Homemade Tagliatelle

Do you ever have a day when you have no idea what to cook? As inspired as I am, even I have the occasional day where I am peering into the depths of my pantry, as if by looking some sort of idea will just pop into my head. It works, sometimes. On days where even staring into the pantry (or fridge and freezer) and nothing seems exciting, I recommend making pasta.  It is simple, satisfying, and guaranteed to please even the pickiest of palates.

You can make many different shapes, but I admit – I was feeling lazy. So I rolled it out and cut it into strips. I have been reliably informed this version of making pasta results in a shape called tagliatelle.

 

Ingredients:

2 C all purpose flour

3 whole eggs

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

extra flour for dusting

 

  1. Combine salt and flour, then make a mound with a space in the center (well) for the eggs

 

2. Add oil, eggs, and very slowly, starting from the edges of the mound of flour combine together all ingredients to form a dough

 

3. Flatten ball of dough to a disk, wrap in plastic, place on room temperature surface and leave sit at least 1 hr.

     

4. Cut the disk into 4 equal peices, then roll into balls. Working with one quarter at a time (refrigerate the remaining pieces during this time), roll the section out as flat as possible.

5. When you have, cut the dough into strips. If you wish, you can then take each strip and twist it a little.

6. Boil at least 6 quarts water and add a generous amount of salt.  When water is at a rolling boil, add your pasta.

7. When the pasta floats to the top, it is done. Serve immediately.

 

 

Simple Corn and Potato Soup

Sometimes you just need to clean out your pantry. Sometimes, like with this recipe, you get inspired by a recipe you see. I saw this recipe for a creamy courgette (zucchini) and potato soup Helen Goldrein  created, and it got me wanting to make a potato soup! I took my need to clean out my pantry and my being inspired by Helen and created this simple corn and potato soup recipe. Nothing fancy, but my kids ate every bit and begged for more.

 

Ingredients:

7 lg potatoes
1 med Spanish onion
2 cans corn with their juice
2 32 oz boxes Organic No-Chicken Chicken Broth
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp powdered garlic
2 tbsp dried parsley
Oil for onions
To Prepare:
1) Dice the onion and saute in a little oil til they start to get a little brown.
2) Add potatoes and stir into the onions, cover and let cook for 5 mins on low to mid heat
3) Add corn and the juice, stir and let flavors come together a bit, 3-5 mins
4) Add the Organic No-Chicken Chicken Broth
5) Add the seasonings – start with a little, then add more if desired.
6) Let simmer for 25-30 mins, til potatoes are fork tender.

 

Easy Shoulder Roast

It’s been over a year since I put anything on the blog – I’ve gone through some major life changes. The first was I had a baby 6 and a half months ago – a sweet girl we call Darling Girly. The second was a few months ago, when we moved into our first home. I still can’t find half of my things, but we are settling in.

These days, recipes are kept pretty simple as my kitchen time is limited thanks to a teething Darling Girly who is starting to try to crawl. My older kids recently requested that I make a ‘yummy roast, the one with no wine or fancy stuff ‘.

Mommy heard you, kids!   Here is the recipe, for other rushed-off-their-feet parents looking to make an easy roast.

 

 

1 roast, about 5 to 7 lbs (shoulder is best, but French will work nicely as well)

2 bags carrots, ends cut (you can peel if you prefer – I don’t, I scrub well)

2 medium Spanish onions cut into quarters

1/2 tbsp  salt

1/2 tbsp  black pepper

1/2 tbsp granulated garlic

2 oz dried parsley

 

To prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 295F. In a large roasting pan, lay out the carrots to form a plank for the roast to rest on.
  2. Scatter quartered onions along edges of pan

3.Add the spices and parsley, starting with salt, then pepper, garlic, and ending with parsley

4. Loosely cover roast with  heavy-duty foil, place on top shelf.

5.Cook at 295F for 3 hrs, the remove from oven and let rest for 2 hrs more.

 

 

 

 

Quick Bone Broth

The weather is turning colder, and I feel a strong desire to cook heartier, more filling meals. One of the things I love to make are homemade broths and stocks – they are incredibly economical, you can customize them to your preference, you get a lot for just a bit of work, and they add so much flavor to even the simplest and plainest of food. There is a lot of room for flexibility as well -you can cook it for 3 hours, or for as many as 12 or even 24.  You can roast the bones first, or use fresh, raw bones. Add more vegetables, different herbs or spices – the choices are yours and they are endless. You will notice there is no salt and pepper in the recipe – that is deliberate to prevent over-seasoning whatever final dish you are preparing with the broth. This recipe is also easy to divide or multiply as needed.

