The Literate Chef

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Wild Boar Stew

In Pork, Recipes, Stews on October 21, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Preparation time, 1 hour; Cooking time 4.5 hours. Serves 4.

Wild Boar Stew

Wild Boar Stew

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. Wild Boar Shoulder, cubed 1.5-2.0 inches
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
2 cups of Chianti
1 28 oz. can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes, chopped, retain liquid
6 tbsp. chopped fresh herb combination, (2 tbsp. each of oregano, rosemary & sage)
3 bay leaves
¾ lb. (about 12-14) of small yellow potatoes, leave whole
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

Procedure:

  1. In a heavy casserole pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. In two batches, add the Wild Boar Meat, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, turning frequently. When browned to your liking, remove meat and set aside.
  3. Add garlic, onions and celery to the pot and brown lightly, remove and set aside.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add back the meat and vegetables and any collected liquids.
  5. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, herbs and bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower heat, keep covered and cook for 3 hours.
  7. Remove bay leaves and discard. Remove meat and set aside.
  8. Transfer the gravy to a food processor and process until smooth. Add back the meat.
  9. Add the potatoes, and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour.
  10. Add the carrots and continue cooking on medium low for 30 more minutes. The stew should cook for 4.5 hours total, excluding browning.

PLEASE SEE “IS IT AUTUMN YET?

Wild Boar Ragu

In Recipes, Pasta, Pork, Sauces on October 21, 2017 at 10:37 AM

Preparation time: Marinate-Overnight; Cutting & Chopping-1 hour; Cook Time 4 hours. Serves 6 – Adapted from NY Times and Epicurious Magazine

Wild Boar Ragu with Fettucine

Wild Boar Ragu with Fettuccine

Step 1: Marinate the Meat Overnight

Ingredients for Marinated Meat:

  • 2 lbs. Wild Boar Shoulder, cubed 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsps. whole peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 cloves garlic, halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 or more cups of Chianti, enough to cover the meat

    Mix the above in a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the Ragu, discard the rosemary, garlic and bay leaves. Drain the meat in a strainer over a bowl, and reserve the marinade.

Step 2: Make the Ragu

Ingredients for Ragu:

  • Meat & reserved marinade from Step 1
  • 6 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 2 cans of tomatoes, chopped and use liquid
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsps. anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 3 or more cups of low-sodium vegetable broth

Procedure:

  1. In a heavy casserole pot, heat the olive oil on medium.
  2. Add onions, carrots and celery and lightly sauté for about 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
  3. In two or more batches, add the Wild Boar Meat, brown on all sides turning frequently for about 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add back the vegetables from step 2.
  5. Add the marinade and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy paste and chopped herbs.
  7. Turn heat to medium low, and cook uncovered for at least 4 hours, until meat easily fall apart. (Note: Stir the ragu periodically and add 1 cup of vegetable broth at a time to prevent the ragu from burning. You may need to use a whole quart. You can also cover the ragu for the last 30 minutes so it doesn’t burn. (Note: Most of the liquid should be absorbed.)
  8. Remove bay leaves and discard. At this point the ragu is done and can be used immediately or frozen in small batches and used later. There should be enough for 6 meals, or a meal for 2 on 3 separate occasions.
  9. Serve with choice of pasta; Pappardelle, Tagliatelle or Fettuccine(Note: Heat the ragu & cook the pasta separately for 2 minutes short of al dente, remove 1 to 2 cups of pasta water, add to ragu and mix well, remove the pasta from the water, add to the ragu, mix well again for about two minutes.)
  10. Serve with chopped basil and grated Pecorino Romano, preferably Locatelli brand.

PLEASE SEE “IS IT AUTUMN YET?

Roasted Vegetable Medley

In Recipes, Vegetables on May 21, 2017 at 12:14 PM

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch circles
  • 2 tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • Kosher salt to taste

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the vegetables in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well.
  4. Add garlic, oregano and salt, toss well again.
  5. Spread the vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet, place in the top one-third of oven.
  6. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. About 1/2 way through, drain off any accumulated liquid and toss the vegetables.
  8. Serve alongside entree of choice.
  9. Our Choice – Serve with Fillet of Sole Stuffed with Spinach

