Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with QuinoaShrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Quinoa
2 cups Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Green Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Oregano, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Directions:

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the Andouille Sausage.
  • Add the Bell Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Celery, and saute until it is soft.
  • Add the Garlic and stir for another minute or so.
  • Add all Herbs, Shrimp, and Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the Quinoa and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste–some like it hotter than others.

Makes 4-6 servings

NOTES: Jambalaya is a traditional dish from Louisiana made from rice and akin to Paella. I thought it would be fun to try this dish with Quinoa instead since I’m not a big fan of Rice. I must say I was quite pleased with the result.

You can add Chicken to this recipe, as most Jambalaya recipes do include chicken. It would be cooked at the same time as the Andouille. Some Jambalaya, especially that near New Orleans is known as “Creole” vs. “Cajun”. The only big difference I’ve been able to note, other than mild spice variations, is the use of Tomatoes in the Creole version. I chose to go with the Cajun style, lacking the tomatoes since it is the Cajuns that are my familial cousins.

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Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, butterfly cut
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 – 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Blackened Seasoning
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
3/4 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 Tsp White Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Thyme dried
1/2 tsp Oregano dried
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds dried

Grilled Fruit
1 Papaya, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1 Pineapple, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 Mangoes, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit and place on Skewers.
  • Brush with Olive Oil.
  • Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Cinnamon.
  • Place on a hot grill or in the Broiler for 5 minutes per side. Set to the side, or cook while you prepare the Chicken.
  • Put all of the Ingredients of the Blackened Spice Rub in a Mortar and rub with the Pestle to mix well and open up some of the spices and herbs. Place to the side.
  • Begin heating a cast-iron skillet on high with the Olive Oil. You do not need to use all of it, just enough to coat the skillet. You do not want a puddle of oil.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the melted Butter, and then coat with the Spice Rub on all sides.
  • Place in the Skillet, and cook both sides. They will blacken because of the Butter and herbs. Each side should be about 5 minutes. Because the Chicken was butterfly cut, it will cook all the way through.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover with the Grilled Fruit (on or off the skewers, your choice).

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: Blackening is a technique of cooking often associated with Cajun cooking. I have read some places that attribute it however to a modern chef named Paul Prudhomme (who specializes in Cajun cooking). Whether an old technique, or a modern one, it extremely flavorful. I recommend playing with the amounts of spices–some like it hot, some don’t like it as hot–but Blackened is intended to be Spicy. If you are wanting to cheat, pick up some Hot Shot instead of the various types of Peppercorns, but do not skimp on the flavors. A lot of folks seem to want to avoid using Butter in the recipe–it is essential for true Blackened food, as the milk solids are part of the Blackening process. If you want a spicy chicken on the grill with the rub, great, but it’s not truly Blackened… just spicy ;-).  

Also, just a note, this Blackened Spice Rub can be used on Fish (it’s original intention), as well as other forms of protein.

Paella de Quinua – Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Shrimp

Paella de Quinua

Ingredients:
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
6 Chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapeños, minced
5 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
2 Chorizo links, diced
1 Tbsp Paprika
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Saffron
2 tsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 cups Albariño or other white wine
2 cups Quinoa
1 Tbsp Capers
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions

  • In a large skillet or (if you have one) paellera, heat up the Olive Oil on medium heat.
  • Liberally coat the chicken in Salt and Pepper and place into the hot oil. Cook both sides until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the Onion, Peppers, Garlic, Shrimp, Chorizo, Herbs, Spices, and Tomato Paste to the pan. Stir well and cook till the Shrimp turn bright pink.
  • Add the Wine, Chicken Broth, Quinoa, and Capers. Reduce heat to low. Add the Chicken pieces back to the pan.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until the Quinoa is finished cooking, adding water if needed. Quinoa forms a translucent outer casing when it is cooked well. Covering will help increase the cooking speed.
  • When the liquid has dissolved and the Quinoa has finished cooking, remove from the heat and toss in the Cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish often with various types of seafood and or meat. Paprika, Saffron, and Chorizo are common ingredients added to the rice for flavor. Quinoa, is a grain from the Andes in South America. It has a similar consistency to Couscous, and can be used in many dishes in place of rice–though it is not a long grain. I thought it would be fun to try Paella with Quinoa–something I am sure is not a new idea, but not one I have seen that often. I chose Chicken and Shrimp, however you can add Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and/or Pork tenderloin to make it your own.

