Ted Allen Lively TV: Food Network

Posted on October 26, 2012 04:32 pm

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by Ishita Rapino

 

Several months ago before De Gustibus opened for the season, Sal and I met to discuss this blogging opportunity.  The first thing we did was review the class schedule, and secretly, the Ted Allen event was definitely the one I was most looking forward to.   My favorite television shows are food competitions and Chopped and Top Chef are at the top of that list.  Ted Allen has been a host or judge for both of my favorite shows (and many other great shows), and he has given me a real appreciation for “table side presentation”.    So I was thrilled to attend the class and meet Ted Allen in person so clearly my expectations were set very high.  Not only did Ted beat my expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable he is and how delicious his food is.  I’m glad I got his cookbook, In My Kitchen, because I’ll be treating my husband to duck breast tonight (more on that later).

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Ted Allen is such a natural host – you can understand why he’s won two James Beard awards and has built a career hosting shows from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to Chopped.  He told so many hilarious stories throughout the night, including how his partner, Barry, is not intimidated at all to cook for him (Barry was in the audience and confirmed that), the variety of cookbooks out there (5 minute meals, 30 second meals, meals that make you virile, etc.), = his love for Fairway, and many others.  My mom had actually joined me for Ted’s class and came to visit us again this past weekend and insisted on going to Fairway, since one recently opened near me (too bad I already bought my duck breast on Fresh Direct as per Ted’s advice).

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The first course was spicy pickled vegetables – one of the things I love and know how to make (I make pickled carrots and cucumbers for my homemade banh mi sandwiches).   Most Indians own jars and jars of mango, lemon, chili, and mixed vegetables pickles at home, so it’s definitely in my nature to love pickles.  The best tip for pickling was all about the aesthetics - use whole spices instead of ground, otherwise the brine will look cloudy and light-color vinegar is better for the appearance, especially if you want to jar and display your homemade creations.  These pickled veggies were fresh and tart, with a bit of heat from the chilies.  I’m glad my mom joined me for this class because she promised she would be making this for our family next time we visit her.

 

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Next was the bruschetta , which is properly pronounced bru-sket-ta, although the Italians in the room did not all agree.  Now you know the next time you order it at a restaurant though!  This was such a great dish for entertaining, mostly because it was easy and flavorful.  You can really impress a crowd with this, because it had a wow factor with the garlic rubbed on the bread, combined with the creaminess of the ricotta, and salty of the prosciutto.  Another great tip of the night was to put any leftover bread in the freezer and use it at a later time, which was great for me because I always end up throwing out bread because I can’t use it all in one evening. 

 

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The next course was duck and to be perfectly honest, I was not planning on paying too much attention on how to make duck because I always thought it was so difficult.  But Ted INSISTED (it was like he was in my head) that duck is easy to cook (it didn’t hurt that he compared it to bacon), so I paid attention because as he was making it, I decided I would try it this weekend (especially when he talked about duck fat potatoes and the entire class collectively “aahheed” - apparently everyone has had duck fat potatoes except for me).   I am officially cooking this tonight – see my results below!

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Here’s what I got out of how to make duck:  Buy 1 lb. of duck breast (serves 2 people) and score the skin and season with salt and pepper.  Cook skin side down on medium low for 18 minutes (preferably in cast iron) and fat will start rendering almost immediately.  You need to drain the fat (and store it for these famous duck fat potatoes) and then turn for 2 minutes and rest.  It will be perfectly medium rare.  

 

The duck was paired with a sweet fig compote and bitter radicchio – if you got a forkful will all of the elements, it was the perfect bite.

 

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The last course was the avocado mousse – it was so light and airy and not overly sweet.  It’s the perfect dessert for someone like me who cannot end a meal without something sweet.  Ted wanted something different and new for the crowd to experience, and he really impressed.  I could tell people were somewhat apprehensive about trying it, but it was all empty plates back to the kitchen.  One woman in the class screamed to Ted “It’s incredible!”

 

 

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And of course:

 

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Ted’s class really did motivate me to be more adventurous to try new dishes at home and be confident about entertaining at home (I may have some friends over soon to test out some creations).  When I caught up with him after the class, he gave me some great advice for entertaining – balance your menu with dishes that do not need to be cooked on the stovetop – some room temperature dishes (bruschetta) and some dishes that are prepared in the oven.  And don’t try things that are too hard – focus on one thing that is really special that everyone can talk about at dinner. 

What a great class – I was happy to get to share it with my family so they can see the exciting experiences I am having this year with food.    Thanks Ted – it was a great time and truly inspiring!

Dinner Update:

 

My “resting” duck – yum duck skin!

 

Final product – duck breast with peaches and duck fat potatoes – so good!




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There Are 1 Responses To Ted Allen Lively TV: Food Network


Prema Deshmukh says:

October 29, 2012 at 03:30 pm

Delicious food and great tips from chef Ted Allen. Using fresh ricotta on bru-sk-eta was divine. This was the best cooking class/tasting/entertaining experience of my life. I would like all of my friends and family members to experience DE GUSTIBUS.

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