Tag Archives: stew

Roasted Cheese Ratatouille-Versatile, (veggie only or with meat/egg)


ratatouille casseroleratatouille w.egg


Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese and if you wish, eggs and/or meat

Lots of options here and all quite healthy

Serves 4


  1. 1 small eggplant cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I left the skin on but if you wish, you can peel it. Also I salted it in a colander and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. After I rinsed it.
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 4 or 5 large mushrooms, sliced.
  6. 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 1/4 Tsp. (or more if you wish a more exotic taste) of each of the following: cinnamon & nutmeg and S&P to taste
  8. 1-28 oz. canned chopped tomatoes with juice or whole can tomatoes (w/juice) that you’ve chopped
  9. 2-3 Tblsp. torn fresh basil leaves
  10. 1 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  11. Half lb. lamb shoulder which you have ground (minus the bone of course) in your food processor. This I found is the most economical way of getting ground lamb. However, the butcher may have some as well for the same price and/or he also can grind up the shoulder meat for you. If you wish you can have even have up to 1 lb. or none at all if you want to be vegetarian. You can also substitute ground turkey, chicken or beef but lamb is delicious and more traditional. (optional)
  12. Mozarella, part skim, 4-6 ounces, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4 –inch strips
  13. 4 eggs (optional)
  14. Crusty French Bread with which to serve it or something else similar


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a 9 X 14 inch Pyrex or other oven proof dish place ingredients 1 through 5 and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast until golden brown and tender. (about 45 minutes) About half way through, I stirred the veggies well. In fact, you can stir even more times if you wish.
  3. Brown the optional lamb, etc. in a bit of olive oil in a skillet stove top. Set aside.
  4. When the veggies are roasted, take your dish out and stir in the seasonings in # 7, the tomatoes and their juices in # 8, the basil leaves in #9 and the parsley in #10 and the optional ground meat in #11.
  5. Bake in the 400 F oven with a foil covering for 20 to 30 minutes till hot and bubbling.
  6. Now’s the time to top with the cheese and bake without the foil for another 10 minutes—or at least till the cheese is melted. I actually turned on the broiler for several minutes to get it browned.
  7. Alternative method of serving: If you didn’t add the meat and maybe want to add eggs to this dish, then before you add the cheese, make four indentations in your veggies, break in an egg and layer the cheese over all. Bake uncovered until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted—8-10 minutes.
  8. Another alternative for this dish: If you did use the meat and you’ve layered the cheese, and cooked it that way but still want an egg on top—fry the egg in a separate pan and when you serve the Ratatouille, place the egg on top. Plenty of protein here and it really is good. Remember, you can serve the left over Ratatouille (if you have any) for breakfast topped with an egg.

Veal Meatballs with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Black Olives


veal mealballs with tomatoes, black olives and mushrooms

Veal Meatballs with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Black Olives

Serves 4

It’s nice to see different kinds of ground meats at the markets today.  I just made a wonderful free form ground lamb puff pasty tart and now that I spied ground veal at Atkinsons’ I thought that I would do something with that.  This is an easy recipe with some variations for you to choose that will make the end result zing in different ways and is pretty enough to serve for company.


  1. 3/4 to 1 Lb. ground veal
  2. 5 large whole white or brown mushrooms—one finely chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves –diced
  4. 1 egg-well beaten with some  salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 Tblsp. grated Parmesan
  6. 1 medium onion diced
  7. 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  8. 1 Tsp. minced fresh sage leaves or a pinch of dried crumbled sage leaves or instead with a pinch of nutmeg
  9. 1/2 C. (or more) plain bread crumbs
  10. 5 rinsed plum tomatoes-cut long ways in quarters
  11. 3 Tblsp. olive oil or butter or a combination of both
  12. S&P
  13. 1 large bay leaf
  14. 1 C. white vermouth or white wine and possibly some chicken broth
  15. 1 Tsp. minced fresh rosemary or fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 Tsp. of dried of whatever you choose)
  16. 1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
  17. 1 C. pitted black olives (optional if you don’t care for olives)


