Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Favorite Cookbook - Now in English!


I have often written about my French mother-in-law, Loulou who has taught me many secrets known to the French and little known to others.  I have also referred to how much I have learned from many of the French chefs with whom we are friends and with whom I have had the enormous privilege of cooking. But the truth be known, the person who has taught me the most about French cooking is someone I have never met - a certain Evelyn Sainte-Ange.

First published in 1927, La Bonne Cuisine De Madame Saint-Ange is the “bible” of French cooking technique, and is found on most kitchen shelves in France. A housewife and a professional chef, she wrote in a highly instructive style, explaining in extraordinary detail the proper way to cook just about everything. During my years in France I used this cookbook to learn how to make many of the French classics and especially on how to cook game (Gerard is an avid hunter!). Among the students of her technique was Julia Child herself whose recipes were often influenced as much by Saint-Ange as they were by the famous Parisian “Le Cordon Blue Cooking School”. 

For years, I struggled through the long texts in French, learning as much about the language as I did about the cuisine. I used the book so often that after 20 years it was so smudged with cooking stains that I was forced to buy a second copy – which by the way has by now also seen better days.

I learned that it had recently been translated into English and I immediately bought myself a copy. I am thrilled! Over 1300 recipes explained in detail. A number of people close to me will be receiving this for Christmas (including my two daughters!!  If you are interested in French cooking or know someone who is - this is a treasure. 

Maria’s Bouillabaisse

(Seafood Stew from the port of Marseilles with various kinds of cooked fish and shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron.)
Once a week I get together with a group of female friends for an afternoon of bridge, scrabble and / or mahjong depending on who shows up. But mostly we take turns trying to impress one another with our cooking prowess and have an excuse to eat and drink some wine together. Last week – Maria won hands down with her Bouillabaisse.  I arrived early enough to help her put it together so I feel qualified to share her recipe which is for 8 people.

2 leeks white part only sliced 1/8 inch or so thick
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 jalapeno (remove half of the seeds)
1 onion chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
rind of 1 orange julienned
1 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of fish stock
1 1/2 lb catfish or monk fish cut into 2 inch chunks
1 lb sea scallops
24 little neck clams (soaked in cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour for 15 minutes to get the sand out)
1 lb cleaned shrimp

2 potatoes (boiled and peeled)
4 gloves of garlic (minced)
½ red bell pepper and 1 jalapeno (boiled for three minutes, drained and chopped).

Two baguettes warmed in the oven.

Sauté the leeks, garlic, onion and jalapeno, in 3 tablespoons of olive oil slowly over medium/low flame until soft (15 minutes) Add fennel seeds, orange rind, cook for another 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and stock.
Cook for 20 minutes. This can be made several hours prior to serving but you will need to reheat the soup base before continuing. 20 minutes before serving add the clams set timer for 5 minutes then add the rest of the seafood. Cook another 5-6 minutes

Use a potato ricer to crush the potatoes, garlic, red pepper and jalapeno together to make the “Rouille” which is served in a small bowl next to the stew.

Serve the stew in large bowls with pieces of the warm baguette.  Pass the Rouille so each can add 1-2 tablespoons to their bowls.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Boeuf Aux Carottes (Beef Braised with Carrots)

Much of this recipe has been inspired from a dish made by Guy Savoy, one of the world’s best chefs.  (Recipe is for 8 people) and really not as difficult as it looks. It is delicious made with ordinary chuck, but if you feel like splurging for Wagyu chuck, it will melt in your mouth!

4 lbs of chuck (beef)
cut into 8 pieces per pound
16 nice carrots
4 onions

4 cloves
2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
½ cup of butter
2 bottles of red wine
2 quarts of veal stock
2 branches of thyme
4 bay leaves
4 branches of celery
4 branches of flat parsley
12 grains of white pepper
12 grains of black pepper
3 tablespoons of kosher salt


24 hours in advance
Peel 3 of the carrots and cut them in half
Peel and cut the onions in half and put a clove in half of them, cut the others in halves again.
Melt half of the butter and all of the grape seed oil in a large braising pot. Brown the meat. Add the carrots and quartered onions (not the ones with the cloves) and allow to brown for about 3-4 minutes. Add the red wine scraping the bottom of the pot to release the juices of any meat or vegetables that have stuck to the bottom and allow the liquid to reduce to two thirds. Add the veal stock, celery, thyme, parsley, two of the bay leaves, the onions with the cloves, the pepper grains, and the kosher salt. Cover and braise on a low flame for 2½. Allow to cool and refrigerate over night.

