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Posts Tagged ‘Wegman’

Let me start out by saying YES this was a very tasty meal, I am so proud of myself for making this dish.  Of course many people are probably thinking, “piece of cake” but for me there was something about making the sauce with fresh cockles intimidated me.  I was determined to try and there right near the front of my favorite supermarket, Wegman’s was a big iced display of fresh mussels and clams.  And there was Gus;  Gus is the chef in residence at the Wegman’s store in Ocean, NJ.  He has a station near the front and next to the vegetables and it’s his job to cook tasty bites for customers using Wegman’s ingredients.  He ALWAYS has a great recipe for me so I headed straight to him to get his take on white clam sauce.  He happened to be cooking zucchini squash in a ginger soy sauce – very good!  Gus gave me his recipe and I took some notes, but knew that I was going to tweak this recipe myself.

A photo of clams

Fettucine with White Clam Sauce

Here’s what I did:

Olive oil to cover the bottom of a braising pan

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 to 1 whole Vidalia onion ( I happened to have a half in the fridge)

red pepper flakes 

1 small container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Butter

2 cups of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you are vegetarian) I never thought to use broth, added great flavor,

1/2 cup of white wine

1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1-2 TBS fresh oregano

1 bag of fresh clams

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Shredded or grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 # Barilla linguine (i’m convinced Barilla pasta has a lovely flavor of its own and adds another flavor to the dish)

Prior to preparing the meal put the clams in a basin of cold water with a lot of salt to soak for at least 30 minutes.  The clams will rid themselves of any sand.  I let them sit longer and changed the water a couple of times and put some ice in at one point to keep them cold.  Then I put them in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Put a pot of salted water on to boil.

Heat oil in braising pan on medium.  Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook till softened and golden.  Add the chicken broth and white wine, raise the heat slightly and cook down about 1/3 to 1/2.  

Add the container of garlic cheese and half of the parsley.  Toss in the oregano.  Add the clams and turn up the heat.  As the clams begin to open in 5-7 minutes, remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a bowl and start to shuck them, leaving as many as many as you would like to remain in the shell.  I tried to pick out the smaller ones to put aside for the pasta.  Once I started shucking I put the linguine in the boiling water.

When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, I put the clam bodies back in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. I reserved a cup of pasta water in case I needed it to add to the sauce.

Drain the linguine and add to the sauce in the braising pan.  Toss well.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top, the rest of the parsley and add the clams in the shell. 

Buono Appetito! Mangia!

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Mushrooms near the composte

Mushrooms

Whenever we’re at the Shore I seem to cook much more than I do in NYC.  Perhaps it’s because I love to grocery shop here at my favorite market – Wegman’s!  Or maybe it’s because I have a real kitchen in my cottage and not the typical Manhattan work space.  Or maybe it’s not so easy to grocery shop in New York because I have to carry all my groceries home and/or have Peter tag along to carry a few bags or take my little red grocery cart and pile my bags in that.  But above all, one cannot deny how easy it is to eat out or order in any night of the week in The City.  BUT tonight we feasted on a savory Mushroom Lasagna and sautéed broccoli with garlic – A delicious vegetarian version of Italian food staple.

2 # mixed mushrooms – sliced uniformly (I used Shitake, Portobello, white, and Baby Bello)

1 onion medium dice

2 garlic cloves minced

2 TBS butter

1 TBS olive oil

1 heaping TBS of chopped rosemary

1 1/2 cups of whipping cream

2 cups of radicchio, cored and sliced

1 3/4 cups grated cheese

6 sheets of lasagna sheets (fresh lasagna noodles come in wide sheets)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven 375 degrees

Melt butter and add olive oil and chopped onions. Saute over med-low heat till onions are soft and translucent but not brown.  Add in minced garlic and rosemary and cook stirring a minute or two till garlic is fragrant.  

Add mushrooms and 3/4 tsp salt and some pepper.  Increase heat to medium and cook mushrooms till soft 10-15 minutes.  Add cream and bring to a simmer 2-3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.  Don’t make sauce too thick or there won’t be enough liquid to cook noodles.  

