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  • The Timid Chef 3:58 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: soup, , , tomato soup, tomatoes   

    Module 1-7 Recipe: Homemade Tomato Soup 

    Summer is here, and I have been craving homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I like my grilled cheese on sourdough bread (the kind with the crispy crust) and REAL American cheese. Yummy! This recipe uses the tomato concasse technique that we covered in Module 1-7. The peeled tomatoes and vegetables are roasted which gives this soup a deep, tomatoey flavor.

    Just you know, I am not a very good photographer so don’t laugh at my cheesy pics. On second thought, laugh away. It is always good to have a good laugh.


    • 3 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
    • 4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
    • ½ onion (medium dice)
    • ½ red bell pepper (medium dice)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (be sure you are using a good quality olive oil)
    • salt & pepper to taste (I prefer using sea salt and freshly ground pepper)
    • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
    • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes *
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil/parsley/oregano)
    • fresh basil & parsley for serving
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
    1. Preheat the oven to 450° F
    2. Concasse the tomatoes using the techniques learned from Module 1-7. In case you haven’t read that post yet, concasse is a technique for removing the skin from a tomato. It is so easy once you learn how to do it. (After removing the skin, I also removed as many seeds as possible. I put the skins and seeds in a cheesecloth and squeezed out as much juice as possible. I then threw away the seeds and skin and poured the squeezed tomato juice into a saucepan.  Although this is not necessary, why not save as much flavor as possible)?
    3. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. In a large bowl, gently mix together the raw tomatoes, (NOT the crushed tomatoes from the can) garlic, chopped onion, chopped red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Then pour this into a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
    4. Roast in the oven at 450° F for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil for about 3 minutes (maybe a minute or so shorter or longer) until the tomatoes begin to char. Gently stir the tomato/veggie mixture and lower the oven to 450° F and cook another 10 minutes. Watch closely as these times are approximate. You want a nice char, but you don’t want them burnt. I don’t suggest you watch tv or youtube videos until you take them out of the oven.
    5. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and chicken stock to the tomato juice that you squeezed from the seeds and skin and bring to a simmer.
    6. Add the tomato/veggie mixture and fresh herbs. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
    7. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You could use a regular blender, but the immersion blender works so much better.
    8. Add ¼ cup of the heavy cream and taste to see if you need to add more. I usually use the whole ½ cup, but some people do not like as much cream. Also, the amount of cream you use depends upon the intensity of the tomato flavor. You may need to add a little more if it’s too intense to tone it down a little.
    9. Bring back to a simmer and then turn off the heat.
    10. Serve with a shaving of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of FRESH, chopped parsley.

    *I was not able to find a 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I bought the 28-ounce can and saved half of it to use for meatloaf tomorrow night.

  • The Timid Chef 12:14 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Sauteed Cabbage with Mustard Bacon Relish 

    I am always looking for new ways to incorporate more cabbage into meals. This looks really tasty and I will try it soon

    Bits and Bobs

    When you need a quick lunch before work. Sauteed cabbage with mustard bacon relish and some of the pork butt in gravy* over mashed potatoes. Washing the dishes took more effort than fixing the meal, to be honest.

    Welcome to moj’s complaint corner. Around here, people love to fry up cabbage with bacon, but 90% of the time, the dish turns out limp, bland, and super greasy. Sauteed cabbage with mustard bacon relish redeems my faith in cabbage with bacon- the bacon’s crispy/chewy and the cabbage is slightly caramelized with a nice bite. Plus, it helps clear out some leftovers, so total win. (Serves 1)

    Heat a medium pan over medium low heat with the relish, adding a bit of fat if needed.

