#cheflife

Sweet potato with cream

A simple and beautiful side. Sweet and earthy.

Strawberries in vinegar

Fresh strawberries + balsamic caramel glaze. I’d call this a simple dessert, but making the caramel glaze takes some time and care. Our method deviates slightly from TFM in that we add water to the sugar from the onset and swirl the caramel not stir. This wet method for caramel has always been a bit more friendly to us. The water helps the sugar along and the swirling is to not disturb the chemical composition of the caramel. If improperly handled the caramel will seize and crystalize.

We pair this with a Cabernet Sauvignon: Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

Baked sea bass

Ask your fish supplier to clean and gut the fish for you to save on some troubles. Know how to pick the freshest fish. It’s more important to pick the freshest bream or snapper instead of a mediocre bass. Freshness counts. Also make sure to get a fish scaler so you aren’t stuck using tongs to remove scales. We lost our scaler and forgot to replace it before shooting this recipe. This was one of our favorite TFM recipes even if it is a bit of work.

We pair this with a white Bordeaux: Chateau Laures 2014 Entre Deux Mers, Bordeaux

Grilled romaine hearts

Grilled romaine hearts with a mustard mint vinaigrette. Making a simple emulsion is a basic principle of cooking and here is our first from the TFM. In this recipe we use mint, country dijon, yolk, sherry vinegar, and sunflower oil. Grill, cut, dress and serve while it’s still alive. This was done in a pan, if you can, use a grill.

Pairs with an intense and fresh Bordeaux white wine: Chateau Couhins 2012, Pessac

Melon soup with grapefruit and mint

This recipe is a wonderful opportunity to work on knife and plating skills while also testing your palate. The variance in different melons and grapefruits’ sweetness and tartness defines the flavor of the soup. Taste and taste again, aware of how much sugar is needed. We added sugar for TFM filming, however the melon was sweet enough by itself to forgo it.

We pair with a gentle pink-hued Champagne we keep on drinking through a course of oysters: Champagne Dauvergne Brut Rose Grand Cru, Bouzy France

Prosciutto with melon

Sometimes TFM makes us ask “What is a recipe?” In this case it’s very simply cutting a melon, plating it, and serving it with cured meats. The only real rule is not to plate the meat and melon on the same plate. Doing so yields a particularly gross result very quickly. This simple appetizer or dessert takes little time and is almost always a crowd-pleaser when the melon is ripe and the prosciutto is quality. Ingredients rule once again as this is practically a no-skills-needed dish.

Today we pair it with a floral white: Domaine Bouzereau Gruere, Saint Aubin 1er Cru Les Cortons 2011

Omelette with potato chips

A quick and easy omelette. Not exactly pretending to be a potato and egg torta, but kind of feels like a lo-fi version. TFM cook times were all over the place on this one so be careful when doing the egg flip or you might end up with a mess. We were lucky/smart enough to give it the extra time needed and still things almost got messy.

We pair this with a bright espresso and sparkling water: De La Paz Peel Sessions

Bread with chocolate

TFM makes this simple dessert. Burning bread is deceptively common; cook with attention. Other than that, it’s just ingredients and a bare minimum of touch required to make.

Paired simply with fresh mint steeped in hot water, lime juice, and honey.

Bread and garlic soup

A very round and strong flavor due to the earth and nutty notes from both the garlic and the toasted bread. We added (not pictured) a drop of white vinegar to the finished soup to brighten it invigorate it for serving. TFM uses a sous vide egg which we recommend (though did not prepare). Add boiled egg to your liking, but typically the softer the better here.

We pair with a wine that can hold up to the soup.

Gazpacho with croutons

TFM makes a good gazpacho. We followed their lead and double-blanched the garlic to take off the bite. This is a dish all about balance and requires a strong palette. This chilled soup can easily be overpowered by any one element. Before starting, chill your bowls in the freezer.

