Thursday, January 27, 2011

TODAY Show Re-Cap

For those of you who missed The TODAY Show segment, check it out here.

All in all, I had a great time with Kathie Lee and Hoda - two wonderful, funny, beautiful, and spontaneous women.   I guess I'll have to divulge some more of my personal life on my next visit :)

To the staff, producers, food stylists, etc. it was certainly a pleasure meeting and working with everyone.  All top notch talent and people.

Last but not least, a special thanks to all of those who tuned in - we had an army of folks supporting us via blogs, facebook, twitter, etc - and I can't thank you enough.

Back in Nashville for a bit - then in the words of the great Willie Nelson, I'll be "on the road again"


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Today Show

Be sure to tune in this morning to catch my segment on The Today Show, on the 4th hour from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST with Kathie Lee and Hoda!  Super stoked to be hanging out and cooking with these two beautiful women.  Thanks ladies!

If this is your first visit to the site, welcome.  Please enjoy a drink, and stay awhile.  You can purchase a book by clicking on any of the links on the right hand side of our website via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or get a digital copy in the Apple Bookstore.

For all press/media inquiries, please send us an email at

The following recipes were featured on today's program.  Enjoy and Keep Peaceful!


Wine Pairing - Pinot Noir (recommended: Etude Pinot Noir)

Antipasti Platter
1 Cup Roasted Almonds
½ lb Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, sliced
1 Cup Marinated Olives

On a serving platter, arrange slices of cheese alongside the roasted almonds and olives.  Serve.

Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad
4 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach, loosely packed
½ Green Apple, diced into bite size pieces
¼ Small Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Pecans, cut in half
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
¼ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

Layer the first four ingredients into a serving bowl or plate.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper until combined.  Drizzle the dressing over the greens and toss to coat the leaves evenly.  Top with goat cheese.  Serve.

Pan Seared Salmon with Parmesan Cream Cheese Grits and Roasted Okra
½ lb Fresh Okra, washed with ends removed
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
3 ½ Cups Water
1 Cup Quick Cook Grits
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
2 6-8 oz Salmon Filets, skin removed
½ Lemon, juiced
2 Teaspoons Red Bell Pepper, finely diced for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  On a baking sheet, lay out okra in a single layer; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with kosher salt and pepper, toss to coat.  Place okra on the top rack of the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning on occasion.  Bring 3 ½ cups of water to a boil in a small pot.  Slowly add grits, butter, and ½ tablespoon of salt to the water.  Stir until the mixture returns to a boil, ensuring an even consistency.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring on occasion until mixture is thick.  Add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and heavy cream to grits and stir until well combined.  Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and season salmon filets with kosher salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet followed by the salmon filets; cook, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes.  Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over the top the filets; flip.  Cook filets for 2-3 more minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F; remove from heat.  Plate a generous portion of grits in the center of the plate, followed by the salmon and okra at either side.  Sprinkle with diced red pepper for garnish.  Serve.

Baked Apples

2 Large Apples, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, in 1 tablespoon increments
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash and dry apples, slice in half, remove core and seeds using a spoon or knife.  In a baking dish, carefully arrange apples flesh side up.  Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon and top each half with a tablespoon of butter.  Bake until apples are tender and bubbly, about 35-40 minutes.  Remove apples from baking dish and plate 2 halves on each serving plate.  Serve alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Onion Soup

Last week, the Southeast was crippled with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.  It's a rarity for us to see that kind of weather, especially in my adopted hometown of Nashville, TN.  Rest assured, the local media took full advantage of such an event by interrupting just about every program to report the latest snow flurry, fender bender, or icy patch on the road.  Nevertheless, everyone had plenty of warning to make that necessary run to the grocery store for white bread, milk, and cold beer.

Not to be outdone, I decided to up the ante and take advantage of my days off by spending some time in the kitchen.  I get it.  Most people don't view cooking as a leisure activity.  But for me, I can think of no better scenario: cold beer in hand, standing over a warm stove, the smell of onions sauteing, and a blanket of white snow on the ground.  Add to that a solid group of friends, the NFL Playoffs, and a night of honky-tonking, and you may have discovered my recipe for the perfect day off.

That is of course, assuming you serve up a bowl of my favorite soup, French Onion.

This recipe is very simple.  With just a few quality ingredients and a little patience, you can impress your guests with this beloved classic - in under an hour.  The best part?  This only gets better the next day, so save your leftovers.

It's cold outside.  Go find that girl's number, call her, make this soup, waste away the afternoon, and thank me later.

French Onion Soup

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
5 Spanish Colossal Onions, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rings
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
3 Teaspoons All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Dash Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Cognac
2 Quarts Beef Stock
Swiss Cheese, grated
Gruyere Cheese, grated
Parsley, garnish

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook slowly, 10 - 15 minutes.  Stir onions, season with salt and pepper, and continue to slowly cook, stirring on occasion for 30 - 40 minutes, or until onions are caramelized and dark brown.  Sprinkle in flour and stir until evenly distributed, adding sugar and Worcestershire.  Increase heat to medium-high; add cognac and beef stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until ready to serve.

For service, preheat an oven to broil.  Fill an oven safe bowl with soup and top with a generous portion of croutons and grated cheeses.  Place bowl under broiler until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.  Remove from broiler and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.  Serve.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Steak for Breakfast

I've never been a huge fan of leftovers.

But, sometimes somethings gotta give . . . Awakening to a freezing TN morning, with snow flurries, and a pounding hangover didn't really set the stage for me wanting to get out.

It's times like these that I'm glad I actually put away last night's grilled skirt steak.

For someone obsessed with food, I'd hate for you to see my refrigerator - it's typically empty.  I prefer not to let anything go to waste, so I purchase what I need, when I need it.  It's a rarity for me to be able to pull off a great meal with what I have on hand.  However, it's these occasions where I surprise myself.

Starting off your morning with steak ain't a bad way to get your Saturday up and running.

Give this a whirl the next time you forget to eat your steak because you consume too much red wine the night before.  Doggie bag - sure... you'll be thankful later.

Grilled Skirt Steak Scramble

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Eggs
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Leftover Grilled Skirt or Flank Steak, sliced
Green Onion Tops, sliced
Crumbled Blue Cheese

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk eggs together until combined and frothy, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Add eggs to pan, waiting to stir until eggs have set.  Using a wooden spoon, gently lift the cooked portions from the bottom of the pan, allowing the runny portions to reach the heat.  Continue in this manner until no more runny portion remains, careful not to over-scramble.  Meanwhile, heat the leftover steak to temperature using a microwave or skillet over medium heat.  Plate eggs, topped with sliced steak, and garnish with green onion slices and crumbled blue cheese.  Serve.