Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guido Olives

I made these for Thanksgiving this year and they were a hit. I got this recipe from the Food Networks Guy Fieri.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup garlic cloves, cut in halves
1/4 red onion, julienned
1/4 red bell pepper, julienned
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, cut in 1/2
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 cup large Spanish olives
1/2 cup black olives, seeded
1/2 cup kalamata or jumbo gaeta olives, seeded
1/4 cup whole pepperoncini
1/2 cup baby carrots
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
In a medium saute pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, onions, red bell peppers, rosemary, chili flakes, and peppercorns. Let saute for 10 minutes.
Add olives, pepperoncini, carrots and vinegar, stir and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Serve warm.

Turkey Stock

Just like every year I was able to take the turkey carcass home from my folks Thanksgiving feast. Mom usually makes a 30 pound bird so this is an enormous carcass. I did something different this year and used my 7 quart crock pot to make the stock and am glad I did. I will never make this stock any other way. It came out perfectly.

Trim all of the usable meat off of the carcass (save for the soup you will want to make with this stock). Remove and discard all visible fat and skin. Place bones in crock pot, cover with cold water. Add a chopped onion, 2 chopped celery stalks, a chopped carrot, 3 bay leaves, and 1 TBSP whole peppercorns. Cover, set crock pot to high and cook for 6-7 hours. Strain stock and cool. When cool stock should be gelatinous. I usually remove the thin layer of fat on the top.

This freezes very well. This is the type of stock you want to have around when someone in the house has a cold or flu. Steve says that if you feed this stock to a person on their death bed than they will live another ten years. Enjoy it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala

My friend Colleen asked that I post this recipe. I made it for a pot luck dinner with an Indian cuisine theme. I got the recipe from and it came out great. I did not do anything to spare the calories (I used the heavy cream).

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beef Bourguignon

I fired up the crock pot again this morning with this classic. Like beef stew, use a tougher cut of meat such as chuck or bottom round.

I make this in my 7 quart crock pot.

Trim 4 pounds of stew beef into 1 inch cubes. Get rid of visible fat.

Mix 1 cup of flour with several grinds of black pepper, 2 tsp. thyme, 2 tsp. granulated garlic, 2 tsp. paprika.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet. Working in batches (this morning I did 4 batches in a 10 inch skillet) dredge beef in flour and place in skillet. Allow beef to sear for at least 1 minute on all sides. You should be developing a nice brown color. Transfer to crock pot and do next batch. Add more oil if needed. Do not overcrowd the skillet as you will not get the proper sear and the meat will "juice out".

When all the meat is cooked add 2 pounds of peeled pearl onions and 2 12 ounce packages of fresh mushrooms (sliced in half) to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes. Transfer to crock pot.

Deglaze the skillet with 1 bottle of red wine (Burgundy, Cabernet). Bring to a boil and add to crock pot. Add 3 cups of beef stock to crock pot. Add 4 cloves of garlic, diced, 2 tsp. thyme and 4 bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (more or less). Dish is done when the beef is very tender.

When finished cooking you can eat as is but I like to transfer most of the juice to a sauce pan and reduce (by 1/3) on the stove to concentrate the flavor. I also like to skim any fat that floats to the top. Then I add the reduced defatted juice back to the beef.

Tonight I am serving this with whole wheat egg noodles. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

French Onion Soup

Today I made a batch of French Onion Soup. This is my favorite soup of all time (being French Canadian). My father usually orders this when he eats out and it is offered. Even though this soup only has 6 ingredients (for the basic soup), it is the technique that makes it exquisite. I have read, but not verified, that French Onion Soup was the very last meal that Julia Child ate before she passed away in 2004.

I make this recipe in my 13 quart La Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven.

