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A Little Bit Me with Ted Alexandro


Jan 15, 2019

Get in the kitchen with Borderline Professional Chef Ted Alexandro as his culinary hubris hits new highs, resulting in multiple new dishes, most of which turn out great (recipes available below)! Ted recalls the time he had the chance to get off stage to let Robin Williams perform and the special moment the two comedians shared just before Robin blew minds at the Comedy Cellar. And all that eating clean finally pays off as Jim Gaffigan notices Ted's recent weight loss as they resume their touring together, this week at the historical Count Basie Theater, accompanied by Ted's biggest fans - his parents. And in what's becoming a regular feature, Ted explains something he neglected to two episodes ago in his call with Judy Gold about the Astoria Borealis, which he witnessed first-hand. Then later Ted surprises comedian friend Ryan Hamilton with an unexpected phone call in "The Catch Up" that goes better than any call has ever gone for Ryan! And in "Grading my Marriage" Ted reports on how he and his wife are doing this week (spoiler alert: still very good, despite a minor journaling incident). Check out more from Ted at www.tedalexandro.com and follow him @Tedalexandro on Twitter and Instagram. And see his new hour special Senior Class of Earth at www.atcspecials.com!

From Ted:

I am not a chef. I am a comedian who likes to cook. Chefs and experienced cooks will likely have issues with my recipe and/or my attitude, as they should. Feel free to comment or tweet at me with tips and suggestions. But here are the recipes I've tried lately, with varying degrees of success.

This is an Indian spinach lentil dish that I made after watching several videos and reading several recipes. (NOTE: I've called it a saag but I don't think that's accurate, as saag is a different recipe and more labor intensive. People usually cook Indian dishes using ghee as the oil, which is a clarified butter. But I used coconut oil to make it vegan. 

Indian Spinach Dish

Spinach
Organic red lentils
Lentils
Coconut oil
Garlic
Coriander seeds
Cumin seeds
Garam masala
Salt
Organic stoneground mustard
Onion

Add a tablespoon and a half of coconut oil into a large pot and melt it down on medium heat until the bottom of the pot is coated (add a bit more coconut oil if needed)

Add a sprinkling of cumin seeds and coriander seeds (this tempers the oil with flavor)

Add 2 cloves chopped garlic

Cook for about 30 seconds then add 1/2 a chopped onion

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Cook on a medium heat, low and slow to caramelize (brown) the onions a bit

Add one bag of fresh, washed spinach (you can use the frozen spinach but I don't know how it affects cooking times and flavor)

(NOTE: Spinach cooks down quickly so you may even want to add some extra spinach as it cooks down)

Add a little water to steam the spinach down, put the cover on the pot for 30-45 seconds

Use tongs or a spatula to make sure the spinach wilts down evenly

Add a sprinkling of garam masala, coating the top then stirring it in

Add a teaspoon of stoneground mustard and stir 

Add 4 oz. red lentils and stir in

Add water (maybe 1/2 cup)

Cover and let it cook for 30-45 minutes until the spinach is stewed down and the lentils are cooked through. 

(NOTE: The key for me as it cooks is to taste it periodically and add a dash of garam masala, salt or ground cumin as desired. Add a bit of water if it looks like it needs moisture)

Serve on its own or over rice. Serves 2-3 people

Roasted rosemary potatoes

1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes
1/8 cup good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 a lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut potatoes in quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes and flip the potatoes with spatula, squeezing the 1/2 a lemon over the potatoes after 40 minutes. Roast until browned and crisp.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve.

Pear Loaf

NOTE: I made substitutions with ingredients and reduced the cooking time to 50 minutes and it did not come out right! It wasn’t sufficiently cooked through but the parts that were tasted delicious. I should have left it in for the full hour. Live and learn!

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I substituted apple sauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted almond flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups finely chopped peeled ripe pears (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; stir into the egg mixture just until moistened. Toss pears with lemon juice. Stir pears and walnuts into batter (batter will be thick).Spoon into two greased 9x5-in. loaf pans. (NOTE: I used a bundt pan instead, which I did not adequately grease).

Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.