Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Coq au Vin January 30, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,comfort food,Freezer Meals,Mushrooms,wine — hmills96 @ 2:44 pm

I love my job, but everyone has those days that are just overwhelming. Thursday was one of those days for me. For some reason, I was swamped. And I would much rather be busy than have no work to do, but by the time I was off work I was REALLY keyed up. Common logic would say “Oh, you had a really stressful day, sounds like you should go home and nuke something in the microwave.”

But not me. On those kinds of days, I think about recipes and techniques and flavors. All I wanted to do was turn on some SUPER loud rock music and make some really good French comfort food. My favorite.

This is actually really similar to the Boeuf Bourgenion in style and flavor. Major difference? Chicken instead of beef. Both of these dishes can be customized depending on what wine, herbs, and veggies that you use. I would serve this with crusty French bread, maybe some buttered egg noodles so soak up the gravy.

Coq au Vin
Adapted from Cooking Light

4 slices hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1″ pieces.
8 pieces bone in chicken (I used all thighs.)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup onion, diced
3 medium carrots, sliced
2-3 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (750 ml) bottle of red wine (use something heavy and full-bodied for this)
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
6 oz frozen pearl onions

Cook bacon in a dutch oven until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 Tbsp fat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Carefully add the chicken to the pan. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

Add onion and next 5 ingredients (thru bay leaves). Cook 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add wine, simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by half. Return chicken to pan.

Add broth, simmer, covered, for 35 minutes. Remove chicken from pan, cover.

While the chicken is simmering, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter, add mushrooms and pearl onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Reduce stew liquid by half, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in mushroom mixture. Return chicken to pan and simmer 5 minutes.


Boeuf Bourgenion January 6, 2011

Filed under: Beef,comfort food,Fall/Winter,Freezer Meals,Mushrooms,soup,wine — hmills96 @ 9:05 am

Yesterday was one of those days where I was REALLY mad, for NO reason at all. It was ridiculous. All day long I was in a sour mood. By the time I got off work, I was exhausted, and planning to just go home and put my feet up, maybe get absorbed into No Reservations. But, all the way home I was thinking about the mushrooms that I had bought that I needed to use. By the time I got there, I was already thinking about Boeuf Bourgenion–more specifically, Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgenion.

It was not as hard a recipe as I had imagined. It just takes a really long time to cook. But after three hours, I went to take it off the heat to cool overnight. Somehow, in that process, I ended up with a fork in my hand. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Oh man, this is gooooooood. There are some recipes that I think “Ok, that’s decent, but I probably won’t make it again.” Then there are SOME recipes that are just so incredible that you just can’t stop eating. This is one of those recipes.

Make this, and soon. You can eat it the day you make it, but I’m told it gets better if it sits overnight. So I’ll be having it for dinner tonight. I cannot wait!

Boeuf Bourgenion
Adapted from Julia Child

3 lbs stew beef (1 inch cubes)
Olive Oil
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Flour
3 cups red wine (something full-bodied, preferably Burgundy)
4 cups beef stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 crumbled bay leaf
2 cups baby pearl onions
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter

In a dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. Add meat and brown. (It’s best to do this in stages, the meat will brown better if you don’t add it all to the pot at once.) Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

If needed, add more olive oil to the pot. Sweat onions and carrots until onions are translucent.

Add meat back to pot. Season with salt and pepper, then add flour. Toss to coat the meat, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add wine, stock, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Simmer (NOT BOIL!) for 2 1/2-3 hours until meat is tender.

While meat is stewing, prep pearl onions and mushrooms:

Add pearl onions to a large skillet. Cover with water. Bring to boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour off water and set onions aside to cool.

To the same skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add mushrooms and sautee until caramelized. Set aside to cool.

After the 3 hours, remove meat and veggies from the pot with a slotted spoon. Simmer sauce for 2-3 minutes to reduce.

At this point you have two options:

1. You can add everything back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes to bring everything to temperature. Then serve over rice or with crusty bread.

2. OR you can add only the meat and carrots back to the pot, and keep the mushrooms and pearl onions separate. Cool in the refrigerator over night, and then when ready to serve, add everything to the pot and put it back on the stove to warm. Again, serve over rice or with crusty bread.

****Had the final product for dinner last night, with a bit of crusty french bread. The sauce was thick and rich, the meat and veggies were tender. Oh man. This stuff is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.****


Mushroom and White Bean Ragout December 9, 2010

Can you believe it? I cooked AGAIN last night! I’m on a roll here. Part of it is, I bought too many mushrooms at the store last weekend and needed to use them before they rotted. (I have a really bad habit of buying mushrooms and forgetting about them until it’s too late.)

The other part is that while I’m toning up in most areas, I haven’t seen much of a difference in my weight, especially in my tummy area and it’s frustrating to me. Cooking at home is so much healthier than eating out somewhere. I’ve been using to track my calories and the difference between where I eat is astonishing.

This dish is really simple to make, and fairly rustic on the plate, but man is it delicious! I’ve always been a firm meat eater, and would never have thought of putting beans in a sauce like this. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture though of this, I think cannellini beans will make more appearances in the future.

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout

1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of Fresh thyme and sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used shittake but I think button would work better in this)
1/4 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz diced tomatoes
Handful parsley

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Toss in onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover for 8-10 minutes until soft. (Watch the temp on your garlic, turn it down if it starts to burn.)

Add mushrooms and white wine. Cover for 6 more minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until some of the juice has evaporated.

Serve over polenta or some kind of heavy noodle. (I used egg, penne or bowtie would also be good.)

****I’m not at home so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from. I’ll add it later when I have the recipe in front of me. I do have pictures too!


Lemon Chicken August 4, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,wine — hmills96 @ 5:38 pm
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My sister was always the accident prone one in the family. Until she was four, she had a permanent knot bruise on her already huge forehead. (Sorry K, big foreheads run in the family. I have one too.) Later on, she fell off balance beams, sidewalks, her own feet.

Why do I tell you this? Because I have that klutz gene too. In the kitchen. If you look at my hands all you see are scars. Every week, there’s a new one. Seems like one for every meal I’ve cooked. I have a big burn on my right hand between my thumb and wrist where I caught it on an oven rack taking brownies or cookies out of the oven at my parents house. Always wear a full oven mitt. This will be important later. Last year, I almost sliced the tip of my left thumb off cutting onions. On my right ring finger I have a new burn scar that’s just healing from Sunday night’s dinner (which is actually the recipe I’m about to share), where I caught my hand accidentally on a hot muffin pan.

There are more scars, most I don’t remember how I got them. Most are burns of one kind or another. You would think, I would learn how to be safe in a kitchen, after so many accidents. But nooooooooo.

Tonight, I poured a little wine in my pan to deglaze it, then grabbed the metal handle to shake the liquid around. See where this is going? Yeah…that pan had just been in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remember that oven mitt I told you to wear? I wasn’t wearing it. So now, I’m typing with one and a half hands, praying that my right hand (you know, the one I do EVERYTHING with) does not blister.

Learn from my mistakes, my friends. Don’t grab and shake a scalding hot pan. It really hurts.

But, also learn from my successes. Make this chicken! The flavor was amazing. Ours came out a little dry and overcooked though, so I’ve lowered the temperature and adjusted the timing to what I normally roast my chicken thighs at on the recipe below. But trust me, the skin on this chicken, oh my goodness, was the crispiest chicken skin I’ve ever had. Yum!

Lemon Chicken
Adapted from Simply Recipes

4 chicken thighs, with skin
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Handful each of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage (or about 1 tsp dried of each)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp melted butter

In a gallon sized Ziploc, mix together lemon juice, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into each chicken piece a few times about 1/2 inch. Place chicken in the bag and shake to cover. Marinate in fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Over medium high heat, melt butter in oven proof skillet. Add chicken, skin side down.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until skin is starting to brown.

Flip chicken over. Put pan in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until internal temperature is 160 and juices run clear.

Let rest for a few minutes before serving. I would recommend making a simple pan sauce at this point by deglazing the pan with white wine and lemon juice and letting simmer for a minute. Pour over chicken. This is optional, but delicious.


Blueberry Noir Sorbet July 27, 2010

Filed under: Berries,dessert,Ice Cream,My Recipes,Spring/Summer,wine — hmills96 @ 5:42 am
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I have been a very bad blogging lady lately. I guess I’ve just been all blogged out or something. It’s not for lack of material–I’ve read 3 books, and I’ve made Blueberry Sorbet and Teriyaki Steaks. I just haven’t felt like blogging anything.

I started a journal, and have been recording my many misadventures there, maybe that has something to do with it, I don’t know. Really though, I just haven’t been spending as much time on the computer lately (as evidenced by the overflow of items in my Google Reader). I think I just needed a break.

This weekend was HOT. REALLY HOT. We had a garage sale on Saturday, and then Sunday I decided to go for a walk. Exercising when it’s 90 degrees outside–not a good idea. So I decided to use the last of the graduation blueberries (can you believe they lasted this long??) and make something cold.

I would suggest straining the syrup and freezing this in an ice cream maker. But I was hot and lazy and didn’t want to lug out my mixer, so I just blended it with a boat motor and froze it granita style. It was still really good but the hand blender definitely changed the texture. Straining it will give you a much lighter sorbet.

