Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eggs Jeannette

I've always been a huge admirer of Jacques Pépin, and I fell in love with this recipe of his mother's. According to his auto-biography The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, this was one of his family's favorites. They ate it often during the heavy rationing period of  World War II, and you will immediately know why upon devouring it. It is very simple, yet incredibly rich and filling, and inexpensive to prepare. 

The recipe originally calls for parsley, yet I used dill since my husband and I adore it. Since it is more potent than parsley, I've reduced the 2 tbsp of the herb to 1. Believe me, it is more than enough and creates more than a subtle change in flavor from the original recipe. 

You may be tempted to eat more than the recommended serving of 3 or 4 halves of of an egg, yet I forewarn you not to succumb. The most I've eaten in one sitting is 6, and at the time and immediately after it seemed a wonderful idea... but it is very rich, and you will most likely be visited by the demons of indigestion. None the less, serving this with a salad for quick lunch, or some of your favorite crusty bread as a first course is an inexpensive and very elegant way to enjoy the blissfully simple hard boiled egg.


6 large or extra large eggs
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 - 3 tbsp whole milk
heavy pinch of kosher salt
several turns of coarsley cracked fresh black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil


2 - 3 tbsp leftover egg stuffing (from above)
4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp water
pinch of salt and pepper

 Carefully place the eggs into a shallow sauce pan and cover with cold water. Place on stove over high heat until water comes to a gentle boil. Turn heat down to medium and let simmer for 8 - 10 minutes (depending on size of eggs).

Remove eggs from pan and place in a bowl of ice water and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

Peel and halve the eggs, placing the yolks into a medium glass bowl. Add the garlic, dill, whole milk, salt and pepper. Mash with a fork till relatively smooth. Remove 2 - 3 tbsp of stuffing and place in a separate glass bowl and set aside.

Fill the hollowed eggs with the stuffing and smooth the filling so it is even with the egg.

Heat a couple tbsp of canola oil over medium in a heavy pan. Place eggs yolk side down in pan and let cook till bottoms are golden brown, about 4 - 6 minutes. Carefully remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Add extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, water, and salt and pepper to the set aside stuffing. Whisk well.

Arrange the eggs into desired portions and spoon over dressing. Serve warm.

This recipe can be found in The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. This is a wonderful book, and has some brilliant recipes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Turkey and Soy-Rizo Chili

This turkey chili is yet another staple in our home. I almost always have a good amount stashed away in the freezer when a craving for it may arise. 

It is so simple to make, and much quicker than most chili I've made in the past- it doesn't need a lot of time to simmer on the stove to fuse the flavors, and comes together in about 35 minutes. 

Making creative dishes from leftover chili (and there will be a LOT - this recipe makes a huge batch) is foolproof. 

Tacos, Cheesy Chili Mac, Frito Pie - you can really have a lot of fun with it, and not much revamping is required to make more tasty meals out of this rad chili. 


1 tbsp canola oil
2 small onions or 1 large onion, chopped
2 med - lg yellow and/or orange pepper, chopped
1.25 - 1.5 lb lean ground turkey*
1 12 oz package soy chorizo sausage**
2 15 oz can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can low sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 14.5 oz cans organic unsalted diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic

Add oil to a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes, then add peppers and cook for 5 more. Add the ground turkey and stir well to break apart the meat. You can use an old school potato masher here to make short work of this. When the turkey is nearly cooked (5-7 minutes), remove the soy chorizo from its casing (since this is inedible) and add it to the pot. Mix well and let cook for 2 minutes. 

Add the spices and garlic, add a fat pinch of salt, and stir well. Add the canned diced tomatoes and combine well. Fill one of the cans 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up (depending on how thick you like your chili) and add to pot. Add the black and kidney beans. Mix well and let cook on medium low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Presto, chili!

Serve with a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt, your favorite cheese (I like a nice crumbly queso fresco or melty queso quesadilla here), avocado, and cilantro. A sprinkle of smoked paprika on the yogurt is a very yummy and aesthetic finish.


Chili Tacos:
For super rad tacos, heat up some corn tortillas on a burner (that is right, straight on your burner to get that nice char!) and spread with as much fat free greek yogurt as you like. Sprinkle on a bit of cheese, add your piping hot chili and top with your favorite hot sauce (we love Cholula original in our house) and cilantro.

Cheesy Chili Mac:
Concoct a super tasty and proper cheese sauce by melting 2 tbsp butter then add 2 tbsp flour and stir it up into a golden roux in a sauce pan over medium heat. Slowly add 2 cups of cold milk (fat content up to you, but skim is not recommended here). Increase heat to medium high and whisk well and often to prevent flour from burning on the bottom, till it has thickened a bit; about 5 minutes. Add 2 tsp dijon or English style mustard and whisk well. Turn off the heat. Add 2 cups of a good quality shredded cheese (try to shred at home to avoid unwanted chemicals in your cheese!), such as sharp cheddar, monterey or pepper jack, or queso quesadilla. Cook up a 1/2 lb of your favorite short pasta (macaroni, orzo, ziti, whatever!). Combine cooked pasta with your deliciously ooey gooey cheese sauce with 1 - 2 cups (depending on how chili-y do you want your chili mac) of prepared turkey soy-rizo chili that has been heated through, and serve!

* you do not want to use anything more than 93% lean ground turkey. Some fat is essential here, so that the turkey isn't super dry and it can absorb all of the tasty flavors it gets to simmer with.
** I use Trader Joe's brand soy chorizo, because it is simply the best I've come across so far. It has unique and yummy pungent flavor, and it is the reason I don't add any jalapeno or cayenne pepper here - it is quite spicy and has a good amount of heat. It has a nice complexity considering it is a soy based product, which makes it ideal for this recipe. This is why you don't have to simmer it forever - the deep flavors of the chili are provided by this yummy soy-rizo.


For a vegetarian option, instead of using ground turkey, simply add 2 heaping cups of cooked barley to the cooked peppers and onions and heat through before adding the spices. For a completely vegan dish, simply use avocado and cilantro as a garnish to the reconstructed veggie soy-rizo chili.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Golden Raisin Cinnamon Walnut Bread

I have very recently gotten over my fear of bread making, and it has been a revelation! I do not mean to downplay the art of baking bread, but I used to think it was only for those with an immense skill and experience to prepare a decent loaf. I never thought my inept attempts would amount to much. I was very, very wrong. This particular bread is delectable, and quite easy to make.

Once you get past the time it takes to proof the dough and the loaf (which is considerable, so plan ahead so you're not popping a loaf into the oven at midnight), there is really only 20 minutes of actual preparation- when utilizing a food processor with a dough blade. Although simple, it is very important to follow some basic techniques in order to ensure your success. The end results will be so worth it. As a friend of mine so eloquently said, bread is kind of like a discovery, not an invention. The magic is out of our hands.

As for my decision to stray subtly from the norm and opt for golden raisins rather than their inferior, dry and nubby counterparts... well, I think that my description of them is explanation enough. I like my wine white, and my grapes golden. They make this bread taste more like a dessert, since they are sweeter, plumper, and juicier than regular raisins.

As for the bread itself - the beatific texture of the crumb and crust are exceptional. The crumb is tender, yet with a delicate chew and pleasant sweetness. The crust has a slight crispness to it, and is buttery and delightful. In my humble opinion, this bread is really something to write home about.

 Let me tell you, a slice of this bread toasted and buttered along side a steaming mug of Scottish breakfast tea is nothing short of divine.

  • 3 3/4 c bread flour, 1/4 set aside for kneading
  • 1/4 c sugar for cinnamon swirl, plus 3 tbsp sugar for the dough
  • 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter, warm
  • 2 tbsp melted vegetable shortening, warm
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, 2 set aside for the cinnamon swirl
  • generous 1/2 c golden raisins
  • generous 1/2 c walnut halves
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 c whole milk, warm
  • 1/3 c water, warm


 Melt 3 of the 4 tbsp of butter along with the vegetable shortening. While the fats are melting, fit a food processor with a dough blade if available and add 3 1/2 c bread flour, salt, yeast, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Let this whir away until well combined, about 40 seconds to a minute. 

In the meantime, measure out the milk into a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave till very warm, but not hot. Add 1/3 c of very warm tap water, then the melted butter and shortening. 

While the processor is running, slowly pour the liquid ingredients through the feed tube just until a ball is formed. Turn off the processor and let the dough sit for 2 minutes, then start it up again for 30 seconds. 

