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Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

Aprons for Real Life with Matching Towels
Designed for real-life cooking, this Apron is just the thing for keeping everything a busy, 21st-century multi-tasking cook needs within reach at all times.
I Love to Cook: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Cookbook
Bring back the joy of cooking with Lauren's acclaimed second cookbook.
Lauren Groveman's Kitchen Cookbook
Makes homemade meals possible again with a comprehensive, inspiring book that reinvents cooking as a relaxing, creative, fulfilling activity for even the busiest people.

Basil Pesto

I make several versions of pesto (as is evident above)–this recipe is for the most noted form of pesto, made from fresh basil leaves.

For basil pesto:

  • 4 packed cups basil leaves (from 2 large very full bunches)
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup toasted pignoli nuts (toast in a preheated 350F oven until golden but not burnt, about 10 minutes, on a shallow baking sheet)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 scant cups olive oil (mix extra-virgin and pure olive oil), plus more for topping
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To assemble the pesto: Place the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and, using the pulsing button, chop the leaves until reduced in volume. (Depending on the size of your work-bowl, you might need to add half the amount of leaves at first and, when reduced, add the remaining leaves.) Add the garlic, nuts, red pepper flakes (if using) and 2 cups of olive oil and a generous amount of black pepper. Process until the pesto is finely chopped but still retains some texture. If not planning to freeze the pesto, add the cheese and salt to taste. Process just to combine. (See the end of this recipe for instructions on freezing pesto.)

Remove as much pesto as needed and, before storing the rest in the refrigerator, pour a generous layer of olive oil over the top. Keep pesto refrigerated in a well-sealed sturdy container. Bring the mixture to room temperature, before each use.

Timing is Everything:

• Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks if kept in a well-sealed container, completely covered with a layer of extra-virgin olive oil. To use, uncover and tilt the container to encourage the oil to run to one side. Scoop out the desired amount of pesto and bring it to room temperature. Cover the remaining pesto with more olive oil and return it to the refrigerator.

To freeze pesto: Combine all the ingredients, adding salt sparingly and omitting the cheese. If you’d like to use some now and freeze the rest, remove some pesto and add enough salt and cheese to suit your taste then place the rest in a container and cover it with a generous layer of olive oil. Add more salt and cheese after thawing. Pesto freezes beautifully for 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before using.

Comments (2)

The Best Barbecue Sauce

Special Equipment

  • Triple-mesh wire sieve
  • Sturdy rubber or wooden spatula

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups prepared ketchup
  • 2 cups (two 12-ounce bottles) prepared chili sauce (I use Heinz)
  • 1 generous cup Minced Yellow Onion
  • 8 large cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1/4 cup mild-flavored honey
  • 2 rounded tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 generous tablespoons “Better Than Bouillon” (beef version), available in well-stocked supermarkets
  • 1 or 2 fresh habanero peppers (also called Scotch Bonnets), or jalapenos, pierced several times with a fork, or 1 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) To assemble the sauce: Combine all the ingredients except the ground black pepper in a 2 1/2-quart, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan. Stir well to combine and place the pan over medium heat, with the cover ajar. Bring the mixture to a full simmer, stirring occasionally, and then turn the heat to low. Continue to simmer until the sauce is thickened and the color deepens considerably, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (see below). Uncover, stir in a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the sauce cool, uncovered, until just warm. If making a doubled or tripled amount, simmer the sauce for 45 minutes. (While cooling, lay a clean kitchen towel over pan to prevent debris from falling into the sauce.)

2) To strain the sauce: Pour the sauce through a triple-mesh wire sieve that’s positioned over another bowl and, using the flat edge of a sturdy rubber spatula, or a wooden spatula, force the sauce through, leaving the onions, garlic and peppers behind. Discard the solids, pour the sauce into jars, and affix their lids. Store the sauce in the refrigerator.

Timing is Everything
This sauce can be fully assembled and stored in the refrigerator for 6 months.

Watch the Video.

