Not-so bizarre foods with Andrew Zimmern

January 5, 2009 1:30:40 PM PST
You may know Andrew Zimmern as the guy who eats bugs and other slimy things on his Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

But when he's not globe-trotting, Andrew eats everyday home-cooked meals with his wife and 4 year old son. Andrew believes you can broaden your food horizons without leaving home and without eating frog hearts or sheep eyeballs. He has some tips to help spice up your normal dinning routine and how to get picky eaters to actually enjoy it.

"I travel the globe tasting everything from beaver chili to grasshoppers and although not every taste adventure is the same, my approach is the same," Andrew says. "The basics for any taste adventure, whether on the road or in your kitchen, are to approach it with an open mind, and fervor to explore all the great tastes your town has to offer. That could mean visiting a new restaurant or something as simple as creating something new in the kitchen."

Andrew believes that children are not predisposed to be picky eaters. "My son, Noah has tried many of the most outrageous foods from my travels," Andrew says. "He loves guinea pig, as do I, and the reason he liked it on both occasions he sampled it was because I got to him as a parent before the culture cops got to him."

Andrew says you should encourage your children to try new things:

· Have your kids make some of the family food choices by allowing them to pick groceries as a 'game' in the aisles of your local super market

· Take kids out to eat with you; Especially here in Chicago, there are so many ethnic restaurants, and exposing your kids to these early on is an easy way to make bizarre food a part of their regular eating habits

· Most importantly, let them cook with you; Watching how everything comes together, and being a part of that, gives the child a sense of ownership

He also recommends spicing up your grocery shopping routine. "A lot of times people tend to go to the same places to purchase their grocery items. I recommend stepping outside of this pattern and grocery hop," he says. "It's not disloyal to explore other locations than your usual go-to store. Ethnic grocery stores, of any background, are great places to find new herbs and vegetables, and usually offer some very good deals."

Andrew says putting a twist on an old classic is an easy way to start broadening your family's food horizons. Start with his recipe for steamed green beans with tossed almond-mushroom pesto. It's an awesome side dish for the pot roast, he adds.

Andrew Zimmern's "Taste Adventure Recipes" from

Steamed Green Beans with Toasted Almond-Mushroom Pesto
Serves 6-8 as a side dish

? 2 pounds green beans, tipped an trimmed
? 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 teaspoons
? 12 ounces stemmed and sliced mushrooms (cremini and shiitake are a nice mix for this dish)
? 1 small onion, chopped
? 2 cloves minced garlic
? 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
? 1 cup toasted almonds
? 1 tablespoon lemon juice
? 1 tablespoon tamari

? Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick skillet
? Sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms until lightly browned
? Pull from heat. Add the tarragon and cool for five minutes
? Pulse puree the mushroom mixture in the food processor, being careful not to over mix
? Add the almonds, lemon juice and tamari and pulse to combine
? Reserve to a work bowl
? Steam the beans until crisp tender and reserve
? Right before serving, place the no-stick pan on high heat
? Add the 2 teaspoons of oil, and add the beans, tossing until heated through
? Add the mushroom mixture and toss to combine
? Cook for a few minutes and serve, seasoning with sea salt and ground white pepper

Perfect Pot Roast
Serves 4-6

? 3 to 4 pounds beef arm roast, pot roast or beef brisket, nose off, flat end only
? 2 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning blend?thyme, tarragon, paprika, etc.
? 4 tablespoons olive oil
? 3 cups mixed diced rutabaga, celery, carrot, onion, leek, etc.
? 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
? 1/2 cup canned chopped tomato
? 1 bay leaf
? 1 teaspoon peppercorns
? 2 cups beef stock
? 1/2 cup sweet vermouth
? 1/2 cup red wine

