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Monday, November 10, 2014

Making the most of holiday leftovers

by Nadia Tilkian

Another year seems to have zipped by and the holidays are upon us once again. The holiday season means great times with family and friends and of course, great food! And usually lots of leftovers! To help clear your refrigerator and spice up your at-home lunch and dinner menu, here is a nourishing dish that makes for great comfort food during the cooler days and nights of late autumn and winter.

Unlike those perennial leftover favorites – turkey and ham sandwiches, mashed potatoes do not always hold up well after being left in the refrigerator overnight and reheated. They tend to lose their smooth and creamy consistency. However, they can work wonderfully as an ingredient in other dishes including this hearty recipe.

Apart from being quick and simple to prepare, one of the best parts of this delectable dish is that no matter how you have originally seasoned your potatoes, it will only add more flavor to this tasty treat.

Leftover Mashed Potato Soup
·         1 medium onion, sliced
·         3 tbsp corn oil
·         ¼ cup white wine
·         4 cups left over mashed potato
·         4 cups chicken or turkey stock
·         1 cup heavy whipping cream
·         Salt and white pepper to taste
·         ½ cup chopped herbs
·         ½ cup olive oil

To begin, sweat the onion slices in corn oil over low heat until the onions are soft. Be sure not to brown the onions, cooking them only until they are soft and translucent. Next, add the white wine, mashed potatoes and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the heavy whipping cream. Transfer the mixture to a blender, season with salt and pepper and blend about a minute or until smooth and creamy. When seasoning, keep in mind that the potatoes may have already been seasoned the first time around and adjust accordingly.

When blending hot liquids use caution, as built up steam can literally blow the lid off the blender! To ease the pressure, fill the blender or food processor up no more than halfway and if necessary, blend in batches on low speed, gradually ramping up the speed, if needed. Also, if your blender has one, remove the filler cap from the lid and cover the hole with a folded towel. Hold the lid on securely while blending.

Next, combine chopped herbs and olive oil and blend on the pulse setting. Finally, pour a spoonful of the mixed oil and herbs on the soup and serve. Happy Holiday Leftovers!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Mustard Sauce: Simple but Elegant

by Nadia Tilkian

I like to keep things simple but very elegant and flavorful. I've found that often, too many ingredients cover the flavor and spoil the broth. At Waterleaf, we use only the freshest, seasonal and locally-grown ingredients and by keeping things simple, we are able focus on the flavor of the dish. A perfect example is the use of our unique sauces. Dining is a sensuous event and an alluring dish should engage your sense of sight as well as your sense of smell and your taste buds. A sensational sauce not only adds flavor, it adds color and visual texture to create an entrée that will look as enticing and artful as it tastes.

Although it may feel intimidating at first, anyone can create a delicious and memorable sauce simply by using fresh, well-chosen ingredients, attention to detail and a little bit of patience. The key is to go “slow and low.” Take your time, be sure to stir often and don’t overcook the ingredients or burn the mixture.

This rich, enticing mustard sauce is a perfect example of the power of simplicity. Relatively quick and easy to prepare, it’s well-suited for the cold days of winter and will add incredible flavor and flair to your dish. Pair it with chicken, pork or fish for a tantalizing and unforgettable entrée.

·         2 tbsp corn oil
·         3 minced shallots
·         1 cup white wine
·         1 cup chicken stock
·         2 cups heavy cream
·         ½ cup Dijon mustard
·         1 tbsp champagne vinegar
·         salt
·         white pepper
·         2 tbsp cold butter

To begin, heat a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add corn oil and swirl until the bottom of the pan is coated. Next, sweat the minced shallots in the pan, stirring often. Sweating aromatic vegetables helps draw out moisture and soften the cell walls. It is important not to brown the shallots, only cooking them until they are soft and translucent.

