The Adventures, Recipes, and Musings of Chef Jonathan Fine
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Security alarms Monday, April 06, 2015) 

Cajun Remoulade Sauce:  Very much like the tartar sauce of some English-speaking cultures, remoulade is often mayonnaise-based. Although similar to tartar sauce, it is often spicy and reddish in Louisiana, and extremely popular with crab cakes and other seafood -- check out Chef Fine’s personal recipe here.

Wild Mushroom, Leek, and Asparagus Cheese Strata: “Strata” is Italian for a baked egg and bread layered casserole filled with your choice of meats, cheeses and/or vegetables. They make an excellent main dish for brunch or holiday celebrations. It is a peasant dish in the truest sense of the word....find out more

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Strata: Of all the dozens of Strata recipes I have in my files, this is one of my favorites! Click here.

Brisket of Beef with Winter Root Vegetables: In these days of ever escalating food costs, the search for high quality, inexpensive, belly-warming, melt-in-your-mouth dinners for your family becomes more and more challenging. My recipe just might be your answer to spark up your cold weather meal blahs! Click here.

Boursin Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: Pork Tenderloin has been lovingly given the name “the poor man’s beef tenderloin”, but in reality it can cook up even more tender than its expensive cousin, and just as tasty. This dish was one of the most requested in my restaurants, and if you choose to make it you’ll also know why. Check it out here.

Chef Fine’s Award-winning Crab Cakes: Originally created in NYC in the early seventies, this national award-winning recipe has stayed with me all these years. It has been the cornerstone and most well known signature dish of all my menus! Although it has many ingredients, this is a very simple dish to prepare and cook. See how here.

How to Clean, Cook (and Eat!) an Artichoke: OK, you’re standing in the vegetable isle in the supermarket and you’ve just arrived at the beautiful artichokes standing at attention in front of you. You remember how wonderful they are when presented to you at a restaurant, but you simply have no idea how to cook or even eat them – and on you go to grab a bunch of carrots. Well, the truth is the process is rather simple – from the trimming to the eating -- so here are all the steps laid out for you –- enjoy!

Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf: So whether you buy (heaven forbid) a dried package of meatloaf mix in the market or make your Mother’s semi-famous recipe, in the end meatloaf is meatloaf with subtle differences. As you read through this recipe you will instantly note that there are some unusual ingredients! My meatloaf has traveled with me for nearly 40 years, and I’ll put it up against your Mother’s any time!

French Onion Soup: To the rest of the world, it's French Onion Soup. In France, it's soupe du l'oignon à la Lyonnaise (‘onion soup from Lyon’). Like all great culinary classics, no single verifiable origin exists. Fortunately, this recipe has come down through the ages; try my Five Onion French Soup recipe!

 

Chef Jonathan Fine's Tips & Tricks

Ground Beef Meat Masher
Breaking up meat with a wooden spoon can use up a lot of your time, and in the end not give the result desired. Instead, try using a potato masher — it saves time and the tool breaks up chunks of ground beef perfectly.

Answering The Deviled Egg Dilemma
Everyone loves deviled eggs, but at best making and eating them is a messy deal. Once you have made your mother's secret recipe, why not use a small cookie scoop to fill those little buggers? Clean-up is a breeze. Then there is the holding the egg part in your hand while trying to fill them. Using small paper muffin liners, just set 1/2 egg in each one in a tray, and 'voila' no mess. Here is the bonus part -- they are easy to transport and serve right in the liners. Your guests will be going through many fewer napkins!

A Garlic Lover's Prayer - Answered!
If you're a garlic lover 'freak' as I am, here's an answer to peeling, dicing, and mincing the countless cloves of garlic we are seemingly forever doing. Purchase a tub of peeled garlic in the supermarket. (Find one in the refrigerated case if possible and check the 'use by' date to make sure it is fresh). Mince the entire jar in the food processor and transfer the entire batch into a freezer bag. Mold the batch into a flat 3/4" thickness and freeze immediately. When completely frozen remove from bag and cut into 3/4" strips. Taking each strip cut again into 3/4" cubes (equals about 1 teaspoon each). Re-package into smaller freezer bags and freeze again immediately. Good for at least 2-3 months!

Waste Management for
Vegetable Stock
Like you, whenever I needed vegetable stock, there was always Swanson's in the supermarket -- a good product! However, in the restaurant I had a few rules that we all lived by. If it was organic or once alive, it  never went into the garbage but rather right into the stock pots that were endlessly cooking on the stove. Well here is a wonderful home version with the same spirit. Simply put all your vegetable peelings, bell pepper, onion & carrot bottoms and tops (root, stems and all -- anything vegetable) into a freezer bag and pop into the freezer. So when making a homemade soup or stock, just empty the bag into the pot, add celery, carrots, onions, herbs, water (perhaps a little white wine). Cook, strain and your own instant stock -- almost at no cost to you.

Bacteria Eliminator
Why bother purchasing commercial produce and fruit cleaners – beats me! Just reach in  the pantry for that old bottle of white vinegar. Yup, vinegar! Just use a small spray bottle, mix 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar and you’re all set.

Avoiding Sticky Rice
Wash the rice a few times until the water runs clear. Remove all the water until no water remains. Let it sit for 20 minutes.  This will remove all the starch and help the rice to remain separate. Also adding a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while cooking, you will find that the grains of rice will tend to remain separate.

On Buying & Using Lemons and Limes
Buy large lemons and  limes, they tend to be much sweeter. Make sure that the skin is thin, they are always much juicier. To obtain more of the juice from lemons, limes or oranges, microwave on high for 30 seconds and then let stand for a couple of minutes before cutting and squeezing. Rolling them between your hand and the counter will also help release even more juice.

On Trying New Recipes
Remember....try ONE NEW recipe at a time. Get all your ingredients together (in French known as ‘Mise en place’ – pronounced ‘plas’) – ‘Putting in Place.’ Most good restaurants use this system on a daily basis for all recipes. Check the spices for freshness. Lay the spices and ingredients  out in the order that they are to be used.  Make a plan and get started with ONE easy recipe. Most of all, make sure you have the time to make the recipe.  Do not try something new at a rushed time.

MORE TIPS & TRICKS HERE...

 

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