Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mosaic Monday! Quick and Spicy Soup!

Joining Mary at the Little Red House for another fun Mosaic Monday! Stop by to see all the Mosaics this week! I made this one at Big Huge Labs using the Framer, then clicking on Canvas Panels!

Been a very long, but fun weekend. Back to work in the morning.

Can you believe tonight I'm speechless? Just a quick and spicy post!

This is a quick recipe, perfect for any time! Add a salad. A sandwich. Whatever you like. Doesn't get any better or any easier!

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup
Source: Everyday Italian – Giada DeLaurentiis
Printable Recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (I used bagged, shredded carrots)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (I use the boxed broth)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (chick peas are also good in this!)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup small pasta (I used ditalini)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish with fresh basil and croutons

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday: Christmas Cafe au Lait

Joining Suzy from Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday! Visit Suzy and see the other flashbacks that are linked up to Flashback Friday. Join in with your own flashback!

Tis the season already...

Made this one last winter, when I was blogging as No Thyme to Cook and that blog is forever gone as I hit delete by mistake. So since now There's Always Thyme to Cook, and with the winter and the holidays coming so soon, it's a perfect time to flash back to a really fantastic treat to start off the day! Chocolate-y Christmas Cafe au Lait! Just a little whipped cream and cinnamon and it's dressed for the holidays! and good just about any morning to start your day off deliciously rich!

This drink is a delicious combination of Cafe Brulot, Hot Chocolate, and Cafe au Lait. Cafe Brulot is usually served after dinner, and Cafe au Lait with breakfast. Hot Chocolate, I'll take any time! The Cafe Brulot consists of orange peel strips, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and sugar being ignited with liqueurs in a large bowl to which black coffee is added. Not happening here, given my propensity to burn pot holders and food :) Traditional Cafe au Lait is scalded milk and black coffee poured into a cup or carafe. Both are served piping hot. Hot Chocolate adds a nice, new twist, especially topped with whipped cream and an orange peel! Perfect for a delicious start to a nice cold, morning!

Chocolate-y Christmas Cafe au Lait

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 ( 2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 strip orange peel, about 1/2 inch by 3 inches
10 whole cloves
2 to 2 1/2 cups hot brewed strong coffee
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Cocoa, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, 2/3 cup of the sugar, and cocoa until smooth. Add the cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves and bring to a simmer, stirring, to dissolve the sugar and prevent the cocoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar until thick and frothy, and peaks form. Set aside.

Strain the milk mixture into a coffee pot or carafe and add 2 cups of the hot coffee (2 1/2 cups for stronger coffee flavor, to taste). Pour into cups or small mugs and top each with a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream. Serve immediately.

For a stronger coffee flavor, add another 1/2 cup hot coffee to the mixture.


Café au Lait

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mosaic Monday! And puppy makes three!

My son left with his friends yesterday afternoon to buy a pair of new sneakers. He came home with Max. Not Air Max, Air Jordan or anything else that resembled a sneaker. He came home with a Beagle puppy. Surprise! Shock would be a good word.

He called first to say he "accidentally" went into the Pet store. and just couldn't leave this puppy behind. I told him to get out of that store as fast as he could. He wasn't listening. He said "a cute Beagle puppy," I said "NO" and then somehow those words came out, the subtle, little signal that in his mind was the go ahead, "A Beagle? I love Beagles!" But "no, no, NO, we can't have another dog here. Get out of that store NOW!" He said fine. and somehow I knew that he was not driving home with just a couple of friends, he was bringing home a permanent guest. Dad wouldn't be very happy. He wasn't very happy the other three times we surprised him! At least not at first!

Guess who's staying?

So meet Max. Max Marvin. It just had a ring to it. I think.

and puppy makes three...

This is one and two...



Joining Mary at the Little Red House for another fun Mosaic Monday! Stop by to see all the Mosaics this week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flashback Friday: Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup

Joining Suzy from Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday! Click here to see more Flashbacks with Suzy!