Poulet et Ventrèche Dijon au Gratin

Ingredients
6 boneless Chicken thighs
4 oz Ventrèche or Pancetta, thin sliced
2 Portabello Mushrooms, chopped
8 oz Provolone, sliced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Basil, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Spread the Dijon mustard on the Chicken thighs and place them in a dutch oven.
  • Add the Portabellos, Garlic, Herbs, and Pepper.
  • Cover with a layer of the Ventrèche.
  • Cover with a layer of Provolone.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Makes 3 servings.

Moules Marinière – Mussels Steamed in White Wine

Moules Marinière

Ingredients
2 lbs live Mussels, chilled
3 Shallots, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, sliced in slivers
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Pinot Grigio
3-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
dash Saffron
Pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for Garnish

Directions:

  • Clean the Mussels: Scrub the shells, remove any “beard” fibers, discard any broken or real heavy mussels, remove any that do not close when you handle them (probably dead).
  • In a dutch oven, melt the Butter on medium heat.
  • Add the Scallion and Garlic, and sweat it until the Scallion is almost translucent. Do not brown–about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the Wine, Thyme, Saffron, and Bay Leaf. Stir well.
  • Add the Mussels and cover. Cook until they open up, about 5 minutes. You can shake the pot and mix them around, but should keep the lid on to retain heat and steam.
  • Remove from heat, discard any unopened ones (they were probably dead).
  • Serve in bowls with the broth poured over top (discarding the bay leaf). Add Pepper to taste, and garnish with Lemon.

Makes 2 lbs or 2 entree size servings.

NOTES: Moules Marinière is a traditional French dish–though I’ve also heard it argued Belgian. This is my first crack at this dish–as I usually buy it out (at my favorite little haunt, Cafe Triskell). The dish is very simple, and should remain so–think of it as a quick dish for a family by the sea. The dish is often served with crusty bread or pommes frites. Also, for those who like it, a glass of beer pairs great.  Now don’t knock it, but a lot of places (like Belgium) even serve this for breakfast!

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Pastina Soup

Chicken, Mushroom, and Farfalline Soup

Ingredients:
1 Roast Chicken
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Cannellini Beans, soaked over night
1 cup Baby Spinach, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped into disks
6-8 Green Onions, whole
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Olive Oil
6 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Sage, rubbed
1/2 tsp Thyme, ground
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Lemons
1 cup Pastina of choice

Directions:

  • Remove the meat from the bones, and discard any bone and skin, or fatty pieces. Set to the side.
  • Trim the Green Onions at three inches from the bottom. Reserve the top, and cut the bottom whiter part into small pieces, about 1/4 a centimeter or 1/8 an inch.
  • Heat the Olive oil on medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add the Garlic, Carrots, and chopped part of the Green Onion. Lightly toss in the Oil and stir as they soften.
  • Add the Juice of 1 of the lemons, the Chicken Broth, the Salt, the Herbs, and Chicken.
  • Bring to a Boil, stirring often.
  • Add the Mushrooms, the drained Cannellini, and Spinach, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the Mushrooms start to shrink.
  • Next add a Pastina. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • Dice the reserved Green Onion stalks. Add them and the juice of the remaining Lemon just before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

NOTES: This is a fancy version of chicken noodle soup, with a healthy dose of extra protein and vitamins. Pastini are just mini pastas–my favorite being Farfalline (little butterflies), but you can use whatever mini-pasta you prefer or even larger pasta if you like.

