Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

Dissecting a Wine Label- Organic, Sustainable, and Unfiltered



Episode 023- Have you ever been to a wine shop or seen the terms “Organic”, “Sustainable”, or “Unfiltered” on a wine list?

Are these real terms, important to your wine drinking experience or are simply marketing ploys designed to separate more dollars from your wallet?

Our resident wine guy, Howard Riedel will help you figure out what theses terms mean  and give you important insight for the next time you buy a bottle of wine.  Howard is a wine expert and has 30 plus year career as a marketing consultant to  the retail wine industry.  Here are some of his recommendations in this category:

Bonterra- A brand that evolved out of Fetzer’s early experiments in organic farming in the late 1980s, California’s Bonterra is considered the first mass-market organic brand.

Emiliana-   Chile already has an advantage over most wine growing areas because it wasn’t affected by the phylloxera aphid that destroyed many vineyards around the world, primarily in France, in the mid-19th century. It’s why the vines in Chile grow on their own roots instead of being grafted onto pest-resistant rootstock as most of the world does now. Chile is also one of the world leaders in organic wine growing, and Emiliana is the most prominent example. They produce several brands, and their Natura line is one of their best values.

Dashwood-  New Zealand is another country that has gotten strongly behind the organic movement, and Dashwood is one of their more affordable brands.

McManis Family Vineyards- This winery in California’s Central Valley is one of many certified by Lodi Rules Certified Green Sustainable Winegrowing.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards- Located on the Niagara Escarpment, Arrowhead has long been a proponent of traditional farming methods. They’ve been expanding their estate vineyards and are using sustainable farming methods.


Aside from the podcasts, there are blog posts too!  For example, if you go to guysandfood.com, you can read my latest piece on why investing in an instant read thermometer beats the alternative.

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog.  Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

What Makes a Great Hamburger?



Episode 022-  What makes a great hamburger?  It’s such a personal choice but, regardless of your preferences, there are specific things that you take your burger from “meh” to fabulous.

On today’s show, you’ll learn about those things.  We’ll also explore some ideas from fellow burger lovers.  Their suggestions might make you stop and say, “Hey, I want to try that!”

One of my favorite burgers ever is from a restaurant called The Good Steer on Long Island.  It’s called “The Cheese Dream” –now referred to as the “Classic Cheese Dream Supreme” on their menu. This hamburger is bathed in a velvety cheese sauce, tomato, bacon, and crowned with perfectly fried onion rings.  I’ve tried to replicate it at home, to no avail.  My only recourse is to get a Cheese Dream whenever I am back on Long Island.  Usually, I will stop at the Good Steer before I see my family or friends.  If you’ve ever had The Cheese Dream, you’d know why.

There are many ways to enjoy a burger.  How one has it depends on many variables including mood, location, company, who’s doing the cooking, and what’s available.  I don’t eat a burger exactly the same way every single time.  Nor should you;  explore the many ways to achieve hamburger enlightenment!


Peanut Butter?  We saw this at a restaurant not too long ago.  While intrigued, I went with something else.  Have you had or would you put peanut butter on your hamburger?


Today, we’ll cover primarily beef hamburgers.  I know, I know.  There are some very good veggie burgers, turkey burgers, lamb burgers, etc.  For the purposes of simplicity of this particular episode, let’s stipulate that we’re talking about beef with the understanding that some of these hints, tricks, and ideas could transfer over to other burgers made of something other than beef.

The Way That You Cook It

Some people prefer small burgers, I do not.  I like a big burger that has a crust on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. In my opinion, the best way to do that is on a very hot cast iron pan or griddle.

Alternatively, you can do this outside on the grill and I like the flavor that charcoal imparts on a burger.  However, when at home and since we are a small family, I’m not going to do all that work firing up the Weber for three burgers.  All the more reason I should get a small hibachi grill, I know.

The temperature of the burger is important for the taste and consistency.  Some people go by looks, others use a thermometer to get an accurate reading.  Remember, your burger will continue to cook when you take it off the heat. But here are the temps:

Rare 120 °F

Medium Rare 130 °F

Medium 140 °F

Medium Well 150 °F

Well Done 160 °F

For food safety, the USDA has guidelines for safe minimum temperature of ground meat which they say is 160 °F.   For me, Well-Done burgers are unpalatable.  I am usually a Rare or Medium Rare guy, depending on my mood.

Disclaimer:  The temperature of how you eat your burger is your own business and only you take responsibility for what you put in your body.  Don’t eat anything you don’t want to eat.

You Invited me Over for Burgers?  Why are you Serving Meatballs?

