Monday, December 31, 2007

Beef Bourguignon and Cincinnati Chili

Beef Bourguignon

I swear this is the best thing in the world... just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I'm making this in Utah next time we're out there.... it's from Ina Garten (link here) but in case it doesn't work...

1 tablespoon good olive oil 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions,sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
For serving: Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Cincinnati Chili
1 quart water
2 lbs. ground chuck, crumbled
2 medium onions, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (or through press)
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
10 peppercorns, ground
8 whole allspice, ground
8 whole cloves, ground
1 large bay leaf
2 t. salt
2 t. ground cinamon
1 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated

Bring water to boil in a 4 to 6 qt. pot. Add the ground chuck (do not brown first). Stir until separated and reduce heat to simmer. Add onions, garlic, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well. Add peppercorns, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and grated unsweetened chocolate. Bring back to boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 1/2 hours cooking time in all. Cool uncovered and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, before serving skim the fat from the pan, discard bay leaf. Reheat and serve over spaghetti. Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream and chopped onions on the side.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thanksgiving and Beyond

It's been a while, and I got all swept away with the holiday season, and took great pictures of some awesome food... but then my camera broke, and I let things slide.

For Thanksgiving, most years, I've made a Pumpkin Praline Torte (from Taste of Home Magazine). It's a delicious cake made with a crisp candied topping and iced with whipped cream -- a wonderful alternative to pumpkin pie.

Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Praline Torte
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans
4 eggs
1-2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional chopped pecans
Directions: In a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into two well-greased 9-in. round baking pans. Sprinkle with pecans; cool. For cake, in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, pie spice, baking soda and salt; add to pumpkin mixture and beat just until blended. Carefully spoon batter over brown sugar mixture. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. For topping, in a small mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Place one cake layer praline side up on a serving plate. Spread with two-thirds of the whipped cream mixture over cake. Top with second cake layer and remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional pecans if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 14 servings.

I've invited all the grandparents over this Sunday (weather permitting) and we're going to the church Christmas pageant. I'm going to make Beef Bourguignon (husband won't like that --he's anti-stew; anti-crock pot) and so, for him, I'm making Cincinnati Chili. The Beef Bourguignon is from Ina Garten and the food network website. Cincinnati Chili has been around forever.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

White Chili

I don’t know what possessed me, but white chili occurred to me the other day. I thought for sure I had a recipe that was well received once, and started scouring my resources for it. Of course, I couldn’t find it. And so, on to the internet I went. I found a recipe but used what I had on hand and the few ingredients I remembered when I went to the store. The result was a spicy dish (which husband said was good spicy because it masked the taste of the beans). I’d say, generally it got provisional “make again status.”

White Chili

2 c. diced onion
2 c. diced celery
5 garlic cloves
½ c. olive oil
1 lb. Chicken breast cooked and diced
4 c. chicken broth
4 c. water
1 bay leaf
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chilies
½ t. oregano
½ t. cumin
½ t. dry mustard
½ t. basil
½ t. Old Bay
¼ t. cajun spice
1/3 of a 7 oz. Can of chipolte in adobo
2 lb. Of white beans
½ c. heavy cream

Saute onion and celery and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes

In a stockpot combine chicken, broth, water, and seasonings, simmer for 1 ½ hour.

Add beans and cream and simmer for 1 hour.

Serve over rice or pasta, garnish with sour cream.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


We went to a local orchard and picked apples last weekend. The kids went NUTS, I think we must have brought home 5 pounds of apples. It was a great week -- we had apple pie with a brown sugar and butter crumb topping, a quick apple struedel (from Cook's Illustrated), homemade applesauce and apple salad tonight for dinner.

We've also discovered Ben and Jerry's newest flavor, Cinnamon Bun ice cream. It has been delicious on all our apple desserts.

The apple pie was the favorite -- so here is the recipe (from my mother-in-law).

French Apple Pie
Make a pastry for the bottom of the pie
1 c. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1/3 cupt plus 1 Tbl. Crisco
Cut with pastry blender until size of giant peas
Sprinkle iwth 2 Tbl. of water until all is moistened
Form into a ball and roll out

Add 4 c. cored and chopped apples to pie crust (combine varities if possible)

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1 c. flour
Blend together and spread over the apples

Bake at 400 degress for 45 to 55 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven (watch carefully at the end, the topping will burn)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Buttermilk Pancakes and My Friends Weigh In

This weekend we made our traditional buttermilk pancakes. This has become a weekly MUST make option. Kate (9) wanted to make them herself and she did, for the most part... I couldn't stand to not participate in the getting the batter onto the griddle part of the process.
The recipe follows:
2c. all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. melted butter
2 eggs.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together. Combine buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter in another. When you are ready to make the pancakes, add the wet to the dry, mix well, and make the pancakes.
What My Friends Feed Their Kids
I sent an email out to a bunch of friends asking them what they feed their kids. Here are some of the answers I got:


