Now that Fall is finally here, I’m so excited to start cooking comfort food again with flavorful seasonal ingredients like wild mushrooms, truffles, sage, prosciutto, toasted nuts, hearty greens, whole grains…yum. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year when it comes to food 🙂
In particular, I love making homemade pasta and one-pot dishes, which is so easy to do with my KitchenAid® Gourmet Pasta Press that attaches to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.
It makes six different types of pasta in a snap: Bucatini, Spaghetti, Rotini, small and large Macaroni, and Rigatoni simply by swapping out a different disc for each pasta cut…how cool is that?!?
I decided to make a homemade Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce, Prosciutto, Spinach, Pecans and Sage. I love Buckwheat pasta because of its rustic flavor, and it’s perfect for fall pasta dishes. Similar to the traditional Italian Pizzoccheri (flat buckwheat fettuccine), buckwheat noodles have hearty depth of flavor, and pair perfectly with warm fall flavors and ingredients like wilted greens, potatoes, cabbage, cheese and garlic.
My pasta dish is topped with a luscious savory sauce made with crispy prosciutto and sage, nutty toasted pecans, garlic, shallots and wild mushrooms (portabella, porcini, oyster, beech, cremini, and shiitake) that I sautéed in olive oil and butter, then made into a luscious sauce with chicken broth and truffle oil.
CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!
I’d love to hear how you would use the KitchenAid Pasta Press and what recipes you would make! Share your take on my Buckwheat Bucatini & Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce recipe on KitchenAid’s Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.
I made myself a pledge to focus on being healthier and happier since the New Year has started… getting more sleep, balancing work and life better, focusing on my business and my brand with a revived passion, reaching out to friends and family more often, traveling more, eating healthier and getting more walking around the city in, and just choosing to be happy every day, no matter what. NO EXCUSES.
BUT, see the thing is…I hate diets. They never work and I slowly grow tired of counting calories and feeling deprived and end up eating like a maniac and ruining all the good i just did by torturing myself on the diet in the first place. So I’ve decided to go in a different direction by simply cutting sugar out of my diet, eating more healthy lean proteins and fresh veggies and cutting DOWN on carbs, not fully out. It seems to lessen the pain of a diet and I truly feel better and am more conscious of what I eat by tracking the amount of carbs I’m taking in. So far, so good.
So I decided I wouldn’t fully deprive myself of the carb-laden pasta dishes I crave in the Winter and that I’ve been missing out on, and made a Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom & Bacon FettuccineAlfredo that’s absolutely to die for. I used some lower-carb fettuccine pasta (Carba-Nada, which I got on Amazon for $10 and it only has 17 grams of carbs in 1.5 cups of pasta...LOVE IT). I sautéed some chicken breasts, shallots, garlic, bacon and added some spinach and mushrooms to make the base for the pasta. Then I made a delicious Alfredo sauce with half and half, unsalted butter, whipped cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese, thinned down with some water to make a semi-healthier version of this luscious, velvety (and usually super rich and fattening) pasta sauce.
I hope you’re getting through the Winter OK yourselves, and if not, whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Guilt-Free. You’ll be just fine, I promise. 😉
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup water, as needed for desired sauce consistency
CHICKEN, SPINACH & MUSHROOM PASTA
Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside. Reserve some of the pasta water to add back in to the pasta sauce later on, for consistency.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, brush olive oil on and season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Drain bacon grease from saute pan and raise heat to medium high. Saute chicken breasts, about 6 minutes per side, until a nice browning occurs and chicken is cooked through. Set aside, and keep warm with tented foil. (NOTE: You may also grill the chicken if desired at the same cooking time).
In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until they are soft.
Defrost frozen spinach in microwave for 5 minutes, drain and then add spinach (you can also add fresh spinach now) to the pan with the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until all cooked through, add crumbled bacon and season with freshly ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and keep warm while making the Alfredo sauce.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, cream and whipped cream cheese over medium-low heat.
Add shredded Parmesan cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it down to desired consistency.
