Posts Tagged ‘thyme’

My below-par photography skills will no longer be featured on this blog. Since Jordan Emont is not with me this week, you’ll have to imagine the appearance. Even though a picture says a thousand words, this dish will leave you speechless. The bechamel allows my sauce to be thick and rich without being heavy and fattening. Subtly sweet Marsala wine offsets lemony thyme which is a perfect counterpoint to the woodsy flavor of mushrooms. I loaded the dish with spinach and onions and roasted grapes give a surprise of texture and sweetness.


  • Onions
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt, pepper
  • Mushrooms (I used brown baby bella)
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Marsala wine/Beef broth opt.
  • Spinach/Arugula
  • Milk (I used 2%)
  • Butter (I used unsalted)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Red grapes
  • Pecans
  • Lemons
  • Fresh parsley
  • Penne pasta

Sauté onions in a large pan with olive oil, adding garlic after a few minutes. Salting is important here or your onions will stubbornly resist softening. Add the mushrooms when the onions are translucent. Be generous with thyme leaves and chopped rosemary. Salt and pepper here as well.

Add Marsala wine—the real stuff, not the sweetened kind with barely any alcohol. Beef broth wouldn’t hurt too although I didn’t use it. You can choose to make this dish with spinach or arugula. Spinach should be added here, but arugula should be added  à la minute.

Bechamel: In a sauce pot, heat milk until it starts to boil. In a sauté pan, melt about a half stick of butter and whisk in plenty of butter. Whisk until you have a slightly brown color (this will add an extra dimension of nutty flavor). Slowly whisk in the scalding milk, while keeping the heat up. Just troubleshoot until you reach a very thick sauce. I added a handful of parmesan cheese and a splash of heavy cream. Hey, we’re being much healthier with the milk-based sauce. Keep in mind that it will thin out when mixed with the marsala, which is the next step.

Roast some halved red grapes in a hot oven with some pecans or walnuts. The nuts are done when they are fragrant and crisp. The grapes should still have they’re texture. Add lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Mix with penne pasta or whatever you prefer.

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We call this a Shepherd’s pie even though it is technically a cottage pie. We had beautiful carrots, zucchini, and squash that were home-grown. I chopped them into chunky pieces to make a real peasant stew. My father brought fresh Rosemary and Thyme. Rosemary is a strong herb and works well in stronger sauces like tomato sauce. This is also why I used a red wine instead of a white. It was hard to time all the vegetables, but they all came out tender, yet with a bite. I love the flavor and aroma that fresh herbs add to the dish. The red wine and crushed tomatoes make a low-fat  sauce that tastes like it took forever to make. Hearty, Homey, Heavenly.

Ingredients: (I left my pieces on the bigger side)

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped whites onions
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped squash
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • about 5 potatoes
  • 2 lb. Ground beef
  • cream
  • Red Wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 ears of corn
  • 1 stick of butter
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder.

(You will need to have boiled potatoes ready when necessary)

1. In a huge metal pot, sauté the chopped carrots for about 2-3 minutes in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, fresh thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder.

2. Add the zucchini and squash and re-season in the same manner. In the meantime, using a different metal pot, caramelize the chopped onions over high heat. Season as before. After about 4 minutes, add 1/2 the minced garlic and corn kernels. After a minute, add the onions to the other vegetables and cook until the carrots are beginning to become tender. I added snap peas, which I parboiled and added at this time.

3. Now that the onions are gone, cook the beef on high heat with some extra oil. Season likewise. Add some more minced garlic too. Remember: it will continue to cook with the vegetables.

3. Add about a cup of wine and reduce to a simmer for a few minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes (The tomatoes, not the can). Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, fresh pepper, and thyme. Add Worcestershire sauce and 3-4 sprigs of rosemary. Simmer and add more wine if it cooks off. I used a gravy master for darker color. Remove the Rosemary sprigs. Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish. I used a Cazuela which is a traditional spanish cooking vessel.

4. Mash the potatoes (some skin is fine) with cream (8-10 oz.), a stick of butter, salt and pepper. Spread over the filling. I topped mine with the Rosemary sprigs and some thyme for aroma. Keep it warm in the oven until service.

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This salad was the second appetizer in our Sophisticated Soirée. I founds the combination of goat cheese, honey and thyme in another recipe. I decided to use the flavors in my own appetizer, involving puff pastry. This recipe couldn’t be easier and it apparently even sounds good when spoken. I guess titles are important parts of Dishes. I could have called them Cheesy Honey and Herb Pastry Discs. I guess that sounds a little less enticing.

  • I bought pre-made puff pastry. It came in a package of two. Allow it to thaw (it comes frozen) for 10 to 15 minutes or until it becomes malleable. Roll it with a rolling pin, on a well-floured surface, until it is even. I bought spreadable goat cheese that came in a fist-sized container and slathered it on. I suggest buying another container for two sheets of puff pastry.
  • Slather on a generous layer, covering the entire sheet. Drizzle liberally with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Roll the puff pastry, forming a log, and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove it from the freezer and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Let the slices sit for about ten minutes and preheat the oven on 375°. Cook until golden brown and puffy. Try one. If it’s doughy, keep it in longer.

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