10 Food Insta's You Should Be Following

Social media; the digital bulletin board everyone’s crazy relatives hijacked in years past, turning a fun college student networking website into a cesspool of opinions and oversharing personal information that would make the shameless blush. For me social media is merely the escape my eyes take when my bowels are engaged and/or my brain wants to take a timeout from thinking. I have never been addicted to drugs or even thought twice to do them a second day in a row, but now the apps and websites are opiods for my ego. Channeling my inner Hunter S. Thompson I use Instagram as a creative outlet, cutting up digital cocaine lines as I fire up the next app; using a swipe of the finger to snort up line after line of big butts, food and landscape photography. My brain wanders during these social media binges watching people searching for likes with transparent posts for sympathy. I cringe and swipe forward without liking the post, not unlike rolling my windows up, locking my doors when I approach a panhandler in a distant intersection hoping to not make accidental eye contact. I am not beyond this gross behavior, I am often über aware of it and am working to substitute this serotonin boost through more traditional means, hardcore drugs.

I have gained a keen eye for the best of the best, making mental notes, following, unfollowing, refollowing and liking thousands of food accounts over the year(s) I have deemed these ten accounts the best follows in the food universe:

#SaltBae (Nusret Gökçe )

After going viral in January of 2017 for modeling the most debonair way one can salt a steak, #SaltBae has done nothing but open restaurants, print money and crank out pull-ups in empty jungle-gyms at 2 am. No one has said more while seemingly saying nothing at all.

Le Bernardin

Possibly the most no nonsense restaurant account out there. As professional and polished as the restaurant itself, you wont see any selfies or bullshit other than what they are selling.

Tzurit Or

I am slightly biased in putting Tatte bakery’s founder on this list, my first apartment in Brookline (MA) was not far from the original location. Ironically enough I couldn’t escape the wake of the powerful Tatte as another one was opened near my second apartment. There are not many Instagram follows out there that I find more interesting on a week to week basis. The modern day Carmen San Diego, this baker is all over the map baking some of the most appetizing things you’ll ever see.

Claire Saffitz

The food magazine I grew up reading continues to put out some of the best content. I was going to have the Bon Apetit account on here but the brains behind the operation are putting out great posts that can’t be ignored. Claire is one of my favorite chefs to watch demo new recipes and her photography ain’t to shabby either.

BONUS:

I am a fan of most if not all of the personalities over at Bon Apetit. My ADD has me check out of most YouTube videos after sixty second however I break that rule when Brad Leone makes an appearance on a video. I don’t know much about Brad but he could possible be the love child of Tyler Florence and Chris Pratt’s character from Parks & Recreation, Andy Dwyer. I wouldn’t say his Instagram game is worthy of a Top 10 nod however hes an american treasure no doubt.

The Art of Plating

A great content Instagram; this account is not only aggregating photos from the web but working with cooks to bring you in the kitchen action.

The Hungry Tourist (david dudi)

You had me at gyoza, this real life tour guide takes you on a Insta-tour of some wildly extravagant restaurants in Tokoyo. Consult with ya doctor to check your cholesterol levels because these meals are not for the lighthearted. Whether it’s foie gras or kobe beef, try to not drool all over your screen while you watch chefs cook up some show stopping meals.

Minimalist Baker (DAna Shultz)

I will never be a full-time vegan but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the impossible task of making me want to push my steak aside for a few vegetables. Dana is a great photographer and I appreciate her Instagram stories that run through her process in creating a recipe. She has a few cookbooks available if you want to support this earthy crunchy food magician.

Jake Cohen

There is a skill to making food look appetizing and Jake is a master at it. By trade he is a food critic, I am not only jealous but hopeful he can help me find a free meal in New York City in exchange for this great honor.

Natural Ella (Erin Alderson)

The best part might be the photography but the recipes are not lacking. I have a sister who suffers from vegetarianism that I will be gifting a cookbook of hers, and don’t worry the surprise is not at risk as she is also allergic to reading anything I write.

Josh Niland

One of the best (young) Chefs on the planet, Josh Niland, shares some of the mutant creatures lurking in the oceans along Sydney’s coast.

