A menu to defrost from winter
Sunday Creamed Morels on Spinach and Cornmeal Croutons
Monday Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese Dressing
Tuesday Sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Spring Vegetables
Wednesday Avocado Sandwich with Dill Sauce
Thursday Steamed Asparagus with Warm Goat Cheese and Beets with Orange Vinaigrette
Friday BBQ Chicken and Corn on the Cob Coins
Saturday Roasted Vegetable Torte
Creamed Morels on Spinach and Cornmeal Croutons
6 handfuls fresh morels
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
scant 1/2 cup Marsala
generous 3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 small bunch fresh tarragon, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
9 oz cornmeal
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 handfuls baby spinacuseh, coarsely torn
2 tsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns
7/8 stick butter, softened
To make the cornmeal, bring the stock to a rolling boil and add the cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring quickly with a whisk. Cook according to the package directions. When the cornmeal is cooked, switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the Parmesan cheese, spinach, peppercorns, and half the butter. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Pour the cornmeal mixture out onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, then smooth over and let cool. When the cornmeal has set, use a 4 inch round pastry cutter to cut out rounds.
Cut the morels in half and gently wash them, taking care to remove any traces of soil and grit. Dry gently with paper towel. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Ad the morels and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in the Marsala and bubble briefly, then add the cream, mustard, and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining butter in a skillet over high heat, then add the cornmeal croutons and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden. Serve immediately, heaped with the creamed morels and garnish with tarragon.
Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese
2 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
3 oz fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 hearts romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
In a skillet, cook bacon over medium, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
In a bowl, whisk together cheese, milk and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle romaine with dressing, and top with bacon.
Sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Spring Vegetables
1 pound prepared mixed spring vegetables, especially celery stalks, asparagus spears, broccoli florets, and artichoke hearts
country style bread, cut into bite-size cubes, toasted if preferred
generous 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 3/4 oz canned anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and very finely chopped
4-5 basil leaves, torn
Lightly cook vegetables such as asparagus and artichoke hearts and broccoli separately in boiling water until just tender. Drain and let cool.
Arrange on a plate with the other vegetables and bread cubes.
To make sauce, put the oil, garlic, and anchovies in a saucepan over a very low heat. Mash the anchovies with a fork and heat, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, or until they have started to melt into oil and the garlic slices have softened. Take care not to let the mixture become too hot, or the garlic will fry and the mixture will be spoiled. Stir in the butter and sun-dried tomatoes.
Transfer the mixture to a small serving bowl and stir in the basil. Serve immediately with veggies and bread.
Avocado Sandwich with Dill Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 sour cream
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
8 slices multigrain bread
1/2 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 tomato, sliced thin
2 avocados, sliced into at least 4 strips per side
Stir together mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in chopped dill until thoroughly combined.
Lay out slices of bread, spread each side with Dill Sauce and layer the rest of the ingredients as you like.
Steamed Asparagus with Warmed Goat Cheese and Beets with Orange Vinaigrette
Place a steamer basket in a large pot filled with 1 inch water. Bring to a boil. Add 1 pound trimmed asparagus, cover, and cook until crisp-tender, 2-6 minutes.
Slice a 5 oz fresh goat cheese log into 4 disks; dredge in flour , then in 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs. Freeze for 15 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add cheese disks and cook until browned, about 1 minute per side. Season steamed asparagus with salt and serve cheese disks and lemon wedges.
Beets with Orange Vinaigrette
This tastes best if made a few days ahead of time and sits in refrigerator while the flavors join together.
3 bunches fresh beets
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
zest of 2 large navel oranges
Segments of 2 large navel oranges
Trim off the green tops from beets and place beets in a large pot of salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the beets are just tender. Drain and allow to sit until cool enough to handle.
Peel and dice the beets into 1/2 inch cubes. While the beets are still warm, place them in a mixing bowl and add the raspberry vinegar, orange juice, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, red onions, orange zest, and orange segments. Miss well, taste for salt and pepper, and serve cold or at room temperature.
BBQ Chicken and Corn on the Cob Coins
Using the BBQ Sauce from the Barefoot Contessa:
Makes 1 1/2 quarts and can last in the fridge for months
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
In a large saucepan on low heat, saute the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in fridge.
2 chickens (2 1/2-3 pounds each), quartered with backs removed
Heat coals in charcoal grill.
Marinate the chicken in 2/3 of bbq sauce for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Spread the bottom of the grill with a single layer of hot coals then add a few more coals 5 minutes before cooking, which will keep the fire going longer. Place the chicken in quarters on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 45 minutes, turning once or twice to cook evenly on both sides. Brush with the marinade as needed. The chicken quarters are done when you insert a knife between a leg and thigh and the juices run clear.
Serve with extra bbq sauce on the side
Corn on the Cob Coins
This is pure genius, especially for kids that I got from Martha Stewart Living last summer.
Preheat grill to high. Shuck 8 ears of corn and cut each crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Mound the corn coins on a large piece of parchment lined foil.
Scatter 5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter over corn, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
Fold foil to form a packet, crimping edges to seal. Grill, covered, for 15 minutes. Feel free to sprinkle some chopped cilantro over when it comes out.
Roasted Vegetable Torte
This too is from the barefoot contessa cookbook, it’s a beautiful dish!
2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red onion, cut into half lengthwise and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Freshly ground pepper
2 red bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded
1 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Cook the zucchini, onions, garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat for 10 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the red and yellow peppers and eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft but not browned.
In a 6 inch round cake pan, place each vegetable in a single, overlapping layer, sprinkling Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste in between each of the layers of vegetables. Begin with half of the eggplant, then layer half of the zucchini, and onions, then all of the red peppers, then all of the yellow peppers, then the rest of the zucchini and onions, and finally the rest of the eggplant. Cover the top of the vegetables with a 6 inch round of parchment paper. Place a 6 inch flat dish or anther cake pan on top and weight in with a heavy jar. Place on a baking sheet, it will leak, and chill completely. Drain the liquids, place on a platter, and serve at room temperature.
Sunday Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce and Sesame Green Beans
Monday Crispy Parmesan-Coated Sea Bass with Lemon Arugula
Tuesday Thyme Chicken with Smashed Broccoli Mashed Potatoes and Gouda Gravy
Wednesday Potato, Cheese, and Bacon Gratin with Peppery Salad
Thursday Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce and Buttered Brussels Sprouts
Friday Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Cornbread
Saturday Autumn Stew
1 Garlic Clove*
1 bunch Scallions*
1 Yellow Onion
1 Red Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 pounds small potatoes
4 Idaho Potatoes
3 Sweet Potatoes
4 MacIntosh Apples
5 Celery Ribs
2 Pints Brussels Sprouts
1/2 pound Green Beans
1 Broccoli Head
1 large Tomato
1 bunch Thyme
1 bunch Parsley
2 packages Arugula
1 package Craisins
Bragg Liquid Aminos*
Hot Pepper Sauce*
6 Cups Chicken Stock**
Powdered Egg Replacer
Flax Seed Oil*
Ume Plum Vinegar*
All Purpose Gluten Free Flour^
2 pounds firm tofu***
1 1/2 cups Cashews
1 1/2 cups Cooked Black Beans
1 pkg Corn Tortillas
1 container prepared Salsa (gluten free!)
Qt Apple Cider
Hearty Gluten Free Crackers
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Sea Bass Fillets
2 1/2 pounds Pork Tenderloin
7oz Reblochon Cheese
6 oz Gouda Cheese
1 cup Parmesan Cheese*
*If following previous grocery lists, these are already stocked in your kitchen
**Pacific Natural Food are my favorite stocks
***Make sure tofu is USDA certified Organic
^Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour, a 5 lb bag will save you time later!
and Tamari is a soy sauce that usually does not contain gluten, but double check!
Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce and Sesame Green Beans
Slice 2 pounds firm tofu lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. In shallow baking dish, combine 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos, 1 tablespoon chickpea miso, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1/3 cup orange juice, and 2 tablespoons water. Place tofu in dish and coat with marinade, flipping to coat both sides. Let marinade for 30 minutes.
In small skillet over medium heat, gently saute 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger in 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil for 2 minutes. Add 2 minced scallions and saute another 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons tamari, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 1 cup finely ground cashews, and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Increase heat briefly and then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to combine flavors. Remove from heat and season to taste with up to 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and hot pepper sauce.
Serve tofu with sauce on side or drizzle on top.
Sesame Green Beans
Trim 1/2 pounds green beans and add to pot. Add 2 inches of water, cover, bring to boil and cook 2-3 minutes or until bright green and tender. Drain water and toss beans with 2 tablespoons flax seed oil and 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds.
Crispy Parmesan-coated Sea Bass with Lemon Arugula
Preheat the broiler to it’s highest setting. Brush the broiler pan with 1 tablespoon oilve oil and lay 4 sea bass fillets in the broiler pan, skin down. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil, then give each fillet a good squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Mix grated rind of 1 lemon, 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 small bunch finely chopped fresh parsley together and scatter evenly over the fish. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook under the broiler for 4 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked and golden-exact cooking time depends on thickness of fish. Serve immediately with arugula lightly tossed in lemon juice and lemon wedges on the side.
Thyme Chicken with Smashed Broccoli Mashed Potatoes and Gouda Gravy
Season 4 chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken for 6 minutes on each side.
Smashed Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
Place 4 peeled and cut in 2 inch cubes Idaho potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, salt the water, reduce the heat a bit, and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Halfway trough add 1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets. Drain broccoli and potatoes and return to the hot pot to dry them out. Mash the broccoli and potatoes together adding chicken stock until acheiving desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a small sauce pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in 1 cup chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups milk. Thicken for 2-3 minutes, season the sauce with salt and pepper, then stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese in a figure-eight motion with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat.
Serve the chicken breasts on an angle, pile smashed broccoli mashed potatoes, and pour gouda gravy over top.
Potato, Cheese, and Bacon Gratin with Peppery Salad
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook 2 pounds sliced small potatoes in a large sauce pan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Hit 3 garlic cloves with the back of a sturdy knife to split them and add to the skillet. Add bacon lardons and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked. Add the potato slices and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, then add 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves and stir well.
Transfer mixture to a gratin dish and top with sliced Reblochon cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Serve with arugula lightly tossed with lemon juice and hearty gluten free crackers.
Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce and Buttered Brussels Sprouts
Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce
Stir together 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 3/4 teaspoon coriander, 3/4 teaspoon black ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl. Pat 2 pork tenderloins dry and dredge in spice mixture until evenly coated.
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to moderate and cook pork, turning occasionally, until meat is browned on all sides and thermometer inserted diagonally into center of each tenderloin registers 145°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pork with tongs to a cutting board (reserve skillet) and let stand 10 minutes.
While pork stands, pour off and discard any fat from skillet, then add 1 cup plain pomegranate juice to skillet and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes (if side of skillet begins to scorch, reduce heat to moderate). Stir together 3/4 teaspoon arrowroot and 1 tablespoon water and whisk into juice, then boil sauce until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar to taste, then swirl in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until incorporated. Pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and skim off any fat. Season with salt. Slice pork and serve with sauce.
****Save leftover Pork for Saturday’s Dinner*****
Buttered Brussels Sprouts
In a steamer set over boiling water steam 2 pints Brussels sprouts, trimmed and an X cut into the base of each sprout, covered, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are just tender. In a skillet heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until it begins to color and in it sauté the sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and sauté it for 1 minute.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Cornbread
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place 3 sweet potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and cool.