  1. For the meatballs, combine the ground veal with 1 finely chopped mushroom, 1 diced garlic clove, 1 Tblsp. grated Parmesan, 1 Tblsp. diced onion, 1 Tblsp. chopped parsley, the sage (or pinch of nutmeg) and the well beaten egg.  Mix well with your hands and then add 1/2 C. (or more if you feel necessary) breadcrumbs. Form the ground veal into 1” diameter meatballs.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil/butter and then gently place in the meatballs.  Turn them gently with a fork or tongs till they are nicely browned (about 5 minutes). Remove them to a plate.
  3. In the same pot you should have enough oil and juice to brown the remaining onion.  Stir the onion till softened (5 to 10 minutes) and then add the remaining garlic and cook one minute more.  Add the S&P and the wine; if you would care for more liquid you can add 1/2 C. or more chicken broth.  Let come to a slow simmer and add the tomatoes, 2 Tblsp. chopped parsley, bay leaf, turmeric and rosemary or thyme.  Stir gently and then add the meatballs.
  4. Turn the heat to very low, cover and cook, stirring very gently every now and then for about 45 minutes.  Add the whole mushrooms and black olives at the very end; continue simmering with a cover on till the mushrooms are tender and done (about 5-10 minutes).
  5. I like this stew served on top of fluffy white rice and a green salad for a side.  Crusty French bread is always a nice addition.

Veal Stew With Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Onions and Sour Cream


veal stew in skillet

stew on plate

Veal Stew With Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Onions and Sour Cream

6-8 servings

I do love veal.  It’s a bit pricey but it has such a delicate flavor (as opposed to its parents) that I’ll many times bend my budget to accommodate it.  There are a lot of good recipes for veal, however, this is one that I really like because it makes the dish go round a bit more; that’s because there are plenty of good included veggies here.  So here you go:


  1. 1/4 or more C. of flour for dredging
  2. S&P to taste to add to the flour
  3. 3 lbs. boneless veal stew meat
  4. 1/2 C. olive oil
  5. 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  6. 1 C. sliced celery
  7. 1 ½ C. hot water
  8. 1/2 C. white wine or vermouth
  9. Thyme to taste (dried or I used several threads of the real stuff)
  10. 1 small head of cauliflower, broken in small flowerettes
  11. 12 small mushrooms, quartered
  12. Butter
  13. 1 C. sour cream
  14. 1/4 C. chopped parsley


  1. In a medium sized bag, shake the flour with the S&P and then put the veal pieces in it and shake some more to coat them all evenly.
  2. In a heavy deep skillet, add the olive oil and heat.  When heated, add the stew meat and brown on all sides (about 5-8 minutes).
  3. When meat is browned, add the onions, celery, hot water, wine and thyme.  Simmer stove stop with a tight lid for 1 ½ hours.
  4. After 1 ½ hours, add the cauliflower and simmer for 1/2 hour more.
  5. Before the stew has finished simmering for the 2 hours, in another skillet, add and heat some butter so that you can brown the mushrooms.
  6. When the stew is cooked and the mushrooms browned, add the mushrooms to the stew along with the sour cream and parsley.  Stir so that the mixture is well blended BUT DO NOT LET BOIL!!
  7. This is excellent over rice or noodles.


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

 @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.


Bouillabaisse–Quick and Delicious


quick bouillabaisseBouillabaisse-Quick and Delicious

Serves 4





OK—if you don’t like sea food, don’t even bother looking at this recipe. But if you do—well, here’s an uncomplicated (don’t let the 20 listed ingredients scare you) and delicious way to make what many consider the Cadillac of fish stews. There are so many different versions and recipes for an original and good bouillabaisse; many take hours and a huge amount of various ingredients to make. However, the following recipe results in my opinion in a delicious dish that is not complicated, particularly if you can procure all of the few ingredients that I have mentioned. Please know that you can use fresh or dried seasonings but if you use the fresh variety, it’ll take twice as much of the recipe’s called upon amount as it calls for the dried variety. Fish wise, this dish can be a bit pricey to make if you get fresh non-farmed fish from the fish monger, however if you get the frozen variety (and some of it is wild caught) it can be a lot less expensive. So, here’s a dish that you can make fast, fast for guests, for your family or just for your lonesome and then have some delicious left-over’s.


  1. 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  2. 1 medium yellow onion peeled and cut into eighths or if you wish, rough chopped by hand or food processor.
  3. 3 large peeled garlic cloves, rough chopped either by hand or in a food processor along with the onions.
  4. 2 celery stalks fine chopped by hand or food processor along with ingredient # 1 and #2.
  5. One 15-oz. can of whole tomatoes rough chopped if you want bigger chunks or even a can of commercially chopped tomatoes. Whatever, be sure to save the liquid to include in the recipe.
  6. 1-2 ears of unshucked corn, priorly soaked in water for about 1/2 hour and then microwaved for 2 minutes (for each ear) and then shucked and kernels cut off cob. Now you can use frozen corn or even rinsed canned corn. (optional)
  7. 3-5 baby red or white potatoes—cut in 2 inch pieces. (optional)
  8. 2 -8-oz bottles of clam juice and/ or seafood stock or a combination of both and actually you may want a bit more if you want a “thinner” potage.
  9. 2 Tsp. ground fennel
  10. 1/2- 3/4 Tsp. ground thyme
  11. 1-2 Tsp. dried parsley
  12. 1 Bay Leaf
  13. 1/2- 3/4 Tsp. dry basil
  14. 1/4 to 1/2 Tsp. Saffron powder
  15. S&P to taste
  16. 8-oz. combination of monkfish, swordfish, halibut, snapper or sea bass cut into large pieces.
  17. 8-oz. clean squid bodies, cut into rings and threads cut in large sections when unfrozen. (I found fresh frozen squid and they were delicious.)
  18. 10 to 15 whole unfrozen cooked medium sized or could even be small deveined shrimp with or without tail on. Sometimes I think it’s fun to present a dish which people have to actually participate in, ie, taking the shrimp tail off. And actually, some people like to munch on the tail.
  19. For last minute topping, freshly chopped parsley or even cilantro.
  20. Crusty French Bread to dip into your fish stew. If you wish, you could broil the bread spread with a bit of butter or olive oil and garlic.


easy bouillaibaisse


  1. If your fish, squid and shrimp are frozen, unfreeze them per package instructions.
  2. In a large deep pot heat the 1-2 Tbslp. olive oil over medium heat. Then add the garlic, onion and celery and sauté till they are soft and slightly golden (about 5 minutes.)
  3. Then add ingredients # 5 to # 15. Also add in the potatoes if you are using them. Stir well and bring to a slow boil. Place a top on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and simmer with a top on for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the cut fish when the sauce is ready and cook covered for an additional 5 minutes or till the fish is fork ready.
  5. For your very last minute or two of cooking over medium heat and with a top on, add the squid and shrimp and the optional corn.
  6. You can top this all, when serving, with additional freshly chopped parsley or even cilantro.
  7. And don’t forget the crusty French bread and wine, like a rose(accent over the e).


Beef Kidney Stew 2 Different Ways–Red or White


Red Kidney Stew

Beef Kidney Stew 2 different ways—either red or white ( red style in picture)

Serving 2 to 4 people


Listening to NPR today, 3/5/13, the Dow hit a firm over the 14,000 mark and supposedly the economy is healing.  For myself, I am still looking closely at my grocery prices and honestly, I can’t think of anything that I have bought lately that can beat this: one beautiful large grass fed USDA organic beef kidney at the Ketchum Atkinsons’ for under $1.  It can easily feed two and maybe even four depending with what you are serving it.  I served it with a Provence Potato Gratin, (recipe coming in another column) a lovely salad and some nice veggies. Noodles, boiled potatoes or rice also is good served with the kidneys. You can even do an English thing: serve the kidneys on toast for breakfast.


Now you may turn your nose up at organ meat, but aside from it being high in cholesterol, it is very delicious if you fix it properly.  I think most people just get turned off at the “organ” connection here in the United States: not in Europe. The important thing with kidneys is not to cook them too long—or they’ll become tough. The texture is NOT slimy and has in fact a great texture to it.  The taste I think is magnificent.  Give it a try and you’ll see——-


The basic prepping of the kidney:

  1. Cut away the white membrane of the kidney with curved scissors or a sharp small knife. Patience is required for this process—but it’s worth it.
  2. Place the kidney in a bowl and add water mixed with 3 Tblsp. wine vinegar to barely cover it.
  3. Let it sit for 2 hours. (Patience again please)
  4. Drain the kidney and wipe it dry.
  5. Cut it in thin slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge with flour for the “Red Way” but not necessarily for the “White Way” and if you decide to dredge for the “White Way” increase the butter and olive oil to the same amounts as in the “Red Way”. And by the way, if you wish to use Sherry instead of the red or white wines, give it a go.


