Boeuf Bourguignon

On the eve of my first day of culinary school, I wanted to make something as an ode to my grandmothers who are definitely inspirations for my cooking.  I wish I had more time with them so I could learn all of my Nana’s Italian home cooking and my Grandma’s French food and pastries.  This is also a classic Julia Child dish and I grew up watching her too, so here’s to them.  This is again another one of Rachel Khoo’s dishes, from her “Little Paris Kitchen”.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

  • 2 lb stewing beef
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 strips of bacon, cut into cubes
  • 5-6 shallots (or a bunch of those tiny onions)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed flat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • a few cloves
  • parsley
  • peppercorns
  • 2 cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir bc its my fave)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • a pinch of sugar

Start by heating the vegetable oil in a dutch oven over high heat.  In the mean time, sprinkle and toss the meat with the flour.  Here’s half of my meat batch:

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Start browning your meat in batches.

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Remove all the beef, and add the bacon, scallions, and garlic.  Let the bacon brown up for a minute or two, then add in thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, cloves, a few stalks of parsley, and peppercorns.

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Pesto Asparagus Pizza

Not sure of what to make?  Too lazy to go to a grocery store?  Throw whatever’s left in the fridge on a pizza!

Start with the dough.  This one requires some chill time in the fridge to rise a bit, but there are quicker pizza dough recipes out there.  Google it.

This is Deb Perelman’s recipe for pizza dough, from her “Smitten Kitchen” cookbook.  Highly recommend this book:  http://smittenkitchen.com/book/.

Pizza Dough (makes a thin 9×13″ thin rectangular-ish pizza)

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp table salt

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In a stand mixer, add your water, then sprinkle the yeast over it and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add your flour and salt and mix using a dough hook at moderate speed until a ball of dough starts to form.

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Pull your speed back to low and let it knead for 5 minutes.  You should end up with a sticky ball of pizza dough, and it was so easy!

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Stick it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, then remove and let it get back to room temperature.  It should be about double in size.

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Chicken Stock

Congratulations!  You’ve butchered your first whole chicken!  Now what do you do with that carcass, those wings and wing tips?  Why, make chicken stock, of course!

Chicken Stock

  • chicken parts!  (carcass, wings and wing tips left over from THIS post)
  • 4 carrots, roughly cut into segments
  • 3 stalks of celery, roughly cut (tops and greens are good too!)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clump parsley (I used a combo of remnants of fresh Italian and dry since our local store was out of parsley?!)
  • some sprigs of thyme
  • water

In a large stock pot, throw in all of the ingredients.

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Fill with water.

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Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to low.  Let that pot sit over a low heat uncovered for houuuuuurs aka sit on your butt and watch TV like I did.  Orange is the New Black, y’all.

Stir occasionally and wait for the house to smell like Thanksgiving.

I let mine go for about 3 hours, but it’s completely up to you.  I didn’t add any salt since you can always add that when you’re using the stock in a dish.

Strain it.

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Dump it into a plastic bag or some jars and freeze away for future dishes!

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Honey, Lemon and Lavender Chicken

This dish is based off Rachel Khoo’s (a la “Little Paris Kitchen”) recipe “Poulet au citron et lavande”.  Basically roast chicken with a honey lemon marinade with lavender.

Side note:  I’ve already spelled lavender “lavendar” about 5 times.

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Honey, Lemon and Lavender Chicken

  • 1 tbs dried lavender (the store didn’t have any, so I used a few drops of lavender oil I had in the pantry)
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • chicken parts
  • salt and pepper

Okay, it’s time to butcher your first whole chicken!  First I watched THIS video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEW4uFzKm4k

Cut your wing tips off, remove the rest of the wings, then each thigh, and last but not least, dissect out the breasts.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.  You should now have these lovely parts:

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Set aside the carcass and wings for STOCK!

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Sunday Morning Grits and Eggs

There’s not much better than breakfast on lazy Sunday mornings.  This morning was grits and eggs baked in these awesome little ramekins.

Sunday Morning Grits and Eggs

  • 1 cup white grits (instant if you HAVE to but really these take 10 minutes)
  • water
  • 1/2 cup cheese (we had parmesan in the house)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • extra cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cook the grits according to the package.  Once they’re done, stir in the 1/2 cup of cheese (or more if you like them extra cheesy).

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You can also add spinach, arugula, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, or avocado here.  Whatever your little heart desires!  We didn’t have much in the house so just plain old cheesy grits.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the grits evenly among the ramekins and create a well.

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Then crack the eggs into them.

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Put the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the whites are set but yolks are runny.  Sprinkle the tops with some more cheese (I added mozarellaaaaa) and a little pepper.

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Eat them up with maybe some Srircha drizzled on top and a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

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Straight from Costa Rica!

Summer Eats from Coast to Coast

Here’s some of the amazeballz things I’ve been eating/drinking this summer:

1.  This photo is reaaaally old but brunch here was amazing and The General Muir (http://www.thegeneralmuir.com/) is my oldest friend and future chef business partner’s favorite place to eat in Atlanta.  Highly recommended.

The Avenue A open faced bagel:  nova, schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion.

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2.  While in sunny SAN DIEGO for the 4th of July, I had lunch with my lovely mother at Prep Kitchen (http://www.prepkitchen.com/) in Little Italy:  to start, probably one of my favorite cocktails to date, London’s Burning.  Gin, jalapeño, avocado and lime.

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Followed up by a cold corn puree soup:

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And mussels with garlic, white wine, cream and fries:

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Dinner Lab – Tour de France

In my first Dinner Lab event in awhile, I saw an all-French menu and had to go.  Chef Jacques Richard lived and cooked in France until moving to Austin and is now a chef at Whole Foods.  His menu is a tour around the different regions of France, with each course representing a different place.

Course 1:  Gironde, Atlantique Ocean.  Baked stuffed mussels, ham, butter, pastis, bread crumbs

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The mussels were really tiny, but the clam itself was nice and light, and they didn’t dry out in the oven, either.  Not sure if it was just a garnish or not (most of the snobs around didn’t eat it), but the sautéed spinach was also delicious.

Course 2:  Lyon.  Lyonnaise Salad, red wine dressing, Lardons, croutons, poached eggs

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The problem with an event like Dinner Lab, where a chef is serving 50 or more people without a real kitchen, things have to be cooked in advance and they have to sit around.  Poached eggs are just not going to be good if they sit around.  The egg had to have been quail or some other small bird, so it was small, and was overcooked, rubbery, and the yolk was so small none of it was runny.  The intent of the salad was good in theory, had the yolk broken open and combined with the vinegar dressing to coat the salad, but it ended up flopping.

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