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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As Promised

So even though it was Monday, last night I made a recipe from my new Sunday Roasts cookbook.  I just love shaking things up.  Don't you?

Also, as it turned out, it was a good night to be ambitious.  Kate had a major paper due on Tuesday so she didn't go to tennis.  That means that I didn't have to go to tennis either.  (As an aside, despite having a driver's license, Kate often "doesn't feel like" driving and so I am drafted.)  It was a good night to embark on a long haul cooking project.

I decided that the best approach to this cookbook was to start small with the Old Fashioned Pot Roast and Vegetables with Extra Rich Pan Gravy.  It wasn't a difficult recipe, in fact it was pretty simple, but it certainly wasn't something I could have whipped up in half an hour.   Did I mention that it had to cook for 2 1/2 hours?

Three hours later, including prep, we had a delicious pot roast with the promised extra rich pan gravy.  I made mashed potatoes to go with it and we had a feast.  I felt pretty festive, especially for a Monday night.

Recipe:  Old Fashioned Pot Roast and Vegetables with Extra Rich Pan Gravy
Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom, 2011


1 boneless chuck roast, 3 1/2 - 3 3/4 pounds
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved and sliced onion
1 cup finely diced carrot
3/4 cup finely diced celery
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
3 bay leaves, broken in half
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, for garnish


Arrange the rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels.  Combine rosemary, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and rub on all sides of the roast.  In a deep-sided, oven proof pot (with a lid) set over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.  When hot, add the meat and brown well on all sides, for about 5 minutes.  Remove the roast and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon  oil until hot over medium heat, and then add the carrots, onion, and celery.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.  Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, broth, wine, and orange juice and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Return the meat to the pot; cover and roast in the oven until the meat is fork tender, basting every 30 to 40 minutes with pan juices, about 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the roast to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Skim off any fat and discard.  With a slotted spoon, remove 1 cup of the vegetables in the pot and puree in a food processor or blender.  Return the pureed vegetables to the pot, and place it over high heat.  Reduce the liquids by a third.

To serve, cut the roast into slices 1/4 inch thick and serve topped with the pan sauce and a sprinkle of parsley.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Almost as Good as New Shoes

Well, not quite but I needed a hook.  There is nothing quite as much fun as a new pair of shoes though.  Preferably a pair that, never in your wildest dreams, did you think you needed until you saw them.  A pair of shoes that you can envision wearing with everything.  The perfect shoes.  That is, until the next pair of perfect wear with everything shoes comes along.
Last weekend, while killing time between tennis matches, Kate and I went to Barnes and Noble.  This was exciting for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it was thrilling because it was something to do that did not involve a meal.  Or a snack.  Or a drink.  But, more importantly, going to Barnes and Noble was exciting because this was an actual bookstore, not an online bookstore or the book department at Target or Costco.  This was a real live bookstore with more than just bestsellers lined up on a couple of shelves.

It makes me so sad that there aren't very many bookstores anymore.  I find it very difficult to browse on Amazon.  I always feel like I need to have some idea of what I'm looking for before I start.  Actual bookstores are different.  Everything is right there, just waiting to be examined.

As I was browsing, I came across a number of cookbooks that looked appealing.  I showed some self control and came away with just two:  Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom and The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.  I was already a fan of Michele Scicolone's The Italian Slow Cooker so how could I go wrong?
There was a bonus to this little bookstore trip.  Not only did I pick up a couple of cookbooks which will provide me with lots of material for future posts.   These new books gave me some much needed reading material for the rest of the tennis tournament.  No quite as exciting as new shoes, but not too bad either.

Tomorrow:  Old Fashioned Pot Roast and Vegetables with Extra Rich Pan Gravy from Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Weekend in a Bubble

It's finally happened.  I find myself without a recipe to post today.  The truth is, I haven't cooked since Wednesday night for as couple of reasons.  Here goes....

On Wednesday night I came down with a most unfortunate case of either food poisoning or flu.  Who knows.  Who cares.  All I know is that I felt awful and just looking at food on Thursday made everything worse.  I'm not sure what was wrong but suffice it to say, something was very wrong.

One of the bubbles at The Atlantic Club.  Picture this with snow on the ground.  

You really haven't lived until you've spent a couple of hours inside a tennis bubble  with tennis parents.  It's truly frightening.
Fortunately, by Friday I was was feeling better.  This was good because I had agreed to take Kate and a tennis friend to a tournament in New Jersey.  Yes, you heard me right.  New Jersey.  And not just New Jersey.  The Jersey Shore.  In January.  At least the weather was fairly nice but it's January so it was hardly beachy.  Besides, I spent the whole weekend holed up in a tennis bubble at The Atlantic Club in Manasquan anyway.

