Muffulletta Salad

Muffulletta Salad

And a happy blizzard to you too! Yeesh. How many of y’all will be affected by this snowstorm? My area is supposedly getting over two feet of snow, and pretty much *everything* is cancelled tomorrow. Please, please stay safe and warm!! And will you be doing lots of cooking and/or baking during the storm? I’m sure I will!

Muffulletta Salad

But, since it’s snowing outside, let’s talk salads. HA! I’ve decided that this will be a themed week, one I’ve really had fun with – I’m turning classic dishes into salads! The first is the Muffulletta sandwich. It’s a New Orleans classic, made of deli meats, sliced cheese, and an olive salad packed in between a special bread loaf. I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes them. Every visit I make to New Orleans, I simply cannot leave until I’ve had a muffulletta.

Muffulletta Salad

And today, we shall turn the iconic sandwich into a salad! One of my lovely Christmas presents, from my sis and her family (thank you all!!!), was Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s highly-anticipated cookbook, Prune – and that’s where I found this recipe. Tasting exactly as advertised, this salad was hearty, satisfying, salty, briny, crunchy, and of course, oh so tasty.

Muffulletta Salad

Highly recommend the book. And that you make this salad! Stay tuned, because every day this week we are turning classic dishes into salads!! Enjoy!

Muffulletta Salad

{One Year Ago: Blackberry Jam Toaster Pastries, Frijoles Borrachos, Meyer Lemon Pudding Pops}
{Two Years Ago: Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Blood Orange Margaritas}

Source: adapted from Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton

Ingredients:
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp crushed red chile flakes
Heavy grind of black pepper
Light sprinkle of kosher salt
1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbs green olive brine
Splash of liquid from the jar of piquillo peppers
Splash of white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small red onion, sliced
1 large romaine heart, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced, with their leaves
1 (10 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
4-6 oz. deli-sliced ham (make sure you get a good quality ham here – so many of them are processed with tons of extra sugar and sodium), sliced
4-6 oz. deli-sliced soppressata, sliced
4 oz. deli-sliced mortadella, sliced
4 oz. deli-sliced provolone cheese, sliced
3-4 oz. roasted piquillo peppers, sliced
2 oz. pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
2 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

Directions:
First make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine the oregano, crushed chile flakes, black pepper, kosher salt, olive oil, green olive brine, piquillo pepper liquid, and vinegar. Grate the garlic cloves into the dressing using a microplane. Add the sliced onion, stir to coat, and set the bowl aside while you prep the rest of the salad.
In a large salad bowl, add the romaine, celery, artichoke hearts, ham, soppressata, mortadella, provolone, piquillo peppers, green olives, and Kalamata olives. Lift the sliced red onion out of the dressing with a slotted spoon and add to the salad. Season with a pinch of salt. Gently toss with your hands, combing through with your fingers; integrate all the ingredients so it doesn’t look clumpy and jumbled. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss to dress. Add the dressing judiciously, a little at a time to ensure you do not overdress your salad. You can always add more, but you can’t take any out. Serve immediately.

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over chipotle Black Bean Puree with jalapeno crema

Through lived experience I’ve found that when a craving hits, you should just feed the beast and then move on. It’s just going to haunt you until you do. So last week Matt and I booked a vacation – this May is our ten year wedding anniversary (!!!) so the last week in April we’ll be traveling to the Bahamas, visiting both Paradise Island and the Exuma Cays. (I’m SO excited!!)

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

We made dinner reservations to eat at Mesa Grill, at the Atlantis resort, and that, my friends, got me craving this dish. Unfortunately for me, Mesa Grill’s flagship New York location closed down a year or so ago; fortunately for me, there’s a Mesa Grill Cookbook! And yes, this is the recipe I’ve made most often from said book.

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

This is surprisingly easy, for a fine dining restaurant dish, and it’s a real show-stopper. I’ve made it for dinner parties quite a few times, and my mom has as well. Everyone has raved. And yet, it’s also simple enough for a weeknight meal, believe it or not.