Next, add the white wine and cook uncovered until the amount is reduced by half. Though it takes a little extra time, reduction will intensify the flavor of a liquid as well as cut down on the acidity of wine. Continue to stir frequently to prevent the sauce from burning. Once the wine is reduced to half, add the chicken stock, also reducing it by half. Next, add the cream, again until it is reduced by another half. Finish with your sauce by adding Dijon mustard, salt and pepper (to taste), vinegar and butter.

When finishing and plating your entrée, keep in mind, a little sauce goes a long way. The sauce should add flavor and color to the main dish, not mask it. 

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kale and Brussels Sprout salad with garlic-lemon dressing

6 c Tusan Kale washed and stems removed
2 c Brussels Sprouts cored and shredded
2 c toasted, blanched Almonds
1 c raisins
For the dressing
3 shallots minced
8 cloves garlic minced
1 c lemon juice
½ c fish sauce
1/3 c white, distilled vinegar
1 ½ c olive oil
Pepper to taste

½ tsp salt

Friday, December 6, 2013

Brussels Sprout Leaves

Looking for a little something different to bring to your holiday dinner? This Brussels Sprout side dish with bacon is sure to surprise everyone around the table.

1 # Brussels Sprout Leaves
4 shallots, sliced
½ # bacon diced
¼ c  whole grain mustard
¼ c Dijon mustard
½ c white wine
2 c heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Render the bacon over medium heat. When it is browned remove it from the pan. Add the shallots to the pan and sauté until soft. Add white wine, mustard and cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the leaves. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until they are tender. Add the crisp bacon back to the sprouts and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken Stock

With cold weather upon us, it is time to prepare for our favorite soups and stews of the season.

• 4 pounds chicken carcasses
• 2 large onions peeled and quartered
• 3 carrots peeled and sliced thick
• 4 ribs celery sliced
• 1 leek whites only, cut lengthwise, sliced and washed
• 10 sprigs thyme
• 10 sprigs parsley with stems
• ¼ cup black peppercorns
• 4 bay leaves
• 2 cups white wine
• 2 gallons cold water

Bring everything to a boil. Skim the scum. Lower the heat to simmer.
Simmer for 6 to 8 hours. Add water to cover as needed. Strain through a
fine mesh strainer. Discard solids and cool stock immediately.
Remove the solidified fat from the stock.

Use inexpensive white wine such as a boxed wine. The more fortified a
wine, the more flavor for cooking.
Use cold water. Cold water extracts the natural gelatin in the bones.
The more gelatinous, the better.
You may freeze the stock in ice cube trays or baggies. I do both. Sometimes
you only need a small amount, sometimes more.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Caesar Dressing

Tis the season of salads... Here is my version of Caesar Dressing. I like it less anchovy laced and more garlicky (spicy). Romaine is very watery so this recipe gives the romaine some kick

4 yolks
1 c pureed garlic
1 tsp. anchovy paste
2 TBSP. Red wine vinegar
1 ½ TBSP. lemon juice
¼ c Dijon Mustard
4 c olive oil (corn oil may be substituted or a mix of half corn and olive oils may be used)
1 ½ c Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and black pepper to taste

Blend yolks, garlic, anchovy paste, Dijon, lemon juice and red wine vinegar in a food processor. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream. If you pour the oil too fast the emulsion will break. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and add cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended.

This makes about 6 c dressing and will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

Let me know if you have any questions… Chef Nadia

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chick Pea Stew

by Chef Nadia Tilkian

Gardens will soon be overflowing with summer's abundance. Here is a favorite recipe featuring eggplant and tomatoes to inspire you.

Chick Pea Stew

2 eggplants peeled and medium dice
1 lb. dry chickpeas soaked overnight
10 plum tomatoes diced
2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. tomato paste
Equal parts of white wine and water to cover
15-20 garlic cloves
Bay leaf
Salt and White pepper

Sweat the eggplant and tomatoes in the olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, add the tomato paste and sweat 1 more minute while stirring. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. Check seasoning and adjust.