Two hours before serving
Remove meat from the refrigerator and scrape off the yellow fat that has congealed at the top of the liquid.
Slowly heat the casserole to a simmer. When warm, take out the meat and pass the sauce through a fine strainer and then reduce it. If it is not thickened, remove half of it and continue to reduce. Take a ¼ cup of the warm sauce and mix with a tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch and when dissolved add to the sauce. Stir well and allow to reduce. Slowly ladle the remainder of the sauce into the reducing sauce and it will stay thick.
Boil salted water in another casserole and add the remaining bay leaves. Peel and slice into rounds the rest of the carrots. Add the carrot slices to the boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until cooked but still crispy. Refresh the cooked carrots in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Just before serving
Add the carrots to the warm sauce. Remove and keep warm. Put the meat back in the casserole to warm. Plate on warm dishes by first setting down a layer of the carrots and top with 3-4 pieces of meat and some sauce.

Serve with boiled potatoes (Fingerlings or Yukon gold babies) or mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pear & Almond Tart

(Tarte Bourdaloue)
This is a very festive traditional French tart that is delicious when pears are in season. I made it for   Thanksgiving but it is also great for Christmas or New Years.

1 Pillsbury Pie Crust
 6-7 medium size firm but not hard pears (Anjou or Bartlett)
 juice of 1 lemon
 ¾ cups granulated sugar
 1 cup (5 oz of blanched almonds (ground to a fine powder in a food processor or blender)
 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
 2 oz ( ½ stick) of unsalted butter (melted)
 2 tablespoons of dark rum (or cognac or bourbon)
 ¼ teaspoon of almond extract
 1 cup of apricot preserves (or jam)

The pastry can be homemade, but I use the store bought Pillsbury pie crust. I shape it into a greased pie pan with a removable bottom. Once the crust is shaped into the pan, I poke holes with a fork in five or six places and then freeze it for at least 15 minutes but can be as much as a week or two.

Preheat oven to 375F
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights if you have them). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes (not on a cookie sheet- directly on the rack or the bottom will not bake properly). Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes until the pastry is lightly colored. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.

 In a small bowl, beat egg and extra yolk and stir in the almond extract, 1 tablespoon of the rum, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, melted butter, and the ground almonds. Set aside and prepare the pears.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise. Peel and core them (Take out the center stem and pits)

Spread the almond cream filling evenly in the baked pastry shell. Place the pear halves flat side down into the cream with the wide side near the edge and the narrow side towards the center. Place a small trimmed round pear or fan some slices to fill the center. Brush some lemon juice over the pears and sprinkle some sugar on the pie. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes and turn down to 350 for another 25-30 minutes.

After the tart has been baking for 30 minutes prepare the glaze by mixing the apricot jam and the other tablespoon of rum in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. About 8-10 minutes before the pie is done, brush the apricot glaze over the pears and the almond cream and return to the oven for three minutes. This will give it the golden brown color.

Cool on a rack and when ready gently slip a knife between the crust and the pan sides to ensure that it is not sticking and place your hand on flatly under the pie allowing the side your slip down your arm. Place the pie with the false bottom on the serving plate for a lovely presentation. 

