Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sauerkraut dish I didn’t know about

So I am extremely curious how many people will even continue to read this particular blog. I don’t know about you and your friends but my peeps seem to have a love it or hate it response when I bring it up.  I will especially be waiting for a comment from SF if he actually reads this one.
img_4912I will confess that up until a year or so ago I rarely ever bought it. The only time I used it was on hot dogs and half the time I forgot to take it out of the fridge so it never got on my dog. Luckily it lasts an insane amount of time in the fridge but I have thrown it out on occasion. I vaguely remember sauerkraut being in the house when I was a kid though I don’t recall ever having it any other way than on a dog. If my mom reads this I’m sure she can shed some light on if we had it any other way.
img_4913My husband and I had dinner at a friend of ours; who happens to be Polish; where he was going to make us dinner and asked if we liked sauerkraut. We said sure and the whole time I was thinking OK we are going to have hot dogs. I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious and simple it was, best of all I normally have everything on hand; minus the polish mustard that my husband fell in love with. This can easily be made any night of the week

img_4915

sauteing onions and a little sauerkraut juice to get up all the yummy bits of bacon

Side note: after 3 attempts I was finally successful making my very own sauerkraut from the cabbages in my garden. Most certain the only reason for my success was that I left it on my desk in my kitchen in plain sight. Not being a fan of having cluttered counter tops; my other attempts I had the crock in the pantry. Out of sight out of mind and that simply doesn’t work when you are basically performing a fermentation science experiment.
img_4916

1 medium or large onion diced
1 Package of Sauerkraut – slightly drained
1 package of Kielbasa – sliced into bite size pieces
1 package of bacon – diced
Freshly cracked black pepper
Mustard (optional)

img_4917img_4919


Saute the bacon till crispy, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain & most of the fat from the pan leaving about a tablespoon or two so you can saute the onions. Once the onions are slightly opaque; about 3-4 minutes; add the mostly drained kraut and saute for a bit working to get all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the Kielbasa and cook for a couple of minutes, add the bacon back in and dinner is served.

img_4921

Parmigiano Reggiano – crisps / alfredo / rind broth

If life gives you lemons you are supposed to make lemonade right? What do you do when someone hands you 3 enormous blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese?  Well I make Alfredo, Parmesan Crisps, Risotto, and Parmesan rind broth and basically grate it on anything and everything I want.

img_4837

wine bottle just for scale – wink wink

A couple of weeks ago a friend showed up with 3 blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for me to do with how I please. I truly was dumbfounded. Firstly how I was so lucky? Secondly how much did they get that they could share?  A VERY good friend of theirs sent them a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for Christmas. I couldn’t imagine sending or receiving such an extravagant gift. That’s a good friend to keep!
img_4865

 

I put one of the blocks into my food processor and came out with 12 cups of grated cheese. Just to have on hand; I remember when I was a kid the green canister of grated “cheese” in the fridge was the standard. My children grew up with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano; spoiled I tell you, just plain spoiled. With no green canister in our lives what to do with all the rinds; I used to just throw them in the trash. For several years now I have been saving the rinds of the “tiny”(well; now) blocks of Parm. and put them in my risotto and soups and sauces to add additional flavor to the broths. I recently read about making broth with Parmigiano Reggiano rinds. I have always used chicken broth for risotto but I am SO going to use the rind broth and probably; well at least for a few months use nothing else for soups, stews and my creamy salty risotto.

