Archive for January 2011

Chicken and Sweet Leek Pie


  • 1 Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5.Put your bacon in a large pan on a medium heat and add the thyme leaves. Add a lug of olive oil and the butter and let it fry for a few minutes. Add all of the leeks and fry them for about 3 minutes so they are well coated in the butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then pop the lid on, turn down the heat and let them cook away gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to ensure they don’t catch.
  • 2 When the leeks are ready, add the turkey and stir (if you have left over stuffing, throw that in too).Add the flour, mix it in well, then pour in the stock and stir again. Add the creme fraiche turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Taste and check the seasoning, then turn off the heat. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large empty pan to let the wonderful gravy from the mixture drip into the pan.
  • 3 Get a deep baking dish 22 x 30 cm. Roll out the pastry so that it’s double the size of the dish. Crumble the chestnuts over half of the pastry then tear a few of the sage leaves over the chestnuts. Fold the other half over, and then roll it out carefully to fit your dish.
  • 4 Spoon turkey mixture into pie dish (I add a little of the drained gravy just spooned gently over the top-but not too much).Lay the pastry on top and tuck the ends under. Gently score the pastry diagonally with a knife, then brush with beaten egg.
  • 5 Bake for 35-40 minutes. Heat up the strained off gravy and serve with the pie ( I thicken it very slightly with a mixture of water and cornflour).

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    Add a comment January 23, 2011

    Mussels with Basil Breadcrumbs


    • 1 1/2 cups coarse bread crumbs, toasted
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 6 sun-dried tomato halves in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 lbs mussels, scrubbed clean

    Combine the bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl and set aside.

    Place mussels in dutch oven with 1 cup of white wine and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Place cover on and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the mussels open.  Place them in the bowl with the bread crumb mixture and toss together.

    Add a comment January 23, 2011

    Thataway Cafe

    I was in Greenwich over the weekend to meet up with a friend for lunch.  We decided to dine at Thataway Cafe,, which is at the bottom of the Avenue.  I have not eaten there in at least 10 years and found the food (especially dessert) to be very good.  The restaurant had a very relaxed environment and you werent rushed out the door, after finishing your meal.  The restaurant offered a great list of specials and I ended up with the Grouper Wrap.  The sandwich also came with a cup of Butternut Squash Soup, which was delicious.  I think my favorite part of the meal was the Tollhouse Cookie Pie.  I seemed to have no problem inhaling the entire thing.

    Add a comment January 18, 2011

    Chicken Bouillabaisse


    • 1 (4 to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
    • Good olive oil
    • 1 large head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
    • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
    • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
    • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
    • 1 1/2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 3 tablespoons Pernod
    • 1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
    • Rouille, for serving, recipe follows
    • Crusty French bread, for serving


    Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces in batches until nicely browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.

    Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, saffron, fennel seeds, tomato puree, chicken stock, white wine, Pernod, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is very tender, stirring occasionally.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    Carefully pour the sauce into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree until smooth. Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and add the sliced potatoes and browned chicken pieces with their juices. Stir carefully.

    Cover the pot and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done.

    **This was a good dish, but I found that it took longer to cook the chicken and I also used an oven temperature of 375 degrees. 

    Add a comment January 18, 2011

    Potato Leek Soup


    2 Tbsp butter
    3 leeks (or 1 leek and 1 large chopped onion), white and light green parts sliced thin
    3 medium potatoes, diced
    2 cups chicken broth
    2 cups water
    1/2 cup heavy cream

    -Saute the leeks (and onion, if applicable) and potatoes in butter for 5 minutes in a stock pot or dutch oven
    -Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil
    -Once boiling, turn down to simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked
    -Add cream (this is also optional, but to me it makes a world of difference)

    **I did not have any Pernod, but the soup was wonderful without it. 

    Add a comment January 18, 2011

    Spicy Black Bean Cakes


    • 7 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 small onion (5 to 6 ounces), cut into small dice
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence or Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
    • Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and quickly rinsed
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons hot sauce


    Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

    Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate, and stir in the Essence. Set aside.

    In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans well with the back of a fork — the mixture should be relatively smooth, with no whole beans remaining. Stir in the cooled onion mixture, cilantro, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce and mix well. Divide the mixture into 8 evenly sized patties (about 1/3 cup each).

    Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dust the patties in the seasoned flour mixture and carefully transfer them to the hot skillet (the cakes will be delicate). Cook the cakes until golden brown on both sides and heated through, about 2 minutes per side.

    If necessary, season with more salt. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

    Add a comment January 14, 2011

    Tuscan White Beans


    • 1 pound dried white cannellini beans (or about 4 15.8-ounce cans)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 4 cups chopped fennel (stalks, fronds, and core removed), about 2 large
    • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
    • 1 to 2 cups vegetable stock or no-chicken chicken stock (just chicken stock, if you’re not going meatless)
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

    1. The night before, soak the beans in a large bowl with water to cover by at least 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    2. The next day, drain the beans, rinse well, and place them in a large stockpot. Add twice as much water as you have beans, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the beans are very tender. Skim off any foam that accumulates.

    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

    4. Add the fennel and carrots, and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

    5. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more.

    6. Drain the beans, and add them to the vegetables.

    7. Add 1 cup of the stock, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes, until creamy. (If the beans are still hard after 15 minutes, add another 1/2 to 1 cup of stock, and continue to cook until the beans reach your desired consistency. Longer tends to be better.)

    8. Stir in the Pecorino, season to taste, and serve hot.

    Add a comment January 14, 2011

    White Pizzas with Arugula


    For the dough:

    • 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
    • 2 packages dry yeast
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Good olive oil
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
    • Kosher salt
    • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    For the topping:

    • 1 1/2 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
    • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
    • 11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

    For the vinaigrette:

    • 1/2 cup good olive oil
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 ounces baby arugula
    • 1 lemon, sliced


    Mix the dough.

    Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

     Knead by hand.

    When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.

     Let it rise.

    Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

     Make garlic oil.

    Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.

     Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

     Portion the dough.

    Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

     Stretch the dough.

    Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

     Top the dough.

    Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

     Make the vinaigrette.

    Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

     Add the greens.

    When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

     TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.

     TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.

    TIP To make sure yeast is still “alive,” or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it’s active.

    Add a comment January 13, 2011

    Steakhouse Steaks


    • 2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel
    • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

    Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

    When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

    Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you’re actually testing the middle of the steak.)

    Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

    Add a comment January 12, 2011

    Filet Mignon

    Last night, I cooked filet mignon for the first time.  I found a recipe in the new Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make.  The key seems to be searing the beef on very high heat first, then placing into the oven to finish cooking.  The recipe calls for fleur de sel, but I used kosher salt and it still tasted wonderful.  I also roasted some fingerling potatoes and it turned out to be a great winter meal.

    Add a comment January 12, 2011






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