Curtido montage

Salsa's Best Friend (and taco's too)

Curtido is a taco condiment staple, especially in the Yucatan where it is featured on Cochinita Pibil, Mexico's answer to low and slow pulled pork. I like it on many tacos, especially the meaty ones likes Carnitas or Campechano(steak and chorizo). And making it could not be more simple. (more…)
Al Pastor Traeger hack montageThe Vitals: the recipe: Al Pastor Traeger Hack the smoker: Traeger Ironwood 885  the time: about an hour the full nelson: too damn fun not to try Lazy Sunday cookouts have been a running theme in my backyard lately. On Sundays, like in this Instagram Reels post, I've been hitting up my neighborhood carniceria. Their selection of marinated meats and salsas are damn tasty when I don't feel like dedicating a weekend for the prep. And it gave me a reason to try out this Al Pastor Traeger hack. (more…)
Ali Khan:Stiles Switch Steakhouse night montage

The Vitals: the spot: your house! A zoom cooking class with Ali Khan and Stiles Switch BBQ the eats: Central Texas style brisket with steakhouse sides the bucks: contact through site for pricing the full nelson: Dressing up Brisket with a classic steakhouse style dinner

The last year and a half has got me in the kitchen more than ever. Now I'm taking those skills plus my years of food tv, blogging and writing into your kitchen. I've teamed up with celebrated Austin BBQ restaurant, Stiles Switch BBQ to create a series of cooking classes where we remix classic Central Texas Smoked Meats. Grab a martini and read all about my Central Texas Brisket dinner with Classic Steakhouse sides. (more…)
Traeger ribs montageThe Vitals: the recipe: Traeger Baby Back Ribs Vol 3 + 4 the smoker: Traeger Ironwood 885 the time: Vol 3: 6.5 hours Vol 4: 8 hours the full nelson: the learning curve is long but learning I am  This follow up post to my original has been a long time coming. Last summer the folks at Traeger Grills were kind enough to send me a grill, ah yes, the perks of being a Food TV guy. As lucky as I am to have gotten a free grill, making great bbq takes a lot of work. Trial and error is the name of the game. And when your trial and errors take at least a whole afternoon, you learn to accept the fact that the pursuit of perfect barbecue is indeed a lengthy journey. (more…)
Casa Golosa montage

The Vitals: the spot: Casa Golosa 1211 E. 6th St. Austin TX 78702 the eats: all the pastas the bucks: $12-$15 for one pasta, enough for two  the full nelson: I can't wait to take my East Coast peeps here

Worth leaving the house for

Over the last year of pandemic life I have been focusing my content on recipes. I've been cooking more than ever before, delving into the the healthier side of food, sourcing better ingredients and frankly been saving some coin. So it's gotta take something damn special for me to post about a restaurant. Then I stumbled onto Casa Golosa. (more…)
Ali's wedding proposal cake monatge I might be the host of Spring Baking Championship but a baker I am not. But that doesn't mean I can't test the waters. When Studio 512's host Stephanie Gilbert challenged me to a baking challenge . . . I knew I had to step up. With some guidance from Spring Baking Champion Nacho Aguirre, I came up with this: a mini chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and macerated raspberries or "Ali's wedding proposal cake" for short. It's in honor of the upcoming wedding themed episode of Spring Baking Championship and while beautiful, decadent and rich . . . it is also very easy to make. This is how you do it. Ali's wedding proposal cake ingredients


chocolate cake
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14 tbsp flour
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 veg. oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 tbsp butter
chocolate ganache
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips(70% cacoa)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
macerated raspberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Ali's wedding proposal raspberries Out the gate I wanted to get the raspberries done as they could afford to sit for a bit. This is literally as simple as making cereal. Take a cup of raspberries, rinse them off and place in a bowl. Toss in a tablespoon of sugar and shake it off like Taylor Swift. I'm sorry I went there but I have a kid and she doesn't curse in her music. Let that sit while you work on the rest. Ali's wedding proposal cake dry mix + wet ingredients Start the cake process by mixing all the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Nacho suggested I sift the flour to make sure there would be no lumps in the cake. I went ahead and did that with the flour and the sugar and cocoa powder. It's a step but I'd well advise you take it. Texture is very important to cake along with flavor. Ali's wedding proposal cake whisk Ali's wedding proposal cake mixer Then whisk in all the wet ingredients: the milk, vegetable oil and egg. I used a hand whisk first to get everything mixed to an even consistency. Then I reached for the electric mixer. I set the speed to medium(4 out of 7) and let it rip for 2 minutes. Ali's wedding proposal cake ramekin Since I was doing this for a TV segment, I made two cakes but you should have enough for 8 cakes that fit in these 3" ramekins. A couple things to note: make sure you grease and flour your ramekins. When the butter is room temp it's a lot easier to work with. Also fill the cake batter about 3/4 of the way up because the cake will rise. Stick them in a preheated 350 degree oven and start checking after 20 minutes. Ali's wedding proposal cake baked These were done in about 22 minutes. I did the toothpick test and when the pick comes out clean . . they are done. Do yourself a favor and let these cool before you take them out of the ramekin. I got overzealous with my second batch and while the cake slid out easy . . . it broke apart when it hit the wire rack as the ramekin was a bit too hot to handle. Lesson learned: take your time. Ali's wedding proposal cake plate 2 Plated and ready to go. In case you're wondering . . . the ganache, yeah I didn't get the best process shots there because the process is pretty minimal. Place the dark chocolate chips in a bowl. Bring the heavy cream just . . . and I mean just to the point of a boil. Like when the bubbles just start to pop on the sides, pour onto the chocolate chips. Let that sit for about 2 minutes and then stir. Nacho recommended I stir in an "S" shape pattern, starting from the center. I started out with that method. After while though, I just mixed it till it was well incorporated. Ali's wedding proposal cake plate 1 And there she is. If you watched me Studio 512 you will see I opted out of showing you my piping skills. The sad truth is my handwriting and overall artist skills are just as suspect. Still this dessert is a looker and is as simple to make as it is elegant and indulgent to eat. And if you use this for your wedding proposal . . . tag me in the post!  
Brisket Nihari montage I first came across Nihari at the Pakistani Curry houses of Los Angeles. True hole in the wall joints whose smokey tandoori ovens would set me off in a spiced meat frenzy. Fragrant biriyanis, the paella of the Indian subcontinent, and haleem are specialties here, the latter being a porridge of wheat, meat and fragrant spices. Just as stand out is Nihari, one of the best beef curries of all time, the G.O.A.T of beef curries if you will. I had this brisket lying around and well, it got me thinking . . . (more…)
Vietnamese meatballs montage So sometimes I find myself doing to two things: cleaning out the fridge and entertaining a craving. Lately I've been obsessed with meatballs. The other day I made a batch of Marcella Hazan's famous Italian meatballs from her book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". Today I was craving a meatball like you would get at a good Vietnamese Pho joint. So I stared digging in my pantry and the interwebs. (more…)
Italian Beef Meal Kit montage

Italian Beef Meal Kit: messy deliciousness in the comfort of your own home