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Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon) Recipe

Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon)

03.08.10 by Jackie

Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional French meat dish that is fairly easy to prepare. All you need is a lot of patience because it takes a long time to cook for the beef to become tender and succulent. To help tenderize the meat, I added an unconventional meat tenderizer (papaya paste) to my version of this French classic. If you want to make your beef bourguignon more authentic, just omit this ingredient. I also didn't add pearl onions, as I added a combination of leeks, shallots and sliced onions to the dish instead. The usual root vegetables (carrots and turnips) are also part of the gastronomic experience.

For anyone who is a fan of Julia Child or has watched the recent movie of her life, Julia and Julia, boeuf bourguignon may seem like too much of a challenge to make at home. But it doesn't really have to be this way. I used a slow cooker to make controlling the heat during the cooking process a simple task. With this method you needn't worry about the pot overflowing while the stew simmers. It may look good in movies, but you don't want to have to clean up that mess!

I put the ingredients in the slow cooker on low before going to sleep, and woke up to the aroma of beef stew permeating every room of the house.  For the meat eaters, it's an intoxicating scent; for the vegetarians in my house, not so much. So if you have a slow cooker, try making boeuf bourguignon at home. It's easier to make than it looks, and the results are so worth the effort. And make sure that when you serve the dish to your loved ones, you start the meal with the phrase immortalized by Julia Child, "Bon appétit!"


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Ricotta Pasta with Chimichurri Recipe

Ricotta Pasta with Chimichurri

03.03.10 by Jackie

I love chimichurri sauce. The bright green color and subtle spiciness are perfect with steamed fish or grilled skirt steak. I've wanted to incorporate this delicious green sauce into a vegetarian dish for some time now to share with my husband Lulu.

So, I made a dish of fettuccine pasta with a creamy white sauce and served it with a little chimichurri sauce. The creaminess of the white sauce is made with ricotta cheese and it matches wonderfully with the garlic and herb flavor of the chimicurri. It's a healthy alternative to fettuccine alfredo that doesn't skimp on flavor.


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Oven Roasted Chicken with Kumquats Recipe

The strong flavor of kumquat takes roasted chicken to another level. I marinated the chicken with kumquats and finished the dish by brushing the poultry with a kumquat glaze. The final product was tender and tasty with a crunchy skin.

I served the chicken as one of the dishes for our buffet-style dinner party. We had about 15 people at the house, so I roasted 3 whole chickens. I carved the chickens and placed them in a chafing dish with the chicken drippings at the bottom of the dish to prevent the chicken from drying out or burning. There were literally only a few wings left, so I think it worked out pretty well. Our tree is absolutely bursting with kumquats, so if you're a fan of the diminutive citrus, stay tuned, because I'll be posting many more recipes in the near future.


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California Sushi Rolls Recipe

California Sushi Rolls

02.24.10 by Jackie

Making sushi is a lot easier that it seems. The real key to well-presented sushi is having good utensils, such as a sushi mat and a sharp knife. Each ingredient can be prepped in advance and assembled when you're ready to serve, and when you make it at home, it's a fraction of the cost!

Though there are many wonderful forms of traditional makizushi, or rolled sushi, feel free to experiment with the ingredients you have on hand. I got my inspiration for the sushi pictured above from ingredients native to California; I used Hass avocados, goat cheese and baby Persian cucumbers. I wrapped these ingredients in the traditional combination of nori sheets and Japanese rice.

In standard California roll fashion, the rice is on the outside of the nori. If you've ever wondered why this is the case, the story goes that Japanese immigrants who came to the US turned the sushi inside out to hide the nori from culinarily unadventurous Americans. I don't know if that's true, but it's the story a sushi chef told me once. It certainly is a great tale!

I served the sushi rolls with wasabi paste, homemade pickled ginger and soy sauce. It may seem daunting, but a sushi dinner is really as easy as 1-2-3.


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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Turkey Sausage Recipe

Pasta and sausage is a combination that is probably not new to most people. The challenge is that I need to make the dish accommodate both the vegetarians and meat eaters in my house.

To this end, I separately grilled tofurkey (mock turkey made of tofu) and apple turkey sausages and mixed them into two batches of homemade sun-dried tomato pesto sauce.


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