Welcome to the DailyChef Blog - Helping You Make the Food You Love

We’ve moved

We’re now http://www.thedailychefblog.com

I know I’ve been on hiatus for the past couple of years, but we’re going to try to revive this blog intermittently.  

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Pan Seared Scallops


Scallops are usually one of those things I order at restaurants but rarely make at home.   I used to hesitate at the thought of all that butter, and thought the dish would be hard to make at home.  Not true!  Once you get the recipe down, scallops can be easy.  Even better, scallops are very quick to make for yourself or for a party.  I’ve even added it to our dailychef.com recommendation engine, in case you are ever looking for a quick and delicious appetizer/ seafood dish.

There is just one thing to be careful of while cooking:  Scallops cook fast!  Don’t walk away from the stove.  If you do, you’ll end up with rubbery scallops, a very expensive and not-so-tasty dish. Also use a large pan, and don’t crowd the scallops; if anything, just cook in two batches.

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Chickpea Salad

Since it’s already getting very hot here in Texas, I was in the mood for a chickpea salad.  Alas, upon searching in DailyChef’s recommendation engine, I couldn’t find a recipeI loved.  Only one thing to do – submit a new recipe to DailyChef  here.   I’ve always liked chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans for those of you who prefer the Spanish name. There are many more names for these tasty legumes- not surprising given that the oldest (and probably inedible) chickpeas have been found to be ~7000 years old!

Anyhow, although there are several ways to cook chickpeas, I usually find them either dried or in cans.  I’ve tried reconstituting dried chickpeas into a fresh version, but for some reason mine never seem to obtain the appropriate level of moisture.  Thus I always end up with GOYA chickpeas from a can.  (Note to GOYA: this is free advertising!  Send me chickpeas in return!)  Do any of you have thoughts or tips on getting high-quality fresh chickpeas?

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Potatoes Au Gratin

I sometimes dream of creamy potatoes on the side of a large steak.  Unfortunately, I rarely execute on this dream, mostly because my arteries will hate me.  Sometimes, though, any cook just has to give in to decadence.  This recipe was particularly notable because I managed to also blow off my work out to make this meal.  Maybe if I share the recipe with you, my dear readers, the common good will rectify my wayward ways.

These Potatoes Au Gratin were my side to the New York Strip Steak.  It’s also a classic side dish to any meat-based main course.  Although not as healthy as a salad or corn on the cob (without butter or Parmesan cheese), this creamy soft roasted potato dish makes a decadent meal.

I also noticed that potatoes au gratin, also known as scalloped potatoes, were not part of the DailyChef database.  It is now! (https://beta.dailychef.com/recipes/show/1090).  Since we’re still building the site into the premier recipe destination on the web, I guess I’m not surprised.  Rather than copying down every single recipe out there like some other recipe sites, we’re trying to limit our database to high quality recipes that we or other chefs have actually tried.   Do any of you have good recipe suggestions?  Please let us know!

I’ve found that the quickest way to make Potatoes Au Gratin is to use a mixture of cooking methods.  First, simmer potatoes on the stove.  Then, finish them in the oven to give you the best texture and color.  Also, make sure that you cut the potatoes to the right thickness .  Too thin and you end up with something like the potato galette; too thick, and your sauce has to be super sticky and creamy to make things stay together.

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New York Strip Steak w/ Rosemary Balsamic Reduction


Hi readers!  For those of you who haven’t been following along, this is another in a long series of posts as we explore the DailyChef recommendation engine. I’ll be actively testing new recipes by cooking them while we refine and improve the DailyChef recipe recommendation service.  Explore the service with us and send us feedback, either directly on our site, or by posting comments.

As you can tell, we’ve been busy improving the DailyChef site, which has really taken away from my cooking.  However I am back, and as a big celebration, my first act is to eat steak. A fancy New York Strip Steak from my favorite bulk store Costco – it has such great meat! I also added steak to our recommendation engine, as I realized that we hadn’t properly categorized tenderloins, porterhouses, ribeyes, etc. all under the master ingredient “steak.”  Now you can find this recipe there too.

It doesn’t take much effort to get a near restaurant quality steak.  A high quality cut of beef and an oven safe pan is all you need.

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Oven Roasted Salmon with Tangerine Ginger Relish

I’ve been looking for a quick salmon recipe for the days when I crave fish – something that doesn’t take a lot of time, but gives a nice brown exterior and moist center.  Unfortunately, I’ve had some bad experiences with roasting fish before.  When roasting goes wrong, the center of the salmon can be chalky dry…as bad as salmon from a can!  Fortunately, I discovered a way to get a nice crust combined with a moist center: use two different oven temperatures and a really hot oven pan.

To finish off the recipe, I top the whole thing with a delicious relish.  In this case, I used some tangerines I had around the house.

This recipe is also in our main DailyChef database.  If you haven’t checked out the DailyChef site yet, please do!  We’re recommending recipes to you based on your tastes, so   if we discover that you are into seafood and citrus, hopefully you’ll quickly find this recipe recommended to you.  (End shameless plug)

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Chicken Picatta

It’s hard to get a good recipe for chicken piccata.  The recipes that I’ve found are generally either overcomplicated or bland.  Too many ingredients can ruin a dish, just as too few can!  Even our own website, beta.dailychef.com doesn’t have a Chicken Picatta recipe.  That had to be remedied, so I’ve added this one to our recommendation engine.  If you like it, go give it a “thumbs up” so that our software will recommend others like it for you!

 

For this recipe, much like Chicken Tenderloin Meunière that I made previously, you have to flour thin slices of chicken breast and saute it in a light butter.  Then you make a quick sauce by deglazing the pan with chicken broth, lemon slices and scallions.  I also add a 1/4 cup of lemon juice to maximize the lemony flavor.  A small amount of butter is used to thicken the sauce and round out the taste.  Finally, capers and parsley finished it all off.

 

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Announcing the DailyChef Beta!

 

Welcome to the DailyChef Beta!

https://beta.dailychef.com/

 

Hello fellow foodies, cooks, chefs, and food bloggers!  Thanks for joining me over the past 1.5 years and sharing my trials and tribulations in the kitchen as well as my love of food.

Over the years, I’ve noticed how hard it is to find recipes.  Oftentimes I wanted  to cook , but I didn’t know exactly what.  No recipe site on the web knew what I liked to eat and nothing could recommend a recipe catered to my tastes and food preferences.  And even when I knew what I wanted to cook, I’d get 100+ recipe choices for a dish as basic as lasagna.  The effort required to sort through all the recipes might have led me to abandon cooking altogether if it weren’t for inspirational posts and great stories from all of you, my fellow food bloggers.

With all this in mind, today I’m proud to announce that DailyChef has become more than just a food blog.  For the last year and a half, our team of engineers – all friends and fellow foodies – has been hard at work trying to solve this problem.  We’ve built a revolutionary new product with the goal of helping you make the food you love.  After consulting with professional chefs in San Francisco and New York, we think we’ve built an amazing recipe recommendation engine that will change the way you find recipes.  In short, we are proud to introduce the DailyChef beta!

When you first sign on, you can start by telling us a few ingredients you like or don’t like.  Even better, start browsing recipes and rating them “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down.”  After every rating, our engine gets smarter and finds recipes that are better and better suited to your tastes.  Now you don’t have to know exactly what you want to eat to find a recipe – DailyChef can help provide the inspiration.

We know that we have a lot of work ahead, but please join us as we figure out our next steps.  After you’ve had a chance to try out DailyChef, click the Feedback link and tell us what would make the site work even better for you.  We’d love to get food lovers like you involved.  Create accounts, find new recipes and upload your recipes– if they mesh well with other user’s taste and flavor profiles, we’ll recommend it to them!

Thanks for being along for the ride.  Onwards to a better cooking and eating experience!

James

 

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Hippie Rice

Despite the recipe’s name and liberal usage of such left-wing ingredients such as raisins, nuts and tofu, I will vigorously deny any politics that may be associated to me by this recipe.  If anything, I am an equal opportunity cook and eater.  And perhaps my politics reflect that as well – I’ll probably listen to any idea that looks, smells and sounds tasty!  Anyway, we can thank Mr. Bittman at the NYTimes for this recipe.  This is an interesting way to make a healthier but still-flavorful modification on the familiar fried rice, albeit with nuts, raisins, tofu and broccoli.

Now if I can only get someone to sing kumbaya with me…

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine

I’m back!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  Sorry it took so long to start posting again, but January has been quite hectic.  Today, I tackled a classic spicy Italian dish: Shrimp Fra Diavolo, or “brother devil.”  Red pepper gives this recipe a nice kick.  However, I’ve had this dish when it just doesn’t quite taste right – the shrimp can easily get a little bland and overcooked.  This often happens if you just add the shrimp raw to the sauce.

If you’re going to add shrimp to a dish, it shouldn’t be just be a condimentor just a “protein;” it should be the star of the show.  In this variation, I cook the shrimp separately.   But I don’t just pan fry it first, I add some dark rum and flambe the shrimp!  As an extra bonus, I managed to catch a nice shot of my flame below.  This preparation gives the shrimp a unique taste that stands out in the spicy tomato sauce.  Enjoy!

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