Parmesan crisps – on a baking sheet lined with parchment or better yet a Silpat
mound a tablespoon full of grated cheese and flatten each a bit. Bake at 325’F for 5-6 minutes.
img_4878img_4901

Simple Alfredo Sauce – 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper. In a sauce pan melt butter. Add heavy cream and simmer (do not boil) for 3-5 minutes. remove heat and add grated cheese and pepper.
Serve over fettuccine noodles or spinach ravioli like I did.

img_4868

img_4869

you want it thick enough to coat the back of your spoon

img_4870

swipe your finger across the spoon to test for doneness

img_4875

Spinach Ravioli Alfredo sprinkled with fresh basil

Parmigiano Reggiano rind broth – 8 quarts of cold water, 7-8 cheese rinds, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 3 bay leaves and 1 teaspoon thyme.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain over a large bowl. It will keep in the fridge for 3 days or break up into smaller containers and freeze for a few months.
img_4895


I personally wouldn’t make just a rind soup; I really didn’t like the taste of the plain broth but using it added a rich depth of flavor to risotto and using it as a braising liquid is just plain heavenly.

Must try Granola

I have NO idea why it has taken me SOOOOOO long to make a batch of granola. Seriously; we all love it; we or more like; I buy it; Over the years I’ve bought all different kinds/brands. I have even gone so far as to write down the ingredients listed on a local company’s bag of my favorite granola. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that that was YEARS ago; literally at least over 10 years ago.
img_4886


So I would like to thank you all for getting me off my butt and finally pulling the trigger on not only buying the ingredients; which has been in my pantry for a couple of weeks now. Today is the day I make it happen. If I didn’t write a weekly food blog I probably would still be holding onto a piece of paper that says rolled oats on top of it. I am always looking for something yummy and simples to share with you all. So I finally made one of the easiest recipes on the planet. While you might have to buy a few ingredients that you probably wouldn’t have on hand the reward is pretty fantastic.
img_4888img_4889img_4890I also finally now know why it isn’t exactly the cheapest snack on the shelf. This recipe makes a lot of yummy granola. Keep it in an airtight container and it should last a few weeks. If it lasts that long; in my house if it makes a week and a half I will be shocked!
img_4891img_4894img_4899


Granola – preheat oven to 325’F

Ingredients
8 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups wheat germ
1 ½ cups oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions
Line two large baking sheets with something – Parchment, tinfoil and if you are lucky Silpat mat

In a very large bowl combine oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, coconut and the nuts.

In a medium saucepan combine salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for a minute and then pour over the dry ingredients; stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes take out and stir; bake for another 10-15 minutes just till toasted. Once cooled it will be a little crispy. You can break it up totally or leave some a little chunky.

you can add raisins and or craisins if you wish

Adapted from Megan’s Granola – all recipes

Tuscan Roasted Lemon Chicken

Another cold blustery day here in NH today – it started snowing around 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon and didn’t stop until around 10 pm last night and it still only accumulated around 3-4 inches. Just enough to make the roads a complete mess and people to lose their minds on how to drive in such conditions. I don’t mind winter and I don’t mind the snow and I don’t mind driving in it. I kind of wish everyone else would stay home; but let the games begin. It is SO pretty here today, though it is ridiculously cold out it’s a whopping 9’F needless to say I will be staying in ALL day and a day like this is totally calling for a roasted chicken.

img_4859

It tasted as yummy as it looked!



There are a million (I’m fairly certain that is not an exaggeration) ways to prep a roasted chicken. Sunday dinner I usually slice and apple and some onions and throw it in the cavity. It makes an excellent gravy. Weeknights where this isn’t a lot of time to get dinner on the table, I’ve cut up a bunch of veggies and put the bird on top and crank up the heat and roast the entire meal in about an hour and half.
img_4857


A couple of weeks ago I watched my food idol Ina Garten; the queen (in my opinion) of roasted chicken. She makes it every Friday for her husband. She made a Tuscan Lemon chicken that sounded and looked amazing. I put this on my MUST make soon dishes. That was about 2 weeks ago and I’ve already made it twice since and am planning on making it again today.
img_4858