This soup is great for the cold weather. I'm still waiting to wear my new boots, and I'm sure once we're deep into winter I'll be eating my words! but in the meantime, it hasn't been so cold yet, but I can eat soup any time! This one is hearty and full of flavor! The croutons are crunchy and delicious and I think I may dust a little Parmesan on before they go in the oven next time. Haven't made this one in a very long while.  Last time I posted a Flashback, I ended up making the recipe a couple days later! I can see a craving coming on for this one! So good. Really. I see soup on Sunday!

The croutons are from a Baguette, not a Ciabatta. So I don't seem to follow directions. I didn't use a grill pan either. I broiled. Oh yeah, the smoke alarm went off for this one, too! Next time, I'll also sprinkle a little parm on the bread first. The recipe, though, is fantastic! Paying attention, I need to work on that!


Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
 adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
Source: Food Network, recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 sage leaf
2 (15-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
1/2 cup cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices crusty bread, cut into chunks
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, another 10-15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. It will be hot so be careful.

Once all the soup is blended add the cream. Salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Arrange the bread on a sheet pan in one layer. Drizzle the slices of bread with extra-virgin olive oil. Broil the bread until warm and golden, keeping an eye so they don't burn. Stir to toast all sides. Serve the soup in bowls with the croutons.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not just any meatloaf, a new one and a challenge!

I love reading cookbooks, and there's nothing like a rainy, crappy day to curl up and go through the book pile. So I decided to follow my friend Suzy's cue (ha, get that, Suzyqt?) and do a Cookbook challenge! Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet does a Magazine Challenge that's been a lot of fun.

Might as well start with a recipe from one of the newest cookbooks I have, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy. There's one in there for meatloaf, yeah, I know, meatloaf. My grandma had many good recipes for the most part, but definitely not meatloaf. One of the worst I thought!  Dry, too much garlic, the garlic alone would stay with you for days. It just wasn't on my hit parade. No disrespect to Grandma, but no thanks! When I was a kid, she used to bribe me and my brother to eat, we figured if we told her we hated something, she'd give us that dollar to eat it anyway, so even if we loved something we told her it stunk, so we'd each got a dollar, LOL! Food is very important to a Jewish grandmother. But no amount of money in the world was going to make me eat that meatloaf.

When I saw Lidia's recipe for it, it seemed like meatball parmigiana in a loaf. That I could do. The Griller wasn't grilling, it was raining, he likes meatloaf, the kids like meatballs, so this had real potential. and I won't even offer any of them a dollar!

It's sort of ugly, but tasted great. This went over big. Well, not with Miss Picky, she wouldn't even try. Not even for a buck :) But everyone else enjoyed it! and there was cold leftovers on Italian Bread for lunch!

It had a nice, crunchy crust, and was very moist and gooey, cheesy inside. I forgot the part about mixing the ricotta in with the sauce. Next time. It was really good, there will definitely be a next time. Miss Picky can have her favorite standby, microwave mac n cheese cup like always!

Meatloaf with Ricotta
Source: Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, by Lidia Bastianich
Adapted: dishesdone
Printable Recipe

1 cup milk
3 cups day-old bread, in pieces, from a loaf of country bread
3 pounds ground beef
3 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 pound (about 2 cups) drained ricotta, plus more for the sauce if you like
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2 -inch cubes (about 2 cups) (I used tiny fresh mozzarella balls)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 to 5 cups Tomato Sauce (Marinara)

Equipment: Roasting pan or loaf pan

Preheat oven to 375°.

Pour the milk over the bread pieces in a bowl, and let it soak for a few minutes, until the bread is saturated with the milk. Squeeze the soft bread a handful at a time, pressing out the milk, then tear bread into small pieces and put it back into the bowl. Mix the ground beef into the bowl with the bread, and add the eggs, ricotta, scallions, grated cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Fold and mix everything together, then add the mozzarella and mix with your hands to distribute all the ingredients evenly into the mix.

