Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Julia Child's Provençale Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup finely minced yellow onions
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 6 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
  • A large herb bouquet: 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme, all tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large dollop Gourmet Gardens® Basil Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • Large pinch saffron threads
  • 1 dozen coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece dried orange peel (or 1/2 teaspoon granules)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)


In a large heavy pot, toast the fennel and coriander and orange peel over medium low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.  Then add the oil and heat it. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle on the flour and cook slowly for three minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown.

Meanwhile, fit a food processor with the coarse grating blade. Working in batches to avoid overfilling the machine, push the tomatoes through the feed tube to make a coarse purée.

Stir the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, basil, saffron,  and one teaspoon salt into the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, so the tomatoes will render more of their juice.

Then uncover and simmer for about an hour, until thick. The sauce is done when it tastes thoroughly cooked and is thick enough to form a mass in the spoon.

Remove herb bouquet and taste. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and tomato paste, and simmer two minutes more.

The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated, or frozen for up to 6 months.

Myrtle's Note:  I adapted the recipe primarily regarding the herbs, by adding more, most particularly the fresh rosemary because I grow it.  I found the recipe easy to follow and tasty in its results.  Since I am growing roma tomatoes, I have been making this a half-batch at a time.  I should note that I have not been able to get saffron yet.  I do plan on using it when I can, which is why I left it in the recipe.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicken Tikka Masala


Chicken Marinade:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Bamboo or wooden skewers

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 10 ounces water 
  • 9 ounces cream
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Basmati rice and naan, to serve

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


Slice the chicken into chunks, then combine the chicken with the rest of the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Mix until evenly coated, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.  Soak bamboo skewers for a half hour.

Skewer the marinated chicken pieces on bamboo skewers, then place them over a baking dish with sides high enough to hold the chicken off the bottom of the pan to help distribute the heat more evenly.  Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly dark brown on the edges and the meat has reached 160 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions.  Once the onions are translucent, add both the ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Add in the spices for the sauce and cook for a short while to release their aromatics and flavor, stirring constantly.  Then, stir in the tomato paste.  Finally, add the tomato sauce and water, then bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and stir thoroughly.  Add in the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice and naan!

Myrtle's Note: Oh, my!  Was this ever a pleasant surprise!!  I was a bit surprised at all the garlic I needed, but it does not overwhelm the dish.  What I like most is the layering of flavors in it between the seasoning of the chicken and the seasoning of the sauce.  A dish that made me think that I was in a restaurant!

Yield:  8 servings

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)
  • 6-8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each and set aside.

In a glass bowl large enough to marinate the chicken, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the spices, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Then add the chicken pieces and stir until all of them are evenly coated in the marinade. Cover the marinating dish with plastic wrap. Place chicken in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking oil. Place the chicken pieces on the sheet, evenly spaced.  

Place the chicken in the oven. Let it roast for about 15 minutes till cooked through (reaches 160 degrees), turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through the cooking period.

Take chicken out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat into small, thin shawarma-like pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium. Pour one third to half of the chicken into the skillet and sauté several minutes till the smallest pieces of chicken turn brown and crisp. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Repeat the process, adding more oil when needed, with the next batch of chicken.  And with the third if you divide it that way.  Whilst working, put the sautéed chicken pieces in foil to keep them warm.
Serve warm with dishes such as chicken tikka masala, baba ganoush, toum, labneh, lemon basil humus, and naan.

Myrtle's Note:  This was part of my 50th birthday celebration meal that I cooked with two of my friends.  True shawarma is made by roasting meat on a spit, but this gives you the feel of the dish in a rather tasty manner.  The recipe author is adamant about using a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless chicken thighs instead of just the breast meat to add some fat to the recipe.  I am not a thigh meat gal, but I followed the instructions and all who consumed the meal agreed that this mock shawarma was mighty tasty.  We were so very intent on eating all the tasty food, I forgot to take a photo of just the chicken shawarma.  But we did grab a shot of my friends plate before she started chowing down!

Yield:  8 servings

Source:  http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2012/08/chicken-shawarma/

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups sunflower oil chilled
  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt


Before you begin, place your oil in the freezer or refrigerator so that it is chilled, but still liquid. While the oil chills, remove the ends from your garlic cloves, split them in half and remove any green layers from inside. In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, salt, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the ice cold water.

Process until smooth, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula.

Turn the food processor back on and drizzle the chilled canola oil through the top as SLOWLY as possible, one cup at a time. If you don't have a steady hand I suggest putting the oil in a squeeze bottle and drizzling it in that way. After each cup of oil, add 1 tbsp each of the lemon juice and cold water.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Be sure that your processor does not get too hot, as this can cause your sauce to separate.

Add oil until you've reached the texture you desire. The final result should resemble a soft mayonnaise. Store toum in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but it should keep for up to 4 weeks and it can be used on so many things. You'll be happy you have extra. Enjoy!

Myrtle's Note:  This was exactly like the white garlic sauce that I have had in Lebanese restaurants.  It  did not last very long for me before separating.  I do not know if that is because I didn't emulsify it enough or because this was my first batch.  I mixed up the separated toum again and it tasted just fine.  A lot of folk consider it middle eastern mayonnaise.  It goes so well with meat, but also combined with other middle easter food on pieces of naan, such as chicken shawarmababa ganoush, lemon basil hummus, and labneh.

Yield:  3 cups

Source:  http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2015/03/toum-middle-eastern-garlic-sauce/

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spicy Corn Chowder


  • 6 cobs of corn
  • 4 large red potatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon and more olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Redmond's® Real Salt
  • 1 teaspoon McCormack's® Peppercorn Medley
  • 2 teaspoons Old Town Spice and Tea Merchant's® Raspberry Chipotle seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh thyme 


Mince onions into small cubes and set aside   [Slice the onion in half.  Then place it cut side down and slice into 3/16 inch slices.  Then slice each slice into 3/16 inch cubes.]  Mince the garlic and set aside.  Pull off the thyme leaves off all the stems and set aside.  Cut the red potatoes into half-inch cubes and set aside.

Melt the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil into a cast iron dutch oven.  When hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent and browned.  Use a potato masher to mash the onions into a soft mush.  Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Once the garlic is fragrant and soft, slowly sprinkle the flour over the onion mash and garlic, stirring frequently.  Once the flour is incorporated, allow the mixture to cook a little bit as the color darkens.  Then slowly, stirring constantly, pour in the cream until you have a smooth (lump free) sauce.

Raise the temperature and slowly stir in the vegetable broth, sea salt, pepper, and bay leaves.  Add the potatoes, bring to a light boil, and cook until the potatoes begin to break down (approximately 10-12 minutes).

Whilst the potatoes are cooking, cut the corn off the cob into a large bowl and milk the cobs.  Once the potatoes are done, add the corn, raspberry chipotle seasoning, and thyme.  Drizzle olive oil across the top of the chowder and simmer vigorously for about 15 more minutes.  Serve warm.

Myrtle's Note:  I had some leftover corn on the cob and thought to try my hand at a chowder.  I am not good with soups, but thought a chowder might be a good place to start.  I adapted the recipe somewhat because I wanted a bit more depth of flavor.  I changed to red potatoes and added bay leaves and the raspberry chipotle seasoning.  I also decreased the broth, based on a few reviewer's comments, and increased the thyme leaves.  I thought the end result was amazing, even if it was my very first ever chowder.

Yield: 8 servings

Adapted from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/corn-chowder-recipe-1915497

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Ingredients (cake):
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Ingredients (icing)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar 
  • 3-4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.  Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  

In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter.  Add the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla paste.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between the two, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you do. Beat 2-3 minutes on high.

Pour into the cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Whilst the cake is cooling, make the icing.  First, cream together the butter and sugar.  Then, stir in juice and orange zest.  Beat until smooth.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Salsa Verde

  • 2 pounds green tomatillos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 serrano chiles or more to taste
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and upper stems 
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil


Peel the husks off and since the tomatillos.  Then place them, along with the garlic cloves and chiles, in a pot and add enough water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tomatillos change in color from bright green to a pale green, are cooked through, and are soft, but are not coming apart.

Transfer the tomatillos, garlic, chile (you may want add only 1 chile at first), and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, pour the oil. Once hot, pour in the salsa verde, bring to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Allow to cool to room temperature and serve. Or, once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks.

Myrtle's Note:  I have never made salsa and I do not eat salsa.  So, when looking for a recipe, I thought to use one of Pati Jinich.  I chose the salsa verde, because I thought that might be my sister's favorite.  For the "heat,"  I used 1 and 1/2 chilies.  My guests LOVED this!

Yield:  2 cups