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Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking

Category Archives: Dinner

Serves 4-5A CookTale

Cassoulet and a wintry weekend evening go together. The main ingredients blend well in this kind of provincial dish. Duck Confit, Slab Bacon, Kielbasa, Pork Butt, White Beans and Vegetables. The Demi Glace rounds out the Cassoulet and imparts a necessary depth of flavor. It is not indispensable, but if you can, add it.


1/2 lb Great Northern White Beans
4 oz slab Bacon, cut into Lardons & boiled gently for 10 minutes
8 oz Polish sausages (Kielbasa will work)
2 Duck Confit Legs & Thighs
8 oz of Pork Butt
3 Carrots, sliced
2 Onions, chunked
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
28 oz can of San Marzano whole Tomatoes
2 Ounces of Demi Glace Gold (online from More than Gourmet)
1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth
Herb Bouquet of Bay Leaf


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Cover the Beans with cold water, bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes, then drain. Put the Beans into a large casserole and cover with fresh hot water.

3. Add the Bacon, all the rest of the Meat, Vegetables, Garlic, Tomatoes and Herbs. Adjust seasonings. Heat to the simmer on the top of the stove. Then set in the preheated oven to simmer slowly for 2 hours. (After 1 hour, stir.).

4. Dissolve the Demi Glace Gold in the heated Chicken Broth & add to the Cassoulet while it’s still hot. Mix together & serve.

Rolletini of Chicken Thighs layered with  Prosciutto Plated
RECIPEServes 2

A CookTale

It was the evening for a Chicken dinner. Instead of our usual method of pan sauteing, these were deboned, pounded thin, well seasoned, layered with slices of Prosciutto and wrapped as small bundles. Served with roasted-to-a-char slices of Cauliflower. A first time but certainly not the last time.


2 8 oz Chicken Thighs (skin on & bone in)
4 Thin slices of Prosciutto
Kosher Salt & Pepper
1 C of Marinara Sauce (homemade or Rao’s)
1 TB of EVOO


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Debone the Thighs. Pound them, skin side up, as thinly as possible without tearing them.

3. Season with Salt & Pepper. Layer each with 2 slices of Prosciutto. Roll them into bundles & secure with toothpicks. Place in a small casserole dish & coat with the TB of EVOO.

4. Roast for 20 about minutes. Then turn on the broiler for a few minutes more to achieve an appealing color Remove, keep warm & set aside.

5. Heat the Marinara sauce in a saucepan.

6. To each plate, spoon a bed of Marinara sauce & top with a Rollatini bundle.


RECIPE Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf with Brown
Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

Serves Many

A CookTale

Rather than going into poetic raptures about how I discovered this wonderful recipe, I’m simply going to transfer it directly from the Cook’s Illustrated recipe originally published years ago. It has served us well for as long as I can recall. Try it, you’ll like it!

INGREDIENTS Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze

1/2 C Ketchup or Chili Sauce
4 TB Brown Sugar
4 tsp Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar


2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped medium dice
2 medium Garlic Cloves, minced
2 large Eggs
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 C whole Milk or plain Yogurt
1 lb ground Beef Chuck
1/2 lb ground Pork
1/2 lb ground Veal
2/3 C Saltine crackers, crushed (about 16), or quick oatmeal, or 1-1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 C minced fresh Parsley Leaves
6-8 ounces bacon, thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)

1. For the glaze: mix all ingredients in small saucepan, set aside.

2. For the Meat Loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add Onion and Garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.

3. Mix Eggs with Thyme, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Pepper Sauce, and Milk or Yogurt. Add Egg mixture to Meat in large bowl along with Crackers, Parsley, and cooked Onion and Garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and Meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture sticks, add additional Milk or Yogurt, a couple tablespoons at a time until mix no longer sticks.)

4. Turn Meat mixture onto work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape. Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking pan. Brush with half the Glaze, then arrange Bacon slices, crosswise, over the Loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only Bacon tip ends under loaf.

5. Bake Loaf until Bacon is crisp and Loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool at least 20 minutes. Simmer remaining Glaze over medium heat until thickened slightly. Slice Meat Loaf and serve, passing extra Glaze separately.

