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Monday
Sep162013

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

 

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

 

Beef stew is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. Luckily, we’re just hitting our stride here in New England with cooler evenings. For me, that means stews, soups and all things comforting are going to start showing up in my weekly menu planning. When it was time to choose a recipe from this week’s American Diabetes Association (ADA) cookbook, it didn’t take me very long to decide. Home Style Beef Burgundy Stew. For me! Well, I’ll share, but it makes me very happy. I love it!

We’ve got tender beef cubes, sweet carrots and silky potatoes happening here. As for seasonings, there was one I’d never used in beef stew before--Allspice! Say what? Yes, Allspice. I didn’t question, I went with it. Upon first taste of the finished stew, I was sold. It’s a lovely flavor in this stew, and very fitting for the fall season. It’s warm and cozy.

This week we’re cooking from Nancy Hughes’ cookbook Gluten-Free Recipes for People with Diabetes. There are so many recipes in this book I want to try, as in the last book we highlighted. It’s a gluten-free cookbook, but unless you actually told someone you were feeding them gluten-free food, they likely wouldn’t know. The idea is: spotlight the stars of the recipe you’re enjoying instead of talking about what you’ve left out or made a substitution for.

As I said in my previous post, for the month of September, we’re celebrating "30 Days of Family Health,” sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The best prevention for diabetes starts early in life, through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and developing good habits at a young age. There are twelve bloggers helping to promote this healthy message for the month of September, so there will be no shortage of recipe ideas brought to you by the ADA and some very talented cookbook authors! All you have to do is follow along and enjoy the ride. Check out Kitchen PLAY to get all of the latest details, links and recipes.

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

Serves 4 • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups • Makes 5 cups

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 pound lean boneless chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces whole mushrooms
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 packets sodium-free, gluten-free beef bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3-inch pieces (8 ounces total)
12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled (optional), and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown half of the beef; set aside on separate plate. Repeat with 1 teaspoon of the oil and remaining beef; set aside. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan residue, cook the onions and garlic 3 minutes or until onions are brown on edges.

2. Stir in the mushrooms, water, wine, Worcestershire, sugar, bouillon, allspice, and return the beef to the onions in the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until beef is tender.

For a thicker consistency, using a potato masher or large slotted spoon, mash some of the potatoes and carrots. This technique also adds flavor as well as thickness.

NOTE: There is no mention of the ¾ teaspoon of salt in the recipe directions, but I assume it’s added at the end when you taste and adjust for seasonings.

EXCHANGES/FOOD CHOICES

1 Starch, 2 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, 1 Fat

BASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES:

Calories 255
Calories from Fat 70
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 50 mg
Sodium 540 mg
Potassium 1025 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 21 g
Phosphorus 250 mg


There will be other cookbooks highlighted this month that are available in the ADA catalog. You can shop there now and receive a 25% discount on all books until October 4th, 2013! The discount code is KITCHEN2013. Remember, follow along at Kitchen PLAY for more links all month long, and stay tuned to this space for two more 30 Days of Family Health this month.

*This post is sponsored by the ADA in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY.

Thursday
May032012

Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni

Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni

I know it’s supposed to be getting warmer--it’s already May! But here in NH, it’s been very cool and overcast (and a bit rainy) for the last couple of weeks. As per usual--plus, we need the rain. I’m not complaining! I like it when we have actual Spring-like weather when we’re supposed to. It’s no fun having a super hot Spring leading right into a hot summer. As a result of this cool, damp weather, I’m still craving comfort food.

This Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni is pure comfort food. It’s creamy, of course, but it’s also homey, stick to your ribs food. I’ve hardly ever met a pasta dish that I didn’t like. This one is no exception. It came about when I was talking to Billy about making Mushroom Bourguignon. He was wondering if the mushrooms would be good in some creamy sauce over pasta. I said “Hell yes, of course they would be!”