Fillet of Sole Stuffed with Spinach

In Fish, Recipes, Seafood on May 21, 2017 at 12:13 PM

Fillet of Sole Stuffed with Spinach

Serves 2  – Preparation Time: Active – 10 Minutes; Cooking – 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fillets of Grey or Lemon Sole, about 14oz. total
  • 5 oz. fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 large shallot minced, about 2 tbsp.
  • 2 tbsp. Pignoli (pine) Nuts
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 pats of butter
  • Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place fillets on a flat surface, grey side up, with narrow end facing away from you.
  3. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add shallots and sauté for about 1 minute, stirring continuously.
  4. Add spinach and sauté until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Lower heat and add pine nuts, stir for another 1 minute or so.
  6. Remove spinach mixture to a small bowl, stir-in nutmeg and let cool.
  7. Add mixture to a food processor and pulse chop for 6-8 brief pulses.
  8. Starting about 1 inch from the broad end, spread the spinach mixture along the length of each fillet.
  9. Carefully roll up the fillets away from you, and gently place them on a greased roasting pan, with seam side down.
  10. Place one pat of butter on each fillet and sprinkle liberally with paprika.
  11. Place pan in top 1/3 of oven and roast for 10-12 minutes.
  12. After about 8 minutes pour wine over fish.

Transfer 2 fillets to each plate, add Roasted Vegetables and serve immediately

Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Pesto

In Fish, Recipes on September 14, 2016 at 12:29 PM

roasted-halibut-with-tomato-and-pesto

ROASTED HALIBUT WITH TOMATO AND PESTO

Preparation Time 30 minutes – Serves 2

The other night for dinner, my wife made the great suggestion that we have fish; always a smart move after overindulging on the weekend. She also suggested that since we had recently made a new batch of Pesto Sauce from our crop of freshly grown basil, I do something with that and, maybe, use one of the luscious late-summer tomatoes we’d just obtained at the local Farmers’ Market.

With practically all of the ingredients predetermined for me, all I had to do was decide on how to prepare it and select the right fish for that method. Roasting seemed like a good idea, very little mess and no standing over a hot stove, so a thick piece of firm, white, fish would be best, either Halibut or Swordfish, depending upon what our local fishmonger had to offer that day. He had both, I chose the Halibut, which was about 1 inch thick. Next time I’ll try Swordfish!

High heat roasting (for 1 inch thick fillet @450 degrees between 15 & 20 minutes) might tend to dry out the fish, but a little white wine should keep it moist, and coupled with the liquid given off by the fish and other ingredients, should produce a tasty sauce of pan juices. Which it in fact did. So here it is, Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Basil. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. Halibut Fillet
4 tbsp. Uncle Fred’s Homemade Pesto
1 ripe tomato, sliced thin
1/3 cup dry white wine

PROCEDURE:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Line a small shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the fish in the pan.
3. Evenly spread the Pesto on fish.
4. Cover the Pesto with approximately 6 or 7 tomato slices, overlapping them to fit.
5. Place the roasting pan on the top rack of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
6. Add the wine and continue roasting for 10 more minutes.
7. Slice the Halibut in two, and serve with pan juices.

Lamb Curry – West Indian Style Lamb Stew

In Lamb, Meat, Recipes, Stews on December 28, 2015 at 11:10 AM

(Adapted from “West Indian Lamb Curry” by Melissa Clark, New York Times Cooking)

Lamb Curry

This recipe doubles that from which it was adapted and should yield 10 to 12 servings. It lends itself to freezing and thereby could provide you with several nights meals, after you and your guests have had your fill.

Ingredients:

For the first step – marinate and refrigerate the lamb:
• 6 lb. boneless Leg of Lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes
• 2 tbsp. Curry Powder
• 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
• 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
• 2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
• 2 large White Onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 12 Scallions, washed and coarsely chopped
• 16 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed
• 2 inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1/2 tsp. whole Allspice berries, crushed
• 12 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped and stems discarded
• 4 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the second step – cooking:
• 4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 4 tsp. Curry Powder
• 2 cups dry White Wine
• 8 cups diced potatoes, about 4 whole potatoes, peeled
• 4 cups diced carrots, about 8 peeled
• 4 Habanero, Scotch Bonnet or Jalapeño peppers, chopped (with or without seeds depending on your tolerance to heat)

For the third step – serving:
• Cooked white Basmati Rice, about 1/4 cup uncooked per serving
• Fresh chopped cilantro
• Lime wedges
Major Grey’s Chutney

Preparation:

Prepare the marinade and refrigerate the lamb:
1. With paper toweling, pat dry the cubes of lamb, and place in a very large bowl.
2. Combine the next 4 ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add to the lamb and toss well.
3. Combine the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Working in batches place the mixture in a food processor, and, adding olive oil as necessary, purée into a paste. Add the puréed mixture to the lamb and toss well, coating each piece of spiced lamb.
4. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight or up to 72 hours.

Cook the lamb:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, and add the 4 tsp. of Curry Powder, stirring for about 30 seconds.
2. Workings in batches to avoid overcrowding, add the marinated lamb cubes and brown on all sides, add additional olive oil to prevent the lamb from burning and sticking to the bottom, if necessary.
3. As the cubes are browned to your liking, transfer them to a large platter.
4. When all of the lamb has been browned, add the white wine and de-glaze the pot, scraping up the fond as you do so.
5. Return the lamb and any accumulated juices from the platter, as well as any left over marinade, to the Dutch Oven. Add water to just cover the lamb, add the cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover the Dutch Oven, lower the heat to a simmer and braise for 30 minutes.
6. Add the potatoes, carrots and peppers and continue cooking on medium-low heat for an additional 45 minutes.
7. Using tongs, or a slotted spoon, remove the meat and vegetables and place in a large bowl or pot, and keep warm.
8. Strain the liquid into a fat separator, and add the de-fatted gravy, as well as any solids, to the meat and vegetables.

To serve:
1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the box, using 1/4 cup of uncooked rice per person. (Note: only cook as much rice as you need for the first meal; for left overs, cook rice at that time.)
2. Serve the stew, rice, cilantro, lime wedges and chutney.

Pollo al Marsala con Funghi (Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms)

In Chicken, Recipes on July 26, 2015 at 2:50 PM

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms (Pollo al Marsala con Funghi)

(Preparation time, 40 minutes; Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1.5 lbs. skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten & seasoned with salt & pepper
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
Fresh sage, about 8 large leaves, chopped coarse
1 + 1/4 cup Sweet Marsala

Procedure:

1. Heat a large (12″ or more) non-stick skillet on medium-high.
2. Add 2 tbsp. of butter. When bubbling, add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
3. Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels, dip them in the seasoned egg and then in the seasoned flour and set aside until all pieces are floured.
4. Melt the remaining butter in the pan on medium heat.
5. When bubbling, add the floured chicken breasts and lightly brown for 5 minutes on each side.
6. Add the chopped sage and sautéed mushrooms and mix well. Add 1 cup of Marsala, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, turning once after 5 minutes.
7. Turn heat to medium high, remove the cover and cook for 5 minutes more.
8. Check the chicken for doneness, remove all to a serving plate and keep warm.
9. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining 1/4 cup of Marsala, scraping up any fond and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Serve with a well-chilled bottle of Italian white wine, such as an Arneis.

Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

In Pasta, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian Meals on July 15, 2015 at 10:18 AM

Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

Adapted from  – http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016841-rigatoni-and-cauliflower-al-forno

( Serves 6: Preparation time about 1 hour; unattended cooking time 20 minutes.)

Linguine with Cauliflower Sauce was a staple meal when I was growing up, so David Tanis’ recipe for Rigatoni & Cauliflower al Forno (i.e., baked in the oven) resonated with me.

But being addicted to big, bold flavors, I thought that the amount of spice in his published recipe would be lacking to my palate. So, I doubled, tripled and even quadrupled his quantities. As a matter of fact, I believe that the only quantities I did not adjust were the those of rigatoni and cauliflower.  However, I did use his recommended cooking times. If you think that the amount of capers, garlic, crushed hot pepper, sage and cheese that I used might be daunting to your palate, by all means use his original recipe at NYTIMES.com. Either way I hope you will enjoy this dish.

Ingredients:

1 lb. rigatoni
1 head of cauliflower
3 tbsp. + 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. crushed hot red pepper
4 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
Zest of 1 lemon
½ lb. coarsely grated fresh mozzarella
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
½ cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Procedure:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Bring 6 or 7 quarts of water to boil. When the water begins to boil, add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the rigatoni. Stir well and cook for two minutes fewer than the directions on the box or package, as the macaroni will continue to cook in the oven. Drain the rigatoni, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
3. While the pasta water is boiling, trim all leaves from the cauliflower, cut it in half lengthwise, and remove the tough core. Cut the halves crosswise into ¼ inch slices.

Caramelized Cauliflower

Caramelized Cauliflower

4. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil on high heat. Add the cauliflower without crowding, cook in batches with added olive oil if necessary. Brown the cauliflower until caramelized on both sides. After the last batch of cauliflower is cooked, add back the previous batches, add the capers, garlic, hot pepper, sage and lemon zest, stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well again.
5. Remove the cauliflower mixture to a large bowl, add the set-aside rigatoni and mix well. Add the grated mozzarella and mix well again.
6. Coat the bottom and sides of a large (18” x 12”) stainless steel roasting pan with a film of olive oil, add the mixture, spreading it evenly over the pan. Sprinkle the Pecorino-Romano cheese and bread crumbs over all, then drizzle the 1/3 cup of olive oil over all, as well.
7. Place pan on top shelf of oven and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the top is crisp and golden. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

We served this with a chilled bottle of delicious Arneis.

Pan-Seared U-10 Scallops with Andouille Sausage, Spinach & Risotto

In Pork, Recipes, Scallops, Seafood on January 21, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Sautéed U-10 Scallops with Andouille Sausage

Pan-Seared U-10 Scallops with Andouille Sausage

(Cooking time – 45 minutes, serves 5 or 6)

Friends came to visit a few days ago and informed us that one of them is allergic to garlic. This presented The Literate Chef with a challenge, as garlic is a staple in our house. Rising to the occasion, and knowing that seafood and pork marry well, we decided to prepare a one-dish meal of Pan-Seared U-10 Sea Scallops, fried Andouille Sausage, spinach and a simple risotto. For extra flavor, we used smoked paprika, and white wine. The result far exceeded our expectations, everyone enjoyed the meal, and an allergic reaction was avoided.

Ingredients:

20 large (U-10) Scallops, about 2.5 lbs.
4 links of Andouille Sausage (about 1 lb.), sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1 lb. Baby Spinach
1 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 large Yellow Onion, chopped
Smoked Paprika
1 qt. Seafood Stock
Dry White Wine, about 2 cups

Procedure:

Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees.

For the Risotto:

1. In a 2 qt. pot, bring the Seafood Stock to a boil.
2. In a 3 qt. pot, melt ½ the butter, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add the rice and stir well.
4. Add 1 cup of hot Seafood Stock to the rice and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add some wine (1/4 cup or so) and when that is absorbed, repeat the process, alternately adding stock and wine (be sure to retain ½ cup of the stock for the gravy) until the risotto is done, about 30 minutes. Keep warm on the stove.

For the Rest of the Dish:

5. Add ½ cup of wine to the ½ cup of retained stock and keep warm on the stove.
6. In the meantime steam the spinach. When done remove to oven to keep warm.
7. In a non-stick sauté pan, brown the sliced Andouille sausage on both sides. When done remove to the oven.
8. Pat dry the scallops with paper toweling and liberally sprinkle one side with the smoked paprika.
9. Heat the remaining butter in the sauté pan, add the scallops, paprika side down, and sprinkle their tops with additional paprika. Pan-sear the scallops 5 minutes (if using smaller scallops, adjust time accordingly) turn the scallops and continue cooking for another 4 minutes.
10. While the scallops are cooking, assemble the other ingredients, preferably in bowls.
11. Divide the risotto evenly in each bowl, follow with the spinach, placing it atop the risotto, and then add the sausage slices around the sides of the bowls.
12. Pour the cup of stock/wine over the scallops and bring to boil for 30 seconds or so.
13. Remove the scallops from the pan and place them atop the spinach.
14. Spoon the sauce equally over each serving.

Roast Tenderloin of Beef (Filet Mignon) with Port Wine Reduction Sauce

In Beef, Meat, Recipes on December 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Filet Mignon with Port Wine Reduction Sauce

Filet Mignon with Port Wine Reduction Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Tenderloin of Beef Roast (Filet Mignon), 3.5 to 4 lbs. (preferably trimmed and tied)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 and ½ cups of Port Wine Reduction Sauce
1 digital instant-read meat thermometer

Preparation:

1. One hour before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator, pat dry with paper towels; rub the roast with the olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper and bring to room temperature for the hour.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Heat a roasting pan on the cook top on medium high for 1 minute, than add the roast.
4. Sear the meat on all sides for approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan, place a rack in the pan and lay the meat on the rack.
5. Lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees and place the roasting pan on the top shelf of the oven. The lower roasting temperature should help to ensure even cooking throughout the roast.
6. Roast the tenderloin for approximately 40 to 50 minutes, checking the internal temperature after 30 minutes with a digital instant-read meat thermometer. Keep checking every 5 minutes or so, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 120 degrees. The total roasting time will vary depending upon the thickness of the roast, as well as for how long it has been seared.
7. Once the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees, remove the roast from the oven and keep warm by loosely covering it with aluminum foil. The roast will continue to cook internally as the juices settle. For RARE let sit for about 5 to 8 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. After sitting for 15 minutes, the internal temperature will probably rise to 130 to 135 degrees – perfect for MEDIUM RARE.
8. While the roast is sitting, re-heat the Port Wine Reduction Sauce on a low flame. Slice the roast into one-inch thick pieces, cut and remove the strings and pour the sauce over the sliced beef, or alternatively, serve the meat on a platter and serve the sauce in a gravy boat on the side. Serve immediately.

