Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock is both necessary and an indulgence.

I say this because it will always add a better depth of flavor (read: not just salty chicken water) to whatever you’re making – therefore, it’s necessary.

It’s also an indulgence because it’s just so damn delicious!

I use chicken wings for a couple of reasons: they’re inexpensive and have lots of bones.

I roast the chicken wings for one reason: flavor development.

This is one of those lazy Sunday recipes … and it makes the house smell amazing!


  • 4 lbs chicken wings
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled, ends trimmed off, cut into thirds*
  • 4 celery stalks, ends trimmed off, cut into thirds*
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
  • Small handful fresh parsley (about 20 sprigs)
  • Small handful fresh tarragon (about 5 sprigs)**
  • Small handful fresh thyme (about 15 sprigs)** 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 8 quarts water

* If I have parsnips on hand, I’ll substitute some of the carrots and celery stalks.

**If I have other herbs available, I may substitute dill, a little sage, a tiny bit of rosemary, or oregano for the tarragon and/or thyme. I always use parsley and bay. I’ve also been known to throw in some dried tarragon and thyme in desperate times.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Take 2 half sheet pans and pour one tablespoon of olive oil on each pan, spreading it out.
  2. Divide the chicken wings among the sheet pans and flip over the wings so both sides have oil on them. (No need to season, the stock gets seasoned later)
  3.  Roast for 30 minutes, turn over, roast for another 30 minutes. (If it gets a little smoky…open  a window and turn off the fire alarms)
  4. Meanwhile, add all of the other ingredients to a large stockpot (16 to 20 quarts).
  5. When the chicken is done, put it in the stockpot.
  6. Add a few tablespoons of water, dry white wine, or dry vermouth to each sheet pan.
  7. Over a low heat, scrape up browned bits on the sheet pans and pour everything into the stockpot.
  8. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
  9. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours.
  10. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  11. Discard all solids. Pour through a fine mesh strainer so only the gorgeous stock remains.
  12. Package in containers, date, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Makes about 6 quarts.

English Pea Toast

Joshua McFadden’s English Pea Toast

Among the bounty from the Fisher Hill Farm CSA this week were English Peas and Spring Onions.

The recipe comes from Joshua McFadden’s 2018 James Beard Award Winning book, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. It is absolutely scrumptious.
(I am eagerly awaiting his new book, out this October, Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains.)

My peas had been picked a few days ago, so I quickly heated them through to reduce any starchiness and enhance their innate pea-ness. I didn’t have mint (which would have been so yummy) so I used some fresh thyme instead. I made whipped ricotta to use in this recipe, super simple, and can be used for so many other things! I used Wegman’s Organic Sourdough Miche and it was perfect for this dish.

French Onion Soup


Recently, someone asked if I had a good French Onion Soup recipe I could pass along… I said I did, then got home and realized…actually, no, I didn’t.  I had found recipes throughout the years that were close…almost what I was looking for…but never quite what I had envisioned as THE French Onion Soup.

After some research of those beloved recipes, along with some others, I created what is my favorite French Onion Soup recipe.  It uses a lot of onions, yes, …but they will reduce down…I promise you that. It uses both beef and chicken stocks…gasp..for those beef stock purists, I know.  For me, I find using only beef stock can be too one-note / beefy / salty. The wine is my own invention…not red, not white, but rose.  (What?!) The day I was testing this recipe the only dry white I had on hand was a very buttery, very oak-y Chardonnay…not right for this soup.  The onions are already so sweet once they caramelize, I needed a wine with acidity.  I happened to have a really nice, dry, tart Rose..so in it went.

When I served this for dinner, everyone was happy (and I even got a round of applause). This is my French Onion Soup. Enjoy!


  • ¼ c duck fat (or butter)
  • 5 lbs yellow onions (about 5 large)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ c dry sherry
  • 1 c dry rose wine (I use Les Allies Grenache Rose, OR you can use a dry white wine like unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio)
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 4 c beef stock
  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette (or other crusty bread)
  • 4 oz Gruyere, shredded (about 1 cup)


  1. Halve the onions lengthwise and slice into ¼” strips (use a Mandoline – WITH the hand guard – if you have one to make quick work of this step).

  2. In a large Dutch oven, melt the duck fat (or butter) over medium-low heat. Add the onions (it’s A LOT of onions, they WILL get reduced, I promise) and salt, toss them in the fat to coat. Cover with a heavy, tight fitting lid (or tightly crimped foil) and sweat for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally, the onions probably won’t stick, but you don’t want them to burn, so keep an eye on them.

  3. Remove the lid, the onions will be soft and liquidy.  Keep the heat at a low to medium-low heat, depending on the strength of your burner. You don’t want the onions to burn, this will ruin the whole thing.  [IF you get a little burning on the bottom of the pan, lower the heat, pour in a little of the wine to deglaze the pan and keep a better eye on it – I mention this because I’ve done it.] Saute for another 45 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions will turn a deep, rich brown and will reduce significantly.

  4. Pour in the sherry, deglazing the pan and let the wine cook away (2-3 minutes).
  5. Pour in the wine, chicken and beef stocks, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Remove the bay and thyme.

  7. Taste for seasoning.  Add salt and/or pepper, if needed.
  8. Heat your broiler and put the top rack somewhere in the top ⅓ of the oven. 
  9. Ladle the onion soup into each crock.
  10.  Top with a slice or two of bread (depending on the size of the bread and the crock, you want it to basically cover the soup). Sprinkle with the shredded Gruyere.

  11.  Place under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese…enjoy!

Saffron Risotto


Larry: Let’s do leftovers and “fend for your self” for dinner tonight.
Shawn: Ok.
[Dinnertime, walking into the kitchen and seeing what’s on the stove…]
Larry: I thought we were doing leftovers/fend for yourself …
Shawn: A. I had leftovers for lunch and breakfast I am fending for myself…

Easy, delicious, gorgeous comfort food…Saffron Risotto!


  • 6 c chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 1 Tbsp saffron threads
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • ¼ c white wine (or dry vermouth)
  • 12 oz arborio rice
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Additional Parmesan (optional)
  • Chopped parsley (optional)


  1. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, add the saffron, then turn the heat to low.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium (to medium low) heat in a Dutch oven, then add the onions and shallots and saute until soft, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stirring constantly, until it’s nicely covered with the oil.
  4. Add the wine and heat for 1-2 minutes..
  5. Add two ladles of stock at a time, stirring occasionally, until the  liquid gets absorbed by the rice.
  6. This should take about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add the butter, stirring vigorously.
  8. Once the butter is melted, add the Parmesan cheese.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. To serve, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and parsley.

{Feel free to add roasted shrimp and some steamed peas at the end for a super yummy meal in a bowl}

Roasted White Vegetable Soup


Ok…so the color of this soup is not the most photogenic…but that’s because the vegetables are all roasted (yum!).  The not-working-because-of-the-coronavirus situation has me nesting…in the kitchen…so far I’ve made Beef Stew, Tomato Sauce, Mac & Cheese, and now this delicious Roasted White Vegetable Soup. You can alter the vegetables, based on what you have in the pantry, these just happened to be the ones I had on hand. Enjoy!


  • 2 bulbs fennel, 1” chop
  • 2 Japanese (or regular) sweet potatoes, 1” chop
  • 6 cloves garlic, whole
  • 4 leeks, 1” wide slices
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs potatoes, 1” chop
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 6 – 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Homemade croutons (optional)
  • Crumbled bacon (optional)
  • Olive oil drizzle (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Toss all of the cut vegetables in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Divide among two half-sheet pans.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn with spatula. Roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until tender.
  5. In a Dutch oven, heat 8 cups stock.
  6. Add roasted vegetables to stock and puree with an immersion (OR use a regular blender and do it in 2-3 batches and then return to Dutch oven).
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Thin with more stock, if needed, then reheat.
  9. Serve with croutons, crumbled bacon, and a drizzle of olive oil.

NOTE: vegetables can be roasted earlier in the day or the night before and refrigerated, for a super quick dinner after work.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

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I woke up this morning and wanted to make something we had at Violet’s 1st Birthday/Welcome Home party almost 12 years ago…these adorable and delicious Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches!  While you can enjoy these any time of day, they would traditionally be served at Afternoon Tea (not High Tea).


  • 4 tsp mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped
  • 6 slices white bread
  • Strong tea*

Green Tea: Genmaicha
Oolong Tea: Oriental Beauty
Black Tea: English or Irish Breakfast

Preparation (Makes 6 sandwiches)

  1. Mix mayo and Dijon in a small bowl..
  2. Add the egg to the bowl and mix well.
  3. Using a 2” round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut two circles out of each slice of bread.
    (I make croutons or bread crumbs from the leftover bread.)
  4. Divide the egg salad evenly among 6 bread circles. Top with remaining 6 bread circles.
  5. If you care about a smooth edge: Holding the sandwich in one hand, use the length of a finger on the other hand to gently pack the edges into the sandwich.
  6. Gently roll edges of sandwiches in bacon bits.

