Cheftovers Live! Demos on the Marty Allen Show

It’s good to know people.  And I’ve been fortunate enough to be introduced to a lot of good people through my work in television over the years.  During my first internship (like a hundred years ago!) I met veteran radio producer, Marty Allen.  He and I have maintained a friendship throughout the twists and turns in our careers.  And he was generous enough to offer up an opportunity for me to appear on his show and share what I’ve been up to with Cheftovers.  “3-2-1….we’re live!”

marty Allen photo

Marty has an internet radio show, The Marty Allen Show that airs live every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2-3pm.  He invited me to come on and do some cooking.

“Do you have a kitchen in your studio?” I asked.

“Guess I didn’t think this through,” he replied.

Not a problem.  I’ll figure something out,” I said, convinced.

I also saw this as an opportunity for a long time friend, and fellow food blogger, Michelle, of The Secret Ingredient Is.  So I asked her to join me.  Who needs a working kitchen to perform live demos on a radio show, right?! We had a small card table and some outlets.  Time to adapt.

Michelle cooking

I knew Marty well enough to know that it would go over well to start with a cocktail.  Easy.  That’s when I came up with the recipe I posted earlier in the week for a Berry Boozy Arnold Palmer.

berry-boozy-arnold-palmer

I mixed a couple of those up while Michelle walked Marty and his co-host, Bill Bender, through her recipe for her No Bake Energy Bites.  Then it was time for some more significant eats…prepared on a 4×4 card table in a radio studio, mind you.  Having been a part of countless cooking demos on television before, I suggested Michelle do one of her killer salads.  Easy to prep and it doesn’t have to be hot.

pretzel crusted honey mustard chicken

She assembled and dressed her Honey Mustard Pretzel Crusted Chicken Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette for a couple of hungry hosts.  It’s a great summer salad.  And as she dished that out, carefully avoiding all the expensive equipment, I fired up the panini press.  In preparing for this appearance, I figured it would be a great tool to turn Michelle’s leftovers into something else equally tasty.  (and work around that whole, “no kitchen” thing)

prepping panini

I sliced up the Orlando Ciabatta Rolls I brought, then piled on some of her leftover chicken, a handful of spinach leaves from the salad, and the remainder of the Brie wheel.  Then to add my own touch, I prepared a balsamic mayo by mixing about 2 T. of garlic cilantro balsamic vinegar with roughly a 1/4 cup of mayo. (the ratio is up to your own taste).  And finally, I included one of my favorite things in the world, caramelized onions.

grilling panini

While that melted together on the press, Michelle and I got to chat up Marty and Bill about what we do on our blogs.  They were happy to have us do most of the talking, as their mouths were full with our good food!

sliced panini

I sliced and served up the fourth and final recipe, pleased that this turned out as well (and as delicious) as I’d hoped, given the fact that this was the first time I’d made it…live on the radio.

This experience was a blast, and a boost of confidence for me.  I starting to think that I can indeed figure out a way to marry my experience in the media with my passion for food.  “Stay tuned” as we say, for what I have on tap next.  (I’m behind the camera for the first time since college!)

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Bistro Panini

I love a good grilled panini.  And like lots of other Cheftovers tricks, it’s kind of a blank canvas.  Add your favorite creamy cheese to a crispy, chewy ciabatta roll, along with whatever veggies and meat move you…and you’re in business!  

This week I used one of my got-to’s for weekday meals, a roast in the slow cooker.  I made a London broil roast with pretty basic seasoning.  But as is often the case, I made more than we needed for just two of us.

sliced roast

So I sliced up the rest of the beef and immediately began drooling over my idea, incorporating one of the tasty Orlando baked goods I came across during my review of their new products (see previous post).  I was going to grill up a couple of paninis using their Heat & Serve Ciabatta Rolls.

ciabatta rolls 

Now that I had the canvas for my panini, (the rolls) and the protein (my leftover London broil) I was excited to find a couple of other elements to boost the tastiness factor.  And I knew caramelized onions would have to join the party!

sliced onions

I sliced up a whole sweet onion into rings, then tossed a couple tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil into a saute pan.  I added the onions to the pan, seasoned them and left them on a low-medium heat for about 90 minutes, stirring them only once every 15 min or so.