Has this happened to you?  You start with patties and then through the process of cooking the meat transforms into a meatball?  If you have this problem, try this:  After you make the patty, make a divot in the center of it with your thumb.  Don’t squish the burger into submission, just make a gradual indentation.

What You Put In It

The quality of the beef is important; the taste and juiciness of your burger depends on it.  If you buy supermarket ground beef it’s very likely that you’re going to get lower quality ground beef than if you bought a slab of chuck and ground it yourself.  That’s just a fact with industrialized meat.  Chances are they are not as discerning about what parts of the cow they are throwing into the mix as you are.

That said, not everyone has the time or patience to start grinding meat at home.  So go to a butcher you trust (whether they be at a supermarket or not) and buy the ground beef from them.  Another option is to buy the cut of meat that you want and have them grind it for you.  It’s worth the extra money!

The amount of fat is important too.  The more fat, the tastier and more moist the hamburger will be.  Most things that I’ve read suggest 80/20 or 85/15 beef- to-fat ratio.  How you get a great tasting burger with anything leaner is beyond me.

Recommendations for the type of meat center around chuck, that’s what I use.  However, I’ve used ground pork, chopped up pancetta, or regular bacon if I have it in the fridge.  I had recommendations of adding tasso, brisket, or short rib meat into the mix too.

Some people suggest adding things such as salt, pepper, Dash seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, or other types of sauces into the meat before forming patties.  I do not.  When you start doing this, it is a slippery slope and then you fall so very close to the territory of meatballs and meatloaf.  Part of what makes a burger a burger, is its simplicity.  I usually just put salt and pepper on the outside after I make the patties.  I add sauces and other accouterments when I’m building the burger.

To combat dried out burgers, there are suggestions to put a small ice cube in the patty to keep it moist.

Another way to do that is to put a frozen chunk of cold butter in the center. This simultaneously imparts fat for moisture and flavor into the meat.  (Side Note:  On my bucket list is to eat the “21” burger at 21 Club in New York City which famously features herb butter in its center.  Here is the recipe for that.)

What You Put On Top of It

But first, this note on construction:  I’m of the mind that when the effort of eating something offsets its taste, I will pass.  I see this at restaurants.  In a effort for them to be unique, hip, buzz-worthy, or any other motivation not predicated on taste, they will create monstrous concoctions.  If you have so many burger patties, toppings, sauces, and other stuff on your sandwich that you need an assistant to help you cram the thing into your mouth, I would respectfully suggest that you’re doing it incorrectly.  You shouldn’t need a foot long skewer impaling your burger to get it to your table.  Further, it’s impossible for the human tongue to taste 34 ingredients all at one time.  Less is more!

Salt, Spices, and Herbs

As I mentioned, it’s Kosher salt and black pepper on the outside for me.  Many folks add other things including garlic salt, spice rubs, dried herbs to the outside a burger before cooking it.  If that’s your preference, okay.  I would offer the caveat that when some of these herbs and spices hit an intense heat or open flame, they can quickly go from tasty to bitter and off-tasting.

Sauce, Vegetables, Cheese, and “Other” Toppings

Sauce–  When I was growing up on Long Island, the joke was that you’d never want to live upstate because they put mustard on their burgers.  Despite this dire warning,  I have lived almost half of my life in upstate New York though I do avoid mustard on my burger.

My preference for sauce is ketchup (preferably Heinz), A1 Sauce, and/ or Tabasco Sauce.  Some like mayonnaise, and I see the appeal, but I think the danger of adding yet another sauce onto the burger outweighs the taste.  I use the word “danger” because the sauce with the (hopefully) juicy burger will diminish the integrity of the bread holding the thing together.  More on that later.

Also, too many sauces also adds to the likelihood that the burger might come slipping out the other side when you try to bite into it. For this reason, if I add a sauce, I will remove a sauce from my predetermined preferences.

I see the benefit of using sriracha as it adds both heat and tomatoey/garlicky goodness.  It’s an added dimension of flavors that I enjoy and, if its around, I will use it instead of ketchup.  The same goes with barbecue sauce and HP Sauce.

Friends recommend Thousand Island dressing which reminds me too much of McDonald’s “special sauce” so I will stay away from that. However, recommendations to try pesto aioli and even cocktail sauce intrigue me.

The best additions to a burger add texture, moisture, and taste simultaneously.  For these reasons, I like the suggestions of chili and guacamole.  With a smear of either on your burger, you can get a lot accomplished!  So too, I never thought to put cole slaw on a burger!

Cheese- Yes, I know when you put cheese on a hamburger, it transforms into a cheeseburger.  My more litigious friends can choose to argue the nuance of that, while I sit down and eat while their meal gets cold.

American or Cheddar seems to be the standard.  Burger-loving friends have suggested pepper-jack, blue cheese (and Gorgonzola).   I prefer Swiss cheese or provolone.

Vegetables- I am not convinced that tomato and lettuce brings anything to the hamburger table either in taste or texture.   However, it was very popular with the folks who opined.

I sometimes like raw onion because of the crunch and sharp taste.  I also like pickles for the same reason.  Here we had some great suggestions:  Piccalilli fits the bill.  It’s a spicy pickled vegetable relish with its origins in India.  Similar to that would be chopped giardiniera or pickled jalapenos.  Onion confit adds a sweet and sour aspect that I had not thought about, but will be trying.

Speaking of onions, like many, I love grilled onions on a burger.  It adds a bit of sweetness and goes very well with earthy goodness of mushrooms, which I also like.

Other Toppings

Bacon-  Mmmmmmmm. Bacon.  Enough said.

Fried Egg- The first time that I had an egg on a burger was in the 1970s at a restaurant called Brill’s.  I ordered it for the novelty and thought nothing more of it until a few years ago when it seemed that every restaurant was putting a fried egg on everything.  As an adult with a more thoughtful approach to eating, I appreciate the added moisture and taste the oozing yolk created.

Pineapple- This was suggested by one of my healthier eating friends. I do love pineapple but never thought to add it to a burger.


Burger Trivia:  In an effort to get more people to eat at its restaurants during Lent when observant Catholics did not eat meat on Friday, McDonald’s fielded a Hula Burger– grilled pineapple and cheese served on a bun.  Ray Kroc was convinced it was a winner.  It wasn’t.  It turned out the Filet o’ Fish was much more popular.


More Other Toppings

Bill Chen offered this unique suggestion, something  that he makes when tailgating that he calls “a hamdog.”  To make it, slice a hot dog long ways and put it on top of a burger with crushed potato chips.  Given the drinking that traditionally goes on during tailgating, this might make sense.

Cheetos were also suggested.  This adds the cheese flavor and crunch to the canvas and I am not necessarily against adding these more low brow foods.  Adding junk food is something that I’ve done before though never on a hamburger.  We have a family sandwich that we eat on vacation called a Doritos Special, which is not as off-putting as it sounds.

What You Put It On

Let’s be clear, some type of bread must be used.  If not, then your hamburger becomes a “hamburger steak.”  If you want to eat it this way, that’s fine.  For me, part of the joy of eating a hamburger is the two-fisted experience.  Get the bread!

I’ve been to some restaurants that serve their burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves as a nod to the gluten free/healthy option.  I’ve had a few burgers this way when I’ve been dieting.  I’m not a fan of this. Aside from providing a handle to eat the meat, the purpose of the bread is to absorb the mingling juices and sauces.  With nothing to the all-important job of absorbing, the result is a slippery mess.  Keeping my shirt clean during a meal is tough enough, I don’t need this added difficulty in my life.

Aside from taste, the most important thing in a hamburger is for the bread to keep integrity throughout the whole eating process.  If it is not sturdy enough for the job it’s out of consideration.  However, it can’t be so sturdy that you can’t easily take a bite without winding up in the “dog with a sock” scenario.

I don’t like traditional supermarket burger rolls because they are too soft.  They have neither flavor nor texture.  They are much more likely to fall apart with juicier burgers.  When you start adding sauces and toppings you are adding to that probability of a gloppy mess in your hand by several orders of magnitude.

I join many many who opined with a preference of kaiser rolls or ciabatta rolls.  I also enjoy English muffins for this reason.  Like ciabatta, English muffins have an an abundance of nooks and crannies to capture the sauces and juices.  The challenge is that it’s difficult to find them large enough to support the size of burger that I prefer.  With the regular-sized English muffin, you wind up with too much of the burger exposed to the elements.  A hamburger is best when there is bread in every bite.

Size is also the reason why I usually shy away from Hawaiian rolls, which are the color and texture of a potato roll but sweeter.  If you haven’t seen them, they’re about the size of a Parker House roll–again, a lot of a larger burger is exposed.  However, just this week I just saw on Facebook a way around the size issue.  Because they come attached in the bag when you buy them, you can break them into groups of four. Slice it horizontally and it makes them the perfect bread for a good-sized burger.

