Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pholourie with Spicy Mango Chutney

My Culinary Arts students cooked up a Caribbean feast, including Caribbean style rice & beansCaribbean jerk chicken with tropical fruit, and these pholouries with mango chutney. They did a great job -- and my World Literature students, who were in the middle of our Caribbean Literature unit -- benefited deliciously from the C.A. students' efforts!

Pholourie Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dried yellow split peas (soaked overnight and drained)
pinch of saffron threads
pinch of turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
½ Tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp active dry yeast
½ tsp baking powder
½ - ¾ cup hot water

Pholourie Directions
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until a smooth and thick batter is formed. Drop the batter into a preheated deep-fryer by the teaspoon. Fry until golden brown and crispy-approx. 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place onto absorbent paper. Season with salt and serve with the spicy mango chutney.

Spicy Mango Chutney Ingredients
1 hard mango- peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
1 whole hot pepper

Spicy Mango Chutney Directions
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the chili pepper. Allow to cool and serve with pholourie.

Caribbean Rice & Beans

My Culinary Arts students cooked up a Caribbean feast, including these Caribbean style rice & beans using a recipe from the Food Network. We also made Caribbean jerk chicken with tropical fruit, and pholouries with mango chutney. They did a great job -- and my World Literature students, who were in the middle of our Caribbean Literature unit -- benefited deliciously from the C.A. students' efforts!

Caribbean Jerk Marinade

I've made it often before and taken it to family dinners. So, at my brother's request, I'm posting it now. I could give you a 'from scratch' recipe (sugar, salt, onion, red pepper flakes, allspice, thyme, turmeric...) but there are good, premixed jerk seasonings available in the spice aisle at most supermarkets. There are also prepared jerk marinades (liquid, in jars/bottles). My favorite--and what I've brought to family dinners--is McCormick brand dry spice, but others will work too.  I mix it up like this:

2 Tbls McCormick Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
1 Tbls oil
2 Tbls vinegar
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbls soy sauce

1 to 2  lbs of chicken, pork, beef or seafood
1 or 2 15-oz cans of Dole Tropical Mixed Fruit
     (or fresh, diced tropical fruits of your choice)

The meat can be diced or left to cook in whole portions. Place meat in a single layer in a 9x13 casserole dish. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over meat. This can be cooked immediately, but ideally it should marinate 2-4 hours before cooking.

Just before cooking, add tropical fruits. Adding the juice (optional) stretches the marinade, and dilutes and sweetens it. To include flavor without thinning, add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to the cold juice from each can of tropical fruit before pouring it over the meat.

Cover with foil; cook (350°) until the meat is cooked through. (45 min to an hour? depends on thickness of the meat). If marinade/juice is too thin – or there’s too much liquid – uncover for all or part of the cooking time.

My Culinary Arts students cooked up a Caribbean feast (for my World Literature students, when we were in our Caribbean Literature unit)...including jerk chicken with tropical fruit. We diced the chicken -- it can serve more people in small pieces -- but I often leave the chicken as whole breasts, thighs, or tenders.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Grilled Beef Anticuchos - Anticuchos de Carne

Anticuchos are a popular party food in South America, especially in Peru. The most traditional Peruvian anticuchos are made with beef heart, but they can also be made with chicken or steak. Anticuchos are seasoned with garlic, vinegar, cumin and aji panca, a mild red chile pepper with a smoky flavor common in Peruvian cooking. You can often find a dried aji panca or jarred aji panca paste in specialty stores or Latin food markets. Anticuchos are best if they are marinated overnight.

Makes about 12 skewers

12 cloves of garlic
1 Tbls+ a pinch cumin
¼ C mild chile pepper paste (aji panca, if available)
½ C vinegar, divided
1 Tbls salt
2 tsp pepper
½ C vegetable oil
2-3 lbs steak (sirloin, tenderloin)
~  wooden skewers

Place skewers skewers in water to soak.
Cut beef into 2 inch chunks and place in a nonreactive bowl or dish.
Mash the garlic into a paste. Add a little water if necessary to make a paste.

