Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

I completely forgot to post Barefoot Bloggers’ recipe for Herb-Roasted Onions chosen by Kelly from Baking with the Boys. I dont’ particularly care for onions unless they are in something else, so I have to go off of my guinea pigs’ responses. Supposedly two-thumbs up.

Click here for the recipe.

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When I made this Beef Bourguignon a few days ago it was one of those disastrous days in the kitchen. We’ve all had them: you burn yourself (in my case my right and left hands in separate incidents); you spill stuff (a canister of sugar and then water on my camera which, by the grace of God survived); and the recipe you are making just doesn’t want to cooperate. Being the klutz I am the spills and burns came as no surprise, but having one of Ina Garten’s recipes fail on me was just down right shocking.

The directions called for a few minutes on the stove top before an hour long trip into a low oven. After the requisite 75 minutes, I removed the Bourguignon from the oven, and while I knew the cooking time was on the short-side for chuck, I was expecting moist, tender, melt-in-your mouth cubes of beef. After all, this was an Ina recipe. But instead of a dish with juicy chunks of beef in a complex and flavorful wine sauce, I was met with wine soup studded with tough, chewy, pieces of meat. It tasted like it was destined for the dog bowl. Could this be? Had one of Ina’s recipes failed me? I could not resign myself to such a harsh reality so I wrangled the pot back onto the stove top (with my right hand, which wasn’t burned quite as bad) and let it simmer over ultra low heat for another three hours. After a day where everything went wrong, I thought the Bourguignon was doomed. But no, three hours later, the beef was perfectly tender and delicious.

Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough water to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

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I was just dying to make macaroni and cheese last week. There is something about cold weather and having to retire my flip flops and gauzy tops (ok, they should have been retired long ago) in favor of fleece hoodies and drawstring sweats that makes me crave pasta, butter, and cheese. Unfortunately for me, I had some deliciously tempting but not-as-much-craved-for shrimp and beef in the fridge. Well, I did have two delicious meals, but really, I just couldn’t plow through those perishables quick enough to get to mac and cheese.

I dug my nose into Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and some of my favorite food blogs in search of a fail-proof recipe. Well, I was a little overwhelmed and confused. Everyone seems to have their own protocol. Cold roux with warm milk; warm milk with cold roux; warm roux with warm milk; to preboil or not preboil; Velveeta as a stabilizer; American as a stabilizer; the decisions were endless. I threw up my hands in disgust and did what I always do when I am overwhelmed – turn to Ina.

I could just sing Ina’s praises all day long. Her recipes are always simple, easy to follow, and delicious. This recipe was no different.

Mac and Cheese
Adapted from

  • Kosher salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat elbow pasta
  • 2 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 c. grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ c. Italian breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cream and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Swiss, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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I really hate brag, but someone should give me my own show. This black bean soup is just awesome flavored awesome. I know, black bean soup isn’t the sexiest meal around. It is humble, cheap, and earthy. Well, what’s wrong with that?


  • 1 lb. black beans, rinsed and soaked
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1 dried red California chili, split with seeds removed
  • ½ c. cilantro leaves
  • 1 c. frozen kernel corn
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • For garnish: sour cream, cheese, avocado, scallions


  1. In a large pot, simmer black beans 1½-2 hours in about 6-8 cups water with the lid tilted. Add water as needed so the beans stay covered.
  2. In a small sautee pan (once the beans are done), sautee the onion, carrots, and celery 2-3 minutes in olive oil.
  3. Add contents of sautee pan, chiles, split red California pepper (leave split, but seeded), tomato sauce, and spices to the black beans. Cover and cook over very low heat about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the whole chili pepper and add cilantro. Using an immersion blender, blend some of the soup to thicken it. Or you can transfer about half of the soup mixture to a blender or food processor and puree it. Stir in corn and cook about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with cheese, sour cream, scallions, avocado, etc.

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This is not your typical chicken salad. I have a strong aversion to mayonnaise and a natural predilection for anything with black beans and cilantro, so of course this is my go-to sandwich filler. Moist, plump, baked chicken is simply tossed with cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, avocado, corn, and black beans. After marrying the flavors in the fridge for a few hours you will have a flavorful, healthy, packed-full-of-fiber mixture to fill yesterday’s whole wheat pitas.


  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2 Tb. onion, minced
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ c. frozen kernel corn, thawed
  • ½ c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350.º Season chicken with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes, or until juices run clear. Cool, then cut into 1″ cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together chicken, corn, black beans, cilantro, onion, lime juice, salt and pepper.

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I have had this biscotti recipe bookmarked for a few weeks and after awakening with a hankering for chocolate and almonds, I thought today they perfect day to try it.

