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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

In the seemingly neverending quest to use up stuff from the freezer/fridge/pantry, I made this tart, and I finally used up that super expensive Dufours puff pastry!! Which I gotta say, was quite a bit better than the usual Pepperidge farm.

I used the following:

1 sheet puff pastry rolled out

6 oz sherried crimini mushrooms (sauteed mushrooms and thyme, deglazed pan with sherry)

a few tablespoons mascarpone

a few ounces shredded aged gouda

minced sage

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Roll out puff pastry – score edge 1/4 inch from edge. Layer with mascarpone, aged gouda, sherried mushrooms and sprinkle with sage. Throw in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Verdict: Pretty tasty!

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Sometimes, you need an easy weeknight meal. And this can be an easy weeknight meal with just a smidge of forethought.

This dish comes together in the time that it takes to boil pasta PROVIDED you have some roasted garlic. So just make sure you have that ready, m’kay?

How to roast garlic: preheat your oven to 350 degrees, take a head of garlic, lop off a little of the stem (not the root) end, put it in a piece of foil, coat it in oil, close up the foil tightly around the garlic and roast for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle – squeeze roasted garlic from each of the cloves.

Store: use right away, freeze or refrigerate in airtight container for up to a week tops.

Anyway, I had a craving for pasta with peas in a cream sauce and came across this one from Wolfgang Puck that sounded like it would fit the bill. He uses goat cheese, I use mascarpone. I like feta, but plain old goat cheese is a little too rank for my likings. Hence the swap.

Pasta with Peas and Prosciutto in Mascarpone Cream Sauce

Adapted from Wolfgang Puck
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
3 T olive oil
1/2 medium white onion (4 oz), chopped fine
2 T of roasted garlic
1.5 cups Chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 oz Mascarpone cheese (Puck uses goat cheese here)
1 T butter (Puck uses 4 T…I couldn’t do it)
1/2 t minced fresh oregano
1/2 t minced fresh thyme
12 oz pasta (Puck uses Penne)
8-10 oz shelled peas (Puck uses 8 oz, but a bag has 10 so…)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes cut into strips
1/4 cup prosciutto cut into strips
chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente.

2. While the pasta is cooking, in a large saute pan, heat the oil. Over medium heat, saute the onions until golden.

3. Stir in the garlic, stock, Parmesan, Mascarpone and butter. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly. Season with the oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan. Stir to coat.

5. Stir in the peas and tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Just before serving, stir in the prosciutto. Adjust seasonings. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley if desired.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Teriyaki chicken wings... er...thighs.

A few years back, my cooking club made these fab chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds and cilantro. I loved the flavor of the sauce but I do admit, I’m not all that keen on chicken wings. Gnawing on bones is so not my thing. So I’ve decided to make the recipe using chicken thighs instead (more meat, less gnawing) and served the whole shebang over rice.

But since I’m SOOO not in the mood to translate the recipe into EXACTLY what I made (and I alright, I don’t totally remember but I did follow it pretty closely), I’m putting the exact recipe down here. I halved it and used pineapple juice instead of grapefruit juice (alright, it was orange pineapple blend if you must ask!) and googled the chicken thigh cooking time.

Teriyaki Chicken Wings (Thighs)

From Tyler Florence
Serves 12 cocktail servings
Note: I halved this recipe when I made it
Ingredients:
Wings:
2 dozen chicken wings, about 3 1/4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry (I used thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned
Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Teriyaki Sauce:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup grapefruit juice (I used pineapple juice)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 fresh, hot red chile, halved
5 garlic cloves, halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a large knife

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil on them to prevent sticking. Lay the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin gets crispy and the wings are cooked through. NOTE: Chicken thighs will take longer – maybe 35-40 minutes. Use your thermometer and your best judgement!!
  4. Meanwhile, combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a large saucepan.
  5. Simmer over low heat and reduce until slightly thickened.
  6. Pour the sauce into a large bowl. Dump the wings into the bowl and toss to coat them with the sauce.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve hot.

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beef_bolognese

Wolfgang Puck's Pappardelle with Beef Bolognese. Restaurant taste, including all the fat.