Make the marinade: In a bowl, mix the crushed garlic, ¼ C of vinegar, chile pepper paste, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour marinade over beef and mix well. Marinate beef overnight in refrigerator (or, if short on time, 1 hour at room temperature).

Place beef on skewers (4-5 pieces per skewer). Make a basting mixture of ½ C vegetable oil, remaining vinegar, and a pinch of cumin. Grill skewers for about 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Baste beef several times during cooking.

Peruvian Causa

Peruvian Causa is so named because when Peru was at war -- fighting for independence from Spain -- women would make this layered potato dish, and sell it in the streets to raise money for 'the cause' and support their husbands/soldiers. The recipe below (from uses canned tuna. That may not be the most traditional form of fish/seafood, but it's easy to get and worked for our purposes in Culinary Arts.

The recipe indicates a layer of hard boiled egg slices on 'top' before inverting the causa, so they end up on the bottom. We liked it better when the egg slices -- and a sprinkling of cilantro, common in other causa recipes -- were added after the causa was inverted so that they were visible on top.

8 russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup vegetable oil, or as needed
2 tablespoons minced aji amarillo
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 (5 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1 small red onion, diced small
1/2 cup mayonnaise, divided
2 avocados, cut into thin strips
3 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced
1.Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
2.Mash potatoes with a ricer or hand mixer until smooth. Gradually stir in oil until potatoes come together; add aji amarillo, salt, and pepper. Cool potato mixture in the refrigerator, about 20 minutes.
3.Stir tuna, onion, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise together in a bowl.
4.Line a casserole dish with plastic wrap. Spread 1/2 the potato mixture on the bottom of the dish. Spread 2 tablespoons mayonnaise over the potatoes, spread the tuna mixture over the mayonnaise, and place the avocado slices in a single layer on top of the tuna mixture. Spread the remaining 1/2 of potato mixture over the avocados, and top with remaining 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. Place sliced eggs over the top. Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
5.Invert casserole dish onto a serving dish or baking sheet to remove potato casserole from dish. Remove plastic wrap and cut casserole into squares.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mashed Cauliflower

Potatoes aren't the only vegetable that's good mashed... and a little cheese (or a lot?!) and garlic add great flavor.

1 head cauliflower
1-2 cloves garlic
½ C grated cheese
¼-½ C chicken broth, milk, cream or other liquid
salt & pepper (cayenne adds a nice kick)

The garlic can be raw or you can sautée it first. (Or in a pinch, just use garlic powder.) Just about any cheese will work - I've used cheddar, colby, jack, parmesan...but there are plenty of other flavors worth trying.

Remove the leaves and toughest core of cauliflower, cut or separate into florets. Steam or boil for about 10 minutes until tender. Mash by hand or process in blender or food processor, slowly adding broth (or other liquid) until just smooth and creamy. (Don't overwork it.) Add garlic and cheese(s) -- depending on the cheese you use, your mashed cauliflower can have a stretchy-stringy-ness to it; parmesan doesn't do this much. Reserve a little cheese for garnishing.

Leftovers? Fry them up like pancakes..!  Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pickled Peppers

Good on sandwiches and salads...

4 C peppers (or chiles)
1½ C vinegar (white or apple cider)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T black peppercorns
2 T kosher/coarse salt
4 T sugar
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp coriander seed

Slice peppers into thin rings; pack into a 1 quart jar (or 2 pint jars).
Bring vinegar, 1 cup water, and remaining ingredients to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour hot brine over pickles; seal jars.
Let cool, then refrigerate.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

My Mom gave me this recipe (from People magazine) as a request for upcoming family birthday celebrations....with some modifications: No one in my family wants coffee or coconut. Peanut oil substitutes easily for the coconut; water will do for the coffee, though other subtle flavors could be introduced with a liquid if desired.

