Tag Archives: MasterChef

Italian Corn Summer Salad

Hey all. First time positing since Cooks vs. Cons on Food Network, more on that to come on a later date. I made this one up for Fourth of July when I had  5 picnics to go to and it went over so well that a lot of people have asked me for the recipe and I figured I would share it with everyone!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

12 ears of corn

1/2 jar Roasted Red Peppers

1/2 jar Sun-dried Tomatoes

1 carton cherry tomatoes

Scallions

garlic

ginger

salt

pepper

Italian seasoning

olive oil

butter

old bay

 

Directions:

1) Butter ears of corn and wrap in foil.  Cook on grill or in oven around 500 degrees for 40 minutes (turn once if on grill).

2) Place all tomatoes on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook in oven or on grill with corn for 15-20 minutes on baking sheet (this way the juices are gathered on the baking sheet)

3) Rough chop the scallions, sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers.

4) Cut all corn off the cobs and put in large mixing bowl with tomatoes (reserving the juices on the side), scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. Thoroughly mix.

5) Make a simple dressing by whisking together the juices of the tomatoes, 2 tbs olive oil, 3 cloves roasted garlic, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tbs juices from Roasted Red Pepper jar, 1 tbs juices from sun-dried tomato jar, salt, and pepper.

6) Dress the salad, mixing well, and dust with old bay seasoning.

7) Enjoy!

 

I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did! Till next time, MaurPowerFoodie signing off.

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CT Chefs Challenge 2015 – MaurPowerFoodie Competes! #CTChefs

That’s right. As you may recall from an earlier post, I have been selected as 1 of the 8 chefs to compete in this year’s CT Chefs Challenge on September 18, 2015, the 5th annual showing of the event.

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This is going to be one intense challenge as I take on 7 of the best chefs CT has to offer. Just check out this list of the competitors:

Mark Vecchitto – Seehund German Pub: 2014 Winner
Adam Bedini – StrEATery
Justin Kern – Meeting House Pub
Trevor McGrath – YooNeke: Hells Kitchen Season 9
Carlos Baez – The Spread
Joshua Morosi – A Chef’s Choice
Jason Maur – MaurPowerFoodie: MasterChef Season 3
Carol Koty – The Waterview and Lockwood Lodge: World Food championship competitor

Now Carol and I go way back, and I am psyched to cheer her on (for 2nd place after me). But the competitors aren’t the only amazing part. The event will be hosted by the unstoppable Chef Plum of PlumLuvFoods (you may recognize him from The Taste, Guys Grocery Games, Cutthroat Kitchen, and more) and judged by Chef Derrick Prince (Master Chef Season 2), Judy & Joy (who have made their rounds throughout the culinary world), Ken Tuccio (Welcome to CT), and more! Not to mention my buddy’s over at OmNomCT covering everything on Social Media. It is just ridiculous, in the most amazing way!

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Now for the question on everyone’s mind, what will I be making? I am not going to give it all away, but I am sticking with my BBQ roots, but with an extreme upscale twist. Going to be killer, especially thanks to the help of the Chef/Owner of Bar 140 in Shelton, CT, Joe, who has agreed to Sous Chef for me.

The event is taking place at the Lincoln Culinary Institute in Shelton. You can purchase tickets here!

COME OUT FOR THIS! It is going to be one hell of an event and you do not want to miss it.


Tarry Lodge – New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT has become one of the greatest spots in CT for quality food from a great variety of cultures. But when talking about New Haven food, the Nation knows it for one thing… Pizza… or since I am in CT I should say Appiza. When bringing a new pizza restaurant to town, it is important to bring something unique, something different, something fresh. That is exactly what Tarry Lodge delivers.

Chef Drew

One of the restaurants from the great minds and talents of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich (for those who do not know, I have a “history” with Joe Bastianich) , alongside Andy Nusser and Nancy Selzer, the team has done it again. First thing done right, get the right Chef. They have done this with a friend of mine, whom I met while he was the Sous Chef at Tarry Lodge in Westport, Executive Chef Andrew Marsilio.  Chef Drew has combined his training and experience to carry out an amazing menu with the skills of a master. Speaking of the menu, they got that right too. This classic Italian menu celebrates the tradition of taking fresh, quality ingredients, keeping it simple, plating them beautifully, and cooking them perfectly. Along with the plating presentation, add a great ambiance (albeit a tight fit when the restaurant is packed), and a quality wine list (which it better be with Bastianich on the team) and my friends, you have yourself a restaurant that will strive in the bustle and hodge podge that is New Haven, CT.