Kate did well and played well, and those two things are not always mutually exclusive, so at least the six and a half hour drive each way was worthwhile.  But it was the Jersey Shore in January.  Bummer.

We returned home late this afternoon and I made a unilateral decision that we were going out to dinner.  All that driving and then cooking dinner?  I think not.

So, that's why I don't have a recipe to post today.  The short excuse would have been that I had a busy weekend but the long excuse is so much more fun.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Chewy

The Chewy.  It doesn't look chewy but it is.  Trust me.
Do you know have jeans have names?  There's the Paige Skyline.  And the AG Stilt.  And the Joe's Curvy.  Well, apparently chocolate chip cookies have names too.  Let me introduce you to The Chewy.

My sister Jill told me about The Chewy.  It's an Alton Brown recipe and the cookies are, as advertised, very chewy.  There's a slight crunch around the edges and then the middle is deliciously chewy.  The ingredients aren't all that different from the millions of other chocolate chip cookies out there.  This recipe, like the Cook's Illustrated recipe, calls for melted butter and one egg and one more egg yolk.  But, unlike other recipes I've tried, instead of all purpose flour, The Chewy is made with bread flour.  Could that be the difference?   Who knows.

So here's the thing.  The Chewy cookie is addictive.  Make these at your own risk.  Too many of these babies you you'll be checking to see if Paige makes a Mom Jean.

Recipe:  The Chewy
(Alton Brown)


8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda onto a paper plate. Pour the butter into your stand mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using the paper plate as a slide, gradually integrate the dry ingredients, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour is worked in, drop the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto parchment-lined half sheet pans, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before devouring.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hibernation Time

Cooking Light, January, 2012
I hate this time of the year.  The novelty of cashmere and turtlenecks has worn off.  The stores are all featuring "cruise wear" and that just depresses me.  It's winter and there's just nothing that will make me happy.

I have to admit that starting in about November I give up on the pedicures.  I mean, come on?  What's the point?  No one's going to see my feet except for Ted and I'm not even sure he takes all that much notice of them anyway.  So, all those sandals in the stores?  Forget it.  I cannot consider trying them on for at least another couple of months.

Leaving aside the whole sandal thing, I barely want to leave my house.  I hate feeling cold so I just hunker down and wait out the big chill.

This leaves me with a lot of time to putter around my house.  I wish I could report that I get all kinds of things done.  I wish I could tell you that my cabinets are all perfectly organized and that I'm always up to date on the laundry and ironing.  Nope.  I spend all my time in the kitchen, cooking up a storm.  When I'm not cooking, I'm browsing cookbooks and magazine for something new to make.

Lately I'm really been into my new issue of Cooking Light.  On Monday night I made the Chicken and Chorizo Stew and tonight I made the Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken.  I have to tell you, for something so light on the fat and calories, it really was scrumptious.  And it was a quickie too.  It took just a few minutes to prepare.

So what's my excuse today?  It took me just minutes to make a gourmet looking dinner and I never did get around to organizing those cabinets.

Recipe:  Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken
(Cooking Light, January, 2012)


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard


Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add broth, syrup, thyme, and garlic to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vinegar and mustard; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan, and spoon mustard mixture over chicken. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Place pan over medium heat; cook mustard mixture 2 minutes or until liquid is syrupy, stirring frequently. Serve with chicken.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tootie Clafluti

Today was a crazy day.  My crazy day actually started last night, around 1:40 a.m. when I woke up only to realize that the light was still on in Kate's room.  This is never a good thing.  I had been asleep for hours and she was still toiling away on her homework.

Why do schools give so much homework?  Why is 11th grade so awful?

But I digress.  I went in to see what was going on and Kate informed me that she would be wrapping things up shortly.  (Shortly, as it turned out, was another hour.)  So I went back to bed.  And there I was, wide awake, until 4:30 this morning.  I must have fallen asleep sometime around then because 4:30 was the last time I checked the clock.   I was definitely sleeping (soundly) at 5:45 a.m. when my alarm went off.

Oh, and did I mention that Ted slept straight through the night, snoring so loudly that our neighbors surely could hear him.  (One of my friends made a recording of her husband snoring and then left him a voice mail message with the audio.  What an inspired idea!)

Anyway, I managed to get Kate out of bed at around 6:50 this morning at which time she informed me that she was too tired to drive and could I drop her off at school and then take her to tennis.  Sure.

Normally this would not be a problem except that I was expecting dinner guests tonight and I had to make and serve dinner.  This called for a change of plans.

So, we went from a complicated menu to one more suited to a busy Tuesday night:  panko breaded salmon, warm French lentils, a celery salad, pear clafluti, and a cheese board.  Simple, delicious, and easy to prepare ahead of time.