Comments (6)

Marinara Sauce (Three ways)

Special Equipment


Large pot, preferably with a built-in strainer (optional), for blanching tomatoes before peeling (only when making the sauce, using fresh tomatoes)

6-quart, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan with a lid (for fresh tomato sauce): Use a 4-quart saucepan for the Quick Variation and a 3-quart saucepan for the Ultra-Speedy Sauce

For the sauce

  • Five pounds ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes, or four 28-ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 cup chopped basil, prepared as needed
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
  • Strip of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1-inch wide by 4 inches long) (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) To peel and seed your tomatoes: Bring large pot of water to a rapid boil and, working in small batches, put some tomatoes into the water and count to ten. Remove them from the water and place in a large bowl. Use your thumbnail or a small paring knife to remove the stem end and cut the tomato in half through the waist. Squeeze the seeds out and coarsely chop the tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, use kitchen scissors to snip them in half and gently squeeze out the seeds. Snip them all into smallish irregular pieces.

2) To assemble the sauce and simmer: Heat a 6-quart nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is bubbling, stir in the flour. Let it bubble for about 15 seconds, then stir in the red pepper flakes, half the minced garlic, 1/2 cup chopped basil and the oregano. When fragrant (about 15 seconds), stir the chopped tomatoes, puree and tomato paste. When combined, push the cheese rind deep into sauce, if using, and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce gently, with the cover ajar, for 35 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, chopped basil and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

A heartier variation of the above
Use a food processor fitted with the steel blade, to finely chop 1 quartered medium yellow onion, 1 trimmed and sliced stalk of celery, 1 peeled and sliced medium carrot and 5 cloves chopped garlic. Increase the butter to 3 tablespoons and, together with the olive oil, gently sweat these vegetables, directly covered with a piece of greased wax paper for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and starting to soften. Discard the paper and stir in the flour, red pepper flakes and half the basil, as directed in the original recipe. Raise the heat to medium and cook for a minute or so, just to fully incorporate everything. Follow the remaining sauce instructions above.

A quick sauce variation
By just changing the type of tomatoes, you can have quicker version of marinara sauce that’s still great tasting. Heat a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half the minced garlic, basil and the red pepper flakes. When fragrant (about 10 seconds), add a 28-ounce can each of tomato puree and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a full simmer through the center, and then add two 28-ounces cans drained canned plum tomatoes, snipped into irregular pieces, using kitchen scissors. Bring back to a full simmer, and then reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce gently for 15 minutes with the cover ajar. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, the remaining garlic and the last dose of basil and simmer 5 minutes more.

An ultra-speedy version
When time feels nonexistent, substitute your favorite prepared marinara sauce for all of the tomatoes. Heat a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half the minced garlic, basil and the red pepper flakes. When fragrant (about 10 seconds), add about eight cups of your favorite prepared tomato or marinara sauce (I use four 15-ounce containers of the refrigerated Buitoni Marinara Sauce). Stir to combine, and then bring to a full bubble through the center. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes with the cover ajar. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, the remaining garlic and the last dose of basil and simmer 5 minutes more.

Timing is Everything
All of the marinara sauce variations can be stored, when cool, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for 3 months.

Watch the Video.

Comments (4)

Cream of Mushroom Soup Concentrate

Rich soup made from homemade concentrate

If you like that stuff in a can, you’ll love my homemade version of the following mushroom soup “concentrate.” Whether making soup or gravy, all you do is reconstitute the concentrate over gentle heat, with enough added liquid (stock, water, milk or light cream) until you’ve reached the desired consistency. When satisfied with the texture, bring up the temperature to piping hot, and you’re good to go. See my notes at the end of this recipe, about making a larger batch for freezing. So, now you can forget the can and truly taste the mushrooms!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool or a piece of equipment or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, go to Kitchen Management to get more information.

Store your concentrate in a tighly lidded container

Special Equipment

  • Heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan

For the mushroom soup concentrate:

  • 1 ½ cups dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated beef bouillon paste, like “Better than Bouillon” (optional)
  • 1 cup light cream or milk (even nonfat)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 10 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • To reconstitute: per 1 ½ cups of the assembled concentrate: Add about 1 cup of either stock or water (choose from vegetable, chicken, beef stock) or mix milk and stock

1. To reconstitute the dried mushrooms: Place the dried porcinis in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let the mushrooms reconstitute for 10 to 15 minutes, or until supple. Lift the now supple mushrooms out of the flavorful liquid and retain 1 generous cup of mushrooms and 1 strained cup of the liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and set them aside next to the reserved liquid. Save any remaining reconstituted mushrooms and liquid to use in another recipe.

2. To assemble the soup concentrate: Measure the cream or milk and pour ¼ cup of it into another small bowl. Stir the cornstarch into the smaller amount of milk and set it next to the reserved porcini liquid, for now. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan and, when hot and bubbling, add the shallots and chopped fresh mushrooms. Cook the vegetables over high heat until the shallots are softened, very fragrant, and the mushrooms give off their liquid. Stir the flour into the wet vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir the larger amount of milk into the pot along with the porcini liquid and chopped porcinis and bring the mixture to a brisk bubble, over medium heat. Stir in the bouillon paste, if using. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Give the cornstarch mixture a good stir and pour it into the pot. Stir the mixture as it comes to a simmer, add the thyme and let the soup base cook, stirring frequently, uncovered, for 5 minutes (the soup will become thicker and will take on a slight sheen). Season the soup base with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from the stove and pour into another bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the mushroom soup concentrate (to prevent a skin from forming), and let the mixture cool. Refrigerate or freeze for future use. If planning to freeze to use in a recipe that calls for “canned” mushroom soup, divide the concentrate into 1 ¼ cups increments, since that’s the size of a standard can.

3. To reconstitute the concentrate, to use as soup: To each cup of soup base, add 3/4 cup of any kind of stock or just use water. After reheating, if still too thick, add a bit more liquid (use stock, light cream, milk or water)

Timing is Everything

  • The mushroom soup concentrate can be made, cooled and stored in the refrigerator for 5 days, well covered. Alternatively, it can be frozen for 6 months. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently, but fully, adding as much stock, milk or water, as needed to reach the desired consistency.

About freezing the mushroom soup concentrate: If you make the concentrate and freeze it, don’t be concerned if, after thawing, it looks somewhat curdled. This will correct itself, once fully reheated. I would suggest, however, for the most homogenous texture, after thawing, when a recipe suggests that you use the canned soup “straight” (without liquid) you should stir the measured concentrate, over low heat, with a minimum of ¼ cup liquid (or even crème fraiche), until the texture evens out. And, for best color retention, I always add an extra dose of fresh thyme when reheating, since freezing seems to muddy its green color and quiet its delicate flavor.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated beef bouillon paste, like “Better than Bouillon” (optional)
  • 1 cup light cream or milk (even nonfat)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 10 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • To reconstitute: per 1 ½ cups of the assembled concentrate: Add about 1 cup of either stock or water (choose from vegetable, chicken, beef stock) or mix milk and stock

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Dried porcini mushrooms
  • Beef bouillon paste (optional)
  • Chicken or vegetable broth (only if not using homemade Chicken Stock)

From the produce section:

  • Button or cremini mushrooms
  • Shallot
  • Fresh thyme

From the dairy case:

  • Butter
  • Light cream or milk

From the spice section:

  • Salt
  • pepper

Comments (0)

Spiced Applesauce

This spiced, not-too-sweet version of a comforting old-time favorite is one of my children’s preferred accompaniments to dinner any time of the year. By far, Macintosh apples make the best applesauce, so they make up the majority of this mixture. But, because I prefer a textural applesauce, I add some coarsely chopped Golden Delicious apples, since they hold their shape better through cooking. If desired, Anjou or Bosc pears may be substituted for the Golden Delicious apples. Choose apples that are smooth, deeply colored and free of holes. And since they are cooked with their skins on, apples with a good amount of red will give the sauce a beautiful rosy color. The amount of sugar you’ll need will ultimately depend on the sweetness of the apples and on the type of apple juice you use. And, don’t worry about the brandy used to plump the raisins since, once it fully simmers, the alcohol will quickly evaporate and all that will be left is its wonderful flavor. If this concerns you, however, simply substitute apple juice or cider. This recipe makes a lot of applesauce, but, for me, that’s always been strategic since it keeps for up to three weeks in the refrigerator—though it rarely lasts that long!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Sturdy fruit wedge cutter (optional)
  • 8-quart non-reactive heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with lid
  • Medium-mesh wire strainer or food mill
  • Nutmeg grater
  • Four 1-quart jars or heavy-duty plastic containers with lids

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed light and dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (imported calvados or domestic applejack) or unsweetened apple juice, thawed apple juice concentrate or apple cider
  • 20 Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 5 Golden Delicious apples or Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 or 2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine table salt (about 1/3 teaspoon)

1) To macerate the raisins: Place raisins and brandy into a small saucepan and heat gently until brandy comes just to a full simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

2) To cook the Macintosh apples: Place unpeeled Macintosh apple wedges, 1 1/3 cups of the apple cider and the cinnamon stick(s) in an 8-quart nonreactive, heavy-bottomed pot and stir. Cover and bring the mixture to a full simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer the apples until very tender, stirring and mashing frequently, about 15 minutes.