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle – Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle

Ingredients:
6-8 links of Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in strips
1-2 Peperoncini or Banana Peppers, sliced in strips
1 Yellow Onion, cut in wedges
2 cups Plum Tomatoes, diced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Parmesan, shaved for garnish.

Directions:

  • Poke the Sausage with a fork one or two times.
  • Place the Sausage in a skillet on medium heat with the Water, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Only flip the Sausage once or twice. You are basically poaching the Sausage, but by the time it is cooked, the water will have evaporated.
  • Remove the Sausage to a broiling pan, and place in the Broiler.
  • De-glaze the Skillet with the White Wine.
  • Add the Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes and Herbs to the Skillet.
  • Heat through, stirring often so that nothing sticks or browns; about 5 minutes.
  • Check on the Sausage, and flip so that both sides get broiled.
  • Continue heating the Onions and Peppers for about 2-3 more minutes. If the skillet is small, and thus the mixture very deep, you should cover and let the steam help cook the Onions and Peppers.
  • Plate the Onions and Peppers on a platter, and then arrange the Sausage on top. Serve the Parmesan on the side.

Makes 6-8 Sausages

NOTES: This dish is great by itself or divided into Hoagies. You can use Salsiccia Piccante (Spicy Italian Sausage) if you prefer. Additionally, you may choose to top with Mozzarella, though I think the crunchy nutty flavor of the Parmesan can’t be beat. You can also do the Sausages on the Grill. If you do this, you can cook the Peppers and Onions in the Skillet starting with the adding of the Wine.

Bison Chopped Steak with Whiskey Mushrooms and Onions

Ingredients:
1 lb ground Bison
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
2 tsp Salt, divided
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
1/4 cup Tennessee Whiskey
1 Yellow Onion, halved and sliced
3 cups Table Mushrooms
1 Jalapeño, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1 tsp dried Thyme

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the Bison with the Steak Spice Rub and 1/2 the Salt. Mix well and form patties.
  • Heat he Olive Oil in a skillet on medium high heat.
  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F.
  • Place the Bison patties in the skillet and cook each side 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Make sure not to over crowd the skillet. The Bison meat will yield a greyish-reddish fat that you should discard.
  • Move the Bison to a baking sheet, and place in the oven.
  • Deglaze the skillet with the Tennessee Whiskey. Be careful, as it may flame up.
  • Add the Onions, Jalapeños, Mushrooms, Thyme, Garlic, and the remaining Salt.
  • Heat for about 7-10 minutes, or until the Mushrooms have shrunk and cooked.
  • Remove the chopped-steak and plate. Cover the steaks with the Whiskey-soaked Mushrooms and Onions mixture.

Makes about 6 chopped steaks.

NOTES: I swear I am not paid by any company, but I have to say now if you want this to taste good, use Jack Daniels Whiskey–preferably Gentleman’s Jack. By the time it comes to the table, the alcohol is gone, but the flavor still remains and has been absorbed into the mushrooms. I recommend Bison for this dish, however you can use a lean ground beef or ground turkey as well.

Salade Niçoise à l’Américaine – Niçoise Salad (American Style)

