Making the Sale by Kelly Montgomery

Without a doubt Marcel’s is a great place to work. It offers fun co-workers, customers who become friends, the smell of bacon frying or onions caramelizing back in the kitchen, and so much more. But this job is not without its occupational hazards. Being continually and relentlessly exposed to terrific cooking tools and beautiful home accents can lead to overspending, marital strain and insufficient cabinet space.

As you might imagine, I’ve got quite a collection of kitchen stuff and exquisite tableware. Brock, my husband, has developed a certain look when he sees me coming in with a Marcel’s bag. It’s a look that says, “Is it necessary to have four different machines to make coffee?” (Um….kind of! They’re all different! And anyway we have 5 not 4. Just saying.). It asks “Don’t we already have way too many plates?” (Well, technically yes, but look at how gorgeous these are and how great they look with all our other Juliska plates!!)

It begins innocently enough. I’m having a discussion about the wonderful features of a product with a customer and next thing I know I’m the one who’s standing at the counter purchasing it. I’ve literally sold it to myself!! It was in this exact way that I recently became the owner of a Fagor Lux Multi-Cooker. I think selling that machine to me may have been the best sale I’ve ever made.

So I brought it home. And when, as expected, I got “the look”. I countered, “But it’s a pressure cooker and a slow cooker and a rice cooker and an egg cooker and a steamer! It browns and simmers and keeps food warm until you’re ready to eat it! It makes yogurt for crying out loud!  It even does the dishes!”  (Wait. No. But you can brown things and then finish them in the same pan so it basically helps with the dishes!)  I sound like an infomercial!!

I’ve owned my Multi-Cooker for about a month and have had so much fun trying new recipes and learning easier and faster ways of doing things.  And when Brock recently wondered aloud  “Where has this thing been all our lives?”, I shot him my look that says “Told ya!”

Stay tuned for my upcoming demo using the Multi Cooker to make Pressure Cooker Penne with Squash and Ricotta.

See you at Marcel’s!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
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Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ cup milk or almond milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
  • Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add eggs and combine thoroughly. Then mix together the remaining wet ingredients: Greek yogurt, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
  • Add in dry ingredients (flour, flax, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt) and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Pour mixture into a greased muffin tin, filling each up about ⅔ full.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Braised Short Ribs with Orecchiette

Braised Short Ribs with Orecchiette
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Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup stock - beef or chicken
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • Parmesan cheese
  • heavy cream, to taste
  • parsley or celery leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pound Orecchiette pasta, cooked al dente
Instructions
  • Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add short ribs and brown on all sides. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook until softened. Stir in tomato paste. Add wine and reduce by half. Add stock. Bring to high pressure and pressure cook for 1 hour. Naturally release pressure. Remove bones and skim fat*. With a fork, shred the short ribs.
  • In a medium saucepan, add short ribs with its cooking liquid and tomato purée. Simmer over medium heat. Add a touch of cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season to taste.
  • Serve with Orecchiette pasta and garnish with herbs and Parmesan.
Notes
  • Fat is easy to remove if made in advance and chilled.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Heart-Shaped Dried Cherry and Chocolate Chip Scones

Heart-Shaped Dried Cherry and Chocolate Chip Scones
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 teaspoon (packed) grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
  • 2/3 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Milk (for glaze)
Instructions
  • Butter and flour baking sheet.
  • Whisk 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add butter and grated orange peel; rub in with fingertips until coarse meal forms. Mix in chocolate chips and dried cherries.
  • Whisk buttermilk, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and almond extract in small bowl to blend.
  • Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; stir with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps. Gather dough into ball. Press out dough on lightly floured surface to 3/4-inch thickness.
  • Using 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out scones. Gather scraps, press out dough and cut out additional scones.
  • Transfer to baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Brush scones lightly with milk; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are crusty on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes (or up to 20 minutes if refrigerated). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Chicken Soup with Ricotta Dumplings
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  • 3 quarts, plus 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Dumplings
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Instructions
  • In a large pot combine stock, carrots, celery, onions and parsley, maintaining a minimum depth of 4” of liquid for the dumplings to float. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • To make the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, milk and herbs; add to flour mixture. Stir just until dough holds together. Using a tablespoon, form dumplings into balls and drop into boiling broth. Cook 15 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

White Pizzas with Arugula

White Pizzas with Arugula
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For the dough
  • 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • Kosher salt
For the garlic oil
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the topping
  • 3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
  • 11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
For the vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 lemon, sliced
Dough
  • Combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Garlic oil
  • Place 1/2 cup olive oil, the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.
Pizza
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
  • Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  • Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.) Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with Fontina, mozzarella, and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
Vinaigrette
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and serve immediately.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Peppadew Peppers with Creamy Lemon and Chive Goat Cheese Spread

Peppadew Peppers with Creamy Lemon and Chive Goat Cheese Spread
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Ingredients
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • peppadew peppers
Instructions
  • Combine goat cheese, cream cheese and lemon zest. Fold in chives. Pipe mixture into peppers. Drizzle with honey.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Champagne Punch

Champagne Punch
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 mesh teaball with mulling spices
  • 1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine
Instructions
  • Combine apple cider, sugar and teaball with mulling spices in pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Chill.
  • Just before serving, add champagne.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
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Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, diced
Instructions
  • In a deep saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 3 minutes, or until onion is wilted. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the flour, salt and pepper and cook until the mixture bubbles and begins to turn golden. Add the stock; cook and whisk until thick and smooth. Add the wild rice, chicken and parsley and heat through.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout with Rosemary-Parmesan Polenta

Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout with Rosemary-Parmesan Polenta
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Ingredients
  • 6 ounces hot Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
Polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta corn grits (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add sausage to pan; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 1-3 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in stock and next 5 ingredients (through beans); reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in oregano. Serve with Polenta.
Polenta
  • Bring water and salt to boil; gradually stir in cornmeal. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until mixture is very thick, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter, salt, Parmesan and rosemary.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/