(Here’s the part of my process where I unload the dishwasher, feed my kids, flip the laundry, etc.  I’m so glamorous.)

caramelized onions

When the onions turned this beautiful color, I was ready for the final components.  I found the chunk of creamy Havarti cheese that my husband picked up at the grocery store this week to snack on.  But I got to it first!   And I was sure this would be a super compliment to what I was drumming up.  Now for a sauce, spread or condiment…couldn’t be something ordinary.

panini condiments

I decided to try two routes…using a deli horseradish sauce for sandwiches (something we like to keep around the house) and I was also going to mix up a balsamic mayo.  I have developed quite a collection of balsamic vinegar varieties in my cupboard… I’ve got Sicilian Lemon and Mango white balsamic, chocolate, and raspberry.  I don’t find use for them often, but when I do, they’re usually the MVP of the dish.  For this panini, I liked the garlic cilantro one.  I mixed a couple spoonfuls of olive oil mayo with a couple teaspoons of the balsamic vinegar….oooh yeah, that was what I was going for!   balsamic mayo spread

grilling the panini

I assembled two sandwiches using a couple slices of Havarti, a spoonful of caramelized onions, three slices of my leftover roast, and one of the spreads on each.  Then I placed them on my panini press and eagerly awaited their gooey goodness.  They sat on the grill for about 5 minutes until I saw those pretty grill marks on the outside of the ciabatta rolls.  Know that the contents may slide out a bit, or ooze out a little.

bistro panini with carmelized onions

Now it was pay off time, and it was sweet!  These were warm, chewy, tangy and sweet.  And the best part?  I have more of all of the ingredients so I can make this again.

Play it again, pork: Open-faced BBQ Sandwich on Texas Toast

I can’t resist a pulled pork sandwich when I see it on the menu at a BBQ joint (or smoked brisket, for that matter) It reminds me of my time in Texas.  So when I was faced with the challenge of what to make with leftover pork roast, my former Lone-Star self knew what to do.  Let’s pull this pork!

pork roast

I was working with a couple pounds of pork that I originally roasted with a brown mustard, brown sugar, garlic and rosemary glaze.  I thought these flavors would lend themselves very easily to a BBQ version.

pulled pork roast

I grabbed a couple of forks and tore into the pork that was leftover after yesterday’s dinner.  I patiently pulled the remaining meat apart until I had several cups of stringy chunks.  Then I started looking around for how I’d finish off the dish.

bbq pulled pork

I found a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce and some Mezzetta jalapeno slices.  That’s the ticket!  If I was feeling particularly ambitious, I would’ve made my own sauce…but it’s a weekday here, people.  I added about half a cup of the sauce and a couple tablespoons of jalapeno slices to the pulled pork and mixed it well.

Another element that you can’t leave out of a genuine pulled pork sandwich: coleslaw.  It’s the cool, creamy “Ying” to the tangy “Yang” of the barbecue pork.  Luckily, I had a brand new bag of shredded cabbage and carrots in the fridge, in anticipation of Fish Fry Friday (it’s Lent, after all)

cole slaw

So I mixed some coleslaw dressing, with a little mayo, white wine vinegar and celery seed.  Mix this to your taste.  I think the dressing is way too sweet alone, so I add the vinegar, but it’s not for everybody.  I tossed in the cabbage/carrot mix and let this sit for a couple hours.

Now-what about a “vessel” for my pulled pork?  Didn’t have any buns around, or bread that would hold up to the heaping pile of pork I planned to dish up on my plate.  What I did have was several boxes of Pepperidge Farm Texas Toast (thanks to a BOGO free deal at the grocery store over the weekend).  This would work if I went the “open-faced pulled pork sandwich” route.  No complaints here!

I grabbed a jar of pickle slices and some sweet potato fries to serve on the side, perfect accompaniments.  So I fired up the oven to bake the Texas toast, and fries…and heat up my pulled pork.  Once all three elements were heated/baked to my satisfaction, it was “construction time.”  I placed a pair of Texas toasts on the plate, then a mountain of pulled pork (and some additional barbecue sauce) and a generous scoop of coleslaw on each.

pulled pork on texas toast 2

The smoky, sweet heat of the pulled pork, paired with the creamy, crunchy slaw and the crispy garlic toast…I was transported back to the land of rattlesnakes and rhinestones!  This is a knife and fork kinda sandwich, ya’ll.  Giddyup.