Ingredients:
4 Tuna Fillets (about 6 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or coarse Kosher
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
12 baby Red Pontiac Potatoes
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
4-6 oz Green Beans, trimmed
4 Eggs
Water for boiling
1/3-1/2 lb Butterhead Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
4 Plum Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tbsp Capers
12 Niçoise Olives
4-8 Anchovies (optional)
1 cup Niçoise Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tuna:
    • Heat a skillet on medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil.
    • Cut the Tuna into 2″ x 1″ strips.
    • Rub with the Salt and Pepper.
    • Place the Tuna in the pan, and sear each of the four long sides, watching the small sides to make an even searing to desired done-ness.
    • Set in the Refrigerator.
  • Place the Eggs in a pot and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove and run under cold water, and peel the eggs; in the Refrigerator.
  • Return the Water to a boil.
  • Add the Potatoes and the Green Beans
  • Cook for 4 minutes, until the Green Beans turn bright Green.
  • Remove the Beans first, using tongs, and then the Potatoes.
  • Run both under cold water and set in the Refrigerator.
  • Give all the ingredients at least 20 minutes to cool.
  • Prepare wide bowls or salad plates for plating by dividing the Lettuce evenly.
  • Tear the Basil and Mint, and divide with the Thyme among the salad plates.
  • Quarter the Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs.
  • Decoratively divide the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggs, and Green Beans among the salad plates. Usually this salad is deconstructed with the different items in piles next to each other on the Lettuce.
  • Slice the Tuna pieces perpendicular to the seared sides, in 1/4″ slices, and add to the Salad.
  • Add the Capers and Anchovies, and drizzle the Vinaigrette over it.

Serves 4

NOTES: Despite being what one would commonly find in most restaurants and diners in America and what Julia Child’s recipe calls Salade Niçoise, it is strikingly different from a true Salade Niçoise from Nice, France or the Côte d’Azur. Most noteworthy is the use of Blanched Potatoes and Green Beans–something not commonly used in the French namesake. Additionally, Mescaline salad would be used, and other items like Artichokes would be present. Still this is the version most Americans will know and recognize, and I find it tasty (without the Anchovies, which I have not yet come to like).  OH I should also mention that many of the French recipes  use Canned Tuna–I can only assume theirs is not “Chicken of the Sea”, though I’ve seen some marinated vacuum-sealed Tuna that may serve the purpose–and Lord know’s most diners use canned.

This salad, is often served as an Entrée, in a similar manner to the Cobb Salad.

I do have to share what Julia Child says about this sald in her book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom:

Of all main-course salads, the Niçoise is my all-time favorite, with its fresh butter-lettuce foundation; its carefully cooked, beautifully green green beans; its colorful contrast of halved hard-boiled eggs, ripe red tomatoes, and black olives; all fortified by chunks of tunafish and freshly opened anchovies. It’s a perfect luncheon dish, to my mind, winter, summer, spring, and fall — an inspired combination that pleases everyone.

Niçoise Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 medium Shallot, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp Fresh Oregano, chopped fine
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
1 tsp Capers
1 Anchovy filet
1 Egg
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Champagne Vinegar
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, coarsely ground

Directions:

  • Using a Mortar and Pestle, crush the Anchovy, Capers, and Shallots with the Herbs.
  • Wisk in the Egg and Dijon Mustard.
  • Add the Vinegar and Lemon Juice, and mix well.
  • Whisk in the Olive Oil.
  • When the Olive Oil is finished, taste, and add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 cup.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

Cornish Hens with Shallot-Sage-Raspberry Stuffing and Raspberry Sherry Sauce

Cornish Hen with Shallot-Sage-Raspberry Stuffing and and a Raspberry Sherry Sauce

Ingredients:
2 Cornish Hens, giblets removed, patted dry
6 slices Whole Wheat Bread
1/2 cup Raspberries
1 Shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 Tbsp fresh Sage, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh Thyme, crushed
2 tsp fresh Oregano, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Egg
1/6 cup Chicken Broth
1/6 cup Sherry
1/6 cup Berry Juice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Raspberry Sherry Sauce (below)

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400F
  • In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients except the Raspberry Sauce and Olive Oil; and mush together.
  • Wash the Hens, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Stuff half of the dressing into each Hen.
  • Using cooking twine, Truss-up the Hens.
  • In a heavy skillet, on high heat, add the Olive Oil and brown each side of the Hens(about 2-4 minutes).
  • Place in a baking dish, and drizzle any Oil from the pan over the Hens.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, covered.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the Raspberry Sherry Sauce.
  • Plate and pour the Raspberry Sherry Sauce over each Hen.

NOTES: This recipe was an inspiration from The Legend of the Seeker, where in an episode one of the characters requests this dish! I couldn’t help but figure out a way to make it myself.

