What are hounders thoughts on Alton Brown?
I may be a food nerd but I cant get enough of this guy. The passion is there, the science behind the food, and just find everything so interesting that they do on the show. Can be a little goofy, but when else would I care about the thermodynamics of a popcorn kernel.
I wish they would put out more good eats episodes, seem very few and far between.
I grant you, the schtick in that episode was laid on thick and annoying - but I've made that pressure-cooker chili three times since I bought the cooker, and every time I think of that recipe I want to make it again.
(I still need to find another recipe to make in the pressure cooker - cost me $100, and my wife is just now starting to believe that it won't blow up the kitchen.)
The most common duty for mine is veg beef soup. I get a couple of beef shanks, brown them, toss in some carrots, celery and garlic, water to cover, and seal it up. After about 30 minutes under pressure, I filter out the old veggies, shred the beef, toss the bones, and add a little beef base paste to the broth for body. Dump in a bag of mixed veggies and you are set.
Here is a great stock and a risotto recipe that we demo in our store:
Pressure Cooker Tomato-Porcini Broth and Risotto.
For the broth:
28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 head of garlic, seperated into cloves
1 handful dried Porcini mushrooms, lightly rinsed
1 T olive oil
2 t dried sage
3 cups water
Small piece of Parmagiano or Grana Padano rind, optional
Place all the ingredients in a 6 qt pressure cooker, and bring to high pressure. Reduce heat and maintain pressure for 20 minutes. Quick release the pressure and strain, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much flavor as possible.
1 onion, diced
2-3 T Olive oil
4 Cups Tomato Porcini Broth
1 ½ C Carnarolli Rice
Grated Parmagiano or Grana Padano Cheese to taste
In the Pressure Cooker, saute the onions in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and saute another 2 minutes until translucent. Add all the broth at once, stir and place lid on cooker. Bring to high pressure, lower the heat and maintain pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Stir the risotto and then stir in the cheese. If still a little soupy, let sit for a few minutes to absorb the stock.
I love, love, love Alton. I remember the first episode I saw of his, Roasted Chicken and I was hooked. I swear by his Burger of the Gods (the ONLY burger that is prepared in our house), his method for grilling steaks is bar none. His brined turkey is the best. I could go on. I love how he shares the facts without being pretentious. My boyfriend who I am slowing turning into a CH, used to never, ever watch the Food Network. Now, if he sees Alton on, or if I am watching it, he is engrossed.
He appeals to the food geek in me and he makes it easily understandable enough w/ all those goofy props that kids can understand, too. Plus, he doesn't take himself too seriously and has a good time with it which makes it fun. Who can forget Waffleman? I like his cookbook, I'm Just Here for the Food, too.
As a cooking/entertainment show, Alton's is about as good as it gets. He's very knowledgeable and he's totally camp. Which I think is great. Most shows are one or the other, he manages to pull off the double whammy.
I think what makes him so appealing is his target audience. People who love too cook/learn about cooking/ eat. Most are withing a few years of his age and so get the little references and what not.
Ya, some of his theme shows can be a bit out there and some of his contraptions (See the turkey fryer show) are completely unrealistic.
I really enjoy most of Alton Brown's TV shows and cookbooks. My husband, a chemical engineer, who cannot cook loved the show so much he has made cookies and marinara using Alton's recipes. My only issue with him is that a lot of his recipes require every pan and pot in the kitchen, and I like juju find some of his non-cooking theatrical attempts annoying. His travel show-- where he went across america on a motorcycle -- was probably fun for him, but not so much for me. That said, its the only FN show my TIVO is programmed to record.