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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Beef, root and mushroom stew

The recipe below is the baseline or basic recipe.  As with all stews ingredients, cooking times, etc will affect outcome in many ways.  Enjoy!

Things you will need:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Medium or large strainer
  • 2-3 mixing/prep bowls
  • Large stock pot and lid
  • Oven @ 275 F once you start prepping
  • 3-4 medium or 2-3 large onions, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 lbs cubed stew meat (beef or bison; I use chuck, but you can use any cut you like really)
  • 2-3 large carrots, rinsed and cut into bite sized sections
  • 1 large or 2 medium parsnips, rinsed and cut into bite sized sections
  • 4-5 cups of mushrooms: I suggest getting a variety, but if nothing else is available use portobello 
  • 1 bottle of good red wine (cabernet, pinot noir, etc)
  • 2-3 cups of a good beef stock (make your own to maximize flavor)
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil (avocado or olive)
  • 3-4 tablespoons salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons pepper
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
The process:

  • Prep the garlic, onions and roots keeping them separate
  • Heat the stock pot on the stove top over medium heat, then add and heat the oil
  • In a prep bowl toss the cubed meat with 1-2 tablespoons salt and pepper and 1 tbs oil
  • Place enough meat to cover the bottom of the stock pot.  You want to get color onto a few sides of the meat.  This takes 2-3 minutes per "side", it does not need to be perfect, just get some color on the meat and the stock pot bottom.
  • Place the seared or browned meat into a separate prep bowl, cover and continue until all meat is browned.
  • Add the onions to the stock pot and stir.  Add a bit of stock to get all of the brown stuff off of the bottom of the pot.  Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the garlic and about 1/4 cup of the stock as well as 1-2 tablespoons of salt and pepper, stir together and cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • Add the roots and meat into the pot
  • Add enough wine and stock to cover the items in the pot and stir
  • Prep and cut the mushrooms into bite sized sections and add to the pot
  • Adjust fluid level with either wine or stock so that everything is nearly submerged after you stir in the mushrooms
  • Cover with the lid and place in the oven, cooking for 2-3 hours.
  • After first time check, uncover and stir.  If you need to add any fluid (you can clearly see too many things out of the fluid after you stir) add it by the 1/4 cup until everything is nearly submerged.  this would also be a good time to taste the broth and add salt or pepper to taste
  • Cover again after any adjustments are made, place in the oven and cook for another 2 hours
At this point it should be "close".  Optimally you let the entire dish rest overnight, then gently reheat in the oven; however, sometimes you do need to taste it to make sure it is ready!

Variations are vast: swap out the meats, add some hearty greens near the end or use any number of herbs to vary the spice and acidity.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Puréed sweet roots

Some might say, meh, baby food.  Well, that is a well fed baby!

Things you will need:

  • 1-2 mixing bowls
  • 1 large mixing bowl and a strainer than can fit inside of it
  • Stock pot with lid
  • 1 13oz (roughly 1 1/2 cup) can of coconut cream (milk is fine if you can't find cream)
  • 2 cups of sweet-ish white wine (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, etc)
  • Juice of 4-6 oranges
  • The washed and rinsed roots; volume wise this should be about 8-10 cups when cubed:
    • 3-4 medium parsnips
    • 4-6 medium carrots
    • 1-2 medium sweet potatoes
  • Stock (chicken or veggie) 4-6 cups, enough to cover the cubed roots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1-2 tbs oil
Prep and process:
  • Starting with onions again:
    • Give the onion something between a rough chop and dice
    • Heat pot on med high heat, add oil once hot
    • Once oil is hot, add onion and stir
    • After a couple of minutes add the salt, pepper, turmeric and fennel seed and stir
    • After another minutes or so, add the 1st cup of white wine and 2/3 of the oranges (juice)
  • Cube the roots:
    • Peel the sweet taters and cut into roughly 1" cubes
    • I tend not to peel the carrots, cut into roughly the same sized chunks
    • I tend not to peel the parsnips, cut into cubes
  • Simmer away:
    • Add the cubed stuff to the pot
    • Add cup 2 of wine
    • Add enough stock so that the roots are nearly covered
    • Cover and once boiling reduce to just above simmering
  • Once a fork can easily smash each type of root, they are done, this can be 20-30 minutes
  • Strain the roots: be sure you can remove the strainer from the large bowl as we want that juice!

