"Recipes are meant to be shared"...Ann Thibeault

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nothing better than a Roast Chicken Dinner

All I could think about at work yesterday was my planned dinner. Couldn't wait to get home and get the chicken in the oven. Nothing is better than a traditional roast chicken dinner. Number one on my top 10 list.

If you haven't tried Judy Roger's pre-salting method, you might want to. It produces the most moist, delicious bird. You need to plan a few days ahead when pre-salting a turkey, but a small chicken benefits from just pre-salting the night before and then air drying in the fridge all day before roasting. I also pre-salt pork, ribs, prime rib and rack of lamb.

A roast chicken is the easiest dinner to put together and if you use the high heat method, roasting at 500°F, you can have a perfectly roasted chicken in 40 to 50 minutes.

I wouldn't have had time to make stuffing/dressing and get dinner on the table quickly so I baked the dressing before I went to work and just had to reheat it. While the chicken rested, I made the gravy and finished the veggies, steaming the broccoli and cauliflower and mashing the potatoes. I got home from work about 5:15 and dinner was on the table by 6:30.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Judy Rogers' Zuni Cafe

Servings: 11 to 15

Note: This is more a technique than a recipe. It makes a bird that has concentrated turkey flavor and fine, firm flesh and that is delicious as it is. But you can add other flavors as you wish. Minced rosemary would be a nice finishing addition. Or brush the bird lightly with butter before roasting.

1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey

Kosher salt

1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons).

2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned, but not over-salted.

3. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.

4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2 -gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day.

5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

7. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up (it's easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts).

8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.

9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

My Notes:

This same method can be used for Beef (Prime Rib, steaks, roasts) chicken, chicken pieces, pork roasts, ribs, chops, etc..

With the smaller cuts just pre-salt 4 or five hours in advance. Even
this short period of presalting makes an amazing difference.

Don't cover, just refrigerate and then remove from the fridge in time
for the meat to come to room temperature before cooking.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Halibut with an Asian Twist

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Steamed Halibut Fillets with Green Onion and Ginger Sizzle


Source: Thrifty's

2 Halibut Fillets
3 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
2 Tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce

Line the bottom of an 11 inch round bamboo or stainless steel steamer with a piece of parchment paper. Set the fish in the steamer and place over boiling water in a wok or a pot. Cover and steam the fish for 5 minutes or until just cooked through.

When the fish is cooked, place the oil in a skillet and set over medium high heat. Plate the fish. When the oil is smoking hot add the green onions and stir, add the ginger and the garlic and the red chili flakes and cook for 15 to 20 seconds. Add the soy sauce. Spoon mixture over fish and serve.

Super Bowl Sunday - Appetizers

Super Bowl Sunday - Appetizers

Since this Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I might share some of my favourite appetizers. I'm working Sunday but plan to put together a few things for Moe and our neighbour to pick at while they watch the game.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Spanish Tapa - Garlic Shrimp

6 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons of chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons minced parsley

Italian or French Bread cut into cubes

Heat the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large, shallow pan.
When the garlic just begins to turn golden, add the shrimp and cook
over high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the broth
and lemon juice.

If serving in the living room, pour into a large earthenware bowl and
sprinkle with salt and parsley. Serve immediately.

Goes great with a nice dry white wine, dry sherry, or Martini

Note: Use more chicken broth and lemon juice if you like more sauce
to dip the bread into.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Stuffed Mushrooms
Source: Sharon (Chase)
20 large white mushrooms
1/3 Cup butter (maybe a bit more)
4 or 5 green onions chopped fine
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar
1/3 Cups bread crumbs more or less if needed
Clean mushrooms and carefully remove stems. Chop stems and onions finely (I use the food processor). Melt butter in a saute pan. Saute mushroom stems and onions over medium heat until soft but not browned and the stems have given up their juices. Mixture should be quite moist. Add the bread crumbs, only enough to absorb the liquid. Add the grated cheese and stir just until it has melted. Don't worry if the oil separates from the cheese.~
Stuff the mixture into the caps and sprinkle with a bit of salt (or you can salt after they come out of the oven...which is what I usually do).
Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until the caps are nice and soft.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Blue Cheese Tartlets
Source: Williams-Somona

8 oz tart pastry dough (or frozen puff pastry)
3 oz spinach or Swiss Chard
1 egg
2/3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Emmenthaler Cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
3 oz Blue Cheese (Roquefort, Gorgonzola,etc.)
2 Tablespoons pine nuts

If using tart pastry, prepare the dough and refrigerator 30 minutes
before you are ready to roll it out. If using commercial puff pastry
defrost in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to
a boil. Plunge the spinach or Swiss Chard into the boiling water and
cook for 30 seconds. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse with
cold water to halt the cooking. Drain again, pressing against the
greens to force out as much water as possible; set aside.

