Turkish Chicken Kebabs – Expect More

I’d like to think that all the chicken coming off American grills this summer will be as tasty, juicy, and tender, as these Turkish chicken kebabs, but I know better. This has nothing to do with cooking skills, or quality of grills, but rather the unremarkable residue of low expectations.

People simply don’t expect much from their grilled chicken, and that’s exactly what they get. They use too little seasoning, and way too much time on the grill, followed by the inevitable barbecue sauce cover-up. Sure, the chicken was dry, but at least we couldn’t taste it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By using a flavorful, yogurt-based marinade, like the one seen herein, even inexperienced grillers can produce impressive results. The acid and calcium in the yogurt tenderizes the meat, and unless it’s horribly over-cooked, you’ll be enjoying the kind of succulent chicken you didn’t even realize was possible.

Like I mentioned in the video, I’m not sure how "Turkish" this is. It’s loosely based on a lamb marinade I’ve used for a long time, but it really worked beautifully on these thighs. I really hope you give this easy, and very adaptable recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp ketchup
6 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Aleppo red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 long metal skewers

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

I know, everybody says that, but I really mean it. These are, these have to be, the best chocolate chip cookies, ever. Crispy around the edges, chewy and chocolaty in the middle, and thin, oh so thin.

The only way someone doesn’t love these, is if they prefer thick cookies instead, which, in that case, makes their opinion invalid, since they’re obviously crazy. Besides, you know you can just press two thin cookies together to get a thick one. Right?

My “secret” formula has been adapted from Alton Brown’s famous, “The Thin” recipe, and is fairly foolproof. The only real variable is the baking time, since we all scoop slightly different amounts. Mine took about 12 minutes, but if you make yours a little bigger, or smaller, that time will change.

And yes, of course you can add nuts to yours! I’m a walnut guy from way back, but decided to go sans nuts for this video. Speaking of nuts, you’re nuts if you don’t try this very simple, and amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 32 Chocolate Chip Cookies (depending on size):
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or 3/4 teaspoon of fine table salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) very soft unsalted *butter
*I used a high-quality European-style butter, and recommend you do the same. Cheaper butters will have more water content, which can affect the fat ratio, and thickness of your cookie.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Bake at 375 F. for about 12 minutes

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil – An Exceptional Summer Exception

There are many people, myself included, that think cooking prosciutto is basically a crime against nature; but there are exceptions, and this plate of grilled peaches with burrata is one incredibly delicious example. 

Having said that, I used a domestic version, which works beautifully here, so we’re not expecting you to use up your precious prosciutto di Parma.

As far as the peaches go, you want something ripe, and sweet, but still somewhat firm. Above and beyond not being too soft, you must also make sure you’re buying “freestone” peaches. Non-freestone varieties will not separate as seen in the video. Ask the produce person at the market, and if they’re not sure, have them cut one open. They’re usually happy to do so!

After you talk to them, head over to the cheese department, and pick up some burrata. This extra rich and creamy cousin of mozzarella is not that hard to find, and really puts this over the top. You could use a nice, fresh mozzarella, or even a full-fat ricotta instead, but, if at all possible, find some burrata, and treat yourself to one of the world’s great cheese experiences. I hope you give this great summer recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 ripe, sweet, but not soft peaches (must be “freestone”)
3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn in ribbons
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) burrata cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves

Next Up: Something with Peach

I think I’m going to start a new tradition, where the first video I post after a vacation, is whatever the most delicious thing I had during my time away was. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I can tell you it involved peaches, and was amazing. Stay tuned!

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Chef John is on Vacation!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be on vacation this week. I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing break, and if everything goes according to plan, I will accomplish absolutely nothing. 

We’ll continue to publish your comments and questions, but unfortunately, I won’t be around to respond to the tiny fraction of them I usually do. That means you’ll have to rely on each other, so good luck with that. Thank you for understanding, and we’ll see you next week!

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You’ve Entered the Calzone Zone

I’ve never been a huge fan of the calzone, and I assume most people that don’t eat their pizza crusts feel the same way. However, since this has been requested hundreds of times, I thought I’d put my personal feelings aside, and give the recipe a shot.

I call it a recipe, but it’s actually a technique, since the calzone's greatest feature is its ability to accept any combination of cheese, meat, and vegetables as a filling. Today, calzones are most commonly stuffed with the exact same toppings that go on a pizza, which, besides the crust issue, was one of my main problems with it. I mean, why not just fold a pizza in half, and call it a day?