3) To cook the Golden Delicious apples or pears: Place the coarsely chopped apples or pears and remaining 1/3 cup cider in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer (uncovered) and cook just until tender but still textural, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

4) To assemble the applesauce base: Position a medium-mesh wire strainer or a food mill over a large bowl. Transfer the contents of the large pot in batches to strainer or food mill and force apples through into the bowl, leaving the skins and any seeds behind. (A wooden spatula works perfectly when pushing apples through a strainer.) Discard skins and repeat with the remaining cooked apples. Stir in the sugar (to taste), cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and the macerated raisins, along with the brandy. Fold in the cooked chopped apples (along with any remaining juice). Cool the applesauce to room temperature, divide among three 1-quart jars or plastic containers and secure them with lids. The applesauce will keep perfectly for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

5) To serve: Enjoy the applesauce chilled, at room temperature or or slightly warmed.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the applesauce :

  • 1 cup mixed light and dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (imported calvados or domestic applejack) or unsweetened apple juice, thawed apple juice concentrate or apple cider
  • 20 Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 5 Golden Delicious apples or Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 or 2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine table salt (about 1/3 teaspoon)

From the supermarket shelf :

  • Dark and light raisins
  • Granulated or light brown sugar
  • Unsweetened apple juice (only if not using apple cider)
  • Pure vanilla extract

From the produce aisle :

  • 20 medium-large Macintosh apples (If possible, choose those with lots of red in their skins)
  • 5 Golden Delicious apples or Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

From the spice section:

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Nutmeg (preferably whole, but pre-ground nutmeg may be substituted)

From the refrigerator section:

  • Apple cider (if not using bottled apple juice)

From the frozen section:

  • Frozen apple juice concentrate (only if not using apple cider or apple juice)

From the spirits section:

  • Calvados or Apple Jack

Comments (4)

Rendered Chicken Fat

Jewish kosher cooking traditionally uses chicken fat (schmaltz) instead of butter when cooking meat, since mixing dairy and meat products is a definite no-no. Many markets sell tubs of rendered chicken fat. If so, buy a tub or two and, although it’s not essential, I always melt it down with minced yellow onions, to make it incredibly savory in both aroma and flavor.

If your market doesn’t sell chicken fat, each time you roast a chicken, pull any wads of fat out of the cavity and snip them into smallish pieces, using kitchen scissors, and store them in a doubled freezer bag. (Do this with any extra flaps of skin, as well, and add this to the bag.) When you’ve accumulated a stash of at least 2 cups, then render the fat down by cooking in a skillet with some minced yellow onion (over low heat) until all the fat has melted and becomes liquefied, the onions become golden and the pieces of skin become nice and crisp (called Gribenes).

Gribenes(cracklings) are bits of chicken skin that are fried crisp during the rendering process. These small, crunchy treats add intense flavor to breads and also make a delicious garnish for chopped chicken liver. (To add them to yeast breads, knead some crisp gribenes into the dough after the first full rise.)

Another way to obtain a flavorful version of rendered chicken fat is to make stock! After straining, and chilling the strained liquid, instead of throwing the congealed fat (that will have risen to the top of the liquid) away, spoon it into a tub and freeze it. Use as you would chicken fat rendered down with onions.

Comments (5)

Homemade Sweet Cream Butter

The only reason I attached one muscle to this recipe (considering all you really need is a good finger to turn on the food processor), is because you will need to really squeeze the butter, wrapped in a kitchen towel, to remove any excess liquid. This butter will, I trust, make you and yours very (very) happy… Enjoy. Oh, and to see a preview of me making fresh butter, click here.

