Everyone knows that San Diego has great restaurants. A great restaurant must have an excellent professional chef running the kitchen and making sure that everything is absolutely perfect. While the professional chefs get the attention, there’s no doubt that there are also some great amateur chefs who call San Diego home.Season four of Fox’s hit series “MasterChef” is proof of that, as more than 25% of the top 15 finalists are from America’s Finest City.
All four of the finalists were kind enough to provide a recipe, and pair it with a local craft beer. Each of them also threw in a personal anecdote about working with the famously hot-tempered Chef Gordon Ramsey.
Working with Chef Ramsay was one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking and unforgettable experiences I now have in my life! I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Being a contestant on MasterChef is the ultimate addition to my bucket list!
Honey jalapeno almond pesto pork roulade with seasoned veggies.
BEER PAIRING: 22oz of Pizza Port IPA
1 1/4 cup toasted slivered or whole almonds (save 1/4 cup for garnish)
3 fresh jalapenos (seeded)
Juice of one lime
6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cups picked Thai basil leaves
3/4 cup peanut oil
3 to 4 pound pork loin, cut into at least 4 (2-inch) pieces, pounded flat
Salt and black pepper, onion powder, to taste
1/4 cup sliced green scallions for garnish
1. CREATE PESTO
2. BUTTERFLY PORK LOIN, POUND TO ¼-1/2 INCH, SEASON WITH SALT PEPPER, ONION POWDER, ON BOTH SIDES, PLACE PESTO SPREAD ALL OVER ONE SIDE. PLACE PESTO SIDE UP ON SHEET OF FOIL, ROLL TOGETHER AND TIGHTEN THE SIDES. BAKE FOR 23-30 MINUTES ON 450
( CHECK AT 20, 25,28 MINUTES FOR TEMP) TEMP IS 160 FOR MEAT
3. PULL OUT AND LET REST BEFORE SLICING.
Honey glaze for pork
¼ cup of fresh honey
2 whole Jalapenos (with seeds)
1. POUR HONEY IN HOT PAN WITH DICED JALAPENOS AND REDUCE DOWN FOR 7-10 MINUTES OR UNTIL CORRECT SPICE.
Use your choice of fresh vegetables, boiled and baked with peanut oil and minced garlic.
Working with Chef Ramsay is a privilege. He is fully invested into making the entire cast and crew of MasterChef better. If you read into the tirades, the yelling, and the criticisms, he does everything constructively (albeit intensely). Five minutes with him in the kitchen (or studio) is equal to hours with others.
Rough Draft Brewing Company “Weekday IPA” Carnitas
Beer Pairing: Rough Draft Weekday IPA
2.5 lbs boneless pork country style ribs
2 tbsp grape seed oil (or other neutral oil)
3 tbsp salt
2 cups water
1 cup Rough Draft Weekday IPA
3 cloves garlic
Creamy Roasted Tomatillo Salsa:
5 medium-sized tomatillos
2 pasilla peppers
1/2 white onion
5 sprigs cilantro
5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp grape seed oil (or other neutral oil)
1/2 white onion, diced
5 sprigs of cilantro
charred flour tortillas
glass of Rough Draft Weekday IPA
In a pressure cooker, sear off boneless pork ribs on high heat. Season liberally with salt.
Sear on all sides.
When seared, add water and Rough Draft Weekday IPA to cover and crush 3 cloves (or more if you like) of garlic.
Bring to full pressure and cook for approximately 45 minutes.
*If you don’t have a pressure cooker, sear the pork in a deep oven-proof pan and braise in a 350-degree oven for about 3 hours or until it shreds easily with a fork.
Release the pressure from the cooker and in another deep non-stick pan, heat up 2 tbsp of oil over high heat.
Add braised pork (drain well or it will splatter like crazy) and fry until crispy on the outside. About 5 minutes (flipping chunks of pork once).
Creamy Salsa Verde
Over a gas burner or a super hot cast iron pan, burn the outsides of the (peeled) tomatillos and pasilla peppers until completely black. Put into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up 1/2 a white onion, cilantro, parsley, jalapenos (leaving the seeds is up to you, I personally remove them) and garlic and throw them in a food processor.
When the tomatillos and peppers are done steaming, scrape off the blackened skin with your hands and remove the innards of the pasillas. Add them to the food processor.
Season mixture with salt, lime, and pulse until you like the consistency and season until you like the flavor. I find that another pinch of salt and lime help at the end.
