Thursday, December 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Indonesian Chicken

Slow Cooker Indonesian Chicken
Servings: 4

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 15-oz can coconut milk
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. coriander
Juice from 2 limes
Zest from 1 lime
1/4 c. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
2 c. cooked rice, kept warm

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, garlic and lime zest. Rub over chicken thoroughly (save leftover spice mix for later).

Place chicken in a crock pot, and cover with onions. Pour in coconut milk, lime juice, remaining salt and remaining spice mix, if any.

Cover and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from pot. Mix water with cornstarch, and pour into sauce. Cover and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Serve over rice, and garnish with lime zest and cilantro.

NOTES: So easy and so delicious. Savory, a little sweet, and a perfect weeknight meal - throw it together in the morning and it's ready to eat when you get home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guinness Gingerbread

Stout Gingerbread
From Megan Garrelts of Bluestem

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1/2 c. dark molasses
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. Guinness
1/4 c. grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, beat in brown sugar and molasses until combined. Add vegetable oil and mix again, until combined.

Add the Guinness and ginger and beat until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bat for 18-20 minutes. Cook completely before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet. Megan recommends serving the gingerbread with chocolate ice cream and butterscotch sauce.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Braised Short Rib Ragu

Braised Short Rib Ragu
Braised Short Rib Ragu
Inspired by Closet Cooking
Servings: 6 or so

1 oz dried mushrooms (oyster or porcini)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. short ribs, 2-3 inches long
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 c. celery, diced
1 c. carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
1 c. red wine
1 c. tomato puree
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbps. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
3 c. beef stock
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the short ribs until brown on all sides and remove to a plate. You may need to do this in batches.

Reduce to medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the red wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the seared ribs, the mushrooms and their liquid, tomato puree, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, fennel, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste and enough beef stock to cover the ribs.

Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven to cook until the meat is falling off the bones, about 3 hours.

Remove the beef from the pan, set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaves.

Using a stick blender, puree the sauce until no large chunks of anything remain. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Pull the beef from the bones, shred it, return it to the sauce and simmer to thicken if desired.

Serve over gnocchi or polenta.

NOTES: This takes a bit of time to get going, but once it's in the oven, it's pretty hands-off. Incredibly savory and satisfying - comfort food at its best. Freezes really well, too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Shrimp Curry

Pumpkin Shrimp Curry
From Troy Miller, L'Etoile restaurant
Servings: 4

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c. diced, roasted butternut squash
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
Steamed rice
Cilantro and lime zest, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and pumpkin puree and cook, stirring frequently, until pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder and cayenne. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the butternut squash, shrimp and lime juice. Simmer until the shrimp are cooked and the squash is warm.

Serve with rice, and top with cilantro and lime zest.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Roasted Salmon with Walnut-Pepper Relish

Roasted Salmon with Walnut-Pepper Relish
Servings: 4

1/2 c. walnuts
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. diced roasted red pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 salmon fillets

For the relish:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Add the cayenne, lemon juice, honey, roasted red pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste and toss to combine. (The relish can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

For the salmon:
Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the chives, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the salmon. Lay s in a baking dish and roast until just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and top with the walnut-pepper relish.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet. When I do, I'm thinking it would go great with some roasted Brussels sprouts.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad
Adapted from Nigella Larson
Servings: 6

1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice from 2 lemons
2 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (like great northern or similar)
1 (8 ounce) can good quality tuna
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Put the chopped onion into a bowl with the lemon juice and let it steep while you prepare the salad. Drain the beans and rinse them to get rid of any gloop, then put them in a serving bowl. Drain the tuna and flake it into the beans.

Add the olive oil to the onion and lemon juice and whisk it to make a dressing and pour this over the tuna and beans. Fork the salad through, seasoning with salt and pepper, and then scatter over the parsley.

NOTES: We serve this open-faced on sandwich thins, with a little fresh spinach. Excellent, and great as leftovers.

Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Eating Well
Servings: 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Spread sweet potatoes and onions in a 9x13 baking dish, and toss with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in oven while you prepare the chicken, about 5 minutes.

Combine mustard, agave, thyme, the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use half to coat chicken.

Remove pan with vegetables from oven. Place chicken thighs on top of vegetables, then spread the rest of the mustard mixture over the thighs. Return pan to oven and roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and chicken is 165 degrees in the center, about 30 - 35 minutes.

