An ES Video Interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon

Maybe it was the flamboyantly dressed and incredibly intense Asian gentleman simply called “The Chairman.” Maybe it was the exotic ingredients like river eel and udon. Maybe it was the hastily dubbed frenetic pace of kitchen stadium. Whatever the reason, Iron Chef was the first show that truly sparked my interest in cooking and the limitless options cooks have when they use their imagination. To be fair, I was in college when I came upon the Iron Chef series, when my diet consisted of things like Easy Mac, the cafeteria salad bar and PBR, so it was all outside my small comfort zone. But still, it was amazing.

This was the time when the Food Network was beginning to gain a foothold and many of the programs were as much about technique as the recipes.  Shows like Iron Chef, A Cook’s Tour, Good Eats, Food 911, etc.. really sparked a whole generation to step into the kitchen. Unfortunately since then, much of food television has moved towards personality and recipe driven programming. Even Top Chef seems to be shifting this way.

Today, my favorite food related show airs on the Travel Channel, but I still catch some others and I’ve really enjoyed the 2 seasons of The Next Iron Chef. Through that competition and Michael Ruhlman’s book The Soul of a Chef, I have come to  appreciate the way Chef Michael Symon approaches food. While this appreciation is nowhere near TVFF’s foodie man crush on Season 2 Next Iron Chef winner Jose Garces,  I still jumped at the opportunity to speak with Chef Symon about his new shows, Philly cheesesteaks, and his thoughts on tofu bacon. Click play above to watch my video interview with Michael Symon.

The Next Iron Chef premieres 10/3 on the Food Network. Michael’s new Food Network show, Food Feuds premieres 10/14. His current show, Cook Like an Iron Chef, airs Thursdays on the Cooking Channel. Phew.

How Not to Fry an Egg

I know it’s almost cliche to bitch about the heat at this point. But whatever. It’s hot. And when it’s hot and we’ve been inside for 8 hours, moaning from a wedding-induced hangover, we start to play MythBusters.

In case you don’t have a boyfriend who thinks that decoding the Seinfeld double dipping hypothesis and the slippery banana peel joke are utterly important viewing, than you should try out MythBusters on a lazy weekend afternoon. You might be mildly entertained.

Anyway. It was hot. The heat index screamed 113 degrees in Durham, North Carolina. We decided the only proper way to appreciate the heat was to attempt to fry an egg outside. So we tried.

Our experiment lacked integrity from the start. It was later in the day, we fried the egg on a piece of tin foil that had not been left in the heat long enough and the egg might not have even been at room temperature. It became shady. But we did throw some butter in that aluminum foil nest.

We briefly looked at some promising stories of outside-fried eggs and thought we could make it work.

It didn’t. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try again. Or that you don’t have plenty of horror stories of your own to share.

How To Make Your Water Sparkle

For Liza’s birthday, her mom (Ruby Girl) bought her Sodastream, a DIY sparkling water maker. Liza is an avid sparkling water drinker and a major environmentalist, so this gift was right-on. The Sodastream machine also turns water into: cola, ginger ale, tonic and lemonade. While the upfront price tag is a bit high – like most things green – the end result will both save on dollars and waste – also like most things green.

Enjoy Liza’s sparkling demo:

All We Know: It’s Crackling

It’s Saturday and 80 and I are piling on layers of clothes to go play in the snow. (If you’re into counting: 2 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, a long sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, a hoodie and a long, thick woolly sweater, plus a water-proof jacket, gloves and a dalmatian print fleece headband/ear warmer.)

Amidst the Christmas Story-style preparation, I get an email from Dad Gansie. It has an attachment. I assume it’s snow related, as South Jersey was also hit with almost two feet of snow.

I should have known better. The video featured a mysterious casserole dish that, according to my father is, “crispin'” and “cracklin.'” I have no effing idea what it is, but I do know I forgot to wish my MomMom (grandmother) a happy birthday.

Any guesses out there?

Eatin’ Me Some Emu


NYE 2009 took me to the West Coast, where a couple of friends, my other half and I rented a cute little house in the Santa Ynez Valley near the Danish village of Solvang, which is famous for its wine, windmills, rolling mountains and the awful movie Sideways.

I could write about how beautiful the scenery was and how amazing the wines we tasted were but that really isn’t interesting compared to the amazing find I discovered — Ostrichland USA. In between Solvang and Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley, this place is easy to miss, but well worth seeking out if only to gawk at the horrendously ugly and aggressive creatures that are the ostrich and emu, certainly a photo moment. But feeding these beasts and photo opportunities is not all this place has to offer…the foodie in me kicked in the moment I saw these monsters. I hit the brakes, turned the car around and said, “I want to eat that.”

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ES Presents: Presents

Chanukah is early this year, starting on December 12 and lasting for eight days. There’s not too much time to shop for those abiding by the light of the menorah. So while all you Jesus-folk can procrastinate and scoop up last minute sales, those celebrating Chanukah need to hurry it up.

And I have a present for the grill master in your family. I super, super hate cleaning. And when there’s a way to make cleaning just slightly more entertaining, I’m all about it. When the dudes behind Grill Daddy sent me some press info and a sample, I couldn’t wait to clean that damn, dirty grill. Fine, I actually could wait. I made DAD GANSIE clean.

Here’s DAD GANSIE on the Grill Daddy.