This is an easy sauce that can be used for Dressing Grilled Scallops, Shrimp, fried calamari, Lobster or any other rich white fish or shellfish. I have seen it used on a crab sandwich as well as a lobster roll in place of mayo.

I used it recently as a the accompaniment for the saffron, shrimp and chorizo fideo cakes recipe.

Orange Saffron Aioli with Squid

However you choose to use it, it is great to know how to make an aoli from scratch and once you have down the basics, you can change the flavors to more closely fit the ingredients you are featuring in your dish. Some examples of other flavors used commonly: garlic aioli, chipotle aioli, red pepper aioli, etc.

Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 2 cups of aioli.

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange peel
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Whisk yolks, 4 tbsp of orange juice and saffron in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water  (do not let the bowl touch the water). You can also use a double boiler instead if you have one. Whisk constantly until thickened and thermometer registers 160 F, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor (we love our cuisinart) and add orange peel and garlic. With machine running, gradually add oil in thin stream until incorporated. Stop to scrape down sides of the bowl occasionally. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and whisk in lemon juice and 2 tbsp orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead of time. Cover and chill.

 

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guaranteed to be gone in 5 minutes

If you are looking for a crowd pleasing, easy to make dip, this is the perfect recipe. We originally saw this recipe on a Rick Bayless TV show – we love his food and cook his recipes all the time. On this website, we also adapted two of his other recipes:  chicken with poblano cream sauce and his rustic ranch soup, which we eat quite often.

This “Queso fundido” is comprised of Chorizo, Cheese, Poblanos, chicken broth, green onions, cilantro and garlic. It’s easy to make and will be eaten before you blink.  Make this for your next sports gathering instead of boring old bean dip.

Ingredients

  • 5 large poblano chiles – charred and skin removed. Remove seeds. Slice into small pieces.
  • 1 1/4 lbs of Chorizo sausage links with casings removed and crumbled.
  • 5 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 24 green onions (you can omit these if you wish, we do if we don’t have them on hand)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/4 lbs monterey jack cheese or pepperjack cheese coursely grated (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup goat cheese (our addition to the dish, adds a nice bite)
  • 1 1/4 lbs whole milk mozzarella coursely grated (about 5 cups)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Tortilla chips or tortillas (pitas will also work)

Instructions

Char chiles until blackened on all sides –  directly over gas flame or on your burner. We use our woodstove and cook the chiles inside for about 1 minute right on the coals (most effective!). Run under cold water and peel off skin. Seed and chop the chiles.

Saute sausage and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat until browned (we like to use our le creuset skillet or cast iron). This will take about 20 minutes. Add green onions and stir until wilted. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro and poblanos.

Toss cheese and cornstarch in large bowl. Bring 2 cups broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium high heat and add cheese by cupfuls. Whisk until additions are melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in chorizo mixture, thin with more broth if needed. Serve with salt and pepper and chips or spreader if using bread or tortillas.

If you have a hard time finding chorizo for sale near you – try the local Mexican markets. If you don’t have Mexican markets, you can also buy some fine chorizo online here. Its usually cheaper if you buy it at the market.

 

 

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This is a creamy, savory, salty sweet almost vegetarian lasagna dish that my sister Becky and her husband Jens made this Christmas when they were visiting. I say “almost” vegetarian because we made the addition of Chicken broth to add a bit more richness to the recipe.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 butternut squash(es)
  • Onions 6 large red onions sliced
  • 1 large shallot diced finely
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • Ricotta cheese 12 oz
  • grated monterey jack cheese (2 cups)
  • sage (2 leaves) diced finely
  • other veggies for the inside if you’d like (mushrooms, for instance)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Lasagna noodles – 1 regular box dried OR homemade from our recipe
  • 1 batch of Bechamel sauce (3 cups)

Instructions

Cut the squash(es) in half, scoop out the seeds, skin and cut into small square chunks. Bake the squash in a  baking pan with the chicken broth and shallots on 350 for 30 minutes or until tender.  Puree mixture in a mixing bowl and add ricotta cheese and diced sage.

In a small stock pot, bring water to a boil and add salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add noodles and cook for 8-10 minutes until Al Dente. Drain and place in a bowl – toss with olive oil so they don’t stick together.

Saute onions in a skillet until carmelized
Create a creamy white sauce (bechamel recipe here)
Grate cheese (monterey jack, parmesan, mozzarella, other cheeses you want to use)
Thinly slice any other vegetables that you decide to use (mushrooms are a nice addition.)