I had never made a clafluti before but it looked easy enough.  And low and behold, it was.  A couple of ingredients into the mixer, some sliced pears into a baking dish, and just like magic, I had a dessert that looked like I had slaved for hours.  And it was good too.

Dinner was a big success.  I even had a second wind and managed not to yawn my way through the cheese.  Kate opted out of dinner with our guests in favor of dinner at her desk.  At least maybe she'll get to bed a little earlier tonight.

Recipe:  Pear Clafouti
(Barefoot in Paris, 2004)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pear brandy (recommended: Poire William)
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cooking Light

Cooking Light, January, 2012
Their  picture was just so much better than mine.
I try.  I really do.  I try to chose the healthy option but all too often it just doesn't sound (or taste) as good.  It's not that I have anything against whole grains or gluten free because I don't.  It's just that I'm a slave to my taste buds.  What can I say?

So, it will come as no great surprise to you that I do not subscribe to Cooking Light Magazine.  Occasionally the cover of the magazine will catch my eye at the check out at the grocery store but usually I reach for Fine Cooking or  Saveur, the full fat cousins of Cooking Light.

I'm not proud of this.  I should be concerned about what I'm putting into my body.  I should be thinking about cutting calories, or cutting carbs, or cutting out whatever it is that we're all supposed to be cutting out these days.  But instead, I think about what tastes good and just eat a little less.  So sue me.

But here's the thing.  I'm happy to indulge in healthy options too -- as long as they taste good.  So imagine my surprise when today at the checkout I felt compelled to toss a copy of Cooking Light into my shopping cart.  The cover got to me.  There it was: a delicious chicken and plum dish calling out to me.  Choose me!  Make me for dinner tonight!

Once I got home, a closer look at the magazine revealed lots of chicken recipes that sounded good.  And they sounded appealing not because they were low in calories or low in fat.  They sounded good because they would be tasty coming from any cookbook or magazine.

I didn't make the chicken and plum recipe tonight.  Instead I went with a chicken and smoked chorizo stew from the same issue.  It was really flavorful and surprising rich for something so light.

You learn something new every day.  Today I learned that cooking light can be just as yummy as cooking not so light.  And I can have a bigger serving.

Recipe:  Chicken and Chorizo Stew
(Cooking Light Magazine, January, 2012)


2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 ounces chopped Spanish chorizo
3 cups cubed red potato
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 14 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken, reserving cooking liquid; cool. Shred chicken. Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Wipe pan with paper towels. Sauté sausage over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add potato, onion, and bell pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and next 3 ingredients (through saffron); sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add reserved cooking liquid; bring to a simmer. Simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shredded chicken; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar. Ladle about 1 cup stew into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with parsley.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cleaning Out the Pantry

Lately I've been coming across a lot of recipes that call for a lot of ingredients.  Usually I find ingredient heavy recipes to be well, a lot of work.  But these days I'm all about the ingredients because I'm all about using up what's in my pantry.

The thing about my pantry is that while it isn't very big, it's a lot bigger than it used to be.  As you may recall, about a year ago, I converted a coat closet into a pantry.  At the time I felt as though I had unlimited space.  But the new pantry has slowly reached capacity and now it doesn't feel quite so large.

Kate was still asleep on Saturday morning when Ted I were deciding what to have for breakfast.  I had some time to burn, since "princess" had informed me on Friday night that she was sleeping until at least 10:30 a.m.  While Ted and I certainly weren't waiting for her for breakfast, I didn't feel too rushed either.  So, I got out this recipe for Cranberry Harvest Muffins and set to work.

I had been eyeing this recipe for some time but on Saturday the stars aligned and I actually had all of the ingredients in my somewhat over stuffed pantry.  I even had hazelnuts, although I have no recollection why I bought them in the first place.  Same goes for the dried figs.  I told you.  The pantry was on serious overload.

The muffins were easy enough to make and they were so yummy that I was glad I made the effort.  The toasted hazelnuts gave them a nice little crunch, and I'm all for a nice little crunch.

And as an added bonus, I cleared out a few precious inches of shelf space.  Who knows how long that will last.

Recipe:  Cranberry Harvest Muffins
(Recipe courtesy Open House Cookbook by Sarah Chase, and as reprinted in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999)

Makes 18 large muffins


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup medium-diced Calimyrna figs
3/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir quickly just to combine. Add the cranberries, figs, hazelnuts, and both sugars and stir just to distribute the fruits, nuts, and sugar evenly throughout the batter.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vanilla Update

Before... September, 2011
A few months back I began the process of making my own vanilla (YLT 9/12/11).  What I really liked about this particular project was that it required almost no effort.  After submerging the vanilla beans in vodka, all I had to do was wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

But now, four months into my project, the vodka is starting to actually resemble vanilla.  It looks like vanilla and it smells like vanilla.  A little taste test reveals that it's actually starting to taste like vanilla.  It still has a little way to go, but I'm on the road to having a quart of homemade vanilla.  This is thrilling.

From all that I have read, homemade vanilla is a lot like a sourdough starter.  You can keep it going forever.  I think I'll use a little for myself, give some away to a couple of my baking friends, and then "feed" my vanilla "starter".  Who knows, maybe I could start a little cottage industry with my artisan vanilla.  Well... maybe not.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of The Great Vanilla Experiment.  You just never know where this might lead.
During... January, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Do Carrots and Sweatshirts Have In Common?

Years ago, when Charlie was very little, we had an Australian nanny named Mary Rose.  Mary Rose was the ultimate in nannies.  She read "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" to Charlie at least a thousand times.  She took him to the park every afternoon.  She played with Charlie endlessly while Ted and I were off at work.  She really was wonderful and Charlie loved her.

Because of the kind of job Mary Rose had, she didn't dress up.  Usually she wore jeans and a gray sweatshirt.  Occasionally she would wear a black sweatshirt but she always wore dark colors, probably to camouflage the evidence of hanging out with a two year old all day.

So, imagine my surprise when one morning Mary Rose came into the kitchen wearing a bright pink sweatshirt.  It was like a breath of fresh air, although I had never really noticed that she always wore dark colors until that exact moment.  The brightness of the sweatshirt made me realize how dark all her other clothes were.

I feel the same way about carrots.  In the winter months I always forget how drab everything is until I see the splash of color that are carrots.  The orange is so bright and cheerful, a lot like Mary Rose's pink sweatshirt was.  When I see carrots, I instantly feel the winter doldrums lifting.

Imagine that.  Not only are carrots a mood enhancer, they're good for you too.  You couldn't ask for more.

Recipe:  Olive-Oil-Braised Carrots with Warm Spices
(Fine Cooking Magazine, December 29, 2011)

1-1/2 lb. carrots (about 10 small), peeled and halved lengthwise (if large, quartered lengthwise)
3 medium cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cayenne
Kosher salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Fit the carrots in a snug single layer in a shallow 9x13-inch baking dish. Nestle the garlic slices among the carrots.

In a small bowl, whisk the broth, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt and drizzle over the carrots. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Braise the carrots in the oven until completely tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the spices on top have toasted and are mahogany-brown and the carrots look a little shiny, about 15 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everything But the Kitchen Sink... Times Three

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the phrase "everything but the kitchen sink".  My mother always used it to describe recipes that called for lots of ingredients.  When I am cooking and a recipe is, shall we say, ingredient heavy, that phrase always comes to mind for me as well.  The apple, it seems, doesn't fall far from the tree.

In looking back over past blogs, I found that I have posted two entries entitled "Everything but the Kitchen Sink".  One was for meatloaf and the other was for cookies.  Obviously the phrase has worked its way into the blog as well.

So the other day when I was perusing The Wall Street Journal Saturday edition (yes, I peruse the WSJ), and I happened on a recipe for "Garbage Pail Pasta", my first though was that this recipe called for everything but the kitchen sink.  I was hooked.  I had to make it for Ted and Kate.

The sauce.
This is a great recipe to make on a night you have no idea what to make for dinner and it's 5:00 p.m.  It's also a great recipe to use as a guide.  If you don't have hazelnuts in the house, no problem.  Substitute a like amount of another nut.  If you're not excited about capers, use the same amount of another salty item.  The key to success with this recipe is balance.  Try and keep the balance between earthy, salty, and sweet the same as in the original recipe and you'll have success.

I am a firm believer in making something out of nothing and this recipe achieves just that.  It's really just a hodge podge of ingredients all tossed together with a little pasta to create a very satisfying (and easy) dinner.

Recipe:  Arthur Schwartz's Garbage Pail Pasta
Wall Street Journal, 1/14/12
Total Time: 15 minutes Serves: 2 or 3

This recipe comes from a restaurant that is famous for this dish, as well as the fact that it was founded by brother midgets known as I Corti ("the little people" in Italian). Besides three kinds of nuts, the pasta's sauce has several other typical Neapolitan condiments, such as capers and golden raisins. Garbage pail can be loosely translated as the kitchen sink, or one could read the name to mean literal siftings from the garbage pail. Choose the meaning that amuses you the most.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped hazelnuts
1 rounded tablespoon whole pine nuts
2 tablespoons raisins (preferably golden)
1 rounded tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped if very large
¼ cup diced fresh cherry or grape tomatoes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
6 small black olives (preferably Gaeta), pitted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
8 ounces thick spaghetti (spaghettoni) or regular spaghetti


In a 9- to 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add nuts and sauté until pine nuts become lightly colored.   Add raisins, capers and tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add oregano, parsley and olives. Stir well. Cook 1 minute longer. Salt to taste. Set aside.