Special Equipment:

Food processor or heavy-duty blender or mixer
Fine-mesh wire strainer
Decorating comb (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt

1. To prepare butter: Place cream and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or use a blender or heavy mixer). Whip cream until the pure butterfat separates from the milky whey, 4 to 7 minutes (this will take longer if not using a food processor). It’s finished when the mixture sounds very slushy as the liquid splashes against the sides of the bowl. When you stop the machine, the butter will be a separate mass surrounded by a shallow pool of milky liquid. Pour this mixture into a fine-mesh strainer and shake until most of the liquid has drained out. Fold a clean, strong cotton or linen kitchen towel in half and dump the butter onto the center. Gather the ends of the towel and firmly squeeze to remove any excess buttermilk.

2. To store: Transfer butter to an attractive 1-cup crock or ramekin and, using the towel, pat off any remaining beads of liquid. Brush the top with a decorative comb or the tines of a fork and, if desired, sprinkle the top lightly with Kosher or sea salt. Either use the butter immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. For best consistency, always bring butter close to room temperature before serving as a spread.

Variation :
Transfer the finished butter into the cleaned and dried bowl of the food processor; add a few tablespoons of your favorite preserves, process until smooth and spread on fresh biscuits or plain toast. Or, add to the butter a combination of chopped fresh or crumbled dried herbs, minced garlic, minced green onion, strained fresh lemon juice and chopped drained capers; serve on top of broiled fresh fish, grilled steak or chicken.

General Rule: When using best quality aromatic dried herbs, they are about three times as potent as fresh. Use 1 teaspoon of a fragrant dried and crumbled herb to 1 rounded tablespoon minced fresh.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Kosher or sea salt (optional)

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Fine table salt
  • Kosher or sea salt (optional)

From the dairy case:

  • Heavy cream

Watch the Video.

Comments (4)

Homemade Duck Sauce

This concoction is not only easy to make but it tastes way better than the stuff you find in the jar (no comparison…).

012

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peach or apricot preserves (or mix them both)
  • 4 ½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 generous teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1) To assemble the sauce and simmer: In a small non-reactive saucepan, whisk together all the listed ingredients, excluding the sesame oil. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the toasted sesame oil.

2) To finish the sauce and chill: transfer to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the mixture, so any large pieces of fruit are made smaller, but allowing the sauce to retain texture. Pour the sauce into a bowl and let it cool. Chill the sauce so it can thicken.

3) To serve: Bring close to room temperature before serving with Everything” Fried Chinese Noodles (see video).

Timing is Everything:
The duck sauce can be made 2 days ahead and leftovers are good for a few more days in the fridge (5 days total).


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1 cup peach or apricot preserves (or mix them both)
  • 4 ½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 generous teaspoon toasted sesame oil

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Peach and/or apricot preserves
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
  • Toasted sesame oil

From the produce aisle:

  • Fresh ginger
  • Scallions

Watch the Video.

Comments (3)

Homemade Applesauce

This smooth, spiced and not-too-sweet version of applesauce is just wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to potato pancakes. Macintosh apples make the best applesauce both, for their willingness to quickly surrender their texture and because of their rosy color, which gives the finished applesauce a beautiful pink hue. Leftover applesauce will stay great for up to three weeks in the refrigerator—although it won’t last that long!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information. And, I hope you’ll read my blog about what I learned, philosophically, after reflecting on a fabulous day of apple picking . You’ll also “see” how to make the best batch of applesauce I ever made.

Special Equipment

  • Sturdy fruit wedge cutter (optional)
  • 6 to 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid
  • Large medium-mesh wire strainer or food mill
  • Nutmeg grater
  • 3 pint-size or 1 quart and 1 pint-size jars with screw-top lids or heavy-duty plastic containers with lids

Ingredients:

  • 11 large Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1)To cook the apples: Place unpeeled apple wedges (including the cores) with the apple juice or cider and the cinnamon stick(s) in a 6-to 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir. Cover and bring the mixture to a full simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer the apples until very tender, stirring and mashing frequently, 15 to 20 minutes.