Many who weighed-in like the softer rolls.  If that’s more to your liking, I encourage you to try Hawaiian rolls, potato rolls, or brioche rolls.  They’re a little too soft for me, as I prefer a crusty roll for my hamburger.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going reject a hamburger on a softer roll.  That’s just crazy talk!

I am agnostic on the issue of buttering and/or toasting the roll.  No doubt it adds flavor and texture, regardless of the roll.  Sometimes I toast my rolls.  When making burgers at home, I never have buttered the rolls.  That doesn’t mean I won’t start.

The one thing I’ve learned is that the things that I enjoy over time change.  There are some constants–such as having bread with integrity and using the best quality beef that you can afford.  Life is too short to skimp on simple joys.

But when it comes to burgers, try some of these things out!  There’s a world to explore in hamburger customization.  Things that I like today, I may not like in the future, and that’s okay.  Except when it comes to the Cheese Dream, I’ll  always love the Cheese Dream.

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

Fruit Pie Problems Solved!



Episode 021-  Fruit pie season is not all unicorns and rainbows.  The bounty of fruit that comes from the spring and summer months makes it this the perfect time for putting it to good use in the guise of pies–many, many pies.   However, there are challenges that are unique to fruit pies as opposed to other types, say, custard pie for example.

Anxiety associates itself for more than a couple of reasons.   First, there  are a number of variables when putting fruit into a pie filling. Second, we have to worry about the crust which is the arch-nemesis  of so many a pie baker.  It’s enough to send some into fits of apoplexy!

Ken Haedrich is a cookbook author and pie expert, having several written books exclusively  on the subject of pie.  He also claims the title of Dean the Pie Academy, which is his website dedicated to helping people making better pie.  He provides a calming hand on the shoulder to bakers who want to get their pies right.

On the the very first episode of the Guys and Food podcast, Ken offered an overview on making great pies.  In today’s show,  he’ll get into the specifics of making fantastic fruit pies for the months ahead.

Ken has selected these recipes for you to use this coming fruit pie baking season:

To start, you need a good pastry recipe for the crust.  Ken says making a good crust is, by far, the biggest concern of people who seek his advice.  That is why he created The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course.    In this video course and the accompanying printed material, Ken walks you through the details of making pie pastry.   Instead of merely giving a recipe and saying, “Go get ’em!” he shows you what to do step-by-step.  Let’s face it, Ken is a pie sherpa!

In the spirit of full disclosure, Ken gave me free access to the course in order to evaluate it.  That said, I heartily recommend The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course for anyone who is looking for that extra hand in making pie.  Trust me, I wouldn’t recommend this unless I saw great value in it for you.  I have no other skin in the game and am not receiving any compensation if you buy this course.

As I mention in the interview, like a building, a pie needs a good foundation.  Here is that recipe.

Next, here are three fruit pies that will take you through the next few months:

It’s not too late for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Midsummer evenings on the porch would be the perfect place for a Blueberry Ginger Pie with a Three Grain Butter Crust. 

Late summer is the perfect time for Peach Lemonade Pie with Pecan Crumble Topping.

Try them out, and let me know what you think.  As Ken Haedrich so often says, ” Pies make people happy!”  and who doesn’t want a little more people happy?

An FYI, Ken’s newest cookbook, The Harvest Baker, is coming out soon.  It will be available where all fine cookbooks are sold, including Ken’s online store.

If you enjoy listening to the Guys and Food podcast, can I ask a favor?  Can you pass this along to a food guy that you know who might like it?

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog.  Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

Is Raising Chickens for the Birds?



Episode 020-  Paul O’Dell makes his living as a computer programmer but spends a goodly amount of his time thinking about chickens and eggs thanks to his wife, Karen, and their three daughters.

While ensconced  in the suburban ideal on Long Island, the O’Dell family has taken to the more rural pastime of raising chickens–six of them to be exact.

In this episode, you will learn the research that went into getting the chickens, keeping them healthy and safe, and getting the coop.  You’ll also learn what one does when the chickens start offering up to SIX EGGS A DAY!

My hero, Rocky Balboa, knew what to do with the extra eggs around his place.  

While there are plenty of ideas from the American Egg Board, here are some others:

  • Since we are in grilling season, how about cooking eggs on the grill?
  • Cloud eggs are the love child of a savory meringue and a sunny side up egg.
  • You don’t have to go to an old school bar to eat them, you can make pickled eggs at home.
  • Eggs in Purgatory are bathed in a spicy tomato sauce and great served with a loaf of crusty bread.  I’ve long since lost the recipe that I originally used and make my now from memory.  However, this recipe is similar.  You can used diced potatoes instead of chickpeas and goat cheese instead of feta.  Also, the sauce is given to customization.
  • The old reliable Ham and Cheese Strata!

