Posts Tagged 'kosher salt'

Boeuf Bourguignon

If you’ve seen the movie Julie & Julia, you know that Julia Child’s rendition of this classic French dish is what got her first book deal.  When her soon-to-be-editor, tested this recipe from Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking manuscript, she new she had found something special. The rest is history.

Boeuf Bourguignon (which translates into Beef Burgundy – as in the wine) is basically just a beef stew in a red wine sauce.  Slow cooking a normally tough cut transforms the beef into a delicious fork-tender delight. Serve on it’s on , over rice, or with potatoes.

This version is from the kitchen of another talented chef, my sister Susan.


Boeuf Bourguignon

4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 large onion)
1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots (about 5 small carrots)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5-ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
1 bottle (750 ml) good red wine (preferably Pinot Noir or Burgundy)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups fresh button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole white pearl onions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In 2 batches as to not over-crowd the pot, cook the meat until nicely browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a plate.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy and the fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, red wine, and chicken stock and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and place in the oven. Cook until the beef is fork tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and place on the stove. Discard the bay leaves.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté until softened and golden, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked mushrooms and frozen onions to the stew. Bring the stew back to a boil and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

Time Saving Tip: You can use fresh pearl onions in this recipe, but they need to be peeled and cooked first. Frozen onions are equally delicious and save you 15 to 20 minutes of preparation time.

Do Ahead: This stew can be made a day or two in advance. In fact, I think it may be even better the second day. Just reheat the stew on your stove top over medium-low heat.

Freezes Well.

Lemon Salmon

If you have ever been nervous about cooking fish, this is the recipe to help you overcome your fear.

Despite popular belief, cooking fish is probably one of the easiest kitchen skills.  When armed with a few basic facts, you will be cooking fish like a pro.

Smell it!

When buying fish, ask to smell it.  The fish should smell more like the ocean than dead fish. If it smells overly fishy, that means it is past its prime and will taste overly fishy too.

Don’t overcook it!

Fish should be treated like red meat.  It is best served at medium-temperature. Overcooking will give your fish a strong fishy taste and odor.

I like to remove my fish from the heat (whether oven, stove-top, or grill) just before I think it’s done and let it finishing cooking in the hot pan.

Marinate it!

Marinating fish will add moisture and flavor. However, keep in mind that fishes are delicate.  Fish should never be marinated no longer than 1 hour.

In this recipe, baking the salmon in the marinade helps the fish stay tender and moist.

Ready, Set, Fish!


Lemon Salmon

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 boneless salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a shallow non-reactive baking dish whisk together the lemon juice, white wine, and oil. Scatter the shallots, lemon slices, and thyme sprigs evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the salmon filets, flesh side down, into the pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 385 degrees.

Remove the pan from the fridge, and let it stand until the fish is to room temperature, about 10 minutes on your kitchen counter. Turn the fish over, so the flesh side is up and the skin side is down, and place it back in the marinade. Generously season the fish with salt and pepper. Bake the fish in the marinade for 30 minutes, or until cooked to desired temperature.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

This lemony marinade is also delicious with other types of light and flaky fish (such as tilapia, orange roughy, and halibut) as well as shellfish (scallops and shrimp). The cooking times may vary slightly depending on thickness.

When marinating anything in an acid such as lemon juice, wine, or vinegar be sure to use a non-reactive container. Cookware made from glass, ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel are all non-reactive and safe to use. (Plastic storage bags are also a great, mess-free option.) Avoid cookware made from aluminum or copper when marinating because those metals will react with the marinade and give your food a metallic taste.

Sweet Potato Fries

I never met a fry I didn’t like! 

Crinkle, shoestring, thick-cut, curly…doesn’t matter.  I just can’t resist a French fried potato.

But deep-frying potatoes every day would not only be extremely unhealthy…but would also make a big mess to clean up! So I have decided to leave the deep-fried variety to an occasional indulgence when eating out. (Let those restaurateurs deal with the messy fryer!)

Instead, I have turned to oven-baked fries. It is so much easier, less mess, and equally delicious.

I just slice up the potatoes in the shape I want (thin, thick, wedges,…), toss them in oil and a little seasoning, and then throw them in the oven.  That simple!

For an interesting twist, I often use sweet potatoes in lieu of the traditional Russet potato. 

