Sunday, December 3, 2017

Coq Au Vin Blanc

When I was in college I invented a dish. I called it purple chicken. I did not know that the dish was a mediocre version of Coq Au Vin.

I learned the full bore French version at Cordon Bleu. Quite a bit better than what I used to do.

Since then, I have made the dish several times, but in the last few years I have made a different version using dry white wine. I have come to prefer the lighter version and recommend it to you.


3.5 to 4 pounds of chicken legs and thighs
4 slices thick bacon, sliced into 1" pieces
10 to 15 large pearl onions
6 to 8 cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in 3 inch sticks
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 bottle dry white wine
2 cups good chicken stock
parsley/thyme/bay leaf bouquet garni
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste


Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to oven to 250 degrees.

Spread the bacon in the bottom of a dutch oven and add enough water to barely cover the bottom of the vessel. Turn the heat to medium and bring the water to a boil and allow it to evaporate. Continue cooking until the bacon pieces are well browned. Remove them to paper towels and pour out most of the bacon fat.

Working in batches, brown the chicken well on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the browned chicken from the pan and, when cool, remove the skin and discard.

Pour the fat from the dutch oven but do not wipe it out. Turn the heat to low and add the shallots followed by the onions, mushrooms, and carrots. The hot pan will caramelize the shallots and brown the remainder of vegetables as you stir.

Add the tomato paste and cook while stirring until the paste turns brown. Add the garlic and deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the bouquet garni and the chicken. Add enough stock to almost submerge the chicken.

Make a cartouche from parchment paper and use it to cover the stew. The cartouche slows evaporation but does not cause the chicken to steam.

When the liquids show signs of boiling, place the dutch oven in the oven and roast until the meat falls off the bone, approximately 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm. Reduce the sauce over medium heat and add a large knob of butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the bouquet garni.

Serve over flat noodles.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mushroom Bacon Ravioli

On Thursday, it happened. I decided I needed bacon. I tried to quell the urge with Friday night bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Not enough. So today I embarked on a task. Tonight's special?
Mushroom Bacon Ravioli.

For the pasta, I use a variation of Mario Batali's pasta recipe available on the internet. I use one egg for every cup of semolina flour, but I add a little olive oil, and some grated nutmeg to the egg. I also use the food processor rather than make the flour mound on my counter. I start the dry ingredients whirling in the processor and drizzle in the wet goods until the dough reaches the right "sandy' appearance. The I let it whirl and knead until it forms a good dough ball. I rest that wrapped in cling film in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before I begin to make the dough with my Kitchen Aid pasta attachment. Our mixer is at least 30 years old and still going strong. I wish I could say the same about other appliances.

While the dough rests I chop and saute the ingredients for the filling. The picture shows some of those.

Once the dough is ready, I cut circles and stuff the filling. The trick, every time, is to avoid trying to stuff too much into the circle. You want a good seal and enough room to work as much of the air out of the center as possible.

After you complete the ravioli, cover them with a moist towel.

Sort out your preferred topping - Marcella Hazen's Five Ingredient sauce, Garlic and Sage Brown Butter sauce, or some other favorite.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until the ravioli are floating and the pasta is done. Drain well and serve sauced with side Parmesan.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall Roast Chicken in the Ozarks

In the fall, Eureka Springs becomes the target for numerous "weekends." This is my least favorite weekend, Corvette Weekend.

Rather than rant, I will simply state that most of my local and merchant friends wish it would just go away.

Naturally, I did not go into town. Instead, I went to Cassville, Missouri this morning. They have a lovely WalMart and a fantastic Cost Cutter market with a real butcher counter.

I returned with fixings (Ozark word) for a wonderful meal. The star of that meal will be chicken, roasted on a bed of onion, fresh rosemary, and fresh sage.


1 spatchcocked chicken
6 branches rosemary
2 bunches sage
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the oven rack to low middle.
Salt and pepper the underside of the chicken generously.
Arrange rosemary, sage, and onion in the bottom of your baking casserole.
Lay the chicken skin side up on the onions and herbs.
Use a pastry brush to paint the exposed surface of the chicken with the melted butter.
Generously salt and pepper the top of the chicken.
Roast until an instant read thermometer shows 165 degrees in the thigh near, but not on, the bone. Usually 45 to 60 minutes.
Rest for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grilled Korean Chicken

Are you fond of Buffalo Wings?

Do you enjoy sweet and hot BBQ?

Then you need to meet gochujang, a Korean fermented chile sauce or paste. I use the sesame version in my sesame noodles. I use the regular or garlic versions in stir fry and for tang in odd things.

This recipe features gochujang as a wet rub for chicken prior to grilling. I buy the Mother in Law brand through Zingerman's or Amazon.