2)To assemble the applesauce: Position a medium-mesh wire strainer or a food mill over a large bowl. Transfer the cooked apples, in batches, to strainer or food mill and force through into the bowl beneath, leaving the skins, cinnamon sticks and any seeds behind. (A flat-edged wooden spatula works perfectly when pushing apples through a strainer.) Discard what’s left in strainer or food-mill and repeat with the remaining cooked apples. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Cool the applesauce to room temperature, divide among jars or plastic containers and secure them with lids. The applesauce will keep perfectly for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

3)To serve: Enjoy the applesauce chilled or slightly warmed.


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients:

Ingredients:

11 large Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried and each cut into 8 wedges
1 cup apple cider or another favorite brand of regular apple juice
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
1 scant teaspoon pure vanilla extract

From the produce aisle:
11 large Macintosh apples

From the supermarket shelf:
Granulated sugar
Pure vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks
Whole nutmeg (or use pre-ground nutmeg)

From the refrigerated section:
Apple cider (or use regular apple juice)

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients:

Ingredients:

11 large Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried and each cut into 8 wedges
1 cup apple cider or another favorite brand of regular apple juice
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/3 granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
1 scant teaspoon pure vanilla extract

From the produce aisle:
11 large Macintosh apples

From the supermarket shelf:
Granulated sugar
Pure vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks
Whole nutmeg (or use pre-ground nutmeg)

From the refrigerated section:
Apple cider (or use regular apple juice)

Comments (5)

Homemade Steak Sauce

The taste of commercially-prepared steak sauce is so assertive that no one in my family will go near it. But this easy sauce (based on my favorite chili sauce from Heinz) is just spicy enough and tastes so great that we even prefer it to ketchup on our burgers. When served just a little warm, the rich taste will enhance the most succulent cuts of steak and perk up the flavor of simple broiled or roast chicken. Also, a jar of this wonderful sauce makes a delectable house gift during barbecue season. Don’t hesitate to double or even triple the ingredients; the sauce can be refrigerated for up to two months.  

 

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment   

  • Small non-reactive saucepan

For the steak sauce:  

  • 2/3 cup bottled chili sauce (not Asian chili paste: look in the aisle with the ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. To assemble the sauce: Combine all ingredients (except the pepper) in a small non-reactive heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently (uncovered) until flavors have combined and mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Let cool to just warm or room temperature before serving.  

2. To store: Store any remaining sauce well covered in the refrigerator. Bring sauce to room temperature or warm slightly before serving.  


SHOPPING LIST  

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients  

For the steak sauce:  

  • 2/3 cup bottled chili sauce (not Asian chili paste: look in the aisle with the ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

From the supermarket shelf:  

  • Bottled chili sauce
  • Cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar (soft, not granulated)
  • Molasses
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Black pepper

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Garlic Confit With Cracked Pepper and Herbs

This is one recipe that I prepare every week (without fail) and use it almost every day. Whole garlic cloves, still in their papery skins, simmer away, at the barest bubble, in extra-virgin olive oil that’s laced with dried red pepper flakes, cracked black peppercorns, fresh basil and crumbled dried Herbs de Provence. If your stove doesn’t have a very low simmer mode, I suggest using a “flame-tamer” to protect the integrity of the oil. You might need to adjust the timing a bit. I use the oil to brush on meat, fish, poultry and vegetables before (and even after) grilling, roasting or pan-searing. I also serve the garlic-scented oil with the tender nuggets of cooked garlic (still in their skins) in small bowls, at the table. We squeeze out the garlic meat onto slices of crusty bread, and drizzle some of the oil on top and finish it off with a light sprinkle of coarse salt.

I hope you love this condiment as much as we do, and remember, any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

For garlic confit:

  • 3 or 4 whole heads garlic, broken into individual cloves but not peeled (remove any excess papery skins)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 rounded teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • large sprig of fresh basil (with stem attached)
  • Pinch dried Herbs de Provence, crumbled (optional)

1. To simmer the garlic cloves: Place them in a 1-1/2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and add enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover the cloves by 1 inch. Crack open black peppercorns, using either a mortar and pestle or, lay the peppercorns on a sturdy work surface and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. Give the peppercorns several swift whacks, until most are split open. Add the cracked pepper and dried pepper flakes, if using, to the oil and place the pan over very low heat.

