Archive for February, 2011
Last night when I was deciding what to make for dinner I was generally unimpressed and bored with my options. I was half out the door on my way to the store to get more ingredients when I decided to clear out my vegetable drawer and re-evaluate my options. I ended up combining all the contents of that drawer into this delightful and wonderfully flavorful side dish. Boring meal and grocery trip in the freezing rain avoided!
- 1 cup black rice
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped leeks
- 2 medium carrots, cleaned,
- 1 cup diced apple, cored, skin on
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup gruyere cheese
Combine rice, 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover. Cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Remove from heat and uncover.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the carrots and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until the liquid thickens. Add the apples, parsley and salt. Continue to cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat. Fold in the rice one cup at a time until you have a nice ratio of rice to apple mixture. You very well might have some rice left over for another meal. Finally, mix in the cheese and serve.
- 1 LB ground veal
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- Sesame buns
- Fresh spinach
- 4 eggs and butter as needed
- 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- Condiments as desired
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat.
Combine tomatoes, salt and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 4 minutes or until the tomato skin opens. Drain the tomatoes in a colander and set aside.
Combine veal, salt, pepper, sugar, shallots and lemon juice in a medium size bowl and mix together using your hands. Don’t over mix, just enough to incorporate the shallots throughout the veal. Make equally sized patties.
Grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium- rare. Place a layer of cheese on each burger and cook for just long enough to allow the cheese to melt. While the cheese melts, quickly grill the buns until crispy- usually no more than 30 seconds per side. Remove the burgers and buns from the grill and cover with a dish towel or place in a heating drawer or an oven set to “warm.” Meanwhile, fry the eggs until they are just barely runny, about 3 minutes per side.
Assemble the burgers with a topping on the tomatoes, followed by a handful of spinach and then the fried egg. Serve immediately.
The first meal I made for my husband (my then early stage boyfriend), was halibut with mango chutney. I remember being 20 years old shopping at the Hanover, NH Co-Op and meticulously picking my ingredients for my cooking debut. The cooking took place at his college house amidst mounds of dirty dishes and the chorus of his roommates playing beer pong in the other room. While the venue has changed quite dramatically, the combination of ingredients remains one of my favorites. Here I have used those same ingredients to make fish cakes and believe me when I say they are really, really good. This dish is perfect for an appetizer, one cake per person or as a main course, three cakes per person.
Serves 6 for an appetizer or 2 for a main course
- 1 pound Halibut steaks, about 2-3 steaks
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 1.5 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs from a French baguette
- ¼ cup flour
-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 1 cup chopped mango
- 1 avocado, chopped and pitted
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 2 medium sized plum tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
Pre-heat oven t0 450°.
Place the halibut in a baking dish. Season with salt ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the chutney in a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate until use.
Remove any skin or bones from the fish. Using a fork shred the fish into small pieces. In a large bowl combine the fish, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, scallions, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, salt, pepper, ginger and bread crumbs. Using clean hands roll mixture into silver dollar size balls. Use a spatula to press the balls into ½ inch cakes. Dredge the cakes in the flour.
Heat the oil over high heat. Add the cakes and cook until golden brown on both sides. Plate the cakes with a spoonful of the chutney and creme fraiche. Serve immediately.
I made this dish for dinner last night and my stomach is still thanking me. The coconut provides for an understated creamy base that is accentuated by a punch of tikka paste and garam masala. Serve in smaller portions for a first course or in larger portions for a main course.
Serves 4 for a main course and 6 for a first course
- 2 LB’s mussels, de-bearded, scrubbed and open mussels discarded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon tikka paste
- 1/ cup white wine
- ½ cup water
- 1 13 ounce can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons key lime juice- about 4 limes
-1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium size plum tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
- Fresh French bread, cut into ¼ inch slices and toasted
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in the tikka paste and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and water and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Whisk in the coconut milk, followed by the lime juice, salt, garam masala, cumin, cilantro and cayenne pepper. Return to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and the mussels. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until the mussels fully open at which point they are done. Discard the mussels that failed to open during cooking. Spoon the mussels and the sauce into shallow bowls and serve with a few pieces of toast.