1½ C flour
1½ C sugar
¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ C milk
¼ C sour cream
2 Tbls canola oil
1 Tbls coconut oil
3½ tsp vanilla, divided
¾ C warm coffee
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C creamy peanut butter
9 Tbls powdered sugar (that's ½ C and 1 Tbls)
½ C heavy cream
5 C chocolate buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat 3 8" round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray; line bottoms with parchment paper and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients in bowl of a mixer. Add eggs, milk, sour cream, canola oil, coconut oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat at low speed until blended. Gradually add coffee; mix until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Remove parchment.

Beat cream cheese and peanut butter until creamy. Add ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat slowly until blended.

In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into peanut butter mixture until smooth.

Spread half peanut butter mixture between each of the layers of cake. Frost with prepared chocolate frosting.

Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 3 days.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding with Ginger-Mango Coulis

Serves approximately 30

Rice Pudding Ingredients:
12 oz jasmine rice
6 C whole milk
1 orange peel, remove in one long strip
15 oz sugar
3¾ C heavy cream, room temperature
3 C coconut milk, unsweetened
1½ Tbls vanilla
non-stick cookingspray, as needed

Rinse rice in strainer, then parboil in water 5 minutes. Drain and resesrve.

Heat milk to scalding; add orange peel, sugar, and rice. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly until rice is tender. Remove from heat, discard orange peel.

Add cream and coconut milk; continue to cook over very low heat for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

Lightly coat serving dishes with non-stick spray; ladle in pudding. Let cool until firm (6-8 hours)

Ginger-Mango Coulis Ingredients:
3 oz water
3 oz sugar
2 Tbls ginger root, finely minced
½ pint mango purée
1 tsp arrowroot powder, as needed

Place water, ginger and sugar in saucepan. Whisk until well combined. Bring mixture to full roiling boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat; combine with fruit puree. Check thickness, adjust with arrowroot slurry if needed; sauce will thicken as it cools. Cool completely.

Yield: 1 cup

Pineapple Fried Rice

1 fresh pineapple
8 Tbls vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound bay shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound ham, brunoise cut
6 oz sweet corn kernels
6 oz peas
2 Thai chilis, finely diced
4 Tbls ginger, finely diced
1½ quarts cooked jasmine rice, cooled
4 Tbls soy sauce (more if needed)
4 oz cashews, roasted, salted and roughly chopped
cilantro leaves, whole, for garnish

Preheat the oven for 350˚. Cut the pineapple in half, lengthways. Scoop the flesh out of both halves using a spoon and paring knife, leaving two shells with ½" thick flesh remaining. Cut the pineapple flesh into small cubes, discarding the core.

Wrap pineapple leaves in foil to prevent burning. Place shells on baking tray; bake for 10-15 minutes. (This seals in juice and prevents it leaking into fried rice when it's placed in shells.

Heat a small amount of oil in a walk over medium heat. Pour in egg and swirl pan to coat with egg, forming a think omelette. Cook util egg is set and slightly brown on underside, about 2 minutes. Flip to brown the other side. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Roll up and cut into thin strips.

Heat 1 Tbls oil in wok. Stir fry garlic over medium heat until light brown. Add shrimp, ham, corn, peas, chili pepper and ginger. Stir fry 2 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Add cooked rice, soy sauce, and pineapple; toss over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Gently fold in egg strips. Taste; adjust seasoning if/as needed.

Fill pineapple halves with fried rice; sprinkle with cashews and garnish with cilantro.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 lbs chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken

Marinade Ingredients:
6 oz peanut oil
1½ stalks lemongrass, minced
1½ Tbls garlic, minced
¾ tsp crushed red pepper
1½ Tbls curry powder
1½ Tbls honey
3 oz fish sauce

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
3 Tbls peanut oil
1½ Tbls garlic, minced
4½ oz onion, minced
¾  tsp chili peppers, crushed
1½ kaffir lime leaves
¾  tsp curry powder
1½ stalks lemongrass, sliced
3 oz coconut milk
1½ tsp tamarind paste
1½ Tbls fish sauce
1½ Tbls dark brown sugar
3 Tbls lemon juice
3 oz peanut butter
chicken stock

Remove tendons from chicken tenders, or cut chicken breasts into strips.

