The Basics

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BASIC CHICKEN STOCK

 

Basic chicken stock is a staple on my stove throughout the winter months and in my freezer the rest of the year.  There is nothing quite like roasting a chicken, enjoying it thoroughly and using the leftover carcass to make stock.  Simple, delicious, and made with just a few ingredients.  Stock can be used for soups, rice dishes, steaming, as a base for sauces, gravies and more.  One of my fondest memories of my childhood was watching my mother make her chicken stock in her favorite dutch oven.  How lovely it is for me to have that dutch oven and be able to use it.  Honestly, there is no other pot in my kitchen that makes stock as good as my mother’s pot does.

Equipment Needed:  A large dutch oven or stock pot with a cover

Ingredients:

1   roasted leftover chicken carcass, meat picked off

1 or 2  whole carrots, no need to peel

1 or 2  stalks of celery

1   small onion, cut in half, no need to peel

3 or 4   garlic cloves, optional and no need to peel

 

Preparing:

1.  Place your chicken carcass in the dutch oven, throw in the other ingredients, and  add enough water to cover the chicken.

2.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 3 hours.

3.  Strain and use your stock straight away or cool completely before pouring into containers to refrigerate or freeze for future use. 

 

 

GARLIC FRITES 

 

Chemex coffee filters work great for serving!!!!!

Sometimes I am just in the mood for garlic frites!  This recipe was given to me by one of the store's team members, Nina and they are out of this world simple and delicious!  The original recipe is from Ellie Krieger and the Food Network with some changes.

Ingredients:

3   cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2   Tablespoons canola oil

3   large baking potatoes (I've used russet, yukon gold, and sweet potatoes)

1/2   teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1   Tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper (optional)

 

Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2.  Cut potatoes into 1/4" sticks, soak in cold water for a bit, drain, and dry thoroughly with a towel.

3.  Heat the oil in a small pan on a medium high heat, add the garlic, turning heat to low for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.  You are infusing the garlic flavor into the oil.

4.  Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer and set both aside.

5.  In a large bowl toss the potatoes, oil, and salt.

6.  Lightly oil a large baking sheet and spread potatoes onto it in a single layer (I usually use two sheet pans).

7.  Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.

8.  Remove potatoes and toss with parsley and reserved garlic, adding additional salt to taste.  I love adding a little freshly ground pepper to finish things off.

Note:  I love experimenting with different herb combinations.  One of my favorite additions is infusing the oil not only with garlic but with a few fresh sage leaves!  Yum!

 

 

 

BBQ Sauce

 

This recipe was given to me by an old friend many, many years ago.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! 

I always double this recipe!

Yields: 1 1/2 to 2 Cups                             Total Time:  40 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil (I use a jalapeño oil for a little heat)

2 1/2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 Teaspoon dry mustard (If I don't have any on hand, I use dijon)

1 Tablespoon salt (I use half as much)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Dash of Paprika

Pinch of Red Pepper Flake

 

Bring all ingredients to a boil, simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, let cool.

 

Steak...It's All About The Love!

As of late, my Saturday night dinners...steak and salad!  OMG!

For me, there is nothing more wonderful than a perfectly delicious steak.  I love a great strip steak with all of it's flavor.  It is such a pleasure for me to go to the local butcher and have him cut a steak to order for me.  I know that a lot of people think that going to a butcher is so much more expensive, but believe me, it is worth the trip to check it out.  You will find that the price is not much more, yet what you get is amazingly better!  A fabulous steak doesn't need much....only a little love and some salt and pepper! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1  Beautiful strip steak or your favorite cut, 3/4" thick

1  Tablespoon of freshly ground pepper (I love pepper, but feel free to lessen the amount)

1  Tablespoon of olive oil for brushing your steak and a little to brush your grill or grill pan

1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of Wildflower Foods Garlic Salt Blend (you can just use sea salt here, but the blend adds a wonderful flavor)

 

1.  Brush your steak on both sides with olive oil and generously pepper each side, letting the steak come to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

2.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees if cooking inside.