We pair this with a wine that can match acidities: Chateau Couhins 2012, Pessac

Tomatoes and Basil with Burrata

Making simple ingredients shine. Ripe heirloom tomatoes in season, fresh cheese, and top quality olive oil is key. Basil plants (available at grocery stores) add freshness. TFM didn’t use burrata, but we find it a great addition to the dish. TFM peeled the tomatoes with a paring knife but this became messy with such ripe tomatoes.

We pair with a ice-cold lager: Birra Moretti L’Autentica
Or a quality Chianti: Castello Di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva 2010

Baked apples

Staying true to TFM we whipped the cream manually like we were back in culinary school. We suggest just using a stand or hand mixer for the job. The internet reviews typically love this one Cuisinart Handheld Mixer, though we haven’t personally tried it out to give our opinion.

If you cook down the apple/honey/brandy liquid enough you get sticky-rich drizzle. We opted for to try both ways and while the caramel-like drizzle photographs much nicer, we ultimately prefer the flavor of the more juicy honey apple liquid.

This easy dessert pairs with a cool cleansing beverage: Chilled Phoobsering, Darjeeling Black Tea, First Flush

Coconut flan

A flan that has a balanced sweetness and subtle individuality with the coconut. We added some salt to the caramel to draw out more flavor and buzzed down the grated coconut to make it more fine. In future experiments with this dish we’d look at removing the grated coconut completely in order to retain a perfectly smooth and silky texture.

We pair our coconut flan with a Goldeneye cocktail made from Jamaican rum: Blackwell Rum.

Yogurt foam strawberries

An easy-to-make dessert as long as you have the needed equipment.

Here’s our recommendation for a top-quality kit.
Culinary Whipper Kit

Since it’s so few ingredients, it requires finding the best flavor using your favorite cream, yogurt, and strawberries.

We pair this with sparkling water.

Roasted vegetables with vinaigrette

Roasting these vegetables bring out their sweet and earthy flavors. Roasting in a wood oven would bring out the smokiness as well, something we’d suggest if you have the capacity. Combining the juices with the vinegar brightens up the dish and adds the needed pop to make the dish shine. This dish is both great when it’s still warm or chilled.

We pair this with a fresh-tasting Italian sparkling rosé to accentuate the brightness in the dish: Marcato Rosé Sparkling Wine

Tomato sauce

A simple tomato sauce. We recommend taking it to the next level by adding aromatics wine. We also found that the strained sauce was too thin so we added back some of the blended tomato for desired thickness and volume.

Japanese-style snapper

TFM uses bream, but we chose snapper. Steam the freshest most lovely fish that makes sense; sea bass, hake, megrim.
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Ask your fish supplier to clean and gut your fish and we advise getting a fish scraper. Get it now and thank us later – Winco FSP-9 Scale Peeler, 9.5-Inch
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On flavor; We used a Thai thin soy sauce, fancy grade maple, and lime juice instead of just using soy sauce. We lightly treated the fish to a sugar and salt cure to coax out more flavor.
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Pairs with: Iichiko Silhouette Mugi Shochu and Tiger beer

Chicken wings with mushrooms

Chicken wings that are meaty and earthy, yet still bright. The wine sauce and the slow cooking gives the brightness and tenderness to the wings, while the thyme and the mushrooms draw out a clean herb-infused earthiness. The garlic adds to, and rounds out, familiar flavors. Our last step before plating; we briefly fire the wings under the broiler to extract a deeper caramelization to the wings. We pair with a Chablis wine: Mont de Milieu.

Guacamole with chips

In this recipe we used lime juice instead of lemon juice because it is our preference. Understand how to properly pick an avocado that is ripe but not brown on the inside. A good tell-tale sign of a ripe avocado is if the nub of the stem pops off easily but isn’t corroded. Freshness is key to good guacamole flavor. We pair our guacamole with: Viejo Indecente Mezcal

Miso soup with clams

In this recipe I enjoyed the brininess from the dashi powder and the fresh sea brine from the clams. The earthy characters are present with the silky tofu and the red miso. Blending the tofu into the miso soup at the end adds a creamy body to help balanced the dish. Pair with bright and dry alcohol – Asahi Super Dry.

Saffron risotto with mushroom

Recipe for Chicken stock

Requires constant stirring