Monday, March 28, 2011
coarse salt and ground pepper
6 ounces Italian style cooked chicken sauage, thinly sliced
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into 1 inch squares
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound whole wheat egg noodles
Preheat oven to 450, with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. On two rimmed baking sheets, toss sausage, vegetables, thyme and oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25-30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Meanwhile cook noodles until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with meat and veggies. Loosen with pasta water as needed and season with salt and pepper.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This a slightly altered version of one of my all time favorite salads!
Harticot Verts (fresh petite green beans), blanched
slivered toasted almonds
feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons blackberry jam
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar (depending on how big your sweet tooth is)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
dash of salt
I always make this much dressing to last for the week. Put together the components for the salad and drizzle with dressing... you may not even eat the main course and eat the salad for dessert- it's that good!
p.s.- you can use frozen green beans, but using fresh makes ALL the difference. This wasn't my favorite salad until I tried it with the fresh green beans.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Here is what the week looks like for us!
After shopping, I have averaged each dinner to about $3.75 per person for a family of four. (Capitalized items are recipes other than my own)
27: spaghetti and meat sauce with simple salad
28: Chicken Sausage and Roasted Vegetable Pasta, Green Bean Salad
29: Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, egg noodles, simple salad
30: Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, Whole Wheat Cous Cous with Carrots, broccoli, Green Bean Salad
31: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry, brown rice, asian salad
1: Order out!
2: Hoisin Marinated Pork Chops, Tamarind Fried Rice, soy beans
3: Sausage and Wild Mushroom Pizza, grilled artichokes
4: Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf with Mustard Mashed Potatoes, peas, simple salad
5: Lamb Chops with Rosemary Butter, Lemon Barley Pilaf, Pancetta Green Beans
6: black bean and pork enchiladas, simple salad
7: Baked Potatoes with Rib Eye Steak Hash, asparagus, simple salad
8: bruscetta pizza, simple salad
9: Mushroom and Root Vegetable pie, greek salad
1 pkg baby tomatoes
2 pkgs broccoli
1 pkg fresh basil
2 bunches fresh parsley
1 pkg fresh thyme
1 pkg fresh marjoram
1 pkg fresh rosemary
1 small piece ginger
2 pkg fresh green beans
1 pkg green onions
8 pkgs lettuce/bagged salad mix
3 pkgs sliced mushrooms
2 pkgs whole mushrooms
2 cans sliced olives
1 pkg pearl onions
8 red bell peppers
2 red jalepenos
4 russet potatoes
1 pkg spinach
3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 pkg feta
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 lb jack cheese
1 1/2 lbs mozzarella cheese (shredded or ready to grate)
1 container fresh mozzarella
1 wedge parmesan cheese
1 pkg dried cherries
1 pkg slivered toasted almonds
2 pkgs pizza dough
1 pkg brown rice
2 pkgs corn tortillas
1 pkg egg noodles
1 lb pasta (spaghetti)
1 pkg pearl barley
1 pkg whole wheat cous cous
2 cans black beans
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
2 containers beef broth
2 containers chicken broth
1 container vegetable broth
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (or marinara sauce)
1 small can tomato paste
1 bottle red wine
1 bag frozen peas
1 bag frozen soy beans
1/2 lb. good quality bacon
4 chicken breasts
4 lbs. ground beef
4 lamb chops
3 oz pancetta
1 lb pork shoulder
6 pork chops
1 rib eye steak
1 lb. sirloin steak
6 oz chicken sausage (cooked)
2 italian sauasges (raw in casing)
3 lbs. stew meat
black bean garlic sauce
red food coloring
crushed red pepper flakes
red wine vinegar
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"Thanksgiving starts here... " Cooking Class Section of Bon Appetit, 2003
I remember my first turkey. I was 25; it was 20 pounds. I had no idea what I was doing, so I snagged a recipe from a glossy food mag that promised to produce the perfect turkey. The ingredients required for the stuffing and the glaze cost exactly two dollars more than the turkey itself, not including the gas it took to drive to three different markets in search of said ingredients.
To make a long a painful story short, I worked my butt off all day long and was rewarded with a turkey that had all the flavor and mouth feel of pulverized Sheetrock, though the stuffing and skin were sublime. Of course, that's the ultimate goal of most turkey recipes: to create a great skin and stuffing to hide the fact that turkey meat, in its cooked state, is dry and flavorless. Does it have to be that way? No. We just have to focus on what the turkey is and what the turkey needs. And we have to consider what it is we really want. This is how I see it...
The Primary Goal:
To prepare a juicy, flavorful turkey with a pleasantly crisp, brown skin that tastes terrific even without the assistance of stuffing or gravy. All of the (minimal) ingredients you need are in red type.
The Primary Challenge:
Because it's not very moist to begin with, turkey meat is extremely easy to overcook. Once overcooked, it becomes very unappealing indeed. What's worse, turkeys are composed of two different types of meat- white and dark- which have to be cooked at different temperatures.
- Buy the right bird
- Alter the nature of the meat
- Cook the meat in two phases, one to brown and crisp the skin and another to cook the bird to the exact state of doneness
- Let the meat rest to preserve moisture
Good Bird Hunting
Although you can order a fresh turkey by mail, once you take shipping into account, the cost is usually three times that of a grocery store bird. I prefer frozen turkey in the 18-pound range (which will feed about 12 people). Since a frozen bird is about as pliant as a bowling ball, it doesn't get bruised on its way to the supermarket. If you don't have time to brine the bird, buy a kosher one, which has already spent time in salt.
Breaking the Ice
Place the wrapped bird in a 5-gallon cooler with a drain spout. Place the cooler in the bathtub and cover the turkey with cold water. You don't have to do the quick thaw in the tub, but it sure makes things easier. I drain and replace the water every 2 to 3 hours (to keep the water at 40 degrees or below) until the turkey has thawed (8 to 10 hours, depending on beginning temperature).
Place the bird in a cooler with about an inch of ice at the bottom. Park it in a cool place and the bird will be workable in about four days. Add more ice if the cooler's temperature rises above 40 degrees.
Time to Brine
Turkeys may not come into the world moist, but there's no reason they have to be dry when they leave. The key is to soak your bird in a salt solution, or brine. Clean your cooler with soap and water, then pour in half a gallon of hot tap water, 2/3 Cup sugar, and a pound of salt. (Remember, different salts take up different volumes. For instance, you need three cups of Diamond Crystal kosher salt to make a pound but only 2 cups of Morton's kosher salt). Stir thoroughly to dissolve the crystals. Then stir in 8 pounds of ice (that's a gallon of water) and 16 Cups of vegetable broth.
Meanwhile, unwrap the thawed turkey and remove any parts (neck, bag o' internal organs, etc.) that might be lurking inside the cavities. If you want to use these to make gravy later, okay. Me, I feed 'em the dog. If there's a metal or plastic clip holding the turkey's back legs together, leave it on.
Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up. If your coooler is too big, the brine may not cover it. If we're talking only an inch or so, don't worry about it. But if your bird is seriously beeched, you'll need a smaller container. If your turkey floats, fill one gallon resealable bag with water and place on top of the buoyant bird. Set the cooler, lid closed, in a cool place for 8 to 12 hours, turning the bird over once if possible. For safety reasons, it is important to keep the brining liquid at 40 degrees or right below. Check it periodically with the probe thermometer. If the temperature is getting too high add a few freezer packs that have been enclosed in resealable bags.
Final Countdown (T minus 4 hours and counting till dinner)
Remove one of the oven racks and set the other in the next to the lowest position, then preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Why 500 degrees? Because we need the fat under the turkey skin to heat quickly and saute the skin from below. If we start with a low temperature, a lot of the fat will melt and roll away to the bottom of the bird without doing any browning at all.
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Contemplate the main cavuity. Lots of things can go in there... in fact, only one thing shouldn't: stuffing. Stuffing is evil. Stuffing adds mass, so it slows the cooking. That's evil because the longert the bird cooks, the drier it will be. And since the cavity is a perfect haven for salmonella bacteria, you have to absoltuely certain that the cavity is heated through to 165 degrees, which means overcooking at least part of the bird... which is evil. If you really love stuffing, wait until the turkey comes out of the oven, add some of the pan drippings to the stuffing and bake it in a dish. That's called dressing and that's not evil- stuffing is, though.
FOR PART TWO click here
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a V-shaped rack set inside a large roasting pan. (I just stack together 2 of the big disposable foil pans that populate supermarkets around the holidays). A V-shaped rack is basically a heavy wire rack that holds the turkey up off the floor of the pan and keeps it kind of bunched in on it's self. If you don't have a V-shaped rack, make an aluminum foil snake, about an inch thick and three feet long. Loop it until you got an oval-shaped spiral about ten inches by eight inches. Set this coil in the pan, then place the turkey on the coil. Although V-Shaped racks and snakes will keep the turkey from sitting in it's own drippings, they can't work miracles like promoting browning on the bottom. Oh, well (a non-brown bottom is better than a soggy bottom.
Cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil that when folded in half is big enough to cover the turkeys breast. Lay this onto the breast, shiny side up, and mold it into a breastplate (i.e., a triangular sheath that covers the breast meat completely). Remove it, lube the underside with nonstick vegetable oil spray, and set aside.
Now rub a quarter of a stick of butter between your hands until your digits are liberally lubed (if this is just to icky for you, use disposable gloved). Rub the butter into the turkey as if you were a masseuse on a mission.
You'll probably need to re-butter your hands a couple of time in order to get a nice, even coating. When you are done massaging, ditch the remaining butter and the gloved.
Time to get the bird in the box. Since the first segment of this thermal trip is about browning the breast, I go neck end first and neck up. Set your oven timer for half an hour. When it dings, check the breast. It should be nicely browned - if not comma return the turkey to the over and cook another ten minutes. Then remove the bird and apply the breastplate. This will help reflect heat and slow the cooking of the breast meat. That way, by the time the white meat hits the target temp of 161 degrees, the dark meat should be around 180 degrees, which is ideal.
Last but not least, insert your thermometers probe directly into the foil into the deepest part of the breast. Yes, most turkeys come with thermometers installed, but since they are made to pop up at 180 degrees, they're tragically late to the party. Probe thermometers feature, well, a probe that connects to a digital base via a couple feet of insulated wire. The base has a magnet on it so that it can be placed on the outside of the oven while the turkey cooks. Most models also feature an alarm that can be set to go off at the temperature of your choice.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and return the turkey to the oven, breastplate armor securely in place. Set your probe thermometer to go off at 161 degrees (yes, I know that the instant kill temperature for salmonella is 165 degrees, but the temperature will continue to rise inside the bird for several minutes after you take it out of the oven). If you leave the oven door closed, an 18 pounder should hit the thermal finish line 2 to 2 1/2 hours after the oven temperature has been reduced. That means no basting! Basting is evil. Basting does nothing for the meat. Why? Skin. Skin is designed to keep stuff out of the bird. So, basting just lets heat out of the oven. That means the turkey will take longer to cook.
Once 161 degrees has been attained in the breast (and 180 degrees in the thigh) take the bird out of the oven and give it a rest. No matter what you do, do not skip this step. If you slice up that bird straight from the oven, all that juice you worked so hard to get into it will run out all over the platter, lost forever. So cover with aluminum, foil or the lid from your kettle grill and wait for half an hour.
When carving time arrives, first be sure to wow the assembled appetites with the whole bird before breaking it down. I like to create thick slices by removing the breast meat in two lobes, then cutting across the grain.
The only downside to roasting a brined bird is that the pan drippings may be too salty for gravy making. You can usually get around that by mixing the drippings with 1 Cup water, 1 Cup chicken broth and a cornstarch slurry. Or you can look at it this way: the turkey will be so tender that you won't need gravy. Some fresh cranberry sauce would be nice indeed. Besides tasting great on Turkey Day, the bird will still be loaded with moist flavor the next day. And let's face it, in the end, isn't it all about the sandwiches?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The amount of ingredients you use depends on how many people you are serving and if you want leftovers. We always make lots and eat them for a couple of meals.
Here's a list of ingredients in the wraps:
red bell pepper strips
chopped green onions
japanese noodles (or Top Ramen)
sliced cucumbers sprinkled with seasoned rice vinegar
Grilled chicken-I always marinate 1 lb. chicken in this:
3 Tb lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 coconut milk
1 Tb soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper sauce
Bottled Sweet & Sour sauce
Bottled Teriyaki sauce
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
thyme and rosemary to taste
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400. In a 3-4 qt baking dish combine everything but russet potatoes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Wash potatoes thoroughly and pierce with fork. Put potatoes on one rack of the oven and vegetables on the other. Stir vegetables after 1/2 hour and return to the oven. Bake for another 1/2 hour. Cut slits in potatoes and top with vegetable mixture.
Monday, January 19, 2009
2 onions, diced
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
4-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth Just covering vegetables in pot)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Optional toppings: grated sharp cheddar, crumbled pancetta or bacon, sauteed scallop, fresh chives (we like it with cheese and chives)
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions and bay leaf for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until translucent but not browned. Add cauliflower and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add ground coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer soup to a blender and puree. You will need to puree in batches. Return soup to pot and warm through. At this point, you may stir in grated cheese to melt it, or just sprinkle it individually on each bowl.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Monday, October 13, 2008
4 slices (1 inch thick) sourdough bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound baby spinach
1/3 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (3 ounces)
4 large eggs
Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place bread on a baking sheet, and brush both sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium. Add scallions and as much spinach as will fit; season with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted, tossing and adding more spinach as room becomes available, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain off excess liquid; mix in goat cheese. Transfer to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Set aside.
Wipe out skillet; heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Gently crack eggs into skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook until whites are almost set, about 1 minute. Cover, and remove from heat; let stand until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 3 minutes.
Top each piece of toast with spinach mixture and 1 egg; serve immediately.
1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 pound bacon (I like to use thick-sliced)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet (with sides) with parchment paper. Place bacon on cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar evenly over bacon strips. Bake bacon until dark golden brown, , about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to rack and cool. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.) Serve at room temperature.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Pat tenderloins dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown tenderloins on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes total. (If the handle of your skillet is not ovenproof, wrap handle in a triple layer of foil, shiny side out.) Transfer skillet to upper third of oven and roast until a thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 155°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes before slicing.
While meat is standing, heat butter in same skillet (handle will be hot) over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add apple wedges and sauté, turning occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer apples to a plate, then add chicken broth and cider to skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat and meanwhile whisk together arrowroot and water in a small bowl. Whisk arrowroot mixture into sauce and boil until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, measured salt and pepper, and any juices that have accumulated on platter.
Cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve topped with apples and sauce.
1 rutabaga, diced (about 4 to 6 cups diced)
2 Tb butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
1 box (10 ounces) frozen cut green beans
5 ounces baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add corn and green beans, and cook until green beans are warmed through, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add spinach and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
6 or 7 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6-8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Coarse salt and freshly ground 4 Tb. olive oil
Preheat oven to 350. Core and cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Toss with garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken breast in glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour bruschetta over chicken and bake for 35 minutes. Take chicken out of the oven and place one slice of mozzarella on each peice of chicken. Put back in the oven for 8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Friday, October 10, 2008
12 ounces rigatoni
2 tablespoons butter
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots and Sage
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Add butter, cheese, and pasta water; toss until butter has melted.
Gently fold in roasted pumpkin; season with salt and pepper. Divide among serving bowls, and serve immediately.