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, put 1/2 cup of the mushroom mix on the bottom.  Top with 2 lasagna sheets, then 1 cup of mushroom mix, 1 cup of radicchio and 1/2 cup of grated cheese.  Repeat.  

Top 3rd layer of noodles with all remaining mixture and 3/4 cup cheese.  Bake uncovered 35-45 minutes – Cool 5 minutes.

 

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MEMO to Self:  Make sure you ask what the price per pound is before you order!!! I learned a lesson today that I WILL NEVER forget.    

English: A picture taken of a Turkey.

English: A picture taken of a Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two weeks ago when I was in the Delicious Orchards store buying those delicious soup mixes I checked out the price per pound on their fresh-killed turkeys.   I have a thing for fresh-killed turkeys, never been a Butterball fan with the pop-up timer and having to thaw the damn bird in my refrigerator for days.   The prices vary slightly depending on whether the turkey was organic and/or free range.  I don’t exactly remember what the actual price per pound was at Delicious Orchards but it couldn’t be too much higher than Wegman’s.  Now they are selling turkeys for $2.49 per lb. and organic free range fresh killed turkeys for $4.99 per lb.  I don’t even want to tell you that when I was a young married, you could get turkeys on sale at Thanksgiving for .59 cents per lb.  Can you believe it?  And right now I want to go on record that I resent the fact that the cent sign has been removed from keyboards.

I thought we were going to be 3 AND I swore this would be sooooooo simple a meal so I decided to just roast a turkey breast.  After all we love the white meat… sounded like a good idea to me.  I made that decision about 10 days  ago when I was in NYC and called Delicious Orchards to place my order for a Bell & Evans full turkey breast.  Bell & Evans produces really fine poultry.  I don’t know if they are just regional or national, but around here, their reputation is excellent.

Well today was my shopping day and after I went to Wegman’s to pick up all the other ingredients needed to make the sides, the salad and the dessert, I drove to Colt’s Neck to the Orchard to pick up my turkey breast and pumpkin pie and just a couple more things. The store was beyond crowded and it is NOT laid out like a regular grocery store. There are no real aisles, omg the carts were circling and weaving everywhere.

They had extra check-out counters manned so I was able to step right up and put my 1 red pepper, 2 navel oranges, a bottle of blue cheese dressing, about 6 apples, a soup mix package, a half gallon of cider, a dozen eggs,  a pumpkin pie and my turkey breast on the conveyer belt.  I had $93. with me and assumed  I had plenty of money to buy my items and then some.

YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN SHE ANNOUNCED THE TOTAL WAS $106.23! Are you f_____g kidding me?  I was so taken aback, I actually repeated the number and muttered to myself, “wow”.  Luckily I had my American Express card with me and after I paid the bill, I hurried out to my car.  It was raining so I quickly put the bags in the back seat.  I just sat in the car talking to myself about what just transpired.  After a moment or two, I picked up my cell phone and called the store from the parking lot.  

“Please connect me to the meat dept”.  “Hi, I wonder if you could tell me how much it cost per pound for a Bell & Evans turkey breast”?  “The reason I’m asking is because I just picked my order up and the turkey breast was rung up for $62.37″.  He replies, “Let’s see, the price per pound is $6.49″ .  OMG! I had been so hoping he was going to tell me it was  an error and this turkey breast did NOT cost $62.37!  “Thank you” I choked out the words.

NEVER AGAIN! 

Well I am taking this platinum-plated bird breast out tomorrow and am going to inject brine into it.  This is only the second time I ever brined a turkey.  The first time I was convinced not to do it again because it was so salty. This time I am making the brine and controlling how much I put into the breast.  Then I’m going make a garlic and herb paste that Emeril and Martha made and put it under the skin.  It goddam better be friggin’ delicious! 

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Bucatini

Bucatini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, if it’s not soup, it’s pasta (we call it macaroni) and you know I love to cook both.  This past weekend I made a pasta dish I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.  It calls for using a macaroni known as Bucatini.  As for as long as I’ve known, Bucatini was a long spaghetti-like strand of macaroni that was hollow in the middle.  Heavier and thicker than regular spaghetti or linguine and a macaroni that needed a sauce to stand up to it.