Turkey Pot Pie

After you have eaten the turkey and the next day’s turkey sandwiches, here is my favorite meal with the bits of t turkey still left over:

•  1 package of Pillsbury Pie Dough (or you can make your own)
•  4 tablespoons butter, divided
•  1 small onion, minced
•  2 stalks celery, chopped
•  2 carrots, diced
•  3 tablespoons fresh parsley
•  2 cups chicken or turkey stock
•  3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
•  1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
•  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•  1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10 inch pie pan, and freeze (for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours)
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots. Season with sat   and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the bouillon and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.
In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour. Slowly add the milk stirring to make a béchamel sauce. Add the cubes of turkey. Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened.
Cool slightly, then pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of filling.
Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

I often like to do this individual ramekins, which makes the baking time shorter – but the rest of the recipe holds up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Roast Your Turkey

My first Thanksgiving in France, I invited about 14 people and went to the local butcher and ordered a full 3 weeks in advance a 22 lb. turkey. I was baffled that Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I went to pick it up and the butcher told me with a smile that he could not get a 20 lb. bird, so he had gotten me two ten pounders instead! Shocked and dismayed at how to get two turkeys into my oven at the same time and how and why to do twice the work for half the impression, I might have gone into a state of depression, but I had too much work to do! I quickly found someone to lend me a rotisserie (of course, in France you can find anything you need for cooking) and cooked one in that and the other in the oven. And much to my great surprise, these turkeys were moist and succulent as no large bird had ever been. That was my first lesson in cooking large poultry. The dirty secret is that dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, and the bigger the bird the bigger the difference in timing required. I have since learned other ways to turn out moist white meat without overdoing the dark meat.  I have combined a couple of them to ensure the best roasted turkey. (Some people like to brine the turkey first – I do not. I find it transforms the texture and the taste in a way I do not favor.) Try this!

Selecting your bird
Fresh, free-range, naturally raised without hormones or antibiotics is a must, Heritage is a plus. Local is obvious. Weights are according to the number of portions below.
12-15 lb. turkey for 10-12 people
15-18 lb. turkey  for 14-16 people  
18-22 lb. turkey for 20 - 22 people 

Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 - 8 lbs.
2½ - 3 hrs.
8 - 12 lbs.
3½ - 4 hrs.
12 - 16 lbs.
4 - 5 hrs.
16 - 20 lbs.
5 - 5½ hrs.
20 - 24 lbs.
5½ - 6 hrs.
Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 - 8 lbs.
3 - 3½  hrs.
8 - 12 lbs.
3½ - 4½ hrs.
12 - 16 lbs.
4½ - 5½ hrs.
16 - 20 lbs.
5½ - 6 hrs.
20 - 24 lbs.
6 - 6½ hrs.

Before roasting

You need to decide whether or not to stuff the bird. I prefer not to, because as you can see from the above chart it increases the required roasting chart further exacerbating the problem of potentially overcooking and drying out the white meat. If you want stuffing, it can be made in a separate dish in the oven and be just, if not more, delicious.

Bring the turkey to room temperature. Rinse the outside and cavities of the bird under cold, running water. Cut away and discard any fat remaining on the bird. Place the turkey on several layers of paper towels to drain. Using additional paper towels, pat the outside and cavities dry. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey. Sprinkle cavity liberally with salt and pepper. For flavor, put a half a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery inside the turkey. Cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuffing doesn't easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity by stitching or lacing butcher string around metal skewers. Make sure that the turkey's legs are tied together, held close to the body, and tie a string around the turkey body to hold the wings in close. Rub melted butter all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt generously all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle pepper over the turkey.

Place a cheese cloth soaked in melted butter. Every 15 minutes baste with turkey or chicken stock in which you have boiled the turkey neck, gizzard, an onion, stalk of celery and carrot. When the cheese cloth gets brown, remove and change for another cheese cloth soaked in butter – until one hour before roasting time is finished. Remove the cloth and allow to brown. Allow turkey to rest 20 – 30 minutes outside the oven with some aluminum foil loosely draped over it before carving. This will allow the juices to settle in the meat and keep warm without much further cooking.

Making the gravy
While turkey is resting, scrape all the drippings off of the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour drippings into a smaller skillet. Ladle off excess fat with a gravy spoon. In a separate small bowl take a quarter cup of corn starch and add just enough hot liquid from the drippings (or hot water) to dissolve the corn starch. Beat cornstarch with a spoon to remove lumps. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the drippings, stirring constantly. You may not end up using all of the cornstarch mixture. Only add as much as you need to get the desired thickness. Allow time for the cornstarch to thicken the gravy. Add salt, pepper, and fresh thyme,. 

