Would you please post the peanut butter mashed potatoes recipe online?
I also like to add new and different flavors to my mashed potatoes and would like to try her recipe.
Inviting our three previous Top Chef winners to join us at the dinner table for the last challenge before the finale seemed like the perfect way to end our stay in Chicago. I was thrilled to see them and hear their thoughts on the food. Although I was a little surprised at how critical they could be, I appreciated that at the root of their remarks was the desire to see our new chefs succeed, as well as a very real memory of what it felt like to be working in the Top Chef kitchen instead of relaxing at the dining table. But more than the good company, I was excited to be part of an episode about butchering and cooking beef, for several reasons.
First, Chicago has a long and enthralling history in the beef and livestock industry. After all, Chicago was the home of Union Stock Yards, the center of the American meatpacking universe for decades before its slow decline and eventual close in the 1970s. These stockyards, made infamous by Upton Sinclair in his 1906 novel The Jungle, were the largest and most centralized meat-distribution hub in the country. Their creation revolutionized food processing completely and directly affected how most of us eat today. Although no longer in existence, the Union Stock Yards and the industry that surrounded them laid the foundation for the many exceptional meat suppliers in the Midwest -- Allen Brothers among them.
Another reason I was so pleased about his challenge is that since I started working in the food world, many years ago, I have developed a fascination with the art of butchering. I have spent many hours watching and learning from the talented butchers in the restaurants where I have worked. How quickly and efficiently they work, as well as how respectfully, never ceases to amaze. I too have been lucky enough to tour the Allen Brothers facility and speak with some of the butchers there.
On a recent visit, I was amazed to learn how long so many of them have worked for the company and how dedicated they are to their craft. Of course, as we all know, once meat is butchered, much still needs to be done to get it to the plate in an appetizing way. How to cook the perfect steak has been the cause of much debate in kitchens around the world for generations. What tastes better, grass- or corn-fed? Is steak best grilled or pan-seared? Do you cook it entirely on the stove top or roast it in the oven to finish? Do you use oil, butter, or a combination of the two? How thick is the perfect cut? The list goes on ...