Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday Supper

Braised Beef and Sausages in Tomato Sauce
Family Recipe
Serves 10
2 lbs boneless beef short ribs
2 lbs Italian sausage, uncooked
Good olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup red wine (one you would drink)
1 small can tomato paste
2 14.5-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
2 lbs pappardelle or fettucine
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 325F.  Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.  In a heavy, wide pot with a lid (I use a Le Creuset braiser as pictured), coat bottom of pan with oil and heat over a high flame.  Sear short ribs (in  batches to avoid overcrowding) until browned on all sides, then remove to a platter.  Adding oil if needed, sear sausages (again, in batches if needed) until browned. Remove sausages to platter and set aside.

Using same pan, turn heat down to medium-high and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion; saute until golden, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to cook until softened, another 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and wine, stirring to combine.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, then fill one of the empty cans with warm water and add to the pot.  Stir to evenly distribute tomatoes with paste, then add a good pinch of salt, 10 grinds of black pepper, oregano and sugar.  If desired, add clean, fresh basil leaves.  Bring just to a boil, then turn off heat.  Return meats and any juices which have accumulated to the pan.

Cover and place pan in preheated oven for 3 hours.  Remove pan from the oven and return it to the stove.  Braising sauce will be thin at this point.  Tip cover slightly ajar and cook partially covered over low flame for another 30-60 minutes, making sure bottom does not burn.

Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water until just al dente, then drain completely.  Remove meats from sauce to a large platter, then toss cooked pasta in saucepot, adding grated cheese to taste.  Arrange pasta on platter with meats and serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

Braised supper is excellent served with simple roasted broccoli, green salad and fresh crusty bread.  Buon appetito!

Marinated Vegetable Salad
Serves 8-10

1 head Boston (butter) lettuce
1 head green leaf lettuce
2 large carrots, peeled
4-5 radishes
2 large stalks celery
3 green onions, white & light green part
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Mixed herbs (parsley, tarragon, dill, chives - fresh or dried), to taste; about 1/4 cup

Thinly slice carrots, celery, radishes and onions and combine them in the bottom of a large salad/serving bowl.  In a separate small bowl, whisk shallots and remaining dressing ingredients until blended.  Add to chopped vegetables and toss to coat.  Allow vegetables to marinate.  Meanwhile, wash, dry and tear lettuces to desired size.  Place atop vegetables until ready to serve.  At the table, toss lettuce and vegetables, drizzling in more oil or vinegar to taste.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Delicious boeuf bourguignon

700 g of beef
100 g of lardon (bacon will suffice - cut the bacon into small pieces)
50 g of butter
60 g of onions
200 g of mushrooms
4 large carrots, chopped into pieces
30 g of flour
3 decaliters of red wine
3 decaliters of vegetable bouillon
Thyme, rosemary, etc. 

Cut the beef in pieces
Melt the butter
Add the onions and lardons to the skillet
After briefly frying the onions and lardons, remove them from the skillet and put them to the side
Put the meat in the skillet (or le creuset-style pot)
Add the flower to the meat and brown the meat; add the bouillon
Add the lardons, onions, red wine and carrots, and season with the thyme and rosemary
Cook gently for 2.5/ 3 hours
30 minutes before serving, add the chopped mushrooms in small pieces.

Strawberry soup

For the strawberry soup :
2 buckets of strawberry
20 gr of sugar
1 vanilla bean

For the whipped cream :
2 big table spoon of creme fraiche
10 cl of milk
1 table spoon of powdered sugar

Wash the strawberries and remove the green part and put them in a large bowl that can go over a pot. Add the sugar and the vanilla and cover with a film. 
Put the pot for 20 minutes over the boiled water. 
When the 20 minutes are done, mix the strawberry until it looks like a soup.
Place it in the fridge.

Whipped cream : 
If you want to be sure to have a perfect one, put your metal pot and the mixer utensils in the fridge one hour before doing it. 
Put the creme fraiche and the milk in the pot.

Mix in with an eclectic mixer: when it begins to rise, add the sugar and continue mixing. When it’s done put the mixture in the fridge. 
To serve, put one big table spoon of whipped cream in every cup of strawberry soup. It’s delicious!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Burger Showdown

Just a note about homemade hamburgers - DO try grinding your own meat!  It is definitely not a weeknight pursuit, but with an extra 30 minutes of effort, you'll be rewarded with remarkably tastier  and safer meat.  For this week's experiment, I recruited my husband to try "dueling burgers" - we started with unseasoned ground beef in individual bowls and chose our own seasonings and toppings.  Great party idea!

Burger Meat
From Craigie on Main via Bon Appetit
(makes about ten 6-ounce/170g burgers)

1 1/4 pounds (567g) beef brisket
1 1/4 pounds (567g) boneless short ribs
1 1/4 pounds (567g) hanger steak or skirt steak

Trim all meat free of excess fat and sinews and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Chill approximately 20-30 minutes in the freezer.  Grind the cubed meat either in a meat grinder or food processor to about 1/16" consistency.  Season to your liking (see below) and cook to desired temperature (I prefer medium-rare, which is a lot safer when using house-ground meat, although USDA recommends cooking ground beef to 165F).

Burger #1
(serves 1)
6 ounces burger meat
1 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Crusty sourdough roll
Thick sliced aged cheddar
1/2 cup mushrooms, sauteed
1/2 cup onions, sauteed
1 slice thick cut bacon, cooked
Steak sauce (Peter Luger's or your favorite)

Burger #2
(serves 1)
6 ounces burger meat
1/2 tsp minced shallot
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
Soft pretzel roll
Fresh goat cheese (chevre)
1/2 cup onions, sauteed and finished with balsamic vinegar

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hamburger aux Saint Jacques

2 good hamburger buns
2 or 4 scallops (in function of the scallops' size)
4 big pieces of Pecorino Toscano
Lettuce (roquette or Iceberg)
a teaspoon of butter

Cut the hamburger buns in two and put the pieces of cheese on the buns.  Put the buns in the over for a few minutes to toast them.  (Check it sometimes so it doesn't burn).

While you're doing that, in a frying pan, cook the scallops in the butter during one minute on each side (more if you like it more cooked).

Place the scallops on top of the Pecorino Toscano, add some lettuce, and close the burger with a wood stick.

Mmmhh, it's delicious with french fries...
(adapted from a Grazia Magazine recipe)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beef in puff pastry

1 puff pastry
1 trussed beef (a tender piece best; i.e. filet mignon)
200 gr (7 ounces) of mushrooms
1 onion
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of milk
Salt and pepper

Rinse the mushrooms and cut them. Cut the onions.
Mix the onions and mushroom until it looks like a sauce. While it's mixing, put the beef in a friying pan with one spoon of olive oil and make sure it is browned on both sides. Put it to the side and wait for it to be cool.
Take your mushroom mixture and put it in a friying pan with the second spoon of olive oil.
Cook it for 15 minutes at medium temperature. