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These deceptively simple, yet devastatingly delicious garlic noodles were invented in San Francisco, at a restaurant called, Thanh Long, back in the 70’s. Usually served with roasted Dungeness crab, the actual recipe is a very closely guarded family secret, but after lots of investigation, and even more experimentation, I think this is very close, at least for a non-MSG laced version.

Apparently, one of their “secret” ingredients is something called, Maggi Seasoning Sauce, which I decided not to use, since I’m not sure how easy it is for the average person to find. Besides, I think my assortment of savory, umami-rich substitutes did the job quite nicely, and everything in the ingredient list can be found at any large grocery store.

The most exotic thing here would be the oyster sauce, which is sort of a very savory, slightly sweet, thick, soy sauce-like condiment. And yes, it does have oyster extracts in it, in case that matters. If you can’t find it, just add a touch more fish sauce, soy, and Worcestershire, as well as little brown sugar.

Most garlic noodles actually call for sugar in the recipe, but I think that makes it too sweet for my taste, since the oyster sauce is fairly sweet, as is all that sautéed garlic. Regardless, whether you enjoy this with some roasted garlic crab, or as is, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 small portions Garlic Noodles:
For the secret sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
For the rest:
6 ounces dry egg noodles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves finely minced garlic
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
thinly sliced green onion to garnish
red chili flakes to taste
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These deceptively simple, yet devastatingly delicious garlic noodles were invented in San Francisco, at a restaurant called, Thanh Long, back in the 70’s. Usually served with roasted Dungeness crab, the actual recipe is a very closely guarded family secret, but after lots of investigation, and even more experimentation, I think this is very close, at least for a non-MSG laced version.

Apparently, one of their “secret” ingredients is something called, Maggi Seasoning Sauce, which I decided not to use, since I’m not sure how easy it is for the average person to find. Besides, I think my assortment of savory, umami-rich substitutes did the job quite nicely, and everything in the ingredient list can be found at any large grocery store.

The most exotic thing here would be the oyster sauce, which is sort of a very savory, slightly sweet, thick, soy sauce-like condiment. And yes, it does have oyster extracts in it, in case that matters. If you can’t find it, just add a touch more fish sauce, soy, and Worcestershire, as well as little brown sugar.

Most garlic noodles actually call for sugar in the recipe, but I think that makes it too sweet for my taste, since the oyster sauce is fairly sweet, as is all that sautéed garlic. Regardless, whether you enjoy this with some roasted garlic crab, or as is, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 small portions Garlic Noodles:
For the secret sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
For the rest:
6 ounces dry egg noodles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves finely minced garlic
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
thinly sliced green onion to garnish
red chili flakes to taste
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This “burnt” Basque cheesecake is one of the rare trendy recipes that I’m actually posting while it’s still trendy. I usually wait like three or four years, and by that time people have lost interest, and it seems like I’m doing it to be ironic. Well, this time the hype got to me, and now I understand why all the fuss.

By cooking the cheesecake in a very hot oven, we get a beautiful, dark exterior, which not only looks great, but the bittersweet notes it provides makes the light, creamy cheesecake inside seem even more rich, and flavorful. Besides the taste and texture, this method is just plain easier, as long as you can find some parchment paper.

Depending on the size of the roll or sheet you buy, you may have to overlap it, but as long as the pan is covered, and it comes up a few inches past the top, you’re fine. I assumed this technique was adapted from some ancient Basque recipes, but as it turns out, it was actually developed at a café in San Sebastian, called La Vina in the 70’s. That probably explains the Philly cream cheese.

Anyway, if you haven’t had the best luck with traditional cheesecake methods, you should stop trying, and just make this exclusively. Just make sure you tell you’re guests it’s supposed to be “burnt,” although if they’re on social media, they probably already know. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 Portions:
24 ounces soft cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt (or 3/4 to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 extra large eggs (you can use 5 large eggs)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

- Bake at 400 F. for 50 to 55 minutes, or until puffed and well browned. For a little more color, you can crank the oven up to 425 or 450 F. for the last 10 minutes or so.
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I tried to create a flan that tastes like cheesecake, but ended up with a cheesecake that tastes like flan, and yet I wasn’t disappointed in the least. While this may not have lived up to its enticing name, it was still one of the most delicious flans I’ve ever had.

Based on a cream cheese flan, I thought the addition of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some graham cracker crumbs, would create the perfect hybrid, but our caramelized sugar had other ideas. It’s amazing how such a thin layer of caramel can dominate the other flavors, but that’s exactly what happened here, and if we really wanted a “cheesecake flan,” we’d need to omit that from the recipe.