Blueberry Noir Sorbet

Original Recipe

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
1 cup Pino Noir

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except the wine. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain out juice into a bowl. Stir in wine. Chill in fridge.

Freeze in ice cream mixer per manufacturer’s instructions. Will probably need to let this set up in freezer for another 30 minutes to an hour.


Baked Shrimp Scampi June 21, 2010

Filed under: Italian,pasta,shrimp,wine — hmills96 @ 8:11 pm
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Today was a completely different Monday from what I’m used to. I think I’m really going to like my job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be stressful–there is a LOT of information to know all at once. Where to find what at a certain time on a certain call. 5-6 different software programs to navigate while trying to converse with a customer. It’s not going to be easy. But, as I’ve been saying all day, at least it’s not poop!

You know what I realized today? At 4:30, my day is over. Yes, I have an hour commute home, but I don’t have to spend that whole time on the phone trying to fix a work problem. Because of certain securities, it is actually AGAINST THE RULES for me to take work home! I won’t ever have to be on call at 3 in the morning during an ice storm. I not only get holidays off work, but I even get July 5 off because the 4th is a Sunday! It’s a big change, and hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. I loved my old job…some of most of the time. But I can have a life! It’s so nice.

Take this meal that I have been telling you about, for instance. I planned it on the way home, and fully executed the whole thing without having to worry about who was on call or what techs were still out. Would I have to talk to a customer when I was elbow deep in shrimp? NO! It’s just a job that fits my lifestyle so much better. Love it!

Now, on with the recipe I’ve been making you drool over anxiously! This was REALLY good stuff. I think next time I will leave out the panko, as it got soggy after a while. You might have a little more liquid than you need that way, but serve it over linguine and you should have an awesome wine sauce! Yum!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

From Milk & Honey

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp dry white wine
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
handful fresh parsley & rosemary, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko

Preheat oven to 425.

In large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil, wine, salt, & pepper. Set aside at room temp. while you make butter/garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash butter with garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper, lemon zest & juice, egg yolk, panko, salt & pepper until combined.

Line 14 inch oval gratin dish with shrimp in a spiral pattern (or like me, realize halfway through, that although your shrimp were deveined, they were not peeled, so instead of redoing the spiral, toss shrimp haphazardly into the bowl). Pour remaining marinade over shrimp. Spread butter/garlic mixture evenly over shrimp.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until bubbling. If using panko, brown under broiler for 1 minute.


Spice Roasted Chicken Thighs June 8, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,Herbs,Quick and Easy,wine — hmills96 @ 8:22 pm
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Today was a pretty productive day! I started a Facebook page for the blog. Go here and Like us! It’s a great way to stay connected with other fans of the blog, share thoughts on recipes, or tell me what to cook next!

After that, I went to the grocery store. I have become one of THOSE people. You know, the woman in line who has a bazillion coupons. I saved $30 bucks today though so it was worth it! The road to Meijer was closed for construction, so I went to Marsh instead. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there, but I probably will start going back. It’s not much further than my normal store, and the service and products are so much better!

Unfortunately, there is one exception to that rule. I was so excited when I walked by the seafood counter–they had mussels! I’ve been wanting to try them for a while, but they aren’t common around here. They were pretty inexpensive, so I grabbed a pound. However, when I got them home and got ready to cook them tonight, they were all dead. For those of you who don’t know–you buy shellfish alive. The shells should be tightly closed, or if one is open, it should snap shut when tapped. These were all open and did not close. They also smelled extremely fishy, which is not a good sign. I had to throw them out.

I was disappointed. Now what was I going to cook for dinner? I knew I wanted to test an asparagus salad recipe (which will be posted tomorrow), but what should I serve with it? Luckily I had also bought some chicken thighs that were on sale today. I was worried though, because while I love chicken thighs, J. had just made a comment about how tired he was of chicken. He was going to have to battle through.

He battled. In fact, he had two helpings. And I bet we fight over the leftover thigh that’s in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. These were amazing. As good, if not better than one of my whole roast chickens, without all the time and hassle. These will be making a regular rotation in our house.

Spice Roasted Chicken Thighs

Adapted from Elly Says Opa!

5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme, rosemary, sage
1 Tbsp canola oil
Tbsp white wine

Preheat oven to 450. Pat chicken dry. Mix together herbs & spices. Rub all over chicken.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes each.

Transfer pan to oven and cook skin side up, until cooked thru, about 12-18 minutes.

Remove chicken and let rest. Place skillet on high heat. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up browned bits, pour over chicken to serve.

**Note–This would be amazing next to those roasted mushrooms I made awhile back!