Sweet or Savory…

I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for using oatmeal in a savory dinner based application versus the maple sugar standard. 

It’s an easy base for a warm, bowl type of dinner like a broth bowl. I actually made the oatmeal the day before and then reheated on the stove with some warm water. In the interest of meatless Monday I kept it vegetarian, but it could easily service fish or rich meats too. 


We’re counting carbs in Chez Miller, but steel cut oats are like a get out of jail free card. The fiber offsets the carbs! Woohoo! Anyway, I pan roasted some cherry tomatoes with garlic, wilted some spinach, and added shred cheese and a fried egg! 


Like grits but oatier!

I knew I bought that black cocoa for a reason….

I just didn’t quite know what I would use it for when I bought it.


I mean, come on, black cocoa! How could I resist? 

I started with a simple tart shell, blind baked.


I had been hoarding a Pinterest recipe for tangerine curd and really wanted to make it for the holiday. The creaminess and silkiness of curd is easy with any fruit and is simply a perfect mix of eggs, sugar, fruit, and heat. Allow me to explain…



Zest three tangerines, and then juice them along with a 4th tangerine. Set juice aside.



Pròcess the zest and 1.5 cups of sugar in the food processor.


Then just mix 4 eggs with the sugar and juice over medium heat. Don’t walk away or you wil live to regret it! Whisk and whisk some more and the curd will thicken like magic! 

After chilling the curd for about an hour, I poured it into the tart shell and chilled some more.


Next, on to ganache! Another superb confluence cooked over heat. Eight ounces heavy cream on medium heat just till it starts to bubble at the edge, but don’t let it boil! Whisk in 7 ounces of the cocoa powder or broken up dark chocolate pieces. Add a little vanilla and about a tablespoon of corn syrup to smooth it out. Again, mixture will thicken all at once. Pour over filling in shell and chill until service!


P.S. In the process of zesting the citrus, I discovered I have a problem…seven peelers/zesters. Outnumbered in the drawer only by the 14 spatulas…all pink.

Cheese-O-Rama

My obligatory contribution for Thanksgiving dinner is good wine and a cheese tray. I usually round up and bring party favors and some kind of dessert too, but this morning, I did a little stop action filming, like Gumbi and Pokey….

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The Way Back Machine…

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Once upon a time, when I was a catering director and the catering world was moving beyond sliced roast beef and canned green beans ( blech!) and mashed potatoes scooped with an ice cream scoop, I lived and died in these 3 cookbooks! Silver Palate in NYC was a new breed of food shops where you could get take out meals and order party services and explore things. One Christmas I got the idea to cook the famous Raspberry Chicken for Christmas Day brunch for my family and my godmothers. Of course I had to work Christmas Eve, so my father spent a day running all over the south shore of Boston looking for raspberry vinegar, no so ubiquitous, but then, as rare as a rainbow.

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I used these books so much that when inspired this week to produce Chicken Positano, the “New Basics” cookbook opened to that exact page, the binding is completely shot! I started down the Positano path because I had seen a recipe for the 21 Club’s chicken pillared in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and thought it would make a nice one plate dish. This would be similar but it would not be necessary to shape the chicken like the plate. In the heady days of the late 80’s and early 90’s I probably served this dish once a week to someone on campus!

The recipe is simple enough, although in the spirit of full disclosure I will tell you that I used canned diced tomatoes and it was just as good. Mix 3 finely diced garlic cloves with one finely slivered onion and 8 cups of chopped tomatoes and then add 2 cups of olive oil ( I only added one, let’s be reasonable here), salt and pepper, and seasoning of choice, I added red pepper and smoked paprika, a little celery salt and done. Then you just let it sit in a non reactive bowl for a while. Trust me, it won’t go bad, there’s too much acid in it with the tomatoes.