? Heat a large oven-proof roasting pan over high heat and add the oil
? Brown the beef
? Remove meat from pan
? Add the vegetables, garlic, herbs and spices cooking until nicely colored
? When glassy, add the wine, vermouth and tomato
? Reduce liquids by 75 percent
? Add the stock and bring to a boil
? Add the meat back to the pan
? Push vegetables to the sides of the roast
? The top of the roast should 'crown' out of the braising liquid
? Place a 5-inch square of foil on top of exposed meat
? Place pan in a 275 degree oven for three to four hours
? Test for tenderness
? Remove meat from pan
? Place pan on stove top, bring to a simmer and reduce by a third
? Combine 2 tablespoons butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour in a 2 quart sauté pan and cook briefly to create a roux
? Whisk reduced braising liquid into the pan with the roux
? Simmer to thicken, season and serve with truffled mashed potatoes

Curry Glazed Carrots
Serves 6-8 as a side dish


? 2 pounds of carrots, peeled, trimmed and sliced on a 45 degree bias, at a thickness of 1/3 inch
? 2 tablespoons honey
? 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
? 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
? 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
? 1 teaspoon lemon juice
? 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
? 1 tablespoon curry powder
? 1 golf ball-size piece of fresh ginger, sliced
? A pinch of red chili flakes

? Combine all ingredients in a sauté pan over high heat
? When simmering, turn heat down to medium, cover and cook for three minutes
? Remove lid and, while tossing regularly, reduce liquids to a tight glaze
? Season with sea salt and serve


Andrew Zimmern is a food writer, dining critic, TV personality, chef, teacher and is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the co-creator, host and contributing producer of Travel Channel's hit series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Zimmern travels the world, exploring the food on its own soil, wherever it's found. From restaurants to jungle markets, it's all about discovering the authentic experience.

Zimmern is an associate editor at Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine , with 2 monthly columns under his byline in addition to his blog, Chow and Again on Zimmern's writing has appeared in numerous national publications including Food Arts , Restaurant Business , NWA Traveler and Bon Appétit.

He has been a guest chef at many national charity events, food festivals and galas, including South Beach Food and Wine Festival , Food and Wine Magazine' s Aspen Festival, the Twin Cities Food and Wine Experience, and the James Beard House in New York City. In the fall of 2002, he was an honored guest of the People's Republic of China, traveling, lecturing and giving demonstrations on Chinese cookery.

For more about Andrew Zimmern, visit his website at Also check out Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel and . You can read his blog in Minneapolis St.Paul Magazine and

Meet Andrew Zimmern at the Adventures in Travel Expo

If you're looking for adventure, escape and worldly activities, right here in Chicago, then drop the remote, rouse yourself off the couch, and head to the only place that fits the bill: Adventures in Travel Expo ( Saturday and Sunday, January 10-11, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. While there, you can learn to scuba dive, climb a rock wall, ride a camel, and book your next vacation right on the show floor.

Plan a far-off adventure or a quick weekend getaway with the help of over 200 exhibitors from India to the Philippines: whether you join a group trip, or custom-tailor the adventure of your dreams, you'll find top experts in every aspect of experiential and active adventure, ready to help and you will save hundreds of dollars on show only vacation discount offers.

"Our exhibitors and partners know how important value is to travelers today. Many have special experiences just for Expo attendees," noted John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm, Expo organizer. "And of course, there's no better value than the unforgettable memories of a life-changing adventure."

Throughout the Adventures in Travel Expo, the National Geographic Adventure Theater and the Adventure Expo Theater will spotlight seminars and presentations by top travel experts and adventure travel authors and photographers such as Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Worlds; Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die adventure journalist and photographer Peter Potterfield; and National Geographic photographer Peter McBride.

The Global Beats stage will feature entertainment from around the world, almost nonstop, including the Mariam Tanzania Dancers; Kaua'i Hawaiian Entertainment; Royal Scottish Country Dance Society; Oneida Nation; Filipiniana Dance Troupe; Jasmine Jahal Dancers on Saturday; Hooked on Drums, the Natya Dance Theater and That Tall Juggler Guy will join the lineup on Sunday.

The event is presented by the Chicago Tribune with National Geographic Adventure magazine as the National Magazine Sponsor, the Travel Channel as Supporting Sponsor and the Philippines Department of Tourism as Featured Destination. It is being held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (formerly the Rosemont Convention Center). Hours are 10:30 AM-5:30 PM on Saturday; 11 AM-4:30 PM on Sunday. Tickets are $15.00, and may be purchased online at