Pull the dough out onto a clean and lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. After the first 3 or so, place half the raisins under the dough and the rest on top and continue to knead. Once they're incorporated, crunch the walnuts in your hands a bit, then knead them into the dough the same way as with the raisins. It is important to use walnut halves here, not pieces, since they provide much more substance to the bread when they are kept closer to their original form. Don't worry if pieces of walnuts and raisins are falling out once your start kneading them in - just keep placing them under and on top till they are tucked snugly into the dough.

Don't worry about over working the dough- its pretty much impossible unless you're using a professional grade machine, and even then it takes a bit of time. Just relax, and enjoy the pleasure that is kneading.  

Form a snug ball out of the dough and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl, coating it with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.


Once the dough has risen, melt the remaining tbsp of butter and set aside. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your fingers, spread the dough into a 9x9 square. You can use the loaf pan you intend on baking the bread in as a guide, as they are usually 9 inches long. 

Combine 1/4 c of sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon. Brush the spread out dough with the butter (leaving a little leftover), then sprinkle with all of the cinnamon sugar, leaving about a 1/2 inch space of dough at the top. 

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder, ensuring there is nice surface tension as you go. Pinch the edges of the dough together to create a seam, and place seam side down into your loaf pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 to 1/2 hours, till the loaf is nearly doubled in size. 


Make certain that there is a rack in the middle position of your oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil on the stove. Once the oven is ready, brush the top of the loaf with a little of the leftover butter from making the cinnamon swirl.

Place the loaf in the oven, leaving room for an empty loaf pan next to it. Fill the empty pan half way full of boiling water, and quickly close the oven door. Be careful not to let the water splatter- you don't want it to come in contact with your door! If you're a klutz like me, place a kitchen towel over the glass in the door when you're adding the water, and remove before closing. 

Bake for 40 - 50 minutes until the bread is golden brown, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. If you want a little extra sweetness to your bread, before removing it from the oven make a little more cinnamon sugar- a tbsp or 2 with about 1/2 tsp or so of cinnamon should do. As soon as you pull the bread from the oven, rub the top with a stick of butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top, using as much as you like. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before slicing. Or, wait 90 minutes like I do so the bread is still warm! It is important to wait, and not slice it any sooner than an hour and a half though, in order to preserve the integrity of the bread.   

The bread will last up to 3 days in a ziplock bag or airtight container, but I can almost guarantee you it will not last that long. It also keeps great in the freezer - just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and throw into the deep chill for up to 3 months.

*This recipe is a reconstructed adaptation of American Test Kitchen's American Sandwich Bread recipe.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

photo updated 10.15.13
This is a staple in our house - and so versatile. You can follow the skeleton I've provided below, use it as an excuse to clean out your fridge, or use some items from the pantry that you've been itching to try. As long as there is quinoa and chickpeas around, there are endless options.

1 c. organic quinoa

2 c. water

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3-6 scallions (depending on size), or 1/2 a small sweet onion

10-20 (depending on size) grape tomatoes, halved

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and cut into quarters or eighths, depending on size

1/2 c. cubed hard cheese, such as parmesan, asiago, sharp cheddar, etc. 

couple good handfuls of olives, halved (kalamata, green, or any favorite variety) or capers

1/4 c. red wine vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice of half a lemon

pinch of salt

lots of pepper
photo updated 10.15.13
-Combine quinoa and water in a medium pot and bring to a good simmer on medium high, stirring occasionally. Once at a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff continuously with only a fork, to cool down quicker.

-As the quinoa cooks, prep the other ingredients, starting with the dryer items first as to not muck up the cutting board before its time. 

-Place prepped ingredients in bowl, and add vinegar, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

-Once the quinoa is cooled, add it to the bowl and mix very well
photo updated 10.15.13

This salad is best at room temperature, but it is good cold as well. As I've mentioned, the options are endless. Leave out the cheese for a vegan dish, or use a cheese as a springboard for your version of the salad. Feta, kalamata olives, and lightly sauteed baby spinach with lots of lemon and garlic for a greek twist, or a good quality gruyere with sauteed leeks and french peas, with lentils in lieu of chickpeas for a french flair. Omit the vinegar if you're not a fan, just add more lemon juice. I adore vinegar, so I add a lot, and usually end up adding more as the salad sits in the fridge to freshen it up a bit. This dish keeps very well up to a week in the fridge, tightly covered with plastic wrap or in a tightly sealed container.
photo updated 10.15.13