One 2.5 to 4 pound whole chicken
1/4 cup gochujang sauce or paste
salt and pepper


If using a regular charcoal or gas grill, set up the grill for indirect roasting. If using a kamado style cooker, set it up with the stone in place and a drip pan. 

Wash and rinse the chicken.

Remove the wing tips, the wish bone, the back bone and the keel bone.

Generously salt and pepper both sides. Spoon half the gochugang on one side of the chicken.

Lather the paste or sauce over the entire surface of the bird.

Repeat for the other side.

Roast while holding the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees.  Continue until the internal temperature of the thigh exceeds 165 degrees.

Serve drizzled with ranch dressing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Beef Stroganoff

I find stroganoff very comforting, and I always say to myself, "I should make this more often!"


6 Tablespoons butter

1 pound N.Y. strip steak, trimmed and sliced in quarter inch slices

1 onion, sliced

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thick sliced

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (2 teaspoons chopped fresh)

3 Tablespoons Cognac or whiskey

1 cup sour cream, room temp

1 cup beef broth

12 ounces egg noodles

salt and pepper to taste


In a large metal skillet, melt most of the butter over medium high heat until it ceases to bubble and is hot without burning. 

Lay the steak pieces flat in the pan in a single layer. (two or more batches may be required) Do not move the pieces. When the first side has browned, flip the steak and brown the other side. Repeat until all the steak is cooked. Cover the steak to keep it warm.

In the same pan, cook the onion and mushroom until softened and beginning to brown. Turn off the heat and add the cognac to deglaze the pan, scrapping the fond on the bottom into the meat. Use a long match to ignite and burn off any remaining alcohol.

Meanwhile cook the noodles to al dente in boiling salty water. Reserve a cup of the water in case the sauce needs thinning.

Turn the heat back on to medium and add the spices and herbs and the beef broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the beef and any juices. 

When the beef has reheated, add the sour cream and stir well while the sauce heats to a simmer. Do not allow the sauce to boil as it will likely break.

Add the hot noodles and stir to combine.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quick Saffron Aioli

This has been a standby in the Stainer house since daughter Abigail discovered it in a Bon Apetit for a dinner party she was hosting. The year was somewhere around 2000. She told Nancy and I that her guests were licking their plates. We tried it and have made it since then.

The original version was actual an emulsion of olive olive with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and saffron. This version does not require whisking or a ride in the food processor.


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

large pinch of saffron threads

1 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sun dried tomato paste (for color)

salt and pepper to taste


Combine all the ingredients except the mayonnaise in a small sauce pan and gently heat while whisking to melt the honey and bloom the saffron. Allow the mixture to cool. Add to the mayonnaise and whisk to blend. Refrigerate one hour to 24 hours allow the flavors to meld.

Use the aioli to dress grilled or fried vegetables and fish. Also dresses chilled asparagus and the like.

You will lick your plate.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Favorite from Mid Twentieth Century - Artichoke Squares

Still Warm!

Nancy's father, John, was a character. He was a Type A engineer who later earned a PHD in Statistics. He retired as the Senior Vice President for Western Electric. He was a Life Master at duplicate bridge.  He loved arranging fetes and was a machine gun chopper in the kitchen.

This recipe came to us on a 3 x 5 card from Nancy's folks and was John's signature dish. He originally got the recipe from the Summit, New Jersey YWCA and made it his. I checked the internet and similar recipes abound, but this is John's.

Warning! The pictures are of a quadruple batch that I made to welcome back my colleagues on the staff at my middle school. Do not let the size of the ingredients confuse you.


2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
4 eggs
1 medium onion, diced finely
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fine bread crumbs
1-2 clove garlic, flattened and minced
½ pound sharp cheese (Cheddar or Cheshire works well), grated
2 Tablespoons fine minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste

I substituted these for marinated and altered the seasoning as well

Basil and oregano


Grease 8” x  8” flat pan or dish with olive oil
Beat eggs to combine and add seasonings, bread crumbs, and parsley.
Sweat (gently cook to translucent and soft without color) onions in oil from one jar of artichokes. Add garlic for the last one minute. Drain off oil and add to the egg mixture. Mix well.
Rough chop drained artichoke hearts. Add artichoke and cheese to egg mixture and mix well.  Pour mixture in pan or dish and spread evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees until set and golden (approximately 30 to 50 minutes).
Allow to cool to warm and cut in 6 x 6 grid

Note: This freezes well for up to 30 days in sealed baggies.

