Tag Archives: accents

Velvety Garlic Soup, Duxelles, and Monte Cristos

14 Sep

So today was another fantastic day recipe testing. I’m making Velvety Garlic Soup, Duxelles, and Monte Cristo Sandwiches. I have to say it is a strange combination, but I have the ingredients, so that’s the menu. First, the garlic soup. Yes, garlic is a very potent herb/vegetable but handled correctly, it is beautiful.

Ok so here’s the deal. When garlic is roasted it become something better, something magical. When garlic is roasted it transforms into this beautifully sweet and slightly bitter. The soup is gentle. Don’t get me wrong it tastes like garlic, but unlike an Italian dinner the garlic is mild and understated. Here’s the recipe:

Velvety Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup ready to be frozen

Garlic Soup ready to be frozen

2 cups garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup of yellow onion, medium dice
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make a small pouch out of aluminum foil and put the garlic and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sweat the onion and thyme together in a saucepan. When the garlic is finished roasting, add it to the the sautéing onions. Add the stock and season. Purée the soup and finish with cream. Re-season and serve hot. Garnish with shaved parmesan and fresh minced parsley.

The garlic soup is a wonderful dish for this time of the year. It’s easy to find garlic and the warmth makes you thankful that the seasons are finally turning.

Duxelles before puréeing

Duxelles before puréeing

Next, duxelles. Now this a a classic french recipe that is typically used in dishes like beef Wellington. But, it can also be used as a spread, dip, or appetizer. In perfect English, this is a mushroom purée. It’s very simple. Start with a 1/2 cup minced yellow onion. Melt 2 tablespoons over medium heat and add the onions. While the onions are sweating, mince 8-10 large button mushrooms. You can use any type of mushroom you like but the more wild the mushroom, the more intense the mushroom flavor will be. When the onions are soft add in the mushrooms. Cook on low for 20-25 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft purée the whole mixture together, adding water as needed. Season and serve. I’ll be serving mine as an appetizer in crostini with manchego cheese and parsley.

The monte cristos are one of my favorites. This classic dish is very simple to make. First, assemble the sandwich. You need two slices of bread (I like an egg bread like challah, or white bread). In between the bread put 2 slices of american cheese and 2 slices of honey ham. Here’s the best part. Make a custard. Yes, you read correctly, custard. In the simplest terms, a monte cristo is grilled ham and cheese that is dipped in a sweet custard and cooked like French toast! The custard I like is 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Assemble the sandwiches and the dip in the custard. On a greased griddle, fry the sandwiches. Garnish with powdered sugar and strawberry jam or mustard on the side.

Always thinking of the next meal


Foodie Filosophy

28 Jul

There are few things in life that make you stop what you’re doing, stop what you’re thinking and change everything. For me that’s food. Eating it, cooking it, reading about it… it’s simply that thing that puts me in my happy place.

Truthfully, and without irony, I love food. I don’t have a favorite mealtime or favorite dish. I don’t even have that one dish that makes it all better. What flavors will excite me on any given day is a mystery. For a long time I thought that asking people what their favorite dish was would get me an in. I’d be one step ahead knowing that one dish that could cause mood changing, eye popping, and unending smiles. The reality is that it’s never about the dish. Food is the vessel that that carries our memories (Maybe that’s why I love food so much). The forgotten sensory sensation that ties emotion through our tastebuds.

Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? I guess it’s partially because it’s what the Pilgrims ate it (although I’ve read they actually ate lobster and no turkey at all.) But mostly I think it’s based on tradition and the memories we have of that tradition. Did your mother dry the poor bird beyond the salvation of gravy? Maybe it was always filled with a bag of giblets, like a little turkey day gift from those thoughtful workers at Butterball. Whatever your memory is, now imagine Thanksgiving with a juicy bird, so perfectly cooked that it doesn’t even need salt. Well it sounds good to me, but it’s not quite what I remember as Thanksgiving.

This is why I love to cook. Because as a chef I make that connection between food and memories. I can somehow change the way people feel. Did I make an event special because my food was perfect. I sure hope so… but the truth is that the best food… even if it’s meant to be the star… sits quietly in the background. Modestly taking in the praise of the flavors and textures. Hoping that the post event conversation will include the buzz of fabulous food. And knowing that all in attendance shared the magic that something as simple as a meal can make.

Always thinking of the next meal (which I guess means the next memory)


Salt is salt… right?

22 Jul

Salt is not just salt. Salt is an enhancer, the key to unlocking the best flavors that food has to offer. So if salt is the enhancer, then is there a way to enhance salt? The answer… YES! By mixing herbs and other flavors into the salt you can make it even better. For lack of a better word, you can make a “compound salt.”

You can really add whatever you want to salt to give it extra flavor. Fresh herbs work great especially if you grill a lot. A herbed salt will not only make you meat sing, but will add a kick of flavor to otherwise one note grilling. Since I’ve previously made a compound salt with herbs, I thought I would try something else.

I am prepping a Greek Salad for my cousin’s bridal shower and as part of that is a marinated tomato. I had to peel the the skins off the tomatoes in order to maximize the marination and I was left with the skins of 7 tomatoes. Really I could have just thrown them out, but now I have a wonderful tomato salt that I can use on fish, steak or vegetables.

Here’s the recipe:

Tomato Compound Salt

Tomato Skins of 5-7 tomatoes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup salt

in a food processor combine the salt, pepper and tomato skins. Spread the salt on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 250 for 30 minutes or until the salt mixture is dried out but not brown.


Give this one a try… it’s really easy way to jazz up the same old same old.

Always thinking of the next meal