Tuesday afternoon I sat down with television star and chef David Burtka in Toronto to chat about entertaining for the upcoming holidays (American Thanksgiving and Christmas), good life balance and of course; a great cup of coffee. David was visiting Toronto with premium java brand Nespresso; celebrating the new Evoluo machine launched this fall by the luxury coffee giant. The stage and screen star is a trained chef and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and has worked under many famous Amercian chefs. He lives in New York with his husband actor Neil Patrick Harris and their two 5-year old twin children, Harper and Gideon. Being a huge fan of Nespresso (and David), I jumped at the chance to learn how David (a Nespresso fan also) incorporated coffee into his entertaining and food prep. Here it goes:
Nespresso’s new Evoluo, part of the VeruoLine machine series, makes both coffee and espresso. $249, http://www.nespresso.ca
5 Questions For David:
1/ Any interesting ways to serve up coffee/espresso when entertaining?
DB: We like to create a casual vibe when entertaining so its nice to allow giests to help themselves when they are in our house; thats the beauty of the Nespresso machines; friends can choose their own flavour and strength of coffee they would like; and the machines are super-easy to use. And with upcoming holidays, there are some fun flavours to choose from; limited edition Swiss Chocolate is one of the newest that will pair with so many holiday flavours. Of course there is always the idea of infusing the coffee flavours into recipes; any chocolate recipe can take some coffee flavour to enhance the taste; mole sauces and coffee dry rubs on meats are fun too.
2/ Whats your go-to horderves to serve when guests arrive?
I like to make spiced/savoury nuts. Mix salt, pepper, chili pepper, fine coffee grinds and a bit of sugar with a whipped egg white; toss in almond nuts and bake them on a low heat. Here’s David’s recipe for his coffee-spiced nuts:
Spicy Coffee Almonds:
1 lg egg white
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Nespresso Evoluo coffee capsules, grinds removed (4 tbsp coffee grinds)
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1 lb whole raw almonds
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine water and egg white and whisk until frothy.
To the egg white add salt, sugar, Nespresso coffee grinds, chile powder and mix well. Add almonds and toss to evenly coat.
Spread almonds evenly on a sheet pan and bake for 20 mins. Stir almonds and reduce heat to 275F. Bake the nuts another 40 mins until almonds are dry to the touch.
Let almonds cool completely. Once cool, break apart the nuts and store in a sealed container.
3/ Your kitchen: describe it- any colour used? Our kitchen is very utilitarian and gets well-used. Mostly colours of grey and white. There’s a dash of red but otherwise quite neutral. Its a hard-working kitchen so things are kept good quality and simple.
4/ Do you use Nespresso in any recipes? Oh yes! As mentioned above, in brownies, and in meat rubs. Its just so easy and if used in the right amount, the coffee only adds to the overall flavour, does not take over the entire dish. People are often surprised when I tell them I’ve used coffee in the recipe- thats when you know you’ve done it right!
5/ What are your family plans for the holidays? Our good friends are Kelly Ripa and her family so for American Thanksgiving we usually spend time with her husband Mark and the kids. Its fun to get all the children together and everyone just chills. For Christmas, we litterally quiet down the house- family visits and everyone relaxes. Christmas morning is always fun- we try to open just one. gift. at. a. time; in order to appreciate each and every thing thats been given. I think its smart to teach the kids that lesson early in life. I am cooking two turkeys this year’ a free-range and store bought- that will provide a lot of turkey for the big family meal.
For a tour of David and Patrick Harris’ fabulous home (courtesty of Architectural Digest), click here:
Thank you David, you were a charming and friendly interview!