Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mosaic Monday! and I get by with a little help from my friends...

There are those days, what to cook? We usually turn to the takeout menu. but Sundays I like to make a nice big dinner, it's usually the only night where we can all sit down for dinner together. My blogging friends are each doing a Julia Child recipe this weekend. Of course I'm always late to the party, fashionably late, I didn't miss it and I let my refrigerator be my guide. I had a chuck roast in there, destined to be something, probably for the crock pot. Instead I think we'll be having Julia's Beef Bourguignon. I found the recipe all over the Internet. It comes up frequently if you google "Julia Child recipes."

A beef stew using red wine instead of ketchup. Looking at the recipe I'm not so sure the family will go for it! I did make Julia's Coq au Vin recipe once, a long while back. The kids didn't love it, the chicken turned an interesting shade of dark purplish pink from the red wine. So way back then their tastes were geared more towards frozen pizza and McDonald's, they didn't love it. They survived my cream sauce phase. The lame attempts at risotto. The overcooked casseroles. This one has meat and vegetables, they just might go for it. No ketchup, but hey, you can't have everything. I threw the onions in the pot ahead of time. Forgot the flour. I used beef stock for the onions, instead of chicken stock. I got flustered. but somehow it usually turns out edible.

After I got through the trauma of the stew, I attempted dessert! I love Julia, her shows and her personality were a lot of fun, but boy does she have a lot of instructions in her recipes. For someone who tends to get distracted, it was worth it, but it took me quite a few hours. Curdled the Creme Anglaise, I've made Bread Pudding before, I usually just mix the eggs with the milk or cream and pour, this I cooked and cooked and got impatient. yeah, well, then I turned up the heat. Looked away for only a moment. Curdled. A little. Not burned beyond recognition. but little bits of egg. I assume that's what strainers are for. Still tasted good. I was a little distracted. I forgot the VANILLA! Too late. It still tasted really good. There's no way I'd ever attempt cooking the rest of that book. I need a cocktail. and a cleaning woman. I had Creme Anglaise all over the floor. Cinnamon, sugar, it's there, too. My dogs were happy!

The flan is fantastic! There was no way I was waiting for after dinner after all that, so we had it for a mid afternoon snack during football. I served it with strawberries. Definitely worth the trouble and the mess, I'll be making this again. We're having the stew later. Just how do you pronounce Boeuf  Bourguignon? I pronounced it Beef Stew to my family!

So here is my tribute, but for me, it was more like a challenge...

Beef Bourguignon
Beef Stew in Red WIne, with Bacon, Onion and Mushrooms

adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck and also in Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
Source: Good Morning America recipes
Printable Recipe

One 6-ounce piece of bacon (I used sliced bacon)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (I used chuck)
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock or canned beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 1/2 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cut bacon into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Cinnamon Toast Flan (a Bread Pudding) 
Source: Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child
Printable Recipe

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
6 or 7 slices white sandwich bread, crusts left on
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

5 eggs
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 cups hot milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Butter the bread slices on one side, using half the butter. Arrange them buttered side up on a broiling rack and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over each. Watching carefully, broil a few seconds, until sugar bubbles up. Cut each slice into 4 triangles. Smear the remaining butter inside the baking dish, and fill with the toast triangles, sugar side up.

Make a custard sauce or crème anglaise* with the eggs, yolks, sugar, milk and vanilla, and pour half through a sieve over the toast. Let soak 5 minutes, then sieve on the remaining custard.

Place the dish in a roasting pan and set in the lower-middle of a preheated 350°F. oven. Pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, keeping the water bath at just below the simmer. It is done when a skewer plunged into the custard an inch from the side comes out clean.

Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold, accompanied with a fruit sauce or cut-up fresh fruits. (It will keep 2 days in the refrigerator.)

Crème Anglaise:
Whisk the eggs in a 2-quart stainless-steel saucepan, adding the sugar by spoonfuls. Continue whisking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the yolks are thick and pale yellow and "form the ribbon." By dribbles at first, stir in the hot milk. Set over medium heat, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon, reaching all over the bottom of the pan as the custard gradually heats and thickens, do not let it come near the boil. If it seems to be getting too hot, lift pan up, then continue as the sauce thickens. You are almost there when surface bubbles begin to disappear and you may see a whiff of steam arise.

Check out what my friends are making in honor of Julia Child...
Debbie @ Mountains Breath, Sage Butter Cakes

Susan @ Savoring Time in the Kitchen, Profiteroles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Marsha @ Marsha's Kitchen, Supremes de Volaille a Brun

Jayne @ A Grain of Salt, Herb Biscuits

Suzy @ Kitchen Bouquet, Soupe Aux Choux - Garbure

Barb @ Foley's Follies, Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons

Kathleen @ Cuisine Kathleen is probably out shopping for bargains and will join up later this evening! I'll fix the link when she posts!

and Cynthia, who may or may not be cooking along but she certainly is reading and eating along with us always :)


I'm also joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday because I enjoy seeing all the beautiful mosaics and creative posts people come up with, so stop by Mary's to get the links to all the fun mosaics this week.

You can make your own fun photo projects here and here!

Also wishing Barb a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!


  1. You were AMBITIOUS! She does have a lot of directions. I think some are overkill lol, but I guess better too much than too little. I get confused in her Mastering the Art of French cooking because the directions are in a column along side of the ingredients. Confuzzles me. Your stew looks great and I bet it was good. Did they taste it yet? I love wine in food..Randy not so much. I could drink the juice from coq au vin. Now the cinnamon toast flan he would eat! Great job ...I didn't read about a burnt potholder. :-)

  2. That beef stew has got to be good - look at the cute blue pan you made it in :)

    The dessert looks really good - I can see why it was enjoyed before dinner. I'll have to try that one someday.

    Great post!

  3. Mmmmmmmmmm, looks delish and I didn't hear your smoke alarm today (usually I hear it across the river). Vive La France!

  4. What a yummy looking post! I love it!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  5. Yummy post and a wonderful mosaic. the bread pudding sounds delicious.

  6. It looks so yummy and makes a beautiful mosiac...

  7. Wow, don't I want to pull up a chair and eat here!

  8. You go girl! My husband would love that stew and that bread pudding looks to die for as well. Have a great week. ~Jeanne

  9. Well you definitely have the right pot for this dish. I bet it turned out just lovely regardless of the no ketchup etc.
    The bread pudding really looks yummy!
    My mouth is watering...

  10. Ambitious is an understatement! I saw that recipe and thought..No Way!! But you hit it head on and it looks delicious...
    The flan also looks great! Best of all - no smoke alarms going
    Thanks for the b'day greeting!!

  11. I know it's a lot of work.....the beef bourguignon especially. I have a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and its fabulous but its a LOT of work.....your flan is making me drool.
    Always enjoy your posts....thanks for sharing.

  12. Sounds like you had fun making all that yummy food but I'd rather been invited for dinner than do it myself. :-)

  13. Now I have a meal complete with dessert! I admire your perseverance.

    Delightful mosaic for my tummy!

    Have fun!

  14. Wow, you are good! I tend to choose recipes by number of ingredients -- the fewer the better. lol Thanks so much for sharing your talents at MM. :)

  15. So, so funny! I love your cooking escapade! YOu did tackle a very involved recipe and GOOD FOR YOU!!!!
    Thank you for posting it- I may just have to give it a try.

  16. There's always time to cook! Wonderful, I love this time of year. It's soup time!

  17. You did what??!!! Oh my goodness, not one but two great recipes and photo art as well. I am so impressed, Carol and am picking my jaw up from my desk ;) Nice work!

  18. Your dishes look so delicious. Thanks for sharing rcipes. I shall give it a try. Sharon

  19. wow...those both look so good. I love beef bourguignon...I will try this recipe for sure. There is nothing better on a cold fall evening (especially when you dip crusty french bread into the stew...heaven!)

  20. Carol, you funny girl... I'll bet the Boeuf Bourguignon tasted very yummy. Looks good. And the flan really looks delish! Nce job!

  21. Oh, wow, what a great post! It all looks so yummy! So nice to stop by. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comment!

    Kindly, ldh

  22. Boeuf Bourguignon was one of Julia's more work inensive recipes so BRAVA to you for doing it so well! I'm sure it tasted amazing!

    The flan looks so yummy -- I've had the same problem with curdling the eggs at time. but like you said that is what straiers are! Now I want to eat some flan's been awhile sicne I've made it. I saw a recipe for pumpkin flan recently that I've been meaning to try.

    Happy Mosaic Monday!

  23. Carol, I've been traumatized by some of Julia's recipes. I'm also A.D.D. and by the time I get through perusing one of her recipes, I've already ordered pizza.

    Btw, you got through the Julia challenge, with flying colors. The Bourguignon looks like autumn in a pot.

    But, since Life waits for no one, I'll have dessert first, please.

  24. Looks mighty good to me! If it has many ingredients or instructions, I skip it!

  25. You had me at the cinnamon toast flan with creme anglaise! I don't care how many instructions!

  26. No, I wasn't out shopping, I am running our of topics for Mosaic Monday..really, I am going to have to be on the lookout for some unusual topics..

    I agree, what's with so many instructions! I made the chocolate cake, and really, it isn't any better than others I have made..Sol just posted a good recipe too..
    No offense to Julia, but sometimes just too much!
    Like in the restaurants when the list every little thing they put in it..hello! ... it's chicken in wine sauce with some herbs and spices, not rocket science!

    Anyway, back to you! Your "Boeuf"
    looks delicious, and the flan, oh yeah, and Oy my cholesterol..
    Great post Carol, the mosaic is purty too!

  27. Carol, did you spend the entire day in the kitchen? I love hearing Julia say "Boeuf Bourguignon"! I know the Flan is going to the top of my list. Great job, you went over the top!!

  28. Carol, OMG what an endeavor ... I thoroughly enjoy reading your travails when cooking. The narrative always makes me laugh ... not at you but with you. :) We've made Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon. It's tasty, but her recipes are confusing to say the least. I don't have the cookbook you have but in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the list of ingredients is mixed in with utensils, pots, etc. ... very busy, definitely not good for short attention spans.

    I love the sound of the cinnamon toast flan ... It looks fabulous ... great mosaic. It sounds like a great dessert for an autumn day.

  29. When you mentioned the bread pudding flan on GB I was hoping I'd find the recipe here. Broiling the bread reminded me when I was a kid and I'd butter and sugar hot dog buns and do the same.

    Still can't believe you tackled all that in one day! Kudos to you!

  30. Found your blog via Jayne @ A Grain of Salt. What a GREAT!!! post, so many wonderful recipes. I like the Beef Stew recipe, but the Cinnamon Toast Flan recipe id AWESOME!!! Julia Child has some wonderful recipe and THANKS!!! for sharing some of them.
    I have become a follower of your blog, I love to share recipes and ideas. Come by and visit my blog and maybe do the same.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. They are fun to read and very much appreciated! Sorry for comment moderation, the spam has been overwhelming lately.

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