Pour the Alfredo sauce into the pan with the spinach and mushroom mixture, slice the chicken into slices or chunks and add to the sauce and stir together well.
Serve hot over the pasta (or you can mix the pasta into the sauce ahead of serving, whatever you prefer).
Well it’s that time a year again…the holidays are here, and we all know what that means…PIE. And lots of cooking. With lots of yummy Winter comfort food and ingredients, like maple syrup.
Every year I try to make a new pie and experiment away from the traditional pumpkin, cherry and apple pies. I got a new cookbook title The Maple Syrup Cookbook with some awesome recipes in it and was inspired to make some of them for Thanksgiving this year with the family.
This French Canadian Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie is super delicious and was a hit at the table this year!
It’s similar to Pecan pie but has a touch of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar along with a big mess of chopped walnuts, brown sugar, brewed tea, and eggs all baked in a lovely crust. It has a nice balance of sweetness and tartness with lots of crunch and a gooey filling – super #delish!
I always make Brussels sprouts for the holidays, but this year I made Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts from the cookbook, using a touch of maple syrup for sweetness to the recipe instead of the balsamic drizzle I normally use with the bacon, shallots and vinegar.
They both went great with our Thanksgiving dinner and were absolutely divine with some lovely Riesling wine to go with.
I’m definitely a big fan of this cookbook and these new recipes and I hope you try them too – I’m thinking I’ll make the Maple-Bacon Bread Pudding that’s in the book this year for Christmas Brunch! Stay tuned for that one on the blog soon!
Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or frozen)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup brewed tea
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (or substitute shallots)
1-1 1/4 pounds Brussels Sprouts, halved
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional, I did not use)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
Prepare the pie shell according to the directions and line a 9-inch pie plate with the pie pastry and refrigerate or freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk together eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup, butter, tea, vinegar and salt, whisking until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Place the pie shell on a heavy baking sheet and pour in the filling.
Bake on the center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 25 minutes longer until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp with whipped cream or ice cream. Also good cold.
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
Add the butter and onions to the skillet, and saute over medium heat until translucent, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken broth.
Cover and braise the Brussels sprouts until not quite tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the mustard, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to cook uncovered, until sprouts are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup just before taking off the heat, and transfer to a serving dish and top with the cooked crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Sloppy Joes have gotten a bad rap in history over the years, haven’t they? When I think of Sloppy Joes I usually revert to some bad memories of the hair-netted lunch ladies in frocks serving them up on plastic trays in the cafeteria along with a side of some mushy peas and corn with a dried up chocolate chip cookie, along with the scary smells that came out of the school kitchen back in those days.
I had some extra ground beef in the freezer and wanted to make something different. Not another burger. Or meatloaf. Or batch of spaghetti and meatballs. But something I haven’t had in a loooonnnggg time, and Sloppy Joes fit the bill. But how could I remake this old-fashioned simple sandwich a bit tastier and appealing without looking like a big plate of mush?
I was determined to take these elementary school BBQ sammies to the next level by kicking them up a notch in heat level. I added some sliced jalapeños and Sriracha and some hot pepper sauce to the mix to give it some nice spiciness, but kept the caramel sweet undertones by mixing some honey into the brown sugar, and used Cabernet vinegar and shallots which are also a bit sweeter than traditional onion and help balance out the spicy heat a bit more.
The result was a perfectly sweet and spicy sauce mixed with the ground beef and peppers and jalapeños in every bite. Served on a buttered toasted bun, with a side of pickles and chips. YUM. What would have been even better is some melted cheese on the buns, which I highly recommend. So don’t be afraid of that old school cafeteria food – if you make it yourself and give it a little twist, it’s actually quite spectacular. And devilishydelicious.
So it’s Friday. And a lovely Spring day. I was in the mood to make something lovely to eat, preferably with a sweet and savory twist. I’ve also been on a baking kick lately, not sure why but I’m loving experimenting with different flavors and textures of pizzas and tarts and pies.
I decided to make a delicious rustic pizza made with some redgrapes, shallots, sharp white cheddar and mozzarellacheese, and some thin cut Italianham. I simply rolled out some refrigerated pizza dough and then topped it off with some olive oil, all the pizza ingredients, and some fresh thyme.
I popped it into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes until all the cheese and crust was bubbly and golden brown, then finished this beauty off with some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, some fresh basil and drizzles of honey.
This is the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. The contrast of the sweet grapes, shallots and honey with the sharp and tangy cheddar cheese and salty, crispy ham are like a true love affair…in Paris.
I’m thinking the only thing better than this would be an actual trip to Paris..on the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. With a chocolate croissant and cafe au lait in hand. With a really cute French guy. Ooh La La.
Aaah – a girl can dream, can’t she? (Happy Friday!)
Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Cheese, Honey & Thyme
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 1 slice/wedge
1 package of refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade if you prefer)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp White Cheddar cheese
4-6 thin slices Italian ham or prosciutto
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Honey for drizzling
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Spray a pizza sheet with oil and stretch out pizza dough to the edges making a thin crust.
Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Add the sliced shallots, ham, grapes and White cheddar cheese on to the dough evenly. Top with some fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.
Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
Top with fresh basil, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle with honey.
Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
You can also substitute prosciutto or bacon for the ham, and top with some fresh ricotta cheese if desired.
I recently got invited to the Annual Pie PartyGEPotluck with a group of food professionals from NYC, NJ and PA, and in order to attend you had to be a food professional and of course, bring a unique and delicious pie. Tickets to this awesome event were a hot commodity and sold out as always, so thanks to Harvard Common Press for releasing an extra ticket last minute me! I knew everyone would probably bring an array of sweet, and gooey pies and tarts – enough to make you swoon and pass out from a sugar coma.
I’m not really a huge sweets person so I decided to make a savory Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie with Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs, which is really more like a tart or quiche, just to switch it up and bring something different to the party.
Plus we got some great swag bags full of goodies from our generous sponsors to take home with us to enjoy all the leftover pie for the next week.
Pie pans from Anolon, gorgeous knives from Wusthof, measuring spoons and a strawberry huller from OXO, a take home container by Snapware, a gorgeous Aussie Beef Pie from Dub Pies, mini Jarlsberg cheese and lots of beautiful creamy butter from Kerrygold USA.
All hail to the pie makers!
Now back to my pie. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It has a delicious buttery crust with a savory filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch. It’s kind of like a big cheesy potato casserole you’d make for Thanksgiving dinner except it’s a pie. And who doesn’t love a good homemade fresh pie right out of the oven? I advise making two, though, (just double the pie filling recipe below) because this one will get snatched up quicker than you can grab your fork and say “pie”.
The pie has a delicious buttery crust with a handmade dough and a hearty filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch.
Pie Crust (For two 9-inch crusts):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
6 tablespoons ice water
Potato Pie Filling (For one 9-inch Pie):
6 slices of bacon or pancetta
4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/16”
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
¼ cup half and half
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons crème fraiche (for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)
For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to mix until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add the ice water in until moist clumps form in the dough. Gather the dough and form into a ball. Divide in half and flatten into disks. Wrap each dough disk in plastic and chill it for at least one to two hours before rolling it out.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Gently roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and place into a lightly greased nine-inch round pie dish. Trim and flute the edges, set aside.
Cook the bacon slices in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels, crumble into small pieces and set aside.
For the potato pie filling, peel and slice the potatoes thinly (about 1/16” rounds) with a mandolin or knife; chop shallots, garlic and sage leaves. Whisk two tablespoons of crème fraiche into the half and half in a small bowl.
Toss the sliced potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the dish in a circular overlapping pattern, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the shallots, garlic, sage, Gruyere cheese, half and half/crème fraiche mixture, and crumbled bacon. Repeat 2-3 more layers until all of the potato mixture and fillings are inside the pie shell. Top the pie with a little extra shredded Gruyere cheese and olive oil.
Bake the pie for about 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
Cool the pie on a baking rack for about 5 minutes and then top with a dollop or two of more crème fraiche, chopped parsley, sea salt and pepper for garnish.
You can also substitute pancetta or ham for the bacon, and mix in some Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese to the Gruyere if you want to make it extra cheesy and melty. Play around with the herbs too – throw in a little rosemary or thyme if you like. This recipe makes two 9-inch piecrusts, so if you want to make two pies, just double the pie filling recipe.
There’s some new kids on the block – and some mighty tasty ones at that. Buitoni reached out to me and asked me to create some recipes to go with their two new stuffed pasta flavors which are totally rockin’!
The RoastedButternut Squash Agnolottiis a luscious half-moon pasta generously filled with oven-roasted Butternut Squash, Impastata Ricotta, aged Parmesan and Grada Padano cheeses, accented with amaretti cookie crumbs. I decided to create a luscious sauce with Brown Butter, Sage, Pancetta, Shallots, and Toasted Pine Nuts.
The savory Chicken Marsala Ravioli is a delicate pasta filled with all-natural white meat chicken, roasted portabello mushrooms and caramelized onions with Impastata Ricotta, aged Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, accented with Marsala wine. To compliment the savory chicken and mushroom flavors inside, I created a Wild Mushrooms, Leeks, and Thyme in a Garlic, Wine and Cream Sauce to go with.
The fresh pasta cooks super fast (approximately 5-6 minutes) so you’ll want to get your sauce going first before you cook the pasta, or you can cook the pasta first and set it aside until you add it to the sauce at the end to coat.
I recommend a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or or a dry Rose to go with the Butternut Squash Agnolotti, and a light red table wine such as Montepulcciano d’Abruzzo or Pinot Noir to accompany the Chicken Marsala Ravioli. Serve both with a side of toasty garlic bread and a simple Arugula or Romaine salad with some shaved Parmesan cheese a light lemon vinaigrette dressing (a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, two teaspoons of Dijon or grainy mustard, a squeeze or two of lemon and salt and pepper).
Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Brown Butter, Pancetta, Shallots, Sage, and Toasted Pinenuts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4
1 package Buitoni Butternut Squash Agnolotti
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Boil water in a large saucepan and season with salt and olive oil. Cook stuffed pasta according to package directions (about 4-6 minutes) and drain; set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots for about two minutes until lightly browned. Add pancetta and cook until crispy and browned. Add chicken stock and sage to the pan and reduce over medium-high until sauce thickens. Lower heat and add cooked Agnolotti to the sauce; toss to coat.
Toast pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat until lightly golden brown, remove from heat.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste), toasted pine nuts and a few sage leaves for garnish.
Serve pasta with a simple Arugula salad tossed in a light lemon Vinaigrette dressing and some toasted garlic bread. Wine pairings: Sauvignon Blanc, dry White table wine or Rose.
Chicken Marsala Ravioli with Wild Mushrooms, Leeks, Thyme in a Garlic Wine Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 package Buitoni Chicken Marsala Ravioli
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 leek, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
3.5 ounces Wild Mushrooms (Chanterelle or Porcini)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Dash of Sea Salt (I used Pink Himalayan Onion Sea Salt)
Fresh ground black pepper
5-6 sprays White Truffle Oil (equal to 1 teaspoon) - optional
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Boil water in a large sauce pan (with some salt and olive oil). Cook pasta according to package directions (approximately 5-7 minutes). Drain and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saute pan; add garlic and shallots and cook about 2 minutes until translucent. Add leeks and mushrooms and saute until brown, about 7 minutes. Turn heat up to medium-high and deglaze the pan with wine and broth, until sauce thickens and reduces by half, for about 5 minutes. Add cream and stir in chopped thyme and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook on low for about 1 minute, stirring often.
Return cooked Ravioli to sauce pan and toss to coat with the sauce, cooking over low heat for about 1 minute. Add a few sprays of Truffle Oil if using.
Transfer pasta and sauce to a serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with additional chopped thyme and parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
Serve Chicken Marsala Ravioli with a simple green or Arugula salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and a light lemon Vinaigrette dressing and some toasted garlic bread. Wine pairing: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir or light red Italian table wine such as Montepulcciano d'Abruzzo.
This is a typical Asian dish with warm, smooth and bright flavors. Soba noodles are typical Japanese noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flours (you can find soba and most of the ingredients in this recipe in any Asian store, Kaluystan’s in NYC, Whole Foods or online).
The velvety flavorful sauce is semi-sweet and made with tamarind concentrate and coconut milk, infused with bright tangy Asian flavors – lime, red Thai chili, crispy shallots, mint and fennel seed. The shrimp are grilled to perfection (you can also sauté them if desired), then tossed with the Soba noodles and sauce to make a light, refreshing dish for Springtime. Garnish with cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews or diced mango for some extra layers of flavor.
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
36 shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup tamarind concentrate (or use paste dissolved in coconut milk, strained)
1 cup coconut milk
4 Keffir lime leaves (or 1 tablespoon lime zest)
1 red Thai chile, diced
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
½ cup rice vinegar
½ pound buckwheat soba noodles
3 tablespoons sesame oil
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, diced mango
Heat a 6-inch sauté pan over a medium heat and add the oil and shallots. Cook the shallots until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix the tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Add the shrimp, lime leaves or zest, chili, mint, garlic, fennel seed, rice vinegar and crispy shallots together and let marinate for at least 1 hour up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the soba noodles. Immediately add a cup of cold water to the pot. When it comes back to a boil, drain the noodles. (You can also sauté the noodles in some sesame oil after boiling and draining them, over high heat to crisp them on the bottom before serving).
Heat a 10-inch sauté pan or a grill over high heat, cook shrimp for 6 minutes.
Pour the marinade into a 2-cup sauce pan and bring to a boil, and reduce until thickened. Return the reduced marinade to the shrimp and divide the noodles among plates (or a large serving platter for the table), and serve the shrimp with sauce over the warm noodles.
Garnish with desired toppings: cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, cubed mango.
Adapted from recipe by Richard Ruben, Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Institute of Culinary Education.
It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and we’re looking for a romantic dinner to make at home for Valentine’s Day. This is a sinfully delicious dinner menu that will surely impress your loved one – it’s fairly easy and quick to make too. After all, who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen when your sweetie’s in the other room?
You’ll love this savory steak recipe – sauteed and served with a cognac, cream and mustard sauce with a side of roasted garlic and roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs. The mixed greens salad is topped with a creamy shallot vinaigrette dressing and for dessert I’ve included a recipe for a sinfully delicious Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier, which can also be made with a splash of dark rum or raspberry Frambois liqueur. Who needs to go out in the cold when you can make a yummy dinner at home? Simply LOVE-LY.
Sauteed Steak with Cognac Mustard Cream
Two 3/4 lb steaks (3/4 inch thick) – Delmonico, T-bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin, Strip
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp cognac
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Cut excess fat from the steaks and make small incisions around the outside where there is gristle to prevent steaks from curling.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add the steaks and saute 2-3 minutes per side (rare) or 4 minutes per side (medium) and remove steaks to a platter, tenting with foil to keep warm.
Remove pan from the heat and discard any fat. Add the cognac, stirring with the juices and scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Return the pan to high heat and reduce the pan juices and cognac by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cream and continue to boil sauce until reduced by half again, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the mustard and remove from the heat. Slice the steak and pour the mustard cream sauce over the steak. Serve with roasted potatoes, garlic and mixed greens salad. A hearty bold red would be delicious to sip along with it!!
Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs
8-10 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold, Fingerlings or New Potatoes)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp chopped herbs (parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives or rosemary)
Cut potatoes in quarters or eighths and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle them with chopped garlic and herbs and some kosher salt. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown about 45 minutes.
1-2 heads of garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
If you want to roast some garlic along with the steak and potatoes, simply chop up the top of the garlic head to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast until soft, about 40 minutes. Squeeze the garlic from the skin and mix in with the roasted potatoes and sauteed steak (or rub over toasted crusty French bread as a creamy garlic topping – YUM!)
