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Grilled Artichokes with Caper Mustard Aioli

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Derrick Fox. Each month, Chef Fox will be sharing his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures, and his signature style.

The Artichoke. You are obviously familiar with the artichoke hearts in the jar, in oil with some herbs. More recently you may have seen them popping up at your local grocery store, and thought, “wow, what do I even do with those?” Well, I’m here to help you conquer the daunting artichoke. The flavor of a fresh, grilled artichoke is delicious.

There are a few ways to tackle an artichoke. I’m going to share an easy way to clean, steam, and grill them, so you can eat the heart but also all that good meat on each leaf – #COOKLIKEAGOD!

Grilled Artichokes with Caper Mustard Aioli
Ingredients  Equipment
3 whole artichokes scissors
grapeseed oil spoon
rice wine vinegar 8qt pot with steam basket
salt grill/grill pan
pepper tongs
1 tbsp pickled mustard seeds (whole grain mustard)  whisk
2 tbsp capers   small mixing bowl
2 tbsp fresh chopped Parsley  
½ cup mayo  
½ fresh squeezed lemon

Quick tip, there are videos and techniques that use lemon to keep the artichoke from oxidizing and turning brown. Because we are grilling these, we can skip that step.

First, make your dipping sauce. Chop up capers and parsley. Mix mayo, chopped capers, parsley, pickled mustard seeds, lemon juice, and black pepper. If you like spicy, this is a good place to whisk into your aioli.

Artichoke time! Start with snipping the thorn off each leaf. Don’t worry about the leaves towards the top/middle that are tight together. These will be cut off with a knife once we open it up.

Now that all the thorns are snipped, use a vegetable peeler and peel the stalk. Take it down until you see the tender yellow stalk.

Now once they are all are nipped and peeled, cut the Artichoke in half from the stem to the top. With a spoon, scoop out the choke, the fibers in the middle, and any prickly leaves. Once the middle is cleaned, lay the artichoke on its back and slice the top off where the leaves are tight and still have thorns about ½ an inch.

       

Next place them in the large steam basket and place in the pot with a couple of inches of water, cover, and steam for 30-40 minutes. Definitely check the tenderness at 30 minutes. Do this by pulling one from the pot and poking the artichoke heart. It should be tender, but not too soft.

Once steamed, remove from the basket and place on a baking sheet on their backs. You can do all those steps ahead of time if you like and put them in the fridge here and grill later.

Next, drizzle with grapeseed oil, and splash with rice wine vinegar, and generously season with salt and pepper. The grapeseed oil can handle the high heat of the grill better than olive oil, and the rice wine caramelizes nicely over the flame. Get the grill nice and hot, and your grill rack is nice and clean, lay the artichokes fast down on the grill and then close the grill for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, turn the artichoke 45º to get those beautiful cross hatch marks on the heart and grill for another 1-2 minutes. Flip the artichokes on their backs for 30-45 seconds and remove them from the grill.

When you place them on the platter or plate that you are serving on, finish with a drizzle of olive oil (the fancier the better, I prefer a Spanish olive oil) and spoon over some pickled mustard seeds. Place your sauce in a ramekin for dipping. Enjoy!

 

January 12, 2021 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Chef Derrick Fox as he shares his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures and his signature style.  

As a private chef, I learn everything about the tastes and flavors my clients love and the ones that they don’t like at all. I also have to pay especially close attention to special diets, food restrictions and allergies, which can sometimes feel like a never-ending mecca.

That’s part of the reason that I am brought on board as a private chef. They need an expert that can take those restrictions and still make them something delicious. I go out of my way to make my vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dieting clients delicious meals that take their diet restrictions into account, but also will wow their taste buds.

I’ve also noticed that cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet just feels better. I feel lighter and more energetic!

Whether or not you follow a gluten free, dairy free or vegan diet, this recipe is delicious! Plus, I’m sure you have a friend who follows one of these diets that you can impress with this masterpiece.

Let’s #cooklikeagod! 

Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Crust Ingredients  Equipment 
10 gluten free, vegan chocolate cookies (any brand) Food processor
6 tbsp vegan butter, melted 2 metal mixing bowls
Chocolate Filling Ingredients  Pie dish
7 oz. 70% dark chocolate Small pot
16 oz. Kite Hill cream cheese Plastic wrap
10 oz. oat milk Blender
1 cup of raw cashews
6 tbsp vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp monkfruit sugar

To prepare the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, blend the cookies on high to make cookie crumbs. Add the melted butter and cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl and combine into a wet, sand-like consistency. Press the crumbs into your pie dish to fully cover the bottom and the sides of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Once cooked, leave the pie crust in the dish and let cool before adding the filling.

To prepare the filling: Place the cashews in a small pot, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the cashews from the water and set them aside.

Break up the chocolate into a medium metal mixing bowl and add the butter and vanilla.

In a small pot, bring the oat milk to a scald (you’ll see small bubbles on the side of the pot). Once at a scald, pour the oat milk over the chocolate and butter mixture, then immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes, then mix until smooth.

In a blender, add the chocolate mixture, the cashews and the vegan cream cheese and blend until smooth. If you like your cake really thick, feel free to add more cream cheese!

Pour the blended chocolate cream cheese mixture into the chilled pie crust. Place in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight and enjoy!

December 23, 2020 by Thor Kitchen 0 Comments

Holiday Recipes: Rack of Lamb and Caviar

This blog is written by celebrity chef and THOR Kitchen brand ambassador Chef Derrick Fox as he shares his favorite recipes with step-by-step directions, pictures and his signature style.  