Combine ingredients for marinade; marinate meat for at least 2 and up to 12 hours. Pre-soak skewers in water.

Make peanut sauce: Heat oil. Add garlic, onion, chili pepper, lime leaf, curry powder and lemon grass; stir fry. Add coconut milk, milk, tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice and peanut butter; simmer 15-20 minutes. Adjust consistency with chicken stock.

Thread chicken onto skewers; grill skewers just before serving. Serve with spicy peanut sauce.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chocolate Beet Cake

I was in at the local farmers' market recently with a friend. One of the vegetable stands was selling beets, had samples of beet hummus available, and was giving out copies of the hummus recipe. It was...okay. But we spoke to the gal working the stand; she mentioned a chocolate-beet cake recipe.
I found a couple, played with them, combining and tweaking here and there (using some real chocolate, not just cocoa powder) and came up with this. Delicious! You can hardly taste the beets, but they do add texture and a lot of moisture to the cake. I drizzled a simple ganache over it and dusted it with kosher salt, but it's moist enough it's fine on its own...or simply dusted with a little powdered sugar just to 'finish' it.

5 oz  chocolate (I used dark)
2 C cooked beets, pureed
1 tsp vanilla
1 C butter, softened
1½ C brown sugar
3 eggs
1¾ flour
4 Tbls cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375˚.

Melt the chocolate with ¼ C butter; combine with pureed beets and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the remaining butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in chocolate beet mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients.

Scoop or pour better into a fluted tube pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan about 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack or serving plate to cool completely.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pickled Beets (spiced)

1 lb beets
¼ C sugar
½ tsp pickling salt
2/3 C apple cider vinegar
1+ tsp whole cloves
1 3" cinnamon stick

Wash, trim and large dice beets.

Combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to simmer and add beets, cooking until fork tender.

Beets should be stored in the pickling brine - refrigerate in a covered container to serve within a week or two; can in sterilized containers for longer storage.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thai Peanut Sauce

¾ C chunky peanut butter
1 C coconut milk
½ C agave nectar (or honey)
¼ C soy sauce
crushed red pepper flakes

In a sauce pan, blend first 4 ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. (I used between ¼ and ½ tsp of each to start with, then you can go from there to how spicy you desire.) Heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Serve with skewered meats and vegetables, with pad Thai noodles, etc.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Knackerli (a.k.a. chocolate bark)

There's a recipe -- and the name "knackerli"--  in the book The Art of the Chocolatier by Ewald Notter that was the basis for the results pictured here, made at this year's Summer Institute at Bellingham Technical College (they have a great culinary program). But if you've ever made peppermint bark around Christmas time, you've got the basic idea, which I've summarized here.

chocolate - dark, milk or white
dried fruits

Pretty much any nuts will work. Since I have allergies, I'm personally limited to peanuts, but you can use any combination. Pistachios can add a bit of color. The same goes with the fruit...lots of options here; pick your favorites: raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried cherries, chopped dried mango....candied orange peel or candied ginger also work great.

Chop any of the fruits and nuts that are oversized.

Temper the chocolate.* Cool the chocolate to its working temperature (basic guide would be 84-86° for white, 86-88° for milk, and 88-90° for dark), and work quickly to make your knackerli.

You can pipe the chocolate into discs, oblong bars, crescents, or just about any shape you want. Use a pastry bag (or if you don't have one, put the melted chocolate in a heavy duty zip lock plastic bag and snip off a small corner). Or...pour and spread the chocolate in a thin layer over a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Sprinkle generously with chopped dried fruits and nuts. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or until set. If you made a large sheet of bark, break it into rough pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location.

* Tempering: Beyond just melting the chocolate, tempering produces a nice glossy finish, a good 'snap' to your cooled chocolates, and prevents the discoloration or "bloom" that can mar your chocolate creations. As a general rule, heat the chocolate until it reaches 110-115°, or 120° for dark chocolate. Then cool the chocolate to it's working temperature (see above) and work fairly quickly to make your creations while the chocolate is still in range.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolate Cremeux (Chocolate Mousse)

From Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen.

5 oz bittersweet chocolate*
3 egg yolks
4 oz sugar**
1 C milk
1 C heavy cream

* For a thicker cremeux, one that can be used as a filling for a chocolate tart, increase the chocolate to 7 oz. Also, if I make this recipe again, I'll likely opt for unsweetened chocolate; with the added sugar it was plenty sweet for my taste.
** If you don't have a kitchen scale, 1 oz of sugar is a scant 2 Tbls.

Chop chocolate into small pieces; place in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl, whip until light.

Combine milk and cream. Scald over a boiling water bath, or bring to just below boiling in a saucepan over direct heat, stirring continuously. Very gradually, pour hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture while stirring regularly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon or until it reaches 180°.

Strain this mixture --  a crème anglaise -- into the bowl of chocolate. Mix, or stir, at low speed until chocolate is melted and blended with the crème anglaise. Stir gently, taking care not to make bubbles. Spoon or pour into serving dishes. Chill until set.

Serving suggestions: layer or garnish with fresh berries,
whipped cream, and/or chocolate curls.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Red Velvet (White Chocolate Chip) Cookies

2¼ C flour
3 T cocoa powder
1½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ C butter, softened to room temperature
1/3  C shortening
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp white vinegar
1½ tsp vanilla
1 T red food coloring
1½ C white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°

Combine flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg and egg yolk. Next, add vinegar, vanilla and food coloring, mixing until just combined.

Add dry ingredients, mixing well. Stir in half the white chocolate chips.

Scoop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Press a few extra white chocolate chips on top of each cookie, flattening cookies somewhat as you do so.

Bake 8 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool.

M&M Cookies

1½ C brown sugar
¾ C white sugar
1½ C shortening
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
3¾ C flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
3 C mini M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350°

Mix sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.

Add flour, soda and salt all at once. Mix until just combined. Add M&Ms and mix until well distributed.

Roll into balls, approximately 1½”. Press extra M&Ms on top, flattening cookie balls slightly with wooden spoon (or your palm).

Bake 9-11 minutes.

Yield: 24-30 cookies, depending on size.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Black Bottom Cupcakes

This has been a favorites for years -- from my aunt Judy, who has since passed away.
They always remind me of her. :)

Cupcake Ingredients:
1½ C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp soda
¼ C cocoa powder
1 C water
1/3 C oil
1 Tbls vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 C sugar
1/8  tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare Filling: Place cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt in a bowl; beat until creamy. Stir in chips. Set aside.

Prepare cake batter: Combine dry ingredients. Stir in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla until well blended. Fill 18 cupcake liners equally with batter -- about ½ full. (Do NOT overfill...with the filling, these cupcakes won't 'crown' above the liner, they'll spill out over the muffin tins when baking.) :( Top each with a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese filling mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Frost if desired, but with the filling these cupcakes are moist and delicious on their own...or dusted with powdered sugar just for a more 'finished' presentation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sauce Tomate (Tomato Sauce)

Sauce Tomate (Tomato Sauce) is one of the five French "mother sauces" that are the foundation of hundreds of other sauces. As is, it's pretty basic; but it can be seasoned to make an Italian marinara sauce, Spanish tomato sauce, a Creole sauce, and many other tomato based sauces.

2-3 oz salt pork (like bacon, but not smoked; the fattier the better!)
2 T butter
1 C mirepoix (½ C chopped onion, ¼ C each chopped carrot and celery)
6 T flour
5 lbs (about 10 C) tomatoes, chopped*
1 qt white veal (or vegetable) stock
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

* Fresh is always ideal, but using canned tomatoes works too

Render salt pork.  (How to “render” the salt pork: Place salt pork in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of water, cover with a lid over medium heat for 3-6 minutes, watch closely – don’t let it burn. The salt pork should nearly melt away…leaving the fat/grease. Water keeps it from browning or burning.)

Add butter, carrots and onions; sweat over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender and fragrant.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, and cook an additional few minutes, stirring continually. (This is a blond roux.) 

Combine roux and tomatoes in a stock pot; continue to cook until tomatoes are soft and have released liquid. (If using canned tomatoes, all you really need to do is bring the mixture to a simmer.) Add stock and garlic clove. Cover pot with lid and simmer 1½ to 2 hours.

Add sugar (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes; not to make it sweet), salt and pepper.

Variations: If a smooth tomato sauce is desired, purée with an immersion blender. If a cream sauce tomate is desired, 1-2 cups of heavy cream can be added.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

1 C grated cheddar cheese
½ tsp mustard powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
½ C whole milk, hot


In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring béchamel to a simmer.

Add cheddar cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.

Add some or all of the milk to achieve the desired consistency. Serve immediately.

 Serve over pasta (macaroni & cheese), vegetables, with fries, corn chips, etc.

Mornay (Gruyère & Parmesan cheese) Sauce

2 oz grated Gruyère cheese
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 T butter
¼ C whole milk, hot


In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat béchamel to a simmer.

 Add Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and stir until cheese has melted.

Remove from heat, stir in butter.

 Add some or all of the milk to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve over pasta, fish, poultry, vegetables, etc.


Béchamel sauce is one of the five French "mother sauces" that are the foundation of hundreds of other sauces. Béchamel is the base for Mornay and other cheese sauces, crème sauce, Soubise (onion sauce), and many others. It's used in lasagnas and moussaka and lots of other fish, seafood and poultry dishes.

5 T butter
¼ C sifted flour
4 C milk
1 t salt
pinch white pepper
Optional: ¼ t ground (or freshly grated) nutmeg

In medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until just melted. Don’t let butter brown as that will affect the flavor.

Add the flour and stir or whisk until smooth; continue cooking and stirring for 3 - 4 minutes until the mixture is a very light, golden, sandy color. This is the roux.

In separate saucepan, heat milk just to a simmer, be careful not to boil or scald the milk. Add the hot milk to the roux, one cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth.

Bring the sauce to a slow boil; cook an additional 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, if desired. Cover until ready to use.

* Nutmeg is great for flavor, but does spoil the pure 'white' appearance/presentation of the sauce.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Beef & Vegetable Stew with Red Wine & Thyme

There's a lot of flexibility with this and any soup or stew recipe. I just kind of put in what I had available...trying to use up the end of a bottle of red wine, and half a green pepper. Add and adjust to suit your taste...or whatever you have on hand! These amounts made enough to feed about six.

1 sweet onion, large diced
1 tsp thyme 
¼+ C butter
32 oz beef stock
1 lb beef stew meat
1½ C red wine (cabernet, or any red wine)
1 lb potatoes, large diced 
½ lb carrots, large diced 
½ green pepper, large diced 
¼ C heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

After dicing the vegetables, sauté and caramelize the onions in a couple tablespoons of butter. (I actually had the grease from bacon fried the previous day, but any fat would work.) Meanwhile, heat beef stock in a stock pot. When the onions are nearly ready, add the thyme and continue to sauté until fragrant; then add to stock pot. If you like (and I do!), brown the potatoes and carrots first; if not, add them directly to the stock pot.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown in a hot pan with  a couple tablespoons of butter (or bacon fat...); add to the stock pot. Use the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits left in the pan, then add to the stock pot.

If you like a thicker stew, melt some additional butter (or bacon fat) in the sauté pan, and use roughly an equal amount of flour to make a roux; add some of the beef stock and whisk to make a smooth gravy...then add it all to the stock pot to thicken the broth. I had about ¼ cup of heavy cream leftover from another I added that too.

Simmer until potatoes and carrots are thoroughly cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.