Espagnole (Brown Sauce)

Posted on March 07, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

Makes about 2 cups

Translated as the ‘Spanish’ sauce, Espagnole is a rich-bodied brown sauce. The sauce is the base of many other sauces, but perhaps most popularly, the demi-glace. Demi-glace is a time-consuming super-concentrated sauce popular in restaurant dishes. Using a less-traditional, quicker recipe, we served this Espagnole sauce directly on a seared steak for an enhanced savory flavor in each bite!

Ingredients:
1/2 stick butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 cup flour
4 cups beef stock
1/4 cup tomato puree
10 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Directions: 
1. In a saucier or saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until the onion is translucent.

2. Sprinkle the sautéed vegetables with flour, and stir to form a roux. Let the roux become browned, but monitor carefully to avoid scorching or burning.

3. Once the roux has a nutty smell and is a darker brown, add the beef stock, tomato puree, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme.

4. Simmer the sauce for about 20-30 minutes or until it has thickened and reduced by about one-third. 

5. Skim off any excess fats or oils that have risen to the surface.

6. Strain the sauce using a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids.

7. Serve the brown sauce as is, or refine it further into a demi-glace or red wine sauce. Freeze any excess Espagnole sauce in an airtight container, and use within one month.

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

Master Homemade Lasagna

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

A great lasagna is hard to beat! IN THIS ISSUE, we feature three kinds of lasagna with lots of tips for being successful. The first recipe, a Traditional Lasagna, features a savory Bolognese layered with a Bechamel Sauce. The Weeknight Stovetop Lasagna brings all the flavors of a delicious lasagna to the table on a weeknight timeline. Our final recipe, a White Chicken Lasagna, features a nice twist on the familiar with chicken, ricotta, and spinach layers.
Buon Appetito!

TOOLS FOR MASTERING LASAGNA 

Le Creuset Signature Roasting Pan, 5.25Qt.

A quality pan is key for building hearty lasagnas! This pan goes perfectly from oven to table.

 

 

 

Zyliss Classis Cheese Grater

Use a rotary grater for garnishing with fresh cheese right at the table.

 

RSVP Pierced Colander

This is a great colander for draining lasagna noodles and all kinds of pasta.

OXO Locking Tongs

Tongs are one of our favorite tools in the kitchen! Feel like a professional chef with a good pair of tongs in your hand. 

 

All-Clad Multicooker, 8Qt.

Pasta loves to cook in generous amounts of water- use a large pot! This one's perfect for the task including a basket for lifting and draining.

 

 

 

 

OXO Silicone Flexible Turner

Easily serve perfect slices of lasagna.

 

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

Traditional Lasgana

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

Serves 12-16

This Traditional Lasagna is a labor of delicious love! Simpler than you’d think to make, the flavor depth is created with a base of hearty Bolognese sauce. The Béchamel layers add rich creaminess, and every layer is topped with savory cheese and fresh basil. Another slice, please!

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely minced in a food processor
2 stalks celery, finely minced in a food processor
2 small carrots or one large carrot, finely minced in a food processor
4 cloves garlic, finely minced in a food processor
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
Pinch of nutmeg
Kosher salt, to taste

Pasta:
9-10 lasagna noodles, boiled for 4-5 minutes (no need to cook all the way -- the noodles will continue to cook while baking in the sauces)

Cheese:
2-3 cups freshly grated parmesan
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese

Garnish:
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut for layering and garnish

Directions: 
Make the Bolognese Sauce:
1. Sauté the minced onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until the vegetables are translucent.

2. Add the ground beef and sweet Italian sausage. Cook the meat until it is finely ground and well browned.

3. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the red wine, basil, oregano, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until sauce is flavorful and thickened. If the sauce appears too runny, continue to simmer for with the lid off until the sauce becomes thicker. Taste, and adjust the seasonings, as needed. A robust sauce is ideal for a flavorful lasagna.

Prepare the Béchamel Sauce:
5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Whisk in the whole milk, and bring to a simmer. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Add a pinch of nutmeg and kosher salt, to taste.

Noodles:
7. Boil the noodles for half of the time listed on the package. Drain the noodles, and then plunge into an ice bath to keep them from overcooking and making them easier to handle.

8. Working quickly from the ice bath, lay the noodles in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Separate any layers with parchment paper. Be sure that the noodles aren’t touching to avoid them sticking together.

Assemble the Lasagna:
9. Spoon 1/4 cup of the Béchamel sauce in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Add a layer of the partially-cooked noodles to the bottom of the pan.

10. Add a layer of Bolognese sauce on top of the noodles. Top the Bolognese with a layer of Béchamel sauce. Sprinkle the Béchamel sauce with parmesan cheese, then top with a sprinkle of fresh basil. Add another noodle layer and keep repeating the layers until you reach within 1/2” of the top of the pan. Finish the layering process with a noodle layer generously covered with mozzarella cheese.

11. Loosely tent the lasagna with aluminum foil.

Bake the Lasagna:
12. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Remove the aluminum foil from the top for the last 10-15 minutes. If needed, broil until the cheese is perfectly golden brown.

13. Let the lasagna set for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven to allow the layers to set. Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot.

