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Friday, October 31, 2008

Medallions Of Pork On Spinach With Tomato And Chanterelles

Special effects photo.
Slices of porkloin pounded out and breaded. Tomato stewed with garlic, onion and bay leaf. Chanterelles sauteed with red onion and garlic. A big handful of raw spinach in some very hot oil and allowed to cook with seasoning and garlic.
Bread the pork with regular breadcrumbs; saute in oil and a little butter. Remove spinach from pan and lay on the bottom of the plate, spreading the leaves to the side so they will be visible. When pork is cooked lay it on top of the spinach, place the stewed tomato mix on top of the pork and the chanterelles on top of that. Brown a little butter in a pan and throw it across the medallions.,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

French Onion Soup

This is a link I put on youtube showing how to make this soup with photos I took as I was making it.

This is the King of Soups in France and it is always popular. It has quite a history through the ages and there are a few variations on it. The one you see here is a gratinated onion soup. This is the one they will serve in restaurants. It was a staple in Les Halles before they tore it down and I had it there a lot. It was also the soup of the poor in Paris.

It was served with only broth, bread and a little cheese for workers who could afford no more than that.

It is a great soup. Often at galas in France they will serve a this soup at 4 am before people go home. It is a great tradition in Lyon where I think it is the most popular. The soup is a meal in itself and with a little salad and a glass of wine will make an evening.

The total cost for this soup which yielded 5 servings was about $4.50.; that is if you don't count the cheese. Mozarella is sold for about $3.00 a packet so that will make your cost go up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicken Chasseur, Sweet Potato Mash With Crispy Bacon.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, Chicken chasseur aka cacciatore in Italian. This is a great mix of mushrooms , tomato and tarragon. The chicken is sauteed in the kind of saucepan you see here, shallots are added, sliced mushrooms are added and some chopped tarragon. The chicken is removed and white wine is added to the mix and reduced by half. The mushrooms are removed and diced tomatoes are added with a little garlic. This is cooked for a few minutes and the whole thing is seasoned. You can add just a pinch of flour here and stir it in. Then you add either stock or water and you allow to cook for a little while. Then you put your chicken and mushrooms back in to finish the dish. It is a good idea to correct the seasoning at this time and possible add just a little garlic and some more tarragon. Bring the sauce to its proper consistency add some chopped parsley for color, let sit for half an hour and serve.
The reason you take both the chicken and the mushrooms out is that if you leave them in there during the entire cooking process they will be overcooked. Always slice your mushroom very thick or they will disappear in the dish from cooking.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Summer Flowers In Roseburg.

This is a short project I did for a competition last year. I didn't win of course but i enjoyed doing it.

Roseburg is a very small town. It is getting bigger but it is still small. During the winter and fall it rains a lot. The skies are overcast and the clouds are heavy and steel grey. Personally I don't mind it because the rain and the clouds bring back memories of happy times spent over Irish coffee in a remote pub in the Wicklow Hills one rainy winter’s afternoon. That was back in the day of course.
During the rains in Oregon, the greens are greener, the hills more splendid and the walks more colorful. The air is brisk.
I love the winter and fall in Oregon in general. I should really say in the Northwest.
But then... comes the summer. The air is lighter the mood easier and the smiles are all around. All of a sudden we begin to notice flowers in the city. Of course there are flowers in every city, but these flowers.... somebody puts them there. They are everywhere. They hang from buildings, they hang from lamp posts and they hang from trees. Beautiful big baskets of flowers dot the streets and the walls and the trees and the sidewalks. We know it is going to be a nice summer.

Hope you have flowers in the city too. Have you ever looked?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barbequed Pork Ribs, Sweet Peppers And Onions And Fried Baked Potatoes.

I love barbeque and I have it as often as I can. I love BBQ Meats, BBQ fish and BBQ vetetables. This one here is a particulary easy one ( most Barbeques are) and I usually parboil the ribs or any meats that I am using for this dish for the simple reason that it avoids the crust that barbeques usually get if they are done from raw. I put whatever I am using into a pot of cold water, bring it to the boil and then wash it off; any blood will be washed off with it and you will start with a nice clean piece of meat as you see here. I rinse it off and then put it back into a pot with cold water , some onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and then I simmer it until half way cooked. After it is parcooked I slow roast it in the oven until it is 99% cooked. Then i start putting on the barbeque sauce: I usually apply the sauce two to three times or until it starts to get that nice chocolatey color. In this case here I cooked the onions and peppers in the same pan but took them out when they were cooked. All the flavors mesh when you cook them altogether but you have to remember to take the vegetables out because they cook much quicker than the ribs. I marinated the peppers and onions in some olive oil, garlic and thyme for about half an hour beforehand. You also need to make sure that you cut the peppers and onions in really big pieces or they will disappear in the cooking. When you remove them from the pan after cooking keep them in a warm place not a hot one or they will continue to cook

For the potato: you simply bake a potato and let it go cold, then you slice it and fry it as you would french fries. These potatoes are killer potatoes. I guarantee that with a good tartar sauce you will not be able to stop eating them. As you will imagine they also go very well with fish and chips and replace the chips very well.

If you think that the final product is a little dark it is because I like things a little charred. You can do it much lighter.

Stuffed Breast Of Chicken Wellington

This is a variation on the Beef Wellinton using the same method and technique but costing much, much less. Once you know how to make a Beef Wellington you can use any cut of meat as long as it is the same proportions. Loin of pork is good for this. You also do it with fish but you will make a fish stuffing instead of the mushroom duxelle.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Couple Of Poached Eggs On A Potato Cake

Total Cost. $1.00 or less.

Casserole of Lamb.

Now that the cold weather is coming in it is time to start thinking of stews and casseroles. I eat them at any time of the year and in any season but they are particularly good of a winters night when the rain is belting on the window and the wind is blowing.
This particular casserole is no ordinary casserole but a dish called 'Agneau Champvallon' and it is from Burgundy. This was a very popular dish in the '70's but you never hear of it these days. It is full of flavor and very hearty.
Lamb loin chops are the best for this dish or as you see in this photo I have a lamb steak which is a cross cut of the leg. The reason it is better to use a sturdy cut is that this dish cooks so long that the tenderness of the meat is not an issue. By the time it is cooked the lamb will melt in your mouth even if it is mutton. So why waste money on premium cuts of lamb.
As you will see by the pictures you need a lot a sauteed onions. They should by translucent and not colored. You will need some tomatoes stewed with garlic and thyme until it becomes a puree. You will need a baker potato. You will also need to saute your lamb and make a little jus with the pan drippings. You can do all of this the day before and let it go cold so it will be easier to handle.
The rest of this dish is just assembly and finally cooking.
Sliced potatoes are placed on the bottom of the dish, then a bed of onions and then a bed of tomato. The meat is then placed on top of this and the process is reversed until you end up with well arranged layer of potatoes on top. It is important that this final layer be well done as this will be the presentation layer. As you layer check the seasoning and add a petals of thyme as you go.
Then you pour the stock over the whole thing and bake it in the oven. Not a bad idea to drizzle a little olive oil on top as it is cooking.
One last tip; melt a little butter in a ramequin and five minutes before you take your dish out of the oven paint the butter over the potatoes. They should turn golden brown.
Cost: About $4.50
Flavor: Priceless.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pork And Sweet Pepper Stew With Fried Colcannon Cakes.