Raspberry Sherry Sauce
Ingredients:
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Sherry
1/2 cup Berry Juice
1 Shallot, diced
1 tsp Cornstarch
2 cups Raspberries
1 tsp fresh Ginger, diced
1 tsp fresh Sage, diced
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a Sauce Pan, combine the Butter, Shallot, Ginger, and a pinch of Salt, cooking until the shallot is translucent.
  • In a cup, whisk together the Cornstarch and Berry Juice.
  • Add all ingredients to the Sauce Pan, stirring on medium heat.
  • Crush the berries with your spoon as they cook.
  • Reduce to 1 cup of liquid, stirring often.

NOTES: Though this sauce is perfect for the Cornish hens, you can serve it with other meats like Duck or Quail. Some folks prefer to strain the sauce before serving using a sieve to remove the Berry seeds. I like the berry seeds, myself, but it is completely at your discretion.

Pollo alla Romana – Roman-Style Chicken

Pollo alla Romana

Ingredients:
6-8 fillets of Chicken Breasts, thin sliced, boneless, skinless
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
6 slices Prosciutto, chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 head of Roasted Garlic
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp fresh Basil
1 Tbsp fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Romano Cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Do all necessary roasting ahead of time.
  • In a large skillet, brown the Chicken Fillets in the Olive Oil.
  • Remove the Fillets to the side.
  • Add the Peppers and Prosciutto, and cook until the Prosciutto starts to crisp, about 4 minutes.
  • Squeeze the Garlic into a Mortar and Pestle, and grind.
  • Add Garlic, Tomatoes, Chicken Stock, Wine, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to the skillet.
  • Heat for 10 minutes, and then add the Chicken Fillets back to the skillet.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, stir in the Capers and Parsley.
  • Garnish with grated Romano Cheese.

Serves 3-4 people (portion 2 fillets per person)

NOTES: So it was a long weekend, and my partner volunteered to cook. He loves chicken, so he started looking online for a chicken recipe. I should mention he is not a good cook–toast and oatmeal he does well, but not much more than that. So he found a recipe for Roman-Style Chicken by Giada DiLaurentis. I had a feeling he would not end up cooking, and by the time we got back from the store, it dawned on him how much work would be involved. So it was saved for another night. I don’t like to do other people’s recipes, so I compare them to similar recipes and then make my own version with my own variations. This is my version of Roman-Style Chicken that resulted from my research and comparisons. I decided to add some different herbage, deepen the flavors with roasted peppers and garlic, as well as adding Romano cheese over the top. This is a light summery Italian meal, and it does not need a side of pasta!

Steak Spice Rub

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp dried minced Garlic
1 Tbsp dried mined Onion
1 Tbsp Salt (Sea Salt or Kosher)
1 Tbsp coarse ground Black Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp dried Thyme, crushed
1 tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Caraway Seeds (optional)

Directions:

  • In a mortar and pestle, combine the Salt, Pepper, Fennel, Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary, and Caraway; grind to release the oils.
  • Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: This is a great spice rub for Grilling and Broiling. I also use it over roast or steamed vegetables. You can utilize it with Butter and give a kick to baked potatoes. I’ve even sprinkled it on steamed shrimp.

The benefit of making your own Steak Rub is that you can control the Salt–and you may choose to omit the salt altogether, and still have plenty of flavor. The important part of releasing the flavor is the Mortar and Pestle which release the oils.

To store this, keep it in an air-tight container that does not allow light, and store in a cool dark place. It will keep for a while… but not years! (Old spices do get bland).

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients:
4 cups Beef Stock
1 lb Lamb meat, cubed and trimmed of fat
2 cups Potatoes, skinned and cubed
1 medium White Onion, diced
2-3 medium Carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp fresh Thyme, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine

Directions:

  • In a large Pot, place the Beef Stock and the Lamb pieces and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, lower to a simmer and skim off any fat.
  • Add all other ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender.