After about 5 minutes, you’ll see the oil begin to bubble. Let the oil and garlic simmer extremely gently for 10 minutes, uncovered. Don’t let the oil simmer too briskly or the garlic might burst and actually jump out of the pan (I once found a few cloves clinging to my kitchen ceiling!) Add the basil sprig and let cook for another 5 minutes (Again, the word “cook” seems too aggressive should only barely move.) Add the Herbs de Provence, if using and remove from the stove.

2. To cool and store: Let the garlic confit cool and then remove the basil. After you’ve used what you need for that day, store the rest in the refrigerator, in tightly covered jar, to use throughout the week. For best flavor and ease of use, bring the oil to room temperature, before using.

SHOPPING LIST

TO MARKET, TO MARKET FOR GARLIC CONFIT

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For garlic confit:

  • 2 whole heads garlic (or more), broken into individual cloves but not peeled (remove any excess papery skins)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 rounded teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Pinch dried Herbs de Provence, crumbled (optional)

From the produce section:

  • Whole heads garlic (Buy several, making sure that the heads feel meaty with cloves that are full and plump. Avoid those with dry, puckered papery skins or green spouts, since this indicates old age.)
  • Fresh basil

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

From the spice section:

  • Herbs de Provence (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Whole black peppercorns (optional)

Watch the Video.

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Clarified Butter

Clarified butter (also known as “drawn” butter or as ghee in Indian cooking), is used both as a dipping sauce and for frying at high temperatures without burning. The clarifying process of slowly melting and straining butter removes the thin, milky nonfat substances that burn easily. After melting, these nonfat substances will eventually separate from the pure, vibrant yellow butterfat. It’s preferable to clarify butter before using it as a dipping sauce, because the milk solids detract from the aesthetic clarity or eye appeal of melted butter when serving. Conveniently, since these milky proteins are what make whole butter more susceptible to spoilage, removing them enables clarified butter to be kept successfully for many months in the refrigerator. Despite the fact that clarified butter is very handy for certain cooking tasks, its flavor is not as rich as full butter and therefore is not recommended as a substitute when baking.

To clarify butter: Melt 1 or more sticks of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably with a spout) over low heat until totally liquid. Remove from heat and let butter settle for 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh skimmer or a small spoon, remove the white foamy substance that sits on top of the butterfat. When no milky solids remain on top, pour the pure, vibrant yellow butterfat through the fine-mesh skimmer or a fine-mesh sieve into a container, leaving any milky nonfat residue behind. Store in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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Bread and Butter Pickles, with Onions, Peppers and Garlic

These jars are filled with a fabulous pickled vegetable mixture that we just love. And, in addition to making a wonderful gift, “put up” foods are also a great way to, at whim, revisit some delicious summertime memories. If making pickles and canning is new to you, I highly suggest that you read my blog (will be posted very soon), which has many clarifying photos. If you can’t find the canning equipment in well-stocked hardware stores, go to this online source. I also suggest you read this recipe in it’s entirety, twice, before getting started so you have a clear understanding of the ingredients needed and of the order of steps in the pickle-making procedure.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management or Knowledge is Power for more information.

Special Equipment:

  • Large canning pot with lid removable rack
  • Crinkle cutter (optional)
  • Wide mouth funnel
  • Canning tongs
  • Quart and/or pint size jars with un-used discs and screw-top bands
  • 10-quart nonreactive, heavy-bottomed pot
  • Large ladle
  • Thin, heat-proof rubber spatula
  • Labels

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds firm Kirby cucumbers, washed, round ends removed and the rest sliced 1/3 to ½-inch thick (you want 3 generous quarts sliced cucumbers)
  • 4 to 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt (if unavailable, use kosher salt, adding 2 tablespoons) for the cucumbers, plus more for the peppers (see below)
  • 3 large red peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt (or 1/4 cup kosher salt), for the peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

To set up: Place the canning rack inside a large canning pot and fill with cold water. Turn on the heat and, once the water boils, reduce the heat so the water maintains a simmer until needed. Run clean quart and/or pint jars through the dishwasher and leave them inside until ready. Or, using canning tongs, lower the jars in the pot of water, upened side up, after it comes to a boil. If so, bring the water back to a boil, after adding the jars, and turn the pot to a simmer until needed. Fill a 4-quart pot, half full, with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add the screw top discs and bands and also stick in your ladle. Maintain a below-simmering status. (While the water is heating in both pots, you’ll be working with the vegetables.) In a separate pan of simmering water, steep the top to the jars (the discs and screw top bands). Add to the water, the bowl-end of a ladle , a thin heat-proof rubber spatula and also the rubberized ends of canning tongs. Make sure your wide-mouth funnel is very clean.

