Tuesday, October 20, 2009

FALL FAVORITES


This is my absolute favorite autumnal treat. The rich veal combined with the bright-fresh flavors of the gremolata are a winning combination. The sparkly gremolata clears your palate and keeps you wanting more. Osso Buco can be made a day ahead of serving and can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Serve the Osso buco with pumpkin risotto, garlicky mashed potatoes or smashed white beans.


Osso Buco-with Gremolata
(Braised veal shanks)

Serves 6

¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms, processed into dust in a blender or food processor
¼ cup flour
Olive oil for sautéing
6 meaty veal shanks, tied around the middle
1 large Spanish onion, cut into large dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
1 large fennel bulb, fronds cut off, and diced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups rich chicken or veal stock
Salt and pepper

Gremolata
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 300. Mix the mushroom dust with the flour. Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven to medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Dredge the flat sides of the veal shanks in the flour mixture. Sear each side of the dredged meat until golden brown and caramelized (about 10 minutes). Remove the veal and set aside. Brown the vegetables in batches (add more oil if necessary) until all the vegetables are browned (Be careful not to over brown the garlic).
3. Add more oil to the pan and brown the tomato paste (about 3 minutes). Add the rest of the ingredients and the veal and vegetables back to the pan. Cover the pan and braise the veal until the meat is very soft (about 2 1/2 hours).
4. Carefully, remove the veal shanks from the pan. Strain the braising juices into a saucepan and press on the vegetables to get all the delicious sauce. Discard the vegetables. Reduce the braising liquid until it is very thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Remove the string from the veal and place the veal on a platter. Spoon the hot braising liquid over the veal. Dollop with gremolata

For the gremolata- Place the zests, parsley, garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture resembles a coarse paste.

Friday, October 16, 2009

RETRO COMFORT


What was once old is new again. This classic dish from the Burgundy region of France is no exception. With an autumnal chill in the air, leaves turning golden and burnished red and a new appreciation for my own culinary hero, Julia Child, this is a perfect crowd pleasing dish to make any table festive and comforting.
Boeuf Bourguignon can be made a day ahead of serving and can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

Boeuf Bourguignon


1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried thyme
½ cup flour
2 pounds of beef chuck-cut into 2 inch pieces
olive oil
2 carrots-peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium Spanish onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped – where does this come into play in instructions?
½ cup burgundy
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups red wine (I like a hearty Pinot Noir)
1 cup of chicken stock
1 celery rib
several sprigs of thyme
several parsley stems
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves (the spice-not garlic)
1 pound mushrooms (cremini, button or shiitake), quartered
1 cup pearl onions, blanched, shocked and peeled *

Special equipment: cheesecloth, kitchen twine

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Combine the rosemary, thyme and flour in a small bowl. Pat dry the meat and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Brown the meat on all sides in batches until the meat is very dark brown (about 3-5 minutes per side). Remove the browned pieces and continue until all the meat is browned. Do not overcrowd the pan or the meat will not brown
3. Add the vegetables to the same pan, adding more oil if necessary, and cook until they are browned (about 10 minutes). Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for 5 more minutes until the garlic is very fragrant and slightly softened. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
4. Add the burgundy to the pan and deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Reduce the burgundy until it has reduced by ½. Add the tomato paste, wine and chicken stock.
5. Place the meat and vegetables in a large Dutch oven or casserole with a lid. Pour the wine over the meat.
6. Wrap the celery, thyme sprigs, parsley stems, bay leaf and whole cloves into a bundle in the cheesecloth. Secure the bundle with kitchen twine. Add the bouquet garni to the Dutch oven.
7. Braise the beef until it is tender and releases easily when pierced with a fork (about 2 1/2 – 3 hours).
8. Gently remove the beef from the Dutch oven and set aside. Discard the vegetables and bouquet garni.
9. Reduce the braising liquid over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by 1/2 until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon. (pls explain how this is done –over what heat, stirring not stirring etc…)
10. Sauté the mushrooms and onions until lightly browned and caramelized (about 5-7 minutes).
11. Add the mushrooms, onions and beef back to the reduced braising liquid and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes


Tip:
Standing over the cutting board and spending hours of time peeling pearl onions is enough to make anyone swear off of using the fragrant, decorative vegetable. Try this trick to make the job quick and easy.
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Place the pearl onions in the boiling water. While the onions are boiling, fill a metal or glass that will accommodate a colander or mesh strainer, with ice water.
2. After the onions have boiled for 5 minutes, strain the onions out of the boiling water and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes until they are completely cooled. Lift the strainer out of the ice water and dry the onions.
3. With a paring knife, cut the root end of the onions off and gently squeeze the onion out of the skin.
4. this trick also works well for shallots, cipollini onions and garlic cloves.

Friday, October 2, 2009

AUTUMNAL TREATS


I use this easy and delicious pumpkin cake recipe in my home and professional kitchens.I am a huge fan of all things Autumnal and cannot wait for the first cold snap to start the pumpkin recipe barrage. Luckily my family likes the versatile, orange squash as much as I do. They will be seeing it in all forms from pasta and risotto to cakes, and ice creams. YUM! Chag Sameach


Pumpkin Cake

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons baking soda
2 ¾ cups sugar
4 whole eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375

Lightly grease a 9X13 baking pan

1. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside.
2. Whip eggs and sugar to ribbon (about 3-5 minutes).
3. Gently fold in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
4. Fold in the fry ingredients.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed

Cinnamon Glaze

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons water

1. Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.