Mixed Greens with Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp wine vinegar (red, white or champagne)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp minced shallots
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4-6 cups mixed greens (arugula, endive, escarole or chicory)
In a small bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and minced shallot. Add olive oil in a slow and steady stream to the mixture and blend well with a whisk to emulsify into a vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some fresh chopped herbs to the dressing if desired.
Note: Vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container. Makes 8 servings.
7 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp Grand Marnier (can substitute Raspberry Framboise liqueur or Dark Rum)
4 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
8 egg whites, room temp
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 6 individual souffle molds and coat with sugar.
Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and remove from the heat. Place chocolate and liqueur in a heatproof bowl and set it on top of the saucepan. Stir occassionally to melt the chocolate evenly. When the chocolate has melted, remove the pan and cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, beat the yolks to break up and add 2 tablespoons of the sugar gradually, and beat until the ribbon is formed. Add to the chocolate and blend. (Reserve some of the chocolate sauce for pouring into the center before serving).
Beat the egg whites with a whisk, adding the remaining sugar by tablespoons, to the stiff peak stage. Fold into the chocolate mixture and fill the molds 2/3 of the way full.
Place the molds on a baking sheet and bake until well puffed, 15 to 20 minutes. Crack the centers of the souffles and pour additional chocolate sauce into the center. Serve immediately while still warm.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipes from the Institute of Culinary Education, Techniques of Fine Cooking.
This lovely braised dish is the perfect remedy for a cold Winter evening, slow cooked and full of goodness. The recipe calls for chicken thighs which are braised in white wine, and chock full of healthy veggies such as fennel, shallots, carrots, garlic and thyme. Add some crunchy fried pancetta to the mix and you’ve got an amazing twist on the classic Coq au Vin recipe, which is normally made with the addition of mushrooms, red wine or brandy. Top off the dish with the savory pan sauce, lemon zest and some fresh parsley and fines herbes and you’ve got yourself a hearty dinner that is sure to please a crowd for a dinner party or just you and your significant other when you’re tucked away from the cold. Serve with a crisp white wine (such as Dry Reisling, which is used in this recipe) and some crusty garlic bread. YUM!
1/4 cup olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 oz. pancetta, diced (1 heaping cup)
8 medium shallots, lobes separated and halved
4 medium carrots, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
1 small bulb fennel, cored, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 springs fresh flat leaf parsley
4 springs fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
2 cups dry fruity wine, Alsatian or German dry Reisling
2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 cup water mixed with 1 tbsp Knorr’s Chicken Flavor Base
2 tbsp thickening flour
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest, for pan sauce
dash of fennel fronds, for pan sauce
dash of chopped thyme, for pan sauce
1 tbsp dried fines herbes (tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil)
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place rack in bottom third of oven, tall enough to fit a large Dutch oven.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a 7-8 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Arrange the chicken slices skin side down in the pot in a single layer and sear, flipping once until golden brown all over, about 10-13 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Meanwhile, chop the pancetta into a dice and the vegetables for browning.
Cook the pancetta in the pot until well browned all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off and discard the fat, reserving 1 tablespoon.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, carrots, and fennel, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until its aroma subsides, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves together in a small cheesecloth sachet and add the herb bundle to the pot, along with the wine.
Simmer briskly, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the brown bits.
Add the chicken broth to the pot and stir for a few minutes, allowing the herb essence to infuse the broth.
Return the chicken and pancetta to the pot, arranging the chicken in a single layer. Bring to a simmer and cover, transfer to the oven.
Braise the chicken until the meat is fork-tender and just starting to come away from the bone, 30-45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or large dish with a slotted spoon and tent with foil.
Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the sauce in the pot, whisking to dissolve, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce sauce to approximately 2 cups about 15 minutes, until thickened.
Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Throw in a few fennel fronds and chopped thyme leaves and stir. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley and fines herbes. Serve with a glass of crisp, dry white wine and some crusty garlic bread to mop up the sauce. ENJOY.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking One-Pot Meals, Fall 2011.