This is a typical 'clean out the 'fridge' dish. I had no idea what I was going to do for dinner tonight until i started poking around what was left in the 'fridge. I first found some pork that I had bought in bulk and portioned and froze a while ago. Then I went into the the vegetable drawers and found the rest of what I needed, some yellow ,red and green peppers and some mushrooms. An accompaniement was the next challenge, I had eaten enough rice this week and mashed potatoes seemed too mundane. I thought of doing a puree of celeriac for a change. I saw some beautiful big roots yesterday in Safeway. I then remembered that they were $3.00 per pound and these were big roots. I would have spent at least seven dollars on a starch. ......... I went rooting in the fridge again and found some baker potatoes and some collard greens. I then thought of that old irish dish called 'colcannon' and then I thought of a variation on an old french potato we used to do and the whole thing came together..................... in the end dinner cost me absolutely nothing and it was very good. These are the kind of hearty stews that go down well on these 'getting chilly' evenings. The pork is sauteed at mid heat until golden brown all over. You then add some sliced onions and cook them with the pork until they are translucent and then add the peppers. Repeat the process until the peppers are soft but not too well cooked. Deglaze the lot with a little vinegar to counter the sweetness, add some tomato paste and then cook until all the tastes are combined. Add some chopped garlic, bay leaf and thyme and then a little flour. Finally add some water or stock bring to the boil and put in the slow cooker on a low or high heat. When cooked, remove the meat and vegetables , put the sauce in a pot and reduce to a nice consisitency , combine the dish and at this point ,add the mushrooms, allow to rest and voila.
The moral of this dish is that even though you may not think you have anything in the house for dinner you almost always do. If you have eggs and vegetables you can make omelettes and fritatas; there is almost alway dry pasta in the cupboard and some kind of vegatable in the fridge so a pasta dish is easy to make. A good freezer is important because you can buy chickens and things like that on sale then portion and freeze them. Once you have a chicken you invariably have the makings of some kind of dish or soup. There is always the possiblitly that you have what you need to make something and most of the time the biggest ingredient is a sense of adventure and a little bit of imagination

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dudley's Halloween Greeting To All

Half Roast Chicken With Winter Vegetables

Split chicken tied and roasted with fresh vegetables in the same pot. This is a simple dish but a delicious one. The trick is to start the chicken in a hot pan and let it sear so all the juices stay inside the meat. That way you end up with a crispy yet moist chicken just like your mother used to make for dinner in the old days. As for the vegetables, they need to be added incrementally so as the ones that take the longest to cook are added first and so on. I say this is a simple dish but there are a few things to watch out for. If you don't maintain a steady and high heat ( but not high enough to burn of course ) the squash will shed water and your dish will be ruined. It is very important to keep everything on a sizzle so nothing boils and everything roasts. You can also add the neck of the chicken to the pan to make the sauce afterwards. Also, during the cooking you can add whole peeled garlic( it will sweeten with cooking and lose the heavy garlic taste so don't worry) bay leaf and a sprig of thyme. Don't salt the chicken until it is seared. This helps the flavor a lot.
Buy a good chicken and some very fresh vegetables for this dish. Start your chicken at about 400 or so and when it is seared you can lower the heat. Bring the heat back up again when you add the vegetables to compensate for the cold vegetables.
When it is all cooked remove the chicken and vegetables from the roaster, add some white wine, reduce it by half and then add some water and simmer it until the flavors intensify. You will find that the sediment in the bottom of the pan from the chicken and vegetables will make a fine gravy like sauce.
A nice merlot will go well with this as will a good glass of microbrew beer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup With Sour Cream And Ginger.

Yesterday Alison ( my pretty niece) said she was going to make some carrot ginger soup. I found some butternut squash and some ginger in the fridge and did the same. Here is the result. Thanks for the inspiration Alison.
The nice thing about soup is that it is easy to make and so handy when you are kind of hungry but not quite. There are so many variations, textures, flavors and even colors that it is impossible to ever be bored with soup. There are new fancy and quaint soups that you will find around and they are very good. In the old days a quaint soup was a melon soup or a soup they made in Germany called a cherry soup. Yes, a soup made with cherries. I had it a few times when I was there, I didn't like it and I couldn't understand why a soup would be sweet.
Also, soup is so versatile and so resilient that you can make a huge batch of it, split it up into portions and freeze them in those individual rubbermaid things. Then on a cold winters night you can reach into your freezer bring out the desired variety of soup and serve it within ten minutes with a glass of wine and some crusty bread.
Then came the food revolution and now we have chilled avocado soup and lots of other soups that you don't even have to cook. All you need is the main ingredient, some cream, a little stock and herb of your choice and citrus juice. I like them all. Personally, if I want a chilled soup I will have a Vichyssoise. It has to be cooked then chilled then reseasoned and served at the right temperature.
I like the old fashioned soups. I love minestrone, lentil soup, split pea soup, onion soup and goulash soup to name but a few. A soup has to work to earn its title. Not just swish around in a blender.
I'm beginning to sound like Andy Rooney on 60 minutes.