So, I decided to do what I hear is a more traditional filling, featuring ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and ham. The result was as enjoyable, as it was surprising. It was almost, but not quite, lasagna-like. The extra crust didn’t bother me as much, and everything seemed to work together beautifully.

I decided to recommend our Wolfgang Puck dough recipe, because it's fast and easy, and features a nice lightly textured dough, but any prepared pizza dough will work nicely. 

Just be sure to bake this long enough. If you make these the same size, it’s going to take about 15 minutes at 500 F. Your calzone may look nicely browned at 10 minutes, and it will be tempting to take out, but the dough will still be raw. You really want to push this to the point of almost burning.

And what happens if you go too far, and it does burn? No problem. Just order a pizza and fold it in half. So, whether you’re already a calzone lover, or a reluctant skeptic like me, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Calzones:
1 batch of our Wolfgang Puck pizza dough (get the recipe here), divided into 4 dough balls
8 slices prosciutto
2 cups ricotta, drained if necessary
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin, and drained on paper towel
1 1/2 cup finely diced smoked ham
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
(note: before folding, I forgot to drizzle the top of the filling with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, which I think would have been a nice touch.)
corn meal for the pan
2 cups marina sauce for dipping, optional
1 egg for egg wash
Parmesan cheese for dusting tops
- Bake at 500 F. for 15 minutes

Baba Ghanoush – The Day After Dip

No matter what you’re grilling this summer, chances are good you’re going to have more hot coals than food to cook on it, which makes baba ghanoush the perfect post-barbecue recipe. Instead of those glowing embers going gently into the sweet night, why not grill up some eggplant, and make one of the world’s best vegetable dips?

You can cook the eggplant any way you want, but charcoal is my favorite. Next best would be cooked over a gas burner, but that can really mess up your stove, so I guess the real next best is baked at 400 F. until they collapse, and get very soft.

As you can see in the clip, this is not a very complicated recipe. As long as this is seasoned thoughtfully, you should be enjoying a wonderfully savory, yet refreshing dip. Just be sure to pay attention to the salt. Eggplant, like almost every vegetable, needs a good amount of salt to bring out the flavor.

The difference between a terrible dip, and a stellar spread can be as little as a half teaspoon of salt. Wait for the mixture to cool completely in the fridge, taste it ice-cold, and adjust with more salt, as needed. Same goes for the lemon, cayenne, and the tahini.

If you grill these after a cookout, but have had too much fun, and don’t feel like doing any more work, you can peel them the next day, and this will work out the same. I hope you give this delicious baba ghanoush a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 cups Baba Ghanoush:
3 or 4 large Italian eggplant
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
juice from 1 or 2 lemons, or to taste
3 tbsp tahini, or to taste
pinch of cayenne
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 minced fresh mint leaf, optional
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
pita chips and vegetables for dipping

Have a Great Fourth of July Weekend!

We’re going to take a couple days off for the holiday, but wanted to wish you a very safe, and festive 4th of July! 

Fabulous summer cookouts are just one of the many things that makes America great, and I hope you’re involved one of those tomorrow; preferably serving something you saw on Food Wishes (like the no-baked cheesecake flag cake pictured here). Enjoy the food, the fireworks, and possibly the adult beverages, and we’ll be back next week with brand-new videos, as usual. Stay tuned! 

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4th of July Special: Red, White & Blueberry Grilled Chicken!

These colors don’t run, but they do stain, so I recommend eating this delicious, red, white and blueberry chicken outdoors, preferably at some type of 4th of July barbecue. While the Independence Day wordplay was very much intentional, this grilled chicken is no gimmick.

Smoky, spicy meats have been paired with sweet-and-sour, fruit-based sauces since we’ve had cooks, so that this combo works beautifully is no big surprise. And yes, other juicy fruit like peaches, or other berries will work nicely.

Like I said in the video, I made my spice rub extra hot, so I could really take advantage of the cooling effects of the sweetness in the sauce. Sweet cancels out heat on your palette, so you can kind of push things a bit if you want. The measurements below are what I used, but you should, and must adjust. 

As far as chicken doneness goes, I recommend checking with a thermometer. If you cook a lot of chicken, it’s fairly easy to tell by feel, but why take a chance? I usually go to 150 F, which left to rest for a minute, should be safe, and very juicy. So, if you’re looking for a very tasty, slightly unusual, appropriately named chicken recipe, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground dry chipotle
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves minced garlic

For the blueberry gastrique:
2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
*splash of water as needed to adjust thickness (after the blueberries start cooking)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*If you make the sauce ahead, your sauce will thicken, and you will probably need to thin it out with some water. When tasting for seasoning, remember this is going to go on highly seasoned meat.