Tag Archives: pasta

Coq au Vin a.k.a. Photo Fail

1 May

Just a quick post before I get to some homework and scholarship applications…I am still working on sorting out that Epic Fail post, and I guess you can say this was a little bi of an epic fail. You see, this was an absolutely delicious dinner, but I was so eager to eat it that I neglected to take a picture of the final product. So you just have to picture it, or go take a look at Ree’s amazing photos at Pioneer Woman. Other than missing pictures, this dish was perfect and seriously tasty…may have something to do with the fact that everything is cooked in a healthy dose of wine? 😉

Why is bacon so delicious and photogenic? Start with four slices of THICK bacon. The kind you get from the deli, not the wimpy stuff sold shrink-wrapped in the cheese section. Trust me on this one. Cut the bacon into small pieces, and then fry it up.

When it’s starting to get a little crispy, put it in a small bowl and set aside. Leave all that extra bacon fat in the pan, we’ll use it later. Yum!

Now, dice a large onion (Ree used half, but my family loves onions, so I used a whole Walla Walla onion). Then, grab three carrots and wash, peel, and roughly chop them. Basically once they are peeled, take the top off, and the cut them lengthwise into quarters, and then roughly chop these. I added celery to mine for added veggie power, and I just chopped those up into small pieces as well.

These looks like a ton, but remember, everything cooks down to practically nothing, so you want a lot to be able to still taste them.

I used chicken thighs from the deli, but you can used anything you have already: chicken breasts, a whole chicken cut up, or even drumsticks. I forgot to trim off the excess fat on these before I salted and peppered them, so I had to trim them, and then re-season them. See, this is almost an epic fail! 🙂

I used 6 thighs, so I cooked them in two batches. I mixed olive oil in the pan with the bacon fat to cook them, until they were browned on the outside. The insides cook in the oven, so don’t overcook them!

The chicken should look like this when you take it out of the pan. Put it into a baking dish and set aside while you do the next batch.

When both batches are done, layer them in your baking dish and sprinkle on the bacon.

In the same pan (remove some of the oil/fat if there is too much) cook the vegetables until the onions are translucent. Remove them with a slotted spoon to drain off any excess oil and sprinkle on the chicken and bacon

Turn the heat down and add 2 cups of red wine to the pan using a spoon to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to dislodge any browned bits of deliciousness. Let the wine simmer for a few minutes as you stir it, and then pour straight on to the chicken.

This is the last picture I took of the chicken and veggies unfortunately. I put on the glass lid, stuck it in the oven for an hour and a half.

I then cooked up a package of egg noodles and then promptly forgot my camera even existed. Basically what happened was I put noodles in big, deep bowls, and then placed the chicken on top and spooned extra sauce and veggies on top. My parents and I then consumed the delicious food, leaving no leftovers. It was that good.

You seriously need to try it, and also go look at Ree’s pictures at her blog to see how amazing the final product is!

You’ll notice in her recipe she uses mushrooms which is traditionally how you make coq au vin, but neither my mum nor I like mushrooms. I also only used one clove of garlic with the veggies but again, that’s a personal taste thing.


The Pioneer Woman’s Coq au Vin (with some changes)


  • 4 slices Bacon, Cut Into Small Pieces
  • 6 chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 Carrots, Washed, Peeled, And Roughly Chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 cups Burgundy Wine
  • 1/2 pound Pasta (egg Noodles Or Fettucini)
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Saute bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium low heat until fat is rendered. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside. Increase heat to medium.

Salt fat site of chicken pieces, then place chicken, fat side down, in skillet and cook in bacon grease until both sides are nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside in a 2-quart baking dish, skin side up.

Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic in bacon grease until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from grease with slotted spoon and set aside.

Layer the bacon pieces and vegetable mixture in pan with chicken.

Drain grease from the large skillet, then place over medium heat. Pour in 2 cups Burgundy wine, using a wire whisk to scrape loose all the burned/brown bits. Lightly salt liquid and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.