NOTES: Easy. Hearty. Healthy. Comforting. Amazing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata
Servings: 6
Calories per serving: 179

8 eggs
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced - white and green parts
1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.

Whisk eggs, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and green onions and cook, stirring constantly, until the green onions are just wilted, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook, lifting the edges of the frittata to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath, until the bottom is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Dot the top of the frittata with goat cheese, transfer the pan to the oven and broil until puffy and lightly golden on top, 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest for about 3 minutes before serving. Serve hot or cold.

NOTES: Easy, delicious. Serve with a salad.

Burgers with Beet Relish and Cucumber Raita

Burgers with Beet Relish and Cucumber Raita
Servings: 4

For the burgers:
1 1/3 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns

For the beet relish:

8 oz cooked beet
3 Tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the cucumber raita:
1 large cucumber
Handful of mint leaves, chopped
3 - 4 Tbsp. plain yogurt
Lemon juice, to taste

Put the ground beef into a large bowl and add the paprika, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Mix with your hands, then shape into 4 patties. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes to set the shape.

Make the beet relish. Roughly chop the beet and place in a food processor along with the capers, parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped - you don't want to puree the beet. Season to taste and transfer to a bowl.

For the cucumber raita, peel the cucumber and quarter lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Roughly chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Add the chopped mint and toss with enough yogurt to bind. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a grill. Brush the burgers with olive oil and cook until medium, about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and let rest for a few minutes.

Serve the burgers on buns with beet relish and cucumber raita.

NOTES: We were looking for a different way to have burgers, and this was a home run. The beet relish is particularly excellent.

Marinated Halibut with Spiced Eggplant

Marinated Halibut with Spiced Eggplant
Servings: 4

For the fish:
4 skinless halibut fillets, about 6 ounces each
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric

For the eggplant:
3 large eggplants
5 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 c. golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 -3 Tbsp. lemon juice, to taste
Handful of torn basil leaves

Lay the fish in a shallow dish and drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle pepper and turmeric, and rub all over to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours or at least 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplants into 1 1/4-inch chunks, sprinkle with salt and let stand in a colander set over a bowl for 20 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant to remove the salt, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the chunks on a baking sheet with some black pepper and 2 - 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the eggplant chunks are soft.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan. Add the onions with a little salt and pepper and sweat over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until soft. Add the cumin and cook for a few more minutes until the onions are lightly caramelized. Take off the heat. When the eggplant is ready, add to the onions with the tomatoes, raisins, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

To cook the fish, heat a large nonstick skillet and pan-sear the fish for 2 minutes on each side - they should feel just firm when lightly pressed. Let rest for a minute or two while you make sure the eggplant is hot. Pile the eggplant onto plates and top with halibut fillets. Scatter the basil around each plate before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bluestem Gazpacho

Bluestem Gazpacho
Servings: 4

For the gazpacho:
4 red bell peppers, cored and finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 large cucumbers, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Juice of one lemon
3/4 c. olive oil
1 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper

For the foam:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 c. white grapes
1 c. blanched almonds
1/4 c. Champagne vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. heavy cream
Salt and pepper

To serve:
8 cherry tomatoes
8 seedless white grapes
1 radish, thinly sliced
Basil blossoms

For the gazpacho:
Line a colander with eight layers of cheesecloth (one sheet folded over 8 times) and set it over a large, deep bowl.

Combine all of the gazpacho ingredients in a blender and puree until the contents are liquefied.

Strain the puree through the cheesecloth-lined colander. A clear gazpacho liquid should strain to the bowl underneath. When most of the liquid is through, use the back of a ladle to push the pulp down to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the pulp.

Stored tightly covered in the fridge, the gazpacho will keep for 3 days.

For the foam:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until liquefied.

To serve:
Serve the gazpacho chilled with a dollop of foam and garnishes.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Bluestem Dijon Vinaigrette

Bluestem Dijon Vinaigrette
Servings: 1 1/2 c. of dressing

1/2 c. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. truffle oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about a month.

NOTES: We haven't tired this recipe yet.

