The recipes on this blog are a combination of things I've learned over the years and meals inherited through generations of adoration for good food. They are a cherished property, so please be good to them.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

I love parsnips more than most of the other root vegetables. They are also the perfect plate date for carrots as they compliment each other so well. I served these with my French Chicken in a Pot and it was the perfect compliment to a french dinner.

1lb carrots, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal
1lb parsnips, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal
2 tbsp honey
1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper
olive oil to coat the vegetables

Heat oven to 400* F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add the vegetables and the oil together in a bowl and mix thoroughly making sure all the vegetables are coated in oil. Lay the carrots and parsnips out on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, giving them a shake and shimmy, half way through.

Meanwhile, heat over low heat, the honey and thyme leaves, just to allow the honey to melt and the flavors to come together.
Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle the honey and thyme mixture over the veggies. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spicy Basil Chicken Stir Fry

I had about 2 cups of fresh basil lying around (and this time of year its not cheap to get that much basil, so I had to use it!) and wanted to make a simple stir fry. Luckily I keep a well stocked pantry and I had all of the ingredients lying around my kitchen. This is my version of a common Thai dish, but I've improvised when I can't get my hands on chili peppers, using chili oil.

1 lbs chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp wok oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tbsp chili oil
3 scallions, chopped white and some green parts
2 bell peppers (i used red and orange), thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup packed, basil leaves
2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked

Heat a wok, over high heat. When the wok smokes, add wok oil and chili oil. Sprinkle in crushed pepper flakes. Add chicken and stir fry 2 minutes. Add scallions, red bell peppers, and garlic and stir-fry for 1 or 2 more minutes. Add fish sauce. Remove the pan from heat and add basil. Toss chicken dish until basil wilts. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ina and Meghan's Beef Bourguignon

This recipe is a classic dish, but since I used Ina Garten's notes and recipe on how to best prepare it, she too gets the credit she deserves. This dish was easy to make, although it does require some loving care and extra time to have it turn out just right.

The photograph doesn't do the dish justice as it was taken a few (OK, many) glasses of red wine into my holiday party, and I was just so excited to eat that I didn't apply any care to the integrity of the photo.

1 tbsp good olive oil
8 ounces center cut bacon, diced
2 1/2 lbs chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 c Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine like Pinot Noir
2 c beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 lb frozen whole onions
1 lb fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
For serving:
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cheater's Chicken Ravioli

This is a cheat recipe for so many reasons! Instead of using pasta sheets, I use store prepared wonton wrappers to make these ravioli. This recipe is enough to make several dozen ravioli, as I try to use the entire pack of wontons and make them all, freezing half for another meal.

These ravioli are light and delicate so they are great served with basil pesto, or dropped into a simmering chicken broth with scallions and peas. If you really want to go nuts, you could deep fry them in oil for a few minutes and serve with a dipping sauce.

1 package store prepared wonton wrappers
For the filling:
3/4 c ricotta cheese, drained
1/2 c fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 lb ground chicken
3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Combine all of the ingredients for the filling into a food processor and pulse until well blended.

Meanwhile, lay out wonton wrappers, filling a few at the time. To fill the wonton wrappers, place a small amount of filling into the center of the wonton wrapper. With your finger, brush the edges of the wrapper with a little water to help seal the ravioli. Fold the wonton wrapper on the diagonal and seal together the seams to form a triangle. Place ravioli on a plate and cover with a damp towel until all are done. Cook in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until ravioli have risen to the top.

To freeze: Lay out ravioli on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place sheet in the freezer until ravioli are frozen, about one hour. Transfer to a freezer bag and store up to 6 weeks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

French Chicken in a Pot

I received a subscription to Cook's Illustrated a few months ago and I absolutely love this magazine. It's a subscription issued by the same people that bring you America's Test Kitchen and is an amazing resource and reference to both beginner's and experts, in the kitchen. I read the issues from cover to cover, taking in all of the expert knowledge on recipes, techniques and product reviews.

This recipe is taken from the January/February 2008 edition. While this particular cooking method is a classic french recipe, I give credit to Cook's Illustrated because of the loving time they put into perfecting this method and particular recipe.

This recipe ditches the American way of crispy fried skin on a bird, for simplistic and powerful chicken flavor. As the magazine notes, why concentrate so much effort to make skin crisp, when you should focus on the flavor and tenderness of the meat? The method of "Dry cooking" this bird really did bring out the flavors of the meat and my chicken was to-die-for perfect. Thank you Cook's Illustrated, once again.

1 whole raosting chicken (4.5lbs), giblits removed ad discarded, wings tucked under back
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, medium chop
1 celery stalk, medium chop
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
juice from 1 lemon

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250*. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf and rosemary around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into the cavity of the bird, flip chicken breast side up, and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from heat, place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to over and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees with inserted in the thickest part of the breast and 175 in the thickest part of the thigh, about 80-110 minutes.. Transfer chicken to carving board and tent with foil, resting about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into a fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. Allow liquid to settle then pour into saucepan and set over low heat. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at the table.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sara and Tyler's Winter Panzanella

I love panzanella salad, but this recipe was my first "winter" version of it. Sara found this recipe from Tyler Florence and while the inspiration was from him, she tweaked it a little to make it more of her own. This really was a great dish to bring to our holiday dinner because you can prepare all the ingredients before hand, and toss the salad together right before serving.

2 bunches mixture red and gold baby beets (***Cooks note: If you can only find regular sized beets they need to be cut in half and roasted for about an hour as opposed to 30 minutes.**)
3 shallots
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs marjoram, thyme, and oregano (**Cooks note: Dried works fine too**)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices pancetta, sliced into small pieces
1 log goat cheese, refrigerated
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into crouton-sized pieces
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 c honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 orange, juiced
1 large handful arugula

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Take baby beets and cut them in half. Place on a long sheet of aluminum foil. Split shallots lengthwise, leaving them unpeeled, and add to foil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, marjoram, thyme, and oregano leaves and season with salt and pepper. Fold foil into a packet and roast in oven until fork tender and nicely caramelized, about 30 minutes.

In saute pan, cook pancetta until crisp.

Toss the bread chunks with 1⁄4 cup oil until the bread is wet with the oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake until the bread begins to brown, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing:
In a large mixing bowl, add the honey, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, and stir together.

Add all the remaining ingredients except arugula and gently stir. Taste for seasoning. Remove beets and bread from oven, peel shallots, and add to bowl. Stir together and season with salt and pepper. Add pancetta and arugula. Top with goat cheese crumbles. Serve immediately!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Maureen and Emeril's Korean-Style Pork Wraps with Chili Sauce

This is one of the many delicious dishes my friends brought over for my holiday dinner. I'm so glad Maureen found this recipe because she really hit the nail on the head with this easy and amazingly tasty dish. This can be served as an appetizer (as Maureen did) or as a fun dinner (as I did two weeks afterward, cause it's that good!). Maureen found this recipe in Emeril's catalog of thousands!

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 head Boston Bibb, or butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and patted dry

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, green onion, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves.
Slice the pork into thin strips, about 1/4-inch thick, 1/4-inch wide, and 2 1/2 inches long. Place the pork strips in the soy marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the Sriracha hot chili sauce, the honey, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set aside.

When the pork has marinated, take the bowl out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the marinade and carefully place in the skillet. (Be careful that the drippings don't splatter out of the pan.) Cook the pork, stirring constantly with tongs or a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes, until the pork is cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame seeds.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of rice into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style. Top with a few pork strips and drizzle with a few drops of the chili mixture. Roll up and eat!