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Alright, onto the food. First, I must than Chef Drew for sending out a couple extra courses beyond what I ordered for me to try (the Octopus and the Tiramisu). But, let’s start with the beginning.  We started of with the Heritage Pork Polpette (meatballs) and Chef’s Octopus.  The Polpette was seasoned to perfection. A simple tomato sauce, some aged grated cheese, salty and savory with just a touch of sweetness fresh ground pork.  The only issue, it was served next to my favorite thing I ate all night, the grilled Octopus. I love octopus… when it is cooked right. So often, even the best of chefs overcook Octopus, leaving it rubbery. Not at Tarry Lodge. Not only was the texture buttery and tender, but the  acid of the lemon, the squid ink, and the touch of spice from the shishito peppers truly brought out the best in these tentacles. I wish my photo had come out so you could see the vibrant colors and artistic plating on this one too, but just trust me, the fact that you eat with your eyes first only helped enhance this dish. Onto our entree…

Guanciale pizza

As I said, when doing pizza in New Haven, it not only has to be great pizza, it has to be unique. Pizza does not get more unique than this house specialty Guanciale pizza. Guanciale is an Italian cured bacon made from pork cheek. Similar to a pancetta, but with a much stronger flavor, it only makes sense to pair it with the bold, earthy tones of black truffles. Many people in the food world talk about the different flavor palates, one of which that escapes most people is Umami. The savory, earthy goodness from truffles is my perfect example of Umami. Add in the salty guanciale, melted cheese, a lightly seasoned, crispy crust, and the rich egg yolk and you have a truly decadent, flavorful pizza. Every ingredient working with the other ingredients in harmony to create a depth of flavor that enhances with each bite. I want to try the other pizzas here too, but am hard pressed not to order this every time I go.

Gnocchi

The other entree for us that evening, my personal favorite pasta dish to order when I go to a good Italian restaurant, Gnocchi. At Tarry Lodge, they prepare their gnocchi All’ Amatriciana, which is in a sauce made with the above raved about guanciale, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. If you are looking for something to compare it to, the closest I could give is a non-creamy vodka sauce. Though, as above mentioned, guanciale has a very bold flavor, so it shines through in this sauce. But the star of this dish is the gnocchi itself. Not only are the dumpling flavorful, they are as pillowy as I imagine a cloud to be, literally melting in one’s mouth. As full as we were after all this, it was time for dessert, so we ordered the flourless chocolate cake…

chocolate cake

Fresh cream on top, pistachio crumble, and rich chocolate cake, with no flour (that means it is healthy, right?… cause we ate the whole thing). Creamy, velvety, goodness. Definitely enough for both of us to finish off the meal…OH WAIT! Chef sent out another dessert….

tiramisu

TIRAMISU! Now I am extremely cautious in ordering tiramisu. Most places either soak the lady fingers in too much espresso and that is all you can taste, or cover it in so much cream that it is almost not a cake…. or both!. I think as you can see above, Tarry Lodge does neither. They serve up a classic, traditional, simple tiramisu and the 3rd best tiramisu I have ever had. The first was made homemade for me in Italy when I toured through the Country with my choir when I was 16.  The second was at a celebrity chef dinner in Chicago this past October (though that one was admittedly far from traditional, with a butter toffee crunch on the bottom), and then comes Tarry Lodge. Traditional with a capital “T” there is just a hint of espresso, a perfectly sweet mascarpone, moist ladyfingers throughout and topped with fresh cream. I couldn’t ask for more… even though I wanted to. In fact we were so full, and our neighbors at the next table, a very nice couple with whom we had a great conversation throughout the dinner, was staring so intently at it when the brought it to our table, we even offered them a bite, which they enjoyed thoroughly with us.

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Thank you so much to Chef Drew, general manager Steve Bayusik, the amazingly attentive waitstaff, the kitchen crew, and everybody else at Tarry Lodge for a meal not soon to be forgot. In fact, I will be back tomorrow night for dinner with some friends before a show to share the experience. As for you Joe Bastianich, consider the hatchet buried… I forgive you for rightfully kicking me off MasterChef for a terribly plated dish. My skills have improved greatly, maybe I will see you again, but all I really have to say is thank you. Thank you for helping to ignite a true passion food in me, thank you for continuing to help create fantastic restaurants for me frequent, and thank you for dinner… wait, I thought they said the next one was on you… oh well, I’ll still be back there tomorrow. Go enjoy a night at Tarry Lodge with Chef Drew and the crew. If you see me there, don’t hesitate to say hi, but don’t be offended if you find me in a food coma at the end of the meal. Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing out.