Chicken Sausage & PeppersRECIPE Chicken, Sausage & Peppers
Adapted from The Tucci Cookbook
Serves 2 Generously
A CookTale
This is a new and a very good family Italian cookbook written by Stanley Tucci, best known as a Hollywood and Broadway actor. His co-writer is Gianni Scappin, co-owner and head chef of Woodstock’s now famous Cucina Restaurant. Simple yet full of tasty ingredients and most satisfying on a cold Winter evening.INGREDIENTS1/3 C of Peanut Oil
3 Chicken Thighs (cut in half)
2 Sweet or hot Sausages (cut into 1/2″ slices)
1 large Onion (cut into quarters)
5 Garlic Cloves (cut in half)
1 or 2 Idaho Potatoes (cut into 1″ dice)
1 large Red Bell Pepper (cut into 1″ dice)
3 Rosemary sprigs
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes


1 Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat a large skillet & add the Peanut Oil. Add the Chicken, skin side down, season with Salt & Pepper & brown well on one side for about 5 minutes; turn & brown lightly on the other side for 3 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

2. Add the Sausage, Onion, Bell Pepper & Garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the Sausage is lightly browned. Transfer to the bowl.

3. Add the Potatoes, Rosemary & Red Pepper Flakes. Cook for a few minutes to begin to brown the Potatoes. Return the contents of the bowl to the skillet & toss together.

4. Transfer to a baking pan & oven bake for about 20
minutes. Do not overcook the Thighs, remove them after 10 minutes if necessary. Cover them with foil to keep warm.

5. Remove the pan from the oven, return the Thighs to the pan & gently toss it all together.

6. Ready to plate and serve.

Serves 4-6
A CookTale
Before Cathie threw up her hands and walked away from the kitchen, (I was that perennial pain in the ass that continued to add things to her pot). She rightfully prided herself as a self taught Julia Child’s cook, and a very good one. One of her many signature dishes is this delicious Chou, adapted from a classic cookbook by Simon Beck. Actually I’m the one who should walk away from the kitchen! Much too high strung for that to happen.INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized Cabbage
Salt & Pepper
3 tsp Cumin
3/4 C chopped Onions
4 TB Vegetable Oil, or any Oil
1 lb fresh Country Sausage
1/2 lb boiled Ham
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 lb Apples
1 TB Oil
1-1/4 C Heavy Cream


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Quarter the Cabbage, discarding any tough or wilted Leaves. Plunge into boiling water. When water returns to a boil, as 1 TB of salt. Boil Cabbage about 10 minutes uncovered. Refresh it in a colander under cold running water. When cool, separate the Leaves and spread them out on paper towels and blot dry.
When they are thoroughly dry, sprinkle them with a little Salt & Pepper and about 2 tsp of Cumin. Set aside.

3. Saute chopped Onions gently in the Oil for about 5 minutes. Season with Salt & Pepper and cook until the Onions are soft and slightly brown. Set aside in a large bowl.

4. In the same skillet, brown the sausage meat and drain on absorbent paper. Cut the boiled Ham into tiny pieces. Stir the Sausage and the boiled Ham into the Onions. Beat the Eggs with the remaining Cumin, Allspice and Paprika, and add to the Meat mixture. Set aside.

5. Peel & core the Apples and cut into 1/4” dice. Rub a casserole with 1 TB Oil. Line the bottom and sides with a layer of Cabbage Leaves and spoon in a little Heavy Cream. Then put a layer each of Apples, Cabbage Leaves, half the meat mixture, spooning some Cream between each layer. Finish the casserole the same way, filling it to the top, and finishing with a layer of Apples and a layer of Cabbage Leaves.

6. Cover the casserole and bake in the preheated oven for 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and finish cooking for 1-1/4 hours. The mixture will be very smooth and tender.

7. Plate as a one dish dinner.


Serves 2 Generously
A CookTale
Cathie arrived home from Norwich, VT with this new-to-us cut of Steak. It’s called a Flat Iron Beef Blade Steak, purchased at the Dartmouth Co-op in Hanover NH. I did what I’d do with a Tri-Tip or Skirt, marinated it for just under an hour, reduced the Marinade to make the sauce and pan seared it, before moving the pan to the oven for a few minutes of finishing. It was tender, juicy and will be served again. I called our local Adam’s FairAcre Farm and they carry it.
1-1/2 lb of Flat Iron Steak
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce
2 TB of Dijon Grainy Mustard
1 TB of EVOO
METHOD1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Prepare the Marinade, Soy Sauce, Mustard, Salt & Pepper. Whisk to Emulsify. Place the Steak in a high sided dish & completely coat with the Marinade. Refrigerate for up to an hour.

3. Heat a cast iron grill pan to smoking. Add 1 TB of EVOO & the Steak. Weigh it down with a 5 LB grill press for 3 minutes a side.

4. Move to the oven for 5 minutes or so. The internal temperature should not exceed 125 degrees F for rare. Adjust cooking time according to your taste.