Break the egg into a bowl. Add the cream, Emmenthaler cheese, nutmeg
and salt and pepper to taste and beat with a fork until completely
blended. Coarsely chop the spinach or chard and add it to the bowl;
stir well.

On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out as thinly as possible.
Sprinkle the Roquefort or other blue cheese evenly over the dough.
With a fluted pastry cutter about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, cut out 18
dough rounds. Use the rounds to line 18 individual tartlet pans or
wells in tartlet trays or miniature muffin pans. If using the former,
arrange the lines pans on a large baking sheet. Fill each lined pan
with some of the egg mixture and scatter a few pine nuts on top. Place
the tarlets in the oven and bake until the filling sets and the crust
is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve Warm.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Focaccia topped with warm Goat Cheese
1 focaccia, homemade or purchases

1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips and drizzled with olive oil.

1 recipe homemade Tapenade (or purchase all ready made)

Chevre (Goat cheese)
Cut the Focaccia into bite size squares

Cut the roasted pepper into small strips

Warm the Goat Cheese in the microwave to soften.

Put a dollop of goat cheese on top of each square of focaccia.

On half the focaccia place a few strips of pepper and on the other half
place a small spoon of Tapenade.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Tuna Pate
Although this is a very easy appetizer that can be made earlier in the day, it is also a very rich because of all of the butter. One of my favourites.

2 (6 ounces) cans white tuna drained
1 cup butter
2 Tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper (Homemade or bottled pimentos)
1 to 2 teaspoons capers
fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 drops Tabasco
salt and pepper

Puree tuna and butter in processor

Add chopped red pepper, capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Tabasco.

Process on pulse until the capers and red peppers are finely minced.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pack into decorate serving bowl and cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve remove a bit early from fridge so that the pate
has a change to soften just slightly.

Serve with toasted pita triangles

Cut Plain or whole wheat pitas into triangles. Separate each triangle
and place on cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Bake
at 350°F until crisp and golden. Be careful not to burn.
Remove and let cool.

Serve triangles surrounding tuna pate

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Escargot In Mini Toast Cups
Source: Elegant Entertaining Cookbook - M. Sable

1 loaf of white bread
1/4 cup melted butter
1 can escargot (36 to 50 size)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 shallots
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 bay leaf
1 cup whipping cream
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
preheat oven to 400°
Cut crusts off bread and roll out very thin. cut 2 inch rounds and fit
each round gently into a well buttered 1 1/4 muffin tin.
Brush tops of rounds with melted butter and bake them for 10 minutes or
until edges are golden brown. Remove from tins and cool.
In a medium sauce pan combine wine, chicken stock and shallots, thyme
and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid to 1/3 cup. Stir in
cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup. Add escargot.
Remove bay leaf and stir in butter.
Fill each croustade with 1 or 2 escargot and some of the sauce.
Sprinkle with minced parsley.

Options: Use puff pastry instead of toast cups

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Stuffed Endives With Crab Meat

Fills about 24 leaves

1 2-oz. can whole pimentos
1 green onion
1 shallot
1/2 lb. cooked crab meat
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
2-4 Tbl. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
3 Belgian endives

Chop 1 pimento (reserve the remainder for another use), the green
onion, and the shallot.
Combine the crab meat, mustard, lemon juice, green onion, shallot,
and 2 Tbl. of the
mayonnaise, adding more if needed. Add the pimento and season to
taste with salt, pepper,
and paprika. To prepare the Belgian endive cut off 1 inch from the
root end; carefully separate
each leaf. Stuff Belgian endive leaves with crab meat filling.

