examine the first recipes that come to mind in my semi-drunken stupor:

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Oh, look. A green bean casserole that’s fresh. I haven’t actually read the recipe yet, so right now it’s a surprise to everyone! Just like I haven’t checked my lottery tickets for the Mega Millions, but completely assume that I am a winner. This looks like a winning recipe. Hailing from the blog, Brown Eyed Baker, this little beaut will be sure to please the crowd at your next family Thanksgiving.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Bake Time: 15 minutes

For the Topping:
4 slices white bread, each slices torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 ounces)

For the Beans and Sauce:
2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, and halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound white button mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean and broken into ½-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups heavy cream

1. For the Topping: Pulse bread, butter, salt and pepper in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with onions; set aside.

2. For the Beans and Sauce: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons salt and beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

3. Add butter to now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer in 3-quart (or 9×13-inch) baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Note 1: You can prep this ahead of time. Store the bread-crumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onions just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and heat the casserole in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed.

*Note 2: This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart (or 8-inch square) baking dish. If making a half batch, reduce the cooking time of the sauce in Step 3 to about 6 minutes (1¾ cups) and the baking time in Step 4 to 10 minutes.

*Note 3: If you want to go 100% homemade and eliminate the canned fried onions, you can make your own caramelized onions. Thinly slice 2 sweet onions and saute in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the onions are golden, caramelized and soft. Set aside to cool before combining with remainder of crumb topping. Proceed with the recipe as directed.

Oh, hey, that actually looks pretty good. I still haven’t read the recipe completely yet, but plan on doing so next year… :)

White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili

Actually not from Rick Bayless, although I’m sure he would approve. This one comes from “Leftovers for Lunch,” a situation I rarely identify with. It’s more like “Lean Cuisine for Lunch” for me, speaking of which, look forward to more Chew and Reviews in 2011!

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbls garlic, minced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers (HOT if you dare!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 heavy dashes of ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I actually used a mix of chicken and veggie to use opened cartons!)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained (I like a good mix of varieties!)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  1. Throw all the ingredients, except cilantro and avocado, in the crockpot, simmer on low for 7-9 hours.
  2. Shred chicken, add the cilantro and stir well.
  3. Serve.Garnish with avocado slices.

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

Yet another NOT from Rick Bayless. This one looks like some sort of eggy, breakfasty thing that Wylie Dufresne and Rick Bayless would both approve of. From See…Read…Cook, this can be made for breakfast or whenever your heart desires.


2 medium russet potatoes

2 medium onions

Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

10 large eggs


Note:  If you have a mandolin, it will come in handy for the slicing process.

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, then soak in cold water.  Peel and thinly slice the onions and set aside.  After the potatoes soak 10 or 15 minutes, dry thoroughly.  If you have a salad spinner, this would be a perfect time to use it.

In a large pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the potatoes.  Once up to temperature, (check by placing 1 slice of potato in the oil.  If it sizzles, it’s ready) cook the potatoes until tender.  Your goal is not to fry them to the potato chip stage.  They should have next to no color to them.  If your skillet is large enough, add the onions about halfway through the cooking of the potatoes.  If your skillet is not large enough to accommodate both; after you remove the potatoes, drain on paper towels and add the onions to the pan.  The onions should be translucent, not fried.  Remove the onions to the same paper towel as the potatoes and let drain.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs together just until incorporated.  Once the potatoes and onions are well drained, add to the eggs.  Season with salt and pepper.

Now, this is probably best done in a large non-stick skillet, but if you don’t have a non-stick then make sure you use enough of the reserved oil in your skillet to make sure the tortilla doesn’t stick.  (even with non stick, you should have a bit of oil in the pan)  And make sure your skillet is hot.  The egg sets faster and that helps with the no stick issue.

Pour the mixture into the hot pan and stir with a spatula to create some texture.  After about a minute or so on high heat, lower the heat to medium-high and cook until the eggs are mostly set.

Take a large plate or platter and place over the tortilla.  Take the pan and carefully but quickly flip it over so the tortilla is now sitting on the platter.  Slide the tortilla back into the skillet so the other side can cook and brown.  Cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Once done, carefully slide out onto a large cutting board and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with Spanish sausage, Crema, Sofrito, or Roasted peppers.

And that’s a wrap for 2010. See you all tomorrow for the last of the recipe roundup!

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This is going to be a short post with very little witty banter. I think we all know how much I adore cheese. Here is a delicious looking recipe for cheesy cauliflower from Kitchenist.