Port Wine Reduction Sauce

In Recipes, Sauces on December 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Fonseca-Ruby-Port

Fonseca-Ruby-Port

 

(makes enough sauce for a 3 – 4 lb. Tenderloin Roast)

Ingredients:

3 tbsps. unsalted butter
2 tbsps. chopped shallots
Several springs of fresh thyme
1 whole bay leaf
1 750 ml. bottle of Ruby Port
3 tbsp. Veal Demi-Glace
Ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 1 quart pot, on medium-low heat.
2. Add the shallots and slowly cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the thyme and bay leaf, stir well.
4. Add the port, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until reduced by ½.
5. With a fine sieve, strain out all of the solids, wash the pot and return the strained Port to the pot (there should be about 12 or 13 oz.) and re-heat on low.
6. Add the Demi-Glace and whisk until well blended.
7. Add the pepper and set aside until ready to serve. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; if not, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water until in turns into a paste. Slowly whisk paste to the hot sauce until it is thickened to your satisfaction.
8. Just before serving, re-heat the sauce and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir well to finish the sauce.

NOTE: Sauce can be made several days in advance (steps 1-7) and refrigerated. Heat well before serving and finish with step 8.

See: Roast Tenderloin of Beef (Filet Mignon) with Port Wine Reduction Sauce

Sautéed Haricot Vert

In Recipes, Vegetables on December 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Haricot Vert
¼ lb. Unsalted Butter
½ cup finely minced shallots

Preparation:

1. In a non-stick sauté pan, melt the butter on high heat.
2. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the shallots and cook until translucent.
3. Add the haricot vert and sauté on high heat for 6-8 minutes, continuously tossing them with tongs. They will turn a bright green color when cooked.

Carrot-Ginger Soup, St. Peter’s Abbey, Salzburg

In Recipes, Soups, Thanksgiving on November 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Carrot-Ginger Soup Stiftskeller St. Peter

Carrot-Ginger Soup at Stiftskeller St. Peter

(Preparation and cooking time, about 2 hours; makes 2 quarts)

Last month, traveling with friends up the Danube River on a Viking River Cruise we had some great meals in the different cities and towns that were on the tour. One such meal was at St. Peter Stiftskeller, the restaurant of St. Peter’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the heart of Salzburg, Austria.

Stiftskeller St. Pter

Stiftskeller St. Peter

The restaurant bills itself as the oldest one in Europe, having served travelers for more that 1200 years. The décor was just what you would expect, cozy and inviting. It was, in all, a serendipitous discovery, the service was impeccable and the food was outstanding. If you go to Salzburg, do not miss it.

Europe's Oldest Resturant

Europe’s Oldest Restaurant

The weather that day was rainy and chilly and the first course, a bowl of outstanding carrot-ginger soup was the perfect antidote. Our waiter was kind enough to inform us of the main ingredients, but would not share the proportions or and other directions. We served this soup as a first course on Thanksgiving this year, having re-constructed it by trial and error. I think this very closely matches St. Peter’s Stiftskeller Carrot-Ginger Soup. Gut Essen!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. of carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch disks
1 bulb of fennel (anise) trimmed, halved and quartered
2 quarts of vegetable stock
3 Tbsps. of caramelized ginger*
•  3 Tbsps. unsalted butter
• A 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine in a mini food processor.
8 oz. of Crème Fraîche

Procedure:

1. Place the carrots and fennel in a 5-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook on high until carrots are fork tender.
2. Transfer the carrots and fennel to a food processor in batches, pulse until finely chopped. Dump the water from the pot and return the chopped carrots and fennel to the pot.
3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by about ¼, approximately 30 minutes.
4. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the solids, in batches, to a blender, add a few scoops of the stock and puree until smooth.
5. Add the caramelized ginger and puree again.
6. Return the pureed vegetables to the stock, whisk well and bring to a boil on low heat.
7. Whisk in the crème fraîche and heat thoroughly.
8. Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate overnight.

For the caramelized ginger:

1. Melt 3 Tbsps. of unsalted butter in a non-stick skillet.
2. Add 3 Tbsps. of chopped ginger and cook on medium heat until well caramelized.