While talking to my good friend Shaye a while back, she mentioned that she was making the Bourguignon, and she wanted to eat all of the mushrooms after sautéing them with the cognac. In my version, I’d left out the Cognac, simply because I didn’t have any on hand. Since it was obviously so good, I decided I had to give it a go. (If you’d like to add the cognac to the Bourguignon, add it after you sauté the mushrooms for the 10 minutes, and let it simmer for a few minutes before removing them from the pan.) Shaye was right! It’s worth getting the cognac to add. In this recipe I’m giving you today, I see no reason why you couldn’t use white wine instead, and if you wish, leave out the alcohol entirely.

Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni

Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni

Serves 4

2 tbsp or so of olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely diced (about 3 tbsp)
20 oz sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
10 oz sliced white mushrooms
3 tbsp Cognac (use white wine if you wish, or leave the alcohol out entirely)
1/2 salt and 1/2 pepper
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme (if using fresh, use about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 cup chicken broth (or use vegetable broth and make it 100% vegetarian)
1 cup half and half
Small handful of fresh parsley
1 pound rigatoni (or your favorite pasta) cooked

Start the water for boiling the pasta.

In a large pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has mostly evaporated. If you find that the mushrooms are getting too dark too quickly, turn the pan down to medium heat.

Add the Cognac and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to the pan and sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms. Stir well to coat the mushrooms. Add the thyme. (If you're using fresh thyme, add it more towards the end, say when you add the half and half.)

When the pasta water is boiling, cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Deglaze the pan by adding the broth of your choice, and scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan with your spoon or spatula. Turn heat to low-ish and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the half and half, get it at a good bubbling simmer and let it go until thickened and somewhat reduced, about 10 minutes, stirring often. (It should be the consistency of a cream soup when it’s done.)

Stir in the parsley, and then add the cooked noodles to the pan and stir to coat. Spoon into bowls and serve. This is good with some fresh parm grated over the top, too.

  • The quantities on the mushrooms aren’t set in stone, those are just the sizes of the containers at Trader Joe’s. Use what you’ve got, even a bit more or less, if necessary.
  • Silly of me, but I can't remember if I used garlic in here or not. I'm guessing I did--I usually do. If you want to, add 3-4  minced cloves of garlic along with the shallots and mushrooms.

Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni



Wednesday
Oct122011

Supreme Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup is Supreme

Who doesn’t love a supreme pizza? I do! But we barely ever have it. I don’t know why, but something needs to be done about it. Soon, too--it’s so good. What if you could take all your favorites from a supreme pizza and make a soup with them? Yeah, that would be fantastic! That was a thought that was in the back of my head for a while. Onions, peppers, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese…I’m hungry!

You can have all of these things in a hot, steamy bowl of comforting soup, and have your pizza breadsticks on the side! No delivery charges, no tipping a delivery person, just good, home cooked soup.

Alphabet Noodles

Alphabet Noodles

Yes. This is soup, posing as a pizza pie.

A while back, I was contacted by Jaclyn, representing Pomi tomato products. She’d read an interview with me at The Hectic Gourmet, and I’d said that I like to stock Pomi in my pantry. It’s true, I do! Why? Because they use 100% all natural tomatoes, are BPA-free and contain no preservatives or additives. I can definitely stand behind that! They taste so fresh and delicious. They also have a new line of sauces, and Jaclyn offered some for me to try.

Supreme Pizza Soup

I had a few ideas for the marinara, but in the end, I had to make this soup. It’s hearty and satisfying, and you can make some breadsticks out of your favorite pizza dough to serve alongside. I made mine plain, but you could brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with herbs, or garlic, some grated cheese--whatever you like!

Supreme Pizza Soup

Makes...a lot. A big potful! Invite some friends over.

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and set aside
       (or links, removed from casings and cooked)
1/3 cup finely diced pepperoni
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced onion
2 small (or 1 large) red bell peppers, seeded and diced
16 oz sliced mushrooms
1 (26 oz) carton Pomi Marinara
1 (26 oz) carton Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 tsp pizza seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup alphabet noodles, or other small noodle
Blend of shredded Italian cheeses

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, heat a bit of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pepperoni. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms. Sauté for about 10 minutes or so.