I just love it. The recipe contains three steps, all of which are super easy and two of which can be done ahead of time. Upon making this (yet again!) I realized I had never put it up on the blog – for shame!! Time to correct that little misstep!

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

You just have to make this one soon – it’s so incredibly delicious. And now my craving is sated, and perhaps more importantly, now I won’t be tempted to order it when we dine at Mesa Grill in a few months – and that’s important because at Mesa Grill Atlantis, this dish costs $39 – apiece!!! A little outrageous… I’d rather make it for about $25 total (meaning for two servings) in my own kitchen. Enjoy!

Ancho Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon over Chipotle Black Bean Puree with Jalapeno Crema

{One Year Ago: A Guest Post – Creole Meatball Po’Boys; Bacon and Hazelnut Buttermilk Caramels}
{Two Years Ago: Chipotle Chilaquiles}

Source: adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:
BLACK BEAN PUREE:
Canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt

SALMON:
1/3 cup honey
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 (about 8 oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
2 tbs canola oil
Cilantro or scallions, for garnish

JALAPENO CREMA:
½ cup sour cream
1 large or 2 small jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded if desired, and chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:
First make the BLACK BEAN PUREE. In a medium sauté pan preheated over medium-high, drizzle in some canola oil, then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor. Wipe out the skillet. Add the black beans to the food processor, along with the chipotle chile(s), cumin, and salt to taste. Fill the black beans can up about halfway with water, then add that to the food processor. Puree until very smooth. If it’s too thick, add a touch more water. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Transfer the bean puree back to the skillet you wiped out and place over medium-low heat for a few minutes, just to warm up the beans. Turn the heat to low to keep warm but not scorch them while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Note: the beans can be made ahead and reheated just before serving.
Now make the SALMON. In a small bowl, add the honey, ancho chile powder, Dijon mustard, plus a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Season the flesh sides of each salmon fillet with salt and black pepper. Add the canola oil to a large skillet or cast-iron pan and set it over high heat. When the skillet is very hot, add the salmon fillets skin side down. Let them cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until a crust forms and they will lift from the skillet with no sticking issues whatsoever. In the last minute of cooking on this side, brush each fillet with some of the honey glaze. Flip the salmon fillets and cook flesh side down for at least 2 minutes, and up to 2 minutes beyond that. 2 minutes flesh side down will get you rare to medium-rare salmon, so go longer if you want it more done in the center.
Remove the salmon fillets to a plate and brush more glaze on the flesh side of each fillet.
To make the JALAPENO CREMA, place the roasted jalapenos and sour cream in a small or mini food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
To assemble the dish: on each of 4 large dinner plates, spoon a mound of black bean puree and spread it out all chefy-like with the back of a spoon. Center a salmon fillet over the spread of bean puree, then dot the jalapeno crema all around the salmon and bean puree. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or snipped scallions if desired. Serve immediately.

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

I’m dropping in today to share with you a very simple, quick, yet incredibly flavorful side dish you can have on the dinner table in minutes. Still made from scratch, very health-conscious, a touch spicy (the spice level is well within your control though), Matt and I scarfed the entire plate when I made this for dinner!

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

I’ve been cooking seriously for quite a while now, and sometimes I’m still amazed at how much flavor can be coaxed out of not that many ingredients in a very short amount of time. But, this is one of those dishes that proves it can be done! Fortunately for us all.

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

Enjoy this one guys, it’s just soooo easy and delicious!

Charred Broccoli with Garlic Caper Sauce

{One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Doughnuts}
{Two Years Ago: Butter Pecan Ice Cream}

Source: slightly adapted from Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp

Ingredients:
1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
2 tsp capers, drained
¼ tsp crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
2 tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 to 1 ½ lbs. broccoli, florets only (save the stems for this delicious dip!)
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil and 1 tbs butter in a large frying pan over high heat. As soon as the butter is melted, add the garlic, capers and crushed red chile flakes and cook for 30 seconds, until just fragrant. Add the broccoli and a pinch of kosher salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is cooked through and starting to char on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Shake the pan around or stir to coat the broccoli. When the water has mostly evaporated off, and this will take less than 1 minute, shut off the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter and swirl to melt and coat.
Serve immediately.

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops

Happy, happy MLK Day! Why does this particular MLK Day get an extra happy wish? Because it coincides with Secret Recipe Club reveal day, that’s why! This month I was assigned Rainstorms and Love Notes.

Ashley, like me, lives with her husband and three cats. (Seriously, I have three cats too!). Unlike me, Ashley is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Sorry, Ashley – can’t join you there; go Cowboys!! Anyways… :)

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops

Rainstorms and Love Notes is a wonderful blog of scrumptious recipes, lovely pictures, and I loved how Ashley wrote out the story of how she and her husband met. Read it here, it’s awesome.

Since it’s still January and I’m still trying to detox from all the excess cookies and alcohol that was the month of December, I went hunting for a healthy, wholesome recipe, which I happily found in these orange rosemary pork chops. Pork chops marinate for about four hours in a combination of delicious ingredients like orange zest and juice, dried rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, and black pepper.

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops

The orange flavor really shines through in the end. All the flavors cooperate beautifully and the final product is a tender, yummy, healthy pork chop that could be a very easy weeknight dinner. It would be very easy to scale the recipe up to four servings too. I hope y’all enjoy this one, and do check out Rainstorms and Love Notes!

Orange Rosemary Pork Chops

{One Year Ago: Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas}
{Two Years Ago: Cotija Rice}

Source: slightly adapted from Rainstorms and Love Notes

Ingredients:
2 bone-in pork chops
2 tsp orange zest
Juice from 1 large orange
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the skillet
1 tbsp molasses
Pinch of kosher salt
A few, or many grinds of black pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, molasses, salt, and pepper. Add the pork chops to a large, resealable plastic food storage bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal it, and squish it around to thoroughly coat the pork chops. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Remove the bag from the refrigerator and allow the pork chops to come up to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 F. Preheat a small (10-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a little bit of olive oil, and when it shimmers, carefully transfer the pork chops to the hot skillet.
Cook about 2 minutes per side, until nicely browned on both sides. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of one of the chops. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the chops until the meat thermometer reads 160-165 F, about 6-8 minutes. Let the chops rest for about 5 minutes, then serve.


Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne #SundaySupper

Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne

Welcome to a Hometown Food issue of Sunday Supper!!! This might just be my favorite Sunday Supper I’ve participated in so far. My home city and state has deep roots as far as culinary traditions go, and I’m thrilled to share one of my absolute favorites with you today! I’m also very excited to see what everyone else has brought today – in general, I find myself fascinated with regional cuisine. So, this is a wonderful Sunday Supper for me!

Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne

I had many choices of what I could have made for today, but I decided something classic and iconic would be best; and thus, I chose one of the best-loved and well-known Tex-Mex dishes to ever come out of Texas (besides chili): enchiladas filled with cheddar cheese and raw onion, topped with a chile con carne, which is a gravy sauce flavored with lots of chile peppers and ground beef. You’ll see this dish on Tex-Mex menus all over the state, including my home town of Dallas.

Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne

I have way too many memories to count of ordering this dish in Tex-Mex restaurants growing up. It was one of my favorites (this one being the other favorite thing to order in a Tex-Mex restaurant). As I no longer live in Texas, I can’t really order this dish in restaurants anymore – Tex-Mex restaurants are few and far between in New York, and the ones that do exist are pretty unimpressive – so I had to learn to make it at home. And I’m incredibly pleased to let you know that this recipe tastes just like all the wonderful restaurant versions I had growing up. It’s perfect!

Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne

Since I grew up eating this, of course I find it delicious. But I’m happy to report that my non-native-Texan husband has tried it and he loves it too. And yes, he thought it sounded a bit odd at first. So if you are thinking this dish sounds weird, you’re not alone!

There are a lot of chiles in this dish, but it’s not terribly spicy. Ancho chiles are more fruity than spicy – but, don’t rub your eyes after handling them! They are still chiles. The onions don’t entirely cook out, so there’s a little bit of heavenly crunch in the final product. But no, you may not cook them first. The dish calls for raw onions going into the enchiladas, so cooking them first would be blasphemous, but not to worry – they are no longer biting and raw-tasting after the enchiladas bake, but they don’t fully cook either. It just adds a lovely crunch to the soft melted cheese. I hope y’all enjoy this one! I had a blast making and eating it!

Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with Chile con Carne

And don’t forget to check out all the wonderful regional fare from my Sunday Supper cohorts!

{Two Years Ago: Cotija Rice}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
CHILE CON CARNE:
6 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 tbs olive or canola oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped (save the other half, you need it later)
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
½ lb. lean ground beef (I use either sirloin or first cut brisket)
2 cups beef stock
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

ENCHILADAS:
12 corn tortillas, heated until pliable and kept warm
16 oz. yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
½ medium onion, chopped

Directions:
First you’ll make the CHILE CON CARNE: toast the dried chiles about 10 seconds each side in a medium stockpot over high heat. They are done when they are just fragrant. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chiles, then place it back over high heat. Let it come up to a rolling boil. When it does, shut off the heat, cover the pot and let the chiles rehydrate for 20-25 minutes. Once rehydrated, place the chiles in the blender and save the soaking liquid.
Meanwhile, preheat a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then sweat out the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Place the cooked onion and garlic into the blender with the ancho chiles. Add the cumin, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, and 1 cup of the soaking liquid from the chiles. Puree until very smooth.
Wipe out the skillet you used for the onion and garlic, then preheat to medium-high. Add the ground beef and crumble it (you can add a little more oil if needed). Cook, crumbling it as you go, until no traces of pink remain. Add the chile puree and the beef stock. Heat on high until boiling, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it to thicken to a gravy-like consistency. After 30 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper. Shut off the heat.
Now you can assemble the ENCHILADAS: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a large baking dish (I always use a 9×13” baker). Take a heated tortilla and drag it through the sauce on both sides. Lay it on a clean work surface and fill it down the middle with a scant ¼ cup of shredded cheese, followed by a pinch of the chopped raw onion. Roll the tortilla and place it seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 11 tortillas. Pour the rest of the sauce and spread it evenly over all the enchiladas, then sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over top, followed by the rest of the raw onion. Bake the enchiladas for 15 minutes, until bubbling and slightly browned. For a truly superb and complete Tex-Mex meal, serve with rice and refried beans on the side.

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Appetizers and Snacks

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

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New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

Happy weekend!! And happy three-day weekend for many of us! Yea! This particular recipe is from a new cookbook I received for Christmas, Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown. I adore soups (plus stews, chowders, bisques, chilis), so having a book where soup is the major theme of the book just excites me to no end! When I learned of this soup, a soup where I can use up FOUR of my hatch chiles sitting in my freezer, I knew it was getting made immediately.

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

This soup is quite delicious, and extremely health-conscious while not compromising on flavor or heartiness. Perfect for this cold weather.

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

So I’ve made a decision that 2015 should see more recipe development from me. Y’all know how much I love my cookbooks here, and I’ve learned pretty much everything I know from them. But I think it’s high time I started flexing my creative muscles a little more. So I’ll update you periodically on how things are going in my little test kitchen, so to speak, and hopefully be sharing a few perfected recipes throughout the year! The first thing I’ve been working on is Bacon Cheeseburger Chili. It needs more bacon…

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

In the meantime, stay warm with this delicious, slightly spicy soup!

{One Year Ago: Brunswick StewFish, Fennel and Saffron Stew; Garbanzo Bean, Lentil and Vegetable Stew}
{Two Years Ago: Homemade Old Bay Seasoning}

Source: Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½” cubes
1 large onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
4 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, undrained
2 quarts chicken stock
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Cotija cheese, crumbled, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the oil is a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until opaque. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and chiles and cook another minute.
Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the chicken back in and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season the soup to taste with salt and black pepper.
Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with cilantro and Cotija.

Bacon Guacamole

bacon guacamole

Ah, guacamole. A snack/appetizer from Mexico that will likely never lose its status as beloved, revered even. However, I’ve noticed that guacamole lovers fall into one of two fairly polarizing camps: the Guacamole Purists, and the Guacamole Adventurers.

The Purists want to keep guacamole in its original form. The avocado mashed with citrus juice, chile, onion, garlic, cilantro, maybe tomato, and salt. Lots of salt. The Adventurers are willing to have add-ins in their guacamole. The most common things I’ve seen are mango, shrimp, chipotle, and the like; on the less typical side I’ve seen things as out there as apple and smoked salmon.

Bacon Guacamole

I am firmly in the Purists camp. I have always held, no clung to, the belief that good, made-from-scratch guacamole is perfect as it is and needs no embellishment, and in fact that said embellishments might overall detract from the wonder that is guacamole.

Bacon Guacamole

And then, my parents gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas, and I used it to purchase Richard Sandoval’s new cookbook, New Latin Flavors (thank you Mom and Dad!). And what do I see but a recipe for Bacon Guacamole! Well, y’all know how I feel about bacon. And it’s not like avocados and bacon are strangers in the realm outside of guacamole, either.

Bacon Guacamole

So I decided to take a personal day from being such an uptight Purist and give it a shot. I was definitely impressed! The bacon didn’t clash or detract from the guacamole, and it was actually quite tasty to get the contrast of the crunchy, salty bacon with the creamy avocado. While I highly doubt I’ll be chasing after smoked salmon guacamole anytime soon, I thoroughly enjoyed this bacon version, and I would eat it again in a heartbeat! Enjoy!

Bacon Guacamole

Source: adapted from Richard Sandoval’s New Latin Flavors by Richard Sandoval

Ingredients:
¼ small red onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 generous tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
A few spoonfuls (about 3 tbs) pickled jalapeno juice
1 pickled jalapeno, stemmed and chopped
3-4 slices of bacon, cooked until very crispy and chopped or crumbled
2-3 tbs crumbled Cotija cheese
Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:
Add the red onion, garlic, serrano and cilantro to your molcajete. Add a nice pinch of kosher salt. Mash the mixture against the side and bottoms of the molcajete, releasing their juices. Add the avocado chunks and spoon the pickled jalapeno juice over the avocado. Use a fork to mash the avocado. Now fold in the pickled jalapeno, bacon, and Cotija, leaving a little bit for garnish. Taste again for seasoning and add more salt or acid as desired. Sprinkle a touch of bacon bits and Cotija on top for garnish. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Duck Confit Over Bulgur Wheat with Mango “Gin-Ger” Sauce

Duck Confit over Bulgur Wheat with Mango "Gin-Ger" Sauce

Yesterday I showed you an amazing DIY shortcut to making your own duck confit, and I figure it would be rather uncouth of me to not turn around and give you a recipe for utilizing said duck confit. So here I am.

This recipe… this is one of those where you sit down, take your first bite and then go, “Holy %$#! did that really come out of my kitchen?! Did I just MAKE this?” And then you realize that yes, yes you did just make this stellar, amazing meal that you’d happily fork over at least $35 to eat in a fancy restaurant. And honestly, it wasn’t even that difficult to pull off!

Duck Confit over Bulgur Wheat with Mango "Gin-Ger" Sauce

This meal is truly superlative and guaranteed to impress. This is what you make your significant other’s parents who think you aren’t good enough for their precious little snowflake. This is how you blow away your foodiest of foodie friends. This is how you seal the deal for a second date.

Duck Confit over Bulgur Wheat with Mango "Gin-Ger" Sauce

I seriously could not believe this came out of my kitchen. It is spectacular. The flavors are beautiful and cohesive, and the duck confit, that you made yourself, is such a star here. The slight gamey flavor of the bird plays beautifully with the sweet mango sauce and the nutty chew of the bulgur wheat. It’s just AMAZING.

Duck Confit over Bulgur Wheat with Mango "Gin-Ger" Sauce

Make it this weekend. Thank me later. The end.