Boil spaghetti in at least 3 quarts of water with a heaping tablespoon of salt. When cooked, drain well.

Toss pasta with seasonings over medium heat until well amalgamated.   If desired, serve with grated pecorino.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not Everything Works

This afternoon I thought I would make some oatmeal raisin cookies.  I love oatmeal raisin cookies.  My family does not.  But you know what?  Sometimes I get to make the kind of cookies I like and I like oatmeal cookies.

The truth is that I'm not exactly sure what went wrong with my cookies but the end result was not a batch of chewy oatmeal cookies.  Instead what I ended up with were somewhat gooey and crumbly (yes, they were both gooey and crumbly) cookies.  I think it might have been that I used the oats I had in the house, which were not Quaker Old Fashioned Oats.  Instead I used Mc Cann's five minute oats.  Who knew the oats would make a difference?

Actually, I probably should have known but I got swept up in making oatmeal cookies.  Ingredients, and using the right ones, really matter, especially in baking.  If you don't use the right kind of oats in oatmeal cookies you get gooey and crumbly not crispy on the outside and chewy on the side.

Live and learn.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It'll Be Our Little Secret

Stews usually take time but this one takes an hour, start to finish.
As you know, I am a big lover of stew.  I love them all: beef, chicken, lamb, and anything else you can make into a stew.  To me, stews just epitomize winter and the hearty food that just sticks to your ribs (and your derriere).  But you know what?  It's cold outside and it's not as though any of us are going toe donning a bikini anytime soon, or at all.

Here's the thing about stews.  You have to have time.  Since they're usually made with, shall we say, a thriftier cut of meat, slow cooking is essential.  After all, who wants to eat tough stew meat.  Not me.  So you have to plan ahead and make sure you have at least a couple of hours to cook the stew over a low, slow heat.

But life is busy and sometimes the day just gets away from me.  I generally start out thinking that I'll fit everything in, but so often as the day winds down, I find that I've added more things to my to-do list than I've taken off.  And dinner is just hanging out there like a flag waving in the wind.  It's there but it's all too often forgotten.

What is so great about this recipe from Food & Wine is that it takes just about an hour start to finish.  That's it.  And it tastes as though it's been braising away for hours.  Just think about how you can fake your family out with this stick to your ribs delicious stew.  They'll think you slaved away for hours.  Take credit.  I won't tell if you don't.

Recipe: Provençal Lamb Stew with Basil
(Food & Wine, October, 2011)


1 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
1 cup dry rosé
1/2 cup pitted green olives
3 tablespoons chopped basil


Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the lamb and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 12 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Add the shallots, anchovies, rosemary and most of the garlic to the Dutch oven and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the shallots are softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and cook just until browned in spots, 2 minutes. Add the rosé and cook until nearly evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, 5 minutes. Add the lamb and any accumulated juices, the olives and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the lamb is tender and the potatoes are cooked through, 50 minutes.
In a bowl, mash the remaining minced garlic to a paste. Stir in the chopped basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the mixture into the stew and serve.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coffee, Tea, or Nespresso

Last year for my birthday Ted gave me a refrigerator.  I was not thrilled.  In fact, I think I may have made it clear to him, and everyone I know now or will ever know in the future, that I was not thrilled.  Maybe the refrigerator harkened back to the time my father gave my mother garbage cans for their anniversary.  I don't know.  But I do know that my mother wasn't thrilled and neither was I.

So when I mentioned that I really wanted a Nespresso coffee maker for Hanukah/Christmas, Ted was understandably gun shy.  The last appliance gift was met with a cold stare and a dressing down in the blog, so I get why he was reluctant to dive in, despite what I might have said.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and dive he did.  Perhaps it was because he had no other ideas, or maybe he was willing to take a flyer on a minor appliance because it was well, not a refrigerator.

Ted is my hero and I love my Nespresso maker.  He bought me the Pixie with the separate frother and it has totally changed my approach to the afternoon pick-me-up cup of coffee.  Gone are the tacky to-go cups.  That on- the-run coffee has been replaced with a very civilized coffee with a little steamed milk, all in a real coffee cup.  It takes just seconds to make and I feel oh so continental.

Sometimes I even share my little coffee pods and make Ted a Nespresso on the weekend.  It's a win-win for everyone.

