Archives for May 2015

Cooking with Nostalgia by Heidi Kise

There is something very beautiful about going into my Granny B’s old wooden recipe box and pulling out a handwritten note card to create a classic dish that was in her standard repertoire. I sometimes worry that the art of passing down these family gems will someday be yet another “thing of the past.” Our mothers and grandmothers cook traditional dishes for loved ones without looking online, consulting a cookbook, or inserting a flash drive into the oven. These celebrated cooks learned to cook using all of their senses, worrying less about the exact time it takes to make a dish and instead, knowing just how something should look, feel and smell before moving on to the next step. Each of them has their own unique spin on classic dishes too; cooking with a little of this, a pinch of that, filling a pot halfway with something or other … and magically a mouthwatering aroma fills their home and you know that soon you will be gathering around the table to share this meal with your family.

Screenshot_2015-05-21-14-03-08Whenever I smell the aroma of onions sautéing in a kitchen it immediately transports me to my childhood home. My Mom, Ingrid, cooked most nights and is an excellent home cook. She was born and raised in Germany so naturally German dishes are her specialty as is feeding every guest who comes into our home. For our birthday celebration, my three siblings and I would each choose our favorite meal for our mom to create. Mine was undoubtedly always a German dish, either goulash or roladen with spätzle or nockel.


Mom’s Goulash

This week, I celebrated my birthday as did my 7 year old son and guess what he requested? Goulash! It puts a smile on my face that he, too, loves a dish that has been a family tradition for years. Even after extracting the recipe step by step from my mom, and making it side by side with her, the goulash never tastes quite as good as hers.

While this may not seem like a spring dish, it is a soulful and satiating dish that will hopefully become a favorite of yours that you can pass down to your kids. Thanks Mom for passing down this dish and your love of cooking to me!

  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. 2 lb. sirloin beef, cut into bite size pieces
  4. 4 T. butter, divided
  5. 1 large onion, diced
  6. 5 T. sweet paprika
  7. 8 cups water
  8. ¾ cup flour
  9. 1 cup water
  10. Egg noodles
  1. Season meat with salt and pepper. Place a dutch oven on the stove top over high heat. After pot is hot, add the oil. When oil begins to shimmer, brown meat in batches. Removing each batch to a plate.
  2. When meat is seared, drop heat to medium; add 2 Tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted, add onions and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add paprika and stir until combined. Add meat and juices back to pot along with water. Simmer, never boil, until tender, at least 2 hours. (Simmering time will depend on size that you cut your meat)
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour and water until mixture is completely smooth. Stir flour mixture into simmering pot of meat and simmer another 15 minutes until sauce has thickened. Whisk in remaining 2 T. of butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Enjoy over egg noodles.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

S’more Brownie Bites

S’more Brownie Bites
  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  5. 2 t. pure vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1/2 cup quinoa flour*
  8. 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  9. 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 4 large graham crackers, finely crushed
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 24-count mini-muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, fill each paper liner with about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter. Push 3 mini marshmallows halfway down into the center of the batter. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the graham cracker crumbs over the marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve.
  1. *Quinoa flour is available at health food stores.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes

Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes
Serves 4
  1. 1 T. butter
  2. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 4 to 6 chicken pieces (thighs, breast, legs, etc.)
  4. salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  5. 1 can (14-ounces) quartered artichokes, rinsed and drained
  6. 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  7. 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  8. 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
  9. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  10. 1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) baby spinach
  11. ½ cup vegetable broth
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet that's safe for stovetop and oven. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and brown on both sides; about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set it on the side, leaving oil in skillet.
  3. Add artichokes, onions, carrots and garlic to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly tender, stirring occasionally, Add chopped garlic and spinach; continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and add broth and chicken. Place in the oven and bake for 18 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Plate and ladle liquid and veggies over chicken pieces.
Adapted from Diethood
Adapted from Diethood
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Ribboned Asparagus Salad

Ribboned Asparagus Salad
  1. 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted & cooled
  2. 1 pound asparagus, rinsed
  3. 1 lemon, halved
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Coarse Salt
  6. Fresh ground black pepper
  7. 1-2 ounces Parmesan
  1. Holding on to the tough end of asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to shave off thin ribbons from stalk to tip, peeling away from the tough end in your hand. Gently pile ribbons on a medium sized serving platter.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of Parmesan right off the block, over the asparagus.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
  1. 1 cup (80 grams) rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup (95 grams) plus up to 2 T. (15 grams) extra all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup (95 grams) light brown sugar
  4. Heaped 1/4 t. table salt
  5. 6 T. (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  6. 1 t. cornstarch (optional, but helps firm up the filling)
  7. 1 T. (15 ml) lemon juice
  8. 1 T. (15 grams) granulated sugar, divided - add more depending on sweetness of strawberries
  9. 3/4 cup (95 grams) small-diced rhubarb
  10. 1 cup (155 grams) small-diced strawberries
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. For easy removal, line bottom and two sides of 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix oats, 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar and salt in bowl. Pour in melted butter stir until clumps form. If the clumps feel soft or look overly damp, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture. Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of pan.
  3. Spread half the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch, then lemon juice, and 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this, and top with second 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 40 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and crisp portion is golden.
  4. Let cool in pan. Cut into squares. Store leftovers in fridge.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Marcel's Culinary Experience