I followed the original recipe to a tee (with the exception of a dip in chocolate), and there was not one thing I would have changed. As the recipe’s original creator describes, her cookie is a “hole in one.” This biscotti combines the perfect proportions of orange, almonds, and vanilla. I debated adding a hint of almond extract but I restrained myself; too often I succumb to my temptations and the results fall into the “too much of a good thing” category. Without the almond extract there is still plenty of almond flavor and enough room to allow the other flavors to shine through. The aroma as I mixed the wet ingredients was heavenly and my whole home smelled of citrus and vanilla as the cookies had their first visit to the oven.

One hint I would like to add, that is not in the recipe, is that the cookies will not yet have their characteristic crunch when removed from the oven after the second bake. Don’t worry, be patient, they will harden a bit as they cool. I don’t want you to have a repeat of my Christmas five or so years ago, the first time I made biscotti. I thought they would be completely crunchy when removed from the oven and, lets just say, Santa lost a tooth and didn’t leave me much under the tree.

Anyhow, back to these biscotti. After the second bake I was unable to exercise restraint (I told you I have a problem with this), and melted up some Ghirardelli. About one-third of the biscotti were left naked; another third were given just a drizzle of chocolate; and another third was dipped cut-side down in a puddle of chocolate. This was not too much of a good thing, in fact, it was a rather delectable finishing touch.

This is an absolutely wonderful biscotti recipe I am sure I will make again and again. Please click here to see the original recipe (redirects to Smitten Kitchen).

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The rich golden chicken stock I made yesterday was calling my name, begging me to make something wonderful with it. I have been eying Ina Garten’s recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup for a few weeks and figured this would be just the dish worthy of yesterday’s project. The result was a light yet satisfying soup with just the perfect amount spice. I didn’t simmer the tortillas in the broth as the recipe required (following directions has never been my strength). Instead, I put them in the bottom of each bowl and then also garnished the soup with the homemade chips on top (homemade as in I made the tortillas and the chips… keep reading). For added flavor, I topped the soup with chopped cilantro, and just a pinch of cheddar cheese.

Read on for photos and recipes


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Rainy Day Project

Yesterday was a dark, dreary, and rainy day. This could only mean one thing, it was time to take that picked clean chicken carcass out of my freezer and make some stock. (Sorry about the above picture, there’s nothing sexy about a chicken carcass).

And yes, homemade chicken stock is really as important as they say it is. Sure I have occasionally cheated with Better Than Bouillon (salty, but tastier than canned or cubed), but nothing compares to making your own. Alton Brown has a good recipe for stock here, but I usually wing it.

Simply drop a chicken carcass in a pot, (I prefer to use chicken carcasses over a raw bird – less waste and you spend less time skimming fat off the top), add some quartered onions, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, fresh thyme, and salt. Add just enough water to cover the carcass and veggies, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for several hours. Skim the fat off the top every now and again.

Once the stock is nice and golden it is done. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth and refrigerate. After refrigerating a little more fat will solidify on top – skim that off. It will keep in the freezer for a couple months.

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Tomorrow will be my first post with the Barefoot Bloggers, but I couldn’t resist blogging about this Ina recipe as well. I will admit, I was fairly skeptical of the dish. Unless its barbecued or slathered in hoisin sauce, I usually pass on pork (with the obvious exception the bacon/ham/prosciutto food group). However, this week pork was on sale at the market and I couldn’t stomach $5/lb chicken breasts so I figured I’d give it a whirl. I am glad I did. The result was pork with a salty and tangy mustard crust, which paired beautifully with the sweet, tender caramelized vegetables.

The recipe is originally from Barefoot Contessa Parties!, and is reproduced below as written. I did, however, make a few alterations. I just about halved the amount of vegetables to feed 4 people and still had some leftovers. If you reduce the vegetables, don’t forget to reduce the oil and butter. I also found the cooking time to be off (I have found this with several Ina recipes, I wonder if anyone else has had the same experience). The internal temperature was nowhere near 138° after 30 minutes. Furthermore, I am convinced I will be one of the .0001 percent of people who develop trichinosis so I wanted to cook the pork to 160.° I did not watch the clock as well as I should have since I was using my handy dandy Williams Sonoma digital thermometer with voice alert (cruise control for cooking), but I think it took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
  • 8 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced diagonally
  • 10 small potatoes (red or white-skinned), cut in quarters
  • 2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads exactly 138 degrees. Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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My post about pizza was only two entries ago, but my second attempt warranted its own post. Instead of baking two thick, bready pizzas in the oven, I was able to thinly stretch that same amount of dough into four thin-crust rounds to be cooked on the grill. Two pizzas were left simple with just homemade sauce and mozzarella. The third pizza I topped with goat cheese, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and grilled chicken. The fourth pizza was topped with sliced black olives, pepperocini, and chicken. Grilling the pizzas was quicker than oven baking and yielded a crispier crust.

The homemade pizza sauce is simply tomato paste, onions, wine, and spices. See the recipe here

Delicious caramelized onions

Before putting the dough on the grill, brush it with a bit of olive oil. Cook over high heat about 5 minutes, flip, and then top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Cook covered another 5minutes.

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