Friday, September 30, 2011

Delmonico Potatoes

Via Foodnetwork...

I used a 7" oval ceramic baker and it was a perfect amount for two people.  Essentially, I about halved the potatoes and reduced the cups to 2+ and the cheese to 4oz.  I used Guryere.  And for potatoes more of a Maine variety.  Oh, with my Thermador oven on the fritz I used my trusty Black and Decker toaster oven!

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 cups heavy cream
2 3/4 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.

Place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper, and stir well. Add the potatoes, adding more cream, if necessary, to completely cover the potatoes. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are barely fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a large spoon, transfer 1/3 of the potatoes with some of the cream to the prepared dish, forming an even layer on the bottom. Top with 1/3 of the cheese, and continue layering the potatoes and cheese, ending with cheese on top.

Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings

It was absolutely delish!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poulet, pomme et creme a la Normande

I have decided that this fall is going to be the Fall of The French.  I'm looking to make a bunch of delish French inspired food from classics by Julia to modern interpretations from Bourdain and from this book: "Around My French Kitchen" by Dorie Greenspan. 

This dish was very good.  Nice balanced flavor...smooth with the cream.

Chicken, Apples and Cream a la Normande

AP flour for dredging
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, without tenders at room temperature (I used only two, but kept all the other ingredients the same)
1-2T unsalted butter
1-2T olive oil
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 mushrooms, stemmed wiped clean,thinly sliced and cut crosswise in half.
1/3c chicken stock
2T Calvados, apple jack or apple brandy
2/3c heavy cream

Put flour on a plate, add salt and pep.  Dredge chicken and shake off access.

Put a large deep skillet over medium-high heat (I used a porcelain covered cast iron pot a make stews in) and add 1T of the butter and olive oil.  When the butter is melted, place the chicken in the pan.  If the pan is small, don't crowd, make a couple of batches.  After 3 minutes flip onto the other side for 3 minutes.

If you're low on butter and oil, add more and then place in the veggies, season with S&P and cook until the new additions are glossy from the butter and oil...cook for one minute more and pour in the broth.  When the broth bubbles, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Turn the heat up again and add the Calvados.  Boil until almost all evaporated.  Add the cream and keep on the heat on high cook until sauce reduced by 1/4.   If you had to remove the chicken from the pan, slide them back in to coat and serve immediately.

Took me about 20-30 minutes

Mis en place for the dish

On the plate - yummie!

Happy Eating!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grape Jelly.

I first remember making grape jelly under the age of five in the old kitchen at my parents house.  I remember lots of women all doing different processes.  There was the wood stove in the middle of the room and an old cast iron sink.  Kitchen cabinets with windows in the doors.

Someone was crushing grapes, boiling them, packing them into grape jelly jars...literally Welch's jelly jars.  There was wax for sealing the jars.  I remember tons of jars each year.

The source of the grapes was the grape arbor in the back yard.  A prized possession of the family.

Follow a grape jelly recipe from your favorite source.  Here are some shots of the process to help you along.  This is a two day process so plan ahead!

This is the first time we got grapes on our vines.  Also harvested at my parent's house.

A perfect bunch of Concord Grapes

Washed and ready to de-stem.  That colander is three times normal size

The mash. I think this is cool looking

100% pure grape juice...inedible.  This needs to hangout in the fridge overnight

These are the remnants of the grapes

Next day.  You need to strain out the crystals that formed overnight
Just before adding sugar.

I should have taken a pic of the rolling boil and then the canned product.  Hope this helps when you make jelly!

Happy eating!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner

We had a great long Sunday lunch this afternoon at the coming soon.  Being not very hungry I put together these crostini.  Heirloom tomatoes, basil, locally made mozerella and parmesan cheese.


Slice a loaf for french bread on the angle and toast under the broiler on high.  When they come out rub with cloves of garlic.

Top with tomatoes then the basil and the mozerella and sprinke with parm.  Drizzle olive oil and return to broiler until cheese gets bubbly or brown.

After...and so yummy!

Happy Eating!

Apple Cider

I've been away from the blog for a while.  But have been busy in the kitchen.  Today it was apple cider.  See, ever since it became a requirement to "pasteurize" apple cider sold commercially, we've taken to making our own...borrowing our friends Mary and John's industrial strength juicer.

We picked a 1/2 peck of assorted apples at the local apple tree farm about 2 miles away yesterday.  Here are a couple of shots from our morning adventure.  It's real easy and it tastes great!  Also, it will ferment if left long enough...we're trying to figure out how to make Apple Jack. 

I think we'll head back to the farm in October to see if we can pick up the "drops" for free...

Here's the setup.  From l-to-r.  Robbie, juicer, the fruit prep area (my job)

This is a shot of the monster.  Juice below, refuse into sink.
Finished product.

Happy Eating...and drinking!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm done with designer appliances

OK.  We remodeled our kitchen about 14 years ago.  Within the first three years, the Asko Washer died...but the matching dryer was fine, but no...we had to buy a whole no pair.  We picked Miele.  Since then...other than the sink from the HE washer...all is good. 

Then a year or two later, the entire refridge system of the Subzero had to be replaced.  About the same time the control panel of the Thermidor electric oven had to be replaced.

Now, my oven is on the fritz, again!  Only 12 years old, have already replaced the control panel once - I'll never buy a Thermidor appliance again!  Did I also mention that the Thermidor cooktop is also being a little freaky!  UGH!  GE or a wood stove the next time.  I've wasted so much money on these "precision" appliances.  I'm done.

I'm done with the highend appliances.  Which means I'll never get my AGA stove!  Screw 'em.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Better than Boullion / Finding a Butcher.

You need to have Better than Boullion in your fridge!  I found this a while back.  It really builds up stews/braises.  It's like glace that's even thicker.  Don't need much.  More economical than cans of broth.  This and water is better than the can.

Better than Boullion.  Beef, chicken...the usual suspects.  Saw this today at a little meat market (McKinnons) in Danvers and couldn't believe it was there. 

Oh, did I tell you I'm interview butchers for this fall as I'm going "French".  My favorite, Henry's Market knew what 'caul fat', 'pork fat' and 'pork belly' but had to order minimums that wouldn't be favorable for them.  Savenor's has everything I want, but they are in Cambridge...I've got to ask them if they deliver. 

The girl on the floor at McKinnons was not very helpful.  She should have called in one of the butchers.  I asked her about the pork fat and her answer was that they threw it out at the end of the just have to be here at the right time. That is not customer service.  She should have said:  How much do you want and we'll put it aside for you, just call ahead.  I did buy a couple of blade steaks that are braising right now.  ;)

Blade steaks becoming Smothered Steaks finished with heavy cream and some fresh lemon juice.

Get ready for fall!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I was jonesing for some homemade bread so Focaccia came into being.  It had taken me 40+ years to figure out how to proof yeast correctly!  LOL!  Have your instant read themometer with you 90-110 degrees is a lot cooler than I thought.  Was killing those little buggers. 

This one is with fresh rosemary from the yard, grated Parmsean cheese, black pepper.  Toppings can be whatever you have on hand.

Focaccia only gets one rise.

Happy Eating!

Pork Tenerloin with Tomatillos and Tomatoes

This was easy, but took some time to roast the veggies, but really worth it for the taste.

Serves 2
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1/2 Pork tenderloin sliced into approx 1/2" rounds - approximately eight.
5 Tomatillos, husk removed, rinsed and quartered
3 Tomatoes, quartered
Hand full of cilantro leaves or to taste.
1 Garlic clove, sliced
Salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil

In a sheet pan, line with aluminium foil.  Place tomatillos and tomatoes on the foil drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, move the veggies around to coat.  Cook for approx 30 minutes, checking 1/2 way through.

Dredge the tenderloins in seasoned flour shaking of excess.

In a medium sautee pan, on low, drizzle olive oil to coat bottom.  Add sliced garlic and sautee until just golden and discard.

Turn heat to medium and sautee tenderloins.  When just under done, add the veggies and stir to combine.  Sprinke with cilantro and serve.

The roasted veggies
In the pan
On the plate

Happy Eating!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Grab Bag

From-time-to-time I'll just group together some "shorts" or randoms.  Issue 1.

I love making Indian food!  I love how when the spices come togther it makes an entirely different flavor.  It's hard to describe.  It's almost magical how the Indians can pair spices.  Here's a pic of my spice mis-en-place for Kashmiri Chicken, a simple favorite.
Cardomom pods, telicherry pepper, cinnamon stick, paprika, cayenne pepper and a mix of garlic and ginger

Swiss Chard w/Pancetta

Swiss chard that you have chiffonade.  My method it to wash it, remove the stems and then put five or some pieces together lengthwise.  Roll up like a cigar on the short end.  Then "chiffonade" by cutting into approx. 1/2" pieces, unroll and put into cold water.

Onion - about one medium - diced.
Pancetta - at least two 1/4" slices - diced.  I'd double that with a large bunch

Sautee onion and pancetta together.  When the pancetta is browned, add the chard and cook for about 10 minutes until it's not bitter.

Serve immediately.

One of the best things the Italian have created...other than the Internet, Al Gore.

This thing separates the tomato pulp from the seeds and skins.  No need to poach the tomatoes to remove the skins.  Great for canning.  Put up 4 pints with last week's bounty from the farm.
You put the cut tomatoes in the hopper and turn.  Puree one way, skins the other.

Chicken Fricasee Anyone?

Here's a image from my attempt at Julia Child's Chicken Fricasee from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."  If you cook, and don't have a copy of that book...
Chicken, mushrooms and pearl onions in cream/egg sauce.

How can you go wrong?

What to do with all the Cherry Tomatoes?

We get a ton of cherry tomatoes from the CSA every year.  And this year Robbie convinced me to plant two in the back yard....

There are three quarts of very waterey cherries trying to be turned into sun dried took almost a day!

And last but not least....

Pic of the "girls"

I can't say "Happy Eating" after this pic.

Thanks people!