A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: March 2018

Greek-Style Salad with Crispy Chickpeas from Recipe Runner

Greek-Style Salad with Crispy Chickpeas from Recipe Runner

This salad has everything I love, so of course I had to make it. I pinned it from RecipeRunner.com, and you can find the recipe here. I made only minor changes this first time out, but I’ll make a few other changes the next time—and […]

Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

For the most part we try to go low-carb.  I like salty, crunchy things, and had tried some cheese crisps recently but they didn’t meet the need. I thought I would try again again with Parmesan, and they are a winner. I looked up a […]

Don’t call it Beef Bourguignon

Don’t call it Beef Bourguignon

A few weeks ago I took a package of stew meat out of the freezer, with no real thought about what exactly I wanted to do with it. But then started thinking that what I really wanted that day was my basic beef stew.

I’m no purist, I don’t always make my own spice mixes or cook everything from scratch–and my everyday beef stew uses the McCormick beef stew seasoning packet.

Imagine my disappointment when I realize I don’t have any packets in the pantry. I figured there would be some copycat recipe online, and started searching.

No such luck, but I did stumble across this recipe from All Day I Eat who explains that this is basically Julia Child’s beef bourguignon.

I had everything for the recipe except pearl onions, and, distracted from my original planned beef stew I ended up making this delicious stew instead.

You have every right to ask why, if I had to go to the store for the pearl onions, why not just pick up some of the seasoning packets? And I don’t have an answer for that, not really.

The blogger for the recipe I was working from talks about how Julia Child explains why each of the steps is necessary, and how it impacts the final dish.

And there are a LOT of steps in this beef stew. I need to go read Julia’s version to understand the whys.

I did cut the recipe in half, partly because while I had most of the ingredients, I didn’t have quite enough of each, and partly because we are just two people and it already made quite a lot of stew.  Technically speaking, I only partly cut it in half because I kept forgetting and put in the full amount of garlic and tomato paste as an example.  It didnt seem to matter, it tasted great in the end!

It started with browning bacon in a dutch oven,

removing the bacon, then browning the stew meat in batches so that the chunks browned rather than steamed as they would if you overcrowded the pan.

While all that browning was going on, I started slicing onion and dicing carrots, and combined the seasoned flour mix.

After the last batch of meat was removed from the pot, I softened the carrots and onions before adding back the beef and bacon.


After coating the meat and vegetables with the seasoned flour, the Dutch oven goes into the oven for a bit.

The next step in seasoning included a bay leaf, crushed garlic, tomato paste, and black pepper.

After removing the pot from the oven, I stirred in the tomato paste before adding the rest along with beef broth and red wine.

I can’t call this beef bourguignon because I didn’t have any burgundy, but what I did have was dry red wine.

Tyrannosaurus Red to be exact. Don’t judge. It tastes good. A Burgundy would probably make this a more robust flavor, but really, it tasted just fine.

I made a mistake here. While I had halved (most of) the ingredients, I didn’t think about halving the braising time in the oven. Luckily I decided to check it a little early, but it almost went over the edge into burnt territory.

Anyway, I put it into the oven to braise, and went grocery shopping because, of course, I needed those pearl onions.

Once back in the kitchen, I prepared the onions and the mushrooms.
And here were more steps–for the onions, the peeled onions were first browned in oil

then simmered in beef broth until the liquid was almost gone.

The mushrooms were cooked in butter until the liquid was gone.

I had removed the stew from the Dutch oven to one of my other (gorgeous All Clad) pots because I wanted to make sure that there weren’t any burnt bits.

To this I added the onions and mushrooms along with a little more beef broth as it had reduced a little too much (see above!) and let them simmer together a bit more.  I didn’t follow the instructions to strain the stew—I liked all the chunks and remember, there wasn’t much liquid left.

Would I make this again? Definitely. I would probably make the full recipe though, and just freeze any leftovers as I suspect it freezes well.