In food processor, grind 1/2 cup cashews into a fine meal. Add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and process briefly to combine. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and process until you have a moist meal (do not overprocess or meal will become dough-like). Set aside.
Set oven to broil. Place 1/2 cup corn in strainer. Bring 1 cup water to boil and pour over corn to blanch or thaw.
Peel sweet potatoes and mash with 3 tablespoons lime juice. Fold in 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, 1/2 diced red onion and 1 large diced tomato. Spoon filing into center of soft corn tortilla, roll up and place, seam side down in shallow casserole dish. Spoon salsa over top and broil 3 minutes. Remove from broiler, top with cashew cheese and corn and broil 2 more minutes, watching closely to keep cheese from burning. Remove from broiler, top with minced scallions and serve.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In large bowl combine 1/2 cup corn flour, 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons powdered egg replacer, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a seperate bowl combine 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 seeded and minced jalapeno, 1/2 minced red pepper, 1 cup frozen corn. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix to combine.
Heat a well seasoned 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot. Pourr in enough oilve oil to coat the bottom and sides. Pour batter into skillet and spread it out evenly. Remove from burner, place in oven and bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool and set before serving.
****Save any extra cornbread for Saturday’s Dinner*****
In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and once oil begins to smoke add 1 large onion cut into cubes, 4 peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on an angle carrots, 5 sliced 1/2 inch thick celery ribs, 1 bay leaf, and 5 thyme sprigs to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until they are beginning to become tender, 6-8 minutes. Add 4 macintosh apples cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 cup craisins and continue to saute until the vegetables are quite tender but the apples still have some snap, 3-4 minutes. Pour in 2 cups apple cider. Add 3 cups chicken stock and toss (leftover) pork cut into cubes into pot. Bring the stew to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until juices are slightly thickened, the cranberries have plumped, and the apples are tender. Pull out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and discard them.
Serve with leftover cornbread or hearty gluten free crackers.
This menu is in no particular order of influence, but is dinners dedicated to the moments and people that have inspired my passion for food and wine. I just celebrated one of those milestone birthdays and wanted to thank those who have molded my palate and enjoyed wonderful wine, food, and friendship along the way.
Sunday New England Boiled Dinner
Monday Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
and Pommes Frites
Tuesday Cheddar Beer Soup
Wednesday Rhubarb Rose Jam with Quail
Thursday Cheddar-Ham Wraps
Friday Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
Saturday Lobster Pot Pie
No grocery list this week as this is not a weekly menu, but individual recipes. For a weekly menu for your table please take advantage of the one week free trial on www.arubula.com and a menu will be created just for your table.
New England Boiled Dinner
Lost Recipes, Cook’s Illustrated, 2010
I thought about which recipe to share for John Hayes long and hard. A regular smell in his home is a roast chicken with potatoes and carrots. It is actually the same roast chicken recipe that I have shared in many menus prior which made me decide not to share that one. I also thought about his shrimp scampi (amazing! I tried to make it for the first time for a guy I liked, not nearly as good, but he choked it down), but when I think of John’s influence I think of New England, true New England, I think of rustic foods of France, I think simple flavors and prep, but some of the most savory meals you will ever have, accompanied by some of the most wonderful wines, his wonderful laugh, and his ability to make anyone feel comfortable and special at his table from the most famous to the most common.
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole allspice
1 3-4 pound corned beef, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound small beets, trimmed and scrubbed (John would not eat the beets, by the way)
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges, core left intact
Tie the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, and allspice together in cheesecloth to make a sachet.
Place the corned beef and cheese cloth sachet in a large stockpot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, skimming any foam from the surface. Add the salt and paprika, cover, and cook until the meat is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Transfer the meat to a large baking dish and ladle 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the top. Cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.
Add the beets to the pot, return to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes longer.
Transfer the beets to a carving board and using paper towels, gently peel off and discard the outer skin. Transfer the beets to a serving platter, along with the remaining vegetables. Discard the cheesecloth sachet.
Transfer the meat to the carving board, cut against the grain into 1/4 inch slices, and transfer to the platter with the vegetables. Drizzle 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the top of the meat and vegetables and serve, passing the remaining cooking liquid separately.
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs and Pommes Frites
Stir, Barbara Lynch
This dinner is dedicated to Becky Bruce. She is top secret wonderful cook, that I wish you all the good fortune to sit at her table. Becky has dishes hidden in her tv stand in her house due to lack of space and her love to entertain. Her ability to welcome you in is amazing and the meals that come out of her “tiny kitchen” would blow you away. I have even witnessed her stove breaking right before a multi course dinner party for her co-workers. She pulled it off with bunts and burners without missing a beat, maybe a few extra glasses of wine. I was in awe. And let me tell you you would not have been the wiser that the amazing meal had been sent on such a crazy detour. I thought about which meal should be dedicated to Becky for a while, do I share one of her recipes, or do I share more a memory dinner. I went with No. 9 Park, a Barbara Lynch restaurant, and where we would go and sit down for hours and eat and eat and drink and eat. It was wonderful. We even sat in her window seats one afternoon playing cards, drinking wine, and eating the delicious macaroons that No. 9 had made for her by the handful. Becky gave me the opportunity to try many foods and enjoy many meals that I would not have otherwise been given the opportunity. It was with her much of my passion for food blossomed. If you are ever blessed with the opportunity to be invited to eat at Becky’s table, seize the moment because she can out-cook any trained, professional chef and she is the one that gave me the confidence to recreate those delicious meals I used eat out in my own kitchen.
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
6-8 pounds meaty, bone-in short ribs
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 head of garlic, separated into individual cloves and peeled
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine
6 fresh thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tomato, chopped
6 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Sprinkle a good amount of salt and some pepper all over the ribs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs, in batches if necessary, on all sides. Be sure there is room around the ribs so that they sear instead of steam, and be patient, turning them only after they have browned on one side; the browning step should take 10 to 12 minutes total.
As the ribs are browned, transfer them to a deep baking dish or Dutch oven large enough to accommodate the meat and braising liquid. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the skillet and pour off any excess. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, and tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and pour the liquid over the ribs in the baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook in the oven until fork-tender, 4 to 5 hours; some of the meat may fall off the bones, which is okay, though the ribs look more dramatic on the plate if still on the bone.
Let the meat cool in the braising liquid until it is almost room temperature. Transfer the ribs, meat side down, to another baking dish. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large saucepan. Ladle some of the braising liquid over the ribs to keep them moist; you want about 1/2 inch of liquid in the dish. If serving the ribs immediately, spoon off any fat you can see on the surface of the braising liquid. If not serving right away, refrigerate the ribs and the braising liquid separately, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve. You can then remove the fat that has solidified on top of the liquid once cooled, which is easier and more thorough.
To serve, heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bring the defatted braising liquid to a simmer over medium heat and cook, skimming occasionally, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. You don’t want to let the liquid come to a rolling boil, but you do want to see tiny bubbles coming to the surface. Meanwhile, gently reheat the ribs in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Just before serving, whisk the butter and chopped thyme leaves into the reduced braising liquid. Divide the ribs among six plates and top with sauce.
About 2 quarts grapeseed oil
6 Idaho potatoes, preferably long ones, peeled and soaked in cold water
2 tablespoons fresh fines herbes (equal parts taragon, parsley, chervil, and chives tossed with the tiniest bit of olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice)
Pour enough oil into a large, heavy pot to fill it just over halfway. Begin heating the oil over medium heat as you prepare the potatoes. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Remove the potatoes from the water and dry them well. Square off the potatoes by cutting the rounded edges. Cut into 1/3 inch thick slices, stack a few slices, then cut the slices into 1/3 inch wide sticks.
