Thursday, April 26, 2012

White Bean Ragout

Recipes come to us from all different sources. I saw this recipe on Bon Appetite's Facebook page and I thought it looked delicious. I know many people are trying to eat healthier these days, and some people even try to do meatless Monday's. This is a great dish to make on Sunday, if you are low on time during the week. Heat this up the next day, it is just as delicious. The soffritto is a flavor booster to this dish. Learn how to make the soffritto and you can add it to other dishes, such as soups and tomato sauce, which were two suggetions that my daughter had. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of vegetable broth and I only ended up using three.
I hope you try this healthy recipe.

•3 medium onions, chopped
•1 red bell pepper, chopped
•1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more
•Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
•4 garlic cloves, 3 finely grated, 1 halved
•2 teaspoons tomato paste
•4–6 1-inch-thick slices grilled or toasted ciabatta
•8–10 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
•2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
•4 cups vegetable broth, divided (I only used 3)
•1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
•2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Pulse onions in a food processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about 2 cups). Transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse bell pepper in processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about 1cup); add to bowl and mix well.

Finely Chopped Onion
Finely Chopped Red Pepper

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion mixture (it may splatter) and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Add finely grated garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes. Measure 1/2 cup soffritto and set aside; reserve skillet. Transfer remaining soffritto to a container and let cool completely, uncovered. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Rub bread slices with cut sides of remaining garlic clove. Place bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1 Tbsp. Parmesan over each slice. Toast until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Heat reserved 1/2 cup soffritto and beans in same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Simmer, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is slightly thickened, 3–4 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer until tomatoes are tender, 3–4 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp. Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide bread among bowls. Top with some bean mixture and broth. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan and parsley. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beet Chips

These beautiful beet chips are the result of roasting them in the oven, creating a healthy, crispy snack.

I tried a couple of recipes for the baked beet chips, but they didn't crisp up and they were soggy.  I thought I could get better result if I used olive oil cooking spray and cooked them at a higher temperature.  When you are purchasing your beets, select large ones. This is because when you bake them they shrink down a lot.  Everyone's ovens are different, so you may need to alter your cooking time.  Keep your eye on them the last few minutes of cooking them so you don't burn them.  I did this and I ended up throwing out half of the batch.

Baked Beet Chips

Fresh beets, look for larger ones
Kosher Salt
Olive oil cooking spray

Trim ends off of beets and then peel them with a peeler.  Your finders will turn a little red, but it will wash off.

Using a Cuisinart or mandoline, slice beets.  I used a Cuisinart with a 2mm blade attachment. I had better success with placing the beets with the larger side down on the blade of the Cuisinart. This made for a more level cutting surface on the blade whirls, cutting each slice.

Lightly spray baking sheet with olive oil.  This is where I failed with other recipes.  I used too much oil and the beets didn't get crispy.
Place sliced beets in rows, sprinkle with kosher salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place baking sheets with one on the middle rack and the other on the bottom.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Switch pans, turn over beets, add salt if you want, and bake for another 20 minutes.

After the second 20 mintes, watch the batch on the top rack so you don't burn them.  Remove to a wire rack or let them cool righ ton the pan.  They will crisp up a little more as they cool down.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I love the April edition of Bon Appetite. I have so many pages flagged down I don't know where to start. Waking up this morning, however, I knew how I was going to start my day, and that is with Jean-Georges Vongerichten brilliant scrambled eggs. These eggs were so creamy, light and slightly buttery. I have never had eggs like these before. Very simple to prepare, and all you need is a saucepan or saute pan, and a whisk.


4 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Cayenne pepper
Kosher Salt

Step 1: Combine eggs and 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan or saute pan and season with cayenne and salt to your liking.

Step 2: Place over medium-low heat and cook.  Whisking gently and constantly while scraping the bottom and the sides.

Step 3: Continue whisking until eggs are just thickened, creamy, and small curds begin to form.  This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 4: Remove from heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoons of butter to eggs and stir until melted.

These are delicious!  Serve with your favorite side like bacon or sausage.  I had mine with turkey sausage.

Recipe from Bon Appetite, April Issue, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Monday, April 2, 2012

La Sandwicherie - A South Beach Sandwich Shop

It was a beautiful day, as we were strolling along 14th street on our way to the beach in South Beach, Miami, and we passed this sandwich shop that was along side an alley and parking lot. My husband thought it looked familiar and said, "I think that place was on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives". It didn't look like much of a place. It sort of resembled the side of a large food truck to me, but with stools to sit at. I said I would look it up later, as we were anxious to get some lunch and head to the beach. After checking the place out on line, it appeared to be a local favorite, serving the best sandwiches in Miami. As one person put it, "Simply the best sandwiches. Great taste and last but not least, the French vinaigrette that's what makes this place what it is." I was intrigued, and couldn't wait to go back and check it out for myself. My family and I approached the sandwich shop, and I noticed that there was a small window for ordering on the side of 14th street. The menu was there, and we began to scan it for what we were going to try. You choose your bread. French bread was standard, croissants and wheat bread were an upcharge. Standard meat selections were, roast beef, turkey, salami, but then there was pate, seafood, tuna, chicken and French salami. Further down the menu there were combination sandwiches. I looked there for inspiration, because the combination possibilities were endless. The turkey and Camembert cheese sounded good. We stood there for awhile, with no luck in getting our order taken. I noticed that there were more people waiting and eating on the alley side, and I decided that maybe that was where you were supposed to go. We weren't locals, what did we know? I move to the other side and this guy is making the sandwiches, and his partner is taking the orders. I noticed a woman at the small window where I was just waiting at and she gets her ordered taken. What?! I am so disappointed by the service, and I was thinking of leaving. This nice man next to me offered his seat to me as I waited for someone to take my order. I watched as the guy made these huge sandwiches. Finally, she came over to take my order, which was the turkey and Camembert, with lettuce, tomato and onions and their signature French vinaigrette, on a French roll, cornichons(French pickles)on the side, to go. I pay the 9 bucks that the sandwich costs, and we were on our way. The sandwich is large enough to share. My daughter and I took the first bites, then my husband. Rave reviews you're thinking, right? Wrong! The bread was too crusty and they forgot to put their signature French vinaigrette on! What a total disappointment. The turkey and Camembert combination was delicious, but other than that, it wasn't anything special. Dry in fact, thanks to the lack of their famous dressing, which by the way they sell for $9.00 a bottle. However, it did inspire me to make it at home. So, that's what I did today. I used a croissant, and French vinaigrette by Brianna's. Delicious! This would be a great sandwich to bring along to Ravinia or a picnic, with a bottle of white wine. The build up I imagined in my head of what the La Sandwicherie sandwich was going to taste like was big, plus I expected great service. I got a dry, crusty sandwich and terrible service. Their sandwich probably would have been delicious had they put the dressing on it. How do you forget to put the dressing on when that is one of the main things you are known for? I don't know what all the hype is about this place, but it inspired me to make a great sandwich at home and I hope you try it too.   French Turkey Club Sandwich   Roasted turkey, like Boar's Head Oven Gold Camembert cheese, sliced Sliced tomato Sliced red onion Lettuce Brianna's French Vinaigrette dressing Croissant   Build your sandwich and enjoy. Reserve dressing if you are taking the sandwich on a picnic so the dressing doesn't make the croissant soggy.

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