Antipasto Platters

Antipasto Platters are always well received. You can make them simple by just buying olives, peppers, artichokes, salami, cheese, etc or you can make them a little more interesting by grilling shrimp and eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, sausage, focaccia, etc... It's all good.

Grilled Italian Sausage with Roasted Peppers

This is one of my favourites. The Sausage are grilled and the sliced, topped with grilled or roasted peppers , drizzled with olive oil and garlic and shaved Parmesan. Served with focaccia. YUM!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dinner with Friends

I had a craving for homemade biscuits yesterday so that is what we had for breakfast along with scrambled eggs.

We had neighbours/friends over for dinner tonight. Started with an appetizer of warm goat cheese topped with a toasted walnut and drizzled with EVOO.

Main course was roast leg of pork, mashed potatoes, fresh steamed green beans and rutabaga.

Followed by blueberry pie with a little sour cream sweetened with brown sugar.
Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Blueberry Tart/Pie
I've made this recipe for years. I think it was from an early 1980's Canadian Living Magazine.

4 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
milk, sugar

pastry for double crust
Line pie plate with pastry.

Mixtogether blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar, flour and cinnamom (if using)
and melted butter; pour into pie crust. Cover with pastry and cut a
few slashes in top; or cut pastry into strips and prepare lattice top.
Seal edges well and flute. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with
sugar. Bake in 425°F oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 35o°F and bake
about 40 minutes longer or until crust is golden.

Butter-Lard Pastry
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup lard (or shortening- Crisco)
5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water

(note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)
Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard.

(Note: I use the cuisinart to cut in my fat and then move the mixture
to a bowl to add the water by hand).
I like to have to do this by feel which I find I can't do by machine)

Put flour mixture in bowl and add water mixing with a fork until pastry
comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each
into a round flat disc and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quick dinner

I picked up the makings for dinner on my way to work. Dinner was breaded pork tenderloin with a mushroom gravy.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Pork - Breaded Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin cut into medalions and pounded flat
1 clove of garlic made into a paste
fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 or 2 eggs beaten with a bit of water

Rub the minced garlic over the surface of the pork tenderloin

dip each piece of meat into the flour, then the egg and then the fresh
bread crumbs. Pat to make sure that crumbs adhere.

Heat oil in large frying pan and saute the breaded pork until golden on
one side, turn and cook until done on the other.

Drain on paper towels and place in low oven (250°F)to keep warm while
you continue cooking the remaining pork.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Bake Day

We moved last year and the sourdough starter that I had been babying for two years died. My fault. I finally got around to starting a new "mother" the end of last week. It was finally ready to use. So last night I made a biga and a levain using some starter and this morning I used the levain to make two of Amy's Bread's Country Sourdough Boules and the biga for two sourdough baguettes. Both doughs were left to rise in the fridge for almost 9 hours and then left to come to room temperature for almost three, before being shaped. The last loaf came out of the oven around 9:30 PM tonight. I had forgotten just how much better bread made with sourdough starter and given a slow rise is.

Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks

Dinner tonight was Lamb Shanks slow roasted with Cannellini Beans.
Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Lamb Shanks
4 or more lamb shanks
salt and pepper
beef broth
Preheat oven 500°F.

Place lamb shanks in roasting pan and brown in oven turning a few
times. Takes about 30 minutes.

Add 2 or 3 onions quartered and a dozen or more garlic cloves. Add beef
broth, herbs, salt and pepper and lower temp to 350°F. Cover tightly
and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours or until lamb is tender. Cut
rutabaga into triangles and potatoes into halves and add to the
roasting pan. Continue to cook for another 25 to 30 minutes or until
vegetables are tender.

Another Option

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Lamb Shoulder/Breast Greek Style
Lamb Shoulder/Breast orshanks
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and cracked
1 onion cut into 8ths
Salt Pepper
olive oil
chicken broth

Brown the meat on top of the stove or in a hot oven. Add the onion, and
the peeled garlic cloves. Cook until golden. Add the Oregano, salt,
pepper and the juice of a lemon.

Cover and place in a 350°F oven. Cook until tender. Cooking Time will
depend on the size of roast.

Note:Option: Use Dill instead of Oregano..

Winging It....