Except if we did that it wouldn’t be a flan, and we’d have to call it “cheesecake custard.” So, let’s move past the name, and simply focus on what a great dessert this really was. I’ll probably skip the crumbs next time, since they didn’t add much, and annoyingly soaked up the pool of caramel on the plate. But, regardless of whether you include the crust, or what you decide to call it, I really do hope you give this gorgeous recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 Cheesecake Flans:
Please Note: I used four 5.5 ounce ramekins, and had a little custard mixture leftover, so you can probably get 5 out of this recipe if you use a slightly smaller ramekin, or fill them with less batter.

For the ramekins:
1 teaspoon melted butter or vegetable oil to grease ramekins
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar, caramelized to an amber color over medium heat

For the custard:
1/2 cup room temp cream cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

For the crumb crust:
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
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Depending on whom you talk to, making ice cream floats with beer is either a genius idea, or a horrible mistake. In fact, I remember hearing one food writer describe a local beer float tasting as “fizzy insults,” which is a clever phrase, but not necessarily true, if the pairing is done properly.

The key is to choose a beer that’s on the toasty, malty, sweeter side, and stay away from beers that are too hoppy, dry, and bitter. But fair warning, even using a sweet, mellow brew, this is quite a different experience, which is why I suggested having some regular root beer around, just in case.

As far as the ice cream goes, there are as many flavors as there are choices of beers, but the safest, and probably most effective option would be plain, old vanilla, especially if using a fruit-infused brew. The exception to that would be if you were pouring a dark beer that features chocolate and coffee notes. In that case, a chocolate or coffee ice cream might be just the thing.

But no matter what beer you decide to pair with which ice cream, I’d make a small test glass first, to make sure it works for you and your palette. And if it doesn’t, don’t feel bad, since you’re still going to be eating ice cream and drinking beer, just not together. Either way, I really do hope you give these beer floats a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for an Ice Cream Beer Float:
1 cup of appropriate beer (something sweet and/or fruity, but not too bitter, dry, or sour)
1/3 cup vanilla ice cream
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I used to make something very similar to this queso dip at the Mexican restaurant I worked at in college, and when I first started, it took me a little while to fully understand the real secret to its addictive irresistibility. We called it “chili con queso,” and served it hot, and I loved everything about it, except I thought it should be thicker, so you could get more on the chip with each dip.

But, eventually I realized the saucy texture was the key, and that making it thicker would’ve ruined everything. Instead of too much cheese piled up on your chip, we just get a beautiful, silky coating, and as soon as you finish one, you can’t wait to dip another, and another, and another, until there are no chips left.

Just be careful not to cook the mixture for too long after adding the cheese. I turn the heat off a few seconds after the cheese melts, but you can cook it for another minute or so if you do want it little thicker. However, there’s a danger that your cheese will get grainy, and you’ll lose that luxurious, smooth mouthfeel.

Since this doesn’t get completely firm, even after cooling down, you can make this ahead of time, and just leave it out, although that can be a risky maneuver, as there may not be a lot left when your guests arrive. Either way, whether you’re making this for a Super Bowl party, or any other kind of party, including parties of one, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Portions:
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
2 minced garlic cloves
1 bunch green onion, light parts only, sliced (save green tops for garnish)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 can (4-oz) fire-roasted diced green chilies
1/2 cup diced seeded Roma tomatoes
1 can (12-oz) evaporated milk
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
pinch of cayenne
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Overly contrived recipes are usually a bad idea, but these rosemary, ancho, and molasses glazed chicken wings really did come out very well, despite the fact that those ingredients were only chosen because they spelled out the word, “ram.” 

In case you’re not from around here, there's a big football game coming up, and the Los Angeles Rams are one of the teams involved. The other team shall not be named.

In addition to serving as this year's Super Bowl snack idea video, it’s also a great tutorial for the easiest of all chicken wing methods, and that would be the crowd pleasing, finger-messing “sticky wings.” The technique simply involves soaking them in a sweet, spicy marinade, baking them wet, and then tossing them with a finishing glaze.

