Some foods to always have prepared and ready.

Life at home (in the kitchen) is a continuum of preparing, enjoying and then replenishing. Yesterday I a batch of roasted, peeled and seeded red and yellow peppers, that I keep in the refrigerator to serve differently throughout the week. If you’re interested in learning more about peppers, in general, click here.

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You can watch the video of me roasting peppers in the “Learn the Basics” section of this website.

I also replenished a big bag of cleaned and cut up aromatics (leeks, onions, celery and carrots) in a doubled freezer bag (I use a 2 gallon size) and store this in the freezer so I can quickly flavor the liquid used to poach ribs, chicken, potatoes, etc.

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Remember to dry your vegetables as well as possible to help prevent the formation of ice crystals.

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Here (above) is a large batch of my balsamic vinaigrette. It’s fabulous as a marinade for boneless chicken, hanger (or skirt) steaks, whole fish-the list goes on.

 

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Here is a mixture that’s just indispensable and it’s ridiculously easy. Extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, freshly ground black pepper and lots of chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley. You can add other herbs–thyme, rosemary, fresh (or dried) oregano. I also usually add some crushed red pepper flakes.  I use it all week long. on foods like duck breasts.

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Here the top fat is closely scored just down to the meat (not through it). The fat is rubbed with salt and pepper.

The other side (the meat side) is brushed with this garlic-parsley mixture. So the fat-side gets slowly cooked over a low-medium flame (in a cast-iron skillet), occasionally dumping out excess fat. When all the fat has rendered and the skin is perfectly crisp, turn the breasts over and stick the pan under a hot broiler to cook the meat-side just until seared. Make sure to keep the meat medium rare.

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Below are grape tomatoes tossed with some of the garlic-parsley oil. Then they’ll get roasted at 450F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until blistered, tender but still maintaining their shape. Toss with some slivered basil leaves and, if you have them, dot the top with some small (halved) balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.

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And then there’s garlic toast–(swab slices of bread on one or both sides with the garlic-parsley mixture, then sprinkle one side only with freshly grated best-quality parmesan cheese. Broil on the cheese side, turn and broil on the second side. Turn back over so the cheese sides are facing up.

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These are just a few of the things I do in the kitchen, on a rotating basic, all for the purpose of being able to create delicious meals, at whim.

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