So I put one of the techniques I learned in class to the test today by peeling and seeding five pounds of tomatoes for Wolfgang Puck’s Bolognese sauce.

Things:

1. So you know how I injured myself in class coring tomatoes? Yeah…I didn’t learn. Sliced the same finger. Doing the same damn thing. Christ…

2. You do not honestly want to know how bad food in restaurants is for you. Case in point – Puck’s bolgnese sauce. It is a heart attack on a platter. I couldn’t even bring myself to put in as much olive oil as it called for. I’m thinking the calorie count in this has to be over a thousand per serving. But it sure was tasty…

He sort of has a two-pronged approach for making this sauce, which was fine for me cause I made it over two days (well, three really – I tried making homemade pasta as well…without a pasta machine…but that’s a story for another time).

First you make the bolognese sauce on it’s own. And then you add it to a crap ton of oil, butter, herbs and chicken stock. I think you can probably do without part two, but I put the whole thing together as directed just to see what it was like. Cause somehow, my thighs don’t jiggle enough these days…

Another surprising things about this bolognese? It doesn’t use any milk. I’m sure that to purists, that means this doesn’t qualify as a bolognese. But hey, the recipe came from an Austrian celebrity chef, not an Italian. So being “purist” is probably not much of a concern for him.

Wolfgang Puck’s Beef Bolognese

From Pizza, Pasta and More!

Beef Bolognese part

NOTE: You can just make this part as a good sauce for pasta, or you can go all out and put the whole thing together (see Putting it all together section after Bolognese recipe)

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds coarsely ground chicken, preferably dark meat, or, 2 pounds of coarsely ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium white onion, (about 2 cups), trimmed and cut into small dice
2 medium carrots, (about 1 cup), trimmed, peeled, and cut into small dice
1 medium celery stalk, trimmed and cut into small dice
4 or 5 garlic cloves, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine
3 cups chicken stock, heated
Pinch or minced fresh oregano leaves
Pinch minced fresh thyme leaves
6 or 7 chopped fresh basil leaves
Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste

Steps:

  1. In a 10 or 12-inch saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the ground chicken or beef until lightly browned, breaking up the pieces as they cook. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the chicken or beef with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Set aside until needed.
  3. In the same saute pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Over medium heat, saute the onion, carrots and celery until they just start to color, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not brown.
  4. Add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste, and cook a few minutes longer.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then pour in the stock and reserved chicken and season with the oregano, thyme, and a little salt and pepper.
  7. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes. If the sauce has thickened too much or you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little more stock.
  8. Stir in the chopped basil and the red pepper flakes and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

NOTE: You could stop at this point and serve the sauce over pasta, or you could clog your arteries big time by doing the following –

Putting it all together:

4 T unsalted butter
6 T olive oil
2 cups Beef Bolognese sauce (from above)
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1/2 t minced fresh oregano leaves
12 oz pappardelle
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved fresh Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Steps:

  1. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large saute pan over medium flame, heat all of the butter and 4 T of the olive oil. Stir in the Beef Bolognese sauce, stock and oregano. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle until al dente and drain. Add to the sauce and stir to coat well.
  4. Stir in the parsley, grated Parmesan and remaining 2 T olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve – divide the pasta among 4 heated plates or bowls. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Sorry about the pix - it gets dark so early now and I broke my indoor lighting contraption. Just know this tastes better than it looks!

Sorry about the pix - it gets dark so early now and I broke my indoor lighting contraption. Just know this tastes better than it looks!

Thanks to our conversation in culinary school the other day, I FINALLY cracked open myMastering The Art of French Cooking book. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve never made a Julia Child recipe before. I am happy to report that it certainly won’t be the last.

Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon has seen a resurgence in popularity recently due to the book/movie Julie and Julia. It’s a cute book and a cute, albeit totally different, movie (due partly to the fact that it was based on both the Julie/Julia book and Julia’s My Life in France. I highly recommend both (well, all three).

This is good stuff. It’s pot roast on crack.

Or I guess, pot roast you wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve to company.