    When the pan bottom is lightly coated with said fat, add…

    View original post 70 more words

  • The Timid Chef 2:17 am on June 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mashed potatoes, , potatoes, side dish, whipped potatoes   

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Amazing Mashed Potatoes by Donna 

    I use whipping cream instead of milk in my mash potato recipe. I never said this is a low- calorie recipe, 🙂 and it is not meant to be. The cream gives the potatoes a wonderful, creamy flavor without watering them down. You could substitute half and half, but the result isn’t quite the same. I have tried whole milk, but to get the creamy flavor they become too watery.

    I am not giving exact measurements in my recipe as I don’t use them myself. I taste and add a little more of something and taste again. Remember that you can add more of something but you can’t take it out, so be sure to add just a little then taste and decide whether you need to add more. I am giving approximate measurements so you can get an idea of where to start.

    How to make the best mashed potatoes

    Donna’s Amazing Mashed Potatoes

    Be sure to watch the video and to read the entire recipe BEFORE beginning.

    • About 4 to 6 medium russet potatoes (waxy potatoes such as red potatoes are not the best choice)
    • 1/8 to 1/4 cup unsalted butter approximately (margarine is a poor substitute)
    • 1/2 cup whole cream (maybe a little more or less)*
    • 1/8 to 1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (green onion also works really well)
    • Potato water from the potatoes (you may or may not need to use it)
    • 1 – 2 heaping tablespoon(s) sour cream (more or less)**
    • 1/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less)
    • Sea salt or seasoned salt to taste (start with 1 teaspoon and adjust from there)
    • Pepper ( like to start with about 1/4 teaspoon and adjust from there)
    • Chicken stock (optional)

    Step 1: Watch the video above and read this entire recipe BEFORE beginning.

    Step 2: Wash the potatoes thoroughly and scrape off any bad spots. I don’t peel my potatoes, but you can if you want to.

    Step 2: Cut the potatoes in cubes that are about the same size and carefully drop in a pot of COLD, salted water. (Optionally you could use half cold water and half chicken stock). Adjust the temp and bring to a gentle boil.

    Step 3: Cook until soft and then drain reserving a cup of potato liquid. (If the potatoes are too dry and I don’t want to add more cream, I use the potato water). Turn the burner down to low. Don’t return the potatoes to the heat YET.

    Step 4: Using a different pan, slowly heat the cream, butter, sour cream, and mozzarella until the cheese and butter are barely melted.

    Step 5: Turn off the heat and return pan full of drained potatoes back to the hot burner. (It needs to still be hot but not on. This keeps the potatoes from getting cold) Use the potato masher to mash potatoes as you add the melted butter-cheese-cream mixture. If necessary, add a few splashes of the potato water with the cream to obtain the right consistency. Be very careful to not add too much.

    Step 6: Add the salt, and pepper to taste. Adjust all of the ingredients as necessary for your taste. You may need to add a little more butter or cream or onion or sour cream.

    Step 7: Add onion last and mix in.

    Step 8: You can use a hand held mixer but if you do, be careful to not over beat or you will have a bowl full of glue.

    Note: To build more flavor, you can saute the onion in ghee until slightly brown and then add to the potatoes.

    Also, you can sprinkle with chopped bacon, chives or chopped parsley if you desire. I have also added a little garlic powder and/or basil to the recipe as well.

    These potatoes are delicious with cream gravy and pan-seared chicken thighs or even chicken fried steak. They are also good by themselves!

    *Some people add cream cheese to their whipped potatoes. I am not a fan but I know many people are. However, the cream cheese will not get the same results as the sour cream and whole cream.

    **You could substitute plain, whole-fat greek yogurt for the sour cream. The taste and texture is slightly different.


  • The Timid Chef 11:41 am on June 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baked chicken, chef, , , , fried chicken,   

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Donna’s pan-seared crispy chicken thighs 

    I made this for dinner with mashed potatoes, pan gravy, and roasted mixed vegetables. Make extra chicken for an easy chicken salad for lunch the next day.

    I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on. I think the bone gives added flavor, and who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin?