I’d approach the pearl onions differently too, trying the trick of parboiling before peeling them so that the skins slip off, rather than the laborious way I went about it.

The dry red wine was fine, I don’t think burgundy is a requirement to make this tasty.

Since I didn’t really track what I did here, and will need to go back to the original recipe myself next time I make it, I won’t re-write it here, just referring you to the link above instead.

Third Time’s the Charm Pound Cake

Third Time’s the Charm Pound Cake

The quest for the perfect pound cake recipe is over.  In case you were wondering, here it is! Third Time’s the Charm Pound Cake By weight: 1 lb high quality salted butter, softened 1 lb sugar 1 lb all purpose flour 1 lb eggs, beaten, […]

No Recipe Broccoli Cheddar Soup

No Recipe Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I made Broccoli Cheddar Soup this morning, and I didn’t use a recipe.  But it was really good, so I figure I ought to write down what I did. Olive oil 1 mild yellow onion, chopped 2-3 cups broccoli florets 3 cups chicken stock 1 […]

Coconut Chicken Curry in the Crockpot

Coconut Chicken Curry in the Crockpot

I came across a recipe on Pinterest billed as Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce.  I had all the ingredients, have been trying to use my Crockpot more, and love Basil Chicken, so decided to give it a try.

While it was delicious, and I plan on making it again, it doesn’t resemble what I think of as Basil Chicken (which for me is the spicy Thai dish) so I’m just calling it Coconut Chicken Curry.

To speed up things I got everything out the night before (except the chicken, I left that in the fridge!).  That morning I browned both sides of the chicken thighs, three at a time, removing them to a plate when done.

Meanwhile, I measured out the spices—curry, chili powder, salt, pepper—and dried basil leaves.

I poured two cans of coconut milk into the crock pot and whisked the milk to blend it, then added the herbs and spices.

And whisked that all together.

I also chopped one yellow onion, minced eight cloves of garlic, and seeded and finely chopped one jalapeno.

While the original recipe didn’t call for it, I was turning this into my recipe so with the chicken fat still hot in the pan I just sautéed the veggies for a few minutes until the fragrance of the garlic hit me, and then added the veggies to the crockpot.

Add the chicken, stir to coat, cover, and cook on low 6-8 hours.

The original recipe calls for removing the chicken, then adding ginger, and a cornstarch slurry, then cooking another 10 minutes before adding back in the chicken.  The ginger added a lot, but the slurry did nothing (didn’t thicken it or help emulsify it) so I won’t bother with that the next time.

This was really tasty.  I added some cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice when I ate it.  You can serve it with rice, cauliflower rice, whatever your pleasure.  I basically ate it as soup.

My version was based on a recipe from The Food Charlatan, found here.

Coconut Chicken Curry in the Crock Pot

6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 13.5 cans coconut milk

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed, finely chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon ginger paste or minced fresh ginger

Cilantro to garnish

Heat vegetable oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and brown 2-3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, add the coconut milk to the slower cooker.  I had 1 can of lite, and one regular, but may try using both lite next time.  Whisk the coconut milk until smooth, and then add the basil, salt, pepper, and curry.  I used Penzeys sweet curry powder.

Remove the chicken thighs to a plate after they are browned.  Lower the heat to medium and using the same pan, add the onion, garlic and jalapeño.  Sauté briefly, just until the fragrance of the garlic hits you.  30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the veggies to the coconut milk blend and mix well.  Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat.  Put the lid on, and cook 6-8 hours on low.

Remove the chicken thighs to a plate and let cool briefly.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of ginger paste or minced fresh ginger.  I used Garden Gourmet ginger paste, which I am more likely to have around and I like how well it blends.

Remove the chicken from the bone, shred it, and return to the slow cooker.  Cover and cook another ten minutes.

Top with cilantro when serving.  I ate it on its own, but certainly you can serve it over rice or cauliflower rice.