When the oil reaches 325 degrees F on a candy/fry thermometer, fry the potatoes in batches for 3 minutes (they will not looked cooked, but will be tender). Increase or decrease heat as needed to maintain oil at 325. Using a slotted spoon, preferably one with more slot than spoon, transfer the potatoes to the lined baking sheet. Repeat this initial frying step with all the potatoes.
Bring the oil to 375 degrees F. Have ready another baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cook the potatoes in batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Keep the potatoes warm in 300 degree oven as continue frying. Just before serving sprinkle the fries with the herbs.
Cheddar Beer Soup
The Best of America’s Test Kitchen, 2010
If you have ever been to Nantucket you had to at least walk past The Brotherhood of Thieves. The Brotherhood has a cheddar cheese soup that is amazingly comforting. This dish is here for my time spent on Nantucket and the friends I met there. I have gone into before how wonderful Shannon Lindell is (and if you haven’t gotten her cookbook yet you should, www.shannonlindell.com) but there were others that I enjoyed the company of there, too. Nantucket also brings memories of the wine festival that I have volunteered at several times and the chefs and winemakers I got to know. The original summer I spent on Nantucket was a life changing summer for me in respect of food and wine and I will always hold those memories and people very close. I have been lucky to continue the good fortune on the Rock of meeting great culinary minds.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 12oz bottle Miller High Life
2 cups whole milk
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces American cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons cornstarch
salt and pepper
popcorn for garnish
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth, beer, and milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until the carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the shredded cheeses and cornstarch in a large bowl until well combined. Puree the soup in a blender in two batches until completely smooth, return to the pot, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the cheese mixture, 1 handful at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Ruth Ann Adam’s Rhubarb Rose Jam with Quail\
Spice, Ana Sortun
Casablanca Restaurant holds a very special place for me, it is where I worked while going to wine school, it is where I met some of my closest friends, it is also where I watched the Red Sox 2004 season. It is somewhere even after so much time has passed I know I can walk in the door and feel a comfort that I will sit down have a great meal, good drink, and a very good chance a good friend will walk through the door. It is also another one of those bookmarked moments in my life that helped define where I am today.
Why this recipe? Well, several reasons, actually. Ana Sortun had left Casablanca prior to my arrival to go open Oleana, her legend still lived on, still does, as Casablanca has never removed her short rib off the menu. Ruth Ann Adam’s was the chef during my era. Ruth Ann created wonderful menus and the menu tests we had were so fine tuned that you had to have your food lover’s companion to know all the definitions of ingredients. We made sure we knew that menu backwards and forwards, especially when Servio Garcia (now co-owner of Bergamot) became General Manager. Servio and I attended the Food Expo: Battle of the Sexes in 2005 to cheer on our chefs/friends where Ana and Ruth Ann were teammates. As Ana tells the story in “Spice”, the mystery ingredient was quail. Ana and the judges loved the innovative combination of sweet rose and tart rhubarb, which cuts through the rich quail meat. Ruth Ann knocked out this winning dish. So I thought this dish was appropriate to represent my Casablanca time.
4 pounds rhubarb stalks, washed, peeled, and cut into medium dice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 ounce dried rose petals, washed
1 tablespoon chopped lemon confit
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt, more to taste
pepper to taste
Prepare a charcoal grill
Cook the rhubarb and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb should be soft, but somewhat chunky.
Add the rose petals and a pinch of salt, and let the jam continue to cook on low heat for about 10 more minutes. The petals should melt into the jam, leaving only a little texture.
Remove the jam from the heat and stir in the lemon confit.
Split the quail in half and rub them with olive oil. Season all sides of the quail with salt and pepper.
Grill the quail for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Serve the quail immediately with 1/3 cup of rose jam alongside as a condiment. You will have some leftover jam to freeze.