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Ingredients: 

2 lbs chicken bones

1 lb chicken necks

6 frozen cubes of parsley

4 frozen cubes of basil

4 frozen cubes of garlic

1/2 lb carrots

1 head of celery

1 medium Spanish onion

small amount of oil for sauteing

 

  1. In a heavy stock pot (at least 8 qts) add a small amount of oil to the bottom of the pot. When it gets hot, add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook on medium high for 7-10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and get a bit of color on them.
  2. Add the cubes of frozen parsley, basil and garlic. Stir into the vegetables and let soften. Then add the chicken bones, necks, and water til an inch or two from the top.

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3. Bring to a boil, then lower flame til there are lazy bubbles floating to the surface every few seconds. Skim any scum from the surface as you are able to.

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4. Cook for about 3 hrs, or until the the broth is deep gold in color. Strain with a fine mesh strainer to remove as many impurities as possible.

Easy Silvertip Roast

From the second week of September until this past week, I have been very busy cooking for, preparing for, and enjoying the Jewish High Holidays. This is my favorite time of year because there are so many chances to cook (and enjoy) so many delicious foods in relaxing, sit-down meals with my family. Some have religious significance, like smearing honey on the challah (Sabbath) bread  or eating kreplach (meat-stuffed dumplings) before Yom Kippur and Hoshanah Rabah. Others are more in keeping with the traditions of our family – since it is the start of the New Year. it is always a good idea to start off right and cook the best and most well-loved dishes on honor of the holidays.

One of my favorite things to make is a roast. I usually prepare a French (also known as square or brick) roast, or perhaps a brisket. This year, I was able to get my hands on a delicious looking 5lb Silvertip roast that was begging for me to take it home for the holidays. I was very happy to oblige. This is my recipe – easy and delicious.

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Ingredients

1 5lb Silvertip roast

1/2 of a 750 ml bottle of dry red wine ( I used Tera di Seta Chianti Classico)

6 large cloves of garlic, minced fine

1 C fresh basil, chopped fine

1C fresh parsley, chopped fine

Salt and pepper

1 bag carrots, cleaned and ends removed

1 sleeve celery, cleaned and bottom removed

 

  1. In a roasting pan, pour the wine over the roast, and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning over once to marinate completely.
  2. Discard excess wine after marinating, and set roast aside. Preheat oven to 225F.  Line the bottom of the roasting pan with the carrots and celery, then place the roast in the center of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle the garlic and fresh herbs over the roast, and a bit into the roasting pan itself. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place on top rack of oven.
  4. Roast at 225F for four hours, then remove from oven and let rest for one hour more. Carve against the grain at the thickness desired. This preparation will give you a very moist and tender roast that has a tiny bit of pink in the middle.
  5. If you like, you can take the carrots and celery, along with the pan drippings, and puree with a hand blender to serve alongside the roast.

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Coq au Vin

The air is getting a tiny bit crisp, and I can feel autumn in the air. It’s one of my favorite seasons for many reasons – I stop to look and smile when I see the leaves change color as they wave on the trees, then dance in the air as they fall to the ground. I am thrilled at the abundance of late summer produce that beg me to prepare and and store them for a sweet taste of summer in the colder months soon to come. I love the High Holidays – happy times with family seated around the table enjoying delicious food and wine. This recipe is one that will grace my Rosh Hashanah table – it is easy to prepare and freezes well. Traditionally, coq au vin calls for chicken with bones in it, but it is still considered coq au vin if you use large skinless, boneless chicken cutlets such as these.  It is important to remember not to overcrowd the pan- use two pans, or work in batches if you need to. This recipe makes quite a bit, so feel free to halve the recipe if needed.

Ingredients:

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5 full chicken cutlets, cut in half to make 10 individual pieces (boneless/skinless, cleaned of fat)
5 packages of button mushrooms (cut into quarters)
1 750 ml bottle of Cabernet or other dry red wine (not marsala or anything fortified)
2 large Spanish onions, diced
packed 1/2 C each fresh basil and parsley, minced
4-6 large garlic cloves, minced
Flour for dredging
4 tblsp black pepper and dried tarragon
2 tblsp salt
oil for sauteing
1) Prepare chicken breasts by making sure they are very dry by patting excess moisture off with a paper towel. Add the salt, pepper and dried tarragon to the flour, mix to combine, dredge cutlets, set aside. (as shown in picture above).
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2) Heat oil in the bottom of TWO high-sided frying pans (just barely to cover the bottom) and when hot add the onions. 5-7 on mid high til starting to get color.
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3) Add garlic and fresh herbs. Lower heat, cook, stirring often for 3-5 mins.
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4 )Add mushrooms, and stir to combine. Add1/4 C of  red wine, cook til mushrooms are just starting to shrink, about 10 mins. Remove from fire and reserve.
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5) Add oil to bottom of the same two pans, enough to make a thin layer, and in batches pan fry the cutlets (about 5 mins per side, but do not cook through) til you get light brown color on the outside.
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6) When all chicken is cooked, divide between both pans ( it’s okay if it’s a bit tight) and re-add the reserved mushroom mixture.
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7) Cook on low uncovered for about 20 mins, stirring carefully once or twice. It is done with the chicken is soft and cooked all the way through (cut a cutlet open if need be to test), mushrooms are only 1/4 of their original size, and the wine has reduced at least 1/3 of original amount.

