Categories
Recipes Twitch Video

Labneh Ranch Swaps The Yogurt In For Mayo and Sour Cream

Creamy. Zesty. Herbaceous. Great with chicken nuggets.

All of the above are tantalizing ways to represent ranch dressing, which has become as ubiquitous as it is scrumptious.

We think we may have found a way to top it, however, and it involves the addition of labneh, a Middle Eastern strained yogurt cheese known for its delicious tang.

Foodbeast Chris swapped out the usual mix of sour cream and mayo for labneh in making his own ranch dressing. When paired with some spicy nuggets, the results transcend what we know ranch can taste like into something incredible.

We paired this labneh ranch on a recent Twitch cooking stream with some Sichuan Nashville Hot Chili Oil tossed nuggets. Alone, each is already something special. Put them together, and it’s a nugget experience worthy of recreating and feasting on.

Peep the recipe below for all the details on how to make this Labneh Ranch Dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz container labneh
  • 1-2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • MSG, salt, and pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Get the consistency you want by adding buttermilk bit by bit to your labneh until its nice and creamy. Start with about 1 cup, then go from there.
  2. Add in your chopped herbs, and stir will.
  3. Add the spices, MSG, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, and make sure to taste and adjust for seasoning to your liking.
  4. Serve with nuggets, wings, or whatever else you want to dip or sauce your ranch with.
Categories
Brand Recipes Video

How To Make Birria Lasagna

For those who love birria, Del Real Foods just dropped a Birria Taco Kit that simplifies making the braised, shredded beef at home. It makes 5 double-stacked tacos in just 5 minutes of heating, making it a super quick option for a tasty gluten-free meal – or something fun you can use to transform into a creative new dish.

That’s exactly what Foodbeast Chris did with the birria taco kit. He drew inspiration from the viral birria fusions that have taken over social media, like Birria Pizza or Birria Tamales.

However, Chris made one that uses just the core ingredients of birria and transforms them into a new dish: Birria Lasagna.

Instead of pasta, this lasagna uses layers of tortillas that have Oaxacan cheese fried into them. The birria from the Del Real kit makes it super easy to construct, and all you need is the kit, some Oaxacan cheese, queso fresco, and whatever toppings you desire what the lasagna is baked.

Below is Chris’s recipe he used to make this tasty and easy Birria Lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 1 Del Real Foods Birria Taco Kit (get your own here or see if it’s any local stores near you)
  • 12 oz Oaxacan cheese
  • 10 oz queso fresco
  • Crema for garnish
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Finely chopped white onions for garnish

Steps

  1. Preheat your birria according to package instructions, in the microwave for 3-3 1/2 minutes.
  2. Add a generous layer of Oaxacan cheese to a frying pan or cast-iron skillet. It should be about as wide as your tortillas from the Del Real kit.
  3. Dip a tortilla into the consomme on each side, then place on top of the cheese so it melts into the tortilla and gets crispy on the other side. Repeat for each tortilla.
  4. Construct your lasagna in a baking dish. Start with a layer of cheese-fried tortillas, then top with birria and a layer of crumbled queso fresco.
  5. Repeat until your baking dish is full. Top the entire thing with some consomme and more Oaxacan cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to ensure the cheese gets crispy.
  7. Let cool slightly to set, then cut a portion to your liking. Garnish with crema, cilantro, and chopped white onion.
Categories
Recipes Twitch Video

Slim Jim Chili Becomes Cornerstone for this Special Cheesesteak Recipe

In the most extreme mashup of munchies possible, we’ve crammed all of the following into a single cheesesteak: SPAM and Slim Jim chili, steak, onions, PLUS Mac and Queso.

This ooey, gooey behemoth of a sandwich is certainly a sight to behold. It’s the culmination of Munch-E-Mania, a special episode of Foodbeast’s Twitch cooking competition, Kitchen League, where each of the three competitors made one component that inspired the entire recipe.

Competitor “Hulk Hoagie” (aka Josh Elkin) made a Philly Cheeseteak, the “Stoned Ranger” (aka BBBubbz) made a Frito Pie Chili Waffle Sandwich, and the “Hunger Taker” (aka TheHungerService) made a SPAM Mac and Cheese Monte Cristo.

Combine them all together, and the results are as gluttonous as they are delicious.

Below are all of the ingredients you need and the steps required to construct what we’ve dubbed the SPAM ’n Slim Jim Chili Mac ’n Cheesesteak.

INGREDIENTS

SPAM ‘n Slim Jim Chili

  • 1 can SPAM
  • 5 sticks (~2 ounces) of Slim Jim
  • Dried Chiles
    • 6 Guajillo Chilies
    • 2 Ancho Chilies
    • 4 Chilies de Arbol
  • 1 quart (32 fl ounces) of Beef Stock

Mac ‘n Queso

  • 8 oz Velveeta
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel Original
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz Elbow Macaroni Noodles

Cheesesteak

  • 1 lb shaved steak
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 Hoagie Rolls

STEPS

  • Make the SPAM ’n Slim Jim Chili
    1. Hydrate the chiles in beef stock
    2. Blend until smooth.
    3. Dice the SPAM ’n Slim Jims into bite-sized pieces
    4. Pan fry the SPAM and Slim Jims until crispy on all sides.
    5. Deglaze with beef stock
    6. Add Chiles
    7. Season with pepper, not salt yet.
    8. Simmer to desired thickness
    9. Add salt to taste
  • Cook the Mac N Queso
    1. Combine Velveeta, Rotel, and Milk
    2. Boil Mac according to package directions
    3. Mix together the Mac with your Velveeta mixture, ensuring it’s extra sloppy.
  • Assemble the Cheesesteak
    1. Slice the white onion into thin pieces.
    2. Slice steak (if not already shaved)
    3. Fry the onions until translucent
    4. Add the steak and fry until cooked and crispy
    5. Combine the steak and onions together
    6. Top with provolone and let melt slightly
    7. Place your bun on top of the entire mixture and steam.
  • Construct your base sandwich
    1. Flip the sandwich out onto a plate or board lined with foil.
    2. Top with SPAM ’n Slim Jim chili
    3. Top with Sloppy Mac ’n Queso
    4. Enjoy your culinary munchie masterpiece.
Categories
Recipes Video

Turning LA’s Iconic Street Dog Into A Pizza

Few foods are more iconic on the streets of Los Angeles than the street dog. Griddle cooked, loaded with onions and peppers, and wrapped in bacon, they’re ubiquitous fare for Angelenos heading home from major events. Slap on some ketchup, mustard, and mayo, and you have a messy but delicious meal.

What happens when you take all of those components and translate them from a hot dog bun to a base of cheesy pizza? Turns out, the results are just as satisfying and craveworthy as the original.

Below is the recipe to make this scrumptious amalgamation between hot dog and pizza.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 448 gram ball of NY style pizza dough (~1 pound)

Mayo Pizza Sauce

  • 1 cup Mayo
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

Toppings

  • 1 pack of Hot Dogs
  • 1 White Onion
  • 3-4 whole jalapeño peppers
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Ketchup and Mustard for garnish

Steps

  1. Toss a pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 550°F, or as hot as it will go if it doesn’t get to that temperature.
  2. Cut hot dogs into thin rounds and set aside.
  3. Thinly slice onions and jalapeños, then fry until softened and the onions are translucent.
  4. Fry the slices of bacon until crispy. Drain and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Combine mayo and heavy cream in a bowl to make your pizza sauce.
  6. Stretch out the pizza dough. Layer on sauce, then mozzarella cheese.
  7. Scatter on peppers, onions, bacon bits, and hot dog slices.
  8. Bake your pizza on the pizza stone until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom is crispy, should take about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and garnish with swirled drizzles of ketchup and mustard.
  10. Cut into 8 slices and dig in!
Categories
Cravings Fast Food Features Restaurants Video

Folks are Calling This Vegas Restaurant Chain the ‘Hawaiian Chipotle’

Folks are calling this spot the “Hawaiian Chipotle!” The place in question is Makai Pacific Island Grill, which you might have seen in a few viral TikToks recently. 