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

Weeknight Stovetop Lasagna

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

Serves 6-8

Rethinking how lasagna is assembled allows this accessible Weeknight Stovetop Lasagna recipe to be enjoyed often! The traditional “hard work” of making lasagna is simplified in this one-pot pasta dish. The flavors of classic lasagna are all present and the best part is that this meal can be on the table in less than 45 minutes.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can of tomato sauce
1-1/2 cusp chicken broth
8 lasagna noodles, broken into 2” pieces
5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4" rounds
Garnish with fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut

Directions: 
1. In a large Dutch oven or braiser, sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil until the onion is translucent.

2. Add the ground sausage and cook until the sausage is browned and no pink remains.

3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and season with the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, and pepper. Stir to combine all of the ingredients, cover and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken broth and broken lasagna noodles and continue to simmer. Keep the noodles covered by the liquid, and stir occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking together. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked to al dente.

5. Add the fresh spinach leaves to the lasagna and stir with tongs until the spinach wilts into the sauce.

6. Scoop dollops of cottage cheese on the top of the lasagna. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, and place the fresh mozzarella slices. Broil until the cheeses are nicely melted.

7. Garnish with freshly cut basil, serve warm, and enjoy!

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

White Chicken Lasagna

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

Serves 9

This White Chicken Lasagna is loaded with chicken and cheese-y layers of ricotta, parmesan, and spinach. This recipe comes together rather easily by using time-saving, oven ready, no-boil noodles. So delicious!

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, boiled and diced into 1/4” cubes

Sauce Layer:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Ricotta Layer:
1 cup parmesan cheese
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, for layering
9-10 no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles

Garnish with fresh parsley, minced

Directions: 
1. In a saucepan, cover the chicken breasts with water and boil until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (165 degrees F at the thickest part), about 10-15 minutes. Let the cooked chicken cool, then dice into 1/4-inch cubes.

2. Make the sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour and stir until smooth -- at least 2 minutes to allow the flour to cook. Add the chicken broth and sherry, and stir until sauce is combined and slightly thickened. Season the sauce with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the diced chicken to the sauce and stir to coat.

3. Prepare the ricotta layer. Mix together the parmesan and ricotta cheese. Thaw out the frozen spinach, and squeeze it until it is well-drained. Stir in the thawed and drained spinach into the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Assemble the lasagna. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom of a large casserole pan. Layer the noodles on top of the olive oil. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then add a layer of the chicken mixture. Top the chicken with a sprinkle of cheese, then add another noodle layer. Repeat the layers until you reach within 1/2” of the top of the pan. Finish the layering process with a noodle layer generously covered with mozzarella cheese.

5. Loosely tent the lasagna with aluminum foil.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Remove the aluminum foil from the top for the last 10-15 minutes. If needed, broil until the cheese to golden brown perfection.

7. Let the lasagna sit for about 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven to allow the layers to set. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

Couples Cooking

Posted on February 07, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments


Valentine's Day arrives soon! This year, try a luxurious "date night in" with a special menu. IN THIS ISSUE, we feature a romantic surf & turf menu starring a Classic Wedge Salad, Lobster Tail & Filet Mignon, with a sweet ending of a decadent Chocolate Raspberry Molten Lava Cake!

 All Right Tools For Making Dinner Together

BIA Ramekin, 6oz

Ramekins have so many uses! Great for making molten cakes.

 

Fortessa Forte Champagne Flute

Update your selection of stemware! We have many styles to choose from.

 

Finex Cast Iron Skillet, 10"

Our go-to pan for making the best steaks. Hand seasoned, heirloom quality cast iron.

 

RSVP Seafood Scissors


Shellfish shears are so helpful when preparing lobster tails.

Victorinox Chef's Knife, 8"


A workhorse knife that is made for chopping, slicing, and dicing with ease!

USA Pan Half-Sheet Pan


For co-cooking ease! Perfect for roasting and baking surf and turf.

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes

Classic Wedge Salad

Posted on February 07, 2019 by Lisa Renteria | 0 comments

Serves 2

This Classic Wedge Salad is both refreshing and super satisfying. Dress a simple wedge of crisp iceberg lettuce with a rich homemade blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon, ripe tomatoes, and buttery croutons. 

Ingredients:
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon chives, sliced
handful of homemade croutons (see recipe below)
homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (see recipe below)

Blue Cheese Dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Croutons:
4 slices of hearty bread, cut into 1/2-1-inch cubes
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian herbs seasoning blend

Directions: 
1. Prepare the blue cheese dressing by combining all ingredients except the fresh blue cheese crumbles in a small food processor and process until smooth. For a chunky blue cheese, add in the crumbles. For a smooth blue cheese, pulse the blue cheese into the dressing. Keep the dressing well sealed and refrigerated until ready to use.

2. Prepare the croutons. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Toss the bread cubes with melted butter, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Spread the croutons in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes (turning once) until crispy and edges slightly browned. Let cool completely. 

3. Assemble the salad. Crumble the cooked bacon. Wash and cut the iceberg lettuce into wedges, removing any loose outer layers. Quarter the grape tomatoes, and mince the chives.

4. Layer the salad. Prop up the wedge on a salad plate, drizzle with the homemade blue cheese dressing. Layer on the toppings: bacon crumbles, grape tomatoes, croutons, and generously garnish with the chives. Serve while still well-chilled.

Posted in Articles, Newsletter, Recipes