Alton, like most of us, enjoys a fine steak. What he doesn't enjoy are the steakhouse prices, so in this episode he teaches viewers how to cook a delicious Dry-Aged Chimney Porterhouse Steak to perfection – from selection of the meat, through aging and cooking, and why it all works. And to cap the episode off, he offers a quick historical jaunt that reveals how this cut got its name.
Asked what he'd like for his last meal (a popular question), Alton concludes that the food that best answers that question is something smoky, so he spends this hour exploring the world of smoked pork.
Most homeowners own an outdoor grill, and most of them use it regularly during the grilling season from late spring, through summer and fall. Seeking variety, most outdoor cooks eventually take on gallus gallus domesticus, the common chicken. It's cheap, and most of us feel we have the skills to prepare it. But without the right technique, the outcome might instead be mealus yuckus. With the right technique, Alton's Ring of Fire Grilled Chicken will certainly be Good Eats!
In the spring, young man's thoughts turn to.. .well, in Alton's case they turn to relief from winter's relentless march of root vegetables and squash. That relief comes from the early shoots of asparagus that poke through the earth while things are still very cold most places. Asparagus, the vegetable of kings, but now available to everyone near a mega-mart, or better yet, a farm. Alton offers up a simple Steamed Asparagus, an Asparagus Terrine cooked in... a bread loaf pan. And finally, Roasted Asparagus flavored with lemon and nutmeg. Every one of them, Good Eats!
Alton takes a look at dark chocolate, a versatile as well as delicious ingredient.
Alton continues his ongoing appreciation of flat food by revisiting pizza. An earlier episode offered a pizza recipe that takes overnight, requiring a lot of planning, and produces a puffy crust. But some like a cracker-like, thin crust, and some like a pizza that takes less time. For both of these groups Alton has a solution: a thin, crispy, Neapolitan style pie. It's very hard to make a pie like this at home, because to do it right one needs a very hot brick oven. But Alton thinks he has the answer, offering three different approaches to Grilled Pizza.
Visiting the grocery store, Alton discovers a display of vanilla wafers. These cookies take him back to his childhood, and his mother's banana pudding recipe. She'd told him he would get that only when she was... and there's the recipe, right on the box! Alton resolves to make a batch, and discovers himself disappointed. He realizes that to get the right nostalgic effect, he'll need to start from scratch, and he does, first developing his own Vanilla Wafers, and then using them in Refrigerated Banana Pudding and Baked Banana Pudding.
The American flag behind Alton signals another episode of the series-within-a-series called 'American Classics'. This time Alton's out to show that while the taco may have originated in Mexico, it has become thoroughly American, and a worthy replacement for any sandwich! He begins with the All American Beef Taco that depends on Taco Potion #19 and then presents his take on the Baja Fish Taco, which he makes with homemade Flour Tortillas and homemade Crema, a slightly fermented, spicy cream condiment.
Is tempura a monster that will conquer even stalwart cooks? It can seem so, but Alton has an approach using sound science and good technique that can bring the “pinnacle of the frying art” within the reach of ordinary cooks. Cutting technique, frying technique and proper batter preparation are all important to a good Tempura recipe. And when you're done frying, you need a dip. Alton's choice is Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce.
Oats, says Dr. Xavier Brown, offer wide-ranging benefits. In fact, if you don't eat them, you might die! Well, not really: lawyers Itchy and Twitchy strip off the doctor's beard to reveal Alton, trying to sell his “Oat Cuisine” book. Instead of appealing to fear, Alton must appeal to culinary taste. And he does: with Leftover Oatmeal Bread, delicious Oat Waffles, and for those with a sweet tooth, The Oatiest Oatmeal Cookies Ever. They contain no wheat flour at all! And from South America, where the heat discourages oatmeal preparation, Alton finds a recipe for a delicious drink with the benefits of oats: Refresco de Avena.
Songs: Johann Sebastian Bach -- Toccata in D minor
The American flag backdrop signals the return of Alton's ongoing series, American Classics. Its goal is to rehabilitate the reputations of American dishes that have fallen out of favor, or perhaps that just need a little help. And what's more classic than an American fall tradition, pumpkin desserts. From Whole Pumpkin Pie to versatile Pumpkin Purée to the now traditional Pumpkin Pie, Alton restores the reputation of this classic American ingredient and the favorite dessert made from it.
The versatile egg is once again the subject of Alton's discourse, but this time his topic is egg foam – the mixture of air, egg whites and sugar we call meringue. He turns this versatile treat into three desserts: Australian favorite Pavlova, French inspired Oeufs a la Neige, and a recent American entry, Baked Alaska. Each uses a different sort of meringue, highlighting variety. Each has fallen out of favor recently, something Alton aims to correct.
Delicious, deeply chocolate, and decadent, Devil's Food Cake delights the palette, and in this outing, Alton shares his recipe for the treat, along with a scientific explanation of why just adding chocolate to the usual sort of cake recipe simply won't do. And of course, he needs some Chocolate Frosting for that cake. But if devil's food cake won't do, then perhaps a southern delicacy, Red Velvet Cake will be the right choice. That requires its own Cream Cheese Frosting. A delight of desserts awaits viewers here!
Reclined on his sofa, a relaxed Alton discusses comfort, a watchword of twenty-first century marketing. Does comfort apply to foods? Of course it does – any food intended to change one's emotional state for the better is a comfort food, and one of the true classics is Lasagna, with its layers of meat and veggies and noodles. Alton's got a new take on the old classic, using a slow cooker. And for desert, he shows how to turn lasagna noodles into a delicious Lasagna Noodle Kugel.
Perhaps, opines Alton, the decline of civilization began with the decline of dinner, and the decline of dinner began with the loss of a particular consumable that takes some time to prepare: the roll. Alton plans to remedy that lack by showing how to make Parker House Rolls and Butter Flake Rolls, and for those with little time, how to make heat and serve Parker House rolls. Buttery and delicious, these American treats will bring diners back to the table.