Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe #232: Potatoes Dauphinoise

I normally post recipes that are main dishes, but here's a side to go with any meat.  I made these with my beloved lamb chops (fried on the stove after coming to room temp with light olive oil, garlic powder, and dried thyme, 4 minutes per side or so).  I poured this soupy slop into the casserole dish and it didn't look very pretty, but the result after cooking was amazing.  So much flavor for a basic recipe!  This is from the BBC (  My changes/comments are in red.  It made enough that tomorrow, I'll have leftovers to go with the fish I'm making.


  • 1 kg/2lb 4oz baking potatoes, peeled and placed in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from browning (use floury potatoes such as Russet,King Edward, Maris Piper or Desiree) (I used Idaho- that's all that was available.... four of them was just about the right weight)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (I also supplemented with a little garlic powder)
  • 500ml/17½fl oz double cream (you may need a bit extra)  (This is about 2.5 cups.  I didn't use that much)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas 2.  (320F is sort of an unusual mark for us, but trust me, this is correct.)
  2. Slice the potatoes into thin slices, about 3mm/⅛in thick. Place the slices into a bowl as you cut them. (Make sure your knife is nice and sharp!  Put water into the bowl to keep them from browning, and then dump the water before the next step.)
  3. Trim the ends off the garlic cloves but don't peel. Grate the cloves on a grater. The flesh will go through the fine holes and the skins will be left behind. Scrape the grated garlic flesh into the bowl with the potatoes.  (I didn't think there was enough garlic, so I shook on some garlic powder too.)
  4. Season the potatoes, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Pour the cream over the potatoes and mix well again.
  6. Place the potato slices into the gratin dish. They should come to just below the top of the dish. Press the potato down with the back of a spoon or your hands so it forms a solid layer. The cream should come to just below the top layer of potato (top up with more double cream if necessary).  (I put these into a 9x13 ceramic casserole and they came up to about half way.  Only pour as much cream as needed for it to not be swamped.  I didn't use the full 2.5 cups.... maybe less than 2)
  7. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 1-1½ hours, or until the potatoes are completely tender. (If the cream looks like it's splitting, your oven is too hot, so turn it down a bit.)  (After about an hour, stab a fork into the dish and grab one to see how done it is.  Mine were good after about an hour 15.)
  8. Serve the dauphinoise as a side dish to roasted meat or poultry.  (My lamb chops, of course)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recipe #231: Coq au Vin

I don't post any recipes on here that I don't think are worthy.... the boring ones, the non-special or unique ones, the ones that turn out not quite to my expectations.... But some of the recipes are a step above the others, and this definitely is one of them.  There are many variations to this recipe, but this one uses all common ingredients for a very un-ordinary, awesomely delicious result.   If you want to impress guests, try this one.  It's not difficult at all; it just takes some time.  I found this recipe (and copied it from) with my notes in parenthesis.


  • 1/2 lb bacon slices (I got thick bacon slices from the deli)
  • 20 pearl onions, peeled, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced (I used the pearl onions.  To save time on peeling buy the frozen ones)
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, excess fat trimmed, skin ON (I used 2lbs, which was 4 each of thighs and drumsticks)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, or zinfandel)  (I used pinot noir)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs
  • Several fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped (I used closer to 1lb.  Quarter these instead of chopping them)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (I forgot this because I was so excited about serving it up)


1 Blanch the bacon to remove some of its saltiness. Drop the bacon into a saucepan of cold water, covered by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, drain. Rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into 1 inch by 1/4 inch pieces.
2 Brown bacon on medium high heat in a dutch oven big enough to hold the chicken, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon, set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan. Working in batches if necessary, add onions and chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes. Halfway through the browning, add the garlic and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. (Note: it is best to add salt while cooking, not just at the very end. It brings out the flavor of the chicken.)
3 Spoon off any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Add back the bacon. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken and onions to a separate platter. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic, and discard.
4 Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and turn the heat to high. Boil quickly and reduce the liquid by three fourths until it becomes thick and saucy. Lower the heat, stir in the butter. Return the chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with sauce. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with parsley and serve.  (NOTE:  reducing takes quite awhile, so plan ahead.  I would have reduced even more, but I was growing impatient and hungry.)
I served this over egg noodles.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Recipe #230: Djaj Mqualli (Chicken, Olive, and Lemon Tagine)

I like making recipes influenced by other cultures and countries.  Here's one I found after linking to "North African" recipes on I'd made a tagine before (link here) with beef and sweet potatoes, but this was different with chicken, olives, and lemon.  My changes are noted.  GREAT flavor, super moist.  I didn't make anything to go with it (rice, flatbread, etc) but wouldn't change a thing.