{One Year Ago: Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew}

Source: slightly adapted from Harold Dieterle’s Kitchen Notebook by Harold Dieterle

Ingredients:
4 pieces of duck confit, leg and thigh attached
½ cup bulgur wheat
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 ¼ cups sherry vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup gin
1 cup diced mango, half pureed until smooth
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2-3 tbs peeled, grated fresh ginger
½ cup chopped fresh celery
½ cup chopped roasted Brazil nuts
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs minced shallot

Directions:
First, cook the bulgur wheat: put the wheat in a medium, heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then pour it over the wheat. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, stir, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 20 minutes. Fluff the wheat with a fork and strain off any excess water. Allow it to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the dish.
To make the mango sauce: cook 2 cups of vinegar and the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the gin and mango puree. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then fold in the diced mango, butter, and ginger.
Warm the duck legs if they have been chilled.
Add the celery, Brazil nuts, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and shallot to the bulgur wheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently toss.
To serve, spoon the bulgur wheat onto 4 dinner plates. Lay 1 duck confit piece over the wheat, then finish with mango sauce to taste.

Counterfeit Duck Confit

Counterfeit Duck Confit

I recently read a most excellent book entitled French Women Don’t Get Fat. Its perfectly genius ideas, many of which I have successfully incorporated into my lifestyle resulting in a weight loss of around 40 pounds (though I don’t know exactly because French women do not weigh themselves!) make me yearn to visit Paris again. Since that isn’t really on the horizon for a multitude of boring reasons (work, finances, yada yada), I’ve made do with delving into French cuisine at home.

Counterfeit Duck Confit

Much of French cuisine is ubiquitous enough that even a girl growing up in Dallas, Texas in the ‘80’s is familiar, but one thing I never even knew about, let alone tasted until adulthood, is duck confit.

Duck confit. It’s the most delicious, superlative, food-gasmic thing, ever. What is it, exactly? It’s duck legs cooked slowly in their own fat. The result is perfectly crispy, crackly skin encasing fall-off-the-bone dark duck meat. The actual cooking is a bit of a production and requires one to buy copious amounts of duck fat, an item that can be difficult to locate for some, and then sometimes insultingly expensive when finally found.

Counterfeit Duck Confit

Luckily for us all, David Lebovitz has gifted us a way to make duck confit in our own kitchens in a quarter of the time and without having to hunt down and purchase that pesky duck fat.* In his version, the duck sits overnight in the refrigerator in a combination of salt, spices and gin, then cooks in a low and slow oven, for only 2 ½ hours, in the fat it renders itself. The result? You can’t tell the difference. You can’t! David is really onto something here. I’m thoroughly impressed by his method, and so grateful to now have this trick in my arsenal. Enjoy, everyone!

Counterfeit Duck Confit

*Disclaimer: I love duck fat. I adore it! So please don’t think I’m maligning it here. It’s just that I’m also spoiled in that I can find it in my regular grocery store. I don’t assume everyone can find it so easily, and calling for duck fat can make a recipe prohibitive for some. If duck fat is easy for you to find, consider using it for potatoes, Chex mix, or cookies!

One Year Ago: Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
4 whole duck legs (thigh and leg attached)
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs gin
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 bay leaves

Directions:
Prick the duck skin all over with the tines of a fork, making sure to pierce all the way through the skin.
Mix the salt, gin, nutmeg, and allspice together in a small bowl. Find a baking dish that will fit the duck legs very snugly, with no room around them. For me, it was my standard 8×8” baker. Rub the duck legs all over with the salt mixture. Place the garlic halves and bay leaves on the bottom of the baking dish and lay the duck legs, flesh side down, on top of them. Make sure the garlic cloves are completely buried underneath. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
To cook the duck, wipe the duck gently with a paper towel to remove excess salt, then put the duck back in the dish, skin side up. Place the baking dish in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 300 F. Bake the duck legs for 2 ½ hours, taking them out twice during baking and basting them with any duck fat pooling around them.
To finish the duck, remove from the oven, then increase the oven temperature to 375 F and bake the duck for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is deeply browned and very crispy.