Kidney Stew—the “Red Way”:


  1. 1/4 C. butter
  2. 3 Tblsp. olive oil
  3. 1 clove garlic,  finely chopped
  4. 1/2 C. onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 Tsp. dried rosemary (you can use 1 Tsp. fresh as well)
  6. 1/2 Tsp. dried thyme (you can use 1 Tsp. fresh as well)
  7. 1 Bay leaf
  8. 1/2 C. dry red wine
  9. 1/2 C. beef broth


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter and when bubbling, QUICKLY brown the kidney slices on both sides.
  2. Add the garlic, onion and herbs and cook 5 minutes (not longer).
  3. Add the wine and broth and simmer at the most, 15 minutes more.
  4. Serve with what I suggested in my introduction.
  5. PS-Don’t tell the kids what they are eating and I bet that you’ll be in for a surprise.


Kidney Stew—the “White Way:


  1.  3 Tblsp. olive oil
  2. 2 Tblsp. butter
  3. 2 Tblsp. chopped parsley
  4. 1 Tblsp. chopped shallots or chives
  5. 3 Tblsp. flour
  6. 1 ½ C. dry white wine or vermouth
  7. 1/2 C. water
  8. 2 Tsp. butter
  9. 2 Tsp. butter
  10. S&P to taste


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet; add the kidneys and brown QUICKLY on all sides.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the parsley and shallots.  Cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the kidneys to another dish and cover it to keep warm.
  3. If you have not floured your kidneys, now place the 3 Tblsp. flour into the pan juices and add the wine and water.  Stir until smooth.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the 2 Tsp. of butter.
  5. Season with lemon juice, S&P and pour sauce over the kidneys.


Oh Hale to the Ole’ Pot Roast- 7 Different Ways


511px-BeefCutChuck.svgOh Hale to the Ole’ Pot Roast- 7 Different Ways


The poor relative of a better cut of meat, the pot roast was always considered a non guest dish.  I want to disagree with this image because truly, a good pot roast is not only an art to make but also a delicious dish to serve—for your family and guests. A good pot roast takes a bit more effort to make because the meat is not from the more elegant cut of the animal. However, this is what can make a pot roast more delectable because of the special seasonings used, the sometimes tender and time staking marinating and the always cautious cooking that it takes. The main trick of presenting a superior pot roast is to not overcook it, make sure about the heat used and to be able to spend quality time checking in on it.  Here are several recipes I have always enjoyed in regards to the potting of the roast.  PS—in regards to making your gravy, remember to thicken the liquid at the end of cooking by either using corn starch mixed with water (2 Tbsp. to 1/4 C. cold water for about 2 C. cooking liquid) and then whisk it slowly into the hot liquid; or if you don’t want to use corn starch, in a different skillet, melt some butter and then add some flour—whisk it till smooth and then stir in some of your hot liquid, a bit at a time. ( For the flour method the approximate correct measurements to use are the following: 1 ½ Tblsp. butter, 1 ½ Tblsp. flour to 1 to 1 ½ C. liquid.)

  1. 1.    The Basic Pot Roast


  1. 1 (3-4 lb.) piece of chuck or rump roast (tied if necessary)
  2. 2 bay leaves
  3. 1 or 2 garlic clove—peeled and chopped fine or slivered
  4. Sea Salt and Ground Pepper
  5. 2 or more Tblsp. unsalted butter
  6. 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 3 Tblsp. chopped raw bacon in small pieces
  8. 3/4 to 1 chopped onion—rough chop
  9. 2 large peeled and chopped carrots in small slices
  10. 3 celery stalks chopped in small slices
  11. 1/2 C. chopped parsley-add at the end
  12. 2-3 Tblsp. flour to add to the veggies at end
  13. 1/2 C. wine
  14. 1 to 2 C. chicken, beef or vegetable stock-I like a good beef stock
  15. 3/4 Tsp. of your favorite dry blend of spices
  16. Optional: 3/4 warm sour cream


  1. Salt and pepper the roast and insert 1/2 of the garlic slivers as well as 3/4 of the bacon into several slits that you have made in the roast. ( For a different kind of roast, rub the meat with 1 Tblsp. of mild chili powder- if you like hot use cayenne.)
  2. Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot that can be later lidded; brown the roast on all sides—take your time to do this and make sure the heat is not high.  You do not want the fat to burn.
  3. Remove the meat to a side platter and in the oil/butter, still over medium high heat, brown the vegetables-stirring frequently. Stir them until softened and somewhat (not too much) browned—about 10 minutes. Add the parsley towards the end. Before adding the stock, add 2 to 3 Tblsp. flour to the vegetables and stir it till you can’t see any white of the flour left.
  4. Add about half the stock (and warm sour cream if you wish) and the red wine, your blended spices and return the roast to the pot, and turn the heat to very low however the liquid should be simmering at all times. (Save the other half of the stock to use if you find the stock disappearing).  There should be at least 1/2 inch of liquid in the pot at all times.
  5. Here’s where you need to spend time with this recipe. Every 15 minutes or so, turn the meat—and cook it until it is fork tender which means that your fork will pierce the meat without pushing too hard and the juices will run clear—about 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours—but it may be longer if the roast is higher than it is long.  A very thick roast can take as long as (sigh) 4 hours. (You can also bake a roast, covered, in a slow oven—300- 325 degrees—but you need to turn and look at it every 15 minutes just as if you cook it on top of your range. I prefer to do it stove top)
  6. If for some reason your roast seems to be dry (oh no) your heat has been probably too high.  DO NOT OVER COOK THE ROAST. Believe me, when the meat is tender, it is done and remember, even when you remove it from the heat—it still will cook for 15 minutes or so.
  7. The Final Step: Remove the meat to a beautiful platter and keep it warm with some aluminum foil.  Skim the fat (if any) from the juices in the pot and turn the heat to high.  Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan until the liquid is thick and almost evaporated.  Adjust for seasonings.
  8. Serving: slice your meat and serve the juices on the side.  Or if you wish, pour the juices over the meat.
  1. 2.    Pot Roast with Tomatoes

Prepare and cook meat as above except:

  1. For the liquid, use 1 C. stock and 1 C. canned tomatoes. There should be about 1/2 inch of liquid in your pot.
  1. 3.    Pot Roast with a Sour and Sweet Gravy
    1.  When the roast has been set aside, in your stock, you can add 1 tsp. of sugar and 1 ½ Tblsp. lemon juice or vinegar.


  2. 4.    Pot Roast with Cider
    1.  Soak your meat for 12 hours in this marinade and also use this marinade in the stead of the liquids mentioned above and cook as in the basic recipe:

Cider Marinade Ingredients:

  1. 2 C. cider
  2. 2 small sliced onions
  3. 1/4 Tsp. ginger
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 1/4 Tsp. cinnamon
  6. 2 Tblsp. sugar
  1. 5.    Spiced Pot Roast

Spiced Beef Marinade ingredients:

  1. Cider vinegar or dry wine
  2. 2 sliced onions
  3. 1/2 Bay leaf
  4. 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  5. 1 Tsp. allspice
  6. 1 tsp. cloves
  7. 1 ½ Tsp. salt
  8. 1 Tsp. pepper

Vegetables to use for the last 1/2 hour of cooking

  1. 2 onions
  2. 4 large carrots
  3. 1 medium large turnip
  4. 1 stalk celery
  5. Marinade the roast in the above marinade for 12 hours or more.
  6. Take the meat out and place it in a roasting pan. (Save the marinade)
  7. Heat the following to a boiling point and pour it over the roast which you’ve placed in a pot that has a lid: 1/2 of the marinade and 2 C. water.
  8. Cover the pot and roast it in a slow over, 275 degrees, for 3 hours.
  9. Process the vegetables to a small grind and sauté in butter till golden brown. Add these ingredients to the roast for the last 1/2 hour of cooking.
  10. The sauce can be thickened with flour or corn starch.
  1. 6.    Pot Roast with Cranberries

Follow rule for basic pot roast and substitute for the liquid water and after 1 hour of cooking, add 2 C. of raw cranberries and additional boiling water if needed.

