Author Archives: John & Katherine Sauchelli

About John & Katherine Sauchelli

We are a husband and wife team passionate about all things culinary; A pastry chef and a writer performing our own experiments, and bringing all those who are like minded into the mix to comment and contribute as well.

Butter!

As a kid, I remember Thanksgiving being boring. I didn’t like football, the grownups always booted me out and I wasn’t that into sitting and eating for hours (I learned the error of my ways on that one, eventually).
Now that I’m a grown up who loves cooking and eating all day long, I try to remember what it was like for me as a child and think of some ways to keep interesting for my children, as well as my niece and nephew. I remember being in kindergarten and shaking a jar of heavy cream until it was butter. Every student in the class has to shake for one minute until we had butter. And then we all got to taste it on some bread my teacher had brought in. Since it stuck with me, I figured I must have thought it was pretty fun/cool.
I told my niece and nephew the day before that we would be doing a food science experiment on Thanksgiving, without telling them what it was exactly, and they were pretty excited. So excited, in fact, I thought the “truth” would disappoint them, but thankfully it didn’t. We all took turns shaking the jar and after about 20 minutes, we had butter! We had postulated that it would take 30 minutes and it was very exciting to test the theory that cream would make butter when shaken, and the time it would take.
Then, not only did we taste the butter, but John and my nephew tasted the buttermilk!
Here’s a little photo essay of the experience:

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Cookbook Review:

The Summertime Anytime Cookbook, Recipes from Shutters on the Beach

by Diane Slatkin

When I think of summertime, I think of light breezes, humidity and doing not a whole lot. When I think of summer food, I think of crisp salads, light lunches and cold treats. Summertime Anytime has recipes that look like they deliver – unless you happen to be the one making them. The recipes are loaded with ingredients and preparation. As an advanced home cook, I knew that I could tackle the recipes in this book but I don’t know why anyone would want to in the summer. I’ll get to the recipes later, though. The photographs are beautiful and inspiring. The chapters are interspersed with tips and fun information to help make your home and life summery at any time. There’s a playlist filled with songs that might make you think of summer, decorating tips and a page dedicated to stocking your bar. While these pages are interesting, they really feel out of place, like page fillers almost. One page is titled “Ten Ways to Decorate a Glass Hurricane” and, as a cook (one who takes pride in my home, too) I really don’t care. If I was looking for decorating advice, I wouldn’t be reading a cookbook. Another non-sequitor are the pages relaying recipes for body scrubs. I know many cooks who are crafty and might be interested by this, but I don’t think its presence serves to better this particular cookbook. As for the recipes, there are too many ingredients in everything. When I looked at the photos, I wanted to eat what was there, when I saw the ingredients list, I wondered where all that stuff was in the photo. In the Roasted Halibut with Fennel-Tomato sauce, a large portion of the half page long ingredients list are strained out of the sauce, which seems incredibly wasteful. I also was reluctant to roast the fish, as it is summer and it was sweltering that day in New Jersey. The Barley Risotto with Carrot-Corn Broth looked beautiful in the photograph, and sounded delightful. The list of ingredients was also daunting, and the fact that the risotto is packed with five different kids of vegetables sounds both healthy and delicious, but prepping them all took a long time. After executing the dish, the broth was largely flavorless and the risotto was good but the Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup) overpowered the delicate flavors of the barley and vegetables. Barley risotto is definitely something I will try again, but I don’t think it needs a broth and it will become a Fall/Winter/Spring dish as it was far too hot stand over the stove stirring it for as long as was necessary. I quickly lost interest in trying anything in the cookbook again. Sad to say, but that’s a mark of a not very good cookbook, isn’t it?

This book was provided by The Daring Kitchen and reviewed for them.

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Update!

You  may have noticed that we haven’t posted in a while, and for good reason! We were cooking up something special – our second daughter!

In the coming week, I will be working on recipes for a cookbook review, and at the end of the week, I will post loads of photos and the review. The book came courtesy of the wonderful ladies at The Daring Kitchen.

We have even further good news, John has been hired as Pastry Chef of the soon to be opening restaurant and banquet facility, Maritime Parc. We’re very excited about everything that is happening right now, and I hope you will continue to click here for great recipes – things are growing in our garden and I’ll be using them in delicious recipes.

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Buckwheat Ricotta Tart

John and I will have been married for five years in August. If you think that’s surprising, just wait: It has never occurred to us to make a savory tart. With all his pastry dough making skills and our love of anything filled with cheese and veggies, it truly amazes me that savory tarts aren’t coming out of our kitchen every week. That is, until we tried buckwheat pancakes.

What do buckwheat pancakes have to do with tarts? Leftover buckwheat flour. When we have extra of something, we need to use it up. We also had leftover ricotta cheese, more spinach from our CSA, and some tomatoes that needed coking asap. We decided to see what happens if you sub AP flour for buckwheat in tart dough.

What happens, you wonder?

Deliciousness.

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Hot Tamales!

So there’s this food item I’ve been wanting to attempt homemade since the good old days of apartment living in Clifton, New Jersey.

Tamales.

This desire stems even longer than that.

It takes me back to one of my first restaurant jobs. A certain sous chef and I would trek into New York City’s Union Square to pick up our weekend produce at the Greenmarket.  One of our favorite farmers had been noshing on one of these little gems, made out of an apartment by a local woman, and offered us some. I, for one, was hooked.  We then arranged with our farmer friend to order at least a couple for each of us every week after, as the woman usually passed through earlier than we arrived.  Since then, I always wanted to make these myself.

After years of procrastination, I finally made it happen.

First, you need to slow cook your chicken…

  • Boneless chicken thighs            about 1 #
  • Stock                                            1 qt
  • Water, or beer                          1 c
  • Cinnamon stick                      1
  • Dried ancho chiles                1
  • Bay leaf                                       1
  • Garlic                                            3 cloves chopped
  • Ground coriander                      1 tsp
  • Ground achiote                        1 tsp
  • Ground black pepper             1 tsp
  • Cocoa  pdr                               1 tsp
  • Allspice                                    ½ tsp
  • Onion pdr                               ½ tsp
  • Smoked paprika                   2 tsp

Procedure:

Place all items in slow cooker.

Set to 8-10 hours. Cover.

When chicken is ready, remove with slotted spoon, or spider, and place in bowl to pull apart with a couple of forks. If still too hot, let cool a bit.

Strain about 1 qt liquid and place ancho chile, with stem removed, into a plastic container. Immersion mix with a little sugar to taste. This makes a pretty good sauce for your tamales. If you have xanthan gum, add 1 tsp while blending. This will make it slightly thicker.

Remember to purchase dried corn husks and soak them at least 15 mins before using!

And the masa recipe is: (from the bag of masa itself, of course)…

  • Masa                       2 cups
  • Baking pdr            1 tsp
  • Salt                          1 tsp
  • Warm stock          2 cups
  • Shortening            2/3 cup

Mix dries in mixer bowl.  Paddle in warm stock until paste forms.  Paddle in shortening until fluffy.

Bring a pot of water to a boil that can be used for steaming, and reduce to a simmer.

Take you soaked corn husks, place about 2 tbsp tamale dough in center, topped with 1 tbsp of pulled chicken mixed with a little of the sauce. Roll like a burrito, and fold in the ends.

Repeat until done, and place in steam basket.

Cover, and steam about an hour.

Open up and enjoy with extra sauce if desired!

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Mac N Cheese

Homemade Mac N Cheese

I’m trying out a new method for Mac N Cheese, using evaporated milk, but as is typical of me, I am not so much using a recipe. I can tell you my procedure, though. 🙂

Put water on to boil for the pasta. I made about 1 box of whole grain pasta (a little less than a pound).

Heat 1 1/2 cans evap. milk. Add cheese until it looks cheesy enough. Add some veggies, if you want. Combine with cooked pasta, let sit for a few minutes. I poured this into two casserole dishes – one to freeze for later and one to top with parmesan and breadcrumbs, pop under the broiler and eat right away. How easy is that?
And show you lots of photos.

This totally paid off, and I will NEVER make Mac N Cheese another way again – I’d say it’s even faster than making it from a box!

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Big Day in the Kitchen

John’s birthday is May 31st so it falls on Memorial Day frequently, or that ends up being the weekend we can celebrate. This is a good and bad thing. Good, because he sometimes has off on his birthday. Bad, because most people have long standing traditions for  Memorial Day and we can’t often have large gatherings for him. Also, John’s childhood was not filled with over the top fun filled friend laden birthdays, so I do everything I can to make it special each year for him. Since I’m now in my ninth month of pregnancy, though, it had to be small this year, and pretty much just immediately family.

By small, did you think I wasn’t cooking a lot? Hahaha – fooled you! While I did (am) make(ing) quite a bit of food, it really is less than I would normally prepare.

Here’s the menu:

Sausage & Peppers

Hot Dogs

Burgers (Beef & Turkey)

Baked Potato Salad

Black Bean Salad

Zucchini Pie

Dessert:

M&M Cookies

Banana Pudding

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Are you surprised that the dessert menu is almost as long as the dinner menu? You shouldn’t be! It doesn’t matter if John is cooking or not, (and he didn’t for his birthday) we can’t help trying out different recipes.

The sausage and peppers recipe is one my sister and I have cultivated and perfected, and I’m not quite willing to share that. Also, there really isn’t a recipe so much as a feeling, so without you standing next to me, I’m not sure I could explain it!

The Baked Potato Salad was inspired by the recipe from Wegmans, but of course, I made changes. I combined the new recipe with the way that I usually make potato salad. The things I kept from the new recipe: roasting the spuds, bacon and sour cream. What I didn’t use: Cheese. John and I thought cheese would make the salad be full of weird in the end. What I added: Celery, Lovage, and Parsley for color, that classic potato salad flavor and crunch.

The black bean salad is something I threw together one day when I didn’t know what to make as a side dish. I took inspiration from a bunch of different recipes and adapted them to what I had.

Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:

2 cans black beans

2 ears of corn (or one larger can if its not in season)

1-2 tomatoes, depending on the size and how much you like tomatoes

1/2 red onion or 3 scallions

Juice of 1 lime

Olive Oil

Avocado

Cilantro (if you like it; we don’t, so I don’t put it in)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Procedure:

If using fresh corn, cut it from the cob and roast it in a hot pan for a few minutes to bring the flavor out.

Chop tomatoes and avocado into bite sized pieces.

Combine all ingredients except the lime, avocado and oil.

If serving right away, add the avocado. If making ahead, reserve the avocado until just before serving.

Toss with about 1/4 cup olive oil and the lime juice. Serve right away if avocado is involved. Can be made a day ahead without it.

A note on the M&M cookies – we didn’t make them XXL size. We made them regular, and they were awesome. We like chewy cookies and this recipe achieved it perfectly, when the cookies are just hardly brown on the bottom. As for the banana pudding, if you like banana pudding, just make this recipe and your life will change. That’s all there is to it.

And the piece de resistance – Salted Caramel Buttercream

It’s as easy as – Start with your favorite buttercream recipe, cutting back on the sugar. Add about 1/2 cup caramel sauce and 1 tsp salt. When you frost your cupcakes, top with a little fleur de sel. And it might change your life again.

Due to all the excitement of the day, I forgot to take photos of some of the food, but I will share with you what I’ve got:

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