The E.V T.V Show

…the food I make, the plants I grow, and the items I create.


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Lamb Moussaka

Lamb Moussaka with quinoa tabbouleh

I have been feeling restless lately, a little stuck. In pursuit of personal development, I have been pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

I learned a new knitting stitch, increased my running speed, and cooked a dish I love but have always been intimidated to prepare.

Lamb Moussaka with a traditional mornay sauce

Learning a new recipe often also means learning a few new culinary or food science tricks and tips. For this recipe I learned:

  1. If you add egg to a Mornay sauce* it allows the sauce to set, making it more like a custard. The trick here is patience. Once cooked, the custard must cool and set before you dig in. Trust me, it is worth the wait. Adding lemon zest brightens the cream or cheese sauce, the acidity balancing the richness.
    *Mornay sauce is a variation on Bechamel, with shredded or grated cheese.
  2. I also re-learned something I thought I knew. Oh knowledge is a funny thing. I thought the purpose behind salting eggplant was to simply extract the bitter water. I don’t mind this taste, so I never bother with this step. The science behind this never actually occurred to me. The extraction of water allows the eggplant to relax, preventing it from soaking up as much oil during cooking.

Pair lamb moussaka with a glass of Unionville Vineyards Syrah

Being a newbie, I let science overshadow my culinary gut instinct and underestimated the amount of oilstill needed to cook thin slices of un-breaded eggplant and prevent it from sticking to the pan.  Sticking can be prevented by being watchful and flipping it, something I neglected to do as I tried to multi-task.

This recipe may look a bit intense and have a fair amount of ingredients. I promise you it is worth the work and the wait. Break it down into it’s three components and it becomes manageable. This is a lesson I take out of the kitchen. By breaking down new tasks into smaller pieces, I am able to  focus one step at a time.

This rich dish can really go a long way. I serve it over white rice and either invite family over or prepare this in two smaller casserole dishes and freeze one. The Pheasant Hill Vineyard Syrah pairs well with lamb dishes such as this. Enjoy a glass with friends and family as you dig in.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

In what ways do you enjoy pushing yourself? Are there certain hobbies that you enjoy learning more about? Share below.

 

LAMB MOUSSAKA

TOTAL TIME: ~2 HOURS       YIELD: 6 – 8

ingredients

Moussaka

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium or 2 large eggplant, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano/marjoram
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1.5 lbs minced lamb (I found some great lamb at a neighboring farm in Hopewell, Beechtree Farm.)
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 16oz can of tomato puree
  • ½ cup Unionville Vineyards Syrah
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the Mornay:

  • 16 oz milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup pecorino cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg

directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cut the eggplant into quarter inch slices. Layer flat on a cookie sheet, salt each layer. Wait 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, if you are using lamb stew meat, cut the pieces bite sized. Then salt and pepper lamb and coat with ¼ of flour. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the eggplant and place in a colander to dry.
  4. Put eggplant slices on a well oiled baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Watch and flip slices as needed. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft, golden and floppy.
  5. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Cook the onion and garlic until browned and wilted. Cook the lamb. Add the cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Stir in the tomato and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30–40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and stir in the parsley, oregano and thyme.
  6. Meanwhile, make the Mornay sauce. Melt the butter in another saucepan. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheese until melted. The feta cheese may take a little longer to melt. Turn the heat down low, and whisk vigorously every few minutes. This will prevent the sauce from burning and speed up the melting.
  7. Take the sauce off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt, pepper, lemon zest and and nutmeg to taste.
  8. Arrange a third of the eggplant in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat. Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of eggplant, and top with the sauce. Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve with quinoa tabbouleh and a glass of Unionville Vineyards Syrah.

Enjoy!


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Honey Roasted Chicken with Cranberry Relish

I always eat my condiments with food, not my food with condiments. Are french fries not merely a vehicle for the ketchup?

My recent obsession- honey mustard. Local honey simmered with fresh whole grain mustard – to die for.

Now honey mustard and chicken are a classic combination, but instead of a dipping sauce, simmer the chicken in the honey mustard with fresh herbs and dry white wine. The house will smell fantastic – drawing your family to the dinner table!

I prefer to cook this in a cast iron skillet, as a one pot meal. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, simply saute the onions and garlic in a standard skillet; then use a baking dish to cook your chicken.

HONEY ROASTED CHICKEN AND CRANBERRY RELISH

total time: 45 minutes   yield: 4 servings

ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of whole grain mustard or honey mustard of your choice
  • ½ tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 sprigs of thyme and marjoram
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of Marsanne Roussanne
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced

 

rub

  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

directions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Mustard Rub: Combine mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a brush work the rub into both sides of the chicken. Set aside
  • For the Sauce: Whisk together the mustards, honey, ginger, and olive oil into a small bowl and set aside
  • For the Chicken: Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in your cast iron skillet, or standard skillet, over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown or about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sear for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Add the ¼ cup of wine and honey mustard sauce. Nestle in a few sprigs of fresh herbs and place in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken has reached the internal cooking temperature.
  • Serve along side rice to soak up the honey mustard sauce. Enjoy with cranberry relish to brighten the dish and pair with Unionville Vineyards’ Marsanne Roussane!


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How to Make Homemade Bone Broth

The coming of winter usually means closed windows and central heating. The perfect incubator for all of those pesky germs that can cause you and your loved ones to feel under the weather.

A ham bone and vegetable stock. The perfect base for split pea soup.

A ham bone and vegetable stock. The perfect base for split pea soup.

As we speak there is a pot of bone broth happily simmering away on my stove top. Bone broth is by far the perfect elixir to prevent colds or in the unfortunate circumstance that you get a cold – to cure it. It not only makes your house smell warm and feel cozy, but it uses odds and ends that you would otherwise throw away – making it an inexpensive yet highly nutritious cure all.

Fun Facts: Bone broth is high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which promotes healthy teeth and bones. The high collagen and fat also supports healthy joints, hair, skin, and nails.

HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH

Step 1. Collect your ingredients

As I prepare meals throughout the week, I keep a bowl in the fridge for the raw scraps. Now keep in mind, these are good scraps not compost. “Garbage in is garbage out” so take care not to put anything that is rotten or dirty into your stock pot. It will be very difficult to remove the taste or grit once it is finished.  When making stock, I wash my produce, but I do not peel it – and this goes for onions and garlic as well. They get tossed into the pot, skin and all! Here are a few of my favorite odds and ends to use in stock:

  • onion ends
  • garlic cloves
  • broccoli stalks
  • corn cobs
  • leek tops
  • scallion tops
  • mushroom stems
  • carrots

Step 2: Chose your meat

You can use any bones of your choice: lamb, beef, pork, game – you name it. When possible, use high quality meat such as local, organic, or grassfed.  Boiling the bones for an extended period of time extracts all of the good nutrients but also all of the bad impurities. A higher quality cut of meat tips the scale of good nutrients vs bad impurities in your favor.

Not sure what meat to buy? Head to the butcher counter at your local market – they will point you in the right direction.

Step 3: Pick your herbs

You can bring depth and dimension to the stock as well as increase the nutritional value with a few herbs. My favorites: dried chili pepper, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.

Try other herbs such as parsley or bay leaves.

Step 4: Bringing it all together

In a large stock pot, toss in the bone and add your vegetables and herbs. Cover with water. Place over low heat – as low as you can go. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. The salt and pepper will round out the flavors, while the vinegar will help extract nutrients from the bones.

Let the pot simmer covered for at least 24 hours. I usually let mine go for 48 hours.*

After the broth is finished cooking, strain it using a fine mesh colander. Store it in your fridge for up to 3 days or in your freezer for up to 6 months.

*Know your stove. It is essential that you know how powerful your stove top is when making stock. The low setting on my stove top is probably a medium-low on an average stove top. Because of this, I have to place my pot on top of a heat diffuser, check the liquid volume regularly, and I do not let it simmer when I am not home.

HOW TO USE BONE BROTH

If I am feeling a little under the weather, my favorite way to enjoy this dish is simply by itself. Maybe I will cook up some rice or pasta. Maybe I will saute some carrots and parsnips and throw them in, but most likely I will simply ladled it into a mug and sip it like tea. It is that good.

Your broth can also become the base for an extraordinarily easy soup such as chicken noodle, french onion, or minestrone. I also substitute broth in for water when cooking rice or other grains such as quinoa and faro. The fats and minerals give the grains a silky texture and incredible flavor.


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Caramelized Brussels Sprout Salad

Roasted anything is delicious. Roasted brussels sprouts is hands down the most delicious of all! Their little leaves become crispy like potato chips.

Drizzled in maple syrup and sprinkled with chili powder, this smokey sweet treat is perfect. By turning a traditionally hot dish into a salad, you are able to make this ahead for parties or holidays. The red onion and feta cheese add depth bringing both the kids and the adults to the table.

CARAMELIZED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD

total time ~ 45 minutes  yield 4 servings

ingredients

  • 3 lbs of brussels sprouts halved – the key here is uniform size
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cracked black pepper
  • 1 red onion – minced
  • balsamic glaze

directions

  • Preheat oven to 400F. While the oven is preheating prepare the brussels sprouts. Using a sharp knife, cut off the woody end. Remove any damaged outer leaves and cut in half
  • Place the brussels sprouts in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, chili powder, salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  • Place the brussels sprouts on a sheet pan and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Shake the pan every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. When the brussels sprouts are finished they will be slightly browned and crispy.
  • When the brussels sprouts are finished remove from the oven. Toss in a mixing bowl with the minced onion and 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the brussels sprouts to a serving bowl and top with feta cheese and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve along side your Thanksgiving dinner or as a side to any meal for an extra special pop!