NOTES: The distinct feature of traditional Irish stew is that the meat and vegetables are not browned before being placed in the stew. However, if you prefer, roll the lamb in flour and brown in Butter before adding to the Stock.

Lancashire Hotpot

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb Lamb meat, remove bones, fat, and cubed
2 Onions, cut in rings
1 Parsnip, cleaned and chopped
1 Carrot, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4-6 Potatoes, sliced (1/2″)
2 cups Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
1/2 Tbsp Sage, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
4 Tbsp Butter, room temp
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F.
  • Season the Lamb, and brown in a Dutch Oven with half the Olive Oil.
  • Remove and set to the side.
  • Brown the Onions in the Dutch Oven with the remaining Olive Oil and Garlic, and set to the side.
  • In the base of the Dutch Oven or a Casserole Dish, place the Lamb and sprinkle with Herbs.
  • Layer with the Parsnips and Carrots.
  • Next layer with the Onions and Garlic.
  • Pour the Stock over the Mixture. The stock should come to the top. If you reach the top, stop. If you run out of liquid add more Stock or water.
  • Cover with the Potatoes as a top layer.
  • Divide the Butter around the Potatoes.
  • Bake for about 2 hours.

NOTES: To add browning to the potatoes, turn heat up to 400°F for the last 10 minutes.

This dish comes from Lancashire, as the name suggests, and dates from the industrial revolution, although similar baked stews probably predated it. It is always made with Lamb, originally tougher pieces or mutton, but beef could also be used. It is called “hotpot” because it is essentially made in one pot. This is a simple dish that can be used for a large group of people with little effort.

Variations:
Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie

Scarborough Meatloaf

Scarborough Meatloaf and Grilled Asparagus
Ingredients:
1 lb ground Beef (lean is good)
1/2 lb ground Pork
1 Egg
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 large Onion, diced fine
1 red Bell Pepper, diced fine
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, minced (3/4 if dried)
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, minced (3/4 if dried)
1 Tbsp fresh Sage, minced (3/4 if dried)
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme (3/4 if dried)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup Steak Sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except Steak Sauce, and mix well with hands.
  • Place in a bread loaf pan, and smooth the top.
  • Cover with Steak Sauce like a glaze.
  • Bake for 30-50 minutes, or until internal temperature is about 170.

NOTES: For serving, take a butter knife and slide along the edges of the pan. Place serving plate over pan like a lid. Holding onto both the plate and pan, quickly flip over. The loaf should slide out of the pan, sauce side down onto the plate. Let stand before cutting in slices.

Corned Beef Brisket & Vegetables

Ingredients:
8-10 Allspice Pods
15-20 Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
2 Thyme Sprigs
1 4lb prepared Corned Beef Brisket
3 cups Beef Broth
Water, as needed
1 medium White Onion, cut in chunks
1 clove Garlic, minced
3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 medium Rutabagas, cut in chunks
1 small head Savoy Cabbage, cut into quarters

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, place the Corned Beef Brisket, Spices, Onions, Garlic, and Beef Broth. Cover with the Beef Broth and additional water if necessary. The Brisket should be floating about 1 inch above the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Foam will begin to form on the water top, skim this off and discard.
  • Once at a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer like this for 3 hours.
  • Add the Potatoes, Rutabagas, and Cabbage, and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, or until the Potatoes and Rutabagas are tender.
NOTES:To serve, remove the vegetables to a bowl, and the brisket to a cutting board. Cut across the grain when serving.
It is suggested by some that Corned Beef Brisket is not completely an “Irish” meal from Ireland…but rather an “Irish” meal from New York, where the potatoes and cabbage would be pared with a Jewish-inspired brisket. I do not know if this is entirely true, and frankly, it tastes so good I could care less.