Summer Cool Down: Corn Gazpacho with Scallops

Happy 4th of July oh thy loyal readership.  Depending on your geographic location you may or may not be experiencing a heat wave, I am personally experiencing the onset of heat exhaustion.  But before I collapse in sea a sea of swamp ass and empty mineral water bottles (to be recycled of course), I was able to transcribe this recipe for those feeling the heat.

You're welcome.

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Vegetable Prep

Ingredients:

  • 8 ears of corn; reserve 1 ear for garnish
  • 1/2 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, about 12
  • 1-2 roasted yellow peppers; peeled
  • 1 cucumber; peeled, seeds removed and 1/4 set aside for garnish
  • parsley; for garnish
  • vegetable stock

Step 1:  Cook Corn

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Granted we could do the easiest method of cooking corn; removing the corn husk, silk and pop these suckers in a pot of boiling water.  While adding humidity to my sweat shop conditioned kitchen would be a great way to slim down for the beach later this week, but it isn't ideal for everyday life.  In order to escape the heat I opted to grill the corn:

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The inedible silk only goes so far to the base of the corn so peeling back the husk about 3/4 of the way down allows one to rid themselves of what I like to call "corn pubes."  

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Once you have given the corn a Brazilian hand wax, redress the corn pulling the husk in reverse order from the previous step and placing them upside down into a tall pot full of water.  This will allow the stalks to gain some moisture back preventing them from burning and letting the corn steam in it's natural abode.   Grilling should take no more than 20 minutes, after 15 check the corn for done-ness and remove from the grill. A great way to add a little smokey flavor is to remove the husk of one or two of the cobs, grilling the bare corn over the grill for a few minutes.

Step 2:  Grill Yellow Pepper

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Do not chop the yellow pepper before placing it over a high directly onto the grill.  After the skin begins to blister and char, remove it from the grill and add it to a brown paper bag.  Roll the bag up tight and let stand for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes the skin can easily be removed from the pepper, now you can remove seeds and stem.

Step 3:  Peel and remove seeds of cucumber

Step 4:  Puree everything in a blender

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Sou Vide Scallops

Lightly vacuum seal your scallops in a bag and add into a 123°F water bath for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness).  Grilling scallops is difficult but not impossible, use a cast iron pan and a very low heat to sear them, warning overcooking scallops is very easy.

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Remove from bag and sear using a torch, if a torch isn't available a hot pan with butter works fine.

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Add to soup and garnish.  Damn girl you makin' me mad corny...

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Vegan Trials: Curried Lentils

I have a love hate relationship with vegans; I love Tom Brady and hate feeling like a worthless meat eater from all these skinny/healthy people that occupy vegan social media.  Part of me believes there are times avoiding animal products for a short period of time is good for the body & soul.  Some days I pull a vegan-vampire and avoid meat whilst the sun is up, and as the night comes I succumb to the urges of my caveman brain.

As far as I know there are two major types of people that turn plant eater; the animal activist and those who abstain for health regardless of morality.  I can reluctantly side with the person living a leafy lifestyle due to a internal feeling and a pursuit of longevity.  Although even if the plant lifestyle health claims are valid, I can make a strong case living past 100 isn't worth missing out on a 24 ounce Tomahawk Chop. 

That brings us to animal rights activists; I love me some animals and I agree we have a double standard with which animals we eat and the ones we allow onto our beds.  I can say for certain my dog would be dead in five minutes without me, him and the rest of the Border Collies would be extinct without humans.  As an owner of all seven volumes of the Wild Life Fact Files I believe I have the expertise to speak on this issue.  I have heard arguments that our pets are some sort of prisoners, enslaved among treats and toys in our warm/dry shelters.  But in reality they are more like a shitty roommates who don't ever make rent or at worst a squatter who shits in the house, I am looking at you cats. 

