Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recipe #298: Midsummer's Night Pasta

I absolutely love this.  So fresh.  I had to restrain myself from going back for....fourths.  It should be served room temperature, and is great to bring to parties, like I did.


4 cups very ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt
4 cups rinsed and roughly chopped arugula
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 medium-size garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound penne
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and more for serving


Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander in the sink and toss them with 1 tablespoon of salt.  Let the tomatoes drain until the liquid draws out of them, about an hour.

Place the arugula, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, pepper, and oil in a large bowl and mix well.

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain well.

After the hour of draining, add the tomatoes to the arugula mixture and mix well.  Add the pasta and mix well.  Add the Parmesan cheese and mix.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.  If this is made ahead and refrigerated, let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe #297: Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Well, the weather wants to be fall-ish, so I decided to make soup!  Here's a simple delicious recipe that's even better as leftovers.  Copied from

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into small
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped
7 1/2 cups beef stock
8 ounces pearl barley
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1.Cook beef stew meat in a large skillet over medium heat until completely browned, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a large soup pot.  (I browned the beef in bacon fat with some garlic salt)
2.Heat vegetable oil in the same skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion, celery, and carrot in the hot oil until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the beef in the pot.  (I left the fat from the previous step and didn't add any oil)
3.Pour beef stock into the pot.
4.Stir pearl barley into the stock.
5.Place soup over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is completely tender, about 2 hours.  (I did this for about 1.5 hours and tested occasionally for tenderness.)
6.Stir mushrooms through the soup; cook 1 hour more.  (45 minutes was enough.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recipe #296: Crispy Braised Duck Legs

After five days in Paris, eating their delicious food, I couldn't come home and make something mediocre!  Here is a great recipe for super tender, flavorful duck legs.  I made a special trip to West Side Market to get these delicious things.  You could sub out chicken legs for this if you can't find duck- just adjust cooking times as needed.

  • 6 duck legs
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2” dice
  • 2 carrots, sliced in 1/2” rounds
  • 1 celery stalk ,cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Trim excess fat from the legs, being careful to not pierce the skin.  Salt and pepper both sides.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large dutch oven/French pot, brown duck legs in a single layer, skin side down 7 minutes, then flip and brown another 2-3 minutes until all legs are done.  Set aside.  I browned it in butter and reserved duck fat from a previous meal.

Pour out most of the grease, then add oil and butter if desired.  Salt and pepper and then brown the garlic, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme for 6 minutes.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add broth and reduce by half.  Add the tomatoes and heat through.  Layer the duck, skin side up on top of the mixture and nestle in the bay leaves.  Cover and put in the oven for 2 hours.