  • Note: I prefer an immersion blender as you can adjust fluid levels easily in the pot, and not make another mess in the stand blender, thus that is how am I writing it.  If using a stand blender, you may need to do this in batches based on volume of your blender.
  • Add the coconut cream to the pot
  • Add the strained roots to the pot and stir for a minute until blended
  • Add 1 cup of the reserve stock/juice to the mixture and stir: You don't want the roots covered, unless you want something more like soup. 
  • Begin to slowly blend the ingredients, if to you can tell that it is way too dry, add 1/2 stock and blend again.
  • To finish, simply find the consistency you want with the fluid level and stir in the remaining fresh orange juice at the end.

Salsa rojo

This is a generic version as with each variety of tomato and pepper used, the flavor will vary.  Enjoy!

Things you will need:

  • Stock pot and lid
  • 3-4 mixing bowls
  • Gas or charcoal grill (for burning pepper skins)
  • Stand blender or immersion blender
  • large sheet pan

  • Roma tomatoes: 10-12
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 6-10 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 large poblano peppers
  • 2-4 hatch or other green pepper
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • 1 tbbs salt
  • 1 tbbs pepper (black or if you prefer a chili pepper or powder, substitute and crank up the heat)
  • 2-3 tbs ground cumin
  • 3/4 - 1 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
  • 2-3 limes
  • 2-3 tbsp oil (avocado or olive)
Prep and process:
  • Preheat oven to 375
    • Add 2 tbsp oil to sheet pan and make a continuous layer over sheet pan
    • Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise and place skin side down
    • Toss salt and pepper to coat the tomatoes
    • Place in oven, middle shelf you will check them in 25-30 minutes
  • Onion and garlic:
    • Cut the onions in half, then 1/4" slices, toss in a mixing bowl
    • Peel the garlic cloves, toss into the same mixing bowl
    • Add 1 tbs oil, a bit of salt and pepper to the bowl
    • Add 2 tbs cumin to the bowl and toss all ingredients
  • Peppers:
    • Wash and rinse peppers
    • Have grill preheated if using charcoal or wood: place peppers on grill surface with temps between 400-500 degrees F
    • Turn every few minutes until most of all the skins are blackened, looking quite burned
    • Place in mixing bowl and cover lightly with foil or towel once all skins done, but don't forget them and let the peppers explode :)
  • Check the oven:
    • The tomatoes should be looking dry, and the ones on the edge of the pan starting to blacken at the base ... perfect, now add the onions and garlic mixture all over the sheet pan, make sure to get some stuff near the corners
    • Place back in the oven for another 15 or so minutes
  • Pepper time, again:
    • Once cool enough for you to touch (or if in a hurry get some decent rubber kitchen gloves and get to work) begin to peel and de-seed each pepper
    • This takes time and patience
    • So be patient, as you have a section of pepper that has nearly no skin and no seeds, toss into the stock pot.
    • Continue until all peppers are done: if 15 minutes has gone by and you are not done with peppers, please pull the tomatoes, onions and garlic out and toss into stock pot; then finsih the peppers
  • The finish:
    • Once all peppers, and tomato stuff are in the pot, add just enough stock so that you can still clearly see most of ingredients
    • Bring to simmer, mostly cover and reduce for 15-30 minutes
    • Once you have reduced so there is less fluid than when you started, blend with either an immersion blender or stand blender until smooth
    • Stir in the lime juice and enjoy

Monday, July 10, 2017

braised cabbage, carrots and greens

Things you'll need:

Large stock pot or braising dish with lid
Medium mixing bowl
Strainer or two for rinsing and drying veggies and greens


1/2 head of green cabbage
1/2 head of purple cabbage (or only one of either, your call)
2 medium yellow or sweet onions
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch kale
2 medium carrots
3 tbsp oil (avocado or olive)
1/4 cup stock (chicken, beef or veggie)
1/4 cup red wine (nothing too sweet)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1-2 limes or 1 large lemon


  • Rinse cabbage and carrots, set aside to dry
  • Rinse each leaf of kale and greens individually to remove earth, set aside to dry
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add oil to cooking dish
  • Cabbage: remove the core, cut into 1" wide strips, place the cabbage in a layer over the oil
  • Kale and greens: remove the stems, then cut the leaves into strips about the same size as the cabbage, add the leaves over the cabbage
  • Onions: Remove the outer peel, cut into thin-ish slices and cover the greens
  • Carrots: cut into 1" sized pieces and toss over the onion
  • Add the stock, wine, salt and pepper to the cooking dish
  • Cover the dish and place in the oven
  • After 45 minutes, remove the dish, uncover and add 1/2 of the fresh citrus juice and stir everything around, not worrying about layering anymore
  • Cover and put back in oven
  • After 45 minutes, remove the dish, uncover and place back into the oven
  • After 10 minutes, remove the uncovered dish, add remaining citrus, stir and serve

Sunday, July 9, 2017

fresh pico de gallo

Things you'll need:

Medium mixing bowl
Container(s) with lids for storage
Strainer or paper towels for rinsed veggies


2-3 large tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2-3 jalapeños
1 bell pepper
1 bunch of cilantro
3-4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp oil (olive or avocado)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper

Prep and assembly:

  • Wash the tomatoes, peppers and jalapeños and set aside to dry
  • Rinse the cilantro and place in strainer to dry a bit
  • Finely dice the onion, toss in the mixing bowl
  • Mince the garlic cloves, toss in
  • Dice the tomatoes (if the core is very stiff, remove it), toss in
  • Dice the bell pepper (seeds and core removed), and toss in
  • Dice the jalapeños (seeds and core removed), and toss in
  • Cilantro: I prefer to remove (de-stem) the leaves by hand and then roughly chop, others simply rough chop the cilantro stems and all: I leave this for you to decide, toss in with everything else once chopped
  • Add the cumin, salt, pepper and oil to the bowl
  • Using your hands or a spoon, mix well then place into container(s) and store refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before serving
Options: any quick web search will find countless options for pico: any number of fresh herbs, dried chili powders are some of my personal favorites.

orange caramelized onions

Things you'll need:

Heavy soup or stock pot, and lid
Spoon / spatula for stirring


6-8 large onions (yellow, red, does not really matter unless you have preference): peeled, halved then cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs avocado oil (or olive)
1 tbs pepper
1 cup (or more) orange liqueur
1 cup (or more) fresh OJ, this translates to 10-15 fresh oranges


  • Heat pot to Med High, letting it get hot before adding oil
  • Add oil and let that get hot
  • Add onions only initially, stirring on occasion to break them up
  • After 3-4 minutes add pepper, and first orange or two of juice: stir and mostly cover the pot with the lid, leave a small opening to let the steam out, reduce to just under med heat, so Med Low
  • Let the stock reduce by half, stirring every 15-20 minutes. This can take an hour.
  • Once the liquid is nearly gone (by sight and sound; we don't want to run out of liquid for a while, you want to create a mush of onion then start to add color (let it "dry" out)), add the first full round of orange liquids, juice and hooch. Add a few tablespoons at a time of each, stir and re-cover (leaving a small gap). It should be a medium simmer, so that it isn't harshly boiling or barely doing a thing ...
  • You now just babysit it: every 20 minutes or so, stir and add orange liquids as needed.
  • I normally cook this for 3-4 hours. Once you have the onions as mushy as you like, let the liquid "go" and gently caramelize ... stir and once some brown develops on the bottom, kill the heat and add a few more tbs of orange and stir to blend the browned stuff into the entire mixture. This would be a good time to add any "extra" fresh stuff.
  • Let it rest for a few minutes and serve.


Adding fresh basil or mint or rosemary near the end all take the flavor profile in slightly different directions ...
You can also zest the oranges and add the zest along the way for more orange intensity
Use any favorite of fresh fruit juice along with orange or in place of ...

stewed squash and zucchini

Things you'll need:

Medium mixing bowl or two
Stock pot with lid or deep (3" skillet with lid)


Set A:
Onion: 1 large or 2 medium
White wine: 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Avocado or olive oil: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1 tbsp
Pepper: 1 tbsp

Set B:
Zucchini: 1 large or 2 medium
Squash: 1 large or 2 medium
Stock (chicken or veggie): 1/4 to 1/2 cup
White wine: 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Thyme (preferably fresh): 1/2 tsp 
Oregano (preferably fresh): 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1 tbsp
Pepper: 1 tbsp


  • Wash the zucchini and squash, rinse the herbs if fresh set all aside to dry
  • Bring the stock pot / skillet up to temperature on a medium heat setting
  • Roughly chop (medium dice) the onions
  • Zucchini and squash: cut and remove the ends of each, cut them lengthwise twice (to create 4 wedge shapes) then slice each wedge into 1/4" pieces and place into mixing bowl
  • Gently remove the fresh leaves of thyme and oregano and add to the zucchini and squash
  • Once the stock pot / skillet is hot, add oil and let it warm
  • Add onions and first set of salt and pepper to the pot, stir and let cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add the first amount of white wine to the onions, reserving a small amount, stir and cover and reduce heat to medium low
  • After 15 minutes remove the cover, stir and add in remaining wine from the first set of ingredients and cover again
  • After another 15 minutes, uncover and add the zucchini, squash, herbs and salt and pepper and stir
  • Add enough stock and wine to nearly cover the veggies and stir and cover
  • After 15 minutes uncover, stir and check fluid levels: you don't want a soup, so at this point you should have reduced the fluid by nearly half.  
    • If you still have a majority of fluid, cover again, leaving a small gap for steam to escape
    • If you don't have enough fluid (the fluid is nearly gone) add the remaining stock and wine, stir and cover
  • After another 15 minutes uncover and stir; there should be a small amount of fluid left:
    • If there is still fluid covering "half" of the mixture, slightly cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until there is a minimal amount of fluid
    • If there is a minimal amount of fluid, cover and remove from heat and serve as soon as you're ready to eat
This recipe or process works for lots of veggies and greens as well, so start to try out your favorites!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

roasted root veggies and tomato

Things you'll need:

Large sheet pan: 12x17" or 13x18"
Large mixing bowl (optional)


Gold potatoes: 2-3 medium
Red potatoes: 2-3 medium
Beets (any color or variety): 1-2 large or 2-3 medium
Tomato (heirloom, plum, or any ripe varieties): 2-3 large or 4-6 medium
Avocado or olive oil: 4-5 tablespoons
Salt: 2-3 tbsp
Pepper: 2-3 tbsp


  • Wash all ingredients
  • Preheat oven to 375
    • I normally toss the prepped food right onto the sheet pan, you can use a mixing bowl if easier for tossing ingredients
  • Cube the taters into pieces no more than an inch, leave skins on, toss on pan/bowl
  • Beets: I tend to take the skin off as it can get tough.  You can use a peeler or the knife you're prepping with.  After skinning, cube the same size as taters, toss on pan/bowl
  • Tomato: cut them into wedges no more than an inch wide, toss on pan/bowl
  • Add the oil, salt and pepper and toss all ingredients together.
    • If mixing in bowl, move ingredients to pan
  • Place the pan in the oven near the middle rack
  • After 30 minutes take it our and gently fold or toss everything
  • Place back in oven
  • At 50 minutes in (twenty minutes from the toss) remove and check for done-ness.  If there is color and the texture you want, your done.  If you want more color, place back in oven for ten minutes.
Options: garlic, onion, brussels sprouts, fresh herbs, fresh citrus wedges, sweet potatoes, any number of chili pepper powders

Saturday, August 8, 2015

okra n tomato

Hey there, I'll admit that have far more recipes in my queue than I should.  Perhaps I'll go plant the free time tree.

To beat a perhaps nearly dead horse ... as with all things recipe I originally started this based on a different variation and found myself using this version in most cases when I find fresh okra ... so take this with a shot of tequila and make it your own.


2 medium bowls to hold prepped stuff
1 large-ish strainer for prep
Things to prep veggies (cutting board, hands, knife, etc)
9-10" skillet, 2-3" deep with lid


1 leek, roots and all
5-6 cloves o garlic
1 lb fresh okra (20-30 medium to large pieces)
5-6 ripe heirloom tomatoes
1 8 oz can diced tomatoes (low sodium preferred, 2 cans if no fresh tomatoes)
1/2 cup dry-ish white wine, typically I'll use chardonnay, although I have used Sauvignon Blanc (just avoid anything toooooo sweet)
1 cup (plus) chicken stock
1 tbsp coarse seal salt
1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil


Fresh tomatoes: rinse and place in bottom of strainer

The leek: cut an inch or so up from the roots and discard the root section.  Cut an inch or so from the green tips and discard the tips.  From bottom to top cut the leek in half.  Rinse each section and remove sand and whatever else the leek brought with it from the farm.  Place rinsed sections in strainer.

Garlic: peel and mince and place into prep bowl

Leeks: cut all sections across (perpendicular to) the first cut, making short ribbons of  1/16" (really narrow) in width and place in prep bowl with garlic.

Fresh tomatoes: cut into 1/4 wedges and place into second prep bowl

Okra: Rinse and place in strainer.  Using two - three similar length pieces, cut the tips and caps off and discard.  Cut the remaining sections into no more than 1/2" pieces and place in prep bowl with tomatoes.

To cook:
  • Heat skillet on med/med-high heat for 2-3 minutes until drops of water skim across and evaporate quickly.
  • Add oil, after 30 seconds coat surface of skillet with oil
  • Add leeks and garlic, stir once or twice and cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add wine and let it come to a simmer and reduce until nearly all fluid is gone
  • Add okra and all tomatoes (these could be prepped during the previous few steps)
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Add stock and stir together (note: the okra and tomatoes should not be submerged, but nearly covered with fluid)
  • Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to low, as you want a very gentle simmer 
  • After 30 minutes uncover, stir and check fluid level, if reduced by more than half, it's cooking too fast, reduce heat and cover.
  • Optimally after 60 minutes you have reduced the fluid level by half.  From here, it is your decision on when its done.  I typically simmer for 90 minutes.
Naturally you'll want to let is cool breifly before serving.  This can (based on spice additions) be served along side any number of things, or as a stand alone veggie stew.  


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mema's fried chicken

A few years ago I was shown this recipe by Mema (Joan's paternal grandmother).  It was one of those classic, "no add more, add more ... more still, yeah that tastes almost right" type cooking lessons.  The only real variation is that I coat the chicken bits in a bowl, as opposed to shaking them in a paper bag.

Items you'll need:

One (or more) 11"x16"x3" (large) electric skillet with lid (or at least a 3" deep skillet)
One clean sink
One large stainless bowl (or previously mentioned sink, for chicken prepping)
One large stainless bowl (batter mixing and chicken coating)
One large plate (battered chicken transfer)
Two pair tongs (tong A and tong B)
One large spatula or flat edged device for shortening retrieval
One pair kitchen shears
One large platter
One paper towel roll or drying rack


