Lovin’ Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2014

Tim Love draws a loyal crowd of fans at the
Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and it is easy to see why.  Apart from
being insanely entertaining, this Top Chef and Top Chef Masters alum has
a laundry list a mile long of culinary achievements and appearances,
the most recent of which includes co-hosting alongside restauranteur Joe
Bastianich
Restaurant Kick Start on CNBC Tuesday evenings (once we move into the casa nueva it will be on my TiVo list for sure).
So
because of his large fan base, I knew I had to wait in line for good
seats, and I was DETERMINED to be in the front row, come hell or high
water.  My small fan base (three girlfriends from Phoenix) certainly
thought I was nuts, but Chef Love did not disappoint and easily won over
three new fans from the great state of AZ.

His class
was called Cast Iron Cooking, but he was quick to point out that he
wanted to call it the Art of Burning Food.  Why?  “Simple.  Because when
you drink as much as I do you don’t
want it to get complicated.”
  See why I adore this man?  First thing you
need is a cast iron skillet.  In cooking school (and Love and
Samuelsson both mentioned this as well), most chefs would tell you that
the best place to buy a cast iron skillet is at a garage sale.  Check.  The next biggest question:  How do you clean it?  Easy peasy.  Wipe it with oil, pour kosher salt in
the skillet and turn the grill on high. 
Smoke the salt, add a dash more oil, then wipe it all out.


And what burned dishes did he make for us?  Beet Home Fries, Summer Squash
Salad, Honey Drizzled Carrots and Rib-Eye Steak with Love-Style Rub. 
For the first dish, wash the beets and place them whole in boiling water for 45 minutes, or until fork tender.  Next, place them on a cutting board and smash
with towel, skins on!  The skins
will crisp up in the pan.  Literally burn both sides.  Plate with some
goat cheese and chili flakes, splash of lemon juice, and olive oil.  Simple, and from what I could smell, delicious. 

Next, Summer Squash Salad.  To burn food, he explained, you
need two things:  oil and lots of
patience.  Use fat in a pan (in this case peanut oil) as an equalizer to help sear completely and evenly.  It takes time
to burn food properly, so sit back and cool your heals.  Sear each side of the yellow squash.  Remove
from the heat and place in a bowl to cool.  Add minced shallots, lemon juice,
fresh herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.

He explained that every food has its own sugar.  The browning of sugar is also called carmelization: carmelization adds texture (crispiness) which can only come
from a burn.  “You want to taste the
burnt sugar in food.”
  He took some carrots, cut them in half, and
after browning split-side down in a pan, flipped them and broiled them
in the oven.  To finish off the plate, he drizzled the carrots with honey, lemon juice
and salt.

Lastly, the pièce de
resistance, a juicy rib-eye steak.  He made a quick rub with what he had
on hand: minced garlic, guajillo chili powder, chili flakes, brown
sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper.  After perfectly searing the steak in
the skillet, he removed it to cool, and deglazed the pan with some white
wine.  He added a touch of butter and poured in a wonderfully hot mess
over the steak.  He also poured some on the squash salad.  “I do
vegetarian dishes…they just have meat in them.”

Few get through the class without some sort or ribbing from Chef Love, and we four ladies on the front row were no exception.  My friend Fernanda, born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, was asked to join Love on stage so he could share her notes with the class.  She was a wonderful sport and took in all in stride…  

“Boil the beets”
“Boil them good”

He usually asks participants to join him in a shot of tequila, and with Fernanda being from Mexico, he offered her a particularly generous portion.  Although most shoot it down in one gulp, Fernanda, much to Love’s dismay, wisely opted to sip her tequila while enjoying the rest of the class.  Asked afterwards why she wouldn’t shoot a glass of tequila, she replied, “I was not going to shoot tequila like some gringa on spring break in Cancún.”  She’s spot on…that brings back some super ugly memories…

Hasta pronto, Chef Love

We joined Chef Love afterwards for a photo op and a “sip” of tequila in these great shot glasses from his signature restaurant, the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, located in the Fort Worth Stockyards (he also owns Queenie’s Steakhouse in Denton, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack and White Elephant Saloon all in the Fort Worth Stockyards).  

As
a side note, he enjoys Herradura Reposado tequila under his
personalized label.  A few of you will remember my visit to Casa
Herradura from my post A Little Salt and Lime http://www.texaztaste.com/a-little-salt-and-lime/.  During our visit to Casa Herradura, we learned about their Buy-The-Barrel program, where one can order their own Herradura Double Barrel Reposado with personalized labels.  Each barrel includes approximately 240 personalized bottles of tequila aged for an extra month in a hand picked barrel.  After bottling, the barrel is branded and shipped to its owner with a framed certificate of ownership.

Signed barrels of the Buy-the-Barrel program at Casa Herradura

Cheers to Aspen next summer, and making it to the Fort Worth Stockyards to sample some of Tim Love’s dishes!

xo M
All photos by Marci Symington for www.texaztaste.blogspot.com.  

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