 

Tarry Lodge Enoteca and Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Pork in the Park – Stamford, CT – Cooking Demo!

That’s right everybody… I will be doing a full out cooking demo at this year’s Pork in the Park BBQ Festival in Stamford, CT. Definitely come check out the entire festival this weekend. There will be other amazing cooking demo’s. Fabulous food and drinks, and perhaps the thing I am most excited about… A KANSAS CITY BBQ SOCIETY SANCTIONED COMPETITION!!!!!

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Festival Dates & Times

Saturday, July 13, 11am – 8pm​​​​

Sunday, July 14, 11am – 5pm​

Admission costs

$15.00 for adults

$5.00 for kids.

Children under 5 are FREE!​

As for what I will be teaching you all how to cook. I can tell you it will involve a lot of fantastic ingredients, homemade BBQ sauce, some booze in basically each and every element of the dish (tequila, vodka, and beer will all be used), a refreshing twist, and you DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT. My demo is on Sunday the 14th from 12:15-1:00. Please come check out how I put MaurPower on the Plate for a Summer BBQ Spectacular. Here is the jalapeno infused tequila in the making!

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Check out OmNomCT (the people who invited me to demo and a fantastic food blog) for the list and schedule of all the demos! Right before me is another reality TV chef from America’s Baking Competition. PLUS… local chefs and BBQ Competitors. And here is a sneak peek as I begin my prep for this Sunday!

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Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off. Come check out an awesome festival this weekend. I guarantee a great time for all.


Foodie Pen Pal! Tenth Month – May 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Mary Morehouse… and “IT” finally happened… the moment every man waits for… Wait for it…

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SHE SENT ME A BACON BOX!!! A BOX WHERE (almost) EVERYTHING WAS BACON OR BACON THEMED!!! Needless to say, I was excited.

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First off she sent me bacon cheddar popcorn (delicious), a bacon rub (that I used on a great pork chop and plan on using when I smoke my own bacon this summer… BACON RUBBED BACON!), and well of course…. BACON! I used this to make these amazing Loaded Smashed Baked Potatoes.

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Next she sent me some Bacon jerky. Now I am not usually a jerky guy, but this is BACON. It is basically the same thing as eating wonderful slices of bacon out of a bag. Yumm! Then there was a Smokin’ Bacon Ranch. I have not yet used this. I plan on possibly putting it out at the next party with Veggies and Wings. I am sure it will not disappoint though

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Finally, Mary sent me some examples of the sweeter side of bacon (one of my personal favorite uses of bacon is in desserts, so these were right up my alley).  The Oregon Bacon Bar… milk chocolate with tiny crunchy pieces of bacon! How could you go wrong? And then there was something I actually make myself… Bacon Brittle. Salty, sweet, crunchy, and simply divine.

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Oh wait… Did I say finally… there was more! A couple of non-food items. First was a cute pig rubber spatula and a 101 things to do with Bacon book (I plan on doing all of them!)

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And there was still more. Mary is apparently not a big wine drinker and had this gift certificate around the house and sent it to me…

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And what’s better… the site had a special for another $100 free when you spent $150! I immediately ordered 3 cases of wine which have been added to my collection.

Thank you so much Mary for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. To the best of my knowledge, Mary does not have a blog to post her package on, but I would be more than happy if she wanted to post something on here, so Mary.. Let me know 🙂 I hope your package was as fantastic as the one you sent me.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Raina Van Setter. You can check out what I sent Raina at her blog “The Home Plate”.

Well, thus ends my tenth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one.

Don’t forget to ENTER TO WIN a MaurPowerFoodie PenPal Package and SIX FLAG TICKETS!

I can not wait till June’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month and be sure to enter to win the GIVEAWAY, your own FoodiePenPal Package and SIX FLAG TICKETS from Me, the MaurPowerFoodie! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


MasterChef – One Year Later; Avon Walk For Breast Cancer; A Special Foodie PenPal Package; and a MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!

Last night marked the premier of MasterChef Season 4, and I could not help but feel a rush of nostalgia, as it was just 1 year ago that I was going through the excitement of being one of the top 100 in Season 3. From news appearances to interviews and features in papers, tribunes, websites, and magazines, it was an amazing time. An experience I am so fortunate to have had, and the birth of MAURPOWERFOODIE! Can’t believe that this was but 1 year ago…

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I still have not worn that shirt since the show. But I did do something else for the first time since being on the show. I used the ingredient which quite arguably sent me home… Black Garlic.