But first, a few things about Julia’s writing.

Her recipes are…a little vague. Meaning – she gives you leeway as the cook to use your own judgement. Thing is…most recipes that I am used to are written assuming I am a cooking novice. Directions are spelled out in such a way that I can’t mess it up. Julia kind of assumes I’m not a dummy…even though sometimes…

Case in point:

She tells you to crank up the oven to 450 degrees when you put the beef in. I thought, huh, that seems really really high. Then she says to make sure the beef is at just a simmer – adjusting the heat accordingly. I kind of don’t like that because I don’t like opening the oven door and releasing the heat.

I mean, just TELL US what temp you want it to cook at, ‘mkay?  And ok, I just sorta forgot to turn it down… So the heat remained at 450 degrees.

At the two hour mark, I thought MAYBE I should check on it.

THANK GOD I DID because it had already formed a black crust on top. Another twenty minutes and it would have been burned to a crisp. I had saved it just in time.

And oh my goodness. Wow. Rich. The sauce had thickened perfectly and coats your tongue. The meat was meltingly tender. I cannot tell you how good this was.

What else did I learn?

Two-buck Chuck is maybe a wine that doesn’t age well? Ha! Just an FYI. We don’t drink wine at our house so whenever we get a bottle, it sits around. I’m not sure, but I think we had this wine maybe 3 years? There was some heavy duty sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I honestly don’t think this is because it was “well aged”. Anyhoo, it did no harm. Maybe it added some good flavor?

Oh – and I screwed up the pearl onions part. I searched for frozen pearl onions because I did NOT want to go through the trouble of peeling the little buggers, but I could not find them. Alas, I got frustrated, the onions weren’t cooked correctly, yadda yadda.

And my final screw up? Due to the fact that I essentially overcooked the dish, there was no straining of the sauce at the end. Which maybe turned out to be a benefit since, like I said, I was frustrated by the end of my cooking expedition (note: maybe making Beef Bourguignon, Bolognese sauce and Sourdough bread all at the same time is A LITTLE overboard… so take what I say about being frustrated with a grain of salt).

Anyhoo, because the recipe is lengthy and I want to give you the full experience of Julia’s recipe writing (read: I am l.a.z.y), here’s a link to the recipe in Julia’s own words.

Julia Child’s Beef (Boeuf) Bourguignon

Beef (Boeuf) Bourguignon recipe

Brown-braised Onions (Oignons Glaces a la Brun)

Mushrooms sauteed in butter (Champignons Sautees au Beurre)

And finally, just an FYI – what kind of cuts of meat are appropriate for this dish? This is what Julia says:

(From Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
The better the meat, the better the stew. While cheaper and coarser cuts may be used, the following are most recommended. Count on 1 pound of boneless meat, trimmed of fat, for 2 people; 3 if the rest of the menu is large.
First choice: Rump Pot Roast—Pointe de Culotte, or Aiguillette de Rumstek
Other choices: Chuck Pot Roast—Paleron, or Macreuse à Pot-au-feu
Sirloin Tip—Tranche Grasse
Top Round—Tende de Tranche
Bottom Round—Gîte à la Noix

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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A lighter interpretation for gnocchi.

A lighter interpretation for gnocchi.

Ack! All you bloggers out there – ever make a dish and somehow forget about it in your stack of “to post” items? I have no idea how I forgot this one as it’s one of my all-time favorite dishes, but I found it yesterday in my blog photos folder.

And once again…a post from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table. My favorite cookbook evah.

This recipe is typical Goin fashion – a bit overachiever (shocking, I know). First, she wants you to make your own gnocchi. And yeah, making your own gnocchi is HIGHLY recommended. But sometimes on a weeknight, it’s just not going to happen. These are times when I cheat and call in reinforcements. She also wants you to shuck your own corn. Again, I cheat here too. Ok, AND she wants you to use Chanterelle mushrooms. I think they are kinda pricey so I cheat and use Portabellas.  But first…

What are gnocchi?