Pepper Steak Ziti with Mushrooms

School has started again (my boys started school this past week; my daughter starts next week) and when dinnertime comes, they act like they haven’t eaten all day. They need something to eat that is healthy and filling -and in a hurry. The best way to distract your kids from their hunger pangs while this cooks is to do what I did: get them to help with the prep! They will be thrilled to help, and more willing to eat something they helped make!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. pepper steak

3 portobella mushrooms, sliced

1 pk crimini mushrooms, cut in half

2 shallots, sliced thin

3 garlic cloves, minced fine

6 large fresh basil leaves, minced fine

1 C dry red wine

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 tsp dried parsley

3 tblsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

32 oz vegetable stock

16 oz ziti noodles

olive oil for sauteing

 

To Prepare:

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Heat a chef pan or pot, and add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom. Add the shallots and saute on high heat til they just start to brown, then add the garlic.

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When the garlic starts to brown, lower heat and add 1/2 cup of the red wine.

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Add the portabello and crimini mushrooms, cook for 7-10 mins on medium heat, then add the pepper steak.

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After 5 mins, add your herbs, 1 C of vegetable stock, 1 tblsp of the salt and the black pepper. Stir well to combine, lower flame and let simmer as you prepare the pasta.

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Using the remaining vegetable stock, as well as an additional 3 cups water and 2 tblsp salt, boil the water for the ziti. Add pasta when water is at a roiling boil.

Cook pasta for 5-7 mins, then strain and add to the pepper steak mixture with 2 cups of the pasta water.

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Cook on medium high for 10 mins more, lid covered, stirring once or twice in between.

When pasta is done to taste, turn off flame and let sit covered for 5 mins. Stir and serve immediately.

Lamb Meatballs with Pepper-Tomato Broth

It’s been an interesting few weeks – we made the move from big-city Brooklyn to the suburbs of New Jersey.  I’ve been busy with all the things people need to do when they move, especially from one state to the other. Between making sure my husband had a way to commute to his job on Brooklyn everyday to finding ways to keep our children (9, 7, and almost 6) entertained, I am just starting to settle in. It took a bit of time to get used to my new kitchen, but things are coming together and delicious food is being made once more!

When I made this recipe, I served it with polenta (and it was completely delicious!) You could serve this with your favorite grain or starch – rice, pasta, or even quinoa would be just as tasty. Or you can eat it as is for a delicious, light summer soup.

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For the Lamb Meatballs:

2 lbs ground lamb

10 oz plain panko crumbs

3  extra large eggs

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp dried tarragon

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp porcini powder

1. Combine all ingredients well. Form into golf-ball sized balls.

2. Chill in fridge raw to firm up until you are ready to cook, about an hour. Make 3 dozen small meatballs.

 

For the Pepper- Tomato Broth

4 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

3 yellow bell peppers, sliced

3 orange bell peppers, sliced

2 medium white onions, sliced

1 750 ml bottle of Chardonnay ( you will want one not aged in oak -I used Abarbanel)

32 oz vegetable stock ( I used Imagine Foods Organic)

6 oz tomato paste

3 oz each dried tarragon and dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for sauteing

1. Heat a large stockpot (at least 12 Q) and add oil. When oil is hot, add onions and cook on high for 5-7 mins, stirring often

2. Add the tomatoes and peppers, lowering flame to medium low. Cover and let vegetables sweat for 10-15 mins, stirring once or twice.

3. Add the wine, stock, paste, as well as the herbs and spices. Stir well to incorporate and bring to a simmer.

4. Simmer vegetables covered for 30 mins, stirring once.

5. Using an immersion blender, blend all ingredients well, making sure they are no large pieces left behind.

6. Raise tempertaure so a few, lazy bubbles appear on the surface, and add  the previously made meatballs directly into the broth. After 3 mins, take a spatula along the sides of the pot to stir carefully.

7. After 5 -7 mins, remove one meatball and cut in half. If the meat is cooked all the way through, it is done. Serve while hot.

Simply Inspired Kitchen – Essential Kitchen Utensils

It’s been a while since I posted, and this time it is for a very happy reason- we are moving to Lakewood, New Jersey in a few short weeks! Our family has lived in Boro Park (a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY) for almost 9 years, and now it is time for a change. DH and I want our children to grow up in the same type of environment (the suburbs) as we did. I’m busy packing, deciding what I can pack now (winter clothes, Passover dishes) and deciding what I need to pack at the last minute.