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For my dish on the show, I decided to use a smear of black garlic on the plate for presentation and too add a depth of flavor. This did not go over well with the judges (the infamous skidmark remark) and in retrospect was a horrible use of the ingredient. Well I decided what better way to pay tribute to the amazing experience I had on the show and how far I have come since by using Black Garlic the right way in order for a MasterChef Season 4 Premier/Season 3 1 Year Anniversary Dinner. So last night I had my friend Alyssa over for dinner and the show. And the meal was fantastic. Black Garlic Rubbed Steak, Black Garlic Butter Corn on the Cob, and Loaded Smashed Baked Potato. As you can see, Alyssa enjoyed it thoroughly:

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MasterChef was a huge step on my culinary journey and has led me towards many things. As for last night’s premier… what a great episode! Definitely some amazing talent this year, some unfortunate flops, the judges were on top of their game in both entertaining and giving some solid critiques. So happy to see my boy Luca Manfe from Season 3 back after his heartbreaking elimination last year and can’t wait to see what he does this year to redeem himself. One thing some of you may remember me conquering after MasterChef was walking 40 MILES for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

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Well, I am happy to announce that I am walking again this year 🙂 I have a fundraising goal I have to make of $1800.00, so please, help me out and make a donation to help put an end to Breast Cancer. And be sure to see below how your donations can help you win today’s MaurPowerFoodie Giveaway!

Speaking of that giveaway… I decided to do it because my Foodie PenPal whom I sent a package to last month, Judy Thompson, was nice enough to actually send me one back. So I figured to pay it forward, I would give away a PenPal box just like the one I sent Judy to one of my luck followers. First things first, what did Judy send me? An amazing collection of snack foods: Chocolate covered marshmallows, Chocolate covered potato chips, Chocolate covered cherries, caramel waffle crisps, and almond biscotti. All of which were delicious and have since been devoured.

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Which brings us to what you have all been waiting for… the GIVEAWAY! Your own MaurPowerFoodie PenPal Box, featuring some of my favorite snacks and ingredients and pictured below:

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So, how do you win??? Easy! All you have to do is go to the Giveaway post and follow the simple instructions.

There you have it! It is as easy as that to earn anywhere from 1-8 entries for the MaurPowerFoodie PenPalPackage, and the drawing will be done June 21st at 8:00 PM EST, so be sure to ENTER NOW!!! Winner will be contacted by e-mail to make arrangements to get your address to send your prize to 🙂 Good luck everyone.

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off. Can’t wait to see who the winner is 🙂


Foodie Pen Pal! Ninth Month – April 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Erica Richardson of The Land of Salt.

Erica seems to have pretty varied tastes from her blog so I was so excited to see what she would send me.

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First off she sent me a combination of what you have heard time and time again are some of my favorite two ingredients to combine… quality caramels and quality salt. In her letter to me Erica said this is the only salt she uses now. I can see why. A little bit goes a long way and it is quality. I know most people assume all salt is the same… not so. The crystalization is able to change flavors and textures, the coarseness of the grind changes the way a dish cooks. Quality salt is a must and this one did not disappoint. I think we all know I combined these two to make an awesome salted caramel sauce, but I have a lot of salt leftover that I have been using as I cook.

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Next she sent me some amazing oils, vinegar, and honey, all local to her. I always have a use for great balsamic vinegar and olive oils, so these were a welcome treat. The Balsamic is going to be used for a grilled flank steak and the oils for all sorts of creations. As for the honey, I had a taste, it is superb. Sweet, smooth, and sultry. As for what I am going to use it for… I will let you know when I decide.

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Finally, Erica sent me something I very rarely treat myself to. A gourmet spicy sausage… salami style. I rarely treat myself to these because I am often disappointed at the quality. NOT THE CASE HERE!!! This was my favorite item of the package. A wonderful spicy after kick, great flavor, fantastic texture, not dry at all. I ripped into this as soon as I opened the package and it barely lasted for anyone else to even have a taste. Thank you!

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Thank you so much Erica for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, thelandofsalt.com.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Judy Thompson. Judy does not currently blog, but I will be doing a special SECOND REVEAL DAY later this week that includes what I sent to Judy 🙂

Why the second reveal day you ask???? Because Judy was so nice and thoughtful that she sent a surprise package back to me! What did she send? Tune in later this week. Also included in that post…

A MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!! In order to pay it forward for the kindness of Judy sending me a package back, I am going to giveaway a duplicate of the package I sent her to one lucky follower. Details to come in that post, so pay attention and you too could get a MaurPowerFoodie Penpal Box.

Well, thus ends my ninth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till May’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month, the second reveal this week, and the GIVEAWAY! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.