Tyler Florence has spent over a decade hosting cooking shows, traveling the world, writing cookbooks, and racking up an impressive celebrity chef resume. One perk of his job is that he gets to travel, sampling some of the best food around the country and around the world. With those kinds of accolades, when Tyler Florence sits down on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, you can be pretty confident that whatever dish he is about to describe will be mouthwateringly delicious. We’ve found recipes for six of those dishes, and you won’t want to hesitate to try them.
1. Buena Vista’s Irish Coffee
Buena Vista claims responsibility for popularizing this boozy caffeinated beverage, and on its website, the process is explained for how to brew your own version at home. The instructions are useful, but Food.com goes a step further with the ratios needed to serve one. For even more tips on how to get it just right, you can check out One Thing New.
- 6 ounces brewed coffee
- 2 sugar cubes
- 1½ ounces Irish whiskey (one jigger)
- heavy cream, lightly whipped
Directions: Fill glass with very hot water to pre-heat, then empty. Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about three-quarters full. Drop in two cocktail sugar cubes. Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add full jigger of Irish Whiskey for proper taste and body. Top with a collar of whipped cream by pouring gently over a spoon. Enjoy it while piping hot.
2. BLT Steak’s Popovers
To satisfy any cheesy cravings, go for the popovers from BLT Steakhouse which Florence picked on the appetizer themed episode. BLT Steak shared its popover recipe with Williams-Sonoma, and with a popover pan, you can easily make it at home. Without a popover pan, Prepared Pantry says you can still make popovers at home using a muffin tin, but you should only fill every other well.
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 eggs
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Directions: Place a 6-cup popover pan in the bottom third of an oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drips. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the milk until small bubbles form around the edges. Put the flour and salt in a fine-mesh sieve and sift onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t cook, then gradually whisk in the flour mixture until almost smooth.
Remove the popover pan from the oven and spray the cups with nonstick vegetable spray. Fill the prepared cups about three-fourths full with batter and sprinkle each with ½ ounces cheese. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Continue baking until the popovers are browned and puffed, 30 minutes more; do not open the oven after rotating the pan.
Invert the pan and remove the popovers. Serve immediately. Using a paper towel, wipe out the excess fat from the popover cups. Heat the pan in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat to bake the remaining batter. Makes twelve popovers.
3. Buckeye Roadhouse’s S’Mores Pie
When it comes to the best thing he ever ate with chocolate, Florence decided to highlight the S’Mores pie from Buckeye Roadhouse. In 2008, Buckeye Roadhouses’ executive chef, Robert Price, gave SFGate the recipe for the restaurant’s pie. The process for getting this pie at home is a bit involved, but some work could be reduced by using a pre-made graham cracker crust.
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 2½ tablespoons corn syrup
- 2½ tablespoons heavy cream
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 packets of Knox powdered gelatin
- 2½ tablespoons corn syrup
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 4 egg whites
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- ¼ cup toasted chopped almonds
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: For the chocolate sauce: Pour an inch of water into a large saucepot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to a simmer. In a medium bowl, combine chocolate, butter, brandy, Grand Marnier and corn syrup and place the bowl over the simmering pot of water. Stir frequently and once ingredients are melted, remove bowl from heat and stir in cream. Set aside.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and honey until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into a 10-inch pie tin. Spread about a ½ cup of the chocolate sauce over the crust. Set aside.
For the meringue combine ½ tablespoon of cold water with the vanilla extract in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the vanilla mixture and set aside. Combine ½ cup of water, corn syrup and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Place a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and cook until the temperature reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit — the “soft ball” stage.
While the sugar mixture is cooking, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. When the sugar reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from the heat and carefully pour over whipped egg whites while the mixer is on low speed. Add dissolved gelatin mixture and mix on medium high speed until well incorporated. The meringue should be warm and hold soft peaks.
To assemble the pie, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the almonds over the bottom of the pie crust, followed by ¼ cup of the semisweet chocolate chips. Pour about ⅓ of the meringue over the nuts and chocolate chips. Drizzle remaining chocolate sauce across the meringue, sprinkle remaining chocolate chips. Finish off with remaining meringue, mounding it toward the center with an offset spatula to create a domed effect. With a hot knife, divide pie into six equal slices. Place the slices on a sheet pan and toast in the oven, about 5 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Serve right away.
4. Spread’s White Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter
When The Best Thing I Ever Ate did a “Nutty” episode, Florence selected the white chocolate pretzel peanut butter spread from Spread. How exactly Spread makes this indulgent peanut butter remains underwraps, but the idea is so intriguing it has inspired copycat recipes, like this one from Bakelist.
- 4 cups dry roasted and salted peanuts
- 1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 ounces pretzel rods
- Pinch Kosher salt
Directions: Add the peanuts into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the honey and olive oil anytime the peanut butter becomes too thick to continue pulverizing. Add the white chocolate and process until combined. Loosely crush the pretzels with your hands and add the peanut butter spread. Add a pinch of salt and process until most, but not all the pretzel chunks are gone. Transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature. Spread on everything.
5. Magnolias’ Pimiento Cheese
Florence stayed true to his Southern roots in the “Regional Favorites” episode, which saw him pick the pimiento cheese with flatbread from Magnolias in Charleston, South Carolina. Magnolia’s shared its pimiento cheese recipe with the LA Times in 2012, and in about 15 minutes you can have a batch of your own to spread on whatever flatbread you desire.
- 5 large red pimiento peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 2½ cups jarred chopped red pimiento peppers, drained
- 1 cup finely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
- 5 cups shredded sharp Vermont cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Dash cayenne pepper, more if desired
- Flatbread, for serving
Directions: In a food processor, pulse the peppers a few times. Move the peppers to a large bowl and add the olives, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, mayonnaise, parsley, black and cayenne peppers. Mix until fully incorporated. Season with additional cayenne pepper if desired. Serve with flatbread.
6. The Lady & Sons’ Hoecakes
Florence gave credit to then-fellow Food Network host Paula Deen when he selected the hoecakes from her restaurant The Lady & Sons. As Deen says on her website, this is a recipe she has always been known for, and if you’re using a cornmeal mix, she recommends Aunt Jemima’s. You can keep the batter in the fridge for two days.
- oil, butter, or clarified margarine, for frying
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix
- 1 cup self-rising flour
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, except for the frying oil, in a bowl until well combined. Heat the frying oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter into the hot skillet. Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake. Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula, and then brown the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.