Slice 10 pounds of onions. Coat dutch oven with olive oil and heat. Add onions. Basically, the pan should be full to the top with onions. Turn heat to high. the idea now is to cook the onions until they are browned and caramelized and about 1/10 their original volume. You will notice that there will be a considerable amount of juice that needs to be cooked out. Today this took me about 2 hours. I have include some pictures of the progress. At this point I add 1/4 cup sugar and this helps the onion during the final browning process. When the onions are dry and the bottom of the pan is browning it is time to deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry sherry. Bring to boil. Now add 3 quarts beef stock and 3 quarts chicken stock (low sodium), bring to a boil and you are done.
Now, you can eat as is (as Steve is doing right now) or serve it with the classical garnish, a topper of a toasted crouton (toasted sliced day old baguette) and then sprinkled with shredded Gruyere (Swiss) cheese and placed under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
In Julia Child's words, 'Bon Appetite!'

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mom Major's Sweet Wings

Get the biggest, plumpest chicken wings you can find for this recipe. Also try switching the maple syrup with honey.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare 3 pounds of chicken wings: Cut off wing tips (save for a stock), cut the wings in two at the joint. Place wings in a single layer in a glass (easier to clean) baking dish (make sure it has at least a 1 inch side so that the juice does not overflow into oven). Use more than one dish if needed, do not overcrowd pan. season wings with salt & pepper.

Mix together:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup ketchup

Pour over wings, toss to coat, rearrange in single layer.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour turning and basting every 20 minutes.

This may seem like a long time to cook wings but it will make the meat fall off the bone, render out most of the fat, and give it a great dark color. If the wings are really big you may need to cook for up to 1 1/2 hours. These are good hot or cold.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leek Casserole

I think the original inspiration for this came from a recipe I saw in 'Taste of Home' magazine. I love leeks but never seem to use them enough. When prepping leeks slice them in half lengthwise, with the root in tact, and wash thoroughly under cold running water to get all of the sand out.

Butter a two quart casserole and preheat oven to 350.

Prep and slice 1 bunch of leeks. Slice 2 large shallots and 1 red onion. Saute all and put into casserole. Saute 1/2 pound mushrooms and add to casserole. Add 3 fresh thyme sprigs to casserole. Season with black and cayenne pepper.

Mix 1/2 cup low fat sour cream and 1/2 cup non dairy creamer. Pour over leeks.

Mix 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over casserole.

Bake for 30 - 45 minutes.

Jimmy's Chili

This recipe is mostly about the spice mixture that I use to make the chili. Make sure the spices you use are less than 1 year old. Throw out those old ones that have been lurking in the back of your cabinet for the past decade. I switch up the protein, I typically use all ground turkey these days.

Spice Mixture
8 Tbsp chili powder
5 tsp Coriander
5 tsp Cumin
3 tsp Granulated Garlic
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp cayenne

To Make Chili:

Pick through and wash 2 pounds of dried beans (use what ever kind you like, kidney beans have the most fiber). Soak in cold water overnight, drain.

Chop (large dice) 1 large onion and add to 7 quart crock pot.

Brown 1 pound of cubed round steak in saute pan. Add to crock pot. To same pan brown 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey). sprinkle with 1/2 of spice mixture and mix in well. Add 1 small can of tomato paste. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Add mixture to crock pot. Add soaked beans. Add 2 28 ounce cans of tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Add 1 diced fresh hot pepper (or more depending on amount of "heat" desired). Sprinkle with remaining spice mixture. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

You can substitute 4 15 ounce cans of beans for dried beans.

Turkey Marsala

I haven't added anything in a while so I thought I would plug in tonight's dinner. I got home late from work and wanted to get dinner ready in about 30 minutes (not that I'm competing with Rachel Ray).

Season 3/4 cup flour with several grinds of black pepper, 2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp thyme, and 1/2 Cayenne pepper.

Lightly pound out 1 pound of turkey breast cutlets and dredge in the seasoned flour.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp butter in 10" saute pan. Saute cutlets 2 minutes on each side (do this in 2 batches). Remove to plate lined with paper towel, keep warm in oven.

