Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bell Peppers Add Color and Flavor to Side Dishes

Red Bell peppers are a colorful and flavorful way to include a vegetable side in your next dinner recipe rotation. This recipe pairs the peppers with broccoli rabe, another interesting twist on the ordinary vegetable offerings.

Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Red Peppers
2 large red bell peppers
2 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe (about 3 large bunches), tough stems trimmed, tops and leaves coarsely chopped
pure, olive oil, as needed
Matt's Mix (or salt & pepper), as needed
Char peppers directly over grill or broil until blackened on all sides. Enclose peppers in a mixing bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. Peel and seed peppers, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips.

Working in batches, cook broccoli rabe in large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes per batch. Using large slotted spoon or strainer, transfer vegetables to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add broccoli rabe; toss until coated with oil and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper strips; toss to blend. Season with Matt's Mix (available at Joe's Produce) or salt and pepper and serve.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rediscover Brussels Sprouts

The Brussels sprout is a variety of wild cabbage that is named for the city in Belgium, but its origins are not believed to be from that area. Brussels sprouts can be a healthy and flavorful addition to any meal. High in fiber and vitamins, the sprouts have cancer-fighting nutrients like other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

A delicious and flavorful way to prepare Brussels Sprouts is to roast them with shallots and drizzle them with balsamic vinegar just before serving. I like to add pancetta or bacon to the recipe, but if you're trying to keep it "light", simply omit.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Bacon

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, quartered, washed well
2 shallots, minced

6 ounces pancetta, small dice (you can substitute Dearborn Bacon)

Good quality Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Matt's Mix (or salt & pepper) to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray. Toss the quartered Brussels sprouts with just enough pure olive oil or canola oil to coat. Sprinkle them with Matt's Mix and roast in the oven, until nicely caramelized, about 20 minutes.

While the sprouts are in the oven, pre-heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add pancetta and sauté until golden and crisp; remove meat from pan and set aside. Saute the shallots in some of the reserved pancetta or bacon fat (if you're planning to omit the pancetta or bacon, simply use a small amount of pure olive oil to saute the shallots).

Remove the sprouts from the oven and toss together with the bacon or pancetta (if you're using), and shallots. Taste and adjust seasoning with more seasoning mix, and a drizzle of GOOD balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

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