3.  When steak is at room temperature, heat your grill pan on high.  You really want it to be hot.  I always wait to see a little bit of smoke coming from the pan and I know that it is ready.

4.  Meanwhile, generously sprinkle both sides with garlic salt blend or sea salt depending upon what you are using.

5.  Brush your grill pan with a little bit of olive oil and put your steak in.  

6.  Let sear for about 4 minutes, turn steak and sear the other side for an additional 4 minutes.

7.  To finish steak, place in the oven cooking until desired doneness.  I love my steak medium, so it goes in the oven for about 4 or 5 minutes tops.

8.  Take your steak out of the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes to let the juices settle.  Sometimes I place a little pat of butter on the steak while it is resting just for that something extra.

9.  All that's left is to enjoy!

 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is so easy to make and is so much more delicious than store bought that I just had to share the love!  I love the fact that the liquid remaining (the whey) can be used instead of milk to make pancakes.  The only item that might not be in your kitchen is cheesecloth, but it is readily available.  I know that it is a staple in my Guilford store and my online store as well.  I am giving you two recipes simply because I use and love them both, it just depends if I have heavy cream on hand or not. I use my ricotta mixed with pasta, as a filling for my homemade manicotti, and my favorite, on pizza!  Yum!

Yields: About 2 cups                                                     Active Time:  10 minutes

Equipment Needed:  strainer and cheesecloth

Ingredients:

RECIPE 1 (from the book "The Creamery Kitchen" which is available in the store and online)

6 cups whole milk (cow's)

1 1/2  Tablespoons good white wine vinegar (I actually use my Wildflower Foods Champagne Vinegar)

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher salt

RECIPE 2 (from the Barefoot Contessa)

4 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 Teaspoon Kosher salt

3 Tablespoons good white wine vinegar (I actually use my Wildflower Foods Champagne Vinegar

Note:  Both recipes follow similar directions except when straining.  I keep it simple and do both the same way.

1.  Line strainer with a double layer of wet cheesecloth and place over a bowl.

2.  Combine milk (and heavy cream if using) and salt in a sauce pan.

3.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stir occasionally.

4.  Turn off the heat and stir in vinegar and allow to stand for a minute.  

5.  At this point Recipe 1 will have you covering the milk in the pot and letting it sit for 3 hours and than straining.  Recipe 2 will have you pour the curdled milk into the strainer and let it drain for 30 minutes (this is what I have done for both, but I will say that I always let it strain for more than 30 minutes).  Try it both ways and see what works for you.

6.  Transfer to a bowl and enjoy!  I love using the leftover liquid for making pancakes or in a cake that calls for milk.

 

 

Basic Marinara Sauce

A simple, basic marinara, also known simply as a red sauce, should be on everyone's go to list of recipes. This is such a quick and simple recipe that you will be amazed.  The ingredients are usually on hand and you can build on this sauce, adding meat or vegetables when you get more adventurous.  I use it for pasta, lasagna, manicotti, pizza, and as a sauce for clams and mussels.  

Yields:  3 to 4 cups                                       Prep/Cook Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

1  Small anchovy fillet, packed in olive oil (totally optional, but it is the secret ingredient in my sauce)

2  Tablespoons of olive oil

2  Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1  Medium onion, small diced (I use a red onion, but use whatever you have on hand)

1  Pinch of red pepper flake

1  28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Freshly chopped basil to taste (if you have only dried basil, use that)

A splash of wine, optional

 

1.  Heat olive oil in a pan 

Note:  I use a saute pan for this sauce.  It is simply because the larger cooking surface allows the sauce to cook and thicken a little quicker than in a sauce pan.

2.  Add your anchovy to heated oil, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Trust me, it will dissolve quickly into the oil for an incredible flavor.

3.  Add your onions, garlic, and red pepper flake and saute until the onions are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4.  Add your can of crushed tomatoes.  In addition, add 1/2 of a can of water.  This is a great way to get all of the crushed tomatoes out of the can.  Add that splash of wine at this time, if using.

5.  Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

6.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and your basil.  That's it!  You are ready to enjoy!

 

Roasting A Chicken, Dutch Oven Style

I could have browned this guy a little bit more, but I was so hungry and couldn't wait!

