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PhenomeNOMS: Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick of The Nerdist Cosplays the Tenth Doctor

PhenomeNOMS: Chris Hardwick
By Erin Parr

Welcome to the fifth edition of PhenomeNOMS, a look at famous geeks and the food that has either inspired them, or is inspired by them.  This week’s edition features Chris Hardwick, an actor, comedian, musician, and nerd media overlord.

Born in Kentucky, Chris started his career as host of MTV’s dating show, which I realize is not quite the geekiest profession, called “Singled Out”. Not too long after, however, his career started getting nerdy. Chris is well known for starting Nerdist.com in 2008, a website dedicated to all things nerdy – from movies and books to inventions, scientists, and everything in between. Chris’s dedication to his nerdy empire has gained him popularity at events such as Comic-Con and SXSW interactive, and the Nerdist’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/nerdist) hosts some of the best geek videocasts on the internet, including Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk, Neil Patrick Harris’ Puppet Dreams , and Hard and Phrim, which Chris is a part of, with songs such as Gersberms featuring the Swedish Chef. Chris also writes for Wired and voices cartoon characters while running his nerdy empire.

But one of the best things I have ever seen is Chris Hardwick and  Bill Nye with a video on how to tie a bowtie OF SCIENCE. Hardwick’s voice for the evolution of the nerd has earned him a spot as a famous geek. In the words of Chris, “No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s ALWAYS had EVERYTHING work out for them with ZERO struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” I agree, Chris!

When trying to come up with food ideas for Mr. Hardwick, I noticed that he has undergone a transformation himself, and has given credit to slow carbs, or essentially avoiding things like “white” carbs – pasta, bread, potatoes, etc., for his success. The diet he follows also includes avoiding sugars and dairy. This brought me to a bit of a creative explosion: WWCHE? Or, what would Chris Hardwick eat? I want to represent his nerdliness accurately, so I did some research and came up with a dish that I hope (crossing my fingers, here), he would approve of.  And hey, we could all use a healthier recipe sometimes, anyway, am I right? Plus, this recipe is amazingly delicious and flavorful. Enjoy!

Vietnamese-Inspired Meatballs for Lettuce Wraps

Serves 2-4

Yields about 12 medium-ish meatballs

Ingredients for meatballs:
1lb Ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey or pork)
4 cloves of garlic
1 nub of ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 handful of cilantro (more to serve/garnish)
1 serrano pepper (omit if you don’t like spice, but they aren’t THAT hot)
1 bunch of green onion
About 6 leaves of basil
About 4 leaves of mint
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari
Optional: Asian chili sauce

To serve:
Large leaf (as in red or green) lettuce
Sliced matchstick veggies such as carrots, radishes, or cucumbers
Bean sprouts, if you like them

4 tablespoons fish sauce
1/3c light soy sauce or tamari
Chopped green onion
Chopped basil
Chopped mint
Chopped garlic
Splenda, honey, sugar, or agave to taste
Optional: Asian chili sauce

Crushed peanuts
Dried/crispy onions or garlic, crushed
Lime wedges

Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put all of the ingredients for meatballs except for the meat into a food processor and process until fine. Mix meat with the ingredients with your hands (the best way to incorporate everything). Roll into small meatballs (about 1-1 1/2″) and place on the baking sheet. I like to roll mine in more of a cylinder shape than a ball, but however you feel comfortable is best. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and taste. You can adjust the heat and sweetness to your liking.

Place a meatball (or two, depending on your appetite) in a lettuce leaf. Add veggies, a little sauce, and some garnishes (the crushed peanut/onion mix is amazing!) and eat.