Classic French Chicken Stock

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes, Technique

DSC_0185The odds are high that people will make fun of you for making your own chicken stock.  “Don’t you know you can buy that at the store?” “ You really don’t have anything better to do?”  And so on.  Be confident. You’ll have the last laugh. Read more

Chicken in Creamed Coconut Sauce

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Adapted from Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni

Julie’s recipe stresses the importance of making your own coconut milk for the overall quality of this finished dish.  “Why not?” I thought, “I’ve never tried that before.”  Okay, never mind the difficulty of actually opening the coconut.  The real b*#$h was finding a non-rancid coconut in the middle of winter in the Midwest.   Read more

Cinnamon Beef Noodles

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from Asian Noodles, by Marie Simonds

This is a wonderful cold weather, comforting food that, unusually, isn’t the least bit leaden.  I think I crave and make it as much to smell it cooking as I do to actually eat it.  The perfume of this dish always gets everyone asking, “Wow, what’s for dinner?” Read more

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Jonesing for the cream of mushroom soup sort of sauce of your childhood?  Look no further.  Use this as a healthier alternative to cream of mushroom soup even in casseroles.  The volume made is comparable to what you’d get out of the can (give or take a little). Why bother?  Uh, read the label on the can-MSG and loads of sodium. Read more


Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Based on Jane Brody’s recipe from Good Food Gourmet

I’m not a big Oprah watcher these days, but there was nothing on TV last week and I happened to have it on Tivo.  She had Queen Rania of Jordan on the show to discuss her new children’s book.  The book uses an incident from her childhood to illustrate the importance of being open to people who are different.  In the story as it happened in her childhood, she was eating a Hummus sandwich and another girl was eating a PB&J.  Each girl learned that the other girl’s sandwich was tastier than she imagined and world peace was initiated.

That’s all lovely, but all I could think was, “Hummus!  Why has it been so long since I’ve made hummus?”  Guess what I made for lunch the next day.

Hummus has become rather ubiquitious in the last decade and for good reason.  It is not only delicious, but incredibly versatile at adding flavor (and nutrition!) to so many foods.  It makes me cringe when I see folks spending $10 for a big tub of it at my local warehouse club.  It is so ridiculously easy, and cheap, to make at home. Read more

Classic Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

In January 1955, I began to experiment with chicken cookery.  It was a subject that encompassed almost all the fundamentals of French cuisine, some of its best sauces, and a few of its true glories. Larousse Gastronomique listed over two hundred different chicken recipes, and I tried most of them… But my favorite remained the basic roast chicken.  What a deceptively simple dish.  I had come to believe that one can judge the quality of a cook by his or her roast chicken.  Above all, it should taste like chicken:  it should be so good that even a perfectly simple, buttery roast should be a delight.

— Julia Child,  excepted from My Life in France

I heartily concur.  Though I have seen a bajillion recipes for all kinds of ways to roast chicken, three times out of four no preparation can hold more appeal to me than this.  This simple preparation showcases the perfectly chickeny flavors of the pastured birds I am so fortunate to be able to get from my farmer’s market buddy, Steve. Read more

Duck Breasts with Cassis and Raspberries

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Based on a recipe from The Food of France, by Maria Villegas & Sarah Randell

I’ve made this several times for small dinner parties (4 to 8 servings).  It is simple but also beautiful, elegant and delicious.  You can converse at the same time you cook, especially if you mix the seasonings and wine/cassis mixture ahead of time (do the cornstarch at the last minute).  Consider serving with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.  The duck is so beautiful and flavorful on the plate that you really want simple sides that don’t compete with it. Read more

Collard Greens with Bacon and Garlic

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Thinking you should get your family to eat more hearty greens?  Initiate them with this recipe.  Collards aren’t as bitter as many of the other greens and they have a nice texture.  You can cut them into a chiffonade and amuse your kids with “green noodles.”  Best yet, with bacon in the mix, everyone will be that much more open-minded. Read more

Burger Buns

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

To many people, making homemade burger buns might be what defines me as a culinary lunatic.  Actually, I only made them because of my unwillingness to cross the threshold of a grocery store more than once a week.  I was thinking about dinner one afternoon and had a hankering for burgers.   I didn’t have any buns and I wondered how difficult it would actually be to make my own. No big deal, actually. Read more

Chicken with Pineapple and Mint

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle, probably May 15, 2002. I suspect it is a Mark Bittman recipe.

I found a newspaper clipping that included this recipe hidden in plain sight while looking for something in my recipe notebook. I still wonder why it took me six years to actually make it.  This is fantastic.  Simple.  Delicious.  The kids all loved it.  Serve it simply with brown basmati rice and you have an amazing one-dish dinner.  Like anything with a sauce, this would be a great candidate for freezing. Read more

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