Stir in the marinara, the chopped tomatoes, and the broth. Add the cooked sausage to the pot. Next add the seasonings-the pizza and Italian seasonings, basil, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil.

When it comes to a boil, stir in the noodles. Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook until the noodles are done, about 5-10 minutes. Taste and check for seasonings.

Serve each bowl with a sprinkling of the shredded cheeses, and some pizza dough breadsticks.

Supreme Pizza Soup

I hope you’ll love this hearty soup as much as we do! If there’s something you absolutely cannot live without on your pizza, you could probably add it to this--within reason. I mean, no pineapple, ok? Olives, ham, bacon, spinach--those would be great! Get creative!



Friday
Mar252011

Spinach and Feta Pie, and Food Snobbery

Spinach and Feta Pie

Aside from being addicted to muffins, chocolate, the flavor combo of raspberry and lime, and well…lots of other foods, I’m also addicted to spinach and feta. Wrap it up in crispy, flaky phyllo, and I could eat it every single day. I’ve been in love with it since I was a kid. And lucky me, there’s a Greek Festival in my city that takes place during my birthday week every single year. Can you guess what I ask for? Yes! Spanakopita. You have to get there early, too. Seems it’s usually the first thing to sell out, so I’m not alone in my addiction. Luckily, Billy is a morning person--so he usually gets there first thing--and can live to tell about it. Those crowds are wild!

Before I go on, I’d like to address something that’s been bothering me lately. Food snobbery.

*Begin Rant* It’s everywhere, it seems. And let me clarify--I’m all for using whole foods and avoiding processed foods whenever possible. One step further-if you can use organic foods, that’s even better! But…that’s not always feasible. Ask the single mom of 3 kids that’s working two jobs to make ends meet why she isn’t buying (more expensive) organic foods. Ask her why she may take a couple of shortcuts (and used a processed item or two) when making dinner. I’ll bet she’d give you an earful of “why.” Ask the man who supports his family and just lost his job the same questions. Then maybe ask the people working like dogs all day long, and schlepping their kids around afterschool and evenings, why they don’t have the energy to plant a garden. While gardening is amazing and rewarding, it’s a LOT of work. There’s also an initial investment when you start a garden-you need plants or seeds, and all of the supplies that go along with that. Yeah, seeds are cheaper, but you still need planting supplies. Could be that maybe some people can’t afford that. It’s a sad but true fact. Then there are the folks that live in inner cities or apartments that don’t have any space for a garden at all. This article from my friend Lisa also explains this point very well.

So. This leads me to food world snobbery.

Have we gotten so snobby that one can’t even accept a spin on an original idea? We’d all be eating the same things if no one ever said “Hey, I like your idea! What if I change it up a little by adding this or that?” Why do some feel the need to knock you down because they think they know better? Isn’t it more tactful to say “Wow, that looks great! Maybe next time, you’d like to try it the way it’s done in (insert geographical location)--here’s my recipe for it.” It’s good to be adventurous and try new things. Adapting is good, folks.

Believe it or not, I was (very recently--like this week) accused of misrepresenting a culture’s street food on my blog. Seriously? Seriously. A few clicks and you can tell what recipe/post got someone’s pants in a wad. Wow. Uptight much? I even stated in the post (oops, now I’ve gone and given you the link!) that I couldn’t vouch for authenticity. And yet, this person jumped on it literally two seconds after I tweeted the post link. Yes-it was nearly the next tweet in Twitter’s timeline. Funny, because out of all the people I follow on Twitter, I knew that if anyone would say something, it would be this person. I was right! “Must have a list of links--at the ready! So I can set these poor, starving people straight!” Excuse me while I roll my eyes once again.

One of Julia Child’s favorite things was getting a hot dog from Costco. It’s true! Julia wasn’t a food snob. And yet--some food bloggers think they can scoff and condescend if you don’t meet their standards. The condescension is what gets me the most annoyed. I don’t need cheese from an ancient breed of exceptional goats that only reside in the farthest reaches of the smallest village in the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps. Trader Joe’s will do just fine. and in a pinch? I’ll go to the regular grocery store. Gasp! My chocolate doesn’t need to be handcrafted from the worn hands of an ancient chocolate master that grows cocoa beans on ancient blessed cocoa bean lands. I’m perfectly fine with Ghirardelli.

Get the pole out of you know where and lighten up, please. You may find life and eating to be more fun and fulfilling. You might also gain some new friends! Check out this article. The James Beard Foundation has added a humor category to it’s annual awards. Apparently some food writers think it cheapens culinary journalism. Excuse me?! How backward is it to think that humor is a bad thing? I’ll never understand that kind of thinking.

As far as the post that earned me the “misrepresenting a Greek street food” tweet--does everything need to be corrected to suit someone’s opinion of  how it should be? This person also said he had to “set me straight” in Greek cuisine. Really? Oh, thank you for gracing me with your golden touch. Not. In fact, don’t touch me at all. Is a Spinach and Feta pizza not a spin on Spanakopita? Some guy or girl making pizza somewhere probably said “Wow, spinach and feta is a classic combo--let’s try it on pizza!” And one of my favorite pizzas was born on that day.

These spins on classic dishes may not be perfect or authentic, but you know what? It’s good, home cooked food and it’s delicious and it’s appreciated by the family. So who cares if a food snob doesn’t like it? I don’t. Not anymore. They’re not sitting at my table. *End Rant*

Spinach and Feta Pie

Spinach and Feta Pie

a take on this recipe from BBC GoodFood
makes 2 pies, but you can cut it in half to make just 1

6 (10 oz) bags fresh spinach
2 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 eggs, beaten well
1 1/2 cups cooked, diced mushrooms
1 box frozen Phyllo dough
melted butter and olive oil, for brushing between dough layers

Heat the oven to 350. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add the spinach, covering with a few tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes, until wilted. Remove from pan and continue until you've used all of the spinach. Set in a colander to drain.

When the spinach is cool enough to handle, again, working in batches, place the spinach in a clean tea towel, and squeeze out as much water as you can. There will be a lot, but get the spinach as dry as possible. Roughly chop the spinach and place it in a medium bowl.

To the spinach, add the feta, dill, lemon juice, eggs and mushrooms. Mix well, set aside.

You can do this in one larger pan or pie plates, but I use 2 (9 inch) cake pans. Follow the directions for using Phyllo that are on the box. Basically, you're going to layer in sheets of the dough, leaving some overhanging the sides of the pan. Continue going all around the pan a few times--so three turns of the pan = 3 layers of sheets. Use the olive oil whisked with the melted butter to brush between the layers. Make sure you've got enough butter set aside for this. Don't start the recipe with only half a stick of butter in the fridge. Plan on at least one, mixed with a fair amount of oil. I didn't measure, just eyeballed and added till I had enough.

Divide the filling between the two pans, and then fold up the edges of the overhanging dough to cover the filling. Add a couple more sheets of dough to the top if you need to. I just loosely dropped a couple sheets over the top of each pie. Brush the tops with the oil/butter mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely golden brown on top.

  • A note about working with the Phyllo: I'm guessing some "experts" will say I'm wrong here, but yeah, it's a bit of a pain to work with. Every now and again I get a roll of it that simply won't cooperate. Follow the directions on the box as far as covering it with plastic and damp towels while you work. And if a few sheets fall apart? Don't sweat it! Just layer as best as you can, and fill in any spots with more dough. I think it's impossible to make Phyllo look bad after it's cooked. Any repairs that you make before baking won't show up when it's fully baked.
  • I like to serve this with a green salad, tossed with tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers, along with this feta vinaigrette.
  • Now, of course you don’t need to make two pies. When I’m doing something like this dish that may be a bit of a pain (working with Phyllo, hehe) I like to make extra and get it all done at once. The cold leftovers are amazing, too! This makes great picnic food, as well.
  • Feel free to leave out the mushrooms if you like. I’ve also made this with the sundried tomatoes and that’s fantastic, too.
  • This would be a lovely addition to any holiday table. Easter will be here before you know it!

