Foodie Freebie Friday: Alton Brown’s Good Eats

So what’s the Foodie Freebie this week? Well, this is a very special foodie freebie… especially if you appreciate the knowledge, scientific enthusiasm and humor of Alton Brown. Of course, before I tell you what the freebie is, allow me to provide some background…

BUT if you don’t know who Alton Brown is, well perhaps this foodie freebie is not for you. In fact, if you truly don’t have the faintest clue of what this man is all about, it’s best you stop reading now and peruse some recipes or other adventures on my site. Are you still with me? Good. Continue reading…

Now Alton Brown’s show, Good Eats, is extremely popular on the Food Network channel. However, did you know that the pilot for Good Eats first aired on Chicago’s PBS member television station (WTTW) in July 1998? Yes, that’s right… another reason why Chicago is on the culinary map! The Food Network picked up the show a year later in July 1999, and continues to air new episodes.

I had the pleasure of meeting Alton Brown twice in the past two years and will be seeing him again this coming March. The first time I met him was quite an embarrassing run in. (I’ll divulge that story at the end of the week, if you’re really interested.) He’s an extremely intelligent and kind person, very down to earth and someone to be admired. So by now you’re probably ready to know what the foodie freebie is, right? This week’s foodie freebie is an Alton Brown giveaway which includes:

Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen

Alton’s Angles 3.5in. Shun Vegetable Knife
with autographed box

Alton’s Angles is a series of Shun Cutlery designed by Alton Brown, and bearing his image. Brown liked the shape of the Shun Vegetable Knife, but had difficulty using it as his knuckles kept hitting the cutting board. Alton’s Angles add a 10° angle to the handle of the knife, lifting the knuckles away from the cutting board, and making the knife easier to grasp. Alton’s Angles can sometimes be seen on Good Eats.

I hope the lucky winner will enjoy this special Alton Brown foodie freebie… and thinks of Chicago when watching Good Eats in the future! Here’s how you can get in on the Alton action:

Some guidelines:
– Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States. My apologies to my international readers!
– You must have a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you win.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about:
– Your favorite Alton Brown ‘Good Eats’ episode and why. Are there any episodes of this show that stand out to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Alton Brown!

Deadline: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 12 midnight CST.

Winner will be randomly chosen by Random.Org’s Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, January 16, 2009. Good luck!


Chef Spotlight Roundup: Health Conscious Chefs

Thanks to all those that participated in this month’s Chef Spotlight event! We have a tasty and healthy roundup of recipes to start the new year off… and some really great blogs to add to your viewing (drooling) pleasure. For additional healthy recipes, check out the Chef Spotlight Dinner we hosted with friends!

Sarina of TriniGourmet
from Trinidad
Raw Tomato & Macadamia Mozzarella Linguine
Sarina shares with us a healthy dish that’s completely raw! It looks beautiful with the colors! Check out Sarina’s blog for the recipe and for some great information on raw chefs!

Marla of A Pinch of This & That
from Florida
Zucchini Dunkers
Looking for a different way to serve up zucchini? Check out Marla’s blog which has a recipe for Zucchini Dunkers! It’s packed with flavor and crunch and you may not even miss french fries after having these! Go on… click on her blog to check it out!
Laura of Laura’s Home Cooking
Sauteed Turkey Cutlets with Orange Cranberry Sauce
A great flavor that works especially well with poultry is orange and cranberry. Laura shares with us this recipe for Sauteed Turkey Cutlets with Orange Cranberry Sauce and it looks delicious! Check out her blog for the recipe and give this a try!

Jamie of Dinner with the Bickfords
from Maryland
Asian Noodles in Satay Sauce
I’m a sucker for Asian recipes. For the most part, many Asian cuisines lean more towards the healthy side and Jamie’s recipe for Asian Noodles with Satay Sauce is one of them. The colors of this dish is great and is full of vegetables… and we all know we need to add more to our diet (at least I do!) Check out Jamie’s blog for the recipe!

Smitha of Kadumanga
from Trichur, India
Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing & Yogurt Sauce
Smitha joins us to share a recipe of a favorite chef of mine, Ellie Krieger. This Chicken Pea Salad looks so refreshing and is a fairly quick recipe to make! Check out Smitha’s blog for this vegetarian salad and enjoy!

Christie of Stump the Chef
from Florida
Tilapia with Cherries & Almonds
I happen to enjoy fish recipes and I wish I could prepare it more often. But Christie certainly does a great job in inspiring me. She shares with us the recipe for Tilapia with Cherries & Almonds and who knew it would work so well with the mild flavors of tilapia! Check out Christie’s blog for the recipe and give this a try to change up your usual fish dinner!

Kara of What’s Kookin in Kara’s Kitchen
from Virginia
Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup
Kara joins us to share this recipe… and you know it has to be good if it’s featured in our roundup more than once! (See below). So click click click! Check out Kara’s blog for the recipe!