Drain excess oil. Add 1 large minced shallot and 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms. Saute on high for about 5 minutes. Season with pepper, thyme, and granulated garlic. Add 3/4 cup Marsala wine. Bring to boil and reduce by 1/2. Add 1 cup beef stock, bring to boil. Add turkey back to pan and baste with sauce. (sauce will still be loose at this point) Simmer for at least 5 minutes. Just before serving reduce heat to low and add 1 tbsp of butter (cut into pieces) and swirl into sauce. Do not boil sauce as the butter will break.

Serve over rice or noodles (we had it with Kashi tonight) and sprinkle with sliced green onions.

The sauce for this dish is thickened by reduction, the flour from the sauteed turkey, and lastly the final liaison of the butter. This dish also works well with chicken or veal.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Turkey Parmesan

This works well with pasta and also makes a good hot sub or a wrap.


1 # Turkey Cutlets
1 Cup Flour
½ Egg Beaters – beat in 1 T. water
1 Cup Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs (Progresso)

If cutlets are thick pound out slightly, season w/ salt & pepper.
Season flour w/ ½ t. salt, ½ t. pepper, ½ t granulated garlic, & pinch of cayenne.
Set up counter with 3 bowls for the breading procedure.

Dredge a seasoned cutlet in flour, shake off excess, dip in egg, shake off excess, coat with bread crumbs (press the crumbs into the cutlets for a good coating). Repeat to bread all cutlets. Set aside while making sauce.


1 Medium Onion, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes (any brand, I look for low sodium content)
1 jar Francesco Rinaldi ‘no salt added’ tomato sauce
Dry basil, oregano, red pepper flakes

Saute onion in 1 T. olive oil for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, cook 4 minutes. Add garlic, 1 t. each oregano, basil, and pepper flakes. Cook 1 minute. Add the juice from the canned tomatoes (careful that the steam does not burn you). Crush the tomatoes in your hand into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Add jarred sauce, simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in sauté pan until hot (drop a small bit of bread crumbs in to see if it begins to fry). Fry cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown. Do this in batches, do not crowd pan. When done, move to plate lined w/ paper towel.

Coat bottom of casserole pan w/ tomato sauce, arrange cutlets in a single layer, top each cutlet with sauce (no need to drown cutlets in sauce, save left over sauce to serve along side) Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes (or until bubbly). Sprinkle w/ low fat shredded mozzarella mixed with a bit of grated parmesan. Serve w/ Whole wheat pasta.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Split Pea Soup

Being a rainy Sunday in late September I wanted to put the crockpot back into action. I like to make recipes that freeze well and this is one of my favorites.

Using a 7 quart crockpot (the big one):

Dice 1 onion and 3 carrots - put into crockpot
Sort through 2 lbs of green split peas (look for and discard any rocks)
Rinse peas several times
Add peas to crockpot
Add 1 large can (48 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
Fill same can with water and add to crockpot
Add 3-4 small smoked hamhocks (or 1 smoked turkey leg) to crock pot
Add 3 bay leaves
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours
Soup is done when split peas have turned to mush
Remove hamhocks and dice meat, add back to soup


Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

I made this Friday morning and served it over Gnocci. Let me know what you think.

A few of you asked for this:

I use a 7 quart crockpot
Slice a large onion into bottom of Crockpot
Lay 16 skinless bone-in chicken thighs on top of onions (trim all visable fat)
Season w/ pepper, 1 T. oregano, 1 T. basil, 4 cloves minced garlic
Slice a large red pepper and 8 mushrooms and layer on chicken
Pour 2 28ounce cans of whole plum tomatoes on top (I prefer san marzano (any brand))
Rinse cans out with 1/2 cup red wine & 1/2 cup water, pour over top
Add 4 more cloves of minced garlic & 3 bay leaves, stir into tomatoes
Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours
When done genlty remove chicken thighs (try to keep together) & keep warm
Turn Crockpot up to high and cook sauce for up to 1 hour longer
Add chicken back in & serve w/ pasta, rice, gnocci, etc

Welcome to Jim's Cooking

A friend suggested that I start a blog for things that I like to cook (thanks Kathy). I am going to try to keep this up and post recipes for dishes I make and restaurants we go to.

If you have a questions about cooking or the culinary arts, let me know and I will try to help you out.