Da’s Famous, Flame-O Chili (Five Alarm)

In Meat, Recipes on November 16, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Da’s Famous, Flame-O Chili (Five Alarm)

Da’s Famous, Flame-O Chili (Five Alarm)

(Preparation Time – Active 1 hour; Total – 3 hours – Makes about 6 quarts)

I’ve been perfecting this chili over the past 45 or so years, in an attempt to replicate the one served at the long-defunct Alamo Chili House on West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Several friends and I used to visit the “Alamo” for the perfect hangover remedy, back in the days of youthful imbibing. A bowl of their famous chili and a bottle or three of Dos Equis, and we were ready to go back to work and get through the afternoon, relatively unscathed by the vestiges of our hangovers.

This is a seriously hot chili. The meat to bean ration is about 3:1, so adding more beans and reducing the number of jalapeños and/or dried spices, may make it more palatable to those who can’t take the heat. The addition of sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese with each serving, will also help tone down the heat factor.

This recipe makes about 6 quarts of Chili. It will easily serve 8 people and leave 2 quarts, which can be individually frozen for those coming cold winter days and nights.

Ingredients:

1/4-cup canola oil
5 – 6 pounds ground chuck
2 large or 3 medium yellow onions, chopped coarsely
10 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
2 bottles of beer

Dry Spice Mix Of:

7 Tbsps. Chili Powder
4 Tbsps. Ground Cumin
4 Tbsps. Hot Hungarian Paprika
4 Tbsps. Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper (Note)
½ Tbsp. Dried Oregano

2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes, chopped and with liquid
3 Jalapeño peppers, chopped coarsely
2 Jalapeño peppers sliced (Note)
2 19 oz. cans of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed (Note)

Procedure:

1. In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil, add meat, break it up and brown it stirring frequently, transfer meat and liquid to an 8 quart pot.
2. Add beer, onions and garlic to the pot, cook 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the dry spice mix.
4. Add tomatoes and jalapeños, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, uncovered.
6. Cover and cook on low heat for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add beans and cook 30 minutes more, uncovered.

Serve with your cerveza favorita!

Note: If you think you can’t take the heat, then consider eliminating the Cayenne and 2 sliced jalapeños, as well as adding an extra can of Kidney Beans. Also serve wit sour cream and shredded cheddar. 

Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Glazed with Pomegranate Molasses & Hazelnuts

In Recipes, Vegetables on November 15, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses and Roasted Hazelnuts

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses and Roasted Hazelnuts

(Preparation Time, 50 minutes, serves 2 or 3)

Last month, while visiting friends down at The Shore, we dined, as usual at their favorite restaurant, Brandl. On this most recent occasion, the menu listed Crispy Brussels Sprouts, roasted with pomegranate molasses. As a fairly recent devotee of this much-maligned vegetable, I could not resist ordering them. Herewith, with a little addition, as suggested by my wife (hazelnuts, which we have used in the past with Brussels Sprouts) is our attempt to re-create what turned out to be a delicious accompaniment to an excellent meal at Brandl.

Ingredients:

1 lb. Baby Brussels Sprouts, (if you cannot obtain the small ones, merely use the regular ones, sliced in half)
¼ cup Pomegranate Molasses (see below)
½ cup unsalted, chopped hazelnuts

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line a shallow roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
3. Trim off the stem ends of the sprouts, as well as any yellow leaves.
4. Rinse and dry the sprouts, and add them to a mixing bowl. Toss well with the pomegranate molasses.
5. Add the hazelnuts and toss well again.
6. Evenly spread the sprouts on the roasting pan, place high in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.

To prepare the Pomegranate Molasses:

• Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice to a 1-quart pot, bring to a boil and reduce by half.
• Shut the heat, whisk in 6 Tbsps. of Grandma’s Molasses. Bring to a low boil and reduce back to 1/2 cup.
• Use ¼ cup for the Brussels Sprouts and refrigerate the remainder for up to two weeks, for the next time.

Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana

In Pasta, Recipes on November 9, 2014 at 5:36 PM

The sauce for this pasta dish originated in the town of Amatrice, which is in the Lazio Region of Italy, northeast of Rome. Many recipes call for the use of guanciale, which is not always readily available, so if I am unable to get it, I use pancetta, which is perfectly acceptable. One could also use prosciutto, as well. However, if you can obtain guanciale, I would recommend trying it, as it has a slightly different pork flavor and texture. The classic pasta shape used with an Amatriciana sauce is bucatini; however, because of its thickness, it can be somewhat difficult to wrap around your fork. I find that rigatoni works well as the sauce and the pancetta work their way into the pasta tube, giving you more flavor in each mouthful. But, once again try the bucatini yourself for a different eating experience.

Rigatoni all' Amatriciana

Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana

 Active Preparation Time 45 minutes; Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. pancetta, diced, or cut into matchsticks of 1/4 inch.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine
2 28 oz. cans San Marzano Tomatoes
1 lb. Rigatoni

Procedure:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high.
  3. Add the garlic and stir well for about 30 seconds, add the pancetta and lower heat to medium.
  4. Cook pancetta, stirring regularly, for about 4 minutes.
  5. Raise heat to high and continue stirring until the fat is rendered and pancetta is just before getting crisp, about 2 minutes more.
  6. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  7. Pour off the fat except for about 1/4 cup.
  8. Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring to scrap up the fond. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  9. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook for one minute less than al dente.
  10. Crush the tomatoes and add to the skillet. Add back the pancetta. Cook on medium for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. Drain the rigatoni and add to the sauce, mix well for about 30 seconds.
  12. Serve with grated Pecorino-Romano
  13. We recommend a good Italian red wine to accompany thus dish.

One of our favorites is a Barbera D’Asti Superiore from the Piemonte region of Italy. Quigley Fine Wines imports an excellent one called Sola. It is produced by Agricola Bertolino.

Sola Barbera D'Asti

Stir-Fried Shrimp & Broccoli

In Guest Chefs, Recipes, Shrimp, Vegetables on September 30, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Stir-Fried Shrimp & Broccoli

Stir-Fried Shrimp & Broccoli

 

Fellow blogger, Chef Mimi recently posted a fabulous recipe for “Sweet Chili Shrimp.” When I read it, my mouth began to immediately water, so I decided to make it that night. Except for the shrimp, we had in our larder all of the other ingredients that she had listed. We picked up a pound of jumbo shrimp from the fishmonger and stopped off at the grocer for a couple of crowns of broccoli, which is our own addition.

For the ingredients for Chef Mimi’s “Sweet Chili Shrimp” please see:
http://chefmimiblog.com/2013/03/14/sweet-chili-shrimp/

Ingredients for the broccoli addition are as follows:

2 broccoli crowns, separated into individual florets
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
1 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tbsp. Chili Garlic Sauce
¼ cup Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. water

You’ll also need ¼ cup of chicken broth to finish the sauce.

Procedure:

1. Wash the broccoli and soak in cold water while you chop the garlic and ginger and prepare the other ingredients.
2. Heat the peanut oil on high in a wok.
3. When a drop of water sizzles in the oil, swirl the oil around about half way up the sides of the wok.
4. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 seconds.
5. Spin-dry the broccoli, then add to the wok and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the broccoli takes on a rich bright green color.
6. Add the soy sauce and stir well.
7. Add the chili-garlic paste and the water and continue stirring for about a minute more.
8. Remove the broccoli and set aside.

Stir-Fried Broccoli in the Wok

Stir-Fried Broccoli in the Wok

Next, prepare the shrimp following the recipe in Chef Mimi’s blog:
http://chefmimiblog.com/2013/03/14/sweet-chili-shrimp/

Once the shrimp are cooked, return the broccoli to the wok, mix the two together well for a minute or two on high heat, then transfer to a serving bowl. Add ¼ cup of chicken broth to the wok, bring to a boil and deglaze the wok, scraping up the fond. Pour sauce over shrimp and broccoli and serve at once.

 

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

In Fish, Recipes on September 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Despite the proliferation and availability of Cod on the eponymous Cape where we’ve made our home for the past several years, I usually refrain from cooking it, as it does not lend itself to many cooking techniques. You can’t grill it, it falls apart too easily. Similarly you can’t sauté it, it quickly turns to mush. I suppose you could bake or roast it, but who wants to heat up the oven to 400 degrees in the summer. My dear wife (a/k/a Grammy) has been after me to prepare it for some time. So yesterday, after recalling an earlier success with Pan-Seared Cod, I decided to try poaching and picked up a lovely one pound fillet at our local fishmonger. It was a perfect piece, center cut, about one inch thick throughout, which makes for even cooking.

Ever helpful, Grammy suggested a combination of tomatoes, olives and capers, similar to the preparation used in Red Snapper LivorneseI complied with her suggestion, I’d be a fool not to,  and last night’s dinner was a rousing success.