Carving the turkey
(The cook should hand these instructions to someone else to carve while he or she is finishing up all of the sides and the gravy)  After the turkey has been allowed to "rest" for 20–30 minutes place it on the cutting board. Remove the leg on one side and place it on a pre-warmed platter. Steady the turkey with your big carving fork and use your knife to slice between the leg and the body of the turkey. Use the tip of the knife to probe the area just above thigh to find the joint that connects the leg to the turkey. That's the magic slice point. Once you find the joint, cut it firmly but smoothly. It will cut through with relative ease but if not, make sure you are not trying to cut through bone. Separate the thigh from the drumstick by cutting through the joint that connects them. The thigh is simple to carve—just slice the meat parallel to the bone. Leave the drumsticks intact because many people like them that way. Before you attempt to carve the breast you need to cut off the wings. Much same way you did the legs. Find the joint near the turkey's body and cut through the magic slice point. You can cut the breast one slice at a time away from the bird but it is easier to do as the restaurants do which is cutting the entire breast away from the bird and then slicing it into pieces, stacking the slices as neatly as possible on the warm serving platter. Repeat on the other side of the bird. Serve immediately!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

Most of us think of pumpkin as purely decorative and few actually eat the delicious squash meat inside. Here is one of my favorite pumpkin recipes that I learned when living in France. Once, I even cleaned the pumpkin shell and served the hot soup in it ! Much work but very impressive.

Pumpkin Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 lb of fresh pumpkin (cleaned no seeds, no strings-cut into cubes )
1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
3 cups chicken stock or canned broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
chopped parsley to garnish
1 cup half-and-half
Grated Gruyère, Emmenthal or Swiss Cheese

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Process the mixture in a food mill or mash. Return to the pot, add the half-and-half, and heat slowly. Add more salt if needed. Sprinkle with parsley. Add grated cheese and serve hot with crusty French bread. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warm Lobster Salad

Inspired by Eric Ripert’s (Le Bernardin) recipe, this warm lobster salad is a sure thing to impress guests. Lobster is always respected, and the convenience of being able to do most of the work hours ahead of time is very precious when entertaining.  

If serving as an appetizer, plan on one half lobster per person. If it is a main course, use a lobster per person.
(for 8 people)
4 One Pound Lobsters (alive!)
1 cup Lobster or Seafood Stock
8 cups of Mixed Baby Greens (mesclun, arugala, frisee, spinach, etc).washed and dried
Salt & Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Shallot peeled and diced
For the Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
1½ tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar
1½ tablespoon of Sherry Wine Vinegar
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
¼ cup of corn oil

Killing the Lobsters
Ask your fishmonger to kill the lobsters and cut them for you (you want the tails and the claws). If you must buy them a day in advance, get them live, place in the refrigerator overnight and do the slaughtering yourself. Place the live lobster on a cutting board holding it firmly with your left hand (if you are right handed) where the tail meets the head. With your other hand hold a large knife vertically over the lobster, with the tip at the point where the vertical and horizontal crease in the lobster head intersect. Quickly thrust the knife straight through the head until the tip touches the cutting board then cut through the head. The lobster will die immediately, though it may still move..
Poaching the Lobster.
Twist off the claws and the tails. (You may save the head and legs to make or improve a stock.). Run a skewer through the meat of the tail to keep it straight during cooking and wrap the tail tightly in plastic wrap. Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large wide pot. Place the lobster tail (in the plastic) into the boiling water. Two minutes later add the claws and poach for 4 more minutes.  Drain and cool and then shell the meat.  Cut the tails in half lengthwise and the claw meat in ¼ inch strips. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate the meat.
Preparing the Sauce
In a saucepan over high heat bring the stock to a boil, lower heat to medium and allow to simmer until it reduces to 1/3 cup.(about 10 minutes). Put sauce in a bowl and allow to cool. Make ½ cup of vinaigrette by whisking together the mustard, salt and pepper and vinegars. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the oils. When done drizzle  vinaigrette to the cooled reduced stock, whisking to ensure that it emulsifies. . Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Up to this point everything can be done early in the day. Just before serving pull it together:

Preheat oven to 500F. 
Put the salad greens in a bowl and toss with the shallot, tarragon, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add 6 tablespoons of the sauce and toss again. Spread the lobster on a cookie sheet, drizzle some of the remaining sauce on each peace and place in the hot oven until it is warmed through (about 1 minute). Plate the salads and  lobster garnish and serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pheasant Braised with Apples & Bacon

Sitting on my deck soaking in autumn’s last rays of sun, I hear the shots of hunters seeking game and wonder how many of them actually know how to cook and enjoy eating the meat. As a cook who has cleaned, prepped, cooked and eaten many a game, I can tell you that I am thrilled when my husband brings home duck, woodcock, partridge, or other small birds – but pheasant was always a challenge for me. As much as he hates it when I say it - I always preferred a good chicken to a pheasant which is usually drier and often too subtle in flavor. Until my French mother-in-law showed me her favorite recipe for pheasant, and now I make it happily.
Last week, Gerard went hunting with Michel Jean (of Stissing House) and his brother Alain. They brought home a few pheasants (the prized hens which are far more tender than the cock) and I was charged with cooking them. (Alain plucked and cleaned then for me – thank you Alain!). And I followed Lou Lou’s recipe. Patricia Jean joined us for dinner and we all loved it - so I thought I would share it with you today.
Braised Pheasant
for 4-5 people
2 Pheasant Hens
12 slices of bacon (Preferably Apple Smoked)
1 cup of Calvados (Apple Brandy)
1 cup of Chicken Stock
5 Golden Delicious Apples
½ cup of Crème Fraiche (or Heavy Cream)
2 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 350F.
Peel and core the apples. Slice each into 4-5 thick round slices.
Salt and pepper the interiors of the pheasants. Wrap them in the bacon and tie each of them with string so the bacon stays in place. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and brown all sides of the pheasants in the butter. Take them out and add the Calvados, scraping the bottom of the pan as the brandy reduces. Add the chicken stock and place the apples in the liquid with the pheasants on top of the apples. Cover and place in the oven for about one hour.
After they are cooked, turn off the oven and leave the pheasants in the casserole with the lid on until you are ready to serve.
When ready, check that the pheasants are still warm (if not reheat on top of the stove for a few minutes). Remove the pheasants and have someone cut them up and/or carve them while you work on the sauce.(If you have to do double duty it is possible but a bit hectic).  Reserve the bacon.  Place the pheasants on a preheated serving dish. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon so that the liquid drains back into the pot (squeeze it so all of the liquid comes out). Remove half of the juices and reduce the remaining juices on a high flame. It should thicken, but if it does not add a teaspoon of arrowroot mixed with a tablespoon of the juices to the boiling juice and it will thicken. Then slowly add back the juices you removed a bit at a time. Meanwhile, chop up the bacon and mix with the apples sauce and serve as an accompaniment.(This is delicious!!! Imagine apple sauce made with pheasant and apply brandy and bacon bits- what could be bad?) When sauce in the pot is sufficiently thick , add the cream and spoon some over the pheasant serving the rest in a gravy boat on the side.
New Potatoes
With this dish I prepared 3-4 small white new potatoes per person. In the afternoon I rinsed and boiled them until they were cooked. I let them cool off and easily removed their skins. I then browned them slowly in butter on a low flame with salt and pepper and sprinkled them with parsley just before serving. They were delicious - especially when dipped in the sauce.