Disclaimer:  If you have concerns about eating under-cooked or raw eggs, don’t do it.  Anything that you put in your mouth you do at your own risk.

Trivia:  Did you know that the one hundred folds in a traditional French chef’s hat (or toque as it’s called) is attributed to the one hundred different ways to cook an egg?

Resources mentioned:

My Pet Chicken and The Chicken Chick

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

Suggestions for Cooking, Baking, Eating, Drinking, Etc. May 2017



Episode 019- In this episode, I will let you know what I am up to food-wise and drink-wise.  It’s my thinking that you might be interested or inspired to try some of these things.  Note:  I do not receive any compensation for you clicking on any of these links. They are for your knowledge, use, and enjoyment.

What I’m Cooking- Ham and Cheese Strata (You’ll recall that I discussed this in Guys and Food Episode 004

What I’m Drinking- Armagnac, The Prisoner 2015, and  Coffee Porter from 12 Gates Brewing Company and Sam Adams Coffee Stout.  

What I’m Baking- Banana Bread

What I’m Eating- Raclette

My Weekend Project- Getting the garden ready

What Cookbook I’m Reading- International Night by Mark Kurlansky, and The President’s Kitchen Cabinet by Adrian MillerThe Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

What I’m Doing- Spicy Shelf

Where I’m Going- Raclette’s, Sinatra’s, Happy Jack’s 

What I am Using- Vivino app,  Thermo Works Thermapen Mk4.

Please feel free to reach out and let me what you’re doing in these categories.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Mezcal and Tequila: Learning the Basics of Mexico’s Best Exports!



Episode 018-  Ed Draves didn’t know much of anything about tequila or mezcal when he went to Oaxaca, Mexico on a trip with his church. Over the years, he has become an expert on the subject and has gone back to Mexico several times to witness the production of this spirit.

In this episode, you’ll learn the difference between tequila and mezcal.  You’ll get the basics on what to look for if you are a newbie. After listening, you’ll also understand why Ed keeps going back!

During the interview, Ed discussed Wahaka MezcalRey Campero Mezcal,  and the blog Dave Miller’s Mexico.  If you want to learn more about mezcal, the books that Ed mentioned are “Holy Smoke, It’s Mezcal by John McEvoy” and “Mezcalaria, The Cult of Mezcal, by Ulises Torrentera”.  Recently, liquor.com did a slideshow called The Essential Places for Drinking Mezcal in Oaxaca. There you can see a photo of Torrentera’s bar that Ed described and, if you ever find yourself there, now you have recommendations on where to go!

During the interview, Ed mentioned gusano salt which is made with worms and some use it to accompany their mezcal drinking.  If you’d like to dig into more on that, here is more information.

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!  Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

Trucking Across America as a Food Guy


Episode 017- If your only knowledge of what big rig truckers do is informed by Smokey and the Bandit and Convoy, you’ll find that the stereotype of hard living, hell raisers is largely inaccurate.

In Tom Kyrk’s blog, Road Tested Living, he shares his life living as a trucker.  Those adventures include being part of the trucker’s food culture, and, yes, there is a trucker’s food culture. This includes not only eating at diners and truck stops.  It also means cooking in the close quarters of the back of one’s rig.  In this episode you’ll learn how that happens. You’ll also get Tom’s recommendations of excellent places around the country to grab some grub.  He also talks about a cookbook for truckers that he coauthored called The Rolling Kitchen Cookbook. Since they are working on the website, if that link doesn’t work, try this link to get recipes.

If you’d like to reach out directly to Tom Kyrk, you can email him at roadtestedliving@gmail.com or go to his Facebook page.

Some of the locations that Tom mentioned:

Uncle Pete’s (Lebanon, Tennessee)

Clinton Station Diner (Clinton, New Jersey)

Iowa 80 Truckstop. (Walcott, Iowa)

TA, Harrisburg (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) 

Dixie’s (McLean, Illinois)

Mo Griddlers (Bronx, New York) (Closed)

Frattelli’s Pizza (Bronx, New York)

Peto’s (Louisiana)

Tiger Truck Stop (Louisiana)

Jubitz (Portland, Oregon)

Red’s Tavern (Massachusetts) 

Resources for truckers:  Truckers Haven and Cooking on the Truck

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

One Dozen Kitchen Hacks To Make Your Life Easier



Episode 016-  We could all use some tricks to make things a little easier in the kitchen.  In this show we will give you more than a few. If you have some, feel free to share them by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Scotch Whisky: Learn the Basics and How to Start a Scotch Club of your Own!