Enjoy! Even if it isn’t authentic, it’s damn good. Winking smile

Spinach and Feta Pie



Tuesday
Jan182011

Mushroom Bourguignon

Mushroom Bourguignon

Speaking of cold weather and comfort food, today I have a recipe that will knock your vegetarian socks off! You know what? Even if you’re not vegetarian, this one will knock those socks off. This Mushroom Bourguignon is so hearty and, well, comforting. It’s loaded with mushrooms, carrots and potatoes, and served over a bed of fluffy egg noodles. You will not miss the meat in this, honestly. And of you absolutely cannot live without the meat, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t cut the quantity of mushrooms in half, and brown some beef in there while you’re browning the mushrooms in the first step.

Bourguignon refers to recipes prepared in the style of the French region of Burgundy. It’s traditionally beef braised in red wine along with other ingredients--usually beef broth, bacon, pearl onions, and mushrooms. I choose to leave the pearl onions out of this recipe--that’s my preference.  If you’d like to add them, feel free to cut back on the carrots, and add a cup or two of them.

My husband emailed this recipe to me some time ago, and we’ve had it several times since-with a few changes made along the way.  It was submitted to a yoga site by a Kierstin Buchner.  Thanks, Kierstin--we love this one!  What changes did I make?  Well, leaving out the pearl onions, for one, upping the carrot and potato quantities, too.  Changed the herbs up a bit, tweaked the cooking procedure somewhat, and I thicken the bourguignon up at the end of cooking. 

Please don’t be scared off by the ingredient list--it’s not as long as you may think.  This is a fabulous one pot meal, not counting the pot to cook the egg noodles in.  Get your ingredients measured out and ready to go, and it’s very simple.  Here’s the plan:

  • Slice and chop the mushrooms, set aside.
  • Dice the onion, slice the carrots, and set those aside together-because they go in the pot at the same time.
  • Mince the garlic, set aside.
  • Measure out the flour, get the spices together. You’re using mise en place bowls, yes? They’ll truly simplify your cooking!
  • Measure out the wine, then the broth, set aside.
  • Get your tomato paste ready. HINT! You hardly ever need a whole can of tomato paste at once, so here’s what I do: open the can, scoop it all out, toss it in a zip top bag, and form the paste into a log shape in the bottom of the bag.  When you need a tablespoon of the paste, cut a piece off of the tomato paste log (about the width of a tablespoon of butter).  OR, measure tablespoon sized quantities of the paste, and drop them on a parchment lined plate. Freeze them on the plate-when frozen take them off the paper and toss in a plastic bag to keep in the freezer.  Easy!
  • While the stew is simmering for the 30 minutes, get the potatoes scrubbed and quartered, and set a pan of water to boil for the noodles. 

See? All you need is a plan!

Mushroom Bourguignon

Mushroom Bourguignon
This makes a lot (like, 6 servings or so?), so unless you're feeding a crowd, be prepared for amazing leftovers.  If you don't like leftovers, send them to me, I'll take them!

2 lbs Crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 Portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, cut into chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally  into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups dry red wine
4 cups broth of your choice-vegetable, chicken, beef
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
28 oz (1 lb, 12 oz) small potatoes, quartered (approximately-that's just the size of the bag I had on hand)
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
egg noodles

In a large pot, heat about 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Add all of the mushrooms, about 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper, and sauté for about 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and accumulated juices to a bowl and set aside.

Add a couple more tbsp of olive oil, and sauté the onions and carrots for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Sprinkle the onions, carrots and garlic with the flour, stir for about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and accumulated juices back to the pot, then add the wine, broth, tomato paste, thyme, Herbes de Provence and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

After the 30 minutes are up, add the potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  (This is also when I get the egg noodles in a pot of boiling water to cook.) Simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fork tender.  Test for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Stir the cold water into the cornstarch and add it to the stew while stirring.  Stir until thickened.  Serve over the egg noodles.

Also?  You could totally turn your leftover bourguignon and noodles into an amazing soup!  Just broth it up and add anything else that you like.

Mushroom Bourguignon