    • Preheat oven to 350 ° F
    • Trim the fat and excess skin from the chicken thighs.
    • Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning, This will ensure a delicious crispy skin.**
    • Lift the skin (don’t pull it off) and season under the skin with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of the dried basil.
    • Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and basil on the outside of the skin as well. Be sure to season both sides of the chicken
    • Heat skillet as you learned in Module 2-2 with the water drop test and add oil.
    • At the first wisp of smoke, add the chicken, skin-side down. You should hear a nice sizzle. Adjust the heat as necessary. (Listen to the food). You can use a splatter screen if you have one
    • Using a pair of tongs, turn the chicken after the skin browns. Brown the second side as well. (Don’t keep turning the chicken. You should turn ONLY once)
    • Once both sides are brown, place on a rack sitting inside a cooking sheet and put in a 350° F oven until done. This should take about 30 minutes.
    • Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. Chicken should be about 160 -165 F
    • Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

    *  I used ghee for the nutty flavor. Peanut oil or any neutral flavored oil such as canola oil would also work. Just be sure that the oil you choose has a high smoke point. Butter or margarine would not work as it will burn  with the high heat required to get a brown, crispy skin.

    ** What is the secret to crispy skin? It is simple, be sure to pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning. Also never cook a partially frozen or frozen piece of chicken. This will make the chicken tough. Be sure that it is completely thawed prior to cooking. You can also season the thawed thighs and put them uncovered in the fridge for about an hour before cooking.

    This is a great youtube video on cooking chicken thighs. He uses a cast-iron skillet,but the concept is the same for a stainless steel skillet.

    3 ways to cook chicken thighs
  • The Timid Chef 2:47 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bouquet garni, , ,   

    Module 1-4 Bouquet Garni and Sachet d’Epices 

    A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs and aromatics (such as celery or leeks) tied together with cooking twine and simmered in stock, soups or sauces to add flavor and aroma to a recipe. The classic is fresh thyme, parsley stems, and a bay leaf. In modern cooking they could be thyme, celery, and parsley that is wrapped in a leek leaf and then tied with a piece of twine. I like using parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf that is wrapped up with a strip of lemon zest.

    bouquet garni
    bouquet garni

    The difference between a bouquet garni and sachet d’epices is how it is held together. A bouquet garni is held together with a piece of baker’s twine, whereas, a sachet d’epices is held together in a piece of cheese cloth or muslim drawstring bag.

    sachet d'epices
    a sachet d’epices

  • The Timid Chef 8:43 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pan-fried pork tenderloin, , Pork, pork tenderloin   

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin 

    Here is a video on “how to slice and pound pork tenderloin.” Sorry but I couldn’t find a good youtube video. This video is still really good if you don’t mind ignoring the website’s annoying advertising.

    Yummy Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin


    • 1 tablespoon neutral tasting cooking oil that has a high smoke point (canola or grapeseed oil are the best choices)
    • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 medallions
    • ½ teaspoon salt (I only use sea salt in my cooking)
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teason FRESHLY ground black pepper

    Arrange pork medallions in a single layer on a work surface. Flatten the medallions to even thickness. If you have a decent tenderloin you should be able to press each with the palm of your hand to flatten to an even thickness.

    Combine salt, garlic powder, and pepper; sprinkle liberally over pork. Adjust the seasoning to your individual taste. I prefer to add a little more.

    Heat 12-inch skillet over medium-high to mercury-ball stage as learned in previous lesson.

    Add oil. When you see the first wisp of smoke coming from the skillet, add the pork to the skillet in a single layer; Do NOT overcrowd the skillet. If you skillet is not big enough, then cook in batches.

    Cook just until done, about 3 minutes per side. (Use a timer if necessary to keep from turning too soon. Monitor the temperature and adjust as necessary to keep a steady sizzle. LISTEN to your food!)

    Remove from heat; Please a piece of aluminum foil over the pork that is vented at the top and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving

    When you lightly pound a piece of meat, it makes it a bit thinner and shortens the cooking time. It also helps to tenderize the meat by breaking up the muscle tissue.