Keep this tomatillo salsa in the fridge and when you want to use it, mix with equal parts Greek yogurt (trust me on this one).
Heat flour tortillas directly over a gas burner to get some char marks. Approximately 10-15 seconds on each side. Use tongs and be careful!
Dice up a 1/2 a white onion, mix with chopped cilantro, salt, and lime juice.
Top tortillas with creamy tomatillo salsa, carnitas, onion/cilantro mixture, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy with a sip of Rough Draft Weekday IPA. The floral, citrusy smell and low alcohol content is an amazing complement to the fresh garnishes on the carnitas and the slight tang of the creamy tomatillo salsa. A perfect pairing.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into, knowing I would be very hands-on with Gordon Ramsey. It’s a very bittersweet feeling, Amazing when he’s applauding what you’re doing, and pretty much want to crawl under a rock when he’s not so happy with you (yelling two inches from your face). One thing you learned to say on demand was “YES CHEF!”
Homemade hot dog buns with apple and jack-stuffed sausage garnished with pickled Serrano chilies and caramelized onions,
Beer pairing: Karl Strauss Windansea Wheat
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp veg oil
1 tsp salt
3 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
(optional)sesame or poppy seeds
In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve the sugar in the warm water and then add the yeast. Let rest until yeast is foamy, ~10 minutes. Add the warm milk, vegetable oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat with dough hook until combined. Add additional flour if needed, 1 spoonful at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-7 minutes, until you have a smooth elastic dough.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide dough into 9 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, and then those thirds into thirds (or use a scale to get even pieces).
Shape each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into cylinders, 4 1/2-inches in length and flatten slightly in the center. Place on baking sheet 1/2-inch apart.
Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame/poppy seeds (if using).
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the buns from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice in half lengthwise to serve.
Apple and jack cheese stuffed sausage
5 pounds pork shoulder, a good mix of lean and fat, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Apples – diced
1 large bunch fresh sage or 2 small ones, finely chopped
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup grated Jack Cheese
Hog casings, rinsed with water run through them and stored in fresh water
Special equipment: meat grinder and sausage stuffer
In a large bowl, combine the pork, garlic, sage, salt and crushed red pepper. Run the meat mixture through the meat grinder outfitted with the die with the largest holes. Repeat so that all of the meat goes through the grinder twice.
Place half of the meat mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Add half of the water and half of the Parmesan and apple and beat on medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining meat, water and cheese and apple.
Attach the sausage-stuffing attachment to the meat grinder, keeping the grinder blade and die in place also.
Keeping the sausage casing very wet, slide a manageable length onto the sausage stuffer.
Place a generous amount of the prepared sausage mixture into the grinder pan. Give the casings a slight bit of resistance by holding onto the sausage stuffer with your three last fingers and letting the casing slip through your thumb and forefinger. Turn the machine on a medium-low speed and fill the casings, being careful to avoid any air bubbles. To get the feel for stuffing the sausages, you might have to do a couple tries. The first couple might be too loose or too tight; that’s ok–think of them as the first pancake (the one that never comes out right that you have to throw away).
Twist the casings to create sausages that are even in size. Tie each with butcher’s twine to keep them nicely sealed. Prick the sausages with a pin or skewer all over to allow steam to escape while cooking (you don’t want to have a blowout).
Preheat a grill or sauté pan. Cook the sausages until cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes on each side. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Pickled Serrano Chilies
4 cups chilies Serrano
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
Cut large chilies into 1/4″ rings. Pierce small chiles 3-4 times with a skewer. Pack all chilies in a clean 1-qt. jar.
Bring vinegar, all remaining ingredients, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour hot brine over peppers; seal jar. Let cool, then refrigerate. Serve within 1 month.
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2pounds onions. thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the sugar and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Put the damn thing all together and open up a beer and enjoy! Careful it’s spicy!!!!
Working with Gordon Ramsay is inspiring and terrifying!
Beer pairing: Karl Strauss Red Trolley
1lb peeled, de-veined, shrimp, chopped
2 jalepenos chopped
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup clamato juice
1 tomato diced
1 cucumber peeled and diced
½ red onion diced
1 ripe avocado diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
Place shrimp in a large bowl. Combine lemon juice, lime juice, jalapeños, red onion, tomato, clamato and cucumber. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Before serving, stir in avocado and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the tostada shell, top with ceviche and add hot sauce and lime juice to taste.