Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Classic Corn Chowder

This is a simple yet hearty soup. We made a small batch just enough for the two of us for lunch during this funky quarantine time, and it’s really delicious and satisfying.

Here is the recipe we used that serves 2-4, depending if you’re having it as a main or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices of bacon or ham
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 medium size boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (we used canned ones because it is what we have)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add diced bacon or ham, stir till it’s cooked through. Add  onion, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour till it’s evenly mixed with the vegetables. Stir in the potatoes, 1 cups of the corn, the bay leaf, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

 

Step 2

In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 1 cups corn with the milk. Stir the puree into the soup along with the black pepper. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. sprinkle in the paprika. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if using.

Classic Cheese Fondue

Ingredients

FOR THE FONDUE:

1/3 pound firm alpine-style cheese — such as gruyere
1/3 pound fontina
1/3 pound gouda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine — such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 clove garlic — minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

ASSORTED FONDUE DIPPERS:

Boiled baby new potatoes in their skins — quartered if large
Lightly steamed broccoli florets (wait till the water is boiling before putting in the florets to steam, steam for 5 minutes)
Lightly steamed cauliflower florets
Lightly steamed asparagus
Button mushrooms (clean and wipe day, roast in 350F for 12 minutes)
Cherry tomatoes
Sliced firm apples — such as Granny Smith
Cooked sliced hot sausage
Cubed French, sourdough, and/or pumpernickel bread

Instructions

Grate all of the cheeses. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, mustard, and nutmeg.
Arrange an assortment of bite-size dipping foods on a platter. If necessary, carefully pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers. Dip and enjoy!

Murray’s Beer Cheese

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Hey wait why’s there cheese in my beer?

  • Prep Time : 2 min.
  • Cook Time : 5 min.
  • Total Time : 60 min.
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Murray’s High Plains Cheddar, grated
  • 8 oz Black Hog Granola Brown Ale, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 clove garlic, micro-planed
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 pretzel rolls

Directions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, except for the beer, and blend until finely chopped.
  2. Pour in 1/2 cup of the beer and continue to blend. Slowly add the rest of the beer a bit at a time, blending in between each pour.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  4. Before serving, toast the pretzel rolls in the oven until warmed through. Serve with pretzel rolls and veggies, or spread the beer cheese on sandwiches.

Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

Cook time: 1 Hour 20 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 head garlic, separated into whole cloves, papery skin removed (about 20 cloves)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 lemon, juiced

Bread, for serving

Direction:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper liberally and allow to temper on a cutting board while you prepare the garlic. In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, cook the whole garlic cloves in olive oil and butter, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high and brown the chicken skin-side down until the skin is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle on herbes de Provence. Add the garlic back to the pan and place hot pan in oven. Bake the chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Once the chicken is done, remove chicken thighs and garlic to a platter. Place the pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle the drippings with flour and stir to incorporate. Deglaze the pan with the stock and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter and serve with bread for sauce-mopping and garlic-spreading.

Classic Potato Gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 cups whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).
  • Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t break up the slices).
  • When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don’t want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

New Year with New Recipe — Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

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Happy New Year!! After a whirlwind of traveling and meetings during the holiday season, my schedule is finally calming down for once; it is finally allowing me to sit down to write again after a long hiatus on the blog…. I can’t be happier, this is all I want to do during this chill weekend at the ranch.

Because of all the traveling, I didn’t get to exchange presents with Chris till New Year’s Eve, and guess what I got as one of my presents – cookbooks with 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year!! I love to cook, so I’m very excited about the gift, but how brilliant of him to give me cookbooks? I’d say it’s more of a gift that “keeps on giving” for himself than a gift to me….. well played, I say, well played!

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The cookbooks are “Salad of the Day” and “One Pot of the Day” from Williams Sonoma, they are really awesome in the sense that all the recipes are mapped out according to the seasons, so you get to use to the proper ingredients that are actually in season, and they are all fairly easy and straightforward. Most importantly, they are all practical enough for modern day busy women like me!

Surprised and not surprised, he already picked out recipes that he wants me to make for New Year’s Day – Garlicky Shrimp Scampi. It is a recipe for May, but since we happen to have some fresh shrimp from the market, I decided to give it a go. This is a recipe for 4 people, but we didn’t find any problem finishing the dish with just the two of us…

Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

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1 ½ lb (about 24-28) jumbo shrimp, deveined and peeled with the tails intact

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp Salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

12 Tbsp unsalted butter (I only used about 8 tb)

3 cloves garlic (we like garlic, so I doubled it and used 6)

¼ cup dry white wine

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Direction

1). In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Toss the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat evenly, shaking off the excess.

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2). In a large frying pan, heat the 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to pan and cook, turning occasionally till opaque throughout, about 3 minute. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm on the side.

IMG_29873). Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 2 Tbsp of the butter and the garlic to cook, stirring frequently until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute.

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4). Reduce the heat to very low, whisk in the remaining butter, I Tbsp at a time, letting each addition soften into a creamy emulsion before adding more.

5). Return the shrimp to the sauce and mix gently to coat well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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Shrimp Scampi is often served over pasta, which makes a very hearty and comforting dish. We didn’t bother to make pasta; we simply served it as it is with some freshly based French baguette – nothing beats tearing apart that crusty bread with the steam still coming out from the soft center and dipping it into the garlicky butter sauce – ahh, need I say more? Pair the dish with a bottle of crisp white wine to cut the grease, it is amazing how simple flavors can bring such high satisfaction!

The amount of butter in this recipe can be a little bit overwhelming for those who want to maintain a healthier lifestyle. To make a lighter version of the dish, use 2 Tbsp to cook the garlic till fragrant, add about 2 Tbsp of flour to the pan and stir constantly till it forms a smooth uniform paste (the so-called white roux). Slowly add the wine, lemon zest and juice and stir constantly to avoid lumpy texture. Instead of another 6-10 Tbsp of butter, use chicken stock instead to finish the following steps. The end product (obviously) won’t be as buttery as the original scampi, but flavors holds up pretty well, and it contains a lot less guilt! Scallop are good with this sauce too, if you want to change things up a little.

We love this recipe, it’s easy enough to make at home after a workday, and it’s a good dish to impress the guests, too, if you like to host dinner parties! I give it a two-thumbs up, what a good way to kick off a new year!! Just got one recipe down from my new cookbooks… 364 recipes to go…. What are we making next?…

Cheers,

Alicia

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Happy New Year!!  After a whirlwind of traveling and meetings during the holiday season, my schedule is finally calming down for once and allowing me to sit down to write again after a long hiatus on the blog…. I can’t be happier, this is all I want to do during this chill weekend at the country house.

Because of all the traveling, I didn’t get to exchange presents with my man till New Year’s Eve, and guess what I got as one of my presents – cookbooks with 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year!! I love to cook, so I’m very excited about the gift, but how brilliant of him to give me cookbooks? I’d say it’s more of a gift that “keeps on giving” for himself than a gift to me….. well played, I say, well played!

FullSizeRender

The cookbooks are “Salad of the Day” and “One Pot…

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Rack of Lamb for Dad

My father was a commercial airline pilot and in the latter years of his career, he routinely flew from his base of operations in Los Angeles (an hour north of where we lived) to Sydney, Australia, and then to Auckland, New Zealand before heading home. Often, my dad would return from these long trips with a white Styrofoam iced cooler under his arm containing a fresh rack of lamb that he purchased in New Zealand immediately prior to boarding the plane. My mom would prepare the lamb for that evening’s dinner, and I remember vividly the whole family eating in virtual silence and awe, mesmerized by the combination of this fresh lamb and my mom’s consistant ability to cook it perfectly. Mom has always been a remarkable cook, but there was something special about this dish.

The date of this post is 18 years ago to the day of my fathers passing, so in his honor, we have decided to feast on a rack of lamb. 

Rack of Lamb for Dad

Serves: 2 / prep & cook time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb (seven or eight cutlets)
  • 2 sprigs (about 2 tbs) of fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sprinkles of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Fresh rack of lamb.

And fresh ingredients!

Directions:

Rub the rack of lamb with a thin coat of olive oil and place in an oven dish fatty side up. Chop the garlic into coarse chunks and let marinate in a prep bowl holding the remaining olive oil. Strip the rosemary from the stems and finely dice. Next, sprinkle the rosemary over both sides of the rack of lamb along with the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Finally, lightly spoon the olive oil and chopped garlic mixture over the lamb covering as much of the rack as you can with garlic without drowning it in oil. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Seasoned and ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the cooking dish containing the rack in the oven’s center and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes for rare to medium rare temperature (our preference, longer if you prefer more cooked). Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board and cut individual cutlets. Plate and serve!

Done!

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