Gnocchi are Italian dumplings – little pillows of light dough – served in a manner similar to pasta. They are traditionally made with potatoes, but can also be formed from ricotta cheese, semolina, squash, um…I’m sure there are probably other options I don’t even know about. Purists like the potato variety, but I’m a convert to the ricotta kind because:

1. They are way WAY easier to make and

2. I think they are lighter. And that’s really the goal – to make them light.

But we aren’t going to talk about making them here. That’s for another day.

So, ok.  Back to the recipe. This is a dish that is rustic, yet impressive enough for a casual dinner party. And the sage thrown in towards the end makes your house smell just lovely. And you can be a lazy butt like me and make them with fresh/frozen gnocchi purchased at the store. Which just makes things easier during the week.

Gnocchi with Chanterelles, Sweet Corn and Sage Brown Butter

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I like Panko)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
7 T unsalted butter
3/4 pound chanterelles, cleaned (I use portabellas cause I am cheap)
1 T thyme leaves
1 T sliced sage leaves
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears – or do like I do and use a can of corn)
2/3 cup diced shallots
1 lb fresh gnocchi (I used dried -either way, cook thoroughly and set aside)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steps:
First – toast the breadcrumbs:
1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Toss breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Spread them on a baking sheet, and toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Set aside.

Then:
4. If the mushrooms are big, tear them into bite-size pieces (or chop).

5. Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes.

6.Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and heat another minute.

7. Swirl in 1 tablespoon butter, and when it foams, add the mushrooms, half the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a healthy pinch of pepper.

8. Saute the mushrooms about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and a little crispy.  Don’t be tempted to move them around in the pan too much in the beginning: let them sear a little before stirring.  Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a platter.

9. Return the pan to the stove, and heat on high for 1 minute.

10. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter to the pan, and cook a minute or two, until the butter starts to brown.

11. Add the sage, let it sizzle, and then add the corn, shallots, remaining thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.

12. Saute quickly, tossing the corn in the hot butter for about 2 minutes, until the corn is just tender.

13. Add the cooked gnocchi and toss well to coat with the corn and brown butter.

14. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the mushrooms.  Toss to combine, and heat the mushrooms through.

15. Add the parsley.

16. Arrange the gnocchi on a large platter, and shower with the breadcrumbs.  Grate over some parmesan cheese if you like.

Enjoy!
Ms. Pantry Raid

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Seriously using up the Asian condiments with this one!

Seriously using up the Asian condiments with this one!

AKA – a recipe to use up a TON of Asian condiments sitting neglected in your fridge.

Lately, I’ve had a thing for green beans. Not sure why. I mean, they are so average. Predictable. Every day. I think there is something about their crunch that is winning me over (yeah, I’m one of those people who BARELY cooks vegetables. “Crisp tender” is probably overcooked to me. “Crisp crisp” is more like it).

So enter Szechuan Green Beans. I will readily admit to never having had them at a restaurant. Supposedly, they are normally deep fried – which seems a sorry fate for my beloved green beans. Then you mix in some ground pork, sauces, a little heat and some chopped peanuts for more crunch. Um, what’s not to love here folks?

I FLIPPING LOVE THESE THINGS.

I came across a super flavorful recipe from Guy Fieri. But he deep fries them and I just can’t bring myself to doing it. Plus, he doesn’t include any pork. So that’s two strikes.

Then I came across a Cook’s Illustrated recipe and they just stir fry the little guys on high heat till they get nice and shriveled and burnt. I thought that would do nicely. But I like Guy’s sauce. A LOT. So that stays, but I use the method (and the pork!) in the Cooks Illustrated recipe.

Give it a try. It comes together fast (we are talking 20 minutes tops including prep) – so it’s perfect for weeknight cooking. I usually serve over rice to make a full meal.

Szechuan Green Beans

Adapted from Guy Fieri and Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 ounce hot chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or white wine
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 pound green beans, cleaned
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional – I usually forget this part)

Steps:
1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.

2.Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds.

3. Quickly add soy sauce, chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin, mirin, sesame oil and cilantro. Return green beans to pan. Toss to combine.

4. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped peanuts and parsley.

Enjoy!
Ms. Pantry Raid

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