In a baking dish, layer first some bechamel, then lasagna noodles, followed by squash cream, onions, other vegetables, and more bechamel. Repeat. The top layer should be noodles, with cheese and bechamel on top, garnished with sage. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Thank you Becky & Jens!

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Great standard sauce to learn. We use it to make a variety of dishes – Moussaka, Boureki, Lasagna, Pastas, etc.

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

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Late one evening I got suddenly hungry and had to go whip something up.  For some reason, I was feeling particularly inventive and so I decided to make a soup from scratch.  Thankfully, we have a ton of chicken broth lying around, so I got started.

I wanted something brothy with chunks of chicken with a nice full flavor.  We had just received a bunch of leeks from our organic vegetable delivery and it was time to use some.  I think the bulk of the inspiration came from my adapted rustic ranch style soup recipe, but this time I was going to use leeks for the base flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, halved and sliced thinly (white and an inch or two of the greens only)
  • 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast or tenders cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 quart chicken broth (our master chicken broth recipe does well here)
  • 2T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2T ponzu sauce (a clear-ish citrusy asian sauce)
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1T Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1c half and half
  • 1c chopped cilantro
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Start by sauteing the chopped leeks and garlic in a medium sauce pan with the olive oil.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes – the leeks should be well reduced in volume and quite soft.

Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces, ponzu, soy, red pepper flakes and sriracha and bring to a simmer.  Let the flavors combine for another 5 minutes or so.

Finally, add the half-and-half, cilantro and salt to taste.  Let everything simmer together for about 5-10 minutes to give all of the flavors time to come together.

We served this with warm, fresh tortillas and a small green salad.   Enjoy!

 

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So I had never heard of this soup before my husband made it a month ago, but I have to admit despite sounding like a mish mash of crazy ingredients, it was actually very very good and unique. It reminded me of Indian food (the curry) in soup form, but it was more mild and soothing. I really liked the addition of the ginger and coconut milk.

This is a recipe that will challenge you to stretch your pantry – but it’s a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat with a great big group of friends.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups small diced onions
  • 1/2 cup small diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup small diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 6 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 3/4 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 cup tightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups steamed white basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup toasted, finely ground cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Tip: Get your “Mise” on

A La Wikipedia: Mise en place (pronounced [miz on plas], literally “putting in place”) is a French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as “everything in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.[1]

Basically, what we do is chop, sift, measure, pour, squeeze, prepare, etc. every individual ingredient that is going to be used in preparation for the meal, and group it together with the other ingredients it is used with in its own little dish / bowl / spoon / etc. This helps you stay organized and makes sure you don’t miss any key ingredients in the making of the dish.

Here is what our “mise” looks like

How to stay organized and not get overwhelmed

Instructions

Set a 4 or 5-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the ghee. While the ghee is heating, season the chicken with the garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Once the ghee is hot, add the chicken and cook, turning often, until golden brown and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

While the chicken is cooling, add the onions, carrots and celery to the hot pan and saute until lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and apples to the pan and saute until the apples are caramelized, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lentils to the pan, along with 4 cups of the chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved chicken, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, zucchini, squash, spinach, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Continue to cook the soup at a simmer until the lentils and chicken are both tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cider vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. To serve the soup, place 1/4 cup of the rice in a warmed bowl, and pour 8 ounces of the soup over the rice, garnish with a tablespoon of the cashews, and 2 teaspoons of the cilantro.

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Deliciously simple with fire for your belly

I like to try out new dishes and this one seemed simple enough, filling enough and tasty enough that we could have it for our main dish on a warm summer night without having to get too hot up in the kitchen.

Loved the creaminess of the beans cooked in broth and the spice added by the chorizo. Highly recommend giving this one a try. Would make a nice BBQ accompaniment as a side dish as well.

This makes about 4 main dish sized servings.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz dried butter or canellini beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo sliced in 1/4 in thick slices
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Italian or flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • course salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

In a Dutch Oven, Heat chicken broth and bring to a boil. Rinse the dried beans and add to the broth, boiling for 2-3 hours until beans are tender and broth is much reduced. Strain beans and set aside. Remaining Broth can be reserved for future cooking or to make a soup.

In a large skillet, cook the chorizo over high heat until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered – about 2 minutes.

In a medium serving bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, onions, tomatoes and parsley. Add the cooked beans and chorizo to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss before serving.

