Cookbook Club - Alison Roman (& Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin)

Cookbook club is easily the highlight of my month every month (sorry Kev).

It’s an excuse to bring old and new friends together. It’s also a reason to celebrate various different cooks that I admire - over the past few months we’ve celebrated: Ina Garten (QUEEN), Deb Perelman, & Gaby Dalkin - to name a few.

Before I get into this month’s featured chef / author I think I should share with you how I run each month’s cookbook club?

  • I try to keep it consistent as best I can, we almost always do the first Thursday of each month.

  • Cookbook club should technically be called cook blog club - because I try to chose a chef who has lots of recipes readily available online.

  • I send an email out following each cookbook club announcing the date of the next one, I give each attendee 1-2 weeks to say if they can attend. Afterwards once I have the group set, I send an email out asking people to sign up for dishes.

  • Instead of everyone bringing a mish-mash of wines I take it upon myself to get a case of red / rose (red for winter, rose for summer) and 6 bottles of white wine for each Cookbook Club. The next morning when our wine hangovers are thickest I venmo charge everyone $15-20 to settle up.

  • Seat the table! One of the best parts of cookbook club is bringing people together - I like to seat the table to help new people feel integrated into the group.

  • One of the things I love most about cookbook club is that it helps make cooking (and entertaining) accessible for some of my friends who may find it intimidating. I do try to pic a chef that is Keep the wine (and water) flowing and everything will be fine!

This month we celebrated Alison Roman - total boss babe and writer of the Dining In cookbook as well as contributor to Bon Appetit and New York Times. I’ve been a long time follower of Alison’s and I was beyond excited to feature her this month!

Last night I made Alison Roman’s Weeknight Porchetta - and let me tell you it was easy and DELICIOUS. I served it with a horseradish applesauce cause YOLO.

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin aka Weeknight Porchetta

adapted from Bon Appetit

Weeknight Porchetta, served with roasted potatoes and garlic.

Weeknight Porchetta, served with roasted potatoes and garlic.

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 5 springs of rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

  • pepper to taste

  • 1 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin

  • 4 slices of bacon halved

Preheat your oven to 425. Peel and finely chop 4 garlic cloves. Strip the leaves off 1 rosemary sprig, discard the stem and finely chop the leaves. Finely chop 1 tbsp fennel seeds.

Mix the copped garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, and 1 tbs of olive oil in a small bowl season with salt and pepper.

Rub Garlic mixture all over the pork tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet. This can be done ahead of time - chill until ready to bake.

Scatter the remaining rosemary sprigs in a large baking dish - set pork tenderloin on top. Cut bacon slices in half, wrap each half slice around the pork tenderloin.

This is a deviation from the recipe - I have found that if you half the bacon it is easier to maneuver over the pork and you don’t end up with any flabby bits.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.


Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

When I was growing up we were unique in that, big yummy breakfasts were reserved for school days. On school day's my mom would whip up bacon, sausages, pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, etc. She was a firm believer in breakfast being the most important meal of the day and she served us a breakfast feast every morning (thank you Mom!). 

It was on the weekends that we were left to our own breakfast devices, cereal, ego waffles, doughnuts from the local coffee shop; because we were not to bug Mom on a Saturday morning. That was her time to rest and recharge.

From what I can gather based on speaking with my friends growing up was that we had the opposite arrangement than most families. Big fancy breakfasts on the weekends and quick and easy during the week.

One of my favorite things that my mom would make for breakfast on a school day was an egg in a glass – basically you take a piece of buttered toast rip it up into bite sized pieces and place it in an empty water glass, top it with two peeled soft boiled eggs, and mix it all up. Each piece of toast gets perfectly coated in that yummy runny yolk, basically it is amazing.

And while I love me a fried or poached egg, I always crave that firm white with the barely set runny middle of a perfectly soft boiled egg. This may or may not be due to the fact that I had a bizarre fear of under cooked egg whites as a child.

But anyway – after lots of recipe stalking I have finally found the best recipe for perfect soft boiled eggs. And because I love you all so much, I’ve decided to share :)

xoxo

L

Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

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Adapted from Bon Appétit

-          4 to 8 eggs

Bring a large sauce pan of water to boil over medium high heat.

Once the water is at a gentle boil use a slotted spoon or spider to carefully lower your eggs into the water one at a time.

Cook for 6 minutes adjusting the heat to remain at a gentle boil. For a runny yolk cook for 6 minutes, for a firmer but still jammy yolk cook for 6 ½ , and for just shy of hard boiled cook for 7 minutes.

Using your slotted spoon or spider carefully transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill for 2 – 3 minutes.

Gently roll the eggs on a cutting board to crack the shell and peel carefully. Rise the egg with water to get off any small bits of shell and pat dry.

