On The Menu

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Sunday

I have been craving some old school Mexican food so enchiladas it is. Homemade red enchilada sauce even. Say it isn’t so!

  • Chicken enchiladas in red sauce with guacamole.
  • Homemade enchilada sauce:  I am only making the sauce from this recipe. The rest is too time-consuming for a lazy Sunday. I am loosely following the remainder of the recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Rather than saute my chicken, however, I decided to poach the breasts the day before in the slow-cooker, which makes moist, shredded chicken a snap.
  • Roasted Hatch chiles: Don’t need to use canned here as I was the lucky recipient of a bag of freshly roasted Hatch chiles, which have been waiting patiently in my freezer. Thank you Kurt, my fellow foodie, friend and writer. Check him out at tasteoftravel2.com.
  • Salad with a spicy lime vinaigrette and toasted pepitas

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Monday
  • Dinner with friends at our favorite local French bistro, Petit Louis. Monday night is steak tartare night — heaven! Nothing like a bowl of raw meat topped with a raw egg. I know, it sounds disturbing, but I adore the stuff.

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Tuesday
  • Feta-brined roast chicken. This is awesome. You now have my permission to toss out every other roast chicken recipe. Moist, flavorful and perfectly crisp skin. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
  • Roasted root vegetables

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Wednesday
  • Leftovers tonight as I have jury duty and am not sure when I’ll be home in the evening. We will likely bust out those enchiladas again.
  • Some sort of veggie or salad. I’ll figure it out.

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Thursday

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Friday
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Kitchen Project: Applesauce

We had a blizzard. My office was closed for days. I am nursing a foot injury and was leery of venturing outside. So, I was scrounging through my rapidly depleting pantry and fridge for ingredients to embark on some sort of cooking project.

I had some ideas:

Beef broth. Yes! Great idea! Alas, no beef bones.

Chicken broth. Yes! Great idea! And I have roasted chicken parts in my freezer! But, I also have several enormous jugs of frozen chicken broth already taking up space.

Lemon curd. Yes! I love lemon curd. I already have a jar in my freezer.

Homemade fresh mozzarella. Yes! I made cheese curds a couple of months ago and they are waiting patiently in my freezer to be stretched into cheese. Of course, they are frozen. I cannot work with frozen curds. I have no patience.

Bread: Yes! No, no, no, no, no. I cannot live with fresh bread in the house. It will be devoured. I am enduring limited exercise right now and my psyche cannot handle a total bread binge. So, this also rules out cookies, quick breads, any sort of delightful carby baked good.

Applesauce: Ugh. Applesauce? Well, I had a huge bag of apples that would otherwise likely turn brown and rot. So why not? I decided to make a cross between a true applesauce and something more akin to apple pie filling. It worked! I now have several bowls of a mildly sweet, tart, highly spiced apple-pie-type filling. It’s delicious and I have been enjoying it dolloped over oatmeal or stirred into my Greek yogurt in the mornings for breakfast.

It’s so easy I urge you to try it. And, the best part, you can customize it anyway you wish. Make it chunky, make it smooth, make it crazy-sweet, whatever suits your fancy. I happen to like it tart with just a bit of sugar and plenty of spice — cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a splash of vanilla.

applesauce

Applesauce: (made in a 6 quart slow-cooker)

  • 15 or so apples of any type (a mix is great), cored and cut into chunks. I left the peel on.
  • Toss apple chunks into slow-cooker. Sprinkle with sugar (a mix of brown and white) and any spices you wish. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. Stir. Add more sugar and/or vanilla to taste.
  • Eat with a spoon.

Wine & Boeuf Bourguignon

Wine? Wine with beef Bourguignon? Say it isn’t so!

We had to pair something with these hunks of beefy deliciousness. My husband went traipsing down to the wine cellar and came back with a 2006 Bordeaux. We are most definitely very much into wine, but I’ll be honest, we don’t know much about Bordeaux. We know that it tends to be pricey (particularly if it hails from the Left Bank region), that the wines usually need to age forever and ever and that I butcher the pronunciation of everything on the label, which, as an aside, I don’t understand anyway.

bordeax 1

That being said, we enlisted the help of one of our favorite wine shop managers to choose this particular Saint-Julien wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux. We were hoping to get a bit of an introduction into decent Bordeaux wines without the hefty price tag. Perhaps that was our mistake. This was by no means a cheap bottle of wine at $50, but it sure was a big ho-hum. There was nothing about the wine that made me want to take another sip. It simply was not overly interesting or very inviting, even though we decanted the darn thing several hours before dinner. I have had many a bottle of wine in the $20 and under range that were so lovely I wanted to shove my whole head in the glass. This wine inspired no such thoughts.

Apparently, this 2006 vintage was just a “good” year not a “great” year and probably needed another two years of aging before reaching its peak, whatever that means.

Well, we tried. And we shall keep on trying, which is the fun of learning about (and drinking) wine. And let’s face it, even boring wine is still wine! So get swirling and sipping. There is a very good chance that is what I am doing right now.

Wooing My Man

Beef. Bacon. Wine. Cognac.

Brown the hell out of that beef. Crisp up that bacon. Deglaze the whole darn thing with cognac and then drown everything in wine and let it simmer. The aromas of browning bacon and beefy wine welcomed my husband home after 6 hours of shoveling snow yesterday.

wine going in

I was very much rewarded when he walked into the house and, before peeling off his wet gloves and boots, he took one huge whiff, grinned and said, “now that’s what I’m talking about! You are my darling, gorgeous, queen-of-all-things-wife who does no wrong and deserves an enormous 5-carat rock, which we shall go out and purchase toot sweet.” Ok, it’s possible I might be leaning heavily on some creative license here …

brown beef

Boeuf Bourguignon is my husband’s absolute favorite meal. So, while he was shoveling and shoveling and shoveling, I was having a grand time in my kitchen, flinging wine and bacon fat and singing along to the new Adele CD.

IMG_1075Happy husband, happy wife. 🙂

More to come on the wine we opened and decanted  —  A 2006 Saint-Julien Bordeaux.

Let It Snow

 

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There is something about a record snowfall that brings people together. Of course, it certainly helps that we all live in the city and are about 3 feet from one another, door to door. We did have friends, however, who trekked about a half mile to hunker down with us as we ordered up a pile of Indian take-out and raided our wine cellar.  What fun!

With Indian food on the brain, I whipped up some of my own Indian fare last night and, once again, neighbors came over to catch up and enjoy the food. I made Indian pepper chicken, which is one of my favorite, go-to dishes. It’s not overly spicy with heat, but warm and peppery with curry leaves, cumin and coconut milk. I like to serve it with toasted cashews, raisins and a shower of fresh chopped parsley. It’s not overly pretty to look at, but darn if it isn’t delicious. I probably make this dish once a month.

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Recipe adapted from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness.