Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Classic Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

This recipe not only satisfies your cravings for a rich beef stew, but will warm your stomach with the course ground Dijon that imparts a depth of flavor. I served this fabulous dish over lightly buttered ribbon Pappardelle noodles. This dish is not only part of an impressive collection in The Essential New York Times Cookbook but will impress guests with its complexity and depth.

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
The Essential New York Times Cookbook

1/4 pound salt pork, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 shallots, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, as needed
1/2 cup Cognac
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons Pommery mustard
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
1/4 cup red wine.

Place salt pork in a Dutch oven or a large heavy kettle over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and discard. Raise heat, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.

If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and the crust comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Add carrots, and continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until slices are tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender.

Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.


Hanger Steak with Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce

Hanger steak is a flavorful cut of beef and when paired with a decadent red wine sauce, oyster and cremini mushrooms, alongside roasted brussel sprouts and oven roasted fingerling potatoes, this recipe can easily become a fantastical food legend.

Hanger Steak with Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce

by Bon Appetit

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2-pound hanger steak, trimmed, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
Coarsely cracked black pepper
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 6″ sprig rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Season steak with salt and cracked pepper. Add steak, garlic, and rosemary to skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest while preparing sauce.

Discard garlic and rosemary from skillet. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. fat. Add wine; cook, stirring up bits, until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Strain; return liquid to skillet. Stir in stock; bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; Whisk in 3 Tbsp. butter. Stir in mushrooms and 1 Tbsp. tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon mushroom mixture onto plates. Thinly slice steak; serve over mushrooms. Garnish with remaining 1 Tbsp. tarragon.

Autumn Panang Vegetable Curry

This delicious version of Panang Vegetable Curry highlights the bounty of fall’s produce, with delicious buttercup squash, cauliflower and carrots. I think adding the firm tofu is optional, but if someone didn’t care for tofu, you could easily just add an additional vegetable such as eggplant or zucchini. I served this hearty, perfectly spicy curry over jasmine rice and spinach.You can easily substitute store bought panang curry paste.

Panang Vegetable Curry
by Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Panang Curry Paste (see below)
2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
2 1/3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable stock
8 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves
2 dried chiles de árbol
1 4-lb. kabocha squash, cut into 8 wedges, seeded, or 2 acorn squash, quartered, seeded (I used buttercup squash)
1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lb.), cored, broken into 1″–2″ florets
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1/2″ slices
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2″ squares
1/4 cup liquid tamarind concentrate or 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste mixed with 2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 12-oz. package firm tofu, drained, patted dry, cut into 1″ cubes
Kosher salt
1/4 cup cup chopped peanuts
Steamed jasmine rice

Heat oil in a large heavy wide pot over medium heat. Add shallots, Panang Curry Paste, and ginger; stir until shallots begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup coconut milk; stir until browned, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, lime leaves, and chiles; stir to blend, scraping up browned bits.

Add kabocha squash to pot, set on sides so all pieces fit in a single layer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until squash is almost tender, 15–20 minutes. Remove squash from pot; stir in cauliflower, carrots, and peppers. Return squash to pot, placing on top of vegetables; cook until all vegetables are tender, 10–15 minutes. Transfer squash to a plate.

Stir tamarind concentrate, half of basil, fish sauce, and lime juice into pot; add tofu. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes, adding more stock if too thick. Season to taste with salt.

Divide curry among bowls; top each with 1 wedge of squash; sprinkle remaining basil and peanuts over. Serve curry with steamed jasmine rice.

Panang Curry Paste
by Bon Appetit

2 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed
2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, bottom 4″ only, tough outer layer discarded, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh (or frozen, thawed) galangal
6 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place dried chiles in a medium bowl; cover with hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain; place chiles and all remaining ingredients in a mini-processor; process until paste forms. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 months ahead. Store airtight in freezer.

Garlicky Spinach-Sausage Gratin

Diving further into my Cooking Light magazine I found myself drawn to the “Budget Cooking” section. Curious if I could make a delicious meal for only $2.42 a serving, I decided to try the Garlicky Spinach-Sausage Gratin. Not only was I surprised at the simplicity of this dish, but its heartiness is filling, yet the ingredients healthy. I adore spinach so I’m drawn to anything that contains the green leafy vegetable. This recipe is a harmonious gratin that is filling and comforting, welcoming fall’s dark, chilly nights. In case you’re wondering, yes this meal can feed four people for under $10. Not an easy feat in today’s tight-budgeted world.

Garlicky Spinach-Sausage Gratin

by Cooking Light

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
6 ounces pork sausage (I used 1 pound)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 ounces fresh spinach, trimmed
Cooking spray
2 ounces French bread baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450°.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sausage, salt, and pepper; sauté 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Remove mixture from pan; drain. Wipe pan.

Return sausage mixture to pan. Stir in flour; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine milk and eggs, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium. Stir milk mixture into sausage mixture; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Spoon spinach mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse until 1 cup coarse crumbs form. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Stir in crumbs, and sauté for 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Sprinkle crumbs over spinach mixture, and top with cheese. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until bubbly.

Vegetarian Moussaka

This recipe is inspired from the March 2011 issue for Vegetarian Moussaka. The original recipe called for uncooked bulgar but when I started making this recipe, I realized I had run out. So I substituted a brown rice with daikon seeds and chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. The creamy bechamel sauce was the star of this dish and I wish I had doubled the recipe. The result of this simple dish was a hearty, delicious meal that will even satisfy the ravenous carnivore within.

Vegetarian Moussaka

by Cooking Light

3 peeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds) (I used 2 large eggplants)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur (I precooked 1 cup of brown rice with daikon seeds)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups organic vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat broiler to high.

Brush eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Place half of eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bulgur; cook 3 minutes or until bulgur is lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetable broth, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and salt. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Add egg, stirring well with a whisk.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange half of eggplant in an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the bulgur mixture evenly over eggplant; arrange remaining eggplant over bulgur mixture. Top with milk mixture. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, and remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 475°. Return dish to oven for 4 minutes or until the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Dijon with Baby Dutch Potatoes and Crusty Bread

This recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes and imparts a complex flavor that tastes as though you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen. A perfect meal for weeknights or unexpected guests, everyone will be impressed by the refined Dijon crème fraîche tarragon sauce.

If you don’t have drumsticks on hand, chicken thighs work well too. I also prefer the sweetness of sautéed shallots to onions which I think really add more depth to the sauce. I also bought a local crème fraîche from a dairy and the difference between local and store bought was night and day. It was heavier, creamier and really helped to elevate this sauce to another level.

I also added roasted baby Dutch potatoes, placed the chicken thigh on top, and then ladled the sauce on top, serving crusty French bread on the side.

Chicken Dijon

Food and Wine Magazine

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 medium chicken drumsticks (about 3 pounds)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream

2 teaspoons chopped tarragon

Crusty bread, for serving

In a large skillet, toast the coriander seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and let cool. Crush the seeds coarsely with a pestle.

In the same skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and crushed coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the crème fraîche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat. Serve the chicken with crusty bread.

Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup

I recently received the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and was very impressed by his refined vegetarian food. My goal is not to necessarily become a vegetarian, but I think we could all benefit from a couple of meatless meals a week. Not only does it help save money, but also it rounds out a person’s diet, helping him/her feel healthier. This recipe is simple, delicious and makes wonderful leftovers (just add the bread at the last minute). It is packed full of flavor and has a hearty edge that makes it a perfect soup for the summer to fall transition.

The cookbook itself is vibrant and full of colorful pictures. The casual style writing and excellent instructions help to draw the reader in, and Mr. Ottolenghi makes vegetarian food sound and look delicious.

Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

By Yotam Ottolenghi

1 large onion, sliced

1 medium fennel, sliced

About ½ cup olive oil

1 large carrot, peeled, cut along the centre and sliced

3 sticks celery, sliced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup white wine

14 oz. Italian plum tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp picked fresh thyme leaves

2 tsp sugar

2 bay leaves

4-1/2 cups vegetable stock

Salt and black pepper

2 large slices stale sourdough bread (crust removed)

2-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

4 tbsp basil pesto
(see below)

1 handful fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the onion and fennel in a big pot, add three tablespoons of oil and sauté on medium heat for four minutes. Add the carrot and celery, and cook for four minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and their juices, herbs, sugar, bay, stock and season. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes.

While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands, toss with two tablespoons of oil and some salt, scatter in a roasting tray and bake for 10 minutes, until dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.

About 10 minutes before you want to serve, put the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin – you want quite a rough texture, with some chickpeas left whole and others completely mashed. Add the chickpeas to the soup and leave to simmer for five minutes. Finally, stir in the toasted bread, and cook for another five minutes.

Taste the soup, and add salt and pepper liberally. Pour the hot soup into shallow soup bowls, place a spoonful of pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous scattering of freshly shredded basil.


Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

By Yotam Ottolenghi

1 cup basil leaves

1/3 cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmesan

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup olive oil

Blend basil through garlic cloves in a food processor until well blended. Slowly add the olive oil.

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