Soup And Sandwich

Bacon, egg , tomato and mushroom sandwich. Sweet potato fries with ginger and cilantro. Goulash soup with sour cream.
The french fry is a strange animal. Much maligned and looked down on. The french fry properly made is a noble beast. The potato , you can use regular or as you can see here a sweet potato, should be cut by hand into even strips about two inches long by a half inch square. They should be washed under cold water until they are perfectly white. They should then be strained and put into a dry cloth. The oil should be heated but not sizzling, just a little under the heat you would need to fry them. The potatoes are then immersed into this hot oil and 'blanched', in other words cooked without coloring. When they are blanched they should be removed from the oil and placed on a surface that will absorb the excess fat. A kitchen towel will do. The fat should remain hot as you prepare the rest of your dish. Then as you are about to finish the preparation of the main dish you turn the heat up on the fat, put your french fries in ( very carefully) and watch them turn a crisp golden brown. Remove them with a strainer, one of those wire chinese things, rain some salt on them and serve. They will be crisp and have minimal fat. A good tip is to throw them into one of those stainless steel basins, throw a paper towel in with them and swirl them around a few times. You will have fat free delicious french fries.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Return Of The Tandoori Chicken

This is the tandoori chicken again but this time the way it is traditionally presented with the addition of a little red food coloring in the marinade. It has no effect on the taste of the dish but it does give a little more of a dramatic twist. The vegetables in this dish are bok choy and carrots that I steamed on one of those little oriental bamboo steamers. If you have pot apprximately the same size of the steamer you can make an infusion and steam the vegetables over the infusion. Here I made an infusion of pepper, garlic and coriander seeds to steam the vegetables.
It was delicious by the way!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spaghetti And Meatballs.

Classic dish, inexpensive, easy to make and very tasty. It is cheaper to buy the sausage meat in bulk, then form your own meatballs at home. When they are rolled put them on a flat surface that will fit in your freezer then line them up like little soldiers on your flat surface and put the whole thing in the freezer. When they are frozen put them into a protective plastic bag and use as needed. Depending on the season I will put different vegetables into pasta. Here I have added some butternut squash that I had previously blanched well so that it was close to cooked when I added it. Like that everything was cooked at the same time.

Beef Bourgignon

A winters day, on a cold and dark December  Seems like Simon and Garfunkel are describing the perfect setting for this king of beef stews. To call it a stew seems like heresy but despite all the attention it needs and all the preparation and care in cooking , that is what it is. Properly done it is a complex mix of flavors that should be served with a good mashed potato of your choice. Another one of my favorite dishes and one that I love to prepare because it takes so long to do. It is a cooks delight. Goes well with a good hearty Cabernet.

Ratatouille Nicoise Before And After

The classic vegetable dish from the south of France. It is a great accompaniement primarily to lamb but will go with almost anything. I have had it for breakfast with a poached egg and bernaise. It is also good cold with cold cuts. A very versatile dish for any season of the year.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Classic Reuben Sandwich

Is there anything like a reuben sandwich? A great american standard that will satisfy any appetite anywhere. So simple, so good and so popular all across the United States. Grab a beer and a good movie and settle in for the night.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tandoori Chicken

This was the fist time I have ever made or eaten this. It definitely
won't be the last. It was delicious. Most picture you see of tandoori chicken show red chicken. This is because the recipe calls for red food coloring. I didn't use the coloring and I think I like it better like this. I am going to make this again because it is not only an excellent dish but a relatively easy one. I will put the food coloring in the next one to see the difference.

Happy Halloween.