Raw Beet, Dill and Mustard Seed Salad

Raw Beet, Dill and Mustard Seed Salad
Servings: about 6

6 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
18 oz. raw beets, grated in food processor
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. mustard seeds, toasted for a couple of minutes
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Mix beets and dill together in a bowl. Add lemon juice and olive oil, then mustard seeds and stir. Add in fresh parsley just before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sous Vide Whitefish with Gribiche and Poached Eggs

Sous Vide Whitefish with Gribiche and Poached Eggs
Adapted from Rick Moonen's Fish Without a Doubt
Servings: 4

For the gribiche:
1/2 cup diced tomato
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced baby dill pickles
2 tablespoons capers
3 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 green onion

For the fish:
4 (6- to- 7-ounce) pieces of whitefish (halibut, cod) fillet
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 Tbsp. butter cut into pieces
1 lemon, sliced into 1/8-inch slices

To finish:
2/3 cup minced onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby spinach
Coarse salt
4 large eggs, poached

For the gribiche:
Stir the tomato, shallots, pickles, capers, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Leave it at room temperature for 2 hours. (Or better, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

For the fish:
Preheat the Sous Vide Supreme to 132 degrees.

Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in vacuum-seal bags with lemon slices and butter, seal, and sous vide at 132 degrees for 20 minutes.

Just before serving, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray and add the onion. Saute, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the spinach and saute, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts. Season it with salt and scrape it into a strainer to drain.

Stir the tarragon, parsley, and scallion into the gribiche.

Make a bed of spinach on each of four dinner plates. Remove the fish from the bags and blot it dry with paper towels. Set it on the spinach and place a poached egg on top of each piece. Spoon some gribiche onto each egg and around the plates. Serve it now.

NOTES: We made several modifications to the original Rick Moonen recipe, which called for oil-poached halibut. Ours was still delicious, with less fat. Also, I couldn't find cornichons, so I used baby dill pickles. Again, delicious.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chocolate, Date & Walnut Spice Cookies

Chocolate, Date & Walnut Spice Cookies
Servings: 15 cookies

1 1/2 cups walnut halves and pieces
15 dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons sesame oil
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place walnuts, dates and chocolate in a food processor and process until they are coarsely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the entire mix starts to form a ball.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat . Scoop out the mix, about 1 tablespoon each, gently roll into a ball with your hands (it will form approx. 15 cookies), and place each on the lined tray and gently flatten them. Sprinkle with course sugar.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. After they have cooled, slowly peel out the parchment paper and handle the cookies with care.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jalapeno Salmon Burgers

Jalapeno Salmon Burgers
Adapted from Rick Moonen's Fish Without A Doubt
Servings: 4 burgers

For the burgers:
1 pound skinless wild salmon fillet, chilled in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours
1/3 c. finely diced red onion
1/2 c. finely diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced jalapeno pepper
2 Tbsp. mayo
2 tsp. garlic-chili paste (Sambal) or hot sauce
Salt and pepper
1 large egg white, beaten to soft peaks
1 tsp. coconut oil
2 avocodos
Juice of 2 limes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take the salmon out of the freezer and cut it into 1/3-inch dice. Sorry, but the food processor won’t work for this; you’ll just make mush.

Put the salmon in a medium bowl with the red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, mayo, and hot sauce. Season well with salt and pepper and fold together with a rubber spatula. Add the beaten egg white and fold it in gently but thoroughly. The burger mixture will be pretty loose.

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium high heat while your form the fish into 4 burgers. The easiest way to do this is on a plate; divide the mix into quarters and shape into burgers with the rubber spatula or moistened hands.

Slide the burgers into the skillet. Reshape them with the spatula if you need to, and cook for 1 minute, to set the bottoms.

Slip the skillet into the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops are opaque and milky. Remove from the oven, and let the burgers rest in the skillet for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, pit and chop the avocados. Coarsely mash with the lime juice and a big pinch of salt.

To serve, put each burger on a plate and divide the avocado among the burgers.

NOTES: Outstanding! One of our all-time favorite meals. Reheats well for lunch the next day, too.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Servings: 2 1/3 cups - for use in other recipes

9 garlic cloves
1/2 c. extra-virgin oil
4 1/3 c. onions, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 dried bay leaf
8 oz canned tomato puree
1/2 tsp. salt

Put the garlic into a tall jar or beaker, then process to a paste using a hand-held blender. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the garlic until browned.

Meanwhile, process the onion in the blender. Add to the pan with the garlic. Lower the heat, add the herbs, then fry, stirring frequently, until the onion has browned.

Add four-fifths of the tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add the remaining tomato, cook for 30 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

This will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 6 months.

NOTES: Takes a little time to make, but really easy and a fantastic addition to lots of recipes that call for tomato and garlic.