However, when I went shopping for this pastas, what I found was a package being marketed as Bucatini but the pieces had been cut into lengths of about 3 1/2 inches.  Mmmm I thought this is not the real thing BUT as it turns out, this cut was probably better than the long strand version.  Why? Because the sauce was a bit soupy and with those two open ends, the sauce just slithered into the piece and oh what a delightful mouthful it was.

1 lb Bucatini (cooked per directions)

1 pkg (4oz) Pancetta diced

1 pkg (4oz) Prosciutto diced

2 cups thinly sliced red onion (about 8oz onion)

1/2 tsp or + crushed red pepper

2 TBS Chianti Red Wine Vinegar

1 jar of pomodoro sauce, 24 oz ( I used Wegman’s Grandma’s Pomodoro Sauce)

1 jar of water using sauce jar

2 TBS Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Use a braising pan.

1. Add pancetta and prosciutto to pan on MEDIUM.  Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until browned.

2. Add onion and crushed pepper.  Cook 10-12 minutes until onions are softened.  Add red wine vinegar, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Add sauce and water; bring to simmer. Simmer gently 5-8 minutes.

3. Add oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir.  Add cooked pasta to pan and toss.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU Magazine 

I served this dish with an Arugula Salad which proved to be the perfect complement.

 

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TUSCANY

TUSCANY

It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday!  You know I love to cook on the weekend, especially at the shore because the kitchen is bigger although the stove is smaller as is the oven.  The real reason I love cooking in New Jersey is the accessibility to several marvelous grocery stores and two magnificent fruit and vegetable stands.  Believe they don’t call New Jersey the Garden State for nothing! Unabashedly, Wegman’s is my favorite grocery store and I love making the recipes in their seasonal MENU magazine.  This recipe for Tuscan Baked Beans is in the latest edition.   I don’t know if it was meant to be a main dish but it certainly would satisfy a vegetarian or vegan.

1 pkg dry Great Northern Beans OR 4 cans of Great Northern Beans undrained.

9 cups of water* (only needed it you use the dry beans)

24 leaves of fresh sage OR 20 if you are NOT using dry beans

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, OR 1 if you are NOT using dry beans

1/2 cup of Extra Virgin olive oil, divided

1  1/2 pkgs of chopped onions.  (12 oz)

4 cloves of garlic, finely diced

8 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 TBS salt

1 tsp pepper

1/4 cup basting oil (olive oil with Italian herbs in it)

2 cups of Panko bread crumbs

You’ll need a stockpot* and a braising pan

** indicates usage with the dry beans

*Place sorted and rinsed beans in stockpot.  Cover with about 2 inches of water, tilt cover to vent and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain the beans.  Put the beans and 9 cups of fresh water in the stockpot. Heat on HIGH uncovered, until boiling.  Skim off as much foam as possible.  Add 4 leaves and 1 sprig of rosemary to the pot.  Reduce to MEDIUM.  Cover, tilting to allow steam to vent.  Cook one hour, do not stir.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in braising pan on MEDIUM.  Add onions and garlic, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Chop 20 sage leaves and sprig of rosemary, add to onion mixture.  Cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

Check beans for tenderness. If not quite tender, cover completely and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Add beans and liquid to the onion mixture in braising pan.  Stir to combine. Drizzle remaining olive oil and bake for 60 minutes.  Beans will be done when liquid is syrupy and bubbly.  Carefully remove from oven, season with salt and pepper.

Mix basting oil and panko crumbs in small bowl.  Place mixture over beans and return to oven, bake 20-30 minutes until topping is brown and crisp.

This makes enough beans to feed 8 people. It tastes great, REALLY!!

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine 

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Sunday sauce

Sunday sauce (Photo credit: letouj)

This past weekend, I decided to make Sunday Sauce.  It is so tasty, so delicious and even though it takes a long time to cook down, it is well worth it.  Pick an afternoon you’ll be home and soon your home will be filled with the aroma of simmering tomato sauce.  I thought I could make it in my crockpot BUT my crockpot was not big enough.  Using a crockpot would make the whole process easier since you could just let it simmer away for hours.

