Memorable Quotes:

"A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect." Fernand Point

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rustic Apple Tart (Martha Stewart)

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for work surface
3 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, for egg wash
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons apple jelly, or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Open pastry sheet and remove paper Fold sheet back up. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry c=sheet (still folded) to an 8-by-14-inch rectangle. Trim edges with a pizza cutter or sharp paring knife. Transfer to a baking sheet; place in freezer. Peel, core, and slice apples 1/4 inch thick.

Brush pastry with egg wash, avoiding edges. Use a sharp paring knife to score a 3/4 -inch border around pastry (do not cut all the way through). Place apples inside border, and dot with butter. Bake until pastry is golden and apples are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

In the microwave or a small saucepan, heat jelly with 1 tablespoon water until melted. Brush apples with glaze. Server tart warm or at room temperature, cutting into pieces with a serrated knife.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bacon Cure and How to Make Your Own Bacon

Snake River Farms Kiribato Pork Belly


1/2 cup of Kosher Salt
2 teaspoons of Prague Powder #1
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of maple syrup
10 pounds pork belly

Directions for Curing Bacon:
Mix the first 3 ingredients then add the maple syrup and stir to combine. Rinse the pork belly then place in either a 2 gallon ziplock bag or a large pleated food saver bag sealed on one end. Place approximately 1/3 of the cure on the fat side of the pork belly. Rub into the fat side of the belly then flip the pork belly over and place the other 2/3 of the cure on the meat side of the belly and rub into the pork belly. Seal the bag and brine for 7 days in the refrigerator. The pork belly should be flipped every day and the brine rubbed into the meat.

Directions for Smoking After Curing

1. Set up smoker for indirect heat. I use a Big Green Egg so I use the plate setter with the feet up.
2. Start the charcoal
3. Adjust the temperature to 225 degrees
4. Add soaked apple wood chips
5. Rinse the pork belly and dry well with paper towels.
6. Place the pork belly on the smoker with the fat side down. It is ok to cut the pork belly in half if the pork belly is too large to fit on the grill. I had to do this and smoke in 2 batches.
7. Close up the smoker and allow the bacon to smoke for about 2 hours or until an internal temperature of 150 degrees is reached.
8. Remove the pork belly from the smoker and allow to cool then wrap in foil and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
9. Trim the belly into a form that is good for slicing (square up); I also remove the fat cap before slicing.
10. Slice into the thickness desired and package in 8 oz or 16oz packages then vacuum seal and freeze.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Laundry Detergent

1/2 Bar of Fels Naphtha soap (grated)
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/4 cup of Borax
Optional: Downey Scent


1. Grate the 1/2 bar of Fels Naphtha with a cheese grater
2. Add grated soap to a medium sized sauce pan.
3. Add hot water to the soap and place over medium heat and mix until the mixture has completely melted.
4. Use an immersion blender to help make solution homogeneous
5. Add the mixture to a 5 gallon bucket and fill about half way with warm/hot water.
6. Rinse your sauce pan with soap into the bucket a few times to get all the soap into the 5 gallon bucket.
7. Add the Arm &Hammer, Borax and Downey Scent to the bucket then mix well with immersion blender.
8. Add additional warm water to the bucket to the 5 gallon line and mix either with a long handle spoon of the immersion blender.

Detergent can be put into 5 1 gallon bottles or left in gallon bucket if there is a lid for the bucket. If you leave in the bucket you should remix the solution prior to filling up your container that is used for doing the wash.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mississippi Pot Roast

Chuck or Pot Roast 3-4 pounds
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder
1 package of McCormick's Au Jus powder mix
1 stick of butter
5-8 pepperoncini
1/4 teaspoons of pepper

Trim any large areas of fat from roast as needed. Some fat is OK. Then place the meat into a large crock pot. Sprinkle the Ranch Dressing powder over the meat then sprinkle the Au Jus powder mix over the meat. Place the stick of butter on top of the meat. Sprinkle with pepper and add the pepperoncini.

Cover and cook on low (in crock pot) for 8 hours then shred the meat with a couple of forks. Place the gravy in a fat separator and drizzle some of the gravy over the "pulled" meat.  Serve with egg noodles and pass extra sauce.

So I have to say that this really did hit the mark for both easy of preparation and being very tasty. We made this for the Super Bowl 50 and it was a big hit with everyone. Allright, so it was just me and the wife but the good news is that my Food-Saver has been put to good use. I made 4 individual meal packs with about a cup of noodles, the roast and a bit of gravy. Looking forward to enjoying this again real soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olives

Photo by Chelsea

2 tablespoon(s) butter melted
6 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup(s) butter
3/4 cup(s) marsala wine
1/2 cup(s) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) pepper
1/4 cup of sliced sundries tomatoes
1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives (hailed or sliced)1/2 cup(s) shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) parmesan cheese
2 green onions chopped

Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches, in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserving pan drippings in skillet.
Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Toward the end of the cooking, add the sundries tomato and kalamata olives. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.
Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes until cheese melts.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bouchon Butternut Squash Soup

1 3-to-3 1/2-pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs sage
1 cup leek, sliced 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup carrot, sliced in 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup shallot, thinly sliced in 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup yellow onion, sliced in 1/8 inch slices
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
6 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves
1/4 cup creme fraiche 
Fresh nutmeg
olive oil
fried sage leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).
2. Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).
3. Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Add the diced squash, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
4. Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and puree. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more vegetable stock. Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of creme fraiche with nutmeg and top with a couple of fired sage leaves. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil

Monday, January 4, 2016

White Chicken Enchiladas


10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (See separate instructions and ingredients)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese ( I like the Kraft Tex Mex)
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream ( I use Greek yogurt)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies (these are not hot)
1 small can of sliced black olives to garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Add olives if using.
7.  Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Shredded Chicken
2 boneless skin-less chicken breast halves
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 onion cut into 4 pieces
1 bayleaf
3 cloves of garlic, smashed

Add 2 cups of chicken broth and the two chicken breasts to a medium sauce pan then add the remaining ingredients. Place over medium heat, covered for about 10 minutes then lower the heat to a slow simmer and continue to cook covered for 50-60 minutes.
When done cooking, remove the chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer and with a paddle attachment run at medium/low speed for about 90 seconds to shred the chicken breast meat.
Strain the broth and use for the recipe above.