It’s Always Five O’Clock Somewhere: Geoffrey Zacharian

An hour before Geoffrey Zakarian’s Interactive Cooking Demonstration at the 77th Senior PGA Championship began, the large room at the KitchenAid Fairway Club at Harbor Shores was already standing room only.

But when Zakarian, star and/or producer of six television shows including the Food Network’s The Kitchen, Cooks Vs. Cons, Chopped and Iron Chef American didn’t disappoint.

Dapperly attired in a suit and tie with a burgundy handkerchief tucked into his breast pocket, Zakarian began by engaging the crowd, asking for questions almost immediately before announcing that he was going to start by making a drink.

Almost immediately someone in the audience shouted “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and both Zakarian and the audience laughed.

The comment was in reference to the name of a Jimmy Buffet song. But Zakarian said that he’d been sued for using that phrase.

“That’s why we say kitchen cocktail,” he said. “The reality is we got sued. So are there any other questions before I make a cocktail for myself?”

The drink in question was a Gold Rush, a simple concoction of honey, bourbon and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

“It’s got to be fresh lemon juice,” said Zakarian. “Don’t buy those plastic things shaped like a lemon. You know why, they’re full of ascorbic acid to make it last forever.”

Processed foods and buying in abundance only to have it go rancid or stale is on the list of things Zakarian, who also adds restaurateur to his list of accomplishments owning several in New York including The Palm Court, The National Bar & Dining Rooms and The Lamb’s Club. His newest, Georgie and The Garden Bar at Montage Beverly Hills, are scheduled to open in August.

“We buy too much and we waste it,” said Zakarian who in his role as Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City, oversaw the collection and distribution 50 million pounds of food. “No snack foods, no processed foods, all good healthy food. I hate waste. In my kitchens, if I see a radish in the garbage, you’re out.”

Bantering with the audience while he prepared lobster salad and a shaved asparagus salad, Zakarian was asked why he wore a suit while cooking.

“Because my dad always told me to dress for the job you want,” he responded.

“Then you should be dressed in golf attire,” someone else said referring to an early reference Zakarian had made about loving the game of golf. “That’s the job you want.”
“Why?” Zakarian shot back. “Have you see what some of those people out there are wearing?”

At the end of his demonstration, Zakarian lined up to have his photo taken with fans and to sign his newest cookbook, My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients (Potter 2014; $30) to raise money for the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

Gougeres:

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon sugar

4 ounces unsalted butter

5 ounces all-purpose flour

5 large eggs

5 ounces grated gruyere cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

Gruyere Mornay:

2 ounces unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

35 ounces whole milk

4 ounces gruyere cheese

4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Beer Mustard Sauce:

8 ounces mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s

8 ounces Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons beer extract powder

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon malt vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 For the gougeres: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepot combine the milk, sea salt, sugar and butter, and bring to a boil. Add the flour and cook until thoroughly incorporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until the dough is the temperature of warm tap water, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Fold in half of the gruyere and some pepper.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round pastry tip. Pipe 1-inch-wide rounds on the prepared baking sheets 2-inches apart, about 60 total. Sprinkle the top with the remaining gruyere and some black pepper.

Wet a fingertip and press down lightly to remove the point on each gougere. Bake for 8 minutes and rotate. Bake until the gougeres are golden brown, another 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

For the Mornay: In a medium saucepot set over low heat, melt the butter and sweat the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and cook until it smells toasted, 2 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring continuously so no lumps form. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Slowly add the gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and stir until smooth. Add the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the Mornay to a bowl and cool in the fridge or set over ice. When cool, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small tip.

For the sauce: In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, beer extract powder, honey, mustard powder and vinegar, and whisk thoroughly to remove the lumps. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the gougeres with the Mornay sauce and reheat in the oven to melt the cheese, 5 minutes. Serve the hot gougeres with the beer mustard.

Spring Asparagus Salad

With Frisee, Parmigiano Reggiano and a Caper Anchovy Vinaigrette

Yield: 6

Ingredients

For the Salad

1ea      Bunch Asparagus

2ea      Heads of Frisee (Trimmed)

6oz      Parmigiano Reggiano

1/2cup Toasted Hazelnuts

For the Pickled Red Onions

1ea   large Red Onion

1 cup   White Wine Vinegar

1/3rd cup Sugar

1/3rd cup Water

3 cloves Garlic

For the Vinaigrette

1 ea Shallot (finely minced)

1Tablespoon  Capers

3ea Marinated White Anchovies

1Tblsp Dijon Mustard

3 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup  Blend Oil

¼ Cup  Olive Oil

Method

For the Pickled Red Onions

  1.  Slice the red onion in to thin rings, put in to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pot, heat vinegar, water, sugar, garlic to a boil and pour over red onion rings.
  3. Cover tightly and leave to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate and save for garnishing the salad.

For the Vinaigrette

  1. Place your minced shallots in to a medium sized bowl with the Dijon mustard, white wine, and anchovies.  Let this sit for 5-10 minutes to marinate.
  2. Once Marinated, whisk vigorously fully incorporating the Dijon in to the vinegar, and the shallots.
  3. While whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle in the two oils.
  4. Fold in the capers and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for later when dressing the salad.

For the Salad

  1. Trim the ends of the Asparagus that are stringy and woody.
  2. Slice the asparagus lengthwise on a mandolin, thinly, in to ice water, and let sit for 5 minutes to stiffen.
  3. Remove Asparagus from ice water after 5 minutes, let stand for 1 minute on paper towel to dry, then place in to a medium sized bowl with the trimmed frisee.
  4. Toss the asparagus and frisee, with the toasted hazelnuts, Pickled Red onion rings, season with salt and pepper, then dress with 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette.
  5. Set on to a plate, and using a micro plane, grate the Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of the salad and then serve immediately.
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