I started with a large stockpot but then thought, “Oh why not use the crock pot?”   I filled the crock pot and still had a lot of sauce in the braising pan so now I had to make a decision;  I took half of the meat out of the crock pot and put it in the braising pan and cooked the sauce in both.  I tell you all this so you won’t make the same mistakes I made which made a fairly simple recipe into a complicated process.  Mangia!

SUNDAY SAUCE

(but you can call it Gravy!)

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.5 lb of boneless country spare ribs ( I used bone-in)

6 links of Hot Italian Pork Sausage (I used Hot Poultry Sausage)

2 cups (16 oz) chopped onions

8 TBSP of minced garlic (from jar) OR 20 cloves minced

2 cans of tomato paste

4 cups of water

6 cans of coarsely ground Italian tomatoes

4 TBSP dried basil (I used 2TBSP and basil from my yard)

16 meatballs (cooked)

Salt and Pepper to taste

You’ll need a large braising pan and a 16 Qt stockpot

Heat olive oil in large braising pan on MEDIUM HIGH; add ribs and sausage.  Cook, turning 2-5 min, until meats are browned on all sides.  Transfer meats to stockpot.

Reduce heat to LOW.  Add onions and garlic to braising pan; cook, stirring, 10 minutes, until veggies are translucent.

Raise heat to MEDIUM; add tomato paste.  Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes, until paste just begins to brown.  Add water, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Bring to simmer.

Transfer tomato paste/water mixture to stockpot. Stir in canned tomatoes and basil.  Bring to simmer on MEDIUM.  Reduce heat to LOW.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 hours.  Add cooked meatballs.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.

Carefully transfer meats to serving platter; cut meats into manageable pieces. Transfer sauce to serving bowl.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine

Congratulations to me! This is my 1000th blog post!  Wow, I’ve had so much fun doing this, I hope my readers/followers are enjoying  this journey too.  Thank you for all your support and comments.  

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I had looked up this recipe and thought what a nice meal this would be and I asked our friend Michael to join us.  He opted for Sunday morning breakfast out instead but I decided to make the dish anyway.  It looked quite simple and I’m not saying it was at all difficult because it wasn’t and you will see for yourself, however, it took more time than I thought and we ate about 9:00 last night.   That’s not a problem for us New Yorkers who are used to eating later than most.  I hope you will make this dish;  Just give yourself the time it takes to cook!

Chicken Hunter-Style  a/k/a Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Hunter-Style
a/k/a Chicken Cacciatore

BRAISED HUNTER-STYLE CHICKEN

3 # split chicken breasts, drums and thighs

Searing flour (it’s like Wondra)

2 TBS vegetable oil

8 oz white mushrooms sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 pkg of mirepoix (7oz) – (mirepoix is diced celery, onion and carrot)

1 1/2 cups of kitchen-cut Roma tomatoes with basil (You could probably use any cut up or diced tomatoes with basil)

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

2 cups dry red wine

1 carton chicken broth (32 oz)

Salt and Pepper

1TBS fresh tarragon chopped ( I used dried)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:  Halve chicken breasts; dust with pan-searing flour.  Heat  oil in large braising pan on MED. Add chicken, brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a clean platter.  Discard all but one TBS of pan drippings.

Add mushrooms; cook 2-3 min.  Add garlic and mirepoix; cook 2-3 min, stirring.  Add tomatoes and herbes; cook 3 min.  Add wine, cook 7-10 minutes till liquid is reduced by a one-third.  Add stock; season with salt and pepper.  Return chicken to pan; heat till simmer.

Cover; place on center rack in oven.  Braise one hour.  Carefully remove lid; cook 20 minutes uncovered, till meat is fork tender and sauce is thickened.

Transfer chicken to clean serving platter.  Stir tarragon into the sauce and pour over chicken.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine Fall 2013

WHAT I LEARNED!   I followed directions and times carefully, however, the sauce did not thicken.  Perhaps if left in the oven for longer than 20 minutes uncovered, it would have.  We had too much sauce and it was not thick.  I think I would use less chicken broth next time and see what happened.  Once I realized how much sauce I had I made some rice to go with the meal and that was a great idea.  Spooning that delicious sauce over the rice was yummy.  I also sauteed some broccoli florets in garlic and olive oil as a  side dish.

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