The only problem with all this is that now Ted is totally confused and my birthday is fast approaching.  Is it safe to buy an appliance?  Or would it be better to go in another direction?

I wish I knew.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Virtue is Overrated

Sometimes you're just in the mood for something cheesy and delicious.  Something that perhaps isn't the best choice from a "I want to eat healthier" standpoint.  But you know what I say?  I say just go with it.  No one ever fell off the earth from eating casserole.  In fact, sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered.

I'm in a casseroley mood and I'm not going to apologize for it.  I love casserole, especially the really cheesy ones with a little Mexican flair.  They're satisfying.  They're also great to prepare ahead of time, when you know your day is going to be a little nuts.  And lets face it, even though casserole isn't a 10 on the healthy meter, is pizza?  Or takeout Chinese?  I think not.

So you know what?  Throw caution to the wind and make a casserole.  You can be virtuous tomorrow.

Recipe:  Easy Beefy Cheesy Enchilada Casserole
(Sunny Anderson, 2010)


For the Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup beef broth

For the Beef:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 packet Spanish seasoning blend (recommended: Sazon)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup beef broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
18 (5-inch) corn tortillas


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the sauce: In a saucepot over medium heat, add the oil, onions, and a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the tomato paste at this point and turn the heat up a bit, if needed, to cook the paste. Stir and cook until it deepens in color, and then add the garlic, cumin, and thyme. Stir to blend and cook until fragrant, and then add the crushed tomatoes and beef broth. Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower to a simmer and cover, simmering for 20 minutes more.

For the beef filling: Meanwhile, in a large pan with straight sides, add the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to swirl, add the onions and green and yellow bell peppers. Season with a pinch of salt and saute until the onions and peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until tender, about 4 minutes more. Add the beef, onion powder, cumin, thyme, Spanish seasoning, tomatoes, and broth, allowing time between each addition to blend. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind or 2 of pepper (the Spanish seasoning adds salt content, so be careful to not over season). Stir and break down the beef into bits using a spoon or fork. Cook until the beef is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

To assemble the casserole: Toss the shredded cheeses together to blend; set aside. Add 1 cup of the red sauce to a baking dish and spread to coat the bottom evenly. Top with 6 tortillas, overlapping to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer the dish by next adding 1/2 of the beef mixture and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheeses, spreading evenly in the casserole. Next, dunk 6 tortillas, one by one, in the warm red sauce and layer over the cheese and beef, overlapping where needed. Top with the remaining beef, another 1/2 cup of the shredded cheeses, and another layer of tortillas dunked in the red sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top, spread evenly, and finish with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbles, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Layer It On

Apparently in 2012, cupcakes are out and layer cakes are in.  I read this little bit of information in The New York Times so it must be true.

I'm good with this bit of news even through I love cupcakes.  They're cute and they're just the right size.  That's except for the ones from Crumbs Bakery.  Crumbs' cupcakes are huge and look more like a cake for four than a single serving little treat.  But I digress.  Cupcakes are good but layer cake is way better.

I wish I could say that I was raised on layer cake.  But the truth is that I was raised on "tunnel of fudge" bundt cake.  Come on.  You must remember the tunnel of fudge cake, the middle class precursor to the fancy schmancy hot lava cake.

The truth is that a layer cake is a commitment.  It's big.  It's splashy.  And it usually serves a lot of people.  My mother wasn't into big.  Or splashy.  Or serving a lot of people except on the Jewish holidays and then we just had macaroons.  Layer cake makes a statement.

I'm very excited that this is the year of the layer cake and I plan to makes lots of them.  I also plan to start exercising so I can eat lot of them.  I have my cookbooks out and I'm reading up.  I'm selecting recipes and I'm planning my first my first big, beautiful, swirly cake.  A layer cake is not something you just jump into.  It requires planning and anticipation.

In the meantime, I thought I would close out the cupcake era with one last hurrah.  This Nutella cupcake recipe is for Kate, who believes that all things Nutella are perfect.  Wait until I make her a Nutella layer cake.  Then she'll know just how perfect Nutella can be.

Recipe:  Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes
(All Recipes)
Makes 15-16 cupcakes

Ingredients: (Cupcakes)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with Nutella frosting (recipe below).

Recipe: Nutella Buttercream
(Adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures)


1/2 C butter, room temperature
1 C Nutella
1 C powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 T milk


Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Snap, Crackle, Pop

I really enjoy a good chocolate chip cookie, especially one that has a little something extra.  Let's face it. There are a lot of crunchy and/or chewy chocolate chip cookies out there so for me to get excited, the cookie has to go beyond the expected.

This recipe didn't really start out as something a little different.  It started with a  Cook's Illustrated recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I hadn't seen before.  To be fair, I thought their old recipe for chocolate chip cookies was delicious so I was curious to see what made this new incarnation so special.  Aside from browning the butter on the stove top, the ingredients were all the same and in truth, the final product was just as delicious as the original.  Was it better?  Who knows.  Maybe, maybe not.

But somewhere between the first and second batches to go in the oven, I noticed a box of Rice Krispies in my pantry.  Charlie loves Rice Krispies but he's gone back to school so I decided to do the thrifty thing and throw them into the cookie batter.

The cereal added a really nice crunch to the already very chewy cookie.  What a nice little addition to the classic chocolate chip cookie.  Snap, Crackle, Pop, baby!

Recipe:  Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, May, 2009)


1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2teaspoon baking soda
14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
1teaspoon table salt
2teaspoons vanilla extract
1large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
3/4cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), and Rice Krispies, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fennel or Foe

Fine Cooking Magazine, October, 2011
Who knew?  That's all I can say.  Who knew that fennel would turn out to be one of my favorite vegetables.  Back before I knew how to cook, fennel was one of those ingredients that would have completely turned me me off.  It is, after all, a little intimidating to look at with all those fronds.  Which part do you eat?  And a vegetable that tastes like licorice?  I don't know about that.

Live and learn.  That's all I can say.  I love fennel either raw in salads or braised as in this dish.  It's a really nice counterpart to stews and roasts and is perfect for winter.  Let's face it.  If stewed meats are delicious, stewed veggies are just as good and have the added of bonus of being... vegetables.  The orange zest and coriander add a light citrusy touch which is especially nice in the mid of winter.

This braised fennel dish is quick to put together and I promise that it will be a real show stopper.

Recipe:  Braised Fennel with Orange
Fine Cooking Magazine, October, 2011)

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium fennel bulbs (about 4 lb. total), stalks trimmed and bulbs cut into quarters (cores left intact), fronds reserved for garnish
2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
1 medium navel orange
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.


Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the fennel, cut side down. Cook undisturbed until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other cut sides.

Arrange the fennel browned sides up in a large (10x14-inch) gratin or shallow baking dish. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining fennel. Lower the heat to medium if any smoking occurs. It’s OK if the wedges are snug in the baking dish; they’ll shrink as they braise.

Add the garlic to the skillet and and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve any browned bits, about 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer to meld the flavors, about 2 minutes. Pour over the fennel.

With a vegetable peeler, remove three 3-inch strips of zest from the orange and then juice the orange. Nestle the pieces of zest in the fennel and pour the juice over. Sprinkle with the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Cover the dish tightly with foil and braise in the oven until the fennel has collapsed and a paring knife penetrates the cores with no resistance, about 1-1/4 hours.

Spoon some braising liquid over the fennel, garnish with the reserved fronds, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Up and Running... Kind Of

Well, at least I have the internet back.  What  will never recover are the three and half hours I spent on the telephone trying to get the internet back up and running.

You would think that since I write a blog, which is published on the internet,  I would be a little more tech savvy than I am.  The truth is that the sum total of my knowledge and interest in how the internet actually works extends to the "publish" button at the bottom of the page on Blogger.  Other than that, it's all Chinese to me.  I don't know anything more and you know what?  I don't really care.  For me, the internet is a lot like a car.  I want to get in, turn it on, and then I just want it to go.

But today I got a crash course in "router reconfiguration" and I cannot say that I enjoyed it.  Part of the problem is that our wireless router is located on the second floor of our house and Ted's computer, the "main" one for our "network", is located on the third floor.  There was a lot of up and down the stairs, a lot of reattaching the router upstairs, and hours on the phone with my new buddy, Banktar, the technician at Netgear.

Don't you just love it when I talk "tech-nese"?

I have to admit, that I must have been very frustrating to Banktar.  Here he is, trying to help and the sheer frustration of not having the slightest idea of what (1) he was telling me to do, and (2) what I was actually doing when he told me to do it, practically brought me to tears.  Okay.  I'll admit it.  I wept and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Well, maybe a little but it was beyond frustrating.

The good news is that we finally have internet again and I have gotten back on Blogger.  The bad news is that I'm totally "fermished".  I'm going to cook dinner but I have to tell you this.  What I could really use is a scotch.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Uh Oh

I am having Internet problems. Thank goodness for my iPhone. As great as it is, I'm not a good enough thumb typist to do a whole post. Maybe the Internet gods will smile on me overnight and tomorrow will be an online day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick and Dirty Cassoulet

Years ago, when Ted still cooked occasionally, he embarked on a huge cooking project.  Ted made a traditional cassoulet.  This may not sound impressive, but believe me, it was.  I was there and it was pretty damn impressive.  (As I recall, it was also stinky and messy but let's just focus on the impressive part.)

Making the cassoulet was a multi day affair.  There was the rendering of the duck fat to prepare the duck confit, then the waiting, the soaking of the beans, and then more waiting.  And then finally the cooking.  As I said.  It's not something you can just whip up if you want to do it right.  Ted is nothing if not a stickler for doing it right.

I'm not quite so rigid.  This is probably because I have to cook dinner every night and Ted gets to do an occasional "cooking project".  He can afford to be a stickler.  I have to be efficient.

So when I saw a recipe for a cassoulet like bean and sausage dish I jumped at it.  I'm not that big a duck confit fan anyway so I was glad to see that this recipe was a quick and dirty version of the French classic.  And I'm all for quick and dirty.

I used  French style turkey garlic sausages.  They were the perfect balance for the creamy beans.  In addition, I made fresh bread crumbs to top the casserole and browned it under the broiler for 2 minutes just to add a little crunch at the end.  Either way, while this quick version lacks the complexity of "real cassoulet", it's very satisfying on a cold winter night.

Recipe:  Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans
(Posted By smellslikehome On September 27, 2010)

Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans
source: Pam Anderson, Perfect One-Dish Dinners


2 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage links (I used turkey sausages)
3 pints cherry tomatoes
1 medium-large onion, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (about 16 oz each) white beans (cannellini), undrained
6 slices bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic


Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the bread, parsley, and garlic.  Set aside.

Mix sausages, tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large heavy roasting pan.  Set pan in oven and roast until sausages are brown and tomatoes have reduced to a thick sauce, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir in beans, and continue to roast until casserole has heated through, about 10 minutes longer.  Fish out bay leaves.

Sprinkle reserved bread crumbs over the top of the casserole and transfer to the broiler for 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Watch it carefully.  It will brown quickly.

Serve immediately.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Emily's Magical Brisket

My friend Emily knows of what she speaks.  She is a wonderful cook so when she told me that I had to make brisket her way I knew I had to listen.

Emily's brisket is absolutely delicious.  It's not a "potchkey" dish, as my mother would have said.  It requires just a couple of ingredients and a couple of hours.  The results are meltingly tender and delicious.  Served with curly egg noodles (also Emily's suggestion), this is the perfect dinner for a cold winter night.

I like this brisket because it's comforting and kind of old fashioned.  No fancy techniques or ingredients.  It's just what brisket should be.

Recipe:  Emily's Magical Brisket


1 brisket of beef, whatever size you want
3 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 Spanish onions
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
A little vegetable oil


Season both sides of the brisket liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine the tomato sauce and onions and process until smooth.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven.  Sear the meat well on both sides.  Add the tomato sauce and onion mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for three hours or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork.

Refrigerate the meat in the sauce overnight.  When you are ready to serve, slice the meat against the grain and return to the pot with the sauce.  Heat over a low heat until hot.

Serve with curly egg noodles.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Leafy or Lacy

As you may recall from last year, I'm not big on the resolutions.  They never pan out so instead I try to give myself "guidelines", within which there's a lot of ambiguity and wiggle room.  Call them anti-resolutions.  This year's anti-resolution is to try and incorporate more vegetables into my diet.

I am not a vegetable lover but I do like salads.  As you know, I have been conducting a lettuce exploration project.  When we left off last year, I had proclaimed my love for both arugula and radicchio.  Baby spinach, always a fan favorite was on the list as well.  And then there's always my favorite, good old romaine.

Well, add another lettuce to that line up:  frisee.  Who knew that something that looked so lacy and delicate could pack such a flavor punch.  It's a little bitter which I really like, and it makes a really lovely looking salad, which I also really like.

To be fair, I didn't just stroll up to the lettuce and say to myself "I think I'll make a salad with frisee tonight".  No, I had a recipe.  Sometimes I need a little push in the right the direction and Martha Stewart, who I think is probably a little on the pushy side anyway, nudged me in the right direction.

Paired with red endive, hard boiled eggs, and a really delicious Dijon vinaigrette, the frisee was not only really tasty, it made for quite a snazzy presentation.

And while this salad may not technically count as leafy greens, it does count as a lacy green.

Recipe:  Frisee Salad with Hard-Cooked Eggs
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December, 2011)


For the Vinaigrette

1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

2 heads frisee, trimmed, about 8 cups
1 head red endive or radicchio, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
3 tablespoons tarragon leaves
3 large eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, and quartered


Make the vinaigrette:

Whisk together shallot, vinegar, and mustard in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Make the salad:

Toss together the frisee, endive, and tarragon in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, and gently toss to coat.  Transfer to a platter, and top with the eggs.  Season with salt and pepper.