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I consider myself very blessed, especially in the kitchen department. I have a great deal of equipment, and it is a challenge to decide what to pack now and what needs to be packed closer to our moving date. When I really thought about it, I realize that I have certain kitchen utensils I use on a daily basis. So, want to see what I cannot pack til the night before I move? Let’s take a closer look.

1) Custom reclaimed wood cutting boardwww.ourdailysalt.com  (Prices vary)

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This is my favorite cutting board – Chef Felisha Wild of Our Daily Salt made this board especially for me. It is larger and thicker than an average cutting board. The best part? It’s made from 100% reclaimed wood. I use one side for carving and butchering meat, the other (slightly longer) side I use for prep work.

2) Le Creuset French Press in Marseilles www.lecreuset.com/french-press ($65)

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I do my best cooking in the early morning. Early mornings require coffee, and I make my half-decaf coffee in my French press. I dump in some coarse ground coffee (right now I am loving the Espresso Roast from Starbucks) fill with hot water, and in a few minutes I have delicious coffee!

3) Wusthof Classic 8″ Cooks Knife and 8″ Carving Knifewww.amazon.com (Prices vary per authorized merchant)

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I’ve been using Wusthof knives since I was in cooking school. Each blade is fashioned from one blank of high carbon, stain-free steel, and has a full tang that is triple-riveted. The part I like best – the full bolster and finger guard. These are some serious knives! Since I have small children, I keep my knives well out of reach in my Bodum Universal Knife Block (about $40) The inside is filled with little tiny plastic sticks that allow me to slide my knives straight in and not worry about them touching or the tips bending.

4) Berard Wooden Spoonswww.amazon.com (Prices vary)

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I love these wooden spoons – each spoon is crafted from a single piece of olive wood. They are extremely smooth and easy to hold. The pointed spoon is great for mixing or scraping fond (the browned, yummy bits left over after searing or roasting) off the bottom of a pan. The larger ones also double as serving spoons.

5) Joseph Joseph Scoop Plus (Large) – www.josephjoseph.com (starting at $8)

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This silicone scoop/colander is so easy to use – no more getting my glasses foggy while I strain pasta or vegetables! My favorite use is for baby red potatoes – I love that it doesn’t tear at the skins.

6) Bodum Bistro Spatulas and Tovolo Tip-Top Tongs–  www.bodum.com and www.amazon.com  (Prices vary)

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All my spatulas, slotted spoons, fish turners, and slotted pasta servers are from the Bodum Bistro line. They are a super-strong plastic or stainless steel with silicone body. Each utensil is finished with a bumpy silicone grip that makes it easy to handle even when wet. They also clean very easily, and don’t absorb food odors or stains.  All of my ladles and tongs are from Tovolo – I really like the stainless steel and silicone utensils they offer. Extremely sturdy, can take a beating, and very easy to clean.

I love these products so much, I decided that one lucky person will get a chance to have one of my Essential Kitchen Utensils! (Value not exceeding $75) Enter to win via the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post for your chance to win today! Giveaway ends 8/10/15.
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Tuna Ceviche

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and I am happy to finally be back and with a delicious recipe to share! There were many factors that kept me from posting, however, the reason why I was away for so long as due to health related issues. Thankfully, I am being treated and am well on the road to recovery.  Now that I am feeling better, I am eager to be in the kitchen and make delicious food once again.

One of my all time favorite foods is fresh tuna. Sear it, serve it as sashimi, grill it – it doesn’t really matter. One of the easiest way to prepare  fresh tuna, however, is ceviche. A ceviche is simple – take a  really, really fresh fish, cube it up, add an acid (usually in the form of fresh citrus) , some salt, pepper, and herbs,  refrigerate for at least an hour and serve. The acid ‘cooks’ the fish by changing the texture, and you have an extremely healthy dish. Pretty simple, right?

While the standard ceviche recipe calls for raw peppers, onions, and cilantro, I have found that I prefer my recipe to be a bit different.

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Tuna Ceviche

Ingredients:

1lb best quality sashimi tuna, cut into cubes while still mostly frozen

juice from 4 lemons

2 dozen kalamata olives, pits removed and cut in half lengthwise

handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely minced

3 Persian cucumbers, cut into quarters lengthwise and chopped

Sea Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

 

To prepare:

Note: It is VERY IMPORTANT to work with the fish while it is still mostly frozen, and that all the ingredients you work with stay cold. 

1) Combine the cubed tuna and the fresh lemon juice in a glass bowl. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator and let ‘cook’ for about 30 minutes. 

2)  Add your olives and parsley, use a spatula or your hands to prevent breaking up the tuna. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

3) 5 to 10 minutes before you want to serve it, add the cucumbers and add more salt and pepper if desired.