Chicken Tetrazini
Chicken Parmasean
Chicken Caccitore
Schnitzel (got to check that out)
Oven Fried Chicken
Beer Can Chicken
Baby Back Ribs
Lots of Flank Steak
A few macaroni and cheeses
A few Teriaki marinades
Meatloaf Muffins (hmmm)
Beef Brisket
And one really odd, but strangely appetizing sounding to me: Pork Chops stuffed with Red Onion Jam

Amazingly, not much pasta.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Penne with Tomatoes and Capers

I'm learning that it isn't so much that my kids are picky, it's just that they don't always want to eat what I want to eat. And the struggle is finding things that are exciting enough for me, and groovy enough for them.

I added Penne with Tomatoes and Capers onto the "22 Things" list, and really thought they liked it. But as anyone with kids will tell you, the dish that was a hit last month can be a stinker this month for no apparent reason.

I didn't get raves on this one, I remember once excused, several piles of capers and tomatoes left on the plates. But I loved it, and I WILL make it again.
The Recipe
Heat 2T olive oil add 2 cloves crushed garlic
Add 3 chopped tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes
add 1/2 c. chopped pitted Kalamata olives and 2T capers
Toss with cooked veggies, garnish with fresh basil.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Corn Chowder

As my first attempt at creative family-friendly fare I found a recipe for Corn Chowder.

It seems healthy, it has fresh seasonal ingredients. Wyatt loves soup. Chris (husband) wasn't home for dinner. I thought I'd give it a try. What's not to like?

Wyatt (11) liked it -- gave it a "make again" rating. Zachary (5), who really isn't too picky yet, also ate an entire serving (which is a passive make again). Kate (9) said, "It looks like vomit," and she honestly could not get past that to taste the wonderful soup. I froze the leftovers and will try again.
3 medium ears of corn
4 oz. bacon cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 med onion
1/2 red bell pepper (1/2 inch dice)
1 or 2 spigs of thyme
1/2 t. cumin
1/8 t. tumeric
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (1/2 inch dice)
3 c. chicken stock
2 t. corn starch dissolved in 2T. water
1 c. heavy cream
2 T. of chives or scallions for garnish
1. Cut the kernels from the corn cobs and with the back of your knife scrape down the cobs to get the milky substance from the cobs.
2. Heat a 3 or 4 quart heavy pot over low heat and add the diced bacon. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and cook until the bacon is crisp and golden brown. Pour off all but 1 T. of the fat, leaving the bacon in the pot.
3. Add the butter, onion, bell pepper, thyme, cumin, turmeric and saute stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for about 8 minutes, until the veggies are tender but not browned
4. Add the corn kernels, potatoes, and stock, turn up the heat, cover and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes. Some of the potatoes will have broken up. Use the back of your spoon to smash a bit of the corn and pototoes against hte side of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and season the chowder with salt and pepper.
5. Stir the cornstarch mixture and slowly pour it into the pot, stirring constantly. As soon as the cowder has come back to a boil and thickened slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the cream.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So Now My Husband Wants More Fish

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. But the kids will NEVER eat fish. Kate objects solely on the basis that we have one in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I made Pacific Rim Salmon the other day (frozen popcorn chicken nuggets for the kids) and it was yummy. I've been pouring over the cookbooks looking for a good fish recipe, going to try one from Gourmet this week.

I've also started the experimental fruit of the week program here. I know it doesn't sound like much, but we've had nectarines, plums, and star fruit so far. I need to go out and search for more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

22 Things My Kids Will Eat

Ham and Macaroni and Cheese
Spaghetti Carbonara
Steak and Baked Potatoes
Steamed Dumplings
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Manacotti
Weeknight Bolognese
Pork Chops and Pineapple Chunks
Parmesan Turkey Cutlets
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Penne with Olives and Capers
Sloppy Joes
Marinated Chicken Breasts
Sugar Snap Peas Corn and Bacon Salad
Steak Quesadillas
Flank Steak
Spaghetti with Marinara
Italian Sausage with peppers and onions
Chicken with lemon and garlic
Chicken Enchiladas
Bow Thai Shrimp

Monday, August 20, 2007

Three Picky Kids

This is my first posting, I've been fascinated by food blogs since I visited California and met Sheri, the author of Pork Cracklins, then found Amy's blog Not as Good as Pork Cracklins. and then the list kept growing.

Like everyone else, I'm a busy mom with three picky kids, but I DO enjoy cooking and am constantly in search of those kinds of recipes that everyone will eat. And the ultimate award is "make again" status.

So, like Sheri and Amy (but not as often and not as complex) I'll try to make some stuff the kids and hubby likes, and share them with my sisters out there.