Sunday, January 25, 2009

Uses for Demi-glace

Alright, since some of you heathens don't seem to know what to do with the gift of demi-glace I have bestowed upon you, here it is, Marchand de Vin Sauce. This is my favorite recipe using demi-glace. Used immediately over a nice seared rib-eye, or filet it is fantastic. If there is any leftover you can use it as a compound butter. You could even freeze the compound butter. Try using the leftover butter on some steamed asparagus or broccoli with some roasted potatoes and grilled chicken. I will be serving this tonight with smashed potatoes, salad with apricot and pecans (recipe from my mom) and a vegetable to be determined after I see what looks good at the store. For dessert we will be having orange sherbet made in the ice cream maker. A nice bottle of Cabernet and we're all set. What else could you want or need on a cold winter's night?

Marchand de Vin Sauce

1 C red wine
2 shallots, minced
10 T softened butter
1-2 T demi-glace
1 1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 T chopped parsley

Boil red wine and shallots 12-15 minutes until reduced by 2/3. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Demi-glace and Those Long Awaited English Muffins

The saga of the demi-glace continues. First, this is the recipe I have been using to make my demi-glace. After reading through at least a dozen recipes this appeared to be the most straight-forward while remaining fairly authentic.

I am now at the second step. I ignored the brown sauce in the fridge for two days. It kept staring back at me, taunting me to not let it sit there and go bad before I got the energy up to go on to the next step. So this afternoon, after a bit of a nap, I chopped away at mire-poix and stirred the roux til it was nice and brown and now it simmers away nicely on the stove, filling the house with a pleasant aroma that is piquing my appetite. I ended up with a quart and a half more brown stock than I need, but I don't really see that as a problem. I am going to use some of it tonight to make a mushroom risotto. Yuummmmy!!! I think the recipe will also produce more espangole sauce than is needed, but I'm sure it will freeze nicely, too. The one thing I haven't solved is deciding what I shall cook with the demi-glace tomorrow. I'm leaning toward pan searing some steaks and making a marchand du vin sauce. My mom would be appalled that I am pan searing steaks, but it is eleven degrees outside right now and I'm not going out to barbeque! I'll fill you in on how the rest of goes....

So, here is the long awaited English Muffin recipe. It is from the Joy of Cooking. Don't forget to toast them after they come off the griddle, then spread with butter, (don't even consider using margarine, okay. Just don't) and some homemade blackberry jam. Alas, I didn't make any jam this summer, so I have to beg some off of Priscilla. She'll give me some. If she wants demi-glace. If you want two tablespoons of demi-glace and you live in Rochester, leave a comment saying so and you can come by on sunday afternoon and I will give you some. If I approve of how you plan to use it. Come on, now. How nice do you think I can be? Not that nice.

Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 C water
1/2 c scalded milk
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp salt

Disolve for 3-5 minutes :
2 T 105-115 degree water
1 package active dry yeast

Combine the two mixtures.

Sift before measuring: 4 C flour

Add 2 cups flour gradually into the milk mixture. Cover bowl with a cloth. Let the sponge rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it collapses back into the bowl.

Beat in
2 T softened butter

Beat or knead in the remaining flour. Pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough into 3 inch circles and cover and let rise again until doubled. Transfer carefully to a hot well-buttered griddle and cook until light brown. Turn once while cooking. Cool slightly. Enjoy!

There, anonymous, are you happy now? You will be once you make these muffins!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I have started the demi-glace process. It is not too bad so far. I started by roasting the veal and beef bones in the oven along with some aromatics, then putting them in the giant stock pot and adding the de-glazed roasting pan juices along with ten quarts of water and some more aromatics. It is simmering on the stove right now, as it has been for the past five hours. This is a brown sauce, otherwise known to most of us as a beef stock.

Tomorrow afternoon I will take the brown sauce and make a Sauce Espaniole. Then that will be added to more brown sauce and reduced even further. This ten quarts of water will eventually become two cups of demi-glace. After I simmer and simmer and simmer for TWENTY-FIVE FREAKING HOURS. It really doesn't require that much attention, just time. And right now the main problem with that is that I started it so late in the day that I will have to stay awake until eleven o'clock to finish only the first step. Oh, I can hear my daughter Meagan now, "Ooooo eleven o'oclock, how will you manage it." I'm old. And tired. It's winter and it's cold. That makes me sleepy. But, I must finish my sauce, I must fiinish my sauce....yawn......

Monday, January 19, 2009

Update to an old post

It seems that most of the hits on my blog from people I don't know are coming from people who search for "Ways to spice up white rice'. I had earlier written a quick post with a short list of five ways to do that, mostly because Laura was relentlessly prodding me to post stuff in an effort to ignite the blogging world on fire with my sharp wit and boundless kitchen wisdom. It was a pretty lame post. So, I updated it! So all those people who search will find it, but you, my loyal followers, will have already read the lameness and find no reason to go back. Now, I have given you a reason. Go back. I posted a cool recipe for risotto, a family favorite. Unless you ask Alex, my ten year old.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


What would Jesus do? Hell no! What would JUNE do?

Recently, my friend Priscilla was in the grocery store looking for a rather arcane ingredient, veal demi-glace, because the previous day I witnessed her trying to make a veal marsala sauce and substitute WATER for the demi-glace. My, my. You'd think she'd know by now that if she wanted to do something bone-headed like that, she should do it behind my back so that I am deprived of the opportunity to make fun of her. So she had to get some demi-glace, just so that she had for next time and so that I wouldn't have a better stocked kitchen than she does. (I do. Except when it comes to Chinese ingredients. Not to digress, but I love that if I need dried shiitake mushrooms, I know just where I can get them in town without having to drive twenty minutes to Henrietta. She likewise likes to know that she can come over here anytime and get crystallized ginger, or pumpkin seed oil.)

Demi-glace is marvelous stuff. It is almost like a thick paste when you buy it. A couple of spoonfuls whisked into a Marchand du vin sauce, the aforementioned Marsala, or a Bordelaise create a richness and depth is that is incredible.

So, as she searched out already-prepared demi-glace at Wegman's she asked herself, "What would June do?" She tried repeatedly to reach me by phone, but since I am fairly retarded when it comes to hearing my phone, or making sure it is not on vibrate at the bottom of my purse, or digging it out fromt he bottom of my purse before it stops ringing, she wasn't able to reach me to find out. She wandered aimlessly around and left empty-handed, and dejectedly, while still asking herself, "What would June do?"

I think that is a good question, one every one of you should ask yourself every time you step into a grocery store. Would June buy this pre-made pizza dough? (Yes, if I was desperate and had no time.) Would June serve those frozen corn-dogs? (Only to the kids, once in a while, if I didn't want them interfering with a good Women-Who-Wine (Whine) night). Would June like these overly-expensive champagne mangoes? (Yes, but i know where you can get them cheaper!) Where would June look for veal demi-glace? (Sometimes they have it frozen, sometimes they have it near the chicken stock. Sometimes they don't have it.)

So, Priscilla left the store without demi-glace. What would June do? When she finally reached me, we decided that there was only one thing to do: make veal demi-glace. This requires a herculean effort. You have to have the butcher cut veal and beef bones into one-inch segments. Then you have to roast those. Then you have have to make a espagniole sauce AND a brown stock. Then you have to cook those together for about twenty hours to reduce them by half. I'll let you know how it goes. If you live in Rochester, and I like you and you don't annoy me, I will probably give you a couple tablespoons of the finished product. Maybe.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another Rant

Okay, eventually I'll get back to posting some recipes, but I do have to rant a bit about one of my pet peeves: margarine.

Before I do, though, I have to come right out and say (because if I don't, Prissy will out me anyway) that there has been Smart Balance margarine in my fridge from time to time. My two older kids were corrupted by their friends at college and begged me to buy it for them when they were home on their breaks. They're young and I'm a big softie, so I have bought it for them when they're home on occasion. I refused, however, to use it to make my son scrambled eggs when he asked me to. I won't make anything that doesn't taste good. And you can bet scrambled eggs made with artificial butter don't taste good.

Don't believe those who tell you butter is bad and margarine is better for you; how can a sub-standard substitute be better for you? Follow Julia Child's advice: use real ingredients and use them in moderation. Okay, so I'm not good at the moderation thing, but that's why God invented Lipitor.

Notice the picture of Laura embracing her container of "I Can't believe its not Butter". I take pity on her so many times and I don't publish half of the stupid kitchen choices she makes, but I told her I couldn't abide her using margarine. If she wanted to be my disciple, she was going to have to stop. Her argument? Well, I like it and it spreads so easily on my toast. Faulty reasoning if ever I heard any. The only reason a person would like it is because they have the palate of a woodchuck. Anyone who likes margarine or Miracle Whip should again go find a blog dedicated to trailer park cuisine. Let the butter sit for a moment on your toast while the heat from the bread softens the thinly sliced pats into a smooth and creamy sweetness. Then spread it to the farthest reaches of your toast, letting a small amount pool in the center to give that last, best bite a little extra richness. Even better on one of my homemade English Muffins. I'll post that recipe as soon as I can find the picture of them that is hiding somewhere on this stupid computer.

I love you Laura, you know I only want the best for you. And the rest of you, too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I should blog

I really should, but I haven't been feeling my usual bitchy self lately. I'm sure some of you might say that is an improvement, but it just isn't as much fun. I think I need to sit in front of my hubbie's light box with him. He has SADD so he uses the light therapy to keep from killing himself in the winter. Or to keep me from killing him, one or the other.

My son left and I won't see him for almost a year, I had a blood vessel leaking in my eye, my computer is kinda on the fritz, and January is just a depressing time of year. I think I need to cook something new. I got a really cool ice cream maker as a gift and that has lifted my spirits. So far our favorite is frozen yogurt. I mixed a large carton of plain yogurt, a half cup of cream, a half cup of sugar, and some fresh raspberries together and dumped it in. Twenty minutes later we had a tasty, creamy, frozen treat. Yummy! I'm feeling better just thinking about it. I have also made vanilla ice cream in it. The next thing I want to try is chocolate. Then I will heat up some peanut butter until it is kind of melty and drizzle it on top. If you can get some really super nice person to give you an ice cream maker for no apparent reason, I would definitely recommend accepting it and making some really cool frozen treats. Gotta go, ice cream is calling my name.