Rack of lamb with caviar

Like all families, the holidays always reveal its most interesting dynamics, whether your family is large or small or made up friends: you know the family you choose. My family is all over the place, and I wouldn’t be able to explain all the different dynamics and personalities in one blog post, but I can assure you, you are not alone. I have had the entire family together, multiple family gatherings, the divorced household, the stepdad Christmas, the friends Christmas, a Christmas alone, and a Christmas with the family I have made with my wife and our dog and cat! Whatever your situation, there are wonderful memories that we all hang on to, most of which revolve around food.

I remember when I was young and living in Florida with my mom, biological father and younger brother. Around the holidays, shortly after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, my grandmother Rosalie would send a box of Pizzelle: little Italian cookies pressed and cooked in a waffle iron that looked like it was meant to make the cookie in the shape of a snow flake.

Pizzelle, photo credit The Kitchen

Pizzelle, photo credit The Kitchn

I come from a long line of strong Italian women, and in Italian families, most traditions involve cooking. Through my childhood, my life changed a lot, we moved a lot – I never had the opportunity of staying in one place very long, so that meant new friends, different family members, and never sticking around long enough to form a tradition….except those Pizzelle. It didn’t matter where in the country we were, I could count on that box arriving. Crispy, flat, almond or vanilla flavored cookies. We loved them. My grandmother years later passed the tradition down to my mom and my aunt. In my teens, I remember my mom and dad (stepdad) making them for a few years and we would take them over to my grandparents’ house to keep the one tradition we had alive. Needless to say, the tradition fizzled out when my brothers and I moved to different corners of the country and well, my parents stopped cooking them. I guess the moral of that story is that it’s a good memory and I can always try and start it up again.

Rack of lamb resting

Now that I am older and a chef, I have developed my own personal traditions. Traditions that stick with me no matter who is present. For Thanksgiving, I always make Beef Wellington – every year it gets better, and every year new people get to enjoy it. For Christmas I make a rack of lamb. I’ve always loved making lamb, but when I made it for Gordon Ramsay, I learned I made it very well. I’ve made it for many people at all different times of year, but it’s extra special on Christmas, and now I’m going to share that recipe with you!

Its simple, cook it like a steak. Salt & pepper, sear on all sides, based with garlic, thyme, shallots, butter, and finish in the oven for a couple minutes depending on how thick your chops are to your preferred doneness. I’ll break it down below. ⏬

Seared rack of lamb in a cast iron skillet

New Year’s…. As a kid, my parents changed the clocks in the house to 4 hours ahead and put on the ball drop from a time zone that worked for their plan and put us to bed at 8:30. I was not happy about that when they told us when we got older. They thought it was hilarious.

I’ve always loved New Year’s as an adult, because growing up there were times we didn’t have much, and New Year’s felt like a taste of the high life. Champagne wishes and Caviar dreams. I love them both. Below are some tips to enjoying caviar and impressing your friends with fun ways to eat it.  

Let’s #cooklikeagod!

Rack of Lamb
Ingredients  Equipment 
Rack of Lamb x2 Large cast iron pan or large sauté pan
4 tbsp butter Large pasting spoon
2 shallots
Fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper

When you purchase the racks of lamb, look for Frenched: it’s the way the fat cap is trimmed (If it’s not already frenched, ask the butcher to French it for you). Pull your lamb out of the fridge 45 minutes before cooking to come to room temp. I recommend slicing the rack into doubles, meaning two rib bones per piece of loin. If you like them single, you will skip the oven step.

Basting rack of lamb

Set up your basting mise en place, by slicing the shallots thick, peeling the garlic cloves and give them a quick smash, but do not cut them. You want the garlic to be whole pieces. Smashing them opens them up for the butter to run through.

Now heavily salt and pepper your lamb. Get your pan hot. Add grapeseed oil to the pan and sear the lamb for 1.5-2 minutes on each side. Left, right, then the fat side. Once on the fat side, at the garlic, thyme, shallots, and butter to the pan. Take a large spoon and baste the butter over the lamb for 45 seconds. Then put the pan with the lamb in the oven for 4 minutes for medium, and 6 minutes for medium well. Times will vary depending on the thickness of the lamb chops and how hot your stove gets when you sear. It might take you a couple tries to figure out your timing. Serve with mashed potatoes and a red wine sauce on Christmas and it will be talked about until the ball drops on New Year’s. 🎄🥂

Now let’s talk caviar! Its fancy, it can be expensive, and when you have it served at your party, it means that your party is at a different level! It says you have a sophisticated palate, a desire for nice things, and you are a generous host. The next day your guests will tell their friends about the caviar if you serve it right!

Caviar on ice, sour cream and your favorite salty potato chip

Classic:

  • On ice with sides of minced shallots, chives, and chopped hard-boiled eggs, crème fraiche, and toast points.
    If you want to make it a classic tray-passed app, you can serve the caviar on a blini with a dollop of crème fraiche. A blini is like a savory mini pancake. The easiest way to do this is get the paleo pancake batter from whole foods, make the batter and put it in a squeeze bottle. Squeeze out tiny little bite-size pancakes in the pan and cook on low heat on both sides. Top with a small dollop of CF, then top with a spoon full of caviar, and sprinkle chives.

Fun way to serve:

  • Caviar on ice, sour cream, and your favorite salty potato chips. Classic flavors in a fun hip way.

Classic caviar on ice

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about my journey and some helpful tips to elevate your holiday season. This year is a little different and your gatherings should be small, but these will impress regardless. Take photos and tag @ThorKitchen and @ChefDerrickFox so I can see all the deliciousness you create!

Cheers, Happy Holidays! …. And Good Riddance to 2020!!!!

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