Monthly Archives: October 2012

Beef Bourguignon {In under 30 minutes}

This classic French comfort food dish, popularized in America by Julia Child, originally comes from the Burgundy region of France. At the French Culinary Institute, we made our Boef Bourguignon by marinating our beef overnight in huge pots of wine and aromatics; the next day laboriously tending to the dish and its numerous components, even making fresh pappardelle pasta to accompany it.  

I’ve never attempted that grandiose French Culinary Institute recipe at home, but instead make this pared down, simplified version that still brings the same rich flavors and comforting tenderness to the table, all in about 30 minutes. Make this for friends, and everyone will go home happy, or make it for yourself and enjoy it all week, the flavors just get better over time. Don’t let the recipe intimidate you, just read through it and have all the components prepped, and it will come together in a flash.


  • 1 pound baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 1 bacon slice, finely chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup earthy red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


  1. Place your potato in a saucepan over high heat; cover with cool water. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Return potato to pan; keep warm.
  2. While your potato cooks, place the pearl onions in a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Finely chop 1 (2-inch) cube of tenderloin, and set aside (this will enrich the sauce later). Pat the remaining beef cubes dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle them evenly with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan; swirling to coat. Add the seasoned beef cubes; sauté 3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan and set aside on paper towels. Add the finely chopped beef and bacon to the pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms brown, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the garlic, chopped thyme, and sugar, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the wine, and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half.
  5. Add the pearl onions and the beef broth, and bring everything to a boil. Cook everything for 1 minute. Combine 2 tablespoons water and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pan, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly (this will thicken the sauce). Return the browned beef cubes to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cooked to medium-rare or longer for your desired degree of doneness.
  6. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons butter and the milk to the potatoes in the saucepan, and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve a big ladle of the beef and the sauce over the potatoes, and garnish with some thyme sprigs, if desired.

*Alternatively, you can serve this over buttered pappardelle pasta instead of the mashed potatoes.

Recipe inspired by

Photo Credit:

quick & cheesy chicken pot pies

With historic hurricane Sandy gearing up to clobber the East Coast with rain, winds, and flooding, comforting and cozy food seems even more appealing then ever. This quick and easy cheesy chicken potpie fits the bill, and promises to keep you warm and content while the storm wages outside. It comes together in a flash, and can be made with items you probably already have in your fridge. Make a big batch now and set yourself up for the next few days.  This recipe is a great way to get kids and picky eaters to eat vegetables (who can turn down a cheesy sauce and a cheesy biscuit topping?), and it would also make the perfect vehicle for Thanksgiving leftovers in a few weeks.


  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, and meat shredded
  • 4 cups assorted mixed vegetables (I used frozen to keep it simple, but use fresh if you prefer) Try carrots, peas, pearl onions, broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes, or any combination you like.

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Biscuit Topping

  • 1 cup biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  1. Place meat and vegetables in a 9 inch round or 8×8 square baking dish, or in smaller mini ramekins if you’re making individual portions.
  2. Make the sauce: Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and cook 1 minute to take out the raw flavor. Slowly add the chicken broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour over meat and vegetables. Mix well to coat everything with the sauce.
  3. Biscuit topping: Stir together all ingredients with a fork until even moistened. Spread thinly over mixture in casserole dish. (Don’t worry if there are gaps, it does not need to be perfectly covered and it will fill out more as it bakes.) You can sprinkle on a bit more shredded cheddar cheese on top if you’re feeling especially glutinous.
  4. Bake at 400ºF for 25 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

Recipe inspired by

View the full post on Bachelor Kitchen.


New Publication: Inside AIA {An Insurance Company Newsletter}

“In the first of our Health and Wellbeing features, our special guest writer Elizabeth Palmer Starnes gives us some great advice on making healthy and tasty food choices.”

If you’re looking for a nutritional powerhouse that packs a serious punch, look no further than salmon. This unassuming pink fish delivers a multitude of health benefits into one delicious dish. Salmon contains a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower levels of inflammation in the body and can help your whole body function better, help prevent a range of cancers, and aid in joint health as you age. These same Omega-3 fatty acids also help keep your heart strong and your arteries clear, aiding in the prevention of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

The Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have also been shown to protect your brain. Specifically, the component of these fatty acids known as Omega-3 DHA helps to bolster your brain cells, reducing the risk of depression, and protecting your brain as you age. Salmon can help you look good too, as Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to make your skin look more youthful and luminous, and your hair stronger and shinier. The proteins in salmon can also help to keep you feeling fuller longer, and the healthy fat can aid in weight loss and maintenance.

You can prepare salmon countless ways, but I like a simple preparation that’s quick and easy to assemble. This recipe is rich in heart-healthy fats, and the garlic and lemon have many health benefits of their own. They have been shown to bolster your immune system and help your body protect itself. Try to eat salmon often to accrue all of these amazing health benefits, and feel and look your best.

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Garlic, Lemon and Oil


• 1 lb/450g of salmon (ideally wild), deboned, skin removed and cut into 4 fillets

• 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

• 2 lemons, zested and juiced
• 4 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil


• Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius

• In a bowl, combine the minced garlic cloves, lemon zest and juice, oil, salt, and pepper

• Coat the salmon fillets on all sides in this marinade, then lay them skin side down on a sheet pan covered with foil or parchment paper

• Pour the remaining marinade over the salmon, and place in the middle of the oven

• Cook the salmon for 8-10 minutes, then remove and cover loosely with foil, allowing it to rest for 5 minutes so the heat distributes evenly

Serve with a fresh mixed green salad or some lightly sautéed greens dressed with lemon and olive oil for a healthy and balanced meal.


Homemade Snickers Bars

These homemade snickers bars might just be my new favorite thing. Store bought Snickers bars are all well and good- but these take it to a whole new level. They’re chocolaty and nutty and melt in your mouth- striking the perfect balance between salty and sweet. It looks like a lot of steps, and it is, but they come together pretty quickly and require minimal dexterity to execute. Either way- these bars are worth any amount of effort. Plan on eating one and then giving the rest to deserving friends, or you’ll risk eating the whole batch!

Makes one 9×13 pan or roughly 12 medium size bars

Bottom Chocolate Layer

1 bag milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

Thoroughly grease you baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat, then pour into the baking dish and spread evenly. Let cool and harden completely. (I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process).

Nougat Peanut Layer

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk

2 cups marshmallow fluff

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved, then bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Turn off the heat and fold in the peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely. (Again, you can use the freezer to speed it all up).

Caramel Layer

1 14-ounce bag of caramels

1/4 cup whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Allow the caramels to melt, whisking occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.

Top Chocolate Layer

1 bag milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, or freeze for a good 15 minutes, then cut as desired. These can stay good at room temperature, but they do get gooey. If you keep them in the fridge, allow them to warm up a bit before serving.

Adapted from the recipe on

Hot Mulled Cider {Bourbon Optional}

It’s getting chilly out there! Warm up with some hot mulled cider – a fall favorite. If you have friends coming over, put a big pot of this on the stove, and your whole home will smell warm and welcoming. Or if you’ve got a tailgate to attend, fill up a big thermos and add some bourbon to keep yourself warm. This pairs perfectly with these spiced pumpkin poppers, or stands alone as a an easy fall cocktail everyone will love.

Serves 4-6

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 2-3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, to taste (can substitute maple syrup or honey if desired)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, or a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 orange (unpeeled), quartered
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or ½ vanilla bean, split
  • Brandy or bourbon (optional)


  1. Combine cider, sugar, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla in a large pot with a lid.
  2. Bring everything to a boil, and then lower to a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, add a shot of brandy or bourbon to each mug, then fill to the brim with the hot cider (avoiding the oranges and spices).
  4. Stir to combine, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy hot or cold.

