Chefs for a Day: The Story Behind the Story
Well, that headline’s not quite accurate. What we have here are the not-so-sordid details behind the one-night restaurant perpetrated by our writer-turned-host, Chris Colin, and his wife, Amy, for the feature that appears on page 80 in our February issue. Below, you’ll find their menu, the recipes they used (which we did not test—fair warning! Use them at your own peril), and a breakdown of what they spent (spoiler alert: maybe they shouldn’t do this for a living). Plus, as a bonus, Chris reading the story aloud. Enjoy! MENU
Cocktails: Pimm’s Cup, Whiskey Rickey
Chipotle Corn Chowder
Grilled Butternut Squash, Fontina, and Rosemary Pizza
Grilled Alsatian Pizza
Dessert: Key Lime Pie
Wine: Sprawling variety of $15-ish wines (Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling)
Chipotle Corn Chowder (Adapted from Canyon Ranch Cooking, by Jeanne Jones)
1 teaspoon olive oil1/2 small onion, diced (1/2 cup)3 garlic cloves, pressed or mincedpowdered chipotle pepper, to taste2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels1/2 teaspoon chili powder1/2 teaspoon cumin2 cups vegetable stock (homemade or a low-sodium variety)1/2 cup whole milk1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus additional leaves for garnish1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat, then add olive oil. Once warm, add onion, garlic, and powdered chipotle pepper. Cook until veggies are soft, stirring often.
Add the corn, chili powder, and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, or until corn is mostly thawed.
Pour vegetable stock into the pot, and bring to gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the corn’s tender. Next add the milk, and keep simmering until the liquid is warmed through. Turn off heat.
Purée the hot soup with an immersion blender, then stir in the salt and cilantro. Serve with diced bell peppers and more cilantro leaves.
Admiral Salad (Inspired by a salad at The Admiral, a restaurant in Asheville, NC)
Bibb lettuceBeets, boiled and quarteredSoft-boiled egg, halvedApplewood bacon, crispSmoked blue cheese, crumbledPistachio brittle*Shallot vinaigretteThrow it all in a bowl, serve unapologetically.
2 cups granulated sugar1 cup water1/2 cup light corn syrup1/2 teaspoon kosher salt2 tablespoons unsalted butter1/2 teaspoon baking soda3 cups (about 16 ounces) roasted, salted pistachios
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high and cook until deep golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, baking soda, and pistachios (the mixture will foam). Continue to stir until the mixture is no longer bubbling and the caramel is smooth, about 1 minute.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread with a rubber spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Let cool until firm, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces. The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
Grilled Butternut Squash, Fontina, and Rosemary Pizza (Adapted from I Am Almost Always Hungry, by Lora Zarubin)
Pizza dough (make your own, or buy ready made)
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds)Olive oil, for brushing1/2 pound fontina cheese, grated2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped1/2 cup grated parmigiano Salt and freshly ground dried chiles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides with olive oil. Place the squash cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the squash. Slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Reserve.
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Heat your grill and grill rack. Place one 9-by-12-inch pizza dough round on a floured pizza paddle or on a floured inverted baking sheet.
When your grill is hot, gently slide the dough onto the grill and brush the top with olive oil. Within a minute the dough will begin to puff. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes more.
With tongs, lift the edge of the dough to check the color underneath. When the underside of the dough becomes golden brown and you see grill marks, flip the dough over. Grill for 1 minute longer and remove the grilled dough with the pizza paddle. Repeat with the other pizza dough round.
Brush the first grilled side with olive oil and spread half the fontina evenly on top. Then lay half of the squash slices over the cheese and sprinkle with half of the rosemary and parmigiano.
Drizzle with olive oil and slide the pizza back onto the grill. Grill for 2 minutes longer.
Season with salt and freshly ground dried chiles to taste. Slice and serve immediately. Repeat with the other pizza.
Grilled Alsatian Pizza (Adapted from I Am Almost Always Hungry, by Lora Zarubin
Pizza dough (make your own, or buy ready made)1 cup fromage blanc2/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese1 egg1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1/4 pound slab bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch lardons2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)Olive oilSea salt and freshly ground black pepperFreshly ground dried chiles, to taste1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Put the fromage blanc, grated Gruyère cheese, egg, and flour into a bowl and mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon lardons over medium-high heat until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and reserve. Add the onions and cook in the bacon fat over low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions and reserve.
Heat your grill and grill rack, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one 9-by-12-inch pizza dough oval on a floured pizza paddle or on a floured inverted baking sheet. When your grill is hot, gently slide the dough onto the grill, and gently brush the top with olive oil. Within a minute the dough will begin to puff. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes more. With tongs, lift the edge of the dough to check the color underneath. When the dough becomes golden brown and you see grill marks, flip the dough over. Brush the grilled side with olive oil and grill the second side for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough is golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the other pizza dough oval.
To assemble and finish the pizza, place the grilled dough on a baking sheet. Spread it with half the fromage blanc mixture, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edge of the pizza. Top with half of the onion slices, and half the bacon lardons.
Place 1 pizza in the preheated oven for 5–8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and top with salt, black pepper, and freshly ground dried chilies and half the chopped parsley. Slice and serve immediately. Repeat with the other pizza. X
Key Lime Pie
For crust:1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers2 tablespoons sugar5 tablespoons unsalted butter, meltedFor filling:1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk4 large egg yolks1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cheap lime juice. Skip the key lime juice.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (4-cup) glass pie plate.
Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.
Make filling and bake pie:
Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add juice and whisk until combined well (mixture will thicken slightly).
Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.
Groceries & booze: $617.82
Dash the Dashing Sommelier: $25
Rented table: $30
Babysitting for kids, 4 p.m.–8 a.m.: $200