Serve as desired, shown here on a piece of whole grain toast with butter and four fruits jam. On an English muffin or egg in a glass style.  a healthy pinch of salt and pepper encouraged!

Same Blogger, New Blog!

Hi there! 

I am excited to welcome you to my new blog, A La Lucie (Previously known as "Gluten Free and Full.") I am looking forward to sharing with you all my recipes, tips, and entertaining ideas! 

Part of the reason for this shift and redesign is that I am no longer gluten free - BUT I have kept all of my old recipes and posts below and will continue to note ways to easily make my recipes gluten free friendly! 

My new years resolution this year was to get back into blogging. Cooking, writing about food, and interacting with you all brought me such joy and I really have been missing it. 

So in 2018 I hope you'll be excited to see - more recipes and dinner party ideas from yours truly! 

xoxo

Lucie 

PS - you can find me on instagram and twitter @alalucieblog !! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto. A show stopping dish that can easily impress your signifiant other come Tuesday, or your dinner party guests anytime! While it may seem intimidating it is actually fairly simple to pull off once you get the hang of it! I see risotto as a dance, a ladle of stock here, a stir of the spoon there. It really can become quite therapeutic!

This dish is hearty enough with the mushrooms to stand alone as a main dish but also pairs nicely with steak, chicken thighs, or pork tenderloin (I have an amazing recipe which I will share soon). It also would go great with my favorite garlic green beans as well! This risotto reheats surprisingly well, one of my favorite ways is to put it in a greased baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and bake till golden brown! 

xo

L

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups mushrooms (diced) 
  • 1 large or two medium onions (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Protip: I always recommend seasoning at each stage in a dish, however you need to be mindful of how much salt you use while making this risotto, chicken stock can be quite salty as is parmesan cheese. Therefore I recommend putting in less salt than you think you need (a small pinch here or there), you can always add more at the end if it needs it, but you cant take it out!

In a dutch oven under medium heat sauté the onions and shallot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile place the stock on a stove under medium low heat. It is important that you have hot stock, it makes for happy risotto.

Add the mushrooms, butter, rosemary, thyme, and remaining olive oil to the pan with the onions. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and toast till fragrant (about 5 minutes); stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, be sure to scrape all of the brown bits off the bottom of pan. 

Now you begin the dance which is making risotto - ladle the hot stock into the sauté pan, you want to add just enough to cover the rice. Slowly add more and more stock as the rice starts to absorb. You want to add a ladle full every 10 minutes or so.

Continue to add stock until the rice becomes creamy and is cooked, this should take around 25 minutes. You may not use all of your chicken stock. Once the risotto has thickened stir in the parmesan cheese. Finally season with salt and pepper (be sure to use a little less since parmesan cheese is salty) and enjoy! 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Hump Day everyone! Congratulations - the weekend is officially in sight! 

As I shared with you last week I was up in Vermont with my family the other weekend, I will not repeat myself by saying over and over again how fun it was.... 

Weekends away are great, but they are in fact quite a bit of work. A weekend away is basically a super long dinner party, so similarly you are crazy if you think you can do it all yourself! Trust me, I have tried, I spent the entire weekend cooking like a mad woman and barely saw my guests. To that end I suggest dividing up meals - for my weekend in Vermont I was responsible for lunch on Saturday. I also helped out with dinner because I am an overachiever... 

When cooking for a crowd I like to keep it simple but also pack a punch with flavors. I also like to serve things family style, as you can see below. 

I didn't realize till I sat down that my artsy blog shot had been photo bombed by my family friend's 3 1/2 year old's lunch and sippy cup. I think it adds a little something extra don't you?

Anyway, for lunch I made my favorite roasted butternut squash soup (always good to have something to warm people up when they come in form the cold!). This soup combines butternut squash, apples, and shallots with the heat of curry. It is a spectacular dish that can warm you up on a cold day. 

I paired the soup with, munster grilled cheeses with fox hollow mustard and arugula. I wanted to jazz up my grilled cheese, so I added the mustard (fox hollow is a balsamic vinegar and molasses based mustard - honestly its like my crack) and arugula. But lets be honest the key to perfect grilled cheese is BUTTER and lots of it. I wanted to add a peppery bite to cut through the sweetness of the butternut squash and the mustard. Now not trying to toot my own horn but it was pretty tasty not going to lie. 

My mom always serves our lunches family style like this - with a large platter of sandwiches where you are able to grab what you want. There is much less waste this way, because you grab however many slices you actually want, be it a half or a whole sandwich. 

The soup can easily be made in advance and reheated day of. The grilled cheeses can also be banged out pretty quickly especially if you have a large skillet (like the ones for pancakes). 

What are a few of your favorite ways to feed a crowd? Let me know in the comments!

xo

L

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

  • 3 - 4 lbs butternut squash
  • 2 apples 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 shallots 
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock if going vegetarian) 
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 - 2  tsp curry powder (depending on preference)
  • cayenne pepper (I just used a dash to add heat, you can use more if you love it spicy)
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel and roughly chop the apples, shallots, and butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on two baking sheets. Roast for 30 minutes until tender (a fork should come in and out easily).

In a soup pot over medium heat add the butter, once melted add the curry powder. Stir the curry butter mixture, this will allow the curry to bloom and develop a rich flavor. After about 5 minutes add the stock and bring to a simmer. 

Meanwhile heat the stock on the stove to a simmer. Once the squash is tender transfer it to either: A. your blender puree until smooth adding some of the stock to help it grind up. (be careful it will be very hot) OR B. put the roasted veggies and apples in the pot with the stock and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.

Bring the soup to a simmer and allow everything to get to know each other over low heat for approx. 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Note: To make things easier, feel free to roast the squash, apples, and shallots a day or 2 before. The day of puree them with the hot stock to cut down on prep time.

Dinner Party Sides: Garlic Green Beans

I spent this past weekend with my family and friends (some old some new) up in Vermont. We had a great time and there of course was LOTs of great food! My sister and her boyfriend brought up these insane 3 inch thick bone in ribeye steaks for dinner on Saturday night. See below for photographic evidence of these bad boys. I had every intention of taking a after photo... but I forgot... sorry!

 Honestly they where some of the best cuts of meat I've ever had the pleasure of eating. I may or may not have told them that if they plan to visit me that those steaks MUST come with them or else they are not allowed in Boston. I drive a hard bargain what can I say?

After an activity packed day on Saturday we had the main event... Dinner!  Dinner ended up being one of my favorite kinds of dinner parties to be a part of, we completely divided up the labor.

Dinner party 101 - ASK FOR HELP! Do not try to do everything yourself, or else you will end up in the kitchen freaking out and not enjoying your guests, this has happened to me a few times. Also you end up trying to play catch up during dinner because you missed all of cocktail hour! Less than ideal. 

We ended up being 12 for dinner (well really 11 plus 1 a 3 1/2 year old),  my sister and her boyfriend took care of the protein (the steaks I spoke about above), a family friend brought the salad, and I was responsible for the sides! 

I decided to make two of my favorite dinner party sides that are easy and pack a punch in the flavor department - garlic green beans (recipe below!) and rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes (recipe coming soon!)! I also love these dishes because it is very easy for even a friend who does not cook to help you! For example, washing and trimming green beans is a great task to farm out or chopping potatoes.

Green beans are a great dinner party dish, they are easy to prepare - you can blanch or roast, and they are CHEAP. My roommate and I have been joking that we are on a "green bean diet." It's not actually a diet but we have been eating a lot of green beans. Anyway, you can get 2 lbs of green beans for less than $2! It's insane in my opinion.  

So, grab your friends, some wine and throw together a dinner party! I promise you can do it! Just remember to keep it simple and ASK FOR HELP!

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below, email me louisesgfkitchen@gmail.com or DM me on instagram @louisesgfkitchen

xo

L

 Garlic Green Beans 

Garlic Green Beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs Green Beans
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile trim and wash your green beans. Once the water is boiling you add the green beans cooking for 2 -3 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. 

Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. using the flat edge of your knife smash the garlic cloves to remove the skins, then add them to the pot. You will cook the smashed garlic for around 5 - 10 minutes, until the garlic becomes golden brown. Do not let the garlic burn (burnt garlic = bitter , which = yuck). Remove the golden garlic from the pot and discard. 

Add the green beans and sauté for 5 minutes until reheated and coated in the olive oil, garlic, and butter mixture. Serve immediately! 

Pro Tip 1: The green beans and garlic butter oil can be made in advance! the green beans can be made up to 6 hours in advance, the garlic oil can be made up to 2 days prior to the main event. Simply reheat the oil and add the green beans to bring them to temperature. 

Pro Tip 2: When you smash garlic and heat it as we do above the garlic will infuse the oil with tons of garlic flavor, more so than if we diced the garlic. This way your guests will get the aroma and flavor of garlic without biting down on large chunks of garlic. 

 

 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

This is a recipe that I have been working on and tweaking since college, it all started in the kitchen of Ridge 15 (Shout out to my camels!), we were doing a family dinner and I wanted to make a simple and fresh pasta sauce. What started with some olive oil, garlic, parmesan, and a pint of cherry tomatoes has since evolved into what I call "Crack Pasta."