5. Allow to rest before slicing. Serve with a tablespoon of the Sauce.

Serves 2
A CookTale

Unless there are carnivores in your family, one large Lamb Shank, weighing just under two pounds, should amply serve two. And there might be leftovers. You’ll be surprised how easy it’s all assembled with relatively few major ingredients. After about one and a half hours in the oven, the look, the scent & the taste will proclaim that Autumn has arrived. Roasted Brussel Sprouts made a fine side dish.INGREDIENTS1 large meaty Lamb Shank
Kosher Salt & Pepper
2 TB of EVOO
1 Spanish Onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
5 Cloves Garlic, peeled but left whole
2 TB of freshly chopped Rosemary Leaves
1 Box of Frozen Baby Artichokes (defrosted)
1/2 C of Kalamara or Gaeta Olives
1 C of dry White Wine
1 C of Tomato Sauce (homemade or Rao’s)
1 C of Chicken Stock


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Rinse & dry Shank & season liberally with Salt & Pepper. In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with a lid, heat EVOO until smoking. Sear Shank until dark golden brown over medium heat, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove & set aside.

3. Add Onion, Garlic, Rosemary & Artichokes and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add Olives, Wine, Tomato Sauce & Chicken Stock, bring to a boil. Replace Lamb Shank in pan & return to boil.

4. Cover tightly & place in the oven. Cook for 1-1/2 hours, until fork tender.

4. Allow to slightly cool, & serve.

Note: The Baby Artichokes preserved in EVOO. were made a few days earlier and used here as a garnish.


Serves 2

A CookTale

Yesterday our friend Todd, Vegetable grower supreme, dropped off a cornucopia of just-picked Vegetables. The bounty included perfect huge Bell Peppers. No way would they be allowed to sit on the counter and (as the saying goes) vegetate. The moment the idea of what to do with them came to me, last evening’s dinner was decided. With no self-modesty, I believe the result was sensational, from the point of view of eye & especially taste appeal.


2 Green Bell Peppers (seeds removed, tops carefully sliced off & set aside)
4 oz of Spaghetti
8 oz of Marinara Sauce (homemade or Raos’s)
8 oz of Ground Beef
Kosher Salt & Pepper


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add Spaghetti & cook following box directions. Drain into a large mixing bowl. Add the Marinara Sauce.

3. In a non stick frying pan cook the Ground Beef briefly until the raw color is gone. Add to the mixing bowl.

4. After mixing the ingredients together, fill each Pepper with the stuffing. Cover with the tops & carefully secure with a few toothpicks.

5. Roast for 40 minutes or until the Peppers have completely softened & have begun to char.

6. Allow to slightly cool & serve.


Serves 2

A CookTale

Every night the dish I plan to prepare begins in my mind as the dish I hope finds its way to a plate. Then the actual attempt to interpret it into three dimensional reality gets tricky. But when it works and what comes to the table is what I had in mind, I did my job. I can’t remember the last time I attempted to prepare Tuna Tartare, so I trod carefully as I prepared the ingredients, and hoped for the best. Cathie was dubious, so was I, but when the finished dish came to the table, we knew it worked out well. I immodestly add, it was a savory success.


3/4 lb of Sushi grade Tuna
2 TB of EVOO
Juice of 1 Lime & grated Zest
1 TB of fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 tsp of Wasabi Powder
A few drops of Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp of freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 C of minced Scallion (white & green parts)
1 tsp of minced fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed
1 ripe Hass Avocado
1 tsp of toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)


1. Cut the Tuna into 1/4 inch dice & place it in a medium bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine the EVOO, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Wasabi, Soy Sauce, Tabasco, Salt & Pepper. Pour over the Tuna, add the Scallions & Jalapeno & mix well. Cut the Avocado in half, remove the pit & peel. Cut the Avocado into 1/4 inch dice.

3. Carefully mix the Avocado into the Tuna mixture. Add the toasted Sesame & season to taste.

4. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the flavors to blend.

Serves 2
A CookTale

My audacious comment of the day: “Anyone who cooks Sushi-grade Tuna for more than 15 seconds a side should not be permitted to purchase it”.
With that expressed, last evening’s dinner was marvelous. Each plate had five cubes of Tuna in an Asian dipping sauce that was dotted with diced Scallions and sprinkled with toasted Sesame Seeds. A thank you to Gadeleto’s for outstanding seafood, every time.


3/4-1 lb. Sushi-grade Tuna
2 TB Soy Sauce
1 TB Mirin
1 TB Rice Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves, diced
1/4 C Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
1 TB Sesame Oil
3 TB Scallions, white & green diced to 1/2”


1. Whisk the sauce ingredients together.

2. Cut the Tuna into 1″ cubes. Heat a non-stick pan & add 1TB of Peanut Oil. When pan is slightly smoking, add the Tuna.

3. Sear untouched for no more than 15 seconds.
Turn on other side & sear for another 15 seconds.

4. Add 5 Tuna cubes to a puddle of the Asian Dipping sauce. Garnish with spears of Scallions.