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Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin- My Version

December 5, 2016

My take on Julia Child’s classic… try it…

  • 2-3 pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup bacon, cut into a small dice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (10 oz) packs of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, zinfandel- any light red wine)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat a large Dutch oven with one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add the bacon bits and sauté on medium heat till the bits are golden brown. Take the bacon out and keep aside. Add the chicken pieces in two batches and brown on both side, sprinkling salt and pepper. Take the chicken pieces out and keep aside.
Reheat the pan and add one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté on high heat till they are golden brown- about 7 to 8 minutes. Take the mushrooms out and keep aside. Add the onions and garlic. Saute on medium high heat till the onions are soft and translucent- about 3-4 minutes. Add the fresh thyme and tomato paste. Saute for a minute and add the cognac. Scrape all the bits off the bottom and mix for 30 seconds and add the red wine and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil on high heat and add the chicken pieces. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Take out the two breast pieces after about 20 minutes and keep aside. Continue to cook the rest for another 30 minutes. Take out the chicken pieces with the breast pieces. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to about 2½ cups. In the meantime add the flour and oil to a small bowl. Mix well and add to the simmering sauce, whisking it in to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil. Taste for seasonings and add salt if needed. Add the mushrooms and chicken pieces. Top with the bacon bits and chopped parsley.
Serve on top of toasted baguette slices rubbed with fresh garlic. Serve with the same red wine you used for the sauce.

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Penne with Pesto and Mushrooms

Mushroom Penne with Pesto

December 4, 2016

A quick weeknight meal- ready in minutes and delicious!!

  • 20 ounces mushrooms, a mix of white and cremini, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ pound penne pasta
  • ½ cup pesto, store bought
  • Salt to taste

In a medium pan, bring salty water to a roaring boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the box directions.
In the meantime, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the pancetta. Saute till light brown on medium heat, for about 5 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic. Saute for another 3-4 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and cook on high heat stirring constantly. They will wilt down to almost half their size. Add the cooked pasta and the pesto. Turn the heat off, stir and check for salt.

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Spiced Fig Compote1

Spiced Fig Compote

November 21, 2016

This is a great appetizer for the big dinner… I always start with a simple cheese plate with a bowl of fig compote. I made this one with a bit of ground coriander and cayenne pepper. It gave it great flavor. I served it with a log of goat cheese and some delicious crackers. I also served a side of sweet spicy nuts.

  • 1 cup dried figs, sliced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Transfer the figs, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt, coriander and cayenne pepper into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium low heat for about 20 minutes till the figs are cooked down and the moisture has cooked away. Serve with cheese and crackers.

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Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Sauce

November 20, 2016

I am very proud of this recipe. I combined a bunch of peppers, garlic and onion and roasted them till they became soft and deliciously nutty. I then blended the veggies with cream and milk- I basically made a cream sauce to be used to make scalloped potatoes. I bought a reasonably priced mandolin. Usually they are quite expensive and not worth the money. They are handy to have around- as they make slicing the potatoes a cinch. I was done in no time. The whole dish took me hardly any time to make.

I would recommend making the cream sauce ahead of time if you are planning a big Thanksgiving dinner. You could even freeze the sauce and take it out a day ahead and assemble the potatoes the morning of and then bake them right before eating. They are simply delicious…

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 1 head of garlic with the top sliced off with a drizzle of olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the peppers, wrapped garlic and onion onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the peppers and onion with the oil and massage with fingers. Roast in oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until the peppers are charred on the outside. Let cool. Take the skin off the peppers and squeeze the garlic out of the skins.
Add the roasted vegetables into a blender with cream and milk. Blend till smooth and add salt. Keep aside. This can be made two days in advance.

  • 2 pounds red skinned potatoes, sliced thin about 1/8 inch
  • ½ cup queso fresco, shredded

Divide the potato slices into three batches. Add the first to the bottom of an ovenproof dish (9X9). Spread a quarter cup of green sauce. Repeat till you have the third and last bit of potatoes. Pour all of the sauce covering all the potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take the foil off and add the cheese. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or till the cheese is golden brown.

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Garam Masala & Cilantro Turkey Breast

Garam Masala and Cilantro Roast Turkey Breast

November 16, 2016

This was voted the best turkey we have ever made. I cooked this delicious turkey breast the same way I have been for the last few years. I like to make a compound butter for under the skin; I like to add bacon on top and I like to stuff the cavity with some citrus. I made the compound butter with garlic, lemon zest, garam masala and cilantro to keep with the Indian theme. It made the turkey super flavorful and delicious!

  • 1 8-9 pound turkey breast
  • ½ stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • Zest of two lemons, save the lemons for the cavity
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 to 4 bacon strips
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 large onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, skins on
  • 1 to 2 cups homemade turkey stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (preferably convection)

Mix the butter with the garlic, lemon zest, salt, garam masala and cilantro. Loosen the skin of the turkey breast and carefully spread the butter under the skin. Salt and pepper inside and outside of the turkey breast. Stuff the cavity with the lemon pieces. Place the bacon strips on top of the turkey breast and place on the stand.
Add the carrots, onion and garlic to the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the stock. Place the stand into the roasting pan. Let turkey sit for 2 to 3 hours before roasting in oven.
Roast in the oven till the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. Half way through the roasting process, take the bacon (when bacon is well done) off and continue cooking. Take out of oven onto a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. In the meantime strain the juices out of the roasting pan. Separate the fat and add the juices to the gravy pan.
Slice the turkey and serve with hot gravy.

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Roasted Garlic and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

November 15, 2016

This was a big hit! I added delicious roasted garlic, cilantro and green onions. I blended the aromatics with half and half and milk. I then added this delicious green sauce to the cooked potatoes. To make it even yummier, I added some grated cheese inside and on top. Everyone loved it!

1 large head of garlic, top trimmed, wrapped in aluminum foil, drizzled with olive oil

Roast the garlic in a 400 degrees F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool and squeeze the soft garlic out and keep aside.

  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Soft roasted garlic

Place the cilantro, green onions, half and half, olive oil, milk, salt and garlic in a blender. Blend till smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 3 pounds baby yellow potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup plus ½ cup shredded pepper cheese

Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer till soft. Drain and put through a food mill or potato ricer. Transfer the mashed potatoes back to the saucepan. Add the cilantro sauce and mix well. Add one cup shredded cheese and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with ½ cup cheese. Bake in oven covered for 30 minutes, take the aluminum foil off and bake for another 15 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Serve hot.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garam Masala

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garam Masala and Cilantro

November 14, 2016

These Brussels sprouts are very similar to the ones I have made in the past. I just changed up the spices a bit. I added garam masala to the mix. Cilantro finished the process and made this dish absolutely delicious!

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the sprouts onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, till the sprouts are golden brown. Take out and keep aside.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Salt
  • ½ cup cilantro

Heat a pan with the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook on medium heat till the fat is rendered. Add the walnuts and garam masala. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Add half and half and the roasted sprouts. Mix well and add salt if necessary. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

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