Help me Hustle The Red Rooster Cookbook!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem! This book means a lot to me as it illustrates why I have come to love Harlem so much and why I call it home. I could use some help showing everyone that this cookbook is more than just a cookbook!

Social Media Superstar Gary Vaynerchuk has recently taken me under his wing. He tells me that it can be helpful to show people how to spread the word effectively. So, Gary V style, post it on your Instagram, write about it on your blog, tweet it out, review it on Amazon, or simply give it to a friend - any way you want to share it is cool. Check out his Insta tips below:



1.      Take a photo of yourself with the book. Make sure the front cover is prominent and in focus.

2.      Write a brief review of the book. Did it make you think of Harlem? If you've never been, did it make you want to go? Do you think you'll try any of the recipes? Share it all!

3.      Be sure to tag me (@marcuscooks) and use hashtag #RedRoosterCookbook. Other tags you might want to use include #RedRooster and #Harlem

Conquering the Whole Vegetable

Image by woodleywonderworks It's easy to get caught in old ways. Habits are comforting, simple, and easy. When we know what works, we stick with it. This is especially true of cooking. Whether you're a new cook or a seasoned pro, you're likely to fall into known preparations. Sometimes cooking is as simple as "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Other times, it's time to shake things up.

Enter broccoli leaves, carrot tops, kale stems, and more. So much energy from the earth and farmers goes into everything grown and cultivated for our consumption. What's more, almost every part of a plant is packed with nutrition. Why not make the most out of every sensational vegetable? You might be surprised by how wonderful these new flavors and textures can be. Some methods are a bit crude, but they can infuse your usual cooking with a hearty rustic touch. These techniques will help you reduce food waste, save money, and most importantly concoct new flavors to usher in the future of food.

Beet Greens

Did you know beets were originally cultivated for their edible leaves, while beetroots were used for livestock feed? Keep that in mind when you encounter these greens. Beet greens taste similar to Swiss chard, and are packed with antioxidants, potassium, fiber, calcium, copper, rioflavin, and vitamins A, C, K, E, and B6.

Use beet greens as soon as you can, as they tend to go bad quickly. Add them to smoothies or juices; stir-fry them with fish sauce, ginger, and garlic; add them to an omelet; use in place of lettuce in a burger or sandwich; add them to a curry; or bake them at 350°F for 15 minutes tossed in oil and salt for beet green chips.

Broccoli Leaves

Broccoli leaves are an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6. They're similar in taste and texture to kale, so try baking them like you would kale chips: toss the leaves with some olive or coconut oil and sea salt and roast 375°F for 4 to 6 minutes.

Broccoli Stems

Broccoli stems are a polarizing thing. Some folks don't mind them at all, while others find them bland and overtly fibrous. I'm in the latter camp, but I've found some ways to transform broccoli stems into something delectable. Broccoli stems work well as an antioxidant-rich filler in a juice, but you can pan fry sliced stems sprinkled with salt for something like a broccoli chip. You can also add julienned stems to a cole slaw. Finally, make a broccoli stem and almond pesto by blending 1/2 cup toasted almonds, 3 broccoli stems, 1 clove garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor.

Carrot Greens

Despite their rumored resemblance to the extremely toxic plant Queen Anne's Lace, carrot greens are not poisonous unless consumed by the bushel. In fact, they are loaded with chlorophyll, potassium, nicain, folate, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Carrot greens are bitter and astringent, but there's a hint of sweetness in the finish. Try a warm carrot green salad by sautéeing a teaspoon of ground cumin in some oil over medium heat, adding a chopped onion and a can of chickpeas, and tossing with one cup of chopped carrot greens and some lemon juice. They're also great sautéed and drizzled with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and a dash of sugar.

Chard Stems

Swiss and rainbow chard stems are packed with glutamine, an amino acid that boosts the immune system. They can be a touch tough, but simply require a bit of extra cooking time to become something exquisite. Try pickling these stems, roasting them, or adding them to a stir fry. They're also excellent when sautéed and blended with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil for a Middle Eastern dip.

Fennel Stalks and Fronds

Fennel fronds make an excellent garnish, but you can also tuck them into the cavity of a whole fish or roasted chicken for their anise-like aroma. Both the fronds and stalks work well as a bed for roasted halibut or swordfish. You can also infuse warm olive oil with any leftover stalks and fronds, garlic, lemon, and peppercorns for a gourmet condiment.

Herb Stems

Here's an easy tip: if herb stems are tender enough to snap instead of bend, you can eat them as you would the leaves of the herb - except for cilantro stems, which are perpetually tender. Otherwise, add them to cooked dishes and stocks as you would bay leaves.

Kale Stems

Kale stems are a nutritional powerhouse: they are high in iron, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin K, A, and C. Try cutting kale stems into very small pieces, sautéeing them in a bit of oil over medium heat, then adding freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. You can ferment them as you would kimchee, give them a nice pan-fry, or blend them into a smoothie with balancing creamy ingredients like bananas, avocados, or yogurt. A unique idea is to juice the stems to create one cup of juice, stir into two cups of sea salt, and dry in an oven at 200°F to create salt with a gorgeous green hue.

Radish Greens

Radish greens are full of vitamin C, sulfur, iron, and iodine. They're nice and spicy, and add excellent pops of flavor to salads and sandwiches. For a more complex method, sauté radish tops with onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil, add two skinned and diced baked potatoes, and blend with some milk and heavy cream for a comforting soup. You can also make a savory salad with radish greens by tossing them with warm duck fat, salt, and juice from a Meyer lemon.

Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are excellent - they're even endorsed by Alvin Robinson! They have a slightly bitter taste, and are packed with calcium and potassium. As with beet greens, use them as soon as possible because they go bad quickly. They're great sautéed over medium heat with onions, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. For a more Southern taste, you can simmer them in a large dutch oven with boiled ham hocks and a tablespoon of sugar until tender.


Holiday Party Food Safety Tips

Photo: USDAgov The holiday season consists of numerous parties. Many where we’re called upon to make or take food to an event. Usually, people set out edibles on a buffet table, and people graze throughout the evening. However, when food is left out at room temperature for too long it starts to be a breading ground for bacteria, which could possibly cause illnesses. To ensure a safe and smooth holiday, practice these following tips to keeping the food at your celebrations innocuous. 

Food that has been left at room temperature for longer then four hours is spoiled. No ones like to throw away sustenance, but once food as been left out for longer then four hours it needs to be pitched. Keep hot edibles sizzling (140 F or warmer) by using chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Also, keep cold noshes cold (40 F or cooler) by keeping them on ice. That way if you want to give your guests doggy bags you know that the food is safe.

Use a food thermometer. Poultry and stuffing needs to have an internal temperature of 165 F. Pork, beef, and fish need an internal temperature of 145 F. Take the measurement at the innermost part of the bird’s thigh and wing-and the thickest part of the breast.

Minimize temperature fluctuations. When taking meals from your kitchen to another’s it’s important to minimize temperature fluctuations during travel. First, remove food from the heat source just before leaving the house. Second, transfer it to a thermal container, wrap in a heavy towel for extra insulation and place in a thermal tote or insulated bag. If you are bringing cold foods use a cooler filled half way with ice.

Safely handle leftovers. Refrigerate all remaining food in a shallow container within 2 hours of serving. Properly stored leftovers can be kept for 3 to 4 days. However, if you are in doubt of the quality, throw it out. Lastly, reheat leftovers to 165 F before serving.

What's In Season? Fall Produce

Photo: Mrs. Magic As the weather gets chillier, the produce gets heartier. Autumn’s amazing fruits and vegetables are hitting their peak season right now and Marcus wants to make sure you experience fall’s bounty of super-foods available at your local farmers markets or grocery stores. 

Photo: art and lemons'

The aisle are full of apples, figs, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. There are a variety of ways to prepare fall's harvest; however, getting seeds out of persimmon or  getting squash soft and delectable can get confusing. In this season’s produce guide, here's a look at how to choose, store, and prepare this season’s crops. 

Apples. From sweet to tart, apples can be eaten raw or baked and added to sweet or savory dishes.  Add them to salads, eat with cheddar and blue cheese, or roast with cinnamon. Just be sure to eat the skin--it contains a healthy dose of flavonoids. Look for bright colored, hard, and blemish free outsides. Store on top of the counter, or if they start to get soft, put them in the refrigerator.

Butternut Squash. This bell shaped squash is the quintessential fall vegetable. It’s sweet when roasted and works great pureed in soups, mashed as a side, or cubed in au gratin. Look for blemish free, tan skins, and hard textures. Keep it on your window seal or on top of your counter until you are ready to roast or boil it.

Photo: SavvyChristine

Brussel Sprouts. These mini cabbages have a bad-rap, but don’t let their rumored taste keep you from enjoying them. Try brussel sprouts roasted with apples, cranberries, or bacon. The best way to prepare them is to roast for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This will give these little guys a sweet caramelized flavor. Look for tightly wrapped green leaves, and store them in your crisper drawer.

Celeriac Root. This gnarly white root taste delicious mashed with boiled potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Look for a firm medium sized root. Celeriac root retains for about two weeks as long as you keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Cauliflower. A cousin to broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower can be found in green, orange, and purple. This slightly nutty flavored vegetable is delicious boiled with white wine, garlic, bay leaf, and all spice, roasted for 15 minutes, then served with a blue cheese cream. Look for uniformly colored florets with few blemishes. This versatile vegetable keeps well in the refrigerator.

Sweet Potatoes. Don’t reserve this root vegetable just for Thanksgiving, More nutritionally dense than its white counterparts it is delicious julienned then baked, mashed, or added to a variety of casserole dishes. Look for blemish free skins, and store on a counter top.

Pears. The sweet and juicy taste of a pear only gets better when cooked. Try them baked or poached for a quick dessert. For a savory recipe of this dish boil pears with potatoes and onions, add spices, then puree for into a smooth soup. Look for blemish free skins. Store pears on the counter until they become soft, then put them in the fridge.

Ralph Lauren Polo Survival Guide: How to Cook

Ralph Lauren How to Cook When I opened Rooster, I took to Twitter to ask my fans how I should decorate the restaurant. Should I use vintage or new plates? Should I have live music in the space every night? Food I know, but opening a new restaurant in Harlem was a challenge and it was so great I could rely on people who knew a thing or two more about lighting fixtures to guide me through the process.

Social Media is an incredible way to get and give advice, and I was so honored and thrilled to be a part of the “Polo Ralph Lauren Survival Guide” Instagram Mini-Series. When the ask comes from the man whose suits I love to wear for a special occasion, I found it fascinating that the company could produce these amazing 15-second videos, not by shooting them in some fancy studio with expensive cameras, but all on an iPhone. Plus, what man doesn’t need to know how to survive in the wilderness when you have a beautiful girl as your guest in your tent?

How to Cook

If you haven’t seen these videos, you have to check them out. Nine Instagram videos give tutorials on How to Fish, How to Pitch a Tent, and even How to Start a Fire. Of course my contribution was How to Cook and it’s pretty cool what we could show in just 15 seconds, including a quick showing of how to filet a fish. Luckily they got a model to play the survivor man—although having spent summers in a Swedish fishing town, I probably could give some tips on How to Fish. (Hint: I don’t think I could keep a cashmere sweater that clean while fishing on my Uncle Torsten’s boat.) You can see the video below:

Tips 1-5: 1. Prepare a clean surface. 2. Carefully filet your catch. 3. Toss the filet into a hot iron skillet. 4. Add oil, fresh herbs and lemon. 5. Present with pride.

Each short is a highly stylized episode that tells the story of an intrepid Polo RL explorer on a weekend adventure and the various challenges and activities he encounters along the journey. There's even a segment on how to saber a champagne bottle with a buck knife. While they rolled out individually, they’re meant to be viewed consecutively as a cohesive narrative. (You have to check out the hand-whittled chopsticks.)

For a man who is constantly innovating, Ralph Lauren does it again with the recently re-launched Polo Ralph Lauren digital campaigns. As everything the company does, it’s shot beautifully inspired by those looking to be a “Modern Explorer” or “Country Gentleman”.

My segment debuted on Saturday and you can watch it below, or view the whole series on the Ralph Lauren Instagram page and see the “Polo Survival Guide” videos. And to get the recipe for the Pan Seared Lake Trout I prepared, CLICK HERE.