Chances are if you come over to my apartment for dinner and I am feeling lazy - crack pasta will be on the menu. It is probably one of my favorite things to eat - and I have shared this recipe with many a friend looking to impress their boyfriend/friends/parents etc. It is super simple, flavorful, and above all satisfying. 

It is also very versatile - don't have cherry tomatoes, cook down roma's. Fresh or dried herbs will both do the trick! I prefer a short pasta like a fusilli - but if you only have spaghetti? Go for it! No mozzarella - feel free to sub in copious quantities of Parmesan, Fontina would work, ricotta, even goat cheese!  The one thing you cannot skimp on is giving those tomatoes time to stew in their own juices - you can do it in as little as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. But do NOT cheat the tomatoes people! I promise you will not regret it. 

Enjoy!

xo

L

PS. Update your iPhone's people! New Emojis!! 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (I prefer the yellow tomatoes - they are sweeter, however red or heirlooms work great as well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (If you are a garlic lover like me - go with 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes (if you like more heat feel free to add more!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lb. Short Pasta (I like penne of fusilli) 
  • 1 cup graded parmesan cheese
  • 1 container ciliegine mozzarella or 1 ball fresh mozzarella (this i the little cherry tomato sized balls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pro Tips:
1. Cooking Your Pasta: Pasta water should be as salty as the ocean, this is your chance to flavor the pasta! Also be sure to use a large pot, it help help keep your pasta from sticking, it is important to have enough water so that each piece can cook evenly. 
2. Cutting Mozzarella: If you could not find the ciligenine (aka cherry tomato sized mozarella) place a ball of fresh mozzarella in the freezer for 5 minutes and then use a seraded knife to cut it, this will make cutting the mozzarella easier. 
3. Finishing Your Pasta: Once your pasta is al dente drain and immediately add it directly to the pan with the sauce, this way the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, and the starchy liquid will help thicken your sauce. 

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil under high heat. 

In a medium sauce pan under medium low heat add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. sauté for 5 - 10 minutes or so until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown slightly. Be sure to stir constantly - once the garlic begins to brown add the cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil. 

Allow the tomatoes to cook on the stove top for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will begin to burst creating the sauce for your pasta. Feel free to use the back of your spoon to help some of them along.  Once the tomatoes have burst turn the stove down to low. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, once finished cooking reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 

Add the pasta directly to the pot with the sauce, stirring well to combine. Add the parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Once the sauce has begun to thicken sprinkle the mozzarella balls around the pan. Cover for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has become melty. 

Sprinkle with fresh basil (if you have it) and serve immediately! 

 

Cookbook Club & The Most Amazing Roast Chicken

So this might be a controversial stance but I am anti Halloween. I am a bonafide Halloween Scrooge! I never can think of a good costume. Plus I am kind of scared of the dark and I am not a fan of being scared... I still have nightmares from Ernest Scared Stupid! 

Anyway on Saturday night my girlfriends and I decided to boycott halloween and instead celebrated our inaugural cookbook club! The way it works each month is simple - you choose a cookbook author / blogger and hold a dinner party. Each guest brings a dish created by your chosen author! For our first meeting we decided it was only proper that we honor the Barefoot Contessa herself Ina Garten! 

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I don't know about you but I pre-ordered Cooking for Jefferey MONTHS ago and let me tell you it does not disappoint! Not only is it full of delicious and tasty recipes -- it adorable stories and anecdotes about their life together. And lets be honest -- you all watch Barefoot Contessa for not only the food but those glimpses of Jeffrey. Plus in a day and age where divorce is so common (Brangelina anybody?!) it is pretty amazing to see two people so in love. 

Anyway... since we decided to host our first cookbook club on the Saturday before Halloween we had a smaller group. See below for our menu and links to what my friends and I created! 

Appetizers:

- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese 

- Herb Dip & Crudités

Entree 

- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

- Arugula Salad with Parmesan

- Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken (Recipe Below & in Cooking for Jeffrey) 

Dessert

- Icebox Cake  (we subbed bourbon for the mocha -- it was beyond!)

Safe to say based on the above we had an awesome night, lots of delicious food and laughs which is for me at least the goal of cookbook club! The skillet roasted lemon chicken below was amazing and I think my days of roasting a chicken with the backbone are done! Not only was the meat juicy and tender but the cook time was easily cut in half! Which means more tender less dry breast meat! Seriously guys - make this ASAP. 

Do any of you have your own cookbook clubs? I would love to hear about it and feel free to comment below! Can't wait to share who are are going to be cooking with for this month's cookbook club! 

xo

L

Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken

Recipe by Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied (Note - you can ask the butcher to do this for you at the grocery store!) 
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Note: I used a full head of garlic, each clove smashed.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.