    If you don’t pound them, you’ll need to adjust temperature a little lower to cook the thicker pieces of pork to the desired doneness. I don’t recommend this.

    Note: Be sure not to overcook the pork. Contrary to what many people think, pork can have a little redness to it, just like beef. After cooking, lightly cover the meat and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. If you are not sure if the pork is done, use an instant read thermometer.

  • The Timid Chef 8:40 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chicken breast, chicken medallions, ,   

    Module 2-3: Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken Breast Medallions 

    Let’s use the concepts that we learned in Module 2, Lesson 1 by pan frying some chicken breasts.

    Equipment that you will need:


    • Chicken breast medallions
    • Cooking oil (canola is a good option as you want an oil with a high smoke point)
    • Seasoning (keep it simple and delicious with salt and pepper)
    • Lemon juice (a tasty option but not required)

    Before cooking you need to cut the chicken breast into medallions. Chicken medallions come from the breast, but they aren’t the whole breast. Medallions cook quickly and evenly due to their uniform size.

    A whole chicken breast is too uneven and thick to make a medallion. You need to make cuts so that your medallions will be uniform.  Begin by cutting the breast in half lengthwise, angling the cut so both halves are an equal width. Once you have thinner breast filets, you can cut them to medallion size, which requires cutting them in halves or thirds so each measures about 2 inches square. Now that we have our medallions and mise en place, let’s cook some food.

    Step 1: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season it well with salt and pepper (this is a part of your mise en place)

    Don’t be afraid of seasoning your food!

    Step 2: Heat skillet to mercury ball stage

    Step 3: Add oil to the pan, and wait for the shimmer and first wisp of smoke

    Step 4: Add chicken medallions quickly (be sure not to crowd the pan, work in stages if needed)

    Step 5: Listen to the sizzle and adjust temperature accordingly

    Step 6: Turn when brown (check by lifting edge with a pair of tongs to check for browness)

    Step 7: Brown the other side

    Step 8: Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top of the chicken and serve.

    Note: Do not keep turning the medallions. Allow one side to brown before turning.

  • The Timid Chef 10:30 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: herbs de provence, spice blend   

    Module 1-8 Herbs de Provence Recipe 

    • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
    • 2 tablespoons dried savory
    • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
    • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
    • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers (optional: provides an undertone of fragrance)

    Mix all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.

    This is one of the few decent videos I can find on this spice blend.

    If you don’t have a spice blender, put the herbs between wax paper and roll with a rolling pin until crushed.

    Herbs de Provence can consist of other herbs besides what is used here.

  • The Timid Chef 9:47 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Module 1-9 Ratatouille 

    I have included two recipes for Ratatouille. I like both of these recipes and they use some of the techniques we have learned (and it is sooo good).

    Here is a recipe for Ratatouille from America’s Test Kitchen. I have tried both this recipe and the one that follows. I can’t make up my mind which I like more. This recipe uses a Dutch oven and so yummy.


    Visit Cooks Illustrated to learn more.

    This video and recipe is from Escoffier Culinary Academy. It is a little on the lengthy side, but he does an excellent job of explaining EVERYTHING. Enjoy!

  • The Timid Chef 9:06 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: concasse, ,   

    Module 1-7 Tomato Concasse 

    Tomato concasse is more of a cooking technique than recipe. It involves boiling scored tomatoes in water. You will then proceed to peel, remove the seeds, and then chop them. The end result can be served alone, as a base for tomato sauce , or in a variety of dishes.

    Tomato Concasse


    2 Beefsteak tomatoes

    If you have a skimmer it will make this process much easier.


    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the tomatoes and blanch them for 30 seconds. This loosens the skin. Immediately shock in cold water; peel off the skin with a paring knife. Then slice through the equator and remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes in an even dice.

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