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Pound 3 full chicken breasts out to within an inch of their young lives and trim an excess fat/skin. Season some yellow stone ground corn meal with salt and pepper and red pepper other spices like chili powder. Beat 2 eggs with some water and then dip chicken breasts in cornmeal mix, then egg, then cornmeal mix again. img_1442img_1444

Pan sauce them in some olive oil, they will cook fairly quick because they are thin. Set aside in a warm oven until they are all cooked. Meanwhile toss about 4 oz of arugula with the tomato mixture. I added a can of cannelini beans that I rinsed to get some additional fiber and in lieu of potatoes or bread. I think mine needed a little more salt, which I never need, but this needed a little oomph, not a lot.

I only used 2 whole chicken breasts and have 2 portions left over. The tomato sauce makes a great soup starter so it’s like 4 meals in one!

I wonder what I will find in the way back machine next time? And someday I’ll cut a chicken pillared to be the same shape as the plate, but not now….

Not your father’s nachos….

Back a couple of weeks ago I started to think about what to serve while watching election returns. I knew I didn’t want it to be fussy, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time facing the stove. I thought about nachos but wanted a more “dressed up” version, and thought “aha” I’ll use shredded short ribs instead of taco meat and beans.

I started by cooking two portions of boneless short ribs in the pressure cooker with a little beef broth, 6 oz of tomato sauce, smoked paprika, garlic salt, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. I cooked them as usual fir 90 minutes and then shredded both. I set up the toppings on the counter and then portioned chips and beef and cheese on our plates, and zapped the plates in the microwave.


A little guacamole, shred cheese and crumbled quest fresco, picked onions and jalapeños and a squirt of fresh lime. We settled in for the returns…

“A sturdy little cake…”

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The baking bug is back and biting! Saturday afternoon I just had to bake something and I was fretting about the loneliness of my madeline pans, all alone in a dark cabinet. So I dusted off the trusty “Baking with Julia” and looked up the madeline recipe. I wanted to make brown butter madeleines like the ones I found in Paris in La Grand Epicerie at Bon Marche….here in the convenient mini size.img_0853

Julia talks about the fact that the extra eggs lend a sturdiness to the classic genoise cake, the building block of french cakes.

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Triple the volume of the eggs until it’s like a loose whipped cream. “The ribbons should not settle for 10 seconds” is how you will know it is correct consistency!

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Whisk the sifted ingredients into the eggs a little at a time and fold them gently, gently…

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Add the brown butter a little at a time to some of the tempered batter and then put the that mix back in to larger bowl to mix.

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Notice anything missing? Notice there is no sheen of pan spray…? Yes, I forgot to spay the pan. Seriously? Almost an epic fail. Not quite…I got madelines, but without the nice crispy shell design. Instead I got almost indistinguishable lumps. Tasty lumps to be sure, especially with tea, but lumps none the less…

Roast Toasty

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I found a small, already netted, veal roast for a shockingly low price about 3 weeks ago and promptly froze it and forgot it. I defrosted it over the weekend and roasted it in a 425° oven with some baby yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, carrots and onions. Oh, and because it was veal, I threw in some meyer lemon quarters for flavor! It only took about 2.5 hours and we were rewarded with a cozy supper on a cold nite.

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Once the roast and veggies were resting, I just deglazed the pan and added some wine and stock and a little flour! We also got like 2 more meals out of this roast, I think next time, I will serve it hot and shaved really thin with a gremolata or chimichurri sauce on it!

Sheet Pan Supper

Sheet pan suppers are all the rage these days, promising quick and simple meals in one pan and utilizing only the oven. I took advantage of the NYTimes recipe for sausage and potatoes and gussied it up a little.


First roast some Yukon gold potato wedges with fresh shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper. After 20 minutes, add fresh Italian pork or chicken sausage cut into 3 inch lengths, and spread out on sheet pan. After 30 minutes in a 425 oven, everything should be roasty toasty. Toss the sausage mix with a couple of large handfuls of fresh arugula and toss. Squeeze a lemon all over the mixture and add seasoning if needed. I added a little creme fraiche when I served. This was a delicious meal that was a perfect choice for one of the first cold nites of the fall…