Brush the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gather the meat mixture in the bowl, turn it into the pan, and shape it into a fat oval loaf. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Tent the pan with foil, and cover it so it doesn't touch the meat and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the meatloaf is browned all over and completely cooked through, about one hour and 30 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 160°. Remove the loaf from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer in a saucepan as the meat rests. Turn off the heat, and stir 1/2 cup or so fresh ricotta into the sauce, if you like (or not!) Cut the loaf crosswise in slices as thick as you like. Serve on dinner plates, topped with a spoonful or two of sauce, and pass more sauce at the table. For family-style serving, arrange the slices on a platter, topped with some of the sauce.

Notes: If you plan on making this ahead, omit the mozzarella and add an additional cup of ricotta to the mix.

and last but not least, Dessert! Frozen Chocolate Yogurt with mini Reese's Pieces!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mosaic Monday! Craving some Comfort Food!

Joining in with Mary at the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday! Check out the Little Red House to see all the talented folks who post their beautiful mosaics every Monday!

This time I have a step by step on how to make a Stuffed Cabbage. I posted on Flashback Friday about them, and that got me craving, and we had a rainy weekend, perfect for comfort food.

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage, so I made a big pot full! Click on the mosaic to see it full size. Click here for the recipe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Joining Suzy from Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday! Visit Suzy and see the other flashbacks that are linked up to Flashback Friday. Join in with your own flashback!

I'm flashing back to a really easy Stuffed Cabbage Roll recipe. I originally found it when I was just starting to cook, after years of takeout. We were missing my Grandma's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, which she called Holishkes, and there was no recipe of hers to be found. I wanted my kids to know all the ethnic foods I had grown up with and loved so I set out to find a recipe for the rolls. In the process, I learned to cook. I learned to love to cook.

My first thought was ordering in the rolls from the Delicatessen! Grandma never would have appreciated takeout, I was sure of that! So I set out to learn. I looked up recipes on the Internet. I asked around. We ate a lot of stuffed cabbage rolls for a while. Between the internet and asking anyone and everyone for a recipe, my friend's mom came close. At least I think it did and if it wasn't exactly like I remembered, it was good, really good. I sat in her kitchen, writing it all down, watching her every move. A little of this, a little of that! So many similar recipes. Some involved. Some not so involved. I went with the easy one, the one that tasted good and was made with love. Thanks, Sydelle! Your recipe has become part of my family!

Not my Grandma's but it's very close, it's easy and it tastes great! Pure comfort food. Brings back some great memories. A very  good flashback. and now I have to make it again soon!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Holishkes)
Source: Syd M
Printable Recipe

2 heads green cabbage
2 pounds chopped meat
1 egg
2 slices white bread slices, soaked in water and then squeeze out the water
3 cans tomato sauce (I think she meant the small ones but I use the 15 oz size)
1/4 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup brown sugar, more or less to taste
garlic powder, to taste

Some optional ingredients I found along the way:
Raisins (not for me)
crushed gingersnaps (someone else's mother suggested this!)
a big squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

Boil the cabbage for a few minutes to soften, and when it's cooled, remove the outer leaves. You can also freeze the cabbage heads overnight, but who has room in the freezer for two heads of cabbage?

In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, combine two cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and raisins, if you're using them, and some garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste to see if you need more sugar, garlic or lemon juice. Add crushed gingersnaps if you want, I got that idea when I was checking out recipes. I tried it a few times, but now I don't bother!

Mix meat, eggs, bread, 1/2 can tomato sauce, rice and about 1/3 cup brown sugar. Make a small meatball  and place it near the stem end of the leaf, fold stem over the filling, fold in the sides and roll it up firmly. Envelope style. Place the cabbage rolls carefully in the sauce (seam side down) and add chopped pieces of the cabbage and raisins if you want. Simmer at low for 1 1/2 hours or more, I let it simmer for a long while. If you see that there is not enough sauce, add more tomato sauce.

Serve with challah to soak up the extra sauce!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More with Marsala

Changing one little ingredient and you get a whole new recipe. Sort of. To me, this one is Chicken Marsala. Except with cheese. We love cheese. Well, some of us do. Cheese makes it Chicken Lombardy. Miss Picky will get hers without. So she's having Chicken Marsala. See? or maybe Chicken Marsala Parmigiana. Whatever you call it, I'm calling it delicious! Chicken Lombardy. Works for us.