Episode 015-   Keith Sexton is a single malt scotch whisky aficionado. By day he works at a liquor store. When he is not doing that, he runs the Dwyer’s Pub Scotch Club where lovers of single malt scotch whisky gather monthly to taste and learn more about their favorite adult beverage.  That includes information about the scotch business, the scotch making process,  and Scottish history.  If you are intrigued, take a listen and learn the basics.  During the interview, Keith gives the basics and we do a scotch tasting!

If your whistle is whet and you want to learn more, Keith suggests these two resources:   Whisky University with Charlie MacLean and Ralfy.  Here are some other authoritative scotch whisky-related resources for you too!

Trivia:  In some places, it’s spelled “whisky” and in others it’s spelled “whiskey.”  So how do you tell if you are spelling it correctly?  If the country of origin’s name is spelled without the E (Scotland, for example) then it is whisky.  If the country of origin’s name has an E (United States) then it is spelled whiskey.   Impress your friends and relatives with that at your next social gathering!

Speaking of social gatherings, during the show I debrief on how Easter dinner went.  The ham was inspired from a recipe from Bruce Aidells. Here is essentially the recipe that I used for the brown sugar, mustard, and pineapple glazed ham.  Also, Kenji Lopez Alt’s Hasselback Scalloped Potatoes were a hit.  I baked the grasshopper pie from Art of the Pie that I told you about in Episode 014.

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Let me know what you’d like to hear, what can be improved and what you like!  Go to the contact page or email me at gabe@guysandfood. com

 

 

News and Reviews: Pie Successes and Failures, Hello Fresh, Chef’s Table, and Cookbooks I am Reading



Episode 014-  This show has a lot of news and reviews that you can use!

Program Note:   If you have a favorite MRE, call the listener line and tell me about your favorite! (716) 427-GUYS (4897).

If you served in the military, you’ve enjoyed field rations.  Okay, “enjoyed” is most assuredly not the best word but you have at least eaten them.  The anniversary of my enlistment date into the Marine Corps is coming up so I am preparing a show on MREs, C-Rations, etc.  Please include:

  • Your name
  • Where you’re calling from
  • Branch and years of service
  • Your favorite MRE and why

If you don’t want to call, create a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to gabe@guysandfood.com.  I will include your comments in this future episode.

Update how my food sacrifices have been going during Lent.

This presented some challenges while as my family did a test drive of the Hello Fresh meal delivery service.  You’ll recall, I did a review of Blue Apron in Episode 010 of Guys and Food.

I just started watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and I can heartily recommend it.  I will tell you why.

Because my brother-in-law is German, while at a library sale I picked up The New German Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Hedy Wűrtz. I review that book and tell you about about a newly discovered food  that is now a family favorite.

I finally got to bake the Maple Cream Pie (page 152) from Pies and Tarts by Kristina Peterson Migoya that I’ve been discussing.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I had a problem with my first attempt at the the all butter pie crust, so I will tell you what I did to fix that.

One pie is never enough and since March 14th was Pi Day (3.14 get it?!) I also made a Chocolate Silk Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust (page 502) from Pie by Ken Haedrich. 

I tucked into Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott. You’ll hear my review of that.   Incidentally, this book was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Also nominated for a James Beard Award, is The Sporkful. The show’s host, Dan Pashman was on Episode 005 of the Guys and Food podcast.  Kudos to a really nice guy!


All of the links here are for your use and enjoyment.  None are affiliate links.

TV Food Show Host and Catholic Priest, Father Paul Seil



Episode 013- For many Christians around the world, Wednesday, March 1, 2017 was the beginning of the Lenten season.  It’s a time of repentance and spiritual renewal in preparation for Easter.

Because of this, it seems appropriate we’d have a man of the cloth on the show.  Father Paul Seil is the Roman Catholic parish priest at Saint Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in Orchard Park, New York and he likes food but he is no mere food guy.  He is also the host of his own TV food show called Our Daily Bread. You’ll find out what it’s like to host a TV cooking show and you’ll learn the question Father Paul wishes he had asked Pope Benedict and another international person of renown when he met them a few years back.  You can catch the show on YouTube and on Catholic TV among other places.

Speaking of Lent, in conjunction with alms giving and doing good works, we are called to give things up which includes fasting.  I will tell you what foods I gave up among other things that I am doing.

Top Chef’s winner for season 14 was just revealed.   I gave my predictions on who would win way back in Episode 4 of Guys and Food.  You’ll find out how I did. Spoiler Alert: the reveal is at the very end of the podcast, so you can listen to all but the last couple of minutes and it will be okay.

I started watching a another cooking competition show called Master Chef Junior.  I will give you my first impressions on that show and who I think will take it all.

I will also tell you why I am cancelling my subscription to Bon Appétit magazine.  It has nothing to do with giving things up for Lent.

Finally, I’ve been on a pie kick lately.  I just finished reading the classic The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum for the first time  and, for me, this could be considered a religious text. I will tell you why.


All of the links here are for your use and enjoyment.  None are affiliate links.

Top Chef’s Gerald Sombright



Episode 012- Top Chef cheftestant, Gerald Sombright is a regular guy who made his bones in the professional cooking world, not by flashing a degree from a fancy culinary school.  Instead, he worked his way up from the bottom rung of the kitchen hierarchy.

On this episode, he takes us on his food journey, working his way up from restaurant work in Saint Louis to being Chef De Cuisine at Ario in Marco Island, Florida to being a  contestant on what is arguably the best cooking competition show on television, Top Chef.

He’ll give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be on the show and how he almost didn’t make it past the application phase, but for his Indiana Jones-like determination.  You’ll also find out his biggest challenge and what he would do differently if he were to do the show again.  Note: The Top Chef Season 14 finale is on Thursday, March 2nd.

Also, if you listened to Episode 011 of Guys and Food, you know that I was on a  pie kick during the last week (Psssst– I still am).  It had me looking at some of my pie cookbooks.  I was intrigued by a few different recipes for maple pie.  Many of these recipes call for the darker and robust tasting Grade B maple syrup. When I asked the folks on one of my Facebook food groups where one might be able to locally source the harder to find Grade B syrup, I was told that the ABC grading system for maple syrup no longer exists.  Just like everyone gets a trophy these days, so too, all maple syrup is now Grade A.  Here is an article explaining the new grading system and how to distinguish one type of maple syrup from another.

Remember, if you are an interesting food guy (or you know one), find out how to become a guest on Guys and Food!

John Tompkins- Wall Street Exec Turned Candy Man



Episode 011-  As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, one’s mind turns to the “go to” food gift, chocolate and candy.  When thinking about chocolate and candy, my attention turns to John Tompkins, owner of JT’s Confections in New Jersey.

In the spirit of full disclosure, John and I went to college together at Buffalo State.  I wouldn’t say were were drinking buddies, but we were friendly, traveled in similar circles as we both were Resident Assistants, and we shared some mutual friends.  After graduation, he went to work on Wall Street and I ran my circuitous journey. Over the decades since graduation, I think we saw each other maybe at one or two alumni things.

When I started Guys and Food, a mutual RA friend asked if I knew that John started a candy business;  I did not.  But I found him on Facebook and we reconnected.  After so many years, it’s nice to know that he did not lose his characteristic Tompkins charm and wit.

In this episode, John shares his very interesting story of burning out from the rough and tumble of the concrete jungle, leaving that, and creating his candy business, JT’s Confections.  He has a storefront but his bread and butter is in mail-order and corporate sales.  He is also using it as a vehicle for helping out veterans and local charities.  Good for him!

This week was pie week for us.  It was kind of blustery and I was in the mood for a pie.  I opened up my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion book as it was on my kitchen table.  The book magically opened to Tourtière .  For the uninitiated, it’s a French Canadian pork pie that is totally appropriate during the cold winter months.  I was going to use the recipe in the book when I remembered that my friend, Greg, made this dish pretty regularly.  I asked and he sent me his family recipe.

Since there was no recipe for the pastry included in Greg’s, I used the pastry recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook.  Here the pie crust is made with shortening that is melted in boiling water.  I never tried that technique before. I have to say I was very pleased. It was crisp but not flaky and a perfect match for the tastily seasoned meat filling. It is a new family favorite.  Merci to the Methot/Grenier family!  Here is a picture of Greg’s version of the dish:

One pie was not enough.  In an effort to use a bunch of Granny Smith apples that were laying around, I decided that I needed to make an apple pie.  I used a recipe for Washington State Granny Smith Apple Pie from my favorite pie guy, Ken Haedrich’s book Pie (page  221).  It is a single crust pie (made with butter and vegetable shortening) with a crumb topping.  The pie was not too sweet, not too tart.   In truth, I think that I could have kept it in the oven a little longer to get the crust a little more brown.  Nonetheless,  my wife says it has been a long while since she has had an apple pie that was this delicious.

A handy tip for pie bakers: One challenge that many have is transferring the newly rolled-out pie pastry and getting it into the pie plate without it tearing or falling apart.  Instead of folding it into quarters (risking creases and cracks) or balancing it precariously on your rolling pin (risking dropping and crumpling), try what I refer to as “The Haedrich Maneuver.”  Simply roll out your pie pastry on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper instead of your counter top or wherever you roll things out.  When you have achieved your desired size (for example, 13 inches for a 9 1/2 inch pie plate), transfer it, turn it upside down over the plate, remove the wax paper, and tuck it neatly where it’s supposed to go.  It’s that simple!  Save yourself a lot of stress and try this the next time you make pie.

Two pies were not enough.  I also made Shepherd’s Pie from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham (page 190). This is a misnomer as this dish is neither a pie (it’s a casserole), nor does it contain any shepherds.  Still it was simple to prepare, hearty,  and delicious.  It tasted even better the next day when we had leftovers for lunch.

Programming Alert:  On the next Guys and Food episode, you’ll hear an interview with a cheftestant from this season’s Top Chef! Can you guess who it will be? (Hint: It will be a guy.)


All of the links here are for your use and enjoyment.  None are affiliate links.

 

 

 

What Would Harry Potter Eat?, Blue Apron Test Drive, Celebrating a Milestone, and Other Musings



Episode 010- It’s a milestone tenth episode of the podcast! Thanks to you if you’ve taken the time to listen to any of the Guys and Food podcasts or read any of my blog posts.  This is truly a labor of love and I appreciate your help in building the Guys and Food community.

There are lots of ways to connect:

  • Go to the contact page.
  • Email info@guysandfood.com
  • Leave a message on the listener line:  716-427-GUYS (4897)

I will  tell you about my recent trip to Florida.  This included a few days at Universal specifically to spend time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  We ate at The Three Broomsticks and The Leaky Cauldron, two British pub-like places.  Interestingly, the food defied my expectations.  Considering the throngs of people these establishments serve, the chow was delicious and served in a timely fashion.

You will also hear my reflections on two drinks inspired by the Harry Potter books, Butterbeer and the lesser known Pumpkin Juice.  There is a recent interview in Bon Appetit with the guy behind the Harry Potter themed food at Universal, Steve Jayson. The recipe for Butter Beer is secret ( I know because before I saw this article, I tried to pry it from the public relations folks at Universal) but there are plenty of people on the internet who have their own take on how to make it.  

After that, we drove to our usual winter getaway, a place called Marco Island.  We normally lay around, read, go to the beach, and eat.  It’s a very causal time on the island but every year my wife and I go to a fancier place that serves classic French cuisine called The Island Cafe.  My lovely bride and I use this meal as our little romantic getaway together.  This time, however, we decided to take my mother-in-law and our ten-year-old son.  I will talk about his experience eating escargot and mussels for the first time.

After we got home, we caught up on our food show viewing including the finale of The Great American Baking Show.   You’ll recall that in episode 004 of the podcast, I made my guess on who I thought was going to win.  SPOILER Alert–I will let you know who won and how close my guesses were to being correct.

During Christmas, our friends gifted us Blue Apron. We had the delivery of two meals this week, Hosin Chicken Steam Buns with broccoli and marinated carrots and Mexican-spiced Beef and Rice Casserole.  I will weigh-in on the experience.

Finally, I’ll tell you about the interviews that are coming up in future episodes!


By the way, any of the links above are for your use and enjoyment.  None of these are affiliate links.

 

So You Want to Start a Food Truck?



Episode 009- Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions is to start a food business.  Ayoub Abboud is the owner of the Knight Slider Food Truck.  A few years back he decided to start his food truck business when the food truck craze was just starting up in Buffalo, New York.

During the conversation, Ayoub explains what he did to start the business, some lessons he’s learned along the way, and what he would do differently if he were to do it again.  There is a lot to learn here from a really knowledgeable and friendly guy.

If you want more information about starting a food truck business, one of the resources he recommends is Mobile Cuisine. Another very helpful resource was created by Pat Flynn and is called FoodTruckr.

Also, I baked beer bread from a Paul Hollywood cookbook called 100 Great Breads. In order to make beer bread, one needs beer so I used a coffee lager from Saranac Brewery.  This is the “go to” beer that we have around the house lately.  The bread turned out fine but I lost a lot of the coffee taste that I was shooting for.

If you like the podcast, please forward guysandfood.com or this  episode (or any other episode) onto your friends either through email or via the app you use to listen to the show.  That helps build a bigger and more vibrant Guys and Food community– and we all benefit from that!