My life is chronicled in the pages of a little journal, hidden amidst cookbooks on my kitchen shelf.  At once inspiration for the oft-asked question “What’s for dinner?” and treasured narration of vacation memories, dinner dates & quiet evenings at home, my dinner journal is a tradition I cling to.  Cookbooks

If a stranger picked it up, they may read ingredients; however I pick it up and instantly remember the smells, tastes and the company that I shared. My journal entries are often more vivid than flipping through the pages of a photo album; it masquerades as travelogue and memoir. I dutifully record dinners at home and faithfully tuck it into my suitcase when I travel. Opening the journal evokes culinary memories that bubble to the surface in the blink of an eye.  Moments captured in the inexorable passage of time.  

JournalEntrySmallI turn to the entries from October 2012 and am transported back to our anniversary trip celebrating 10 years. Transcendental Smoked Fettuccini, Sea Urchin and Bacon topped with a luxuriously soft quail egg (with a big heart doodle next to that entry) at SPQR in San Francisco.  Lazy morning breakfast pastries at Bouchon Bakery in Napa.  Immaculate sashimi of hamachi with sticky rice, edamame and lime ginger sauce at REDD.  

Of course not every meal can be an evening enjoyed al fresco with exquisitely orchestrated wine and food pairings in Napa. My journal reveals an embarrassing amount of harried nights dialing Malnati’s or (gasp!) Domino’s for an extra crispy, easy cheese pizza topped with pineapple and ham.  Mostly it reminds me of our sacred evenings at home.  

A fragrant bowl of chicken curry when the leaves are turning crimson and gold, a favorite beef bourguignon when snuggled in from the falling snow, burgers sizzling on the grill as the sun sets on a breezy balmy summer evening, golden strands of fettuccini rolled out for the first time by my five year old daughter.

So, I ask myself the question, what’s on the menu tonight? I casually flip through my journal and see that last May we enjoyed Lemony Roast Chicken with Croutons, Lamb Meatballs with Ginger Mint Yogurt, Orecchiette with Crispy Broccoli & Parmesan, Asparagus Ricotta Tarts with Balsamic Vinaigrette…  

Since I’m feeling like something easy, I settle on some pasta. I am assured by my choice when I realize this recipe is from Dinner: A Love Story, the cookbook that inspired my culinary journal in the first place.

Happy Journaling!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Crispy Broccoli
Serves 4
  1. 3 1/2 cups broccoli florets, trimmed
  2. 4 T. olive oil, plus more to taste
  3. Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  4. 1 pound orecchiette
  5. 2 links sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  6. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  7. 1 T. butter
  8. 4 heaping T. ricotta (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Line a baking dish with foil, add the broccoli, and using a spoon, toss with 3 Tablespoons of the oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until broccoli looks crispy but not completely brown.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salty water until al dente. Strain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid.
  4. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking it up with a fork, until cooked, 5-7 minutes. Add half of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and turn heat to high; cook, stirring, until it looks emulsified and saucy. Add the pasta, Parmesan, and butter tot he skillet an dtoss with tongs until everything is evenly distributed, adding more pasta water to loosen as necessary. Divide into four bowl and top with crispy broccoli, a little more freshly grated Parmesan, and a dollop of ricotta if you are feeling indulgent.
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono (Greek Egg & Lemon) Soup
Serves 8
  1. 1 whole chicken breast, split
  2. 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  3. 1 small onion, quartered
  4. 6 cups water
  5. 1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
  6. 1 t. salt
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  9. ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  10. Thin lemon slices for garnish
  1. Simmer chicken breast, celery, and small onion in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Skin and debone chicken, shred. Strain stock. Add enough water to make 6 cups.
  3. Combine stock, rice and salt in saucepan. Heat to boiling, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Beat eggs in bowl until frothy. Slowly add lemon juice in a steady stream. Beat constantly to prevent eggs from curdling. Stir in 2 C. hot stock and rice mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually pour back into soup.
  5. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in shredded chicken and parsley. Garnish each serving with lemon slices.
Marcel's Culinary Experience