Karen of Loves To Eat
from Florida
Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Oranges
A classic roast chicken is pretty healthy as it is (assuming it’s not coated with a lot of butter before baking!)… but introducing citrus flavors to this classic dish brings it to a whole new level. Karen roasts her first whole chicken and uses orange and lemon juice to add a burst of freshness. You’ll want to pay a visit to Karen’s blog for the recipe and the results of how her very first roasted chicken turned out!

Amy of Just 2 Good
from Florida
New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Do you think you have all the potato recipes you need? I beg to differ. This potato dish that Amy shares with us is one you’ll want to add to your potato rotation. Why? For one, it’s not full of butter and cream… and it involves a great vinaigrette that has a lot of flavor. Besides, who doesn’t like the caramel sweetness of roasted garlic? Check out Amy’s blog for the recipe and give this a try soon!

Beth of Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina
from Maryland
Mo-Rockin’ Slow Cooker Stew
If you haven’t pulled out your slow cooker this season, here’s a delicious reason to now. Brina shares her Mo-Rockin’ Slow Cooker Stew which is a recipe that doesn’t call for a canned cream soup that many slow cocker recipes include. If you like flavors of Moroccan cuisine and are looking for a dish to incorporate more vegetables, this is it… and even better is that the dish is cooked in a crockpot! Go ahead, click over to Brina’s blog and check it out. You know you’re intrigued and are itching to use that crockpot!

Kira of Bite This!
from New Jersey
Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup
What’s winter without a good bowl of soup? Kira joins us to share this flavorful and healthy bowl of Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup. It’s chock full of ingredients that will definitely keep you warm and a nice change of pace from the usual tomato soup. Want the recipe? Click on Kira’s blog!

Julie of Julie’s Foodie
from Kansas City
Blueberry Pound Cake
Sometimes baked goods can be challenging to make healthy, but Julie has found a recipe for Blueberry Pound Cake that manages to keep the flavor and lose some of those unwanted calories. Definitely check out Julie’s blog – she is a big fan of Cooking Light and has many healthy recipes on her blog to choose from!

Gillian of Gillians Goodies
from California
Black Bean Chili
Gillian has a a comforting dish perfect for the winter weather and it’s healthy too! Check out her blog for the recipe, which is full of flavor! (Picture coming soon…)

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

If you’re looking for a one bowl meal that’s hearty and comforting, this is it! I was inspired by a couple fellow food bloggers who featured gumbo recipes lately, including Kira and Emily. Because my husband is a fan of rice, I added rice to the gumbo. This recipe was pretty good and went well with the Savory Corn & Pepper Muffins I made. (Recipe soon to come!)

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
recipe adapted from

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Creole seasoning to taste
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 rotisserie chicken, boned and shredded
1-2 cups cooked rice

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, whisk in flour. Continue whisking until the roux has cooked to the color of chocolate milk, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the roux. If you see black specks in the mixture, start over.

Stir onion, bell pepper, celery, and sausage into the roux; cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning; blend thoroughly. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken, and simmer 1 hour more. Skim off any foam that floats to the top during the last hour.

Add rice 15 minutes before serving and allow the gumbo to simmer with rice.

Chef Spotlight: Health Conscious Chefs

Tonight I hosted my monthly Chef Spotlight Dinner paying homage to health conscious chefs. With the new year, many folks are making the effort of a healthier lifestyle and better food choices. For this dinner, friends and I prepared dishes that were healthy and came from popular health conscious chefs & sources. The following was our dinner menu, along with links to the recipes!

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
(Ellie Krieger recipe)

Creamy Pasta with Salmon, Asparagus & Dill
(Pam Anderson recipe)

The World’s Most Delicious Asian Chicken Salad

(Kathleen Daelemans recipe)

Roasted Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes
(Pam Anderson recipe)

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad
(Gourmet recipe)

Tabouleh Salad
(Allrecipes recipe)

Oven Fried Buttermilk “Commando” Chicken
(Juan-Carlos Cruz recipe)

Poached Salmon
(Cooking Enthusiast recipe)

Chicken with Tomatoes & Capers
(Epicurious recipe)

Lemon Bundt Cake
(Kathleen Daelemans recipe)

Sassy Water
(Flat Belly Diet recipe)

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

This is a great way to serve up zucchini and a nice change of pace from the usual roasting that I tend to do. I prepared this for my Chef Spotlight Dinner where we featured recipes of health concious chefs, including Ellie Krieger.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
recipe from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.

Tabbouleh Salad

I’m a big fan of Mediterranean flavors and tabbouleh salad is such a refreshing side dish to any meal. My friend Susan made this Tabbouleh Salad and it’s a great way to incorporate bulgur in your diet!

Tabbouleh Salad

1 cup bulgur
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil

Place cracked wheat in bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes; drain and squeeze out excess water.

In a mixing bowl, combine the wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, parsley, mint, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Toss again prior to serving.

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

I don’t cook with quinoa as often as I should. It’s an excellent grain to cook with packed with protein and definitely one that’s healthier than even brown rice. My friend Robert prepared this salad and it was very refreshing and light.

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad
recipe from Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed, if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 pickled jalpeno chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

For dressing:
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle Before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve. In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary). While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, and coriander and toss well. Make dressing: In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.