 

The comfort that a beautiful roasted chicken provides me is something that I can not describe.  It is one of those foods that makes me sigh and feel wonderful inside.  It also goes beyond providing one delicious meal.  I always make chicken stock or chicken soup from the leftovers.  It is a meal that keeps on giving and is so basic and simple.  I probably roast a chicken almost every week!  Roasting in a dutch oven is amazing. There is something magical that happens in the oven when a chicken is all tucked in nice and tight with all the juices circulating.  Once you use this method, you'll never go back! Get ready to eat the most delicious chicken of your life!

Prep Time: 5 minutes             Roasting Time: Roughly 1 1/2 hours depending on the bird

 

Ingredients:

One 5 lb roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry 

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

Olive Oil

A couple of garlic cloves (no need to peel)

Fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, parsley or thyme (totally optional) 

 

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

2.  Place your chicken in a Dutch Oven so that he is nice and snug.  Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for going through the trouble of finding a Dutch Oven.

3.  Generously salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and throw the unpeeled garlic cloves in along with the fresh herbs, if you are using them.

4.  Generously salt and pepper the outside of the chicken and drizzle with olive oil and put into the oven.

5.  Roast for about 1 1/2 hours. I am not precise here, but this is the time that I have always found to be right for me.  For smaller birds, it will be less time and for larger birds it might be more time. Have faith that you will know when it's done!  Hint:  When the skin is browned to a nice rich color.

Note:  Always let your chicken rest for about 15 minutes before you slice.  This gives the juices time to settle.

 

A Basic Bread

This bread is so simple and delicious!  The recipe is from the book "Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  It has turned me into an avid bread maker!  Of course, I have written the recipe the way that I did it, so please excuse my simple instructions.

Total Prep/Cook Time:  30 minutes                              

Yields:  Two 1 pound loaves (I have halved the recipe, but feel free to double allowing you to refrigerate or freeze a couple of loaves for future delight) 

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups lukewarm water

3/4 Tablespoon granulated yeast or 1 packet granulated yeast

3/4 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (I used fine grind pink himalayan salt)

3 1/4 cups unsifted unbleached all purpose flour

 

1.  Pour your lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl. You don't want it too hot or else you will kill the yeast. 

2.  Add your yeast to your water and give it a minute.

3.  Meanwhile, mix your flour and salt together.

4.  Add to your water and yeast.  Mix until a dough forms.  

Note:  I did this by hand, but by all means use your KitchenAid mixer.  It sometimes makes life easier.  I just love the feel of dough so I always mix by hand

5.  Allow dough to rise, covered with a towel, for 2 hours or until double in size.  

6.  At this point you can divide the dough into 2 loaves, dust with a little flour, shape, then refrigerate or freeze.

7.  I divided the dough into 2 loaves, dusted them with a little flour, shaped them, scored them, and let them rest while the oven was preheating to 450 degrees.  After resting, I simply baked them for 30 minutes.  You are not going to believe how good it is!

Next time I am going to double the recipe!

 

Simple Granola

 

Granola is one of my favorite snacks!  I have experimented with a lot of granola recipes over the years and this is my favorite combination.  It is so simple to make and oh so delicious and good for you!  Enjoy!

Prep/Bake Time:  15 minute prep time, 50-55 minute bake time

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (be generous and you can use light brown sugar if you do not have dark)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup olive oil (you can use a vegetable oil if you prefer, but the taste of the olive oil is amazing)

Sea Salt, to taste

 

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees

2.  Combine in a large bowl the oats, almonds, pepitas, pistachios, and coconut flakes.

3.  Stir in the dark brown sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt to taste.

4.  Spread evenly on a large sheet pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Watch carefully those last 10 minutes.

5.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Note:  I have added dried cranberries, dried apricots, and even chocolate chips!  Let granola cool completely before adding anything extra.

 

A BASIC CURRY

Beef Curry With Vegetables

Served over pasta!