When I was 10 years old I started to get migraine headaches. The first remedy for my pain was my diet and the first thing to go was chocolate. For a young child addicted to Caramello’s and Crunch Bars, this was no less than a tragedy. My mother took it upon herself to make my dessert experience just as lovely without my beloved chocolate. Every day I had a new chocolate – free cookie or treat to look forward to in my lunch. I will never forget the excitement when I opened my brown bag to find shortbread cookies, my absolute favorite, always neatly stacked and packed in cellophane. While they usually weren’t homemade, the effort and love behind the cookie was all that mattered and for that reason they were perfect.
- 3 cups raspberries
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fruit pectin
- 1 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 cup semolina flour
-1.5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 300°.
Combine raspberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and breaking up the berries with a fork. Reduce to a simmer over low heat and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the fruit pectin and return to a boil. Reduce to low heat and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and refrigerate until use.
For the shortbread, combine the flours, salt and sugars in the bowl of standing mixer fixed with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed to form cohesive dough. Mix for 5 minutes. Remove the dough and place in buttered 8 X 8” cooking pan. Press the dough into one even layer across the entire pan. Spoon the raspberry jam on top of the dough, making sure it is an even thickness throughout of about 1/8”. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Cut the shortbread into 2”X2” squares or your desired size and carefully transfer from the pan directly to the cooling rack. Cool for 10 more minutes before serving.
Confit is terminology for cooked meat that is stored in its own fat. I admit, it sounds a little nasty, but it is amazingly tasty. Duck confit comes on the bone and is generally canned or shrink wrapped. I discard as much of the fat as possible leaving the richness of the duck and a delicious, but not overwhelming heavy meal.
- 18 ounces spinach fettuccini
- 1.5 LB’s duck confit, meat pulled from the bone and removed from the fat
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¾ cup cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped truffles or truffle pate
- ¼ cup parmesan
In a large sauté pan heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the duck and sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the cream, parsley, lemon juice, salt and truffles. Cook for 5 additional minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the parmesan and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and incorporate a spoonful of pasta at a time into the sauce. Serve immediately.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 1 cup sherry
- ½ cup blue cheese
- 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
- 2 baby eggplants, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
- 1.5 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 3 ounces basil leaves, do not chop-leave intact
- 2 cups oil
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with the oil. Lay the chicken on the pan and brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Add the sherry and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and whisk in the blue cheese. Cover and cook for 6 more minutes, turning once. Place two pieces of pancetta on each piece of chicken. Cover and remove from the heat.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the oil for the eggplant in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Test the temperature of the oil by carefully dripping water into the oil. If it spits, it is ready for cooking. In a shallow dish whisk together the eggs and pour the breadcrumbs into another shallow dish. Coat the eggplant pieces with the egg followed by the bread crumbs. Use your fingers to gently push down on the breadcrumbs so they stay put will cooking. Carefully place the eggplant in the oil with a slotted spoon. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on a paper towels.
Next, carefully lower the basil into the oil with the slotted spoon. Cook for 30 seconds, remove and drain on a paper towel. Be certain to blot off excess oil from both the eggplant and the basil.
To arrange, plate one piece of eggplant. Place the chicken on top (pancetta side facing up), then another piece of eggplant and then a few fried basil leaves. Top with a spoonful of the sherry-blue cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Every once in a while I make a dish so good that I partake in a fairly obnoxious celebration of self-congratulations and personal pats on the back. This dish prompted one of those moments. Apple juice is the standard base for apple sauce, but naturally I forgot to buy apple juice at the store while shopping for apple sauce ingredients. So, I scrounged through my alcohol cabinet looking for an alternative to the apple juice and found one lone bottle of ginger ale. A shot in the dark turned into this delicious and flavorful dessert.