Makai has been in the Las Vegas area since 2016 and has quickly grown into a chain with four locations. They are all about building custom bowls of Hawaiian barbecue favorites, and the number of possible combinations are truly insane.

So what makes this place worthy of the moniker “Hawaiian Chipotle?” There’s a couple of reasons: First, like Chipotle, this is an assembly line style fast casual spot. That means you go down the line and pick what you want in your bowl, and there’s a ton of fresh and crowd favorite Hawaiian food options.

You start by picking a base of brown rice, white rice, or salad, and from there, there’s a ton of protein options and sides to choose from. Classic proteins available are katsu chicken, teriyaki chicken, and Pulehu steak. They also have more unique offerings like mochiko chicken wings that you can add on top. 

Makai is also mixing two different kinds of poke fresh daily: shoyu poke and spicy poke. They come in little cups but you can also ask for the rice to be flattened, and even get the poke lightly seared and scattered on top. 

For sides, you can add on classic mac salad or a tossed salad, or veggies like kimchi coleslaw, corn, and edamame. Combine together your base, protein, and side options, and there’s a lot of different custom bowls you can make.

The other big reason Makai is compared to Chipotle is how fast it’s starting to grow. They just recently went from a single location in the Vegas area to four. Sure, it’s not groundbreaking or as expansive as the actual Chipotle, but it’s a starting point from which Makai could potentially grow and spread locations to anywhere else.

In the meantime, it’s definitely earning the title several have given it of the “Hawaiian Chipotle.”

Categories
Drinks

Starbucks Adds First-Ever Energy Drink To Grocers And Coffee Shops

Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks has long been a chief purveyor of caffeine, but for the first time ever, the coffee colossus is infusing the substance into energy drinks.

Their new brand, Baya, is part of the North American Coffee Partnership, a decades-long partnership between Starbucks and Pepsico that’s behind Starbucks’ ability to sell drinks in grocery stores.

Baya is trying to sell itself on two different nutrients: Caffeine extracted from coffee fruit and Vitamin C as a source of antioxidants. Each can has 90 calories and 160 mg of caffeine, which is less caffeine than a tall cup of Pike Place Roast.

This makes it less akin to a Monster or Rockstar energy drink, but more similar to brands like Bai, which also uses coffee extract as part of its energy source.

Baya is debuting in grocery stores in three different flavors: Mango Guava, Raspberry Lime, and Pineapple Passionfruit. Starting in March 2022, you can also pick up cans of Baya in Starbucks coffee shops nationwide.

Categories
Fast Food Plant-Based Restaurants

Mapo Tofu’s Spicy, Addictive Heat Goes Plant-Based At Panda Express

Photo courtesy of Panda Express

Few things are more comforting in life than a steamy bowl of mapo tofu. This classic Sichuan dish has a warm and addictive heat that will leave your heart and your stomach buzzing with happiness.

For the first time ever, those flavors are coming to Panda Express, as the American Chinese chain is adding the Chengdu signature to its ranks as part of a new plant-based partnership with Beyond Meat.

This dish marks the second ever tofu dish to be served at Panda Express, the first being their hallmark Eggplant Tofu. Here, they’re incorporating tofu and chunks of Beyond Beef in a Sichuan Garlic sauce.

Traditionally, mapo tofu is made with pork or beef, although there are plenty of plant-based versions you can find on the internet. Some of these use finely chopped mushrooms or a ground pork substitute, but Beyond Meat is also a common option.

Panda Express has begun serving the Mapo Tofu with Beyond Beef at their innovation kitchen location in Pasadena. It’ll be there until February 23rd alongside a String Beans with Beyond Beef dish, and if both perform well, there’s definitely potential for the dishes to launch on a broader scale.

Categories
Animals Restaurants Science

As The USA Adopts Dry-Aged Fish, These Are Key Facts To Know About It

We’ve all heard of dry-aged steak and the incredible flavors that can develop from that process by now. In recent years in the United States, that practice of preservation has extended beyond beef and into the world of fish.

At the forefront of that movement is Liwei Liao, aka “The Dry Aged Fish Guy.” Over the past couple of years, his seafood market, The Joint, has turned into a hub for dry aging quite a few different kinds of fish. You’ll be able to find roughly a dozen or so in his cavalcade of dry-aging refrigerators stationed throughout the market.

Liao and his team are servicing not just the local neighborhood in Sherman Oaks, California, but are also supplying restaurants with dry aged fish all across the state’s coast. Overall, there’s at least 30 restaurants in the Golden State now serving dry aged fish, with demand growing exponentially.

As this movement continues to expand in California (and elsewhere), here’s a few things to know about how dry aging works, where it’s rooted from, and how we can benefit from it.

Dry Aging Fish Is Rooted In Japanese Traditions

While relatively new to consumers in the United States, dry aging fish has been happening in Japan for hundreds of years as a means of necessity. It takes time for fish to make it from getting caught to the restaurants that sell it, and what happens to the fish in that time span is critical to keep it from going bad. Dry aging techniques from Japan played a huge role in that, and is where a lot of the modern practices originate from.

Outside of Japan, you can find specialists in dry aging fish in places such as Hong Kong, Austin, and of course, Liao’s Los Angeles-based fish market. In Hong Kong, chef Max Levy dry ages fish for his two izakaya (Okra Hong Kong and Okra 1949), while chef Jay Huang at Austin’s Lucky Robot has a variety of dry aged sushi and sashimi available.

The Joint stands out from these places because it is both a supplier to restaurants and a service to consumers. You can actually walk in and get a dry aged cut to take home and experiment with for yourself.

Dry Aging Fish ‘Cleans’ It, And Can Be Different From Aging Steak

When it comes to dry aged steak, you’re probably expecting multiple weeks’ worth of aging, a crust that can contain mold on the outside, and a deep change in flavor that includes some funkiness.

Can fish get dry aged to that point? Yes, but the main goal here is to keep it fresh longer and get rid of excess blood, slime, and moisture. Liao continually pointed out to Foodbeast that you’ll notice a lack of a strong fishy smell, a cleaner flavor, and a slightly firmer texture in dry aged fish as a result.

Most small fish are only dry aged for a few days to achieve that result, while larger cuts of big fish like bluefin tuna can take a couple of weeks or more.

It’s Easier And More Forgiving To Cook At Home

Because excess moisture is removed in the dry aging process, fish tends to not curl up, shrivel, or shrink if its gone through a few days of dry aging. The result is a more tender and juicy piece of fish that can be slightly overcooked and will still maintain that unctuousness.

If you do go to The Joint and pick up a cut of fish to cook, this might help you feel a little more reassured in not screwing things up. Of course, you can also just make some incredible sashimi out of the fish.

In Terms Of The Science, There’s More Questions Than Answers

Liao told Foodbeast that each different kind of fish that he dry ages at The Joint has to be experimented on to find the right conditions to get a proper dry age on it. Over tons of trial and error over the years, he’s been able to dial in the correct parameters for each kind of fish his spot commercially produces.

In terms of the actual science behind it, however, published research remains scant. A search in scientific databases found a single article from 2020 on the subject. Thus, most of what we know about dry aging fish comes from what is understood about how the fish changes from years of tradition and practice.

As consumers, however, the biggest things we can take away is that dry aging keeps fish fresh longer, makes it easier to cook, and changes fish in ways that makes it more delicious.

If you’re interested in trying dry aged fish, or learning more about the process, check out the full Foodbeast video featuring The Joint on Facebook.