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Alex’s Day Off

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Overview

Alex Guarnaschelli, professional chef, working mom and passionate home cook, invites viewers to learn her down-to-earth recipes in Alex’s Day Off. Alex shows how cooking her personal style of American, French and Italian faire can be elegant and approachable, with a side of sass

Episode 1 – All-American Meal

This time around Alex makes a meal that is truly an American classic. Light meat, dark meat, and wings are slathered in way too much barbecue sauce. Once the chicken is baked in the oven, Alex adds even more sauce and broils it for a little caramelized crunch. Then Alex shows us how to make the perfect baked potato salad. Yukon Golds are baked, not boiled, then mixed with tangy red wine vinegar, mustard, capers, and chunky gherkins. For that classic American dessert a fresh blueberry pie; Alex adds a last-minute orange syrup that fills all the nooks and crannies and gives the pie a magical gloss.

Episode 2 – Burritos with Friends

Alex believes food tastes so much better when it’s enjoyed with friends AND when it’s easy to put together. Alex starts with a delicious beef filling for her burritos by marinating skirt steak in way too many peppercorns. And for something to chill down your mouth, Alex pops wedges of iceberg lettuce into the freezer and pulls them out at that perfectly cool temperature. Each wedge is slathered in a champagne vinegar dressing. For dessert a simple Creme caramel, that is cool and caramel-y without being too sweet or heavy. It’s a light and naughty dessert.

Recipes

Episode 3 – Family Comfort Meal

Alex digs back into her roots and brings to life some of her family’s favorite comfort dishes. She takes a simple pork meatball and transforms it into “a crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside” masterpiece. She slathers it with her mom’s signature marinara sauce. It’s the perfect tomato sauce with hints of basil, carrot, and red pepper flakes.  For a side, Alex stuffs an artichoke with all of her favorite flavors of Italian cooking – fennel, bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic. And for dessert, a chocolate crostada filled with an oozy dark chocolate center.

Recipes

Episode 4 – A Birthday Dinner

For her best friend’s birthday, Alex is planning a simple soy braised duck with a green peppercorn glaze that is drizzled over the duck at the last minute. Alex serves the duck with the perfect partner – lentils paired with cippolini onions cooked in duck fat. And, what’s a birthday without a cake? She takes a moist yellow birthday cake and drops a layer of goopy marshmallow frosting right on top

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Episode 5 – Soup and Sandwich

The classic soup and sandwich partners will be completely transformed by professional Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Alex adds braised beef marrow, drops of egg yolk, and tiny veal meatballs into a delicious chicken broth. And for the perfect dunking partner, Alex tops crunchy toasts with olive oil and tangy goat cheese spread. For dessert, Alex melts white chocolate and stuffs it between two chocolate drop cookies.

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Episode 6 – A Spring Dinner Celebration

For a dish that really screams spring, Alex plans a succulent lamb stew with earthy and fresh parsnips — the first vegetables of the spring season. Alex serves it with a bright and crisp pea salad drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette. Plus, whole cherries sauteed in grappa and dusted with cinnamon.    

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Episode 7 – Alex’s Favorite Brisket Recipe

Alex is tackling an old favorite, brisket. With a few simple steps she takes your grandmother’s brisket and gives it full update with the first spring vegetables. Still fork tender, this brisket gets a chef-y topping of gremolata, then its laid over a bed of airy couscous. For dessert, a warm olive oil grape cake that is slathered in a sweet honey topping and fresh grapes.  

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Episode 8 – Classic Indian Dishes

Alex makes some of her greatest hits of Indian Dishes. Taken from her childhood memories of her Mother cooking with Indian spices, Alex adds her own authentic style to each dish. Braised chicken thighs are slathered in a tomato sauce and infused with a blast of spices. For a side, Alex turns an innocent head cabbage into an unforgettable side of Indian mischief. The appetizer is cauliflower dusted with smoked paprika, coated in beer batter, and fried into little fritter nuggets. Plus, she bakes some tangy Indian bread, naan, which acts like an extra utensil for all of these dishes.

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Episode 9 – The Perfect Roasted Chicken

Alex has one dish that serves as her go-to recipe for any occasion – a simple roasted chicken. Stuffed with lemon and olives, this roasted chicken gets a little something extra once it pops out of the oven. On one side, Alex smothers it with butter and crunchy sea salt. Then, on that golden skin side, she smears a little dark olive tapenade spread. She pairs it with a chilled asparagus salad that is coasted with tangy mustard and honey vinaigrette. Then, Alex pops clams on the grill and sprinkles them with earthly charred zucchini, the perfect addition to the sweet clams.

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Episode 10 – En Papillote, A Steamed Fish Secret

Alex shows us a little chef-y secret for steamed fresh fish that requires a leap of faith. Branzino is drizzled with olive oil, herbs, and lemon. Then, it’s wrapped in a little aluminum packet and baked in the oven. She tops the freshly steamed fish with a creamy garlic aioli sauce. Paired with a simple green bean salad this meal screams freshness. For dessert, Alex bakes an apple crisp with the perfect balance of apple to crispy topping. This apple crisp is like one giant corner.

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Episode 11 – Italian Dinner

Little Italy is where is all began for Alex’s love of Italian cooking. For Alex, it’s all about the ingredients and some of the best are found in her favorite New York neighborhood. The Italian seduction process begins with dessert – a flakey  sfogliatella – filled with whole milk ricotta and candied citron and orange. Then, a simple roasted fish with just three ingredients: salt, oil, and lemon. Finally, a salad that pairs distinct Italian flavors like caramelized fennel, fresh orange, and walnut pesto.

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Episode 12 – A Comfy Sunday Brunch

One of Alex’s favorite meals is a decadent Sunday brunch. And no brunch is brunch unless you start by baking something. Alex’s coffee cake fills her entire home with the sweet smell of cinnamon and the promise of big warm slab of cake. Then Alex shows us how to make the prefect herb omelet and pairs it with vegetables – twisted little mushroom caramels tossed with vibrant spinach. To top it all off – a little magic trick – Alex makes homemade butter from milk and sour cream. A raspberry spritzer infused with mint adds a surprising fresh touch to the meal.

Recipes will soon be available:

Episode 13 – Dessert Party!

Alex gets away from the idea of a classical meal and into something totally fabulous and fun — a dessert party! Alex treats her friends to three amazing desserts. To start, a crispy and crunchy biscotti filled with hazelnuts and caramel. She adds a tangy lemon curd, which serves as the perfect dunking partner for the biscotti. Alex adds strawberry tartlets; they’re like a giant fresh fruit candies. And for something a little naughty and decadent, Alex makes a super chocolaty pots de creme and tops them with homemade whipped cream.