Ready to go in the oven

Just out of the oven

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Time Wounded This Recipe; The Recipe Fought Back

panzanella (pan·za·nel·la)

My students, and even the young men I used to coach who now have their own children, know nothing of the dark ages of rotary dial phones, daily milk delivery, and day old bread. They also know nothing of polio, measles, mumps, and chickenpox, so I guess they win.

In those ancient times, and for hundreds of years before then, housewives and cooks struggled with what to do with foods that were past their best buy date. When sailing ships opened the spice trade to the Far East, Europe went wild. Those spices could hide meat and other ingredients that were perhaps just a bit "off."

In those times, bread was baked daily. How to use the day old, stale bread became something that mattered. Sweet and savory bread pudding is but one example of the solutions. The basis for this recipe is another.

Panzanella, or bread salad, was a Tuscan style recipe that combined day old bread, toasted, with fresh vegetables, olive oil, anchovy, capers, and acid from vinegar or lemon. Clearly, this stale bread solution was a work of genius.

Then modern food processing invented bread with a shelf life measured in decades. Panzanella became a lost and forgotten orphan of modern times.

I think the world was too hasty in abandoning poor panzanella. Not too long ago I saw a New York Times recipe for panzanella that highlighted grilled vegetables. At that same time, I had the remnants of a rustic loaf that Nancy baked sitting on my counter. From that serendipitous moment plus some research sprang this recipe. I use it whenever Nancy makes rustic bread, focaccia, or we take and bake bread.


2 cups of toasted bread cubes from home baked, take and bake, or rustic bread
1 zucchini, topped and tailed, cut lengthwise in quarters 
1 sweet bell pepper, seeded
1/2 large red onion, cut stem to root into 4 segments
1.5 cups diced tomatoes, seeded but with juices retained
1 clove garlic minced
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, mashed, and minced
1 Tbs. capers, minced
5-7 large leaves fresh basil, cut chiffonade 
2-3 Tbs. EVOO
1-2 tsps. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Slice your bread in 1" slices

Toast the bread in a toaster oven, on a grill pan, or outdoors on a grill.

Dice the toasted bread in 1" cubes.

Grill or broil the zucchini, onion, and sweet pepper until char marks show and the vegetables slightly soften.

Dice the grilled vegetables.

Add the minced garlic, the minced anchovy, and the minced capers to the vegetables. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices without the seeds to the vegetables. (Note: If you use cherry tomatoes, do not worry about the seeds.)

Add the bread to the vegetables and mix well.

Add a large pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.

Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Immediately before service add the basil, the olive oil and the vinegar or lemon juice. Mix well and adjust the salt/pepper/olive and oil/acid.

Serve with any roasted or grilled protein.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

BBQ Pork and Ranch Stuffed Potatoes Casserole

I love Pulled Pork!

I love Smoked Ribs!

Nancy and I cannot finish an entire rack of ribs in one meal. A pork shoulder, or even a half, makes an embarrassing amount of BBQ. The leftovers are great, but sometimes we need to change things up. This recipe comes from a mash up of several recipes by others.


2 cups pulled pork with burnt ends or torn rib meat from 4 or 5 meaty ribs.
3 pounds small waxy potatoes, quartered
Greens from 1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 Large handfuls shredded cheddar colby cheese
2 Tbs. Penzy's Buttermilk Ranch mix
2 Tbs. water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


Set the oven to 350 degrees.

Bloom the Buttermilk Ranch mix in the water for at least 5 minutes. Add the buttermilk, the sour cream, and the mayo and mix well. Set aside to meld.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with salty water. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer the potatoes until they are just done, but not mushy. Drain and allow them to steam for 10 minutes.

Mix half the cheese into the ranch dressing.

Add the dressing, onions, and the pork to the potatoes and mix well.

Spray grease a 9 X 13 casserole dish and slide the mixture into the pan.  Spread it evenly.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the mixture. 

Bake the casserole on a center rack until golden brown and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dump and Stir Corn and Bean Salad

I call this a salad, but it can serve as the starch for a meal. I love the tastes, and I rejoice in the fact that in the summer you can prepare it from farmers market fresh items, but, in the winter, it is nearly as good with canned or frozen ingredients.

The name stems from the fact I often contribute this dish to potlucks.  When I do so, I put the individual ingredients in baggies When I arrive, I dump the ingredients in the service vessel with the spices and dressing and stir the mixture well. That way the salad tastes more fresh.

I suggest you follow the recipe one time and then modify the salad to fit your own taste. For example, 3 or 4 shakes of Sriracha would add a serious bite you might prefer.