 

I love curry!  This is a basic recipe.  I just wanted you to have the technique.  You can use chicken instead of beef and you can use any vegetable that you love or think would be a great addition.  Vegetarians can leave out the beef or you could leave out the vegetables, that is how versatile curry is.  If you are interested in the history of curry, you can read my column "Karen's Ingredients".  I have a whole post about curry. This is such a simple and delicious dinner!  I hope that you give it a try.

Serves: 4                                     Total Time:  About 30 minutes, tops!

Ingredients:

1 lb stew meat or beef tenderloin, cut into small, bite size pieces.

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 to 2 Tablespoons of curry powder (according to taste)

5 scallions, sliced, both white and green portions

1 lrg garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 handful of green beans, chopped into small, bite size pieces

1 small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and 2 teaspoons of flour

 

1.  In a saute pan, on medium high heat and coated with olive oil, brown your beef, salt and pepper to taste, stirring the beef to brown on both sides (no need to cook all the way through, the beef will finish cooking in the sauce).

2.  Sprinkle with flour and stir (this will help the sauce to thicken) and cook for a minute then remove beef to a plate.

3.  Turn the heat down to medium, add your scallions, red pepper, green beans, and garlic.  Stir

4.  Add your curry powder, stirring until combined well and cook for a minute or two.

5.  Stir in your coconut milk and add your beef back to the pan.  Stir and simmer for couple of minutes more.

6.  Finally, add your cilantro, stir, and you're done.  You have a fabulous curry!

7.  Serve with rice or pasta.  You can also serve alone and it is fabulous!

 

 

Applesauce

 

I love apples and this is such a great and easy way to use them.  Applesauce can be eaten on its own, with ice cream, with pork chops, and even used in muffin and cake recipes.  If you have 20 minutes, you can have a fabulous homemade applesauce!

Yields:  1 1/2 to 2 cups                                                                      Total Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

8 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks

1/3 Cup apple cider

2  Tablespoons sugar

1/8  Teaspoon cinnamon

A pinch or two of salt

Water as needed (I used about 1/3 cup)

 

1.  Into a saute pan, on a medium high heat, throw in your apple chunks, apple cider, and let cook for a couple of minutes.

2.  Add your sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

3.  Turn the heat down to low, cover, and let cook until it resembles applesauce, adding water as needed to keep everything moist.

4.  Enjoy!

Note:  I like my applesauce a little tart so I do not add a lot of sugar.  Please feel free to adjust to your liking

 

 

The Everyday Vinaigrette

 

Servings: Enough for a salad that serves 3 - 4 people

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon of a good white wine vinegar

3 Tablespoons of a good olive oil (I use Wildflower Foods House Blend)

1 Teaspoon of dijon mustard

1/4 Teaspoon of honey (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

1.  Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and honey (if using) until combined well.

2.  Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Whisk in the olive oil, pouring it in a steady stream, making sure that everything is blended well.

4.  Toss with salad greens and enjoy!

Note #1  I prepare my vinaigrette in a wooden bowl that I always use, but you can mix yours in anything that you want including a mason jar or a blender.

Note #2  The simple formula that I use for any vinaigrette or dressing that I make is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil.  Whatever vinegar, oil or anything else that I add is really a game time decision as to what I have in the pantry or refrigerator.

  

Homemade Bread Crumbs



I have been making my own bread crumbs for several years now.  I never knew how simple it really was to do!  I took a fabulous cooking class with a woman named Betty Ann Donegan.  It was from her that I learned this valuable lesson. There are a lot of families who have bread with dinner and usually there might be a piece or two left that no one wants to eat or when you're out to dinner and they give you the bread in your doggie bag.  Betty Ann suggested that you keep a sheet pan in the oven with the purpose of collecting these pieces of bread.  As it sits in the oven, the bread, over time, will dry out and I'll even let the bread sit in a 150 degree oven for several hours, just to toast.  When it is ready, I just process it in my Vitamix to a fine crumb (a food processor will work just fine).  I put it in a sealed container and wow, you have the best bread crumbs in the world.  This is a picture of the bread that sits in my oven today.  I love that there are all different kinds!  I don't think that I could ever go back to store bought again!  Enjoy!

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