To salt and soak the vegetables: In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the sliced cucumbers, garlic, onions and 1/2 cup pickling salt. Mix well with your hands and allow the vegetables to stand for 1 hour. Then, cover the mixture with cold water and let stand, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile (just after adding the water to the vegetables), in a separate nonreactive bowl, combine the sliced peppers with 3 tablespoons pickling salt and let stand for 45 minutes. Cover the peppers with cold water and let them stand for 45 minutes. (All of the vegetables will be ready to proceed at the same time. ) Swish the vegetables around with your hands, then drain both in a colander, shaking well but do not rinse.

To pickle the vegetables: In a 10-quart, nonreactive pot, whisk together the vinegar, water, mustard seeds, celery seed, turmeric and sugar and bring this to a boil. Add all the drained vegetables to the boiling liquid and stir well to combine. Bring the liquid back to a boil at the center, stirring occasionally to make sure it’s all very hot.

To set up to process vegetables: Place a large, wire cooling rack on your counter. Place a clean kitchen towel over the rack. Lay another towel to one side of the prepared rack and lay the drained discs. If the jars are in the simmering water, use canning tons to carefully remove them, draining them completely. If in the dishwasher, simply remove them and place them on the towel (remember, the jars should be very warm to hot before being filled.) Place the jars, opened end down (for now), on the towel. Bring the water in the canner back up to a boil, then invert the jars, open ends up. Using the sterilized ladle, transfer the hot vegetables into the jars. Ladle the pickling liquid into each jar, dividing evenly, so the jars are filled (leaving 1/2-inch of headroom at the top). Take the sterilized rubber spatula and run it down the side of the filled jar to remove any air pockets from within. Immediately place the drained disc on top of the jar and screw on the band–not too tight! (If using any other type of tops on your jars, sterilize and apply to jars following the manufacturer’s instructions).

To process the jars: Uncover the pot of boiling water and, using canning tongs, carefully lower the jars (one at a time) into the pot and onto the rack. After all the jars have been added, they should all be covered by at least 1-inch of boiling water. Cover the pot and, when you see steam escaping from under the lid, begin timing. Process the jars for 10 minutes, once you see steam. (The heat should be high when processing. If, however, the pot begins to spit water from under the lid, reduce the heat a bit to help to calm things down. The water should, though, always produce rapid bubbles.)

After processing: While the vegetables are being processed, clean up the area where you filled the jars. Replace the towel on the rack so everything is, once again, very clean. After 10 minutes in the boiling water, uncover the pot and turn off the heat. Using canning tongs, lift the jars out of the water and bring them to the towel lined rack. (It’s a good idea to, while using your working hand to secure the top of the jar with tongs, hold a folded towel in the other hand and rest the jar on the towel as you walk to the rack.) Stand the jars, right side up, on the towel-lined rack and let them cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Soon after removing the jars, you should hear a series of audible “pings” indicating that the seals on each jar are secure. (You won’t always hear this, though. Most important is that the tops of the jars are not bulging but are, somewhat concave.) Place the cooled jars it in a dark cool place for 1 month before serving. If done properly, the jars will keep for 1 year or longer.

Safety note: If when you open a jar you see a foaming substance or smell a foul odor or if the lid is bulging before opening, do not taste it to see if it is alright…. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!!

SHOPPING LIST for Bread and Butter Pickles with Onions, Peppers and Garlic

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds firm Kirby cucumbers, washed, round ends removed and the rest sliced 1/3 to ½-inch thick (you want 3 generous quarts sliced cucumbers)
  • 4 to 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt (if unavailable, use kosher salt, adding 2 tablespoons) for the cucumbers, plus more for the peppers (see below)
  • 3 large red peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt (or 1/4 cup kosher salt), for the peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

From the vegetable market:

  • 5 pounds Kirby cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Yellow onions
  • Red bell peppers

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Yellow mustard seed
  • Turmeric
  • Granulated sugar

From the specialty market:

  • Pickling salt (use Kosher salt as a substitute)

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