3 tbsp. olive oil
6 whole chicken legs (I used 4)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. ground ginger (I didn't have enough of this but it was still delish)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. crushed saffron threads
1½ cups chicken stock
6 oz. green olives, cracked
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 jarred preserved lemons, cut into slices  (I used one fresh lemon, sliced)


Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in an 8–qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onions to pot; cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add spices; cook for 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot with stock; boil. Bake chicken, covered, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in olives, butter, parsley, cilantro, and lemons into pot, and cook for 6 minutes. Serve with rice or flatbread.

Recipe #229: Kale Chips

I have lots of vegetarian, vegan, and super-health-conscious friends who have mentioned kale in their posts on Facebook, but I was always skeptical that this thick dark green leafy veggie would actually taste as good as they raved.  Eventually, I realized that between my love for the burned leaves from the brussels sprouts I roast and the super-delicious grilled romano leaves I made recently, maybe I should try kale.

Today I was obsessing over new recipes and somehow stumbled across another kale recipe for these chips and thought, eh, what the hell.  Kale is.... well, just check this site for reasons why you should eat it.  I decided to take the plunge, and I'm so glad I did.  THESE ARE DELICIOUS.  They're like super fragile potato chips with more flavor.  I don't know how else to describe them.

Trust me.  Try this, even if you aren't into veggies or super healthy or whatever other reason you should try kale.  If you just want to eat something different and delicious, this is something to try.


1head green kale
1 tablespoons sunflower oil or coconut oil (I had sunflower and used that liberally.  Be light or the leaves will be soggy and not as crispy as the others with less oil)
Coarse sea salt


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.

Wash and pat dry the kale leaves.

Tear the leaves off the stems.  If you make smoothies, save the stems for those.

Put all the leaves in a large bowl or two and drizzzle oil over them.  Toss to coat (I just laid them on the sheets and brushed oil on them)

Spread the leaves on the baking sheet, salt and bake for 20 minutes until crispy.  (THEY SMELLED DELICIOUS!)

Remove chips from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Don't try to take them off of the sheet too early or they will break.

Eat right away.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recipe #228: Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Chicken and Rosemary

What DOESN'T taste better wrapped in bacon?  ....I can't think of anything.  This recipe is ridiculously easy!  I'm always skeptical about chicken breasts, worried they'll turn out dry, so I tend to cook thighs... but no worries here- they were delicious.  I served this with some bbq sauce for dipping, and the grilled Brussels sprouts recipe located here on the side.


Chicken breasts
Thick-cut bacon, 2 per breast
1 sprig fresh rosemary per breast
Garlic powder


Sprinkle garlic powder over chicken breasts.  Lay rosemary sprig on chicken.  Wrap with bacon strips.  Pin with toothpicks.  Grill on med-high heat about 8 minutes per side or until done.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Recipe #227: Grilled Romaine and Shrimp with Vinaigrette Dressing

This meal, although not photogenic, is fresh and delicious.  I adapted the shrimp and romaine part from a recipe I found via Google search, and the vinaigrette dressing recipe is from a fellow foodie and friend.  My hair smells like grill smoke and my stomach is happy!

Salad Ingredients:

Shrimp (I used 8 jumbo scampi for 2 of us)
Whole romaine hearts (1 per 2 people)
Olive Oil
Small onion, sliced into rings

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

8 tbs olive oil per person (OR split half and half olive oil and lemon juice, which I did here)
4 tbs balsamic vinegar per person
1 tbs Dijon mustard (I used 2)
1/2 tbs hot chili sauce (I used 1)
Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese



Thread shrimp onto oiled skewers.  Brush or spray shrimp with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut romaine lengthwise in half.  Brush or spray lettuce with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Brush onion rings with oil.


Place onions and shrimp on preheated grill and cook about 4 minutes for one side.  Turn over, and grill the other side.  Put the romaine middle-side down on the grill while the second side of the shrimp cooks, and grill until it wilts slightly.

Put romaine on a plate and top with shrimp and onions.  Spoon or pour over the vinaigrette.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.