Sunday, December 30, 2012

Morning Read

I spent the morning catching up on reading some of my favorite cooking many good recipes and articles taking me to faraway places!  Bacon candy, porchetta, two potato gratin...all sorts of things I need to try in the new year.  If you haven't already, pick up a couple of these and let your mind (and taste buds) wander around the world!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Creamy Mushroom and Swiss Soup

Food52 is having their "Your Best Beer Recipe" contest this week and I entered a "grown up" version of my favorite canned soup growing up as a kid.  I would add half a can of milk and half a can of water and then melt a slice of American cheese into it. Heaven!!  But this one's even better ...dried Porcini mushrooms re-hydrated in water, chicken broth, beer, fresh Shitake mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and a little heavy cream bring it all together.

See the full version here: 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chicken and Fennel Stew

No, I didn't win the Vegetable Gratin Contest, but thank you to all who took the time to vote.  I certainly appreciate your support.

The other night I took a couple of pounds of boneless chicken thighs and a couple of bulbs of fresh fennel and made this comforting winter stew.  The garlicky sauce, called rouille, is adapted from a Jacques Pepin technique adding potatoes to the sauce.

Makes about 6 servings

For the stew:
3 Tbl olive oil
1 large leek (white and light green only) sliced lengthwise and the crosswise into 1/4 inch half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed a bit
2 bulbs fresh fennel (save a few fronds for garnish) sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat and then cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1  14-15 ounce can of plum tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2  1/2 cups chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the leek and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes to soften the leek.  Add the crushed fennel seed and chicken pieces and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes.
Add the fennel slices and give everything a stir.  Crushing the tomatoes with your clean hands, add them to the pot along with the wine.
Bring the pot up to a boil and then add the chicken broth.  Simmer all for about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes become fork tender.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

For the rouille:
2 pieces of the cooked potato from the stew
3 to 4 Tbl of the stew's broth
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup mayo

Place the potatoes, broth and garlic into the bowl of a mini food processor and process until very smooth, remove to a bowl and stir in the mayo and cayenne.

To serve the stew: Ladle the stew into serving bowls, place a couple of spoonfuls of the rouille over and garnish with a few of those saved fennel fronds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegetable Gratin Finalist!

My recipe for Celery and Fennel Gratin is a finalist in the Whole Foods Market Cooking Contest for Your Best Vegetable Gratin!  I'm thrilled and excited and humbly ask you to go here and vote: 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lamb and Cabbage Stew

Use my recipe for Spinach and Lamb Stew and transform it into one with cabbage.  Just substitute 1/2 head of a medium cabbage, chopped, for the spinach and once it's in the stew, just simmer a little longer. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I came upon this beautiful head of cauliflower the other day and decided to try roasting it and then dress it with an aioli like mayo.  It was a great alternative to a warm potato salad without all those carbs.

For the roasted cauliflower:
1 nice size head of cauliflower, broken into 1 to 2 inch florets
5 to 6 Tbl olive oil
Salt and pepper

Spread the cauliflower florets on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and lightly salt and pepper. Toss everything together, spread the florets in an even layer and then roast in a pre heated 425F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring them around at about the 15 minute mark.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing:

1/2 cup mayo
1 large clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press or finely minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
2 Tbl olive oil
Whisk all the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Once the cauliflower is done, combine it with the dressing and stir in about 1/4 cup chopped parsley.  Serve warm

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rum Pudding with Pomegranate Raspberry Compote

This week at Food52, the contest theme is "Your Best Pomegranates".  I entered this rum pudding and certainly hope it makes the grade.  If not, I can still say it is yummy!
See the recipe here: 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Food52 Cookbook Vol. 2 is here!!

Remember way back when, when I won my first contest with Food52 for Best Soda Fountain Recipe? I made a homemade version of a Vernor's Float and titled it "A Tribute to Woody".  Well, my recipe is now published and appears in The Food52 Cookbook Volume 2.  I'm so excited, thankful  and grateful to Food52.  The book is beautiful and has some wonderful recipes from around the world.

See the recipe here:

And if you're interested, the book is available on