- 6 large red apples, peeled, cored and sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 1 cup ginger ale
- ¼ cup apple schnapps
- 1.5 cups figs, roughly chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1whole nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar
Stir together the apples, figs, cinnamon sticks, ginger ale and schnapps in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently and removing from the heat when apples become soft. Stir in the honey, sugar, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.
While the apples are cooking, make the whipped cream by pouring the cream into a standing mixing bowl. Whisk on high until cream thickens and forms stiff peaks. Add the sugar and continue to mix for 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Transfer the apple mixture to a food processor. Pulse until you have reached a slightly chunky sauce. Let cool for 2 minutes then spoon into dessert bowls and top with a large dollop of whipped cream and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg.
- 2 dozen oysters, cleaned and shucked
- 1.5 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup crème fraiche
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Rock salt or chopped ice for serving
In a small bowl mix ¾ teaspoon dill, crème fraiche, lemon juice and salt.
Arrange the rock salt or ice on a serving platter. Place the oysters on top and dollop with a small amount of the crème fraiche mixture. Sprinkle the remaining ¾ teaspoon of dill on top of the oysters. Serve with lemon wedges.
After graduating from college, my husband and I moved to Bozeman, Montana where we resided for a few years. Our lifestyle was quite frankly idyllic – skiing, hiking with our dogs, open spaces and an abundance of fresh venison and pheasant for our consumption. Upon our move to the big city I was left mourning the absence of some of my favorite fresh game meals. I was therefore thrilled to find fresh pheasant at Gepperth’s Market just a few blocks away from my home in Chicago. If you can’t find pheasant use duck or chicken breast.
- 6 pounds chicken, you can use a combination of breasts and thighs
- ½ large yellow onion, skinned and roughly chopped
- 3 carrot sticks, chopped into three’s
- 3 celery sticks, chopped into three’s
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped, discard the green parts
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup parsley
- 1 garlic clove, chopped into four pieces
- 1 freshly squeezed tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 gallons water
- 1 ounce morel mushrooms
- 1 medium sized pheasant, about 2 LB’s, cleaned and pat dry
- Bundle of sage
- Bundle of thyme
- Bundle of rosemary
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup half and half
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- Truffle oil
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Start with the broth. Combine the onion, celery, carrots, leeks, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, chicken and water in large stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce to a simmer and cover. Continue to simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the broth into a large bowl with a fine sieve. Discard the vegetables and the chicken. Return the broth to the stockpot removed from the heat.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in mushrooms. Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until they are soft. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside. Save the mushroom water for basting the pheasant.
Place the pheasant in a large baking dish, breast side facing up. Stuff the bird with the sage, thyme and rosemary and season the outside with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes per pound, basting every ten minutes with a few tablespoons of the mushroom water. Remove the pheasant from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Clean the meat off the bones and chop into ½ inch pieces. Discard the bones. Place the pheasant in a medium size bowl and toss with the parsley and cheese.
Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough by combing the flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a food mixer fixed with a dough hook. Cut the butter in one tablespoon at a time while mixing on medium- high speed. Slowly add the half and half and continue to mix until an elastic and moist dough forms. Remove the dough from the mixer and roll out to ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface. Use a knife or a circular cookie cutter to make the dumpling cut outs- they should be about 2-3 inches in diameter. Lightly brush one side of the circular cut outs with the truffle oil. Pile a small amount of the pheasant, parsley and mushroom mixture in the middle of each dough round. Carefully fold up the edges of the dough to form a pocket. Pinch the top of the pocket to ensure the contents stay in place while cooking.
Return the broth to a boil then reduce to a simmer over low heat. With a slotted spoon, gently place the dumplings into the broth. Cover and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. Spoon the dumplings and stock into shallow soup bowls and serve immediately. You can refrigerate the remaining broth for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.