Chicken Wings, rubbed with fresh garlic, black pepper, sea salt and lemon zest.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Lemon, sea salt and black Pepper Chicken wings
grated zest of two lemons
3 garlic cloves
lots of fresh ground coarse black pepper
sea salt
splash of olive oil.

Mix together and rub over the chicken wings. Either refrigerate for a few hours or roast in a 450°f oven turning once or twice until cooked.

I took the zest off of two lemons, grated three garlic cloves on the microplane, and added quite a bit of fresh black pepper, coarsely ground, sea salt and a splash of olive oil. Rubbed it all over the wings and let them sit while the oven heated up to 450°F. Dumped them out on a cookie sheet and roasted until golden, turning once.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another PIzza night

Dinner last night - Homemade Pizza topped with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms and Green Peppers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Corn Tortilla Pictorial

Monday, January 19, 2009

For those that are interested in making tortillas maybe this pictorial will be of some assistance.

The recipe is very simple. Just masa harina, salt and hot water. I don't measure. I just pour 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the masa into a bowl, add some salt and enough hot water to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Knead it for a minute to make it smooth. The dough should not be stiff or dry, but it shouldn't be wet or sticky either. It is a dough that is easy enough to fix. Just add a little more of the masa or a little more water until you have the right texture. Cover and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes.

Roll tortilla dough in to balls a little smaller than a golf ball. Cut a plastic storage bag slightly larger than the size of tortilla press. (I use ziplock freezer bags)

Cover with another bag, cut to size.

Press to flatten. Be gentle

Place a large griddle over two burners.  Heat one side on medium and the other side on medium high.

Gently peel off top piece of plastic, flip tortilla over on to palm of hand, supporting with fingers and very carefully pull off remaining plastic. Place tortilla on the side of the griddle that is heated to medium. Cook for 25 to 30 seconds. You will see a little steam and the tortilla will move easily. Using a spatula, flip the tortilla over and place on the hot side of the griddle

Cook for about 30 seconds. Tortilla will start to get little brown spots. Flip it over again. And cook for another 20 to 30 seconds. The tortilla will start to puff up

Puffing up more

All puffed up. This is what a perfect tortilla looks like. It takes practice. But even if your tortilla doesn't puff up it will still taste good. Just won't be as tender

If you have a tortilla warmer, place the tortillas in it as they come off the griddle. They will steam and soften up. Which is what you want them to do.

If you don't have a warmer just wrap them in a clean tea towel and keep them warm in a low oven
Use the tortillas to make Pork Carnitas Tacos

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mexican Night

Sunday Night's Dinner

I prepped for dinner this morning before leaving for work. Rubbed a pork shoulder with lots of garlic, chipotle pepper, salt and pepper and made a fresh salsa. Put a pot of pinto beans on to simmer. Moe took the beans off the stove when they were cooked and put the roast in the oven mid afternoon. All I had to do when I got home from work was make the corn tortillas and the guacamole.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Salsa Fresca
Fresh or canned tomatoes, peeled and chopped (If I use canned tomatoes I drain them well first)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeno chile, seeded finely chopped
Fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove finely minced

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion and chile.  lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Mix well and let sauce
stand for 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Makes two cups

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Pork - Carnitas
Pork cut into large cubes
Chicken broth
Onion cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Corn Tortillas
refried beans
lettuce and chopped tomatoes

Simmer pork in chicken broth with onions, garlic and seasonings until

Remove meat from liquid and shred with fork.

Heat oil and soften corn tortillas. (not necessary if using homemade tortillas) Takes just a few seconds and drain on paper towels.

Let each person make up their own taco.

Spread a little of the refried beans on the tortilla, top with shredded
pork, cheese, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.. and enjoy.

Peppercorn Steak

Saturday Night's dinner.

Picked up a couple of New York Strips on my way to work Saturday Morning with the intention of grilling them for dinner. Decided though to just pan fry them and make a peppercorn cream sauce. Served with sauted mushrooms, fried potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Diner Food

Friday Night's Dinner

Dinner tonight was pure Diner Food. Hot Chicken Sandwiches with homemade fries. This is a favourite meal and one I can put together quickly when I get home from work. The chicken was roasted at 500°F and the potatoes fried after the chicken comes out of the oven. Gives the chicken time to rest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


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