The Wines We Drank
Definetly my recommendation with this dish is to choose a Rhone Valley wine – 100% syrah. For our dinner with the Jeans I opened a 2009 Crozes Hermitage Les Fees Brunes and a Cornas Terre Brulées from Jean Luc Colombo. Le Cornas, superbly rich and spicy was a bit too strong while the Crozes Hermitage enhanced the delicate savours of the pheasant. So I served the Crozes Hermitage first and saved the La Cornas for the cheese course. If your favorite wine shop does not have JL Colombo Crozes Hermitage (around $30)  select another Rhone Valley or Languedoc Syrah. Do  not take an Australian Shiraz which is usually much too bold and spicy with jammy fruit flavors that are too strong for this dish. Save them for venison or wild boar.

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Pan Roasted Veal Chops

About Pan Roasting
A popular technique with restaurant chefs, pan roasting is easy to do at home. This two-level method produces food with a flavorful browned exterior and a tender, juicy interior. It also provides plenty of pan juices for creating a delicious sauce. First, the meat, poultry or seafood is quickly seared in a small amount of oil in a heavy ovenproof (cast iron is ideal) fry pan. This creates a flavorful light browning on the outer surface. Then the pan is transferred to a moderate to hot oven, where the food roasts until it has finished cooking. The food is removed from the pan to a platter or carving board, then the pan juices can be deglazed and made into a sauce. This method works best for chops, steaks and other relatively thin cuts of meat, poultry cuts like chicken and duck breasts, and fish fillets. If these cuts were roasted without an initial searing, they would never develop sufficient surface browning before they finished cooking and would be less flavorful. The method saves time and most importantly sears in the juices before roasting.
Veal Chops
Ingredients (serves 2)2 thick veal chops  2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons peanut oil½ cup of veal stock  ¼ cup wineSalt and Pepper  Optional: Pat of butter or 1 tablespoon of heavy cream (or crème fraiche)
 Remove chops from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to let them come up to room temperature. Pat them dry. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Preheat the pan over medium-high to high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add enough peanut oil to coat the bottom. Wait a minute or two for the oil to get hot, season your meat with salt and pepper, and place it in the pan. Do not crowd the chops or they will steam.  Sear all sides. Then place the pan with the meat in the oven to let it finish cooking. Remove while the meat is still pink inside (130F). It will continue to cook outside the oven.  Allow the meat to rest (loosely covered with aluminum foil) while making the sauce. De glaze with a bit of wine scraping the bottom of the pan and then add1/2 cup of veal stock.  Reduce, check for seasonings and finish the sauce with a pat of butter or a splash of cream
Sautéed Mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter½ tablespoon olive oil (Not extra virgin)  1 garlic clove (minced)
½ cup of shallots (optional) 
½ lb sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
If you try to sauté mushrooms that are too wet, you'll end up with a soggy stew. For this reason it's best to just wipe mushrooms down with a damp cloth and not rinse them. However, if they are freshly picked and very gritty, you will want to rinse them off and pat them dry. In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and melt butter. Spread the fat around by moving the pan. Add minced garlic (and shallots) and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are hot and have turned a darker brown color. Move them around with a wooden spatula once one side seems done. This usually takes around 5 minutes. Do not to overcook!  Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. With too many mushrooms and they will just stew in their own juices resulting in a soggy sauté with less flavor. If you have a lot of mushrooms to cook, do them in several small batches instead of one big batch. Salt will draw out moisture while cooking so add seasoning only when they are finished cooking.

Baked Potatoes
1 large russet potato per person

Oil to coat (peanut or canola)

Kosher salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings. Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with a sharp knife, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. Place butter in the slit and serve
NOTE: If you're cooking more than 4 potatoes, you'll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Gerard’s Wine Suggestions
The ideal wine for the rich and tasty meal would be a Pinot Noir Volnay Premier Cru availoable at Pine Plains Fine Wine a $49 per bottle, but since our policy is to recommend wines at under $25 per bottle, I would suggest the excellent Pinot Noir 2009 from Louis Jadot. This is a classic expression of Burgundy Pinot Noir, with a refined, aromatic nose of ripe red berries and toasty, earthy nuances leading into an elegant palate of delicately structured tannins and clean finish. $19.99 at Pine Plains Fine Wine. If you want to drink local wine I recommend the Pinot Noir from Millbrook Winery also at Pine Plains Fine Wine.

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