I am a proponent of eating wild game over farm raised livestock however I barely can step outside without a set of wireless headphones and a wiFi signal.  I might have to stick to the grocery store until the Apocalypse, only then will l do adequate research and binge YouTube videos on hunting.  Animals are here for us to eat, we are a predator, the top of the food-chain and we eat animals in order to balance the ecosystem.  Not to mention, farming of just vegetables kills numerous species of rodents, birds and insects during the harvesting process alone.  If you're going to live a life with ZERO impact to other species you might as well plan your funeral or start foraging in the woods.  There isn't much at Wholefoods that didn't involve the merciless slaughtering of animals, and for that I am thankful.  Please excuse me while i pour out some of my kombucha for my homies...

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Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1-can coconut milk, measured out to 2 cups
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium shallot
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp madras curry powder
  • yogurt
  • lime wedges
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Grate the ginger, as well as mince the onion and shallot into similar sized pieces.  Slice the garlic like Paulie from Goodfellas and get them so thin it may liquiefy when it hits the pan, but feel free to use a regular knife in lieu of a razor blade.

*I minced the ginger on a early version of this and didn't notice a difference if you want to avoid cleaning another utensil.

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Begin by sautéing the chopped vegetables, cook over medium heat in a small saucepan for a total of 5-8 minutes, while your pot is on the stove slide over to the sink and wash the lintels to remove anything left behind during packaging.

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Add in the spice blend about halfway through cooking the vegetables.

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After adding in the spices leave the onions, shallot and garlic on the stove (stirring often) until its contents have turned translucent.

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Add in the whole can of coconut milk and water into the pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, or whatever time the packaging on your lintels direct.

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Serve with yogurt and a wedge of lime you fabulous animal savior.

Gluten Free Trials: Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza is arguably the best food on the planet, the old adage is often said that pizza is like sex and even the worst pizza is still good.  In contrast unsolicited sex is to gluten-free pizza in that same analogy, it's not good and should be punishable in a similar fashion if served without consent.  As previously stated I am a hater of the gluten-less wheat products masquerading as regular bakery goods, however cauliflower presented an interesting alternative.  That alternative being a vegetable based pizza crust, a cousin of broccoli that I have forever appreciated for it's take-on-any-flavor attitude.  Whether it's Buffalo sauce or mashed potatoes cauliflower can offer a guilt free version of your cheat day meal.

As a skeptical person I decided to jump into this one with two feet and before producing a single blog I recreated this 4 times before landing on a final product.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Equipment:

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Grate the cauliflower florets down until you hit the stem, and if you want to use absolutely everything grate down the stem on a smaller hole.  If you have a food processor I would recommend using that instead, the downside of the grater is the irregular size if the cauliflower.

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Boil grated cauliflower for about 5 minutes, stir often and make sure all the small bits floating to the top are mixed to the bottom.

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Line the pasta strainer with cheese cloth to retain the smallest of peices.

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Wring out the cheese cloth until the moisture is almost entirely gone, salvage the last cup of liquid in case you need to add back in moisture.

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Add two cloves of grated garlic into the dry cauliflower "rice," mix thoroughly and empty into a large bowl.

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Add the remaining ingredients in and mix.

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After several attempts of placing the dough atop tin foil I realized parchment paper was the only viable liner.  I still used tin foil to line the pan however a trick to keeping the parchment paper down is using a wet wipe before lining the pan with parchment.

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Use vegetable oil (or peanut oil used above) to grease the parchment paper.  You will soon realize why more is better.

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Spread the "dough" across the parchment paper and press down firmly.  The cauliflower dough is more of a course paste than anything, mash the mixture together in the shape of a pizza or you will have rough chunks all over the joint.

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Cook the cauliflower dough at 375 °F for 20-30 minutes, at this point the edges should start to turn brown.  Take the dough out of the over and try to loosen with a spatula to prepare for the flip.  Depending on the size of your pizza dough you might have trouble flipping, fortunately for me I have cat like reflexes.

Continue cooking at 375 °F for another 5-10 minutes and remove from the oven (do not turn off heat).

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Add ingredients and place back in the still hot 375 °F oven for another 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.

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Was it good?  Yes.  Was it as good as regular pizza?  No, however I wouldn't really call this pizza.  This was more like a flatbread mixed with a drunk pile of nachos you made in college that were not actually chips but stale crackers.  God save the gluten free people...