Chicken Lombardy
Printable Recipe

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
9 to 12 tablespoons butter, divided (I use olive oil)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I use more)
3/4 cup Marsala wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup shredded Italian Fontina, or Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dredge chicken lightly in flour.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Place several pieces of chicken in the pan, without overcrowding them. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. When browned, place chicken in a lightly greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat browning procedure with remaining chicken, adding a little butter each time. Reserve the drippings.

Saute mushrooms in the same pan with a little more butter, and then add chicken stock into the pan, scraping to deglaze the pan, and cook for about 10 minutes or more until sauce is reduced and thickens a bit. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Combine Fontina and Parmesan cheeses and sprinkle over chicken. Bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Place under broiler until cheese has melted and bubbly or in my case usually, extremely browned!

My notes: I browned the chicken, removed them to a plate, sauteed the mushrooms, then returned the chicken to the pan, added the stock and the Marsala, and reduced the sauce. Then I put the chicken in a baking dish, poured the sauce and mushrooms on top, and baked it in the oven for about 10-15 to make sure chicken was cooked thoroughly. Then sprinkled with just shredded mozzarella because I forgot the Parmesan and broiled it until the cheese was brown and bubbly! This time I used boneless, skinless thighs because I pulled the wrong package out of the freezer to defrost! I also used a package of chicken tenderloins! Hey, this was for family, not company! Miss Picky likes the thin-sliced cutlets better, but in a pinch these were excellent! 

Served a Spinach Salad with Honey Roasted Peanuts, Pomegranate and Apples with a Late Harvest Riesling Vinaigrette and a side of sauteed Teeny Tiny Potatoes. If you can find these teeny tiny potatoes, try them, they're excellent!

They really are Teeny Tiny!

Very easy! Steam them in the microwave until tender, but not mushed! Then saute them on top of the stove in a little butter, until they're browned, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!

If you can find it, we love Cuisine Perel's Late Harvest Riesling! Riesling Vinegar is sweet. It makes a really nice vinaigrette, especially delicious on a Spinach Salad.

Basic Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 -5 tablespoons or more good vinegar -- wine, sherry, rice, balsamic, fruit, etc.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped

Put all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. Tighten lid and shake until combined and emulsified!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mosaic Monday! Still Grilling!

Gorgeous day here on Long Island. Sunny and not too cold. No jacket, but no shorts either! Perfect kind of day to send the Griller out! Can't have the grill on without the obligatory Hot Dog. Hebrew National from the butcher, the kind by the pound. Has that very  special "snap" that you don't get with pre-packaged dogs! I think I've mentioned it before. Skirt steaks for Miss Picky and grilled Rack of Lamb for the rest of us! It's Sunday, I start out with high hopes and lots of recipe ideas for that big weekly family dinner, and after a whole day of lazy, I opted for the easy way out. Grilling and bottled marinade. Ok, so I doctored them up a bit. At least it's not takeout. Again.

Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce. Add some honey, some garlic and scallions. Not a bad thing at all. Great on skirt steak. The Rack of Lamb marinated in Greek Marinade for about two hours. Sauteed String Beans in Teriyaki sauce with red peppers and sliced almonds. and we started with Woodie's Tomato Salad, she got it from her friend, Jack, but I got it from her so it's Woodie's Almost Famous Tomato Salad here! So it's imple, so it's been done before, but it needs a name when they ask you what's for dinner. So Woodie's Tomato Salad it is. We don't know Jack :)

Joining in with Mary at the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday! Check out the Little Red House to see all the talented folks who post their beautiful mosaics!

Greek Marinade for Lamb Chops
Source: GroupRecipes
Printable Recipe

8 lamb chops
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup fresh oregano (chopped) or 1/4 cup dried oregano
6 garlic cloves (sliced)
1/3 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together including the lamb chops.

Cover up and put in the fridge for 4 hrs or overnight, turning every once in awhile.

Grill for about 3 minutes each side at medium high heat for medium-rare, or until cooked to your liking.


Woodie's Tomato Salad
Source: Woodie
Printable Recipe

Slice tomatoes and spread out on a large platter

Sprinkle with...
thinly sliced red onion
finely minced garlic
salt & pepper
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Serve at room temperature

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fire-Roasted Salsa!

My absolute favorite thing to cook, and to eat, is Mexican Food, Tex-Mex, Southwestern, anything along those lines. So after last week's labor intensive Julia recipe, I went with an old favorite, Grilled Chicken marinated with Chitpotle-Lime Sauce, and served it with Black Bean Sauce. Topped with Chevy's Fire-roasted Salsa, and some Spanish Rice. The Griller grilled the tomatoes and the jalapeno's, thus making this a very easy recipe for me. Except for the part where all the rice spilled on the floor. Still finding those two hours later! Not even the dogs bothered with that! Dessert was a car ride away to Red Mango Yogurt. Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt. Good stuff.

Chevy's Fire-Roasted Salsa
from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur
Source: Perrys' Plate
Printable Recipe

6 medium tomatoes
6-8 jalapenos (I use 2-3)
1/4 medium Spanish or Yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid mesquite smoke (I omitted)

Preheat grill on high. Remove stems from tomatoes, then rub some oil over each. Leave stems on jalapenos and rub oil on them, too.

Place tomatoes on grill. After about 10 minutes, add the jalapenos. In about 10 minutes, turn the tomatoes and peppers. When almost all of the surface of the peppers are black, remove them from the grill. The tomatoes will turn partially black, but when the skin begins to come off they are done. Remove from grill to a bowl.

Remove skin from tomatoes and place in a food processor. Pinch the stem end from each pepper, remove any skin that has burned, and place into food processor with tomatoes.

Add remaining ingredients and puree on high for 5-10 seconds. Chill for several hours or overnight before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

Black Bean Sauce
adapted from Simply Recipes
Printable Recipe

3 cans black beans, drained, rinsed
1 quart chicken stock)
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Add any other chili powder you like, Ancho, Pasilla, Guajillo
Some cilantro, use a bunch or less, to taste (we like less!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare Black Bean Sauce while chicken is marinating. Place 2 of the 3 cans of the beans in a soup pan, and add all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional chicken stock if needed. Remove the bay leaves, and then puree to a smooth consistency with an immersion blender. You can use a food processor or blender as well. Add the last can of beans and stir in, simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, then serve, with grilled chicken.

Spanish Rice
source: Internet
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plain tomato sauce, or canned diced tomatoes or Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies
3 cloves minced garlic (or a little less than 1 teaspoon powdered)
1/4 medium onion (or a little less than 1 teaspoon powdered)
2 tablespoons oil
Red pepper, diced

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the red pepper, garlic and onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add in dry rice. Stir for about 5 minutes until rice becomes a golden brown color.

Add in broth and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until there's is no liquid and fluff with a fork.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simple Roasted Vegetables

Doesn't get any easier than roasting. A sort of set it and forget it. This time I tried it with Sweet Potatoes. I've roasted them whole in the oven, wrapped in tin foil, where it gets too soft and it oozes the sugar! Sliced and roasted is a whole new thing for us. Doesn't get any easier! I threw some parsnips in the pan, along with the potatoes, a little oil, salt and pepper and it came out fantastic. Really brings out the flavor of the potato without being so sweet. Roasted parsnips and Sweet potatoes are my new favorite.

Try to cut the vegetables to the same size chunks. I put all the vegetables in a large Ziploc bag, add a little oil, salt and pepper, zip it up and shake it up a bit. Use a shallow pan, like a rimmed baking pan, and don't crowd the vegetables, you want them to roast, not steam. You can stir them so they brown on all sides. Doesn't happen for me, ends up squishing, so I just leave them. Some people like high heat roasting but for me that turns into high heat burning so I tend to stick to 350 degrees and it gives me a longer time until the smoke alarm goes off.  The perfect kitchen timer. About an hour until the bells go off! Serve hot, room temperature or cold.  Use whatever vegetables you like, Cauliflower, onions, Zucchini, Potatoes, mushrooms all come out fantastic when you roast. Add any herbs or spices you like to mix!

Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. A great side dish, any season!  The only thing easier would be serving them raw!

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!
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