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"A passion for cooking is what I have...Sharing that passion is what I love to do." -Sarah Vasques, The Home Chef

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L2: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 15

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… Boiling water will make clear ice cubes? Boil the water & allow to cool. Put into ice-cube trays & freeze.

… Putting an apple in a bag of potatoes will prevent them from budding?

… To keep peppers upright for stuffed peppers, bake them in a muffin tin?

… Egg shells peel off hard-boiled eggs easier if you add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the water?

… You can clean a wooden cutting board with a handful of salt & half a lemon?

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K2: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 1

insert into post  … Black garlic isn’t a garlic variety, but garlic in an aged state?

… If you put a couple of marshmallows in a bag of brown sugar, it will keep the sugar from getting hard?

… Filling an old box with wooden skewers makes for a nice butcher block?

… Hanging onions in old tights or stocking will make them last for months?

… Straight tap water will always make cloudy ice cubes?

 

 

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N1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 15

… Herbs such as basil, parsley & cilantro should be stored @ room temp. covered in plastic?

… If you spray fresh guacamole with cooking spray & press plastic wrap onto the top, it helps to slow the oxidation (browning) process?

… Tomatoes, onions, avocado’s & banana’s should never be refrigerated?

… Banana’s are high in ethylene content? If you have banana’s and other fruit in close proximity, the other fruit will ripen faster than if not close.

… The average American will consume 500 – 2000 lbs. of produce per year?

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M1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 3

…  “Ciabatta” means slipper in Itaina?

… Storing  flour into a sealed container with 2 bay leaves prevents bugs from becoming a neausence?

… Storing aritsan breads cut side down on a plate prolongs the freshness to 1 week?

… Whole wheat flour & wheat germ should be stored in the fridge to keep fresh?

… Lettuce is the number one cause of food born illnesses such as echoli?

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Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 27

This is a basic, but still flavorful recipe. It is elegant enough for guests & simple enough for a weeknight supper.

2 Cornish Hens, giblets removed & washed
1 stick Butter or Margarine, softened
1 tsp. fresh minced Rosemary
2 tsp. fresh minced Thyme Leaves
Salt & Fresh Black Pepper

Combine the butter & herbs.
Season with salt & pepper
Place the “compound butter” in plastic wrap and roll into a log.
Twist the ends & refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the hens in half.
Loosen the skin from the breast & leg.
Cut the butter in 8 disks & then cut the disks in half (16 pieces).
Put a piece of butter between the skin & meat of the leg & breast meat for each hen half.
Spread the rest of the butter on the outside of the hens.
Season hens with salt & pepper.
Place on a baking sheet with a small lip.
Roast 40 minutes or until internal temp is 165°.
Remove & cover with foil.
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Mini Beef Wellingtons with Port Wine Sauce

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 27

I got the recipe for the Wellingtons from Food Networks “5 Ingredient Fix.” Then I  added the sauce for a fantastic depth of flavor. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe. It is really very easy. Bon Appetite!

For the Wellingtons
2 T olive oil
1# Beef Tenderloin, cut into 12 (1-inch) cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
6 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
1 lg Shallot, finely chopped 
1-2 sheets Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all sides with salt and pepper.
Quickly sear the beef on 2 sides only until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes total; do not overcook.
Transfer to a plate to cool.
Add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown and release liquid, about 5 minutes.
Add the shallots and continue cooking until mushroom mixture dries out, is golden brown and shallots are soft, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat to the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
On a work surface, roll 1 sheet of puff pastry to a 10 by 14-inch rectangle.
Put teaspoon-sized mounds of mushroom mixture on the pastry, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3.
Top the mushroom mound with a piece of beef, seared side up. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into even squares around the meat and mushrooms.
Working 1 at a time, pull 2 opposite sides of pastry up over each beef piece, then fold the ends over the top to make a packet.
Invert and arrange the packets seam side down on the baking sheet and press them lightly to seal the pastry.
Repeat with the remaining beef, mushrooms, and pastry.
Bake the Wellingtons until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven to a serving platter and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

For the Sauce

Sauté in 1 T Unsalted Butter until soft (about 8 minutes):
½ C chopped Yellow Onion
¼ C chopped Carrot
¼ C chopped Celery
1 T Tomato Paste
2 Bay Leaves

Deglaze, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan, with & simmer until reduced: 
¼ C Red Wine           
¼ C Port Wine         

Add & simmer 8 – 10 minutes:
3 C Beef Stock or Broth

Then strain the sauce. IT IS HERE WHERE YOU STORE UNTIL READY TO USE!

Whisk together & whisk into sauce:
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 T Cold Water

Just before serving, whisk in:              
1 T Red Currant Jelly        
1 T Truffle Butter **               
                            
NOTE: The Wellingtons & the Sauce can be made the day before. Store the wellingtons on the baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Finish them off in the oven according to directions. Finish the sauce on the stove continuing where directions stopped.

** Truffle Butter can be very expensive: Combine I T Unsalted Butter & 1 tsp. Truffle Oil – If you cannot find Truffle Oil, use garlic infused oil instead.

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PP: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 15

… Peeling a potato is as simple as just boiling it? Click here:  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7375897927147969009

… To preserve berries of any kind, make a mixture of 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar (white or cider) & rinse the berries in it? This kills any mold spores in the fruit.

… 9th century Arabs brought oranges to Sicily & citrus quickly became the first industry taken over by the mafia?

… If you wipe your underarms with apple cider vinegar after you shower it will prevent the growth of bacteria that causes offensive body odor?

… Eating 1 tsp. of Fennel seeds after a meal will prevent gas?

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OO: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 1

… Clams have 11% protein & 1.5% fat per serving?

… In colonial times, MA servants went on strike because they had to eat lobster 3 times per week?

… 3 oz. of  “Homarus Americanus” (the American Maine lobster) contains 60 mg. of cholesterol?

… Manhattan Clam Chowder was invented in the 1930’s?

… The largest clam ever caught in the US was a Geoduck variety and weighed 3#?

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Zucchini Bread with Orange Cream Cheese

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 27

This delicious bread will tempt anyone. It’s easy to make & freezes beautifully. But it may not last that long to make to there 🙂

For the Bread
1½ c. Sugar
3 c. Flour
4½ tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
4 Eggs
2/3 c. Salad Oil
2 c. Zucchini, shredded
2 tsp. Lemon Zest

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray two glass 8½” X 4½” loaf pans with non stick cooking spray.
Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together sugar, flour, baking powder & salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs & salad oil .
Mix in zucchini & lemon zest.
Mix flour mixture into egg mixture and incorporate completely.
Divide batter equally between the 2 pans and bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes & remove from pan.
Serve with “Orange Cream Cheese” below.

For the Cream Cheese
6 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp.
1 T Orange Zest
1 T  Orange Juice
1/3 c. Super Fine Sugar**

Beat together all ingredients.

**If you don’t wish to purchase fine sugar, just zap regular sugar in a food processor.

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Pasta with Spinach & Tomatoes

Published by: Sarah

  • Sep
  • 27

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter
2 (7 oz.) bags Baby Spinach
5 cloves Garlic, minced
Good Pinch Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
1 pt. Grape Tomatoes, halved
½ lb. Rigatoni, cooked al dente (7 minutes)
¾ c. fresh grated Asiago Cheese
¼ c. fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan.
Sauté spinach & garlic about 2 minutes.
Season with nutmeg, salt & pepper.
Add tomatoes & cook until warmed through but not “soggy.”
Add cooked pasta & cheeses.
Stir to combine.
Pour into a serving dish.
Serve with a salad & crusty bread.

HINT: Grate the cheese ahead for easier assembly.

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