Italian Beef Stew

Italian Beef Stew

When my friend Carlo gave me his mother’s recipe for Italian beef stew, I asked him what made it “Italian.”  He said it was the addition of tomatoes and because his mother came from Genoa.

Ingredients:
  • 1 – 1 ½ lb. stew beef
  • Olive oil for browning
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 14 oz. tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 – 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour and shake off any excess. Let it come to room temperature and brown in olive oil. Do it in batches and don’t crowd the pot or it will stem instead of brown. Remove the beef and set aside.

Italian Beef Stew
Add more oil and cook the onions until soft. Return the beef and pour in the wine and allow to reduce, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and enough broth to cover the meat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 30 – 40 minutes or until soft. Cover with more beef broth. Add the peas, simmer for 5 minutes. Add more liquid if too dry, taste for seasoning and serve. It may seem odd for beef stew, but you can serve this with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. If you don’t have beef broth you can use bouillon cubes.Italian Beef Stew

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Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

This quick and easy recipe for sweet and sour pork chops is adapted from one I found in Bon Appetit. If you’d like it more ‘sour’ double the amount of vinegar.

 

Sweet and Sour PorkchopsIngredients:
  • 2 thick pork chops
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ sugar divided
  • 2 tbs. olive oil divided
  • 1 large, chopped shallot
  • 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbs. capers
  • 2 tbs. butter
Season both sides of the chops with salt and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of sugar on one side of each. Allow them to come to room temperature. Hold them with tongs and sear the fat cap in a dry, very hot frying pan until browned. Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook one side for 3 – 4 minutes until browned. Turn and cook the 2nd, sugared side for 1 – 2 minutes on a lower heat so the sugar doesn’t burn. Remove the chops to a plate.

Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan, add the shallots, and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and remaining teaspoon of sugar to the pan and stir until some of the vinegar burns away.
Add the rosemary, capers, and one cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Sweet and Sour PorkchopsReturn the chops, spoon some sauce over them and simmer for 5 minutes, turning once, until done.
Transfer the chops to plates, pour the sauce over them, and serve.

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Roasted Orange Chicken

Roasted Orange Chicken

I got this recipe in the New York Times. It was created by Genevieve Ko.
Roasted Orange Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 5 tangerines (or clementines)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp, ground cayenne
  • 1 3 ½ – 4 lb. whole chicken
  • 8 slices peeled fresh ginger
Heat oven to 400o.
Squeeze ¼ cup of juice from 1 or 2 of the tangerines into a small bowl. Save the peels. Cut the remaining tangerines into wedges (remove the seeds) and set aside.Roasted Orange Chicken
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cayenne to the tangerine juice and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Stuff the squeezed tangerine skins, and 6 pieces of ginger into the cavity. Tie the legs so the cavity is closed. Place the chicken into an oven proof pan and scatter the tangerine wedges and the last of the ginger around the chicken. Pour the juice mixture around the chicken and place it in the oven.Roasted Orange Chicken

Roast for 30 minutes and then bast with the pan juice. Bast every 10 minutes until done – about another 30 or 40 minutes depending on your oven. If the pan gets too dry add ¼ to ½ cup of water.Roasted Orange Chicken
Place the chicken on a cutting board and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.Roasted Orange Chicken
If the pan juice is too thin, cook over a low burner until it thickens, too thick or dry, add some water.  Carve the chicken into quarters or pieces and pour the pan juices over it. The tangerine slices are edible.

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Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pasta

I know that lots of people don’t like broccoli and this recipe is for them. Roasting it gives it a crisp flavor that makes the difference. This is adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ lbs. broccoli cut into bite sized florets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. small pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 12 oz. whole milk ricotta
Pre-heat your over to 425o.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
In a bowl, toss the broccoli, 2 tbsp. oil, salt, black, and red pepper. Place it in a large sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes, toss and roast for another 10 minutes until edges start to lightly brown. Remove, set aside, and set the over to broil.
Cook the pasta according to package instruction, drain and set aside.
Mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In the large bowl, mix together the broccoli, cooked pasta, and ricotta. Add the Parmesan mix and combine.Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Spread the pasta and broccoli evenly in the sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil for 2 to 4 minutes until pasta is lightly crisped and serve.Roasted Broccoli Pasta

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Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja translates to ‘old clothes’ in English. There’s probably a good story that goes along with that, but I don’t know it. I do know that ropa vieja is a hardy meat stew. The recipes for it vary a bit but basically, its shredded meat, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. It can be made with beef or pork.
Ropa Vieja
Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs. flank steak cut along grain into 3-to-4-inch pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil divided
  • 3 bell sliced peppers – vary colors
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 – 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup olives, cut in half
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 2 cups chicken stock
Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and let it come to room temperature. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and brown the meat. Do it in batches and don’t crowd the pan.
Ropa Vieja
Remove the meat and add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, and bay leaves. Cook for about 30 minutes until soft.
Ropa Vieja

 

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja
Now add the olives, raisins, capers, tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, mix, and deglaze the pot.
Ropa Vieja
Lower heat and simmer for 2 ½ hours. Shred the meat with 2 forks, stir everything together and simmer for another 30 minutes and serve with rice.
Ropa Vieja

 

Ropa Vieja

Like most stewed meats, ropa vieja is better left over the next day.

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Baked Ditalini

BAKED DITALINI

 

This baked ditalini (Budino di Ditalini) is adapted from Lydia Bastianich’s recipe.

 

Ditale in Italian means “thimble,” and hence the name of this delightful little tubular pasta. It is great in soups, but even better when baked. This dish is like a pasta pudding—a savory dish with all the luxury of dessert.

– Lydia

 

Baked Ditalini
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more for the pot
  • 1 lb. ditalini
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1½ cups grated Parmigiano
Preheat the oven to 350o and butter a 4 quart rectangular baking dish. Coat it with the breadcrumbs, tapping out any excess.
Baked Ditalini

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the ditalini, and cook until al dente, drain and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and salt. Add the cream and milk slowly and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pasta, peas, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Baked Ditalini


Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining half cup of grated cheese. Bake until the custard is set about 35 – 40 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.Baked Ditalini

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Orange Flan

Orange Flan

A friend found this recipe in the New York Daily News and gave it to me. I used clementines but you can use any kind of oranges you like, tangerines too.

 

Orange Flan

 

Ingredients:
For the caramel –
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed & strained orange juice
For the custard –
  • 2 cups half & half
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 rosemary sprig (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed & strained orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350o with a rack in the middle. Have six 4-ounce ramekins ready.

Caramel –
Put sugar and juice in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer and stir for about 10 minutes until it begins to thicken and darken. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. Pour an equal amount into each ramekin and set aside.

Orange Flan


Custard –
Put the half & half, sugar, vanilla, and rosemary into a pot. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.

Orange Flan

Whisk the eggs and tangerine juice then whisk in the hot half & half mix a little at a time. Strain the custard through a sieve into the 6 ramekins, about half a cup each. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and add enough hot water to come up halfway to their sides.  Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Orange Flan

Remove the ramekins, let cool, and cover with Saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.Orange Flan

To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekin to loosen the flan. Then cover it with a dessert plate and flip over the ramekin and plate. Tap the ramekin and the flan should fall into the plate. If not, give it a minute and it should fall on its own.Orange Flan

 

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Banana Bread Pudding

Banana Bread Pudding

A simple recipe for Banana Bread Pudding that works as dessert or breakfast. I adapted this from Marta Rivera Diaz’s recipe in the New York Daily News.

Banana Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

For the pudding –
  • ½ stick butter (4 pats divided)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 ripe bananas divided
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lb. day old French bread
For the toffee sauce –
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. dark rum
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Prep –

  • Heat the oven to 350o with a rack in the middle.
  • Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with 2 pats of butter.
  • Trim the crust from the bread (leave a little for color and texture) and cut the bread into one inch pieces. I used a French boule which is just about a pound.Banana Bread Pudding

    Make the custard –

Banana Bread Pudding
          Put a cup of brown sugar and 2 ripe bananas in a large bowl and mask together with a fork until the mixture is smooth with no large chunks. Melt the remaining 2 pats of butter and add to the mix with the cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Mix until everything is combined. Add 3 cups of milk, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, ¼ cup of rum, and the vanilla extract. Mix until the bread is coated. Let it rest for 10 minutes for the bread to absorb the liquid and then re-mix.Banana Bread Pudding
          Pour the mixture into the pan. Slice the last banana and dot the top with the slices. Bake until it’s lightly browned, about 60 minutes.

Make the toffee sauce –

          While the custard is baking, melt 1 stick of butter in a small pot. Add ½ cup of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and mix while simmering for about 3 minutes until it resembles caramel. Turn off the heat so it doesn’t flame and add the 3 tablespoons of rum. Turn the heat back on and whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the ¼ cup of cream and whisk to combine.Banana Bread Pudding
When the bread pudding is done let it cool for 15 minutes and serve with the toffee sauce poured over each serving. If you have any sauce left over its good on French toast or pancakes.

 

 

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Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

I got this recipe in Bon Appétit. It’s a simple roast chicken with standard ingredients – onions, herbs, lemon but it’s the pan-juices that make that tasty vinaigrette. 

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil divided
  • 1 onion cut into eights
  • 1 head of garlic cut crosswise
  • 5 rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Pre-heat your oven to 425o.

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

Put 3 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven. Add the halved head of garlic, 4 of the 5 sprigs of rosemary, salt pepper and all but one piece of the onion.  Stir to coat.

 

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

Pat the chicken dry. Coat with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper inside and out. Squeeze the half lemon over it and put the lemon rind, the remaining sprig of rosemary and the 1/8 slice of onion in the cavity. Put the chicken in the pot and pour in the wine and a half cup of water. Cover the pot and roast the chicken for 60 minutes. If you’d like the chicken to be browner, run it under the broiler for a few minutes. Place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and cover with foil to rest while you make the vinaigrette.

 

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

Pour out any dripping in the pot except for 2 tablespoons. Remove and discard the onions and rosemary sprigs but save the garlic. Add one tablespoon of oil and a half cup of water to the pot. Bring to a boil and deglaze. Strain the liquid into a bowl. Squeeze out about 6 to 8 cloves of the roasted garlic into the bowl. Add the mustard and vinegar, and one tablespoon of oil and whisk. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

 

Dutch Oven Roast Chicken with Vinaigrette

Cut the chicken into quarters – two leg and thigh and two wing and breast. Place the pieces in a serving dish and spoon some of the vinaigrette over it. Serve the chicken and pass the rest of the sauce at the table.

 

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Fanny’s Sweet Rhythm

Fanny’s Sweet Rhythm

 

Fanny's Sweet RhythmI watched a bartender make one of these and asked him what was in it. It’s basically gin on the rocks with a very theatrical presentation. He said it was called “Fanny’s Sweet Rhythm” and he didn’t know why. It’s pretty and tastes good so give it a try.

Fanny's Sweet Rhythm

 

Fanny's Sweet Rhythm

Muddle the mint and orange bitters in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice, pour in the gin and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel and sprig of mint.
Invert a half lime so that the peel faces in, place on top of the crushed ice and pour Green Chartreuse into shell. Light the Chartreuse, let it burn for 30 seconds to warm the oils in the lime skin, then tip into the drink.

Fanny's Sweet Rhythm

Fanny's Sweet Rhythm

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