(Total preparation and cooking time 30 minutes; serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 lb. Cod fillet, preferably 1 inch thick throughout
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped shallots
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup clam juice or fish stock
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1 cup stuffed green olives (with pimento) halved widthwise
5 tbsp. capers with juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Salt & pepper the Cod fillet on both sides.
2. In a braising pan or a sauté pan  or a skillet that has a cover, heat the olive oil on medium low, add the shallots and cook until soft.
3. Add the white wine, bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the seasoned Cod.
5. Add the clam juice, or fish stock.
6. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, cover and poach for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish begins to flake.
7. Gently remove the Cod fillet, divide in two, plate and keep warm.
8. Bring the sauce to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes then, spoon the sauce equally over each plate.

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

In Recipes, Soups, Stews on August 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM

 

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

 

Having ordered Andouille Sausage from D’Artagnan for my Shrimp & Grits, I found myself on their mailing list, and as luck would have it, received an e-mail about Merguez Sausage. I had sampled these spicy and delicious lamb sausages at a wine tasting some time ago, but had forgotten all about them.  So, I ordered a few pounds with which to experiment.

Thinking about what to do with them, beans first came to mind. Franks (they are sausages of course) and beans are a natural combination, and lamb and beans are a happy couple – Braised Lamb Shanks with White beans. Thinking about what else would go well with lamb, I thought of  Gosht Palak, which is a great Indian dish consisting of lamb and spinach. So, I thought, why not put them all together…in a soup!

Of course I’d need a liquid base and some color, and perhaps a few flavor enhancers in addition to the Merguez. Tomatoes sautéed in garlic and oil would enhance almost any soup, as would some white wine and fresh rosemary, the latter of which compliments lamb very nicely. And for the liquid, the all-purpose chicken stock. Finally, for added spice, if necessary, Hot Hungarian Paprika. All of the ingredients were either in the fridge or the pantry, so it was a go.

Everything moved smoothly until I got to the spinach point. I had planned to use some frozen chopped spinach, but alas, there was none to be had. However, I did find a bunch of arugula that was still fresh, so opted to go with that rather than run out to the market.

Preparation time: overnight soaking of beans; active-40 minutes; unattended- 2 hours.

Makes enough for 8 people as a complete meal, (leftovers can be frozen for additional meals) or more as a first course.

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried Cannellini Beans, soaked overnight
2 & 1/4 lbs. Merguez Sausage
1 lb. Grape Tomatoes halved.
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup + 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb. spinach, or substitute with 1 small bunch of arugula
1 qt. Low–sodium chicken stock.
6 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped fine, about 1 Tbsp.

Preparation:

1. In a five quart pot, heat the 6 Tbsp. of olive oil and lightly sauté the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium high heat until, they give up their juices, about 6 minutes.
3. Add the 1 cup wine, bring to boil and reduce by half.
4. Stir in the beans and mix well.
5. Add chicken stock and bring to boil.
6. Add the spinach or arugula, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
7. In the meantime in a heavy skillet, lightly brown the sausage in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then slice each sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Add sausage slices to the bean soup.
9. Deglaze the skillet with the 1/4 cup wine and add to soup.
10. Add chopped rosemary.
11. After 2 hours remove two cups of beans, place in food processor, process and return to pot.

Notes:

  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • If the soup is not spicy enough for your liking, consider adding some Hot Hungarian Paprika at the table.

 

 

 

Pollo con Pesto (Pesto-Crusted Pan-Roasted Chicken)

In Chicken, Recipes on July 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Pesto-Crusted Roast Chicken

Pesto-Crusted Pan-Roasted Chicken

(Preparation time, about 1 hour – Serves from 2 to 4, depending on chicken size)

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, halved
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. Pesto Sauce
½ cup + 2 tbsp. dry white wine
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the chicken, heat the olive oil on medium high until shimmering, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Rinse and pat dry the chicken.
4. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken half liberally with salt & pepper.
5. Gently place chicken halves skin side down in the pan, and brown for 8 to 9 minutes. Periodically place a weight on the chicken pieces pressing down to insure that the skin gets crispy.
6. Turn chicken pieces skin side up and remove pan to top rack of oven. Roast for 30 minutes, basting skin with fat drippings after 15 minutes.
7. In the meantime mix the pesto with 2 tbsp. of the white wine.
8. When chicken is done, remove the pan from the oven, re-baste the chicken and spoon pesto over each half. Return to oven and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
9. When done, remove chicken from the pan, set aside and keep warm while preparing the gravy.
10. To make the gravy, pour off all but 2 tbsp. of fat, retaining the solids, heat pan on stove on high, add the ½ cup of wine, bring to boil and de-glaze the pan scraping up the fond. Serve gravy alongside the chicken.

Please see: Summer Serendipity

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