Thursday, April 27, 2006

Top Chef -- I Can't Believe I Watched the Whole Thing With Bonus Roast Beef Recipe

Caught the latest episode of Top Chef on Bravo last night. I swear, these cooking reality shows are like potato chips, you can't have just one. You think I'd be happy that the Food Network show has wrapped and go on with my life, especially since I really don't like reality television programs.

Anyway, it seemed like an unfair elimination challenge (throw together a wedding feast for 100 in under 24 hours for $3,000), but there is much about Top Chef I'm not fond of, including the host, who is Mrs. Billy Joel, which seems to be her main qualification for this gig (that and a summer job as a fishmonger in the Hamptons). It's not that she is just 23, heck I was an early achiever in a previous life, it's that she doesn't do it for me as an expert OR as a host who I am comfortable with presenting the info even if it is not her expertise. She does have some kind of food website. Maybe sometime when I am procrastinating doing some real work I'll check it out and report back.

Back to Top Chef. They eliminated Stephen. YES. I know it was probably the editing process that made him seem like a conceited, clueless, smug whatever, but he just was so full of himself. While I felt his talent was much stronger than Dave's, I couldn't stand him or even say I loved to hate him. He did add to the story line, though. I am always suspicious of why certain "obvious" eliminations stay around in these reality series. Let's just say that sometimes chaos, lack of control and witchiness make for a more exciting show than plodding competency.

Who do I think is next to go? Tiffany and Lee Ann seem very strong, although it was Lee Ann's overly ambitious menu that did the team in this week. Dave got props for being helpful and having actual catering experience this week, but he seems like a real weak link. Harold's dish was one of the worst this week and he has been in that position before. I think it will be Dave or Harold out next unless one of the women chefs really screws up.

Could anyone tell me a -- why I am watching this show I really don't enjoy that much and b -- why I am spending so much time venting on it?

One of the recipes they made for the show was something called Peking Glazed Beef. I don't what they did or how they did it, put I have a great way to make beef that really plays up an Asian flavor. I haven't made it in a while, so I don't have a "real" recipe for you, but here is the basic technique that I have developed.

Asian Roast Beef

1 roast beef (cut of your choice, but I find cross rib works well if cooked properly)
3-4 peeled garlic cloves, each clove cut into three long slivers
Knob of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb, peeled and cut into about 12 slivers
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine, sherry or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (the type using as a Chinese flavoring)
Red pepper flakes or ground cayenne pepper or liquid hot sauce
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven as appropriate for your cut of meat.
Cut thin slits all around the roast beef. Cut as many as you have ginger and garlic slivers for. Make some slits deeper than others. Alternate inserting garlic and ginger slivers into the roast.
Set aside.
Make basting sauce. Combine hoisin sauce with wine, soy sauce and oils. Add hot seasoning to taste if desired. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (Note, the soy sauce and hoisin sauce are already salty, so you may want to taste the marinade to gauge how much extra salt you'd like to add.) Stir well. Brush a light coating of the marinade all over the beef and place beef in oven and cook as appropriate for your cut of meat. Periodically brush the meat with more of the basting sauce.

Serve with rice and steamed or stir fried vegetables tossed in an Asian-flavored vinaigrette. Or serve with small, steamed flour tortillas or Peking duck pancakes, with sliced scallions (green onions) and extra hoisin sauce on the side. Diners roll up some of the slice beef with the scallions and sauce in the pancake.

Top Chef Update: Producers have announced season two is now casting. Want info, check out this listing.


Paige Jennifer said...

Okay. I watch this show too so you have company. Perhaps that will put you at ease? All I can say is it was darn exciting to see that smug pug get the boot last night. I can't help but laugh during his "instruction" moments. That he declined any comment post firing said more than all of his blah blah blahs rolled into one. Nice post!

Mensch71 said...

I watch the show too and actually said "YES!!!" really loudly when he was eliminated by the Billy Joel Wifebot 2.0. And then I looked around furtively to make sure that no one knew I was watching the show.

Nice to know that there are others out there that would rather watch craptacular food-related TV than much of the other offerings.

Bon appetit!