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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.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Warm Brie Flan Salad with Upland Cress and Poached Apple

by Chef Nadia Tilkian

Summer is a great time to entertain and a unique salad is a great way to bring the friends together for lunch or a perfect starter to your evening dinner party.

Warm Brie Flan Salad 
with Upland Cress and Poached Apple

Kitchen Note: The apples are best made a day in advance and left in the poaching liquid to fully absorb the color of the wine. The remaining poaching liquid is boiled to reduce to a syrupy consistency and drizzled around the plate for extra color.

Serves: 4

4 ounces brie cheese cut into small pieces (rind included)
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces Upland cress or other watercress, rinsed, dried and trimmed

Poached Apple
2 cups dry red wine
3/4 cup sugar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, quartered, and cored

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Pinch sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

For the poached apple, combine the wine and sugar in a small saucepan and set on medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the apple pieces and top with a round of parchment paper, setting a small heatproof plate on top to keep the apples submerged. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer until the apple is nearly tender but still holding its shape, about 20 minutes. Let the apple cool in the liquid, then cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil 4 1/2-cup ramekins or other small baking dishes.

Combine the brie and cream in the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steal bowl set over a pan of warm (not boiling)water. Cook until the cream is hot and the brie is melted, stirring occasionally; some parts of the brie rind may not melt, which is fine. Take the bowl from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture to gently warm the yolks. Add the yolks, slat, and pepper to the remaining cheese mixture and whisk to evenly blend.