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite sides…but I often don’t have the time to wait over an hour for them to cook.  This is a quick an easy way to enjoy this delicious spud in half the time.   As a side bonus, sweet potatoes are healthier than their white counterparts.  Despite their sweeter flavor, they actually rank lower on the glycemic index as well as offer more vitamins and fiber.

Be sure to generously season your fries with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  I throw fresh thyme sprigs over the top to impart a little “sophistication” and flavor to my fries. Rosemary would also be a delicious substitute.


Baked Sweet Potato Fries

5 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 395 degrees.

To make the fries, peel the potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the slices lengthwise into strips about 1/2 inch think.

Toss the potatoes with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Evenly spread the fries out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Scatter the thyme over the fries. Bake until the fries are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Back-to-the-Basics: The fresh thyme adds a little “sophistication” to these fries. Feel free to omit the herbs or to substitute baking potatoes.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Do you have a crock pot?  I didn’t think I did. Then one day last year I decided to clean out my pantry.  And low and behold, what did I find tucked at the very back of the top shelf?  A brand-spankin’ new crock pot.

I thought “Now where did this come from?”  As I was scratching my head in puzzlement, I opened the lid and lying inside was a gift card from Goldsmith’s Department Store (which by the way has been a Macy’s for a long, long time). The enclosure read “Best Wishes! Happy Cooking!” It seems this long-forgotten crock pot had been a wedding present.  It had been tucked away waiting patiently to be used for over 11 (Yes…I said 11!) years!

Neither my parents nor my grandparents had a crock pot so I had never used one before.  It was one of those wedding gifts where I appreciated the thought…but I didn’t really have a use for it.  (Now that I have discovered it, I am so glad that I didn’t gift it to Goodwill like I had that huge Japanese rice cooker I had gotten.)

As chance would happen, my sister had recently been telling me about this great beef stew she had made.  So I decided to give it a try in my “new” crock pot.  Before heading off to work that morning, I browned the meat and threw all the ingredients in.  With a bit of skepticism, I turned the pot on and headed out the door.  I thought “This is too easy to be true.  Will this taste good?  Will it be done when I get home?”

When I opened my back door hours later, I was hit by the delicious aroma of wine, tomatoes and garlic.  I rushed over to the pot and lifted the lid.  I was thrilled to discover a simmering pot of juicy and tender beef stew.  The beef literally fell apart at the touch and the tomatoes, wine and beef had rendered a delicious sauce.  I though “Wow!  Paul is going to think I spent all day in the kitchen!”

All that was left for me to do was boil a pot of rice.  (Heck…maybe I should have kept that Japanese rice cooker!) And since I had used a little wine to deglaze my browning pan, I also had almost a full bottle open to enjoy with my “no-effort” gourmet dinner!

So, here is a recipe that will turn even the most skeptical slow cooker skeptic into a crock pot enthusiast!


P.S.: I am still trying to build up my crock pot recipe repertoire, so feel free to share your favorite slow cooker recipes!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

This is one of my favorite work-day dishes. I place everything in the crock pot before I head off to work…and when I come home, I have a delicious home-cooked meal waiting to be served.

4 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup good red wine, such as a Merlot or Shiraz
1 can (28-ounce) whole tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 bay leaves

Generously season the meat with salt and pepper.

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot. Working in two batches so as not to over crowd the pan, cook the meat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Place the meat in a crock pot. Pour the red wine into the skillet, scraping the brown bits off the bottom, to deglaze the pan. Pour the wine mixture into the crock pot.

Add the whole tomatoes to the crock pot, breaking them up with a spoon or fork. Add the garlic, carrots, and the bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: If you do not have a crock pot, you can still make this dish. Instead of putting the ingredients into a crock pot, place them in a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot with a lid and bake in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours.

Freezes well

Mac-n-Cheese with a Twist

Here’s to 2010!

Happy New Year!  Don’t know about you…but I am so excited about 2010.  It’s going to be a big year for me with a new book, some exciting new food adventures on the horizon … and this new blog!

As with all my cooking…my recipes are about getting good food on the table simply.  My posts will offer quick, easy and delicious ideas for your next meal.  I’ll also occasionally share some fabulous food finds and dining adventures.

Right now I am knee-deep in the developing stages of my next book Simply Suppers.  Set to be released in the Fall 2010, Simply Suppers is all about comfort food you can get on the table in no time flat. My editorial deadline is the beginning of March, so I am spending my days (and nights) cooking, testing and re-testing some satisfyingly delicious comfort foods.  Since I genuinely love to cook, the adventure of writing a cook book is truly a lot of fun and something I feel blessed to be able to do for a profession. (Thanks to all of you who made my first book Simply Salads such a national success!)

For my first blog entry, I’d love to share with you a recipe for these chilly January nights…my homemade and ultimately delicious Mac-n-Cheese with a Twist

Unlike the orangey-yellow boxed variety that many of us grew up on, homemade Mac-n-Cheese is a ooey, gooey, creamy delight for both the kids and grown-ups at the table. It’s a sinfully good indulgence that I just can’t pass up.

I like to use two cheeses in mine.  First, a sharp, tangy white cheddar that adds a delicious bite to the sauce.  Next, I throw in some Gruyère which adds a sweet nuttiness.  Then to truly make this pasta dish stand out, I add country ham, fresh herbs and crunchy topping made from crusty artisan bread.


Mac-n-Cheese with a Twist

Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for the casserole
½ pound macaroni
2 cups low-fat milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 ½ cups grated white cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ pound country ham, sautéed and cut into small dice
3 slices crusty French bread, minced to breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Butter a large casserole dish and set aside. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni until it is just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter foams, add the flour. Cook, whisking, for one minute. While continuing to whisk, gradually add the milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not brown. Remove the pan from the heat. 

Stir in the nutmeg, 2 cups cheddar cheese and ½ cup Gruyère cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir until well coated. Add the diced ham, thyme, and parsley and stir until well combined. Place the mixture in the casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, remaining cheeses, and the melted butter. Evenly spread the bread crumb mixture over the top.

Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Back to the Basics: Prefer just plain old mac-n-cheese? No problem. Just omit the herbs and country ham.

Food Fact:  I just love the nutty flavor of a Gruyère. Great for melting, this firm cow’s milk cheese hails from Switzerland and is now found in most grocery stores. Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheeses are acceptable substitutes.

Grilled Herb Chicken with Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
½ small red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh mint

Heat a clean grill to medium-high.  Season both sides of the chicken with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Grill until no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. 

While the chicken is cooking, place the tomatoes, olives, red onion, oil and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the feta cheese and mint; gently toss.

To serve, place the chicken on the plate and top with a generous spoonful of the tomato mixture.


Roasted Lime Sweet Potato Wedges

Serves 4 

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into rounds about ¼-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the sweet potatoes and oil in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and then toss until well coated.

Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.

Season with the lime zest and juice.  Serve warm.

Back to the Basics:
Lime doesn’t go with your main course? Then just omit it and you have simply delicious baked sweet potato fries.

Food Fact:  
Sweet potatoes are not only sweeter in flavor than their white counterpart, but they are also nutritionally far superior.  Packed with vitamins and fiber, sweet potatoes are ranked the number one vegetable by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  For those concerned about sugar, this complex carbohydrate also ranks extremely low on the glycemic index…despite what its “sweet” name suggests.

Tomato Tart

Serves 6 to 8

1 9-inch tart pan lined with pie crust (store-bought is a great shortcut)
3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch thick slices
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set, 8 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn up the oven to 400°F.

Spread the mustard over the bottom of the pie crust and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in 1 overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 25 to 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the basil, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.

Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Jambalaya

Serves 6 to 8

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, diced
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups white rice
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot.  Sauté the chicken, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and then, in the same pot, sauté the sausage until browned.   Transfer the sausage to the plate with the chicken.  Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

To the pot, add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. (Stir often so that everything cooks evenly.) Add the garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaves and sauté until the mixture is cooked down, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a separate pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and sauté for about 3 minutes. Return the meats to the pot and stir to combine.  Continuously stirring to combine, slowly pour the tomato and stock mixture into the jambalaya.  Stir in the chopped parsley.

Bring the jambalaya to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and fold in the shrimp.  Let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm. 

Cooking Tip: Andouille sausage is a smoked, spicy pork sausage that is popular in Cajun recipes such as gumbo and jambalaya.  If you can’t easily find it in you local grocery, Chorizo is an acceptable substitute.

Grilled Tenderloin with Gremolata

Serves 4

For the gremolata:
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the steak:
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 filets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat grill to medium-high.

In a small bowl stir together gremolata ingredients and season to taste. Set aside at room temperature.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until medium-rare, about 5 to 6 minutes per side.  Remove the steak from the heat and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Garnish with gremolata.

Jennifer Chandler

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