I try to always make a recipe the exact way for the first time, then I tend to wing it or adjust to what I have on hand, or what we like. This recipe is super easy to make and for the most part I usually have everything on hand. The first time I marinated it overnight and it was really good, the next time I didn’t have the time so it was more like an hour-ish and it was AMAZING. I roasted it in the same pan, same temperature and same brand/size chicken and it was completely different. My daughter quoted from her new cookbook; The Food Lab; that the lemon juice was probably to blame. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt the author said the acid in the lemon and chicken anything over 3-4 hours will toughen the bird. Whether this is what changed my outcome is irrelevant. I am an an instant gratification kind of person and if I don’t have to marinate overnight, I am ALL in.
img_4854

Here is my adaptation of Ina’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken

1 5lb chicken, spatchcocked – you can do this, I promise! (see below)
Kosher Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
⅓ cup Olive Oil
2 lemons zested
1 lemon squeezed
3 cloves garlic minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves minced

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and rosemary in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a dish just large enough where it can lay flat. Pour the marinade all over the bird getting it all over both sides.
Let it sit on the counter while you preheat your oven to 425’F. If you want to a couple of hours, put in in the fridge and take it out about 15 minutes before you are ready to put it in the oven.

I cooked mine in my cast iron pan for about an hour. Please make sure to cook the the bird till the internal temperature is around 165’F – it will continue to cook a little while it is resting covered with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes.

Spatchcock directions – with either kitchen shears or a knife. Remove the back bone of the bird. Cut down one side and then the other and then push down on the bird to flatten it. That’s it – once you do this you can brag to all of your friends. I did to my co-workers, they had never heard the actual word before. If you don’t want bragging rights, your butcher will do this for you. My daughter ran into a rookie once that had no idea what she was talking about.
img_4855
img_4856

Prime Rib Leftover Soup

Happy New Year!

Depending on what you did on your last night of 2016 you might be looking for a nice and greasy hangover breakfast; maybe bacon & eggs along with some pancakes might work or if you can find it a cheeseburger and fries – I am open to either plus I wouldn’t say no to a slice of cold pizza. Or if you are a better person than I you could be going for a light but filling kind of way to start 2017; maybe some nice and creamy oatmeal, or and egg white omelet; I honestly have never had an egg white omelet but I love oatmeal.
img_4849

We are spending the weekend with friends in Montreal so I am writing this before we head out. I can’t be sure but I think there might be some pancakes & bacon in my future on Jan 1
img_4840

My Christmas Prime Rib had me dancing in my seat, literally I’m not kidding.  It was SO delicious and cooked to perfection I wish you all could have tasted it. When I ordered it I mentioned there would be 4 to 6 of us as I wasn’t sure if a couple of people were going to come. They guided me to order a 3 bone roast and they would remove the bones but tie them back on so it was easier for me to carve and serve. When I went to pick it up; it was HUGE (11 pounds) I almost traded it for a 2 bone but the butcher talked me into it. There were only 4 of us so we had plenty of leftovers.

img_4833

I wanted to share at least one picture of my masterpiece

I recall making a quick soup out of the very last piece of beef from last years roast so I figured that was in order again for this year. I still had one of the bones so I threw that in while it was simmer to add to the flavor of the soup – well worth it.
img_4843
My husband doesn’t have as good a memory as I do; or at least when I told him I was making Prime Rib Soup he was like; “well that sounds different”. Ignoring him I kept on cutting up my veggies and started sautéing the onions, celery and carrots. It comes together very quickly and it is totally worth using a slice or two of your leftovers.
img_4847

Prime Rib Soup

1 small to medium onion diced
1 or 2 stalks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary chopped – or use whatever herb you flavored your roast with
3 potatoes peeled and diced
1 or 2 pieces of beef chopped
Beef Broth – homemade or use your favorite
leftover gravy – add so much flavor if you have any use it
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Sauté the onion, celery and carrots till translucent. Add rosemary cook another minute or two. Add gravy, broth and potatoes.  Once the potatoes are soft add the beef and let simmer to let everything meld together.  Serve with bread to sop up the wonderful broth