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Thursday, March 19, 2020

basic braised bird

This recipe began for me when our daughter decided to call it omm omm chicken, as she could just eat all of the pulled pieces quickly; "omm omm omm omm omm" ... so it is named in our house.  The rest of the world would call it braised chicken.

Things you will need:

  • A 3 to 5" deep roasting pan.  If it has a lid great, if not make due with foil as a lid.  Some steam escaping is no big deal.
  • Oven at 250
  • Bone in, skin on chicken thighs or quarters (things and legs), enough to fill the roasting pan
  • Salt: I use kosher coarse salt, use whatever you prefer or have on hand
  • Pepper: coarse ground or fresh ground
  • Granulated or dried garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • Add a base layer of salt to the pan.  How much?  you should be able to see the roasting pan through the layer of mostly salt.
  • Add a layer of pepper and garlic over the salt.
  • Place the chicken onto the base layer.
  • Pour in enough water to just see it around the base of all the chicken.
  • Add a layer of salt, pepper and garlic on top of the chicken
  • Cover and place in the oven
  • Check between 2 and 3 hours, using tongs or a fork, will the chicken easily separate from the bone?  If so, you are done.  If not, cover and cook for a bit longer, checking every 30 minutes.
  • Let cool a bit, and pull the chicken.  Save the skin and those bones for stock!
You can use breast meat; however, it can dry out a bit with this cooking method, FYI.  If using turkey, your cooking time will be a bit longer.


rice balls

I do not claim by any stretch to be an expert in rice. I am sure this recipe is just simply wrong to many people. Also, I do not have a rice maker so I have no idea how this would work in one of those contraptions. With that out of the way, let's get to it and see if we like it!

Thing you will need:

  • Pot with lid (enough capacity for 8 cups)
  • A stirry thing, spatula or the like
  • 3 cups sushi grade rice
  • 3 cups stock (chicken, beef, veggie, etc)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (try to find cream not milk as the cream has a much higher fat content)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive, avocado, etc)
  • Heat the pot on medium high heat
  • Add the oil and let it heat
  • Add the rice and stir to coat the rice in the oil
  • Add the salt and liquid ingredients (mind the steam on your first pour!)
  • Turn heat to high and bring to a boil
  • Reduce to near low ... like 2 out of 10 ... cover and set a 20 minute timer
  • At 20 minutes look to see how much moisture is left:
    •  if a lot, cover and keep simmering checking every 5 minutes or so until mostly dry
    •  if mostly dry, remove from heat and let cool to near room temp
  • Once cool enough to handle, take a small amount into your palm and roll them into balls
Other ideas: in stead of forming balls, you can toss the rice with all sorts of things then form into pans to serve from or just serve as is from the bowl.  Fresh fruits, cooked meats, various sauces and herbs can all be considered to adorn the rice.


beef, mushroom, barley and farro stew

A frequent request in our house, this version has a few extra flavor layers.  Enjoy!

Things you will need: 

  • Cutting board or two and sharp knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large stock pot and lid
  • Oven on 250
  • 1 bone in sirloin steak around 1 lb (you can use a variety of beef cuts)
  • 1 lb, pre charcoal smoked beef (I had tri tip), cubed
  • 2 large portobello caps, stems removed and cubed
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (use fresh if you have some)
  • 1 tbsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive or avocado or animal fat)
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup farro
  • 8 cups smoked beef stock
  • Turn oven onto 250
  • Trim the uncooked sirloin into cubes, removing and overly tough connective tissues.  Keep the bone as well.
  • Toss the cubes and bone with the salt and pepper in a mixing bowl
  • Heat the pot on the stovetop on medium heat for a few minutes, than add the oil to let it heat.
  • Add the beef cubes and bone to the pot, stirring on occasion until you have some color on the meat and the bottom of the pot, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the beef and bone from the pot (use the same mixing bowl you prepped in)
  • Add the onion and stir.  If you need a bit of fluid add the wine now, otherwise let onions reduce for a bit in the beef drippings.
  • After 5 or so minutes add the garlic (and wine if you did not add it earlier) and stir
  • The wine should nearly be gone before adding the oregano, beef, mushrooms, barley and farro.  Once all of these are in, gently stir again then add the stock and stir.
  • Cover and place in the oven.
  • At 2 hours check to see where things are.  If the farro and barley are plump and tender you are done!

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!