LotR taters boulangère

Adapted from Middle-earth Recipes

Ingredients:

  • ~1.5 lbs of potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • a sliced onion
  • some rosemary
  • butter
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg. F.
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes. Slice the onion. Mix the stock and milk (we used hot stock, so poured one then the other separately in step 5).
  3. Take an oven-proof dish and wipe it with butter, so nothing sticks. Put in a layer of potatoes, a layer of onion, sprinkle over some bruised rosemary. Repeat until ingredients used up.
  4. Top off with a layer of potato.
  5. Pour over the milk-stock mixture (may not need all of it) and then top off the dish with dots of butter and some rosemary sprigs (or other available herbs — we had marjoram, thyme, and fresh rosemary).
  6. Cook uncovered in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the potatoes are soft in the middle and brown/crisp on top.

For 3-4 people. We bought 3 big Yukon gold potatoes at the local farmer’s market to make this dish. “It will scale quite nicely for larger/smaller dinners… The original recipe suggested checking the dish and adding more liquid if it looked dry” but we found that draining off the liquid after the one hour of cooking, and then cooking it for another 10 more minutes, finished cooking through the thickest top potato slices that weren’t immersed in liquid!

~Jessica

Hungarian goulash

Adapted from Saveur and Aurel Pop

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1½ lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram (we used fresh!)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can beans (pinto beans work, we used navy beans)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 5 cups of bouillon stock
  • 1½ lb. medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped (sub: 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste)
  • 1 Italian frying pepper, chopped
  • Rye bread, for serving (optional; egg noodles instead!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Searing it adds extra flavor!
  3. Stir in the paprika, marjoram, other spices, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 5 cups water (with bouillon). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Add the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beans. Cook, uncovered, 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers; cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, with rye bread if desired. Also, sour cream and dill on the side, if desired.

Jesse really really really likes paprika — and I could think of no dish that is more paprika than this one (which I’ve never tried before, on account of the beef). I found this article that was so interesting, I actually read through the whole thing! I don’t often read through back story because every blogger writes a novel for their recipe (hence, why I avoid doing so), but I do recommend reading the Saveur article, for the historical context of food (IT’S FOOD!!!) and culinary depth in Hungarian culture.

I modified the directions for next time we make this recipe, based on how we would reallocate the timing — more time for the beef chuck to break down, less time for the vegetables so they don’t turn into mush. Following tips from The Kitchn, we decided to cook it for the 2 full hours, to really let the stew beef break down and tenderize. Veggies survived the simmer.

We picked up most of the ingredients at the local farmer’s market. If you don’t have marjoram, fresh oregano is a good (tho strong) substitute for fresh marjoram. If you don’t have caraway seeds, 1) anise, 2) fennel, or star anise could be a substitute (one website even suggested cumin seeds — maybe appearance, but not the same flavor in my opinion). Jesse may have dashed in a splash of good red wine (if you have, not required). I prefer egg noodles to rye bread any day, so I used the leftover German spätzle from this recipe.

-Jessica

Chicken stew

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 kg / 3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, cut thick end into 1.5cm / 3/5″ pieces, thin end 2.5cm/1″
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (or water)
  • 3 tbsp (35g) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 600 g / 1.2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (quarter large ones)
  • Warm crusty bread (homemade garlic bread!!)
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh thyme or parsley (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides until light golden, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Remove from pot. (Do in 2 batches if pot not big enough).
  3. If there’s too much oil in the pot, discard some. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add carrots and celery, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add wine. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits into the liquid. Cook for 1 minute until liquid is mostly gone.
  6. Sprinkle flour across surface, stir.
  7. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
  8. Place chicken on top, keeping the skin above the liquid level as much as you can.
  9. Bring to simmer then cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid. Add potatoes, pushing them into the liquid and rearranging chicken so they sit on top (for lovely crispy skin).
  11. Return to oven without the lid for a further 40 minutes until the chicken skin is deep golden and super crispy, the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thickened.
  12. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with warm crusty bread on the side to dunk in the sauce – or go all the way with Garlic Bread! Optional: garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves or parsley.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:

  • 1 French stick / baguette , ~ 60cm / 2ft long (I use half a loaf of Whole Foods peasant bread)
  • 125 g / 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic , minced (~3 – 4 cloves, pack the teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions for Garlic Bread:

  1. Preheat oven. I left it at the same temperature as the chicken stew.
  2. Cut the French stick in half. Then cut the bread almost all the way through into 2cm / 4/5″ thick slices.
  3. Mix together the butter, garlic, salt and parsley. Taste to see if it’s salty / garlicky enough for your taste.
  4. Smear garlic butter over cut side of bread.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy (check through foil).

I wanted a Dutch oven for a long time, and my sister Jennifer recommended the affordable Lodge cast iron 6 quart. She also recommended this chef’s blog! This came out super tasty — and every reheated leftover tasted better and better. HIGHLY recommend. Perfect for cold winter’s days to heat up your whole apartment.

~ Jessie

Pan roasted chicken and vegetables

Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium yellow potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into 3/4″ to 1″ thick pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 3/4″ thick rounds
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1.5 Tbsp garlic salt, or to taste
  • Freshly grated black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tbsp. Canola or olive oil
  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining salt, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over potatoes and carrots. Transfer to a Dutch oven or baking pan coated with olive oil, roast uncovered at 450˚F for 10 minutes. The chicken will roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender (about 35-40 minutes total).
  3. Combine the zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove roasting pans from the oven and quickly place the rest of the vegetables evenly over the top. Return to the oven and roast an additional 20-25 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Roast until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.

I had the vegetables I wanted for my classic vegetable soup dish, but no pot or Dutch oven big enough to hand blend it. So I thought to try out the glass Pyrex baking pan I just acquired and bake some this cold weekend for dinner. The vegetables (especially the potatoes) took a decent extra time to cook through, but the Staub Enameled Cast Iron Fry Pan cooked considerably more than the Pyrex Glass Baking Dish. THIS TASTES SO GOOD.. I never got tired of reheating leftovers. In fact, it tasted better each time.

~Jessica

Minestra di farro

Adapted from Food52 and Great Italian Chefs

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 70 g of pancetta, minced (optional)
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small celery , finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 600 g of waxy potatoes, peeled and diced (didn’t have — next time!)
  • 300 g of farro, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 7 ounces (or 200 grams) peeled tomatoes
  • 500 g of dried cannellini beans, or borlotti beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed (I used canned)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves
  • sea salt, as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide soup pot or saucepan; add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and gently cook until soft and translucent. Add the pancetta and continue cooking until the fat has melted. Add herbs and peeled tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the cooked borlotti beans, along with their liquid. Stir to combine everything and add 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cook 10 minutes uncovered, then remove from heat. Remove the rosemary stick and blend (an immersion blender is ideal for this) until smooth.
  3. Add the farro to the bean purée (along with another cup of water to loosen it, using more or less as necessary) and continue cooking over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every now and then to check that the soup is not sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the farro is cooked al dente (with a pleasant bite to it, like pasta). It should be a fairly thick soup but you can add more water to your liking. Check for seasoning.
  4. Serve the soup with freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top.

This came together better than I expected, although I did not soak anything overnight, beans or farro. I used a can of Goya beans in sauce (white beans would have been closer to suitable but I had Green Pigeon Peas in Sauce). I was debating whether to add Latin beans to an Italian dish, but Jesse insisted on including beans in a stew recipe. Pancetta isn’t too shabby as an ingredient, but mushrooms can make such a delicious vegetarian substitute — I highly recommend, so that’s what I used. Also, forgot to add the rosemary until the last minute, better luck next time! Next level: homemade broth.

~Jessica

Spanish tortilla with green pepper

Adapted from Jamie Oliver, inspired by my friend Danielito, remake of Spanish tortilla

Ingredients:

  • 300 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin and short

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes then slice thin. Pat dry. Peel and finely slice the onion.
  2. Drizzle Spanish olive oil into a small frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and potatoes, alternating layers of potatoes with the onions. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 25-30 minutes covered. Do not stir it or the potatoes will break up.
  3. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then whisk together. When the onions and potatoes are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs. Return the pan to cook over low heat for around 20 minutes, then loosen the sides of the tortilla.
  4. Carefully flip the pan over a dinner plate and tip out the tortilla, then slide it back into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
  5. Cut into 6 wedges and serve hot.

I burned the bottom a little video chatting with a friend, but it still tastes great, and I flipped it with a pot lid!

~Jessica

Coconut curry chicken

Adapted from Woks of Life and Tyler Florence and Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Ghee (I used butter)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoons Curry Powder (I used Garam masala)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 to 3 dried red chiles (I used red pepper flakes)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400mL can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cups chicken stock (I used soup greens cooked in water; included parsnip, turnip, dill, parsley, carrot, onion, celery, leek)
  • 4 bone-in organic chicken thighs
  • handful of string beans
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lemon, juiced (I subbed with 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar)

Directions:

  1. Heat the Ghee (butter) in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the diced onions, grated ginger, and smashed garlic and cook slowly until the onions are very soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. While waiting, I diced some red potato to add in. Add the curry powder and chili flakes and give it a good stir; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock (water) and bring it back to a simmer; cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, and half the lemon juice; continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. I added some slices of green bell pepper and a handful of string beans here (seemed more apropos then sugar snap peas).
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves.

I halved this recipe. My puopuo (mother’s mother) gets canned goods at the local senior citizen community center in Jackson Heights, so what better way to make this. I like to take the canned beans she gives me and make rice and beans in the rice cooker. This time I just cooked plain jasmine rice, after 2 rinses. Next coconut curry I make, I’d like to try the Penang (Thai) red curry. I wanted to add peanuts, but couldn’t find any raw ones at Fine Fare, so I stirred in a bit of peanut butter (Thanks puopuo!) instead.

Merry Christmas Eve,
~Jessica

Butter-basted bison ribeye steak with with crispy potatoes and roasted garlic

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Adapted from Serious Eats and Food & Wine and Red Cedar Bison Ranch

Ingredients:
8 oz. boneless bison ribeye
fresh parsley, chopped
rosemary and thyme, chopped
salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
unsalted butter
olive oil
clove of garlic
3 red potatoes

Directions:

  1. Remove meat from freezer, defrost for 30+ minutes. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes total. Drain and set aside.
  2. Finely chop thyme and rosemary. Cut cooled potatoes into quarters.
  3. Preheat your cast iron or non-stick pan on high heat. Coat with a thin layer of oil. Salt and pepper the meat liberally, then place in the pan just as the oil starts to smoke. Let it sear on the high heat for about 4 minutes. Do not move the meat!
  4. Turn steak once using tongs to flip. Continue cooking on medium-high heat for about another 3 minutes for a perfect medium steak, 2 minutes for rare.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, whole rosemary sprigs, and whole thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook, flipping steak occasionally, and basting any light spots with foaming butter. To baste, tilt pan slightly so that butter collects by the pan’s handle. Use a spoon to pick up butter and pour it over steak.
  6. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining butter. When foaming subsides, add potatoes, cut-side down. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are deep golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add chopped rosemary and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat potatoes. Cook, tossing and stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Transfer potatoes to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, leaving excess fat behind. Increase heat to high until leftover fat is smoking. Pour over resting steak. Discard garlic, rosemary, and thyme sprigs. Place steak on serving platter and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.

The last of my precious upstate NY bison acquisition from my much-deserved Spring Break in Montreal. I overcooked the last bison steak, so this one had to be medium-rare for sure. If I had time and space, I would definitely roast a head of garlic in foil for 1 hour on 350 deg F. They’re utterly delightful — I still remember my first time at the tapas restaurant in Ithaca, Just a Taste.

~Jessica

Rosemary garlic potatoes

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sorry for the terrible photo. not #foodporn

Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients
6 red potatoes, quartered
1/8 cup good olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
minced rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon butter (I used 1.5, cuz more butter, the better)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used smoked gouda, which I had on hand)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 box of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, beans mix)
Melted butter to brush on top of mashed potatoes

Directions:
Cut the potatoes in quarters and cover the chopped potatoes in cold water plus an inch. Boil for 5-10 minutes until cooked through. Drain water. Place potatoes in a pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Pan fry the potatoes in 1 layer until browned and crisp. Flip with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning. Remove the potatoes from the heat, season to taste, and serve. Fry the vegetables with some butter, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Add a protein of your choice if you so desire (I used herbed turkey breast).

~Jessica

Seared ‘garlic’ elk sirloin

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Adapted from Nevada Foodies and Creek’s Edge Elk Farm

Ingredients:
.57 lbs. of elk sirloin from here
salt and fresh cracked pepper
garlic
rosemary/thyme
For the smashed potatoes:
6-8 potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Chopped fresh chives
roast mushrooms and caramelized onions (optional)

Directions:

Let steaks stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, boil quartered potatoes until tender (cover potatoes in 1 inch of water and check after 5 minutes of boiling, less if smaller). Then add butter to a pan on medium heat, and smash potatoes. Season with rosemary and chives. Cook other side vegetables as you prefer.

Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over steaks. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Add vegetable oil to the pan and swirl to coat, heat until shimmering, but not quite smoking. Place the elk steaks in pan; sear 2 minutes on all sides. Remove from heat.

Add butter and garlic and seasonings to the pan. Carefully grasp pan handle using an oven mitt or folded dry dish towel. Tilt pan toward you so butter pools, baste steaks with herbed butter continually.

Cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Serve elk steak with smashed potatoes and side vegetables.

~Jessica

P.S. I liked putting the bison in the oven for 5 extra minutes at 400 deg F, so I might try that next time with the elk.