Cook pasta until al dente and drain.

Serve chicken in a pasta bowl with noodles spooning juice from baking dish over the top of everything.


Using My Noodle

9 Feb

So a while back I went to my favourite restaurant Papa Haydn’s downtown and tried something other than my usual Mixed greens salad and Croque Monsieur. I had the most amazing lamb bolognese, and from there I was obsessed. It took me about a week to get the recipe down, but I’ve been making it quite frequently ever since. Ground lamb isn’t particularly easy to find, so I just use beef while I wait for local stores to begin stocking it. A few weeks ago I decided that if I was making my bolognese from scratch, why not make the pasta from scratch too?

After a quick hunt I found out just how easy pasta dough is to make: it’s just eggs and flour! That was enough to get me interested, and then I remembered I had a pasta machine still in its box in the back of a kitchen cupboard. So, I unwrapped the machine and got to work. You make a well out of flour and put the eggs in the middle. Since I was just making it for my dad and I, I used 2 eggs and 1 cup of flour. The basic ratio is two eggs to one cup of flour, and one egg per person.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs until you have a ball of dough. Turn this out onto a floured surface and begin kneading and working the dough until it becomes smooth like this:

You really need to let the dough rest for a while, so I cut up all my ingredients for the sauce and came back to it afterwards.

I started off with half a red onion and a carrot. I usually use yellow onions, but we had this red one, so I decided to use it or a change. And if you don’t like the idea of the carrot, just know that since it’s grated it is basically untraceable. it adds a subtle flavour, and it a great way to get your veggies. I’d usually cut up some celery too, but I didn’t have any so I had to do without. 😦

Then I cut up some fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, and thyme. I also minced some garlic, but I neglected to take a photo.

Once all of this was done, I returned to my pasta. I separated it into 4 sections just to make it easier on myself. I then put each chunk through the rollers 3 times, decreasing the size each time until I had it as thin as possible. Then I put extra flour on it and ran it through the fettucine rollers. This took a few tries, as the dough kept getting stuck (a problem I still have to deal with) and curling back under itself.  

Once I got some good results though, I started laying the strands out on a rack because I was paranoid that they would stick together. I’m also pretty paranoid about dropping my camera in bowls of batter or sauces, but that’s another thing all together.

Once all my pasta strands were laid out, I got out my dutch oven, and started to heat up some olive oil. One it was nice and hot I dumped in the onions and carrots and cooked them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I moved the veggies to the edges of the pan and dumped in the ground beef. I cooked it until brown, slowly adding in the onion/carrot mixture until all combined.

I then poured in a can of tomato puree an a can of diced tomatoes. These were the only non-fresh ingredients in the whole dinner, and I have already begun to look through recipes using oven-roasted tomatoes. Something tells me I’ll wait until the farmer’s markets start-up again, so that if I go through all that trouble, I’ll really be able to say I have the freshest, purest ingredients.

I then added in all my fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. If you like it spicy, you could add in some Tabasco or red pepper flakes, but I’m a wimp (as we’ve already established in the last post) so I leave those on their shelves. The good news is, it tastes better the longer it simmers, so you can leave it to cook anywhere from 10-40 minutes. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes since I was in a rush. While the sauce cooks, boil a pot of water with a decent amount of salt in it.

Since the pasta is fresh, it only takes a few minutes to cook. You need to keep testing it to make sure you don’t let it get all mushy. mushy pasta= not good one it’s cooked, drain in and split it into bowls. Layer on the bolognese, and perhaps sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan?

The recipe I started out with was this: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/ryans-bolognese-sauce/ but I don’t really pay attention to amounts and I add in whatever I feel like. If you start of with carrots, celery, onions and meat, you’ll have the perfect foundation

I probably won’t be posting as frequently, I was just getting through a bunch of projects I had on my camera. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited to share my vegan chocolate cupcake recipe and my pistachio and white chocolate chip cookies recipe though. 🙂