Ingredient: chicken stock

I’m Going to Julia’s!

There’s that icebreaker question, “If you could invite any 3 people, dead or alive, for dinner; who would it be?” My answer is simple. Julia Child, Julia Child and Julia Child. I even know what I’d make, my Osso Bucco and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi.

You may think that Julia is the obvious choice for a chef but there is more to my choice than just that. Cooking is a lifetime sport, you never stop learning or playing with your food. There is always room for improvement or a new technique. Julia herself was well into her forties before she enrolled in the Cordon bleu. Which is why she is one of my biggest inspirations.

I am often asked how long I’ve been cooking. I can honestly say I’ve been cooking since I was 2 years old. I finally formalized my education when I was 23. The last few years of writing this blog, with your support and feedback has really fueled my desire to continue my education and to educate you.

Recently, I was given an incredible opportunity to travel to La Pitchoune, Julia and Paul Child’s home in the south of France. I will be going with a small group of women writers and an amazing mentor, for a 10-day retreat. I can’t wait! I feel like a kid anticipating Disneyland. I know when I come back I will have so much more to share with you.

I want to share those recipes with you that I would have cooked for Julia, had I been given the chance. I hope I am posting often from France too, but this should keep you day dreaming while I’m away. As Julia would say “Bon Appétit”!

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Osso Buco
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Osso Buco
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Osso Buco
Gnocchi Verde
Servings:
Instructions
Osso Bucco
  1. Rub veal shanks lightly with olive oil , season with salt & pepper and chopped herbs.
  2. Dust each shank shank with seasoned flour and set aside.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy skillet and heat. Do not let the oil smoke. Brown shanks on all sides. You may add small amounts of oil if needed, be careful not to overdo it.
  4. Add the wine, tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  5. Cover pan and reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Test for tenderness. Fork should pierce meat easily.
  7. Sauce should be thick. If not , remove meat and hold, let sauce reduce uncovered over low heat.
Gnocchi Verde
  1. Remove stems and veins of spinach and wash thoroughly. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch spinach for 1 minute and then drop in ice water to stop cooking. Squeeze ALL moisture out and let air dry. You want spinach to be bone dry. Chop spinach fine.
  2. Saute onion and pancetta in butter. Add spinach and saute until dry. Cool until cool to touch.
  3. Mix together remaining ingredients and fold all together.
  4. Flour your hands and form 1" - 2" balls. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a damp towel. You can hold here for up to 6 hours.
  5. When you are ready to cook: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil oil and salt the water. Add the gnocchi a few at a time and cook until puffed and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. They should rise to the surface. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to remove, GENTLY, from water.
  6. Place in a buttered dish in a single layer. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan.
  7. Broil for 5 minutes until just browned. They are great served as is or with your favorite tomato sauce.
Recipe Notes
  • You can chop and slice the fresh vegetables by hand. I use a food processor and the chopping and slicing blades. This save a lot of time.
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Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged

My daughter had mononucleosis the last two weeks of the school year.  This certainly caused a lot of stress in our home.  I spent quite a lot of time on the phone with teachers and counselors trying to get extensions, exceptions and retakes arranged.  As a result, I was given the unique task of videotaping my daughter’s culinary I final.  You may think, “How fun!”, but it was harder than I thought it would be.

I have taught both my daughters to cook, but not in a formal, culinary, way.  It was always, watching me cook, or making some “family” recipe or something special. I have never approached teaching my daughters to cook  from an instructor perspective, but now I was being asked to watch another teachers work.  It was eye opening to say the least.

I do not want to admonish the teacher, at all.  I have never taught 40 kids at one time. Nor do I ever want to. I spent the hour of videotaping, biting  my tongue.  I wanted to rescue her from mistakes.  I held my breath, terrified that she would cut her finger off, as she moved the knife towards her, rather than away.  Did she wash her hands as often as she should have? Did she change cutting boards? Is that dice bite sized? It was daunting!

#2

By the end of this week, she had received her grade and ended the year with an B in the class (good thing!) and a high B on the final.  It just goes to show that, as parents, we are much harder on our kids.  I am proud of the work my daughter did.

