Christmas is over, the gifts are exchanged, the relatives are gone… but the ham is not! Of course I love a good holiday ham, but one can only eat so many leftover ham sandwiches! In an effort to change things up a bit and use every bit of the great Christmas ham I made this recipe for Pasta with Ham and Peas. Since many of you have spent hours in the kitchen this week, you will be pleased to know that this recipe took about 12 minutes to put together. I took an inventory of the refrigerator and found some great things like: boiled ham, heavy cream and sweet corn. Feel free to play around with this recipe and add whatever veggies you may have left from christmas.
Gravy is a staple for nearly every meal at my house… especially around the holidays. The many cooks in my family all have different methods of making gravy, whether it is water and flour, reduction or heaven forbid corn starch! Through the years I have been taught each of these recipes, but I have my own varition that works without fail. This variation has also earned me the seat of gravy maker at our house.
The key to a good gravy is a good stock. I often make chicken stock in a large batch, so I can use it in many recipes. Simply start with a whole chicken, or trimmings then simmer for a few hours in a large pot with onions, celery and carrots. Be sure not to let your stock boil, this will cause the stock to become cloudy.
“The lower the heat… the better the meat!”
Being a chef I am often asked what my favorite food is. I know that when people ask that question they are expecting my answer to be some fancy food with an unpronounceable French name-it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I love pate and foie gras as much as the next person, but the food I crave the most is much simpler. The food that I missed when I left for Culinary School in North Carolina, the one thing I could never tire of and one of the few dishes that I will EVER eat left over the next day is (this almost deserves a drum roll)… Roast Beef!
This past weekend my mom took a trip to our favorite “club store”-which could mean only one thing-lots and lots of beef! Oh yes, when my mom makes the 50 minute drive north she comes home with not one, but four HUGE beef roasts. This may seem over the top for some folks, but not us! We make all four roasts and freeze whatever we don’t covet the first day. This beef is so versatile- it can be served over pasta, with brown rice and gravy, in a soup, on a sandwich, for a midnight snack- Oh the possibilities are endless!
The way that my mom prepares our roast beef is the simplest, yet most flavorful way I have ever tried- and like the saying goes “The lower the heat, the better the meat”. After pan searing the meat is slow cooked until it is melt in your mouth tender. My mom and I took the time to take step-by-step photos of this process, so I hope when you get a chance to make this recipe you will agree-this is the best food ever!
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many chefs frown upon the use and/or consumption of chicken. Perhaps this is an un-known truth, but to many culinary professionals chicken is thought to be flavorless, bland and worst of all boring. I, however, disagree. In doing so I might subject myself to a fair amount of hazing from any self-proclaimed foodie! I like chicken because it is moderately priced, accessible and can be quiet tasty when prepared correctly. The following is my recipe (if you can even call it that) for what I consider to be The Perfect Roasted Chicken. Rather than complicating a simple process I prefer to bring out the natural flavors of the meat. All you need to prepare this feast for five is one whole 3-4 pound chicken, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper.