Monday, March 2, 2009

Staying Home All Day?

If so, then this might be the recipe for you! This bolognese sauce, from Ann Burrell (really quirky new chef on the Food Network) took about 5 and a half hours from beginning to end. Was it worth it? I think so. This sauce had such a nice depth of flavor, plus anything with this much meat pleases the husband (I've been known to go days, and possibly even weeks w/out cooking meat for dinner). The great thing, is that it makes enough sauce for 2 boxes of pasta (I used a 13.5 oz box of whole grain spaghetti), so you can freeze half of it for another time if you want to!

The most important thing to note before trying this dish, which you'd definitely remember if you watch the Ms. Burrell make this on her Food Network show, is to be incredibly patient during the browning of the vegetables and then the browning of the meat. This is such an important step - so important in fact that Ann writes it into the recipe in all caps! Don't be tempted to rush through this like I usually am!!

James' Favorite

The meal presented here is probably one of James' all time favorite dishes, and one of mine too. I got this recipe from his mother, who used to make it frequently when we were dating. While it's not the healthiest recipe around (I close my eyes when I'm adding the butter), it's definitely worth the extra calories! We also had this dish at our wedding!

Chicken Francaise
Recipe courtesy my mother in law, Betty


  • 8 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup eggs, beaten (5 or 6 eggs)
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. butter
Wine Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Lightly pound chicken breasts to flatten. Dust chicken in flour and set aside. Make the batter by beating eggs briskly, then beating in lemon juice, parsley salt, wine, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and parmesan cheese. Coat skillet (non-stick works best) with olive oil and butter and place over medium high heat. Dip floured chicken pieces in batter, coat generously and place in heated skillet. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and drain excess fat. Make wine sauce. Melt butter in the pan, then stir in the wine and lemon juice. Return chicken to the pan, spooning the wine sauce over all and cook for about one minute longer. Serve Immediately (I also topped with some extra chopped parsley).

I served this with mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Onion Soup

This recipe was surprisingly tasty considering it's simplicity. It will definitely be repeated at our dinner table!

Onion Soup with Fontina and Thyme

Recipe courtesy Giada Di Laurentiis and Food Network

  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1 t fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 slices ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 4 oz sliced fontina cheese
  • 4 oven-proof ramekins


In a medium, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and broth. Simmer, uncovered, until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
Divide the soup between the 4 ovenproof ramekins. Divide the cubed bread among the ramekins. Top each with slices of fontina cheese. Place under the broiler, until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

2008 was definitely a rocky year for a number of reasons, but I still count myself lucky to be married to a wonderful man, have a job that I enjoy, and great friends and family around! It is now 2009 and I resolve to be better about updating this blog! I certainly haven't stopped cooking, but when school started in September I hit the ground running and didn't have the patience to keep photographing my creations each night. What better time to start back up again than with a delicious New Years meal!

My husband loves steak, but I really don't and since I'm the cook of the family, we really never eat it. So for our special dinner I knew steak was a necessary treat. We balanced that out with one of my favorite seafood dishes - baked stuffed shrimp. For sides we had Wild Mushroom Risotto and sauteed asparagus. Delicious! **Note: Please excuse the quality of my photographs. I didn't want our food to get cold!

Pan Seared Rib Eye
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

  • 1 boneless rib eye steak, 1 1/2-inch thick
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes. Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate.

Mushroom Risotto

Recipe courtesty Tyler Florence


  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
  • Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

Recipe courtesy Gourmet/Epicurious


  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (about 1/4 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery ribs
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound scallops, chopped, or lump crabmeat, picked over
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 32 Ritz crackers (about two thirds of a 12-ounce package), crushed into coarse crumbs
  • 18 jumbo shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled, leaving tail and connecting shell segment intact
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a large baking dish.

In a large heavy skillet cook mushrooms, onion, celery, garlic, and parsley in butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add scallops or crabmeat and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in broth and cracker crumbs and remove skillet from heat.

Butterfly shrimp by cutting lengthwise along inside curve, almost completely through. Split open shrimp and devein. Mound about 2 tablespoons stuffing onto each shrimp, pressing gently, and put shrimp, stuffed sides up, in baking dish. Melt butter and drizzle over shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and bake 20 minutes, or until stuffing is golden.

Garnish shrimp with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.