The recipe she cooked was for Bengali Chicken Curry with Rice.  This project was originally assigned as a group project.  Since my daughter wasn’t in class, the recipe was written without her.  When I tasted the recipe, I thought it was good, but could use a little refinement. The photo is of the original recipe, then I offer my changes.  Happy cooking and remember to practice your knife skills!

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Bengali Chicken Curry with Rice
Print Recipe
This recipe comes from West Bengal and is a colorful and flavorful one pot meal. Be sure to dice all your vegetables to the same bite size. It will make it easier for your diners to enjoy a perfect biteful!
Servings
2 dinner entrees
Servings
2 dinner entrees
Bengali Chicken Curry with Rice
Print Recipe
This recipe comes from West Bengal and is a colorful and flavorful one pot meal. Be sure to dice all your vegetables to the same bite size. It will make it easier for your diners to enjoy a perfect biteful!
Servings
2 dinner entrees
Servings
2 dinner entrees
Ingredients
Servings: dinner entrees
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet, over a medium high heat; add the onions and bell pepper. Cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and continue stirring. Reduce heat to medium flame and add tomatoes. Stir and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season with cayenne, curry, garam masala, turmeric and cumin. Stir in reserved tomato juices.
  4. Add the chicken, potates, and stock; Simmer and stir occasionally until potatoes are tender and chicken is no longer pink, about 20 minutes.
  5. Spoon Chicken mixture over cooked rice and garnish with cilantro.
  6. Serve Hot
Recipe Notes

There should be plenty of juices that have thickened from the potatoes.

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New Orleans or N’awlins

Oh my goodness! Over Memorial Day weekend while you were barbecuing, crab boiling or just laying back, I was eating my way through New Orleans!  It was oh so yummy.  lucky you I have taken pictures, reviewed everything and even dug out an old recipe to share with you.  So sit back, loosen your waist band and start reading.

I started the weekend at John Besh’s restaurant Luke. We were able to book the back for our party and the eating ensued. We started with fresh P&J oysters, the crispy brussels sprouts, flamenkuchen and the crab hush puppies. While I thought they were all delicious, the “hush puppies” were more fritters than hush puppies. For dinner we had the Luke Burger, Shrimp and Grits, the Crab BLT, and the market fish.  The grits were amazing!  They were just the right amount of creamy with enough texture to feel the “grit” of the corn. The desserts were okay but to be honest we were so full, it didn’t matter.

Red Fish Meuniere, with crabmeat
Red Fish Meuniere, with crabmeat
Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits
Soft Shell Crab BLT
Soft Shell Crab BLT

The next day we went for a airboat ride and saw the alligators so it seemed only right that we went to “Daisy Dukes” and had an alligator po’ boy.

Wally Gator
Wally Gator

It was a good thing we did because we were having hotel banquet food.  It was okay as hotel food goes, but we were left unsatisfied at the end of the night.  It was late so of course we headed over to Cafe du Monde for beignets.  It turned out to be the great powdered sugar war of 2015!  Beignets are absolutely heavenly! A couple of tips: eat the beignets hot, they lose something as they cool. Have the chicory coffee.  You can get it hot or iced and do the cafe au lait.  Delicious!

Jambalaya
Print Recipe
A Louisiana Creole dish that came from the Spanish and French influences in New Orleans. It is very similar to a Spanish Paella.
Servings
11 cups
Servings
11 cups
Jambalaya
Print Recipe
A Louisiana Creole dish that came from the Spanish and French influences in New Orleans. It is very similar to a Spanish Paella.
Servings
11 cups
Servings
11 cups
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. Combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt the chicken fat over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups onions, 1 cup of celery,and 3/4 cup green bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be a rich dark brown, but not burnt.
  3. Add the hame, sausage and remaining onion, celery and green bell peppers. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato sauce, bay leaves, seasoning mix and Tabasco. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn the heat to high, fold in rice until well mixed. Add the stock, cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Return to medium heat and cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread and cold beer. Enjoy!
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