Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jennifer's bolognese

 This may just be the very best bridal shower gift we ever received- Jennifer's bolognese recipe!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion
2-4 carrots
2-4 celery stalks
1 red or green bell pepper
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
Ground beef, veal, and pork (1/2 lb. each)
2 cups red wine
San Marzano crushed tomatoes (1 28 oz. can)

1. Finely dice all veggies.
2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the onion, carrots, celery, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook the vegetables until they brown, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning. Don't rush this part- browning the vegetables develops serious flavor!
3. Add minced garlic for 30-60 seconds.
4. Add meat, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and brown the meat.
5. Add wine and reduce by three-fourths.
6. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer covered for at least 1 hour, but the longer the better!
7. Before serving or storing, use a shallow spoon to skim the top of the sauce to remove excess fat rendered from the meat.

*The sauce always tastes better the next day!
**Definitely make big batches- it freezes well. BUT be sure you double everything, not just the tomatoes otherwise it will be too watery.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

roasted beet and goat cheese salad


For the dressing:
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

mixed baby greens
4 cooked red beets
1 carrot, peeled and very thinly diced 
1/2 of small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons salted shelled pistachios (not dyed red)
4 oz soft goat cheese


1. Make the dressing: Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. I like to use my Cuisinart SmartStick chopper attachment to make this dressing.
2. Mix all of the salad ingredients together (except the cheese). Slowly incorporate the dressing- you will likely not need it all. Top with crumbed goat cheese.

grilled salmon with mustard beurre blanc served over mustard roasted potatoes and green beans


For the fish:
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
Salt and pepper
canola oil
1 – 2 pounds salmon fillets

For the veggies:
2 lbs. fingerling potatoes
1 lb. green beans, end trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the roasted veggies:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the potatoes in half and place them on a sheet pan. Place green beans on separate sheet pan.
3. Make the vinaigrette: whisk olive oil, mustard, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper.
4. Pour half the vinaigrette over the potatoes and the other half over the green beans. Toss each to coat.
5. Bake potatoes for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until they are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.
6. Bake the green beans 15-20 minutes, or until they are crispy but not soggy.

For the fish:
1. In a heavy bottomed pot, combine shallots, white wine, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Add cream and mustard; stir and reduce heat to low. While whisking continuously, add one cube of butter at a time allowing it to melt before adding the next. The key to this sauce is adding the butter slowly over low heat so it does not break. Once all of the butter is incorporated and the sauce is creamy, remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. If you’re not serving this immediately, cover and keep it warm on the stove.
2. Turn all burners to medium heat if using gas grill. Clean and oil grill. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill until the fish is cooked all the way through, but still flaky.
3. Plate over roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans and top with a spoonful of the mustard Beurre Blanc.

*beurre blanc recipe from InSockMonkeySlippers

pasta with yogurt, peas, basil and chile


2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed
1 lb. pasta shells
scant 1/2 cup pine nuts
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 2/3 cups basil leaves
8 oz. feta cheese
salt and pepper


1. Put the yogurt, 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas in a food processor. Pulse to a make a uniform pale green sauce and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
2. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/3 cup oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and red pepper flakes and fry for 4 minutes, until the nuts are golden and the oil is deep red.
4. Drain the cooked pasta, shaking well to get rid of the water and add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce (adding it all at once will cause the yogurt to split). Add the remaining peas, basil, feta, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss gently and transfer to individual bowls. Spoon over the pine nuts and their oil.

*Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem a Cookbook

beet hummus


4 cooked beets, rough dice
1 1/5 cups cooked chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon tahini
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

1/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped dill
crumbled feta cheese


1. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree beets, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, pressed garlic, salt, paprika, and chile flakes.
2. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to thin.
3. Serve in a wide, shallow bowl, garnished with the pistachios, dill, and feta. Serve with pita chips.

