A chef might dread a picky eater that they are to prepare a meal for, view it as an inconvenience, or regard it as an opportunity to impress someone who is difficult to please.
Hansel Bailey, a professional chef in Newport Beach, California, who helps restauranteurs and other chefs in the development of their menus, shares some recipes to experiment with in your home cooking when those picky eaters are sitting at the table.
The BA Smash Burger
For this recipe, professional chef Hansel Bailey suggests ground beef chuck, a fantastic all-purpose option for burgers with 20% fat content. Also, you will need vegetable oil, kosher salt, slices of American cheese, toasted potato rolls, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, sliced pickles, shredded iceberg lettuce and any other condiments that you and your guest desire. Making the burger patty itself is a simple rapid-step process: first, heat a cast-iron griddle or large heavy skillet at a medium-high setting until it becomes very hot (roughly two minutes), and lightly brush it with vegetable oil; after dividing the beef into the equal portions that will be cooked, place them on the griddle and press flat with a spatula; season and allow the patties to cook until the outer edges are brown, then flip the patties, season with salt again, add a slice of cheese onto each patty; wait for the cheese to melt and, in about a minute, the burgers should be medium rare. Serve the patties on rolls and add your condiments.
Hansel Bailey on Next-Level Macaroni and Cheese
Although this home-cooked recipe is somewhat challenging, it puts the store-bought product to shame, according to professional chef Hansel Bailey. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and melting two tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Throw in panko, cook, and stir, as it will take about six to eight minutes for the crumbs to turn golden brown. Next, transfer everything to a small bowl and toss with parmesan cheese, thyme leaves and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook the pasta in a large bowl of boiling water, stirring here and there, until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and allow it to cool while you prepare the sauce. Bring the milk to a simmer in the saucepan and melt two tablespoons of butter in an average-sized saucepan on medium-high. Add onions, garlic and cook, being certain that you stir until the onions start to soften. Sprinkle flour over it and, with consistent stirring, cook until the mixture begins to stick to the saucepan’s bottom. In a few increments, add warm milk and whisk on each occasion. Once the béchamel sauce reaches a boil, reduce the heat, and stir until the sauce has thickened noticeably. Add Fontina cheese, Gruyère cheese, cheddar cheese, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, and 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt. Stir until the cheese melts, the sauce is smooth and proceed to remove from the heat. Mix in the pasta and transfer to a two-quart baking dish, where it will bake for 10 minutes. Top it with Parmesan breadcrumbs and bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Wait 15 minutes so that it can cool in the pan prior to serving.
Professional chef Hansel Bailey finishes off with classic tacos, a quicker recipe to execute for your picky eaters. Mix sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and vinegar in a medium-sized bowl, then season with salt. Cover and chill it for at least an hour. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, break the beef up and cook it thoroughly. Transfer it to a large bowl, reduce the heat to medium and heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic before cooking for five minutes, stirring from time to time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, add tomatoes to the skillet and cook until thickened. Add beef, chili, sauces, garlic, onion powders, chile, sugar, and cumin. Cook and stir until the flavors mesh together. Lastly, spread the contents in a 13x9x2” baking dish and bake until the crust forms.