 

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Comfort Food – what does that meant to you? Is it warm, crusty, brothy or buttery? Is it spicy, refreshing, salty or sweet? Whatever it means to you, i’m sure you gravitate to it on a cool winter day when you’re feeling a little low or under the weather. I hope it fills you with warmth.

To me, and to many in the world, comfort is synonymous with pie. Whether filled with meat, cheese, spinach, potatoes, pecans, cream or chocolate, berries, small birds or a mix of all of the above, surely pies have been comforting us for ages.

This recipe is for the most basic and delicious of pies, and perhaps the most all american of pies (other than apple). Yes, I’m speaking of the chicken pot pie.

Buttery, Rich and Soothing Chicken Pot Pie

 

Ingredients

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in margarine for 10 minutes.
Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well, cook one minute stirring constantly.
Combine broth and half and half.
Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and stir well.
Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells.
Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

 

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Final Arancine, a perfect bite of warm gooey love

For anyone who loves food, and especially for anyone who loves the Italian cuisine flavor elements, this recipe is a must. I imagine it would also appeal to those who love Tapas of the Spanish Variety because of the flavor crossover provided by the saffron.

This dish may seem challenging, but its actually very fun to make.  I also LOVE that you can either use the filling recipe below OR make a filling of your own choice – what meats and cheeses do you have sitting in your fridge? Well guess what, with a little cleverness and imagination, it could be wrapped up neatly in a lovely arancine, out of the frying pan and into your eager mouth in no time.

For this version pictured above, I used a leftover bolognese sauce I had frozen with its carrots, tomato goodness and variety of meats (Guanciale and braised beef cheek) chopped finely – combined with some mozzarella and fontina and some leftover roasted poblanos. You can make your own filling or follow the recipe below – but whatever you use, just make sure the filling tastes good to you before you stuff it into the rice ball.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen rice balls

Ingredients3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 small carrot, minced
  • 1/2 rib celery, minced
  • 3 oz. ground beef
  • 3 oz. ground pork
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed saffron
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (include some panko bread crumbs for extra crispy version)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Canola oil, for frying

Instructions

Filling: Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add beef and pork and cook, stirring often, until browned, 10–12 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and paste, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 45–50 minutes. Transfer meat filling to a bowl and let cool; refrigerate until chilled.

Rice: Heat remaining oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Stir in saffron and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 20 minutes. Remove lid and stir in Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spread rice out on a plate and let cool. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, eggs, and 1/2 cup water in a shallow bowl until smooth; place bread crumbs in another bowl and set both aside.

Forming Arancine

To assemble, place 1 heaping tablespoon of rice in the palm of your hand; flatten into a disk. Place 1 tsp. chilled meat filling in center of rice disk and add another small scoop of rice over the top. Form rice around filling to encase it completely; press gently to form a ball. Roll ball in batter and then in bread crumbs until evenly coated. Transfer to a parchment paper—lined baking sheet; repeat with remaining rice, meat mixture, batter, and bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.

Forming the ball

batter

Breading

Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven (I love the new green color Le Creuset just added) to a depth of 2″ and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 360°. Working in batches, add rice balls to oil and fry until golden and heated through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rice balls to paper towels; let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

If you feel you need more detailed instructions – click here to view Saveur magazine’s step by step guide. This is where I learned how myself.

Ready to fry!

 

 

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Do you ever get bored eating chicken the SAME OLD WAY all the time? I sure do. We like to eat chicken because it is healthy for you as it is lower in fat. It is also less expensive than other meats for the most part, so we have a freezer that is usually sporting some cut of chicken in addition to all the chicken broth we keep around.

Vinegar Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a nice, simple and tasty classic recipe that I found in Food and Wine magazine and adapted for our own use at home. Try it out, its sure to become a staple, and the more comfortable you get, the more you can adapt it using other flavor elements such as the veal stock option, adding mushrooms or other vegetables, or even other seasonings.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or use all thighs and drumsticks)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock or veal stock (for a darker, richer flavor as seen above)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and swirl to coat the chicken. Turn the chicken skin side up and add the garlic and bay leaf.
  2. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the chicken for 8 minutes, until the breast pieces are just white throughout. Transfer the breast pieces to a plate. Add the vinegar to the skillet, return to the oven and bake the remaining chicken, basting a few times, until cooked through, 15 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken and garlic to the plate.
  3. Add the chicken stock and mushrooms to the skillet and boil, scraping up the browned bits, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the crème fraîche and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Return the chicken to the skillet along with any accumulated juices. Simmer over moderately high heat, basting a few times, until the sauce thickens slightly and the chicken is heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve
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