New Publication {The Boulevardier}

I recently started contributing to a new online magazine called The Boulevardier, which caters to “the modern young gentleman and his interests.” Read below for an excerpt from my latest article, and view the full website at

If you’re lucky enough to have a lady over at your place before a date or for a casual evening, there are a few steps you should take to make sure feels comfortable and taken care of. Drinks and appetizers are the simple solution, and my suggestions below will insure that you have all your bases covered. Read on to learn some lady-friendly signature cocktails, as well as some quick and easy appetizers to serve with drinks and tips and tricks to help your evening go off without a hitch.

Wine: Try to have some options for her to choose from. Two different bottles of red wine and two different bottles of white wine should be sufficient. For red wine, try Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, or Merlot. For white wine, try Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay. Be sure to leave ample time for the white wine to chill, and consider investing in a decanter to allow your wine to breathe before serving.

Gin and Tonic: Fill a tall, narrow glass to the brim with ice. Pour in 1 part gin (try Tanqueray or Hendricks) and 1 part tonic water. Add 1-tablespoon fresh lime juice, and stir to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Vodka Soda Lime: Fill a tall, narrow glass to the brim with ice. Pour in 1 part vodka (try Absolut or Grey Goose) and 1 part soda water. Add 1-tablespoon fresh lime juice, and stir to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge. (You can also add a splash of cranberry juice for color).

Pink Grapefruit Martini: Over ice, shake 1 part gin or vodka with 1 part grapefruit juice and a dash of vermouth until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a twist of grapefruit zest if desired.

Champagne or Proseco: Depending on how fancy of an evening you’d like to make it, you might consider offering your lady something bubbly. Just be aware that this gesture elevates the status of the evening and might also elevate her expectations- use your own discretion here.

Tips to Keep in Mind for Cocktails

Real wine and cocktail glasses are half the battle. Serve your drinks in the appropriate vessels and you’ll instantly set a classy tone. To state the obvious, SOLO cups belong with ping-pong balls and beer, not with dates.

Ingredients matter. Invest in a few bottles of top shelf premium liquor, and your cocktails will speak for themselves. The same goes for mixers- use fresh squeezed lime juice, and fruit juice that’s not from concentrate.

Don’t overwhelm your lady with options. Inundating her with an entire liquor cabinet and row upon row of wine bottles could overwhelm even the most assertive lady. Streamline the choices to show her you can take charge but still give her ample options.

Don’t pound your drink. Even if you’re nervous, chugging your drink will make her feel like she should hurry up too. Gentleman sip slowly- you’ve made a top shelf cocktail after all, you should enjoy it.

View my full post at the Boulevardier. 

Tailgating {Its Time to Step Up Your Game}

Read on to learn how to impress at all the big games this fall with these revamped tailgating recipes. They go above and beyond the staid and expected burgers, dogs, and chili. Surprise everyone with spicy-sweet chili Asian meatballs, tempt them with mini BLT’s on easy homemade biscuits, and celebrate the big win with mulled cider (spiked or straight) and a salty-sweet pecan toffee brittle.

Mini Biscuit BLT’s


2 3/4 cup(s) All Purpose Flour, plus more for surface

2 tablespoon(s) Sugar

4 teaspoon(s) Baking Powder

1 teaspoon(s) Salt

1 teaspoon(s) Baking Soda

2 stick(s) Unsalted Butter, chilled

1 cup(s) Buttermilk

1 large Tomato, chopped

3/4 cup(s) Mayonnaise

12 ounce(s) Thick-Cut Bacon, cooked

1 small Bunch Arugula

1 lemon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients; cut in butter with a pastry cutter. Add buttermilk and stir.

On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 1 /2-inch-round cutter, cutout biscuits; bake on a baking sheet until golden, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix tomato with mayonnaise; season with salt and black pepper. Split biscuits. Toss arugula with a squeeze of lemon. Layer each biscuit with mayo mixture, 2-inch piece bacon, and arugula.

For a bunch more tailgating recipes, see my complete article on Bachelor Kitchen.

Poto Credit: