5 Questions with Our Guest Chef Jeremy Sewall

Chef Jeremy Sewall Lo Resolution

Chef Jeremy Sewall is an acclaimed Boston chef, restaurateur and seafood authority. Chef Sewall is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook “The New England Kitchen: Fresh Take on Seasonal Recipes” and the chef/owner of Lineage in Brookline, MA, Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston and its sister restaurant Row 34.

Chef Sewall has contributed three delicious recipes for upcoming Just Add Cooking boxes. Before you cook, get inspired with some tips from Chef Sewall himself.

Your career, while global, has focused on fresh, local, farm-to-table food. What inspired this focus?

Food rarely benefits from travel. I have a romantic idea of food in my head; about only cooking and eating fresh caught fish and freshly picked produce. That is what inspires me in both my cooking and how I design a menu. I try to keep my focus on utilizing what is local and freshest to me. 

bacon_wrapped_monkfish_with_sunchokesYour recipes, both in your restaurants and cookbook, utilize a lot of local fish that some of us may not normally think to cook with. Two great examples are the monkfish and mackerel featured in your Just Add Cooking recipes. What local seafood do you think New Englanders often overlook, and what are your tips for cooking confidently with them?

I think most New Englanders focus on the old standbys, cod, haddock, lobster and familiar species like those. New England waters have so much more to offer like monkfish, mackerel, bluefish, hake, redfish and countless shellfish. Don’t be afraid to try new things, the confidence comes with repetition of cooking these over and over.

We’re headed into the warm weather in Boston and many of us will be seeing produce we’re unfamiliar with at the farmer’s market. What’s one “can’t miss” under-appreciated local item, and what’s your favorite way to prepare it? 

There is not only one thing that you can’t miss. There are so many things that everyone should try. I think some of the different greens and root crops get passed over some times. I always encourage people to buy one thing weekly that they have never tried before and this will give them new favorites that they will look forward to. When preparing new things I start with simple recipes, make sure you are really highlighting the ingredient. 

roasted_cauliflower_soup

What’s your personal favorite dish, whether in the cookbook, your restaurants or simply something you cook for your family at home?

I don’t have one favorite recipe or dish. If I am cooking in the restaurants it is different then cooking at home. Cooking at home for my family, is always fun because it can be communal and simple. It’s as much about the time together as it is the food in front of us. Cooking in the restaurants I am inspired by the season, what’s new and what’s next.

Our customers are not professional chefs. What’s your best advice to someone who’s feeling a little intimidated cooking the recipes of an award-winning chef?

Don’t be intimidated, it’s just food. Enjoy the process as much as the result.

Want to give Chef Sewall’s recipes a try? They are available for delivery starting Sunday, April 24th, so order now to choose them for your box!

Q&A with Chef Jason Bond of Bondir

Right now, Just Add Cooking customers are getting a special treat in their boxes: recipe options from Chef Jason Bond of Bondir Cambridge & Bondir Concord. Chef Jason has created three delicious recipes that take advantage of seasonal, farm-fresh New England ingredients and allow you to cook high-end, restaurant-quality meals at home. Chef Jason’s Bondir-inspired recipes include Pappardelle with Cucumbers and Zucchini, Sweet Potato Tart and Pork Sausage with Beans and Cabbage – all made with locally-sourced ingredients.

Chef Bond Collage
He’s stopping by the blog today to give a little more background on his cooking style and philosophy! Order by THIS WEDNESDAY, October 7 at noon to select Chef Jason’s Pork Sausage with Beans and Cabbage in next week’s delivery!

Just Add Cooking: What was your motivation for opening Bondir and what is the general philosophy you carry forward in the restaurant?

Chef Jason Bond: I wanted to open Bondir to be able to explore ideas and celebrate pristine and amazing ingredients.  The menu has always been about the ingredients and flavors, and the service has always focused on taking excellent care of the guests who come into our dining room.

JAC: Why did you choose to work together with JAC? 

Chef: Just Add Cooking is working really hard to source local ingredients and to buy from many of the same purveyors that I do.  It can be difficult for a home cook to find really good ingredients and also to know what to do with all the different vegetables they see at the market.   JAC guides home cooks and is a resource in finding and preparing great ingredients.

JAC: What was your inspiration for developing the dishes that you created for Just Add Cooking?

Chef: I wanted to show how you can make a great tasting dish that is healthful, beautiful, and easily put together with the right organization.

JAC: How did you adapt your restaurant-style dishes for the home cooks of JAC?

Chef: I work hard in the restaurant to cook fresh and as close to “home-style” as possible, meaning no production shortcuts or huge batches.  My cooking style is focused on freshness and pure flavors and is easily adapted to actually cooking at home.

JAC: As a chef working many nights in a restaurant kitchen, what are some of your favorite dishes to cook on an evening at home?  

Chef: I like a satisfying dish that is also easily put together.  I don’t want to have to wash six different pots after I’ve made dinner.

JAC: What’s your favorite tip or secret you can share with the home cook to make their life easier or their food even better?

Chef: Don’t be afraid.  Use salt, let your roasts caramelize, push a few boundaries.  You’ll be a better cook for it.

 

A Delicious Frozen Yogurt You Can Make at Home

frozen yogurt

Frozen yogurt: it’s smooth, cool and creamy, and the perfect way to usher in summer. Today marks National Frozen Yogurt Day, and we’re happy to have Chef Holly Pierce of The Soul Chef with us at Just Add Cooking to give us some tips on making easy, delicious, tangy frozen yogurt at home.

Making frozen yogurt uses the same process as making ice cream with a few tweaks in the technique. And, as with all things, there are several different “camps” in the “what makes the best frozen yogurt” world. I’ll go over those and give you some options to try out for yourself. For me, the most important thing is to start with the best ingredients. Buy local when and if you can, and make sure that whatever you are using in your frozen yogurt is fresh and flavorful. This, by the way, is one of the advantages to making your own frozen yogurt. You get to decide what does (or doesn’t) go into it. Read any label on a commercial frozen yogurt and at some point you’ll either come across an ingredient you can’t pronounce or have never heard of before.

Choosing a Yogurt Base

Let’s start with the yogurt. It is best to use plain, unflavored and unsweetened. I prefer to use full-fat yogurt. You can absolutely use whatever type of yogurt you prefer; the difference will be in the consistency of the finished product. A reduced or non-fat yogurt, because it lacks a larger percentage of fat, will tend to contain more ice crystals and be harder once frozen. A full-fat yogurt will produce a frozen product with a richer, creamier consistency and a smooth mouth feel.

Another option is Greek yogurt, which has more fat and protein and less water than regular yogurt, so it stands to reason that it would make a rich, creamy frozen yogurt. Some sources claim that it is too creamy and dense and is best used in combination with regular yogurt or even added liquid flavoring (think orange juice or flavored syrups). Again, it’s all up to you and what you like.

Preparing the Yogurt

Many recipes call for straining or allowing the yogurt to drain in a cheesecloth-lined strainer overnight to eliminate the excess liquid, thus making it thick and dense like Greek yogurt. I’ve used Greek yogurt, strained and unstrained regular yogurt and had success with all of them. Your decision here will boil down to personal preference in texture and ease of preparation.

Recipes

Ready to whip up some fro yo? I’ve got a couple of recipes to get you started. One is a basic, plain frozen yogurt to which you can add whatever mix-ins you like (chocolate chips, m&ms, peanut butter cups…you get the picture) and one is for a fruit frozen yogurt. This is a chance to play around and experiment with the choices we’ve discussed above. No matter your decision, the result will be delicious! The joy is in the experimenting… and the eating, of course!

Basic Frozen Yogurt (yield about 1 quart)

6 cups plain yogurt, strained to equal 3 cups (or use 3 cups Greek yogurt)
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla (optional)
pinch of salt
Add-ins*

To strain the yogurt: place the yogurt in a fine, mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Set the strainer over a large bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Mix the strained yogurt with the sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Place in the container of an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Generally for soft serve consistency it takes about 25 minutes.

*If you are using add-ins (chocolate chips, etc), add them during the last 5-7 minutes of churning time.

Remove the frozen yogurt to a container and place in the freezer.

Honey & Fruit Frozen Yogurt (yield about 1 quart)

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, blueberries, etc)
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into the container of your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Happy Frozen Yogurt Day Everyone!