  1. 7.    Sauerbraten


  1. 3 lbs. roast
  2. Bacon which you have larded in the meat
  3. Pepper rubbed on meat
  4. Garlic inserted in slits made in meat
  5. Equal parts mild vinegar or white wine and water
  6. 1/2 C. sliced onion
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. 1 Tsp. pepper corns
  9. 1/4 C. sugar
  10. For the very end, 1 C. sour cream or sweet cream


  1. Place prepared meat in a crock like pot
  2. Heat but DO NOT BOIL the ingredients e through i and while hot, pour over the meat.
  3. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 days but preferably 7 to 10 days.

Turn the meat once a day.

  1. When the meat is well marinated, take it out and place it in a pot.
  2. Use the vinegar mixture in place of the stock.
  3. Cook as in the basic recipe and when the meat is tender, remove it from the pot.
  4. Thicken the gravy with flour and add 1 C. sweet cream or sour cream

Any of these recipes are delicious served with potato dumplings, noodles and a hearty red wine.

Bon Appetit

Lamb Shanks with White Beans-A Dish to Comfort


lamb shank with white beans

Lamb Shanks with White Beans

Serves 2-8 if you don’t concentrate on the meat only

Newtown really got me down.  I needed some comfort; so I turned to this recipe.  First of all, it took me awhile to make but yet didn’t take too much concentration so that I could think and meditate about what a tragedy and horror had just happened.  Second of all, once made, it soothed me and helped me heal a bit.  We need recipes like this every now and then—and sadly enough, more often lately than not.  I hope that maybe you may take some solace in this recipe as well——

Ingredients for the White Beans:

  1. 1 Lb. dried white beans (I used the little ones but the larger variety are fine as well)
  2. 4 Cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  3. 1 C. Cored and chopped tomatoes—(canned and drained are fine)
  4. 1 Bay leaf

Herbs to be used for both the beans and the shanks: 

  1. 1 Tblsp. fresh sage leaves or 1 Tsp. dried sage and some left over for extra seasonings
  2. 1 Tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 Tsp. dried thyme
  3. A dab more thyme leaves for browning the veggies.

Ingredients for the Lamb Shanks:

  1. 4 Lamb shanks—3/4 to 1 Lb. each (mine in the picture was almost 2 lbs. WOW—what a lamb!)
  2. 1/3 – 1/2 C. olive oil
  3. Flour for dredging
  4. 1 Medium onion rough cut
  5. 3 Stalks of celery rough cut
  6. 2 peeled  carrots rough cut
  7. 1 clove garlic rough cut
  8. S&P to taste
  9. 1 Bay leaf
  10. 3/4  C. red wine
  11. 3/4  C. beef stock
  12. Minced fresh parsley or sage leaves or thyme sprigs for garnish


Cooking the Beans

  1. Quick boil or soak the beans overnight (according to package directions).
  2. Place the beans in a deep pot and cover the beans with water.
  3. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil; skim the foam if necessary.
  4. Turn the heat down so that the beans simmer and add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, and 1/3 of the herbs mentioned in this recipe.
  5.  Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours —till they are tender.

Cooking the Shanks:

  1. Blender or Osterize chop the celery, carrots, garlic, onion into a small chop.  I do leave aside a couple of carrots and celery large cut just for the look of the dish-but doesn’t feel obliged to do this.
  2. Mix the remainder of the seasonings in enough flour to dredge the shanks a bit and rub it on the shanks.
  3. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and brown the shanks on all sides. (About 8-10 minutes). If you have a lot of shanks, you may have to do this in more than one session.  When browned, set aside on a separate plate.
  4. In the remaining oil (if you need more, pour a bit in), add and stir the veggies with a dab more of thyme over medium heat until they are glistening. (about 7 minutes)
  5. Put the shanks back in the pot on top of the veggies, add the wine and beef bouillon and a bay leaf; simmer covered on very low heat for 3 to 3 ½ hours or till when you insert a toothpick in the fleshy part of the shank, it’ll go in and come out easy (that almost sounds “risqué” doesn’t it.  Oh dear.
  6. Keep an eye on the shanks just to make sure they don’t need more wine or bouillon.

lamb shank with white beans

The Finished Product:

  1. At this point, I like to have a lovely country styled platter to take my beans out with a slotted spoon and some or all of its liquid as well and top it with my lamb shanks, veggies, sauce and all. I then garnish it with the parsley, sage, or thyme.
  2. There are 2 more ways  of finishing this dish so here it is:

Way One

  1. Don’t cook the beans till they are too soft because you are going to place them in an oven proof dish.
  2.  Pour the shank’s sauce among the beans and some or most of the bean’s liquid (depending how much is left), a bit more dried or fresh sage; then nestle the shanks in. Put the dish uncovered in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes.  Then garnish and serve.

Way Two

  1. Cook the lamb as directed; then take it all off the bone and shred it.
  2. Stir it back in the beans and top it with bread crumbs.
  3. Broil it carefully in the oven till the crumbs are light brown.
  4. Voila Cassoulet?


Anise-Scented Bonelss Pork Country Style Rib Stew


anise-scented boneless pork country style rib stew

Anise-Scented Boneless Pork Country Style Rib Stew

4-6 servings

My mentor in cooking is Ina Garten.  I just love her style and recipes so I do enjoy her cook books.  The other cook book I use continually is one that was recommended to me by one of my favorite B&B guests, Ruth.  She led me on to the How to Cook Everything –Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman.  I like it a lot because he kept true to his word: the recipes are simple with a lot of room for variations and YOUR imagination. The following recipe he delegated to short ribs, however, I had just bought some excellently priced boneless pork country style ribs and thought that they would do instead.  And indeed, they substituted just fine and were excellent.  So, I’m passing this on for your culinary enjoyment as well.


1 Tblsp. peanut or neutral vegetable oil

3 Lbs. meaty short ribs, more or less (I used the boneless pork country style ribs but you can also use lamb shanks.)

Freshly ground pepper or Szechwan peppercorns to taste

1 medium large onion, chopped

5 nickel-sized fresh ginger (I used that) or 2 Tsp. ground ginger

3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

5 whole star anise

1/2 C. soy sauce (which I used) or fish sauce

1 C. water

1 Tblsp. rice vinegar (I used) or white wine vinegar

2 Tblsp. sugar

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ -inch thick slices (I didn’t have 2 carrots, so I used one carrot and 1 large celery stalk)

Salt (optional-I didn’t use)


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or similar pot.
  2. Brown the ribs well on all sides, seasoning them with pepper.  Regulate the heat so the ribs will not burn.  This will take about 20 minutes so don’t rush it. (This is the way I did it.) (You can also do the browning in the oven: preheat oven to 500 and roast the ribs, turning once or twice, until brown all over: time will be the same—20 minutes.)
  3. Remove the ribs and pour off most of the fat(I had very little left)
  4. Lower the heat under the Dutch oven to medium and cook the onion, stirring, until they begin to soften –about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the ginger and garlic and continue to cook 2 more minutes
  6. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the carrots (celery) and salt if you wish to use that. Bring to a boil and return the ribs to the pot.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Cook gently, turning the ribs occasionally, for about 1 hour.  I cooked my ribs for 1 ½ hours.
  7. Then add carrots (celery) and cook for another 30-45 minutes or until the meat if just about falling off the bone.
  8. Preheat oven to 200 about 10 minutes before the ribs with the carrots are done.
  9. When your ribs are cooked in the pot just the way you want them, remove them and the veggies with a slotted spoon to an oven proof dish.  Also discard the ginger pieces and the star anise.  Place the pot in the 200 degree oven to keep ingredients warm.
  10. Turn the heat under the pot with the remaining sauce to high in order to reduce the liquid, stirring, until it is thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  11. Taste and add salt or more soy sauce if necessary and spoon the sauce over the ribs.
  12. Serve with white rice and a side of salad or other kind of veggie.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

The Basic Recipe for Any Kind of Shanks


beef shank stew (2)

The amount of servings is up to you

I do love, during winter, shanks.  It’s sort of like soul food-the kind that makes you feel good inside.   There are so many different ways of cooking them—stove top, in the oven, and even in the micro.  In fact I once made the micro version that turned out to be the best.  I need to look for that recipe. However, this is a basic recipe which I think always turns out tasty.  This time I used beef shanks because they were so reasonably priced.


Shanks—any amount that you wish



Olive Oil

1 medium onion-chopped

2 large carrots-peeled and chopped in small bits

3 stalks of celery—washed and chopped into small bits

1 or 2 cloves of garlic—peeled and chopped finely

1 bay leaf

Oregano—dry or fresh-about 1/4 Tsp. dry or 3/4 Tblsp. fresh

Thyme—dry or fresh –about 1/4 Tsp. dry or 3/4 Tblsp. fresh

Red wine—probably not more than 3/4 C. for 2 shanks (for 4 shanks could be as much as 2 C.) (don’t forget to pour yourself a little glass as well.)

Beef bouillon—probably not more than 3/4 C for 2 (for 4 shanks could be 1 C)


  1. In a plastic baggie, place enough flour, S&P and dried or chopped fresh oregano ; shake well to mix; then place the shanks  in the baggie; shake once more to lightly flour them. Make sure your shanks don’t have too much flour on them.
  2. In a large and semi-deep skillet place about 2 Tblsp. olive oil and brown the shanks on medium high heat on all sides (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate.
  3. You’ll probably want to add some more olive oil at this point to the hot skillet; add your veggies and the thyme.  Over medium heat  stir and brown your veggies for about 10 -15 minutes or till tender and translucent.  Make sure they don’t get too done.
  4. Put shanks back in skillet on top of veggies, add the wine and bouillon and simmer covered on very low heat (but where you see some heat bubbles rising to the surface) for 3 to 3 ½ hours or till shanks are tender and are almost falling off the bone.
  5. Make sure to keep an eye on this dish and don’t let the liquid evaporate too much.  If need be add more wine or bouillon. I usually add some more liquid about 1/2 way through.

I serve this dish with my no-trick popovers and a nice salad or veggies.  You can also serve it with cauliflower puree or mashed potatoes.   If you wish another variation for this recipe, you could add some chopped tomatoes—either canned or fresh if tasty. Or you can use white wine and rosemary as a seasoning.  Also, you can top this dish off with chopped parsley and even some lightly sautéed in butter mushrooms. Fun to experiment isn’t it?

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Another Bouillabaisse–the 15 minute version-And It Features Fish


15- Minute Bouillabaisse

(Thanks to Sam Gugino in his Cooking to Beat The Clock cook book.)

Serves 4


8 Tblsp. olive oil

1 medium onion—peeled and quartered

4 cloves garlic—-peeled (save one for the Rouille.)

1  15-oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained or 1  15-oz. can whole tomatoes drained and coarsely chopped

2   8- oz. bottles clam juice

2 tsp. ground fennel (or seeds is OK too)


1/2 tsp. saffron threads or ground saffron

3   4-oz. pieces monkfish or swordfish (Tillapia works OK too)—cut fish pieces in half

3   4-oz. pieces halibut, snapper, or sea bass—but fish pieces in half

8  oz. cleaned squid bodies cut into rings (since I don’t live near the ocean, I use shrimp that has been mostly defrosted if frozen.)

For the Rouille:

1 small French baguette

¼ C. roasted bell peppers from a jar

1 egg yolk


1.Put the onion and 3 cloves of the garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse till chopped.

2. Put 1 tblsp. oil in large deep heavy skilled over medium-high heat and when oil is hot, raise temperature to high and cook onion and garlic in it.

3. Add the tomatoes, clam juice, fennel, and S&P to taste to the skillet.

4. Over the skillet, crush ¼ tsp saffron between your fingers or use ¼ tsp ground saffron.

Stir well, cover and bring to boil.

5. Then reduce heat to medium, add the fish, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the squid or shrimp for the final minute.

6. While the seafood cooks, turn the broiler on to high in preparation to toast the bread. If you wish to turn the broiler on at the beginning of cooking the bouillabaisse, do that. Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 9 half-inch slices.  Put eight of them on a baking sheet and toast both sides in the broiler, about 1 minute on each side.

To make the accompanying rouille:

1. Drop the remaining garlic clove in the chute of the food processor with the motor running.

2.Stop the motor, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatulas.

3.Add the roasted peppers, egg yolk (or ¼ C. egg substitute), reserved bread slice and the remaining ¼ tsp. saffron.

4. Puree, then, with the motor running, gradually add the remaining 7 tblsp. olive oil through the chute until the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise.

5. Season with salt.

(I do the whole rouille in a blender and it turns out just fine.)

How To Serve:

Divide the seafood and broth among 4 pretty soup plates.  Spread the rouille on the toasted bread slices and put 2 slices on top of each soup plate.  Serve the remaining rouille in a bowl at the table.