2 cups firm cooked beans or peas (black, pinto, black eyed, lady, field, red kidney) thoroughly rinsed.
2 cups corn (try grilling whole ears and adding the charred kernels)
1 cup seeded and diced tomato (in the winter, halve or quarter cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup seeded and diced sweet pepper
1/2 cup diced cucumber (if using grocery store cucumbers, peel and seed them)
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced in 1/4 inch rings
2 radishes, sliced thin
1 medium small jalapeno, seeded and small diced
optional: 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
optional: one small squash or zucchini, diced
spice blend:
   1 teaspoon chili powder
   1 teaspoon salt
   1 teaspoon garlic powder
   1/2 teaspoon cumin

   Juice of 1 or 2 lemons


Dump the beans and all the vegetables in the service vessel. Add the spice blend to the lemon juice and stir well to mix.  Add it to the salad. Stir the mixture well. Taste and add the remaining spice if desired. The salad may also require additional salt and/or lemon as well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Revisiting, Revising and Reviving a 1960's classic, Chicken Divan

This is another of those dishes featured on Kraft and Campbell soup labels and television advertisements in the 1960's. It really was not bad, but it never was all it could be. One of its selling points was that it made a great way to use leftover chicken, especially those dry and unappetizing white meat bits. Nancy's mother managed to acquire and use a variation on the standard, and after we were married, she made a batch for the family. I liked it!

Coming forward to now, we have tweeked the recipe several different ways. In this form, the dish deserves front and center at a meal where you want to impress. And that includes those high stakes potlucks at church where your reputation may be on the line. And it still has the blessing of using leftover chicken (whether you roasted it yourself or bought a rotisserie bird at the store).


2 to 3 cups diced boneless leftover roasted chicken

2 small heads broccoli, florets removed and blanched, and cut to bite size pieces*
2 cups basmati rice
5 cups chicken broth, divided
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 clove garlic minced or pressed
2 Tbs. EVOO
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 Tbs. yellow mustard
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground mustard powder
2  Tbs. curry powder
2 - 4 squirts sriracha
salt and pepper
spray grease


For the Rice:

In a six cup sauce pan with lid, heat 2 Tbs. EVOO over medium heat and add the rice.
Toast the rice for 2 to 4 minutes, but do not allow the rice to brown. Add 3 cups of chicken broth, a large pinch of salt and some pepper, the parsley, and the garlic, and bring the mixture to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 16 minutes. When the time expires, turn off the heat without uncovering the pot and allow it to rest more than 20 minutes.

For the Sauce:

Melt the butter in a saute or other pan over medium low heat and add the flour and a pinch of salt. Cook the flour in the butter, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes. Do not let the mixture brown. Add the remaining chicken broth and use a whisk to blend the liquid and solids. Just as the sauce mixture begins to bubble, add the mustard and the lemon juice. Whisk well. Add the mustard powder and curry powder. Whisk in well. Add the sriracha and whisk in well. Add the milk and whisk in well.

When the sauce begins to make small bubbles, taste and adjust salt and other spices. Add the cheese and whisk constantly as the cheese melts. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest as you layer the ingredients.


Set the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray grease a 9 X 13 casserole dish. Spread the rice evenly in the casserole. 

Spread the chicken over the rice. 

Cover the rice and chicken with the broccoli florets.

Spread the cheese sauce over the casserole.

Bake for 30 minutes to bubbling stage.

* Blanching broccoli: Cut the florets from the head. Bring a large pot of salty water to a rolling boil. Add the broccoli to the pot. When the pot returns to the boil, remove the broccoli and plunge it in ice water to stop the cooking.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Frank Stitt's Low Country Red Rice with Shrimp

One of my lovely daughters gave me a cook book by Frank Stitts. Many of the recipes are outstanding! This is one of our favorites.


2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes, juices reserved.
one onion diced
1 gold or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano or banana pepper, seeded and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup reserved tomato juices
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 pound bacon
1 pound peeled raw shrimp
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
5 green onions chopped in thin rings
1 lemon


Drain the tomatoes in a sieve or colander set over a bowl to catch their juices; set juices aside.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is beginning to crisp; with a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Return Dutch oven of drippings to the stove; add the onion, bell pepper, and celery; saute until softened, about 10 minutes (add a little oil if the bacon fat seems insufficient).

Add the jalapeno, poblano, tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot; season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer for about 10 minutes, until the peppers have softened.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the broth with a scant 3/4 cup of the reserved tomato juices (discard any remaining juice) and add salt to taste.

Bring to a simmer; add the rice, return to a simmer, and stir a few times.

Decrease heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook until the rice is tender, about 16 minutes. Leave cover on and allow the rice to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the rice and add the mix to the vegetable mixture, along with the bacon; stir and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes; taste for seasonings.

Stir in the scallions, (or basil), and a big squeeze of lemon; serve immediately.