Shakshuka with Goat Cheese


Let’s start the post off with the recipe for Shakshuka with Goat Cheese, that’s what you all came here for…I know it’s true.

Now here’s the story behind the recipe…

19 days, that’s how long I’ve been on the Keto diet. 14 pounds lighter and a good long way to go. I’ve given myself a time frame of about 3 months to see how it’s going and then reassess on June 1st. I’ve got the handy app on my phone that follows my macronutrients, so I don’t have to. Drinking lots of water has shown me two things: 1. I really don’t love drinking water if it isn’t cold and 2. the bags under my eyes have started to recede.  (I guess the girl at Sephora was right, “moisture in, moisture out…drink water and use a moisturizer”)

Out of the 19 days, there have only been 3 where I wanted to eat something that isn’t Keto approved. I never gave in to those cravings. The thing about Keto is, once your body gets knocked out of ketosis, it can take up to 5 days to get back into it. So, I weighed the pros and cons of that and stuck to the Keto plan. Another thing that has kept me on track is recipes like this one for Shakshuka…it is SO delicious…everyone loved it (and the leftovers were great the next morning)!

You don’t have to be on a special diet to enjoy this recipe…but if you are one of my Keto friends, you will particularly enjoy it! As I come across other “winners”, I’ll let you know.

Happy Eating!


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼  c diced red onion
  • ½ large yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 c crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ c water
  • 8 eggs, large
  • ¼ c parsley, chopped
  • ¼ c cilantro, chopped
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preparation (Serves 4)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Saute until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and saute a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the water. Continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, cilantro, and half the parsley.
  6. Create 8 small wells in the tomato sauce mixture and crack the eggs into them. Once the eggs begin to bubble, put the pan in the oven.
  7. Allow the eggs to cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until the egg whites just set. (Depending on how runny, or not runny, you like your eggs.)
  8. To serve, sprinkle remaining parsley and goat cheese over the top.

Nutritional Info (per serving)

Net carbs = 6     Total carbs = 7     Fiber – 1g
Fat = 24g     Protein = 17g     Calories = 313

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

buf dip

Just because I don’t watch the game doesn’t mean I don’t want to make yummy snacks for game day!  This Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip is SO easy and delicious!  If you want it a little more spicy, cheesy, chicken-y…adjust to your hearts desire.  Enjoy!


  • ½ c hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot Wings Sauce)
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ c blue cheese crumbles, divided (I use Gorgonzola)
  • 2 (9.75 oz) cans chicken (I use Swanson)
  • ¼ c scallions, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, cheddar, ¼ c blue cheese and chicken until evenly combined.
  3. Spread mixture in a 1 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top evenly with remaining blue cheese.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Top with remaining ¼ c scallions. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, baguette slices or tortilla chips.

Spanish Grits

Spanish Grits

Thursday night…I wanted a little effort, yet flavorful dinner with a “comfort food” aspect…but not just a bowl of pasta and cheese sauce.

Grits…they’re comfort food…especially when you add a little cheese.  They are so versatile…add an egg, some veg, whatever you want really.

Lately, I’ve been intrigued by spices from around the world.  In my research, I happened upon a few different “Spanish” blends.  I concocted my own version (Moorish Spice Blend, recipe below) with flavors influenced by the Moors, who made an indelible impact on the culture of southern Spain.

Saute some tomatoes, greens, onions…add some spices…and voila (!)…dinner.

I opted to sprinkle the Manchego cheese atop the dish, rather than incorporating it into the grits for a more pronounced flavor.  The end result is my Spanish Grits.

Since I was only feeding two people, there were leftovers of everything.  I think the leftover tomato mixture would make a great base for Shakshuka tomorrow!


  • 4 c water
  • 4 tsp Organic Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 1 ½ c quick grits
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (Spanish, if you have it)
  • 1 Spanish onion, small chop
  • 1 red bell pepper, small chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp Moorish Spice Blend (see below)
  • 1 bunch red swiss chard, rough chop
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ c grated Manchego cheese (preferably aged 6-12 months)


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil and whisk in bouillon paste. (Alternatively, you can use 4 cups high quality vegetable stock)  Turn heat to low.
  2. Add grits, stir and cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes, shaking pot occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion, pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and spice blend.  Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil.  Add the chard and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the vinegar and stir.
  8. Serve the vegetable mixture atop the grits and sprinkle with the Manchego.
    Moorish Spice Blend:

    • 1 ½  Tbsp cumin
    • 1 Tbsp coriander
    • ½ Tbsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
    • ½ tsp turmeric
    • ½ tsp oregano
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • ¼ tsp white pepper


    1. Place all of the ingredients into a spice jar and shake to combine.