TV food star turned author Adam Richman on Wednesday led an engaging discussion and cooking demo at Northeastern to close out the Xhibition Kitchen’s 10th anniversary. Richman has eaten his way around the world and hosted shows such as Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” and NBC’s “Food Fighters.”
Here are some highlights from the event, where Richman cooked up one of his favorite sandwiches and signed copies of his first cookbook, Straight Up Tasty.
Richman, who turned 41 on Saturday, described growing up in Brooklyn in the late 1970s and 1980s. Not only did he witness the birth of hip-hop and the sneaker culture, but he also experienced the many different kinds of food the city has to offer—whether it was the Italian fare on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx or the tastes of New Delhi in Jackson Heights. “You’re a sponge,” he said. “You’re around such amazing food in New York.”
‘I’m not a chef’
That’s a message Richman said he’s been stressing on his book tour. And, though he may not have a line of sauces or own his own restaurant, he said, “I love food. I can appreciate the culinary merits in a really kick ass tater tot as much as a really good foie gras torchon.”
Making his recipes your own
Richman encouraged attendees to go beyond the exact recipes in his book. “Let any of these recipes be your guide,” he said. “I’m a guy on TV, not a burning bush. These are just some really cool recipes I came up with, but they should be part of your story as well.”
Let’s get cooking
For his cooking demo Richman donned an Xhibition Kitchen apron and then made his “Sloppy ‘Zo,” which is featured in his new book. It’s a combination of two recipes. One is the sloppy joe, a traditional all-American sandwich from his youth. The other is a sandwich called chori-pan that he ate in Argentina outside a football stadium in Ciudad Lanús. The stars of the dish are the chorizo and the bread, with provolone, plum tomatoes, avocado, garlic, paprika, and red onion, among other tasty ingredients.
An alternative to popcorn
During a Q&A, Richman was asked to name a few non-traditional snack ideas for movie nights. This led to a story about Richman once buying a cheap deep fryer and going on a “bromantic odyssey of ‘can I fry this?’” Some ideas worked. Some did not. Then Richman offered a few intriguing suggestions. One is to cook chickpeas in a kettle or skillet and then toss them with a barbeque rub or Old Bay seasoning. Another was to make “tex-mex egg rolls.” First, get a rotisserie chicken and either wonton skins or egg roll wrappers. Next, pull the chicken off the bone and let it dry out. Then, fill the wrapper with some chicken as well as ingredients like canned corn, salsa, avocado, and black beans. Finally, roll them up and fry ’em.
Here are a few pieces of advice Richman served up to attendees:
• When cooking in a pan, heat it up first before pouring in the oil.
• Here’s a trick to save time in kitchen. Let’s say the recipe calls for a teaspoon of ground pepper. Grind the pepper over a plate using 10 hand rotations of the grinder. Then measure how much pepper that amounts to and use that as a guide going forward to eyeball the measurements.
• Richman’s favorite way to roast garlic: Heat the oven to 355 degrees. Cut the top off a garlic clove and pour a little bit of oil over it. Wrap the clove in aluminum foil, tent it, and pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes. When you take it out, press on the side and the cloves should come right out—almost like butter. Then spread it on bread to make garlic bread. “Garlic bread is awesome and every sandwich served on it is awesome,” he said.