King Ranch Casserole #SundaySupper

King Ranch Casserole

Welcome to another Sunday Supper! Today we bring you our theme of Captivating Casseroles! I have to admit, I struggled a little with ideas for what to make for this one. A long time ago, back when we were engaged, my dear husband told me that he hated casseroles and would be perfectly happy going to his deathbed not taking another bite of one. I think he may have had a scarring experience with a bad one at some point during childhood.

King Ranch Casserole

So as long as we’ve been together, I’ve never made one, which presented a little bit of a challenge this week! I knew that we could make lasagna or a baked pasta dish, both of which Matt loves, but for whatever reason lasagna just wasn’t calling my name this week. Despite the fact that I love it too.

King Ranch Casserole

King Ranch Casserole

So I thought, and I thought, and I thought about it. I pondered the casseroles I’d had growing up (not nearly as many as Matt, it sounds like), and then it dawned on me – King Ranch Casserole!! Of course! This is the one casserole I grew up eating. It’s a Texas creation and favorite, and I’ve always loved it. Problem solved!

King Ranch Casserole

I told Matt what I was making, and then had to break the news to him gently that no, King Ranch Casserole does not involve ranch dressing or flavorings. KRC was invented in rural Texas a very long time ago; most of those men were cattle ranchers, and one day someone’s wife threw together this dish of chicken, tortillas and cheese laced with a creamy white sauce. It became popular, then iconic, and lives on to this day as one of the defining dishes of the state of Texas. Thus, the name of the dish is referring to the men’s profession, not the ingredients therein.

King Ranch Casserole

It’s always typically been made using condensed cream of mushroom soup, but I’m thrilled to have found a from-scratch version, which I think is even more tasty than the original (if I can say that without committing blasphemy). And the ultimate good news? Matt absolutely loved it! He said he is not revising his overall stand on casseroles in general, but that I can make this one any time. And he’s right, it is incredibly comforting and delicious! Enjoy!

King Ranch Casserole

Don’t forget to see what other casseroles my Sunday Supper crew brought to the table today!

{One Year Ago: Broccoli Cheddar Quiche}

Source: The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tsp ancho chile powder, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 tsp lime juice, divided
1 tbs olive oil
4 tbs unsalted butter
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup half-and-half
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
½ cup sour cream
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
10 corn tortillas, warmed
8 oz. queso blanco or white cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

Directions:
Pat the chicken breasts very dry with paper towels, then sprinkle them on both sides with 2 tsp of ancho chile powder, plus salt and pepper to taste. Douse them with 2 tsp lime juice. Place a large skillet or large soup pot over medium-high heat and drizzle in the olive oil. Cook the chicken breasts, being sure not to crowd the pan, until just cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Flip them back and forth occasionally to prevent either side from burning. When done, transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and let cool a bit (until you can handle them).
If you want to use the same pot to make the sauce, I’d recommend shutting off the heat and then pouring in a little water to get the browned chicken bits up. Pour the water off, then let the residual heat from the pan evaporate any remaining drops of water. Alternately, you can simply use a different stockpot.
Preheat a medium-to-large stockpot over medium heat. Add the butter and once it has melted, add the onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, remaining 2 tsp ancho chile powder, and flour. Cook about 1 minute. Now stir in the chicken stock and stir until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Once the stock has thickened, stir in the half-and-half and tomatoes. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, the chicken has probably cooled enough that you can handle it, so shred it into large shards at this point.
Uncover the pot and stir in the sour cream, remaining 2 tsp lime juice, and ¼ cup of the cilantro. Adjust seasonings if needed and add salt and black pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish.
Now we will assemble our casserole. Ladle ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer half of the corn tortillas on top of the sauce, breaking them to fit as necessary. Make sure the entire surface is covered. Add half the chicken on top of the tortillas, then half of the remaining sauce on top of the chicken. Now add the remaining cilantro, then ¾ cup of the shredded cheddar, then ¾ cup of the shredded pepper jack cheese. Repeat the layering once more, using up the rest of the ingredients and topping the whole thing with a cheese layer.
Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbling. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles

Appetizing Casserole Sides

Main Event Casseroles

Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles

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