All purpose flour: 6 cups
Salt, fine grain: (salt A) 1/4 cup plus (salt B) 3-6 tablespoons
Ground black pepper, fine grain: (pepper A) 1/4 cup plus (pepper B) 3-6 tablespoons
Chicken: legs, thighs: bone in skin on.  Usually two "family packs" of each: approximately 20 total thighs and 28-32 legs 
Salt, coarse grain: 3/4 cup
Vegetable shortening: two 3 lb containers

To make:

Prep the chicken:
  • Add chicken to sink.  Obviously if you have more chicken than sink, do this step in stages.  Effectively you are looking for excessive skin or feathers that made it through processing.  Remove by hand or with shears as necessary.
  • Rinse the piece of bird and place it in a large stainless bowl.
  • Repeat until all chicken parts prepped.
  • Add 3/4 cup of salt, coarse grain over the chicken.
  • Toss until all the parts have some salt on them.
  • Wash your hands.
Mix the batter:
  • Mix the flour, pepper A and salt A together in a large stainless bowl.  
  • Add salt B and pepper B to taste one teaspoon at a time, it should taste a bit peppery, then salty as opposed to flour-y first.
Heat the skillet:
  • Turn the skillet on and set to the highest heat setting.
  • Add approximately 3/4 of the 3 lb container of shortening.  There should be approximately 1/3" or 1 cm of heated shortening in the skillet after it comes to temperature.
 Toss the chicken in the batter:
  • Using tong A coat three to four pieces of chicken at a time in the large bowl of batter: gently roll and toss batter over a chicken part using tong A.
  • Once chicken is lightly coated with batter, place onto the transfer plate.
  • I typically have 3-4 thighs and 6 legs in one skillet batch.  You only want to batter as much chicken as you will be frying in a batch.
Get to frying:
  • Gently place each piece into skillet, using tong A.
  • There should be minimal space between the pieces, no large gaps.
  • Cover the skillet.
  • Place tong A onto transfer plate and set near battering area.
  • Find tong B.
  • After ten or so minutes, using tong B flip one of the pieces over.  
    • Is it golden in color, maybe even starting to look light brown?  Great, flip to the other side.  Repeat for other parts in the skillet.
    • Is it not golden at all, still looking like not much has happened?  Great, put it back down on the side it started on.
      • Cover the skillet.
      • Wait five or so minutes.
      • Check again, starting to get something yellow, heading toward golden maybe even light brown?  Great, flip over and repeat for other parts.
  • Cover the skillet.
  • After another ten minutes or so, using tong B check the color on the side just facing down.  Is it golden in color, approaching some deeper brown and caramel near the contact area of the skillet?  Great, the skin should be nearing brown throughout with a deep caramel color on the contact areas.  
Skin crispiness is up for debate.  Some like a really crispy skin with a deep brown color, some like slightly less than that, etc.  You can adjust timing to your preference as you practice.
Resting the fried bird:
  • Once you have reached your desired level of caramelization, using tong B lift the chicken, let drain for a moment over the skillet, and place onto the paper towel covered platter (or drying rack) to rest.
  • Continue to remove the parts as they finish.
  • Wait until all pieces of a batch are done before adding more chicken to the skillet!
Carrying on:
  • Once you have a batch resting, check the shortening level.  Is it reduced by more than half?
    • Yes. Add a few scoops until the depth is closer to where you began. Then carry on.
    • No. Carry on.
  • Using tong A batter another batch of chicken and place onto the transfer plate.
  • Add chicken to skillet with tong A, set tong A onto the transfer plate and set aside.
  • Cover the skillet.
  • Wait ten minutes, then using tong B, check for color.
  • Carry on until you are out of chicken parts or anything else you want to fry as you have a hot skillet and oil (mmmm okra).
Here is where house rules apply: according to legend, very few people got to have any chicken in Mema's house until all of the chicken was complete and rested.  Naturally though, a cook or three had to taste along the way to ensure quality control.

A few final thoughts: I typically keep the batter mixture in a container in the freezer for use the next time.  Your call on this step, otherwise I do not save the fat for further use.  Some make gravy :).