Chili Relleno

One of my favorite mexican dishes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lamb, Chicken And Vegetable Tagine

Great dish from North Africa. It should be cooked and served in a special dish. It is a conical shaped dish which allows the heat inside to circulate while it is cooking. I don't have one but I hope to get one soon. The dish gives a more festive flavor to the whole idea of having dinner from North Africa. This tagine has lamb and chicken but it is usually one or the other. Dried figs can be added to it as can dried apricots. I am sure you could make a very successful vegetarian tagine. This is a dish you can't get enough of. It is marinated the day before in cumin, garlic,a little lemon peel,olive oil, turmeric and cinammon sticks among others. The flavors are very intense and complex and as it cooks you can smell them coming out. To watch the progression of this dish as you prepare and cook and then sit down to enjoy it is to go on an exotic journey. The spices alone and individually are so diverse and so many that you wonder how someone could come up with such a combination. Did they do it all at once, did they try many times before they got the right combination.
To smell them all together in this dish makes you want to sit under a tent with the cool breeze and some moroccan music .
Like most stew type dishes it is best to let it sit for a little bit to allow the flavors to mesh before serving. Serve with rice or couscous.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pork Medallions With Slow Roasted Romas, Parsnip And Potato Mish Mash And Greens

Pork loin slices breaded and pan fried. Halved roma tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and slow roasted with whole jalapeno and garlic cloves at a low heat for about 2 hours. Mish mash of turnip and potato with sliced raw shallots and garlic. Collard greens (I love collard greens ever since I went to brazil) again and lime butter. One great, great meal.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chili With Roasted Parsnips, Collards And Rice Pilaf

And The Next Day... make yourself a potroast sandwich. Take two slices of bread and spread a little thousand island dressing on each one. Then you layer with, potroast , tomato, cole slaw, avocado and anything else you have in your fridge. Put the sandwich together. Heat a little oil in a pan big enough to hold it and bake the sandwich in a hot oven. Turn when one side is done to cook the other , then slice in half and serve with chips or fries. These are garlic oven fries that you see here. This is a delicous sandwich.

Potroast,Plain and Simple

Again, one of my favorite dishes. This was made in the slow cooker, a device I have now come to love, and took about 4 hours. It is served with a sour cream mashed yukon potato laced with cheddar cheese and a great accompaniement of brussels sprouts and glazed pearl onions.

Pot Au Feu After A Fashion

This is a super duper dish for the winter and the fall. I say after a fashion because there is a slight difference in this one and the classic pot au feu. The difference is in the cuts of meat and the fact that in France they will use a marrow bone. This is nonetheless pretty faithful to the original. A great dish cooked over quite some time and yielding a beef and chicken stock that you will be able to use for soups or drink as it is for a nourishing bowl of broth. Great dish and one I make very often. Served with sea salt, dijon mustard (failing that, horseradish) and small french pickled 'cornichons'.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Left Over Rigatoni Made Into A Salad, Cold Roast Beef And Tomatoes in Olive Oil.

Simple dinner with a salad from last nights rigatoni and some beef and cheese I bought at Safeway. Beef is going up in price and these few slices cost me over $.2.00. The havarti cheese was 0.81 so the whole thing probably cost about $4.oo or thereabouts. The jalapenos you see are from a local farm and they are delicious

Stroganoff Steak with Potato Gnocchi and Green Beans

A twist on the old beef stroganoff of yore. A good dish all round. Here I made a steak instead of beef tips which is what is usually used. I made the sauce seperate and the deglazed the pan where the steak had been cooked. The gnocchi was a perfect accompaniement.

Salad Nicoise

Another staple of the South of France is the salade nicoise and only there will you find the real thing. People put potatoes in it and all kinds of cooked vegetable like green beans. There in not one cooked item in a real salad nicoise and this is its secret. Because of the fact that it has only raw foods ( crudites  as they say in France) it is refreshing and all the more so because the dressing is so light , usually olive oil and vinegar or a light french dressing. It is best to make it and then chill it a little before eating. Great with crusty bread and a nice glass of white wine. You can't beat the French for food.

Buffalo Wings

I love these. So named because they were created in Buffalo New York from what I hear and not from buffalo on the prairie. The sauce is very hot but softened a little by adding butter to it. One of my favorite appetizers. There are many variations on this. This one is my favorite.
These are made by deep frying the chicken wings , or drumettes in this case, and draining them of all excess fat after they are cooked. It is a good idea to put them into an abosorbant paper towel and season them slightly. You then heat up a little of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, put the sauce in a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, add a little butter soft butter to it and melt it in the sauce. Add the hot wings, toss well and serve. Some people have celery and blue cheese. Not me! That would distract me from this great appetizer.