Luxury Cheesy Cauliflower

Luxury Cheesy Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower
1 Tbs. butter
1/2 a large onion
2 small bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a knife
1 1/2 cups milk
1 heaping tablespoon flour
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
black pepper, to taste
pinch freshly ground nutmeg

1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F. Trim the cauliflower into florets; I like larger ones, which look prettier, are more interesting to eat and retain their texture better than bite-sized ones. When the water boils, add the florets and blanche only until the water returns to the boil. Drain and florets and arrange in a baking dish.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat, and add the onions. Once they’ve softened, add the garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of sea salt. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until onions are golden brown, soft and very fragrant. Remove the garlic and bay leaves and discard.

3. Add 1 cup of milk to the onion mixture and stir well. In a small bowl or mug, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the flour until there are no lumps. When the mixture in the saucepan begins to bubble, add the milk and flour mixture in a steady stream, stirring all the time. Continue stirring while the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the cheeses and stir until everything is melted, then season with the nutmeg and a good amount of black pepper.

4. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 3o minutes, until bubbling all over and golden brown in places.

Rick Bayless and the Tecate Mojito

Rick Bayless Tecate Mojito

In honor of New Year’s Eve and my love of Rick Bayless, let’s have a drink recipe! This comes from Rick’s website, and is also in his cookbook “Fiesta at Rick’s,” which I got as a gift from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. The gift tag was signed, Kim and Colin – xoxoxoco…how awesome is that?!?

Makes 8 drinks

Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico – One Plate at a Time

3/4 cup sugar
48 large mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup white rum or silver tequila
Four 12-ounce cans of Tecate beers (or other light, citrus-y tasting beer)

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Cool.

For each drink, place 6 mint leaves in the bottom of a 10 to 12 ounce glass.  Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup plus 1 tablespoon each of the lime juice and rum or tequila.  Crush (muddle) the mint into the liquid with a muddler or the back of a spoon or fork to release its flavor.  Fill the glass about 3/4 full with ice cubes.  Slowly pour in half of one of the beers, stir well with a long-handled spoon and serve right away.

It is on my bucket list to get drunk with Rick Bayless someday, fyi :)

Rick Bayless and the Holiday Champagne Margarita

Rick Bayless Holiday Champagne Margarita

Alright, twist my arm…let’s do another Rick Bayless drink recipe. Oh look, Rick’s put a twist on the champagne margarita just in time for New Year’s Eve :) Sounds like it could combine two of my loves – André Spumante and Rick Bayless!

2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
1 cup Cointreau
1 cup 100% agave silver tequila (some of our favorites right now are Cazadores, Herradura and Tres Generaciones)
2 to 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 lime half for moistening the glass rims
Coarse (Kosher) salt
1 bottle chilled brut champagne or other sparkling white wine

In a pitcher, combine the lime juice, pomegranate juice, Cointreau, tequila, and the sugar.  Mix until the sugar has dissolved.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Moisten the rims of the champagne glasses with the cut side of the lime.  Spread coarse salt on a small plate, then upend the glasses into the salt to crust the rims.  Fill each glass halfway with the margarita base (it’ll take a generous 1/3 cup).  Slowly fill the rest of the way with champagne or sparkling wine, and hand to one of your lucky guests.

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I’ve been mildly obsessed with Rick Bayless since I was Rick Baylessintroduced to Mexico: One Plate at a Time a few years ago by a friend that didn’t have cable and was forced to watch actual quality television programming on PBS. At first glance, Rick Bayless appears to be the whitest white guy to ever whip up a batch of tacos and tamales. He looks nothing like the fabulous Tamale Guy that wanders the bars of Bucktown, peddling his delicious bathtub-made fare, but trust me, Rick Bayless knows how to cook up some mean Mexican food. A longtime fan of Top Chef, I got to know more about Bayless on the first season of Top Chef Masters, which he ultimately won.

Shortly after his victory on Top Chef Masters in 2009, I dragged a group of friends to Xoco, Bayless’s newest Chicago restaurant. This “little sister” restaurant, serving authentic Mexican-inspired street food, has two big sisters – Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, but both are a bit difficult to get into. Since Xoco serves street food (tortas and soups), it’s relatively quick, and the only thing you have to wait for is a space to open up at one of the few tables. My friends and I had an awesome meal of hand-made tortas, chips and guacamole and churros, and I couldn’t wait to eat there again. When my brother came into town on business last week and ended up conveniently staying 2 blocks from the realm of Rick Bayless restaurants, I knew the opportunity had arrived.

I happened to be attending a conference downtown on the same day that my brother got in for work. I’m usually in the ‘burbs for work, so the fact that we were both downtown was a happy coincidence. We met up at his hotel, slammed a few free drinks (Homewood Suites passes out free beer, wine and a full-scale dinner from 5-7 everyday) and made our way over to Xoco. Now, at this point, I had regaled my brother with enough Rick Bayless knowledge to write a verified Wikipedia page on the man. He seemed slightly indifferent to my Rick Bayless love-fest, claiming “he’d never heard anyone talk about a chef so much in my life.” Touché.

We walked over to Xoco, at the corner of Clark and Illinois, me practically skipping and happily spewing Rick Bayless trivia, and my brother nodding and occasionally throwing in an “oh”, “yeah” or “mmhmm” to the mainly one-sided conversation. There didn’t seem to be too long of a line when we got there, but the line can at Xoco can be deceiving, since, if you’re dining in, you must wait for a table to be cleared before you can order. There are only 40 seats available, so this can easily be a 30-45 minute wait just to order. If you’re not hell-bent on soaking in the entire Rick Bayless experience and just want to chow down, it seems like take-out is the way to go.

I knew before even entering the restaurant what my dinner would be, but Colin had a harder time choosing from their menu:

We both chose tortas from the woodburning overn – he finally settled on the Ahogada: golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomato broth, spicy arbol chile sauce and pickled onions. I chose the Pepito: braised Tallgrass shortribs, caramelized onion, artisan Jack cheese, black beans and pickled jalapenos. Last time I was at Xoco, I had the Cubana (a torta from the griddle) with smoked Maple Creek pork loin and bacon, black beans, avocado, artisan Jack cheese, chipotle mustard. The Cubana was excellent, but two of my friends ordered the Pepito last time around, and after a few nibbles of theirs, I knew I’d get one for myself the next time I got a chance. We also got chips and guacamole, an order of churros and a JK Scrumpy’s hard cider, which was by far the best cider I’ve ever had. We amused ourselves in line by watching the chefs in action:

Xoco Chefs

After we ordered, we were seated along the counter on the back wall, and our food was delivered a few minutes later. We’d already gone to town on the chips and guac, but here’s a picture of our meal:

Xoco Tortas

Let me just say that our food was delicious, amazing, incredible and completely satisfying. The shortribs were mouth-watering, and the caramelized onion and pickled jalapeños (nothing like the kind you get on nachos at a sporting event) make a great combination. The bread is crusty (that was my brother’s only complaint – he apparently prefers a softer bread) and holds up nicely to the ingredients. My brother isn’t big on sharing, but he did let me try a bite of his torta, and it was out of this world. It’s served in a bowl of the best-tasting tomato soup I’ve ever come across. It’s smoky, savory and is the perfect dunking complement to the Ahogada torta. Of course, next time I’m at Xoco, I’ll be ordering that :)

Now comes the most exciting part of the meal, and naturally it had something to do with dessert. Since the churros are also hand-made, they don’t deliver them until you’re ready for dessert. I sent my brother up to the front to inquire after our churros, and when he came back, he had a big grin on his face and said these 7 glorious words: “I think Rick Bayless is up there.” I knew my endless lecturing and pointing out Rick Bayless’s picture on his cookbooks would pay off! My brother actually recognized him! I audibly squealed, dug my camera out of my bag, fluffed my hair and scurried up to the counter for my chance to make a complete fool of myself meet my favorite celebrity chef.

Just as my brother reported, Rick Bayless was, in fact, standing at the counter…having an intense conversation with some lady. I sheepishly hung around, waiting for this woman to shut up and let me have my turn with Rick Bayless, but this lady would not stop talking. Now, I like to imagine myself as suave, even a bit sophisticated, but get me around someone who’s appeared on a Bravo reality show and I am just a bumbling idiot. I felt like their conversation could go on for HOURS (ok, I was a bit tipsy at this point, so these minutes were feeling pretty long), so I waited for a pause and then ever-so-smoothly approached Rick Bayless and the mystery lady. I think I managed to get out a combination of these words: “big fan, delicious, food, Top Chef, yum, blog, picture?” but I can’t really be sure because Rick Bayless has an effect on me similar to 8 consecutive shots of Goldschläger. He must have understood some part of that horrifically embarrassing tirade, because I ended up with this:

Rick Bayless and me

Yeah, sorry for that, but I don’t want to be subjected to all of you Rick Bayless haters out there. I mean, we’re pretty much like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber. Better to remain completely anonymous. I’ve got a LOT of regular readers (6) from all over the world (Chicago), and this blog is already making me uncomfortably famous. For those of you landing here from my links on Facebook, um, ignore the fact that you know me.

Anyway, Rick Bayless was gracious and seemed flattered that I would write up my dining experience on this blog. I can only assume he is my 6th loyal reader…I mean, before I met him, I only had 5.

If you’re in River North and want to pretend you’re a judge on Top Chef Masters, I highly recommend stopping by Xoco for the authentic Rick Bayless experience. The food is amazing, sustainable and ultimately memorable. And, if you’re lucky, you might get to see Rick Bayless doing this:

Rick Bayless Awesomeness

You're welcome!

Xoco |449 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL (enter on Illinois St.) | 312-334-3688

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