That’s all there is to it, and this method will work no matter which spices, or sweeteners you go with. The sky’s the limits, and it just depending on what you like, and/or what you want to spell out. No matter what goes into yours, I really do hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 1/2 pounds chicken wing sections
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary
2 or 3 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder, or other chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons molasses (can substitute maple syrup, or honey)
- Bake at 400 F. for 45 minutes or until the bones come out clean

For the finishing glaze (use a clean bowl):
2 teaspoons molasses
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt
1 fresh juiced lime
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I’ve wanted to make carabaccia ever since I found out it was the ancient ancestor of French onion soup. Not only is that an interesting fact, but it’s also a great addition to your dinner party conversation repertoire, especially where there are French chefs involved.

Okay, now let’s talk cinnamon. The safe play is to not add any, and live happily ever after. However, in very, very small amounts, it really does add a mysterious, wonderfully warming background note that you actually might enjoy. There’s only one way to find out, but please proceed with caution. Too much will render the soup inedible, and there’s really no way to know what “too much” is.

As I mentioned in the video, if you want to cut down on the stirring, you can cook the onions in a roasting pan. Just pop them in a 325 F. oven until they’re done, stirring a few times along the way. How long exactly is anyone’s guess, but just like the stove-top method, take your time, and wait until they are very soft.

So, whether you’re a culinary history buff like me, and want to taste what French onion soup tasted like 500 years ago, or it’s freezing outside, and a steaming bowl of something delicious sounds good, or both, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 Portions:
4 pounds red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 sage leaves, plus more for toast
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
very tiny pinch of cinnamon*
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
5-6 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

For the toast:
3 thick slices Italian bread, halved
dress with olive oil, sage and grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Toast in a 400 F. oven for 15 minutes or until browned.

* While traditional, many people don’t enjoy the effect cinnamon has on the sweetness of the soup, so you may want to omit it, or add an extremely small amount, and then adjust from there. You can also make the soup without any, and then experiment by adding a trace amount to a small sample cup, and see what you think.
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I love samosas, but I don’t necessarily love all the work and mess involved with assembling and deep-frying them, which is why I’m such a huge fan of this quesadilla approach. Plus, above and beyond the faster, simpler method, the results may be even better than the original. Okay, hear me out.

While it’s true a perfectly made, expertly fried, and quickly served samosa is superior to this version, that can be a very rare combination of events. By comparison, this is almost impossible to mess up, and if you use enough oil in your pan, you should be able to achieve a beautifully browned, crispy crust that rivals something out of a deep fryer.

Like I said in the video, even if you don’t make samosadillas, the filling is a world-class potato salad in its own right. A scoop of this next to some grilled meat, like tandoori chicken for example, would make for a gorgeous plate of food. Fair warning though, Michele and I like big and bold flavors, so please feel free to adjust the ingredient amounts below to your tastes. Whether they’re enjoyed hot, warm, room temp, or cold, we really do hope you give these samosadillas a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 Portions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 minced Serrano chile
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground corinader
1/2 teaspoon turmeric            
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup green peas
1 1/2 pounds cubed Yukon gold potatoes, cooked until tender in salted water
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lemon
salt to taste once mixed

For the Cilantro Lime Chutney Sauce:
1 large or 2 small bunches fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh picked mint leaves
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 sliced Serrano chile
1 or 2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
pinch of salt, optional
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Brazilian cheese bread is very easy to make, and features a chewy, cheesy, bready center, encased in a beautiful, thin, pastry crust. It also happens to be gluten-free, thanks to it being root-rich. These are made using tapioca flour, which not only makes them grain-free, but is also responsible for their very unique texture.

Tapioca flour is pretty easy to find these days, and I get mine from a guy named Bob, who runs a mill, but if your local market doesn’t carry it, I recommend finding some online. There are lots of fun recipes you can make in addition to these, like homemade tapioca pearls for bubble tea, just to give one enticing example.

As I mentioned in the video, you can easily adjust the thickness of your dough by adding another slash of milk, or more tapioca flour depending on what your into. Some folks swear by a thinner batter, which they bake in muffin tins, but to me those come out too much like popovers, and don’t have the same chewy, cheesy center.

Happily, Brazilian cheese bread ingredients are fairly inexpensive, which means you can play around with a few batches, and see for yourself. No matter what you end up with, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 24 Brazilian Cheese Breads:
(Please note, I only made half a batch)
 2 1/4 cups tapioca flour, plus more as needed to adjust texture
1/2 cup lightly flavored olive oil, or vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces freshly grated mozzarella (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces freshly and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano* (about a cup unpacked)
2 large beaten eggs
pinch of cayenne
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authorI teach people how to cook. Don't let the chicken suit fool you. I have skills. Some skills.