Sourdough Dressing

Ingredients:Vegetarian Variation
1 loaf Sourdough Bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2″ cubes (stale is better)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 large Yellow Onion, diced
4 stalks Celery, diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Apples, cored and diced
3 Tbsp fresh Sage, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
3 Eggs
2 cups Chicken Broth (Vegetable is fine for Vegetarians)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil for basting the bread (as needed)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • On a baking sheet, spread the Bread Cubes, and brush Olive Oil over them.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until like croutons.
  • In a large sauce pan, melt the Butter into the Olive Oil.
  • Add the Onions and Celery and cook down until Onions begin to break down.
  • Add the Apples, Garlic, Sage, and Thyme to the mixture and let simmer.
  • In a large bowl, beat Eggs and add the Broth, stirring well.
  • Incorporate the Onion-Herb mixture into the Broth.
  • Place the Bread croutons into a greased baking dish.
  • Pour the Broth over the croutons, being sure to get all of it covered.
  • Bake Covered for 30 minutes.
  • Increase temperature to 425˚, uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

NOTES: If you are pressed for time, Store-bought croutons can be substituted.


Variations:

Brown 1/2 lb Sausage and mix Drippings and Sausage into the Dressing.
Add 1/2 cup diced roasted Chestnuts.
You can make it spicy by adding a minced Jalapeno or two when cooking the Onions.

M›Ṽ: Use Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Yellow Onion, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
5 cups Button Mushrooms, cleaned and diced finely
3 Tbsp White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp Cardamom powder
1/2 Tbsp Dill, finely chopped
1/2 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • In a large Sauce Pan on medium heat, combine Butter, Onions, and Garlic. Brown the Onions.
  • De-Glaze with the White Wine
  • Add Mushrooms, and Spices and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup Stock to the side.
  • Combine the remaining Stock and Cream to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the Corn starch to the reserved Stock and whisk together so there are no lumps of corn starch. When mixed, add to the soup and continue to simmer until the Soup thickens.

NOTES: You can always modify the types of Mushrooms you want in this Soup.  I prefer to use Pinot Grigio for this recipe because it is not too dry and not too sweet.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Ingredients:
1 Turkey (10-12 pounds), thawed, giblets removed.
2 cups Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp fresh Thyme (remove from stem)
1 Tbsp fresh Sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Aromatic Bundle
1 Onion, sliced in half
2 cloves Garlic Sliced in half length-ways.
1/4 cup Salt

Aromatic Bundle Ingredients:
1 handful of fresh Thyme
1 handful of fresh Parsley
1 handful of fresh Rosemary
1 handful of fresh Sage

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • In a Mortar and Pestle, combine chopped herbs and crush.
  • In a small bowl, add the herbs to Butter, and mix.
  • Pat Turkey dry, inside and out with paper towels.
  • Place in Roasting Pan, Breast-side up. Take the excess skin around the Neck, and attach it to the back using a skewer. Bend the tips of the wings under the back of the Turkey.
  • Using your hand, carefully create pockets by separating the skin from the breasts of the Turkey, starting at the open end of the Turkey. Do not separate from breast bone, and try not to tear the skin.
  • Again, using your hand, carefully spread the herb-butter mixture inside the skin pockets.
  • Wash your hands, and dry completely.
  • Place the Onion pieces, Garlic pieces, and Aromatic Bundle inside the body of the Turkey.
  • Roast, uncovered for 4 1/2 hours to 5, basting Every Half-Hour.
Published in: on October 19, 2008 at 3:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jerk Marinade

Ingredients:Vegetarian
5 cloves Garlic
1 cup Cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 cup Thyme, fresh, chopped
1/4 cup Ginger, fresh, cubed
1 Tbsp Honey
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Allspice, ground
4-6 Habanera Peppers, remove cap and seeds (DO NOT TOUCH EYES)
1/2 cup Orange Juice


Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a food processor.

Uses
Submerge Chicken or Steak in mixture for at least 24 hours (the longer, the better), storing in a sealed container in the refrigerator. One can apply directly to a chicken or steak and grill immediately, however marinating adds more flavor.