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Video: ‘Last Vegas’ stars get a holiday cooking lesson

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    >> well, we survived the little wind storm outside although we haven't seen toto in 15 minutes . we're back inside now with the "last vegas "edition of today's kitchen.

    >> and de niro , freeman, kline are here. are you ready? the book is called cooking from the heart. my favorite lessons learned along the way.

    >> thrilled to have a few friends here promoting my book for me.

    >> but these are fall recipes we'll be cooking.

    >> yes. this is something fun for the holiday season , period. i thought like all of these fellows are so competitive we'd have a cookie competition. what do you think?

    >> i'm game.

    >> yeah.

    >> okay. what have we got? what are we starting with?

    >> we're going to start right over here with -- actually, let's start with the pumpkins.

    >> okay. think of this as a casserole with it baked inside the pumpkin.

    >> this is easy for you.

    >> guys of a certain age even know what that means.

    >> those are pumpkin seeds .

    >> those are pumpkin seeds . we'll take those out and scoop all the good pumpkin meat right into the bowl.

    >> over here what we want to do -- take your beef tender loloin and pace it on top of this. wrap it with rosemary and we're going to bake it about 350 degrees until it's nice and golden brown .

    >> mine is already done.

    >> what will happen to caramelize these over here.

    >> what do i do here?

    >> i know you like figs.

    >> just start with a little bit of sugar. drop the figs in. caramelize those up. and we'll do that kind of like over medium high heat.

    >> do you put butter in there or no.

    >> not yet.

    >> no?

    >> now this, some of these herbs all over. there's a lot of salt. we're baking it where it's steaming like a beef wellington if you will.

    >> this is rosemary, correct?

    >> this is rosemary.

    >> there we go. fold that up.

    >> like a burrito. got it.

    >> never thought of it that way. robert is over here and matt.

    >> aren't we going to cut to the shot where the whole thing is done over here.

    >> pumpkin --

    >> come on, matt.

    >> we need power tools here.

    >> what is --

    >> we con convenieveniently have some of the filling already made. a little bit of parmesan, garlic, nutmeg. a touch of cream in the center. right into the oven.

    >> how long does that cook?

    >> that will cook for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

    >> john, we need you.

    >> or you could just hire a chef to do this.

    >> we're trying to caramelize these figs but the pan says error.

    >> what did you do?

    >> i didn't do anything? i put the figs on the sugar.

    >> and then it started leaking.

    >> what we're going to do in this case is cut to this beautiful dish that we have.

    >> that's what i would have done if it had been working right.

    >> michael actually did a great job with his.

    >> i sat on it.

    >> looks great.

    >> this is a chef, gentlemen.

    >> does he win for individual or for the whole team.

    >> you get a fork. thank you. you have won the contest.

    >> just dig in there.

    >> look at that.

    >> let's cut away.

    >> over here in our section, don't worry. to my pan that won't work.

    >> kevin kline is. [ inaudible ]

    >> he has a hot pan.

    >> it sounds better in french. so the whole point really easy as you can see. pop into the oven. food that you can cook in a day and allows you to have a party and invite all of your friends over and you're not fussing over the small details.

    >> this is a way to use all the pumpkins.

    >> you just carve right in.

    >> don't eat the dough.

    >> what does the dough add to this?

    >> it adds a lot of flavor.

    >> give it a shot there.

    >> a couple more slices.

    >> cut that in half.

    >> don't eat it. it's a salty pastry but it seasons the meat and steams the meat.

    >> if the pan actually worked, you just caramelized these. how about that. can you imagine?

    >> bust pumpkin i ever had.

    >> beautiful pumpkin.

    >> could you do this with any kind of squash?

    >> any kind of squash.

    >> this is not going to be attractive.

    >> or we could all just go to one of john's restaurants and have dinner. exactly. congratulations on the new book.

    >> thank you.

    >> and as always continued success. john besh . for the complete recipes done the correct way go to our website at today.com.

TODAY recipes
updated 11/1/2013 8:54:44 AM ET 2013-11-01T12:54:44

Recipe: Pumpkin tian

I'm so pleased by the presentation of this tian, where the shell of the squash becomes the baking and serving vessel that you bring to the table. If you don't want to bother with the shell, you can bake the scooped out pumpkin and custard in a shallow casserole.

  • 1 4-5-pound sweet pumpkin or Kabocha squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin, about 3 inches below the stem, and reserve to serve with the squash. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. (You can roast the pumpkin seeds for a nice snack: toss the cleaned seeds in olive oil and a pinch of salt, spread on a baking pan, and roast in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.) Use a spoon to scrape out as much of the pumpkin as you can, leaving the shell intact. Chop the flesh.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and pumpkin flesh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the saut.ed pumpkin back into the shell.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and Parmesan and pour into the pumpkin shell. Place on a baking pan and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve right from the pumpkin while it's still hot.

Serving Size

Serves 6-8

Recipe: Saddle of Beef Wrapped in Salt Pastry

Baking meat wrapped in a salt pastry is an old, time-tested technique. We're really steaming the loin of beef and infusing it with the flavor of the herbs that grow wild in the hills all over Provence. Since we're not eating the pastry, don't worry about the amount of salt used in the crust. I love the ceremony of breaking into the crust in front of my guests, with the fragrant herby steam escaping. It's quite a show.

  • 3 egg whites
  • Couple handfuls fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, sage, or savory
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 branches fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin
  • 1 pint black mission figs, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the dough, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add the herbs, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir in the flour and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

2. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and lay the rosemary branches over the dough. Fold the dough around the beef and pinch the seams together. Trim off the excess pastry. Place on a baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove to a cutting board.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the figs with the sugar. Put the figs, cut-side down, in the skillet and sear until caramelized, about 2 minutes.

4. To serve the beef, bring the cutting board to the table, cut through the pastry, and slice the beef, discarding the pastry and rosemary.

Serving Size

Serves 6

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