March 15, 2010

Blanching Vegetables

  1. Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add enough salt so the water tastes faintly salty.

  2. Step 2

    While the water heats, fill a large bowl about three-quarters full with ice, then add enough cold water to come just to the top of the ice.

  3. Step 3

    When the water is boiling and the ice bath is ready, trim the vegetables to the size you need. It's best to trim them just prior to cooking so they won't oxidize or dehydrate.

  4. Step 4

    Add the vegetables to the boiling water in batches small enough to ensure that the water doesn't lose its boil.

  5. Step 5

    Boil the vegetables only until they're barely cooked through but still tender. To test, remove one piece with a slotted spoon, dip it into the ice bath to cool, and eat it.

  6. Step 6

    As soon as the vegetables are done, remove them as fast as you can and submerge them in the ice bath.

  7. Step 7

    Remove them from the ice bath as soon as they are no longer warm.

  8. Step 8

    To reheat the vegetables, you can use any cooking method you wish, like sauteing, grilling, or boiling; just make sure to barely heat them up and not to cook them again.

March 8, 2010

Couscous Salad

We are finally getting ready for SPRING here in South West Michigan.  Or at  least thinking about getting ready.  Wanting to get ready.  Completely ready for winter to BE OVER. This salad is one of my warm weather staples.  I love it as a side dish to a nice grilled steak  or as a salad with grilled chicken.  You can add avocado for extra protein and creaminess.   


  • 1 box cous-cous, cooked according to package instructions
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
3/4 pound feta cheese 


  1. Cook the cous-cous according to directions. Cool.
  2. Add the lime juice, olive oil and remaining ingredients.  
  3. Toss well and refrigerate for about 1 hour. 
Also excellent with grilled chicken or pork.

March 1, 2010

Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds rib-eye steak, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, if needed
  • 3/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 3/4 cup parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup pearl onions, frozen
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup store-bought fried onions


In a nonmetallic bowl, combine 3/4 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Add the rib-eye steak and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
In a large saute pan, on high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. When crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan.
Remove the beef from the marinade, pat dry and add to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook over medium-high heat, browning the meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, to a plate. Add extra oil, if necessary, to amount to 2 to 3 tablespoons of total fat in the pan. Add the carrots, parsnips, and the frozen onions. Cook until the onions are light brown, approximately 10 minutes.
Add the flour to the vegetable mixture to make a roux. When the roux begins to brown, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the remaining red wine and stir in the beef broth. Reduce over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the browned beef, cooked bacon, thyme, parsley and oregano. Adjust seasonings, to taste, with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with Parmesan and fried onions and serve immediately.
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