Ben Ford's 'Taming The Feast' Recipes

Ben Ford's Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds, and Arugula Ben Ford's Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds, and Arugula

Chef and restaurateur Ben Ford, author of “Taming The Feast,” comes to the Access Hollywood Live kitchen to show Billy Bush and Kit Hoover some rustic and hardy dishes that are perfect for a summer barbeque.

Watch today’s segment and find the recipes below!

String Bean and Potato Salad

Feeds 8 to 10

Bean salads make good picnic food because beans don’t wilt after they’re dressed, the way lettuce does. This recipe calls for a Wisconsin sheep’s milk cheese, Carr Valley. I like to use a domestic product whenever I can; you can use any semi-dry sheep’s milk cheese you want for this.

  • .5 cup mayonnaise or store-bought mayonnaise
  • .25 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons WHITE WINE VINEGAR or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon KOSHER SALT, plus more for the boiling water and to taste
  • .25 teaspoon freshly ground BLACK PEPPER, plus more to taste
  • .25cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 6 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced on the bias
  • .25 cup large shards semi-dry domestic sheep’s milk cheese (such as Carr Valley Aged Marisa) or a medium-aged pecorino
  • 1.5 pounds fingerling potatoes or other small, thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 pound fresh GREEN BEANS, yellow wax beans, or a mix
  • edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
  • Whisk the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper

Whisk the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and .25 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley, scallions, and cheese.

Put the potatoes in a pot with water to cover. Add 1 tablespoon salt per quart water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the potatoes until they’re tender when pierced
with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool slightly.
While the potatoes are still warm, slice them .25 inch thick. Put the slices in a large bowl.

While the potatoes are cooking, snip the ends off the beans. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Bring another pot of water to a boil and salt it the same way you did for the potatoes. Add the beans and blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are just tender but still have some snap to them. Remove the beans and plunge them into the ice water to cool. (If you are using different types of beans, blanch them separately as cooking times will vary. Use a strainer to remove the beans from the water so you can reuse the water.)

Drain the beans and add to the potatoes. Pour on the dressing and toss to coat the beans and potatoes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if you want. If you like, garnish with edible flowers.

Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds, and Arugula

Makes 16 crostini

  • Sixteen -inch-thick diagonal slices from a baguette
  • olive oil, for brushing the crostini and avocados
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the crostini and avocado
  • .25 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole peeled garlic clove to rub on the crostini, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced
  • .25 cup pitted nicoise olives
  • .25 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 medium Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • .25 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup loosely packed wild arugula

Grilled Beer-Braised Bratwursts

Feeds 8

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 8 tablespoons (1 stick), melted, for brushing on the buns
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • .25 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • .5 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 wisconsin-style brats or storebought bratwursts (5 to 6 ounces each), pricked with a fork in several places
  • Four 12-ounce bottles beer, or as needed
  • 1 cup semi-homemade sauerkraut or store-bought sauerkraut
  • 8 quality hot dog buns
  • mustard, for serving

Fire up a charcoal grill following the instructions in Cooking with Charcoal (page 8), or fire up a gas grill to high heat with the lid closed to help it get nice and hot.

Put a Dutch oven or another medium pot on a corner of the grill or on the stovetop over medium heat. Put in the butter, garlic, and cayenne and cook for about a minute, stirring so the garlic doesn’t brown. Stir in the brown sugar, caraway seeds, and 6 to 7 turns of black pepper. Add the brats and enough beer to cover the brats by 1 to 2
inches. Bring the beer to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the kraut, including the liquid it’s packed in, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the bratwursts are cooked through; they will have expanded and the meat will be tight in its casing. The brats are now ready to be eaten, but you can keep them in the liquid until you’re ready to grill and serve them.

Brush the cut sides of the buns lightly with melted butter. Put the buns cut side down on the grill to toast until golden brown. Transfer the toasted buns to a roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan and tent with foil to keep warm.

Use tongs to lift the brats out of the liquid. Grill them, turning them as necessary, until they have crusty bark on the outside, about 10 minutes. Serve the brats on the toasted buns with mustard and a heap of the sauerkraut on top.

Hill Country Peach Crisp with Orange-Pecan Topping and Old-Fashioned Hand-Cranked Vanilla Ice Cream

Feeds 8 to 10

For the Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • .25 teaspoon kosher salt
  • .25 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • .16 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1.25 cups (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • .5 cup rolled oats
  • .5 cup lightly toasted pecans coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
  • Grated zest of 2 ornages

For the Filling

  • 2.5 pounds ripe peaches (about 8 medium peaches)
  • .25 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (omit if your peaches are very sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • .5 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 recipe old-fashioned hand-cranked vanilla ice cream or 2 quarts store-bought vanilla ice cream

To make the topping, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the pieces are the size of peas. Add the sugar, oats, pecans, ginger, and orange zest and use your fingertips to combine the ingredients until the topping is crumbly. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, peel the peaches:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Create an ice bath. Cut an X through the skin at the top of each peach. Plunge the peaches into the boiling water for about 1 minute, until the skin begins to curl up at the cut.

Drain the peaches and plunge them into the ice bath. Starting at the cut where the skin is already rolling back, peel the peaches; discard the skin. Cut the peaches into .5-inch wedges so they fall into a large bowl.

Stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar (if you are using), cornstarch, and nutmeg; sprinkle it over the peaches and toss gently to coat the peaches with the seasonings. Pour the peaches and any juices in the bowl into a large baking dish. Scatter the topping over the fruit. Put the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any juice that may boil over. Bake the crisp for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

Set the crisp aside to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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