*Adapted from The Year in Food

crispy proscuitto, asparagus, and brie grilled pizza


1 ball of store-made pizza dough
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, miced
red pepper flakes
kosher salt
1 small bunch of asparagus, ends removed and sliced into thirds
6-8 slices prosciutto
8 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Blanch the asparagus. Drop asparagus into boiling, salted water and cook for 3 minutes. Using an Asian strainer remove cooked asparagus and place in bowl of ice water to immediately cool. When completely cooled, drain and place on paper towels to dry.
  2. Fry the prosciutto. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Lay a couple pieces of prosciutto at a time on the pan and cook until crispy, flipping halfway though.
  3. Make the garlic oil. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute, do not let it brown. Add a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and salt and remove from heat.
  4. Meanwhile lightly flour your counter and roll out the pizza dough. For a thinner crust, I recommend using only half of a standard sized dough ball per pizza.
  5. Turn all burners to high if using a gas grill. Brush and oil the grill.
  6. Using a wooden pizza peel transfer the dough to grill and place directly onto the grill grates. Cover and cook for 45 seconds. Using grill tongs and/or pizza peel flip the dough and cook for 1 more minute. Using grill tongs and/or pizza peel remove the cooked dough from the grill and bring inside to top with ingredients. 
  7. Spread a generous portion of garlic oil over crust. Sprinkle cheese over dough. Arrange asparagus and prosciutto over the cheese. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper
  8. Place pizza on a metal grill plate until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. (The grill plate helps protect the bottom of the crust from burning). 

traditonal pork and spinach ravioli

*Makes just short of 16 dozen raviolis

10 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and thoroughly drained
2-4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup parmesan
4-6 oz. marscapone cheese


Make the filling:
1. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add garlic for about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon remove garlic before browning.
2. Add shallots to pan with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a couple grinds fresh pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon remove shallots from pan. Once cool, mince garlic and shallots on a cutting board.
3. Add pork to pan with more salt (about 1/2 tsp.) and more pepper. After browned, drain meat in colander to remove excess fat.
4. Turn off heat. Return meat to pan. Add all other ingredients to pan. Mix thoroughly to combine and melt cheese. Let the mixture cool before proceeding.
5. When cooled, make tiny balls (maybe 1/2 tbsp. big) with the filling so that you can easily plop them in the ravioli mold when needed. 

*I use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer fitted with these Pasta Attachments to make the ravioli pasta sheets. It's much easier than rolling them out by hand.

Prepare the pasta sheets:
Using a dough scraper cut the dough ball into fourths (keep any unused pieces wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out). Taking one fourth at a time, roll out the dough into a long, thin rectangular pasta sheet (until setting #5 if using the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment). You will continue to make pasta sheets in this fashion, only as needed though. Do not roll out all of the sheets ahead of time, otherwise you will dry out your dough which will make sealing the raviolis challenging.

Make the ravioli:
Lay the prepared pasta sheet over a ravioli tray. Take the prepared filling balls and gently flatten them out with your index finger and thumb, creating small flat discs. Place them in the middle of each ravioli mold. Lay another pasta sheet over the filling. Using a rolling pin, seal the two pasta sheets together. Suggested method of rolling: first roll one short end, then the other short end, then one long end, leaving one long end open so that any air can escape. Roll over the top lightly to press out any air, then crimp the last long end. If you crimp the interior too much (i.e. roll too hard), they won't drop out of the tray in one piece. After you've sealed the sheets together, turn the tray upside down and gently help the raviolis out onto a parchment-lined tray or cutting board. Finally use a pastry crimper to ensure all sides around the ravioli are sealed. On a slight angle gently run the pastry crimper along all sides of the raviolis. At this point, I recommend popping them in the freezer for 10 or so minutes. After some time in the freezer, the individual raviolis will easily break apart. If you aren't cooking them immediately, place the raviolis in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. *Incorporate any dough scraps into your next pasta sheet.

Cooking the ravioli:
1. Gently boil the fresh raviolis for 4 minutes.
Tip: lower the raviolis into the boiling water using an Asian strainer rather than throwing/dumping them in the pot. This helps prevent water from splashing and the fragile raviolis from breaking open.
2. When the raviolis have finished cooking, using the strainer again, remove them and place in a colander to remove any excess water.
3. Serve with a basic marinara sauce and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

* Serving Suggestions:
Dinner: 1.5 dozen per person
Lunch or Holidays: 1 dozen per person