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2010 Maxim Food Awards: Rise and Dine

Maxim knows there comes a time when every man must learn to fend for himself. So instead of sending you on the road to fill your belly, this year’s food awards are sending you into the kitchen, with help from the country’s best chefs. Try not to set anything on fire.


She was lured by curiosity (“this guy can cook?”) and stayed for the wine. Ok, because of the wine. Now she’s in your bed, stomach growling.

CHEFS: The Franks
Frankies Spuntino, Brooklyn, NY

Women are into healthy foods, but if you want to make her truly happy, a sweet indulgence like French toast is the breakfast of champions. “The whole process is so easy it takes less than 30 minutes,” say chefs Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo, who lent us the same recipe they use at their homey Brooklyn restaurant, Frankies Spuntino. “Garnish with cinnamon and fresh fruit and you’re gonna look like a rock star.” Or screw the garnishes—the real key is to make sure you’ve shopped for the essential ingredients the day before. “It’s always impressive to make a lady breakfast, but if you’re leaving her alone in bed for an hour to go to the store, not so good,” says Falcinelli. And don’t worry about looking like a putz as you pick up a bag of confectioners’ sugar, a carton of heavy cream, and a tin of cinnamon. Haven’t you seen Cake Boss? It’s totally possible to make lady-friendly treats and still have two balls when it’s over. If you’ve done a good job, she might even be fondling them!

TOAST WITH THE MOST
Anyone can dip Wonder Bread in egg wash. But not everyone can create a French toast so sweet it’ll make her jump right back into bed.
From chefs Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup maple syrup, plus additional for serving
Dash of cinnamon
2 vanilla beans, split (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 stick butter
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
6 one-inch-thick slices day-old bread
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, or as needed


1. Combine eggs, cream, syrup, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans, add the seeds and beans (or extract) to the cream mixture, and whisk. Transfer to a saucepan and warm over medium heat until the mixture is very warm to the touch and the vanilla and cinnamon are aromatic. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can hold in fridge for 3 to 4 hours.)

2. Pour the custard mixture into a wide, shallow dish. Discard the vanilla beans.

3. Heat 1 Tbs. each of butter and oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Dredge the bread in the custard mixture for a few seconds on each side; it should absorb some but not get soggy. Put it in the pan. After about 2 minutes, dust top of bread with a thin layer of confectioners’ sugar and flip it over. Add a pat of butter to the pan. Cook it for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes, then dust the side that’s facing up, flip, and add a pat more butter. Repeat 2 or 3 more times, until both sides are covered in a caramel-brown crisp exterior. Remove from pan and repeat for remaining bread slices. Serve hot, with a shit-ton of maple syrup.


BUBBLE OR NOTHING
There’s no bad time of day to serve her sparkling wine. Guru Gary Vaynerchuk shows us the best brands for any meal.

Champagne
Pierre Peters $40
Everyone overpays for big-name brands of the French classic. Vaynerchuk says look for smaller pro­ducers such as Pierre Peters instead.

Cava
Conde de Subirats $10
“Cava is sparkling wine from Spain that gives you champagne style without the crazy price tag,” says Vaynerchuk. “This one has fruit without over-the-top sweetness.”

Prosecco
Riondo Prosecco $9
Italian bubbly has a touch more sweetness than champagne and a lower price point, too. This Riondo is “light, crisp, and great with food.”

Lambrusco
Venturini Baldini Lambrusco $11
This lesser known red variety was a favorite in ancient Rome. To impress her, repeat after Gary: “Nice dryness on the finish and a hint of cherry.”