Cheddar Ham Wraps
Ok, I’m sure after looking at the rest of the dinners you are asking what the heck are these doing on here, especially as you read the “recipe”, but I had to put this in for my brother, Clint (www.run4haiti.com). Our mother stopped living with us when I was 12, he was 8, and our father was not the best of cooks, but tried to at least always keep the foods we liked in the house. This was created one day when we were out of bread. We had deli meat and we had cheese and of course condiments. So out came cheddar ham wraps. It was my 2nd “creative moment” in the kitchen (the first was when I was 10ish and we created some green thing in the blender with about every ingredient we could find) This “dish” has never been given a “true” name, but my brother has still requested them years down the line and he gave me the start of a confidence in the kitchen. So put your fancy palates aside and enjoy the dish that goes out to my little bro.
8 slices of thick cut deli ham
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons of whatever mustard is in your fridge
Oregano (or Italian seasoning)
lay out 8 slices of ham flat on counter. Spread a very, very thin layer of mustard covering each slice on one side. Sprinkle cheese on center of each ham slice. Sprinkle herbs over top of cheese. Roll each ham slice up like you would for an enchilada. Place flap down on toaster oven baking sheet. Cook on medium-high in toaster oven, cheese should be melted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, and enjoy.
Crab Cakes with Remoulade
the barefoot contess cookbook, ina garten
What happens when a Kansas born, New England raised marries a boy from below the Mason-Dixon, he tries to get her to pick crabs. I tried. Oh I tried. The first time my husband brought me home (and right before we were moving to St Thomas, USVI) his family was gathered at his dad’s house and the newspaper was spread out on the table, the hammers, the butter, a huge cardboard box lined by a trash bag and I was told something about mustard and ribs, yeah, I had met my match. I felt so out of my element and was praying for someone to dump a lobster in front of me (there I could tear it up in just a few moments, thanks to my time working at a fish market, and maybe not look like such a fool for my future in-laws), but these crabs, so much work for so little meat. My husband loves me so much, or loves eating crabs so much, that he now picks the meat for me and I have my own little pile. I will happily return the favor for his lobster.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup small diced red onion
1 1/2 cups small diced celery
1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked to remove shells
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Place the 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15-20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, break the lump crabmeat into small pieces and toss with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into bite-sized crab cakes.
Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the crab cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towles; keep them warm in a 250 degree oven and serve hot.
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 tablespoons small diced pickles
1 teaspoon coarse grained mustard
1 tablespoon champagne
pinch kosher salt
pinch fresh ground pepper
Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the pickles are finely chopped and all the ingredients are well mixed but not pureed.
the barefoot contessa, ina garten
How can one summarize all of the life influences into 7 days, I can’t, and I hope no one will be offended if they were left off this menu. I decided this last recipe would come from a cookbook I received just this week for my birthday from a wonderful friend. This last recipe is the recipe I would make for the people who have influenced me, made me better, opened my eyes, my palate, my stomach, and my world of food, wine, and friendship as they sat at my table. This is my thank you dish to the people who come through me every time I prepare anything in my kitchen and the people yet to influence. This one goes out to the past, present, and future and I look forward to having you sit at my table as the conversation and wine flow and new memories begin.
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped fennel
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fish stock
1 tablespoon Pernod
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons cold fresh lard, diced
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Saute the onions and fennel with the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream.
Cut the lobster meat into medium sized cubes. Place the lobster, frozen peas, frozen onions, and parsley in a bowl (there is no need to defrost the vegetables). Pour the sauce over the mixture and check the seasonings. Set aside.
For the crust, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the lard and butter and pulse 10 times, until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each half to fit a 9 or 9 1/2 inch round by 2 inch high ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish. Place one crust in the dish, fill with the lobster mixture, and top with the second crust. Crimp the crusts together and brush with the egg wash. Make 4 or 5 slashes in the top crust and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.
*This can be prepared ahead of time, refrigerate, then baked before dinner. It also keeps in the freezer for months. All you have to do is defrost one and pop it in the oven a few hours before guests arrive.