Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb with Tarragon Cream Sauce

This tasty dish uses Dijon mustard and fresh tarragon for a delicious yet subtle flavoring to complement the lamb.

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Turkey Dressing: Think outside the bird!

When it comes to turkey dressing, it pays to think outside box–and that means cooking the dressing outside of the bird.

In the restaurant business, we usually cook the stuffing separate from the turkey. Some people may call that sacrilege, but to a chef it makes more sense for reasons of taste and timing:

1. It allows heat to enter the cavity to cook the breast meat from inside and out. When you put all that cold soggy bread inside a turkey, you need to cook it through so by the time the heat gets to the center the breast is dry. Instead, I loosely pack large pieces of carrots onions and celery inside the cavity for moisture, flavor and circulation. I imagine heating the stuffing first would help cook the bird, but I have never seen anyone do that. I then cook my stuffing on the stove and then pop it in the oven to heat it for serving.

2. You’ll get your turkey into the oven more quickly on Thanksgiving morning as you can start preparing the stuffing a day in advance.

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small loaves of bread. I use live breadcrumbs rather than stale bread you have to soak. Pick a type that most people will like but will not take over the flavor of the stuffing–for example, I love rye bread but would never use it for stuffing or croutons.
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery
1/2 cup of olive oil (or fat of your choosing)
1 cup broken walnuts, pine nuts or chestnuts
2 tbsp rubbed sage
2 tsp thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (optional)
1 cup turkey gravy or pan juice (you can substitute chicken stock or chicken and beef stock if you don’t want to share the pan drippings)

Preparing turkey stuffing:

1. Feed the bread into the food processor a few slices at a time until you have enough. One large or two small loaves should suffice. I use the equivalent of one large white loaf for about 14 people; add more if you’re hosting a larger horde of guests. You can do this ahead of time and cover it.

2. Chop one large onion and four stalks of celery; add grated carrots and/or mushrooms for variety. Cook in the turkey fat if you wait to the end, otherwise use olive oil, butter or bacon fat. If you want to add sausage, you can use the rendered fat.

3. Then sauté the vegetables. I like to add nuts when the vegetables are soft. I am known to use walnuts, pine nuts and chestnuts, depending on price and mood. Walnuts I break up with a rolling pin or bottom of a heavy pan and then chop a little more with a knife. You can save money and buy the broken ones if you are shopping for them. One year I bought a bag of chestnuts and roasted them for hors d’œuvre. I then peeled and chopped a dozen and added them to the stuffing so the little crunches add a nice texture.

4. At this point, also add thyme, rubbed sage, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs to the pot or this mixture to a larger pot or bowl with the breadcrumbs for mixing. Mix well. My wife always makes fresh cranberry sauce so I always throw a spoonful or two in to give the stuffing a hint of cranberry without sweetening it too much.

5. Put the stuffing mix aside and wait for the gravy. If you do it a day or two ahead, take it out of the refrigerator an hour before the turkey’s coming out of the oven to get it room temperature.
When the turkeys is out and resting, you will use the pan drippings for the gravy. You can use the finished gravy or just a nice ladle or two of the turkey juice to add to the stuffing to moisten it. It still won’t be soggy like you’re used to so don’t waste all the gravy trying to achieve that.

6. Put it in a pan, cover it and put it in that hot oven while you get everything else ready. It does not need to cook; it just needs to be warmed for serving.

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Smoked Salmon on Cucumber

These appetizers are easy to make, taste great and look good.

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Overnight Muesli

Overnight Muesli

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Filet Mignon Sorrentine

Filet Mignon Sorrentine

This beautiful Italian beef dish is served over spinach and eggplant and topped with cheese and a Marsala sauce.

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Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Potato salad with red potatoes, mustard and mayonnaise.

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Country Style Pork Chops

This is a great dish taught to me by a chef named Dion Calcutta many years ago. The creamy sage sauce with sausage and apples make such an exciting flavor combination.

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Juice Soda

glassofsodajuice

I used to just mix juice concentrates with water until I received this soda machine. Now I bubble it up and enjoy it in the evenings. The tart cherry juice is apparently beneficial before and after workouts:

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Carrot Ginger Soup

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1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large Leeks
1 large Onions
2 lbs Carrots
2 tbsp Ginger Root peeled and grated
6 cups Chicken Stock
Salt
Pepper
Heavy Cream – optional

Peel and grate the ginger and dice the rest of the vegetables.
Sautee until soft, add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about an hour
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Mushroom Rosemary Compound Butter

Steak with Compound Butter
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Banana Sole

Banana Sole


This lovely summer dish has a magical flavor combination of filet of Sole, bananas and lemon sauce. Easy to prepare and you can substitute any other mild flavored seafood.

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Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

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Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

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Hungarian Chicken and Rice

Hungarian Chicken and Rice

I usually call it Chicken Paprikash but it has no sour cream in it. It’s an old family recipe and my grandmother told me in the part of Hungary her parents were from they didn’t use sour cream. She also served it on the bone so eating was a bit of work but worth the trouble.

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Chicken Saltimbocca

Delicious Chicken and prosciutto dish that means Jump-in-the-mouth.
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Recipe: Chicken Saltimbocca

Summary: Delicious Chicken and prosciutto dish that means Jump-in-the-mouth

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Super Bowl Ideas


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Cioppino

Cioppino over linguini

Cioppino over linguine

Recipe: Cioppino

Summary: A great San Francisco seafood stew

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Mussels Marinara

Mussels Marinara

Mussels Marinara


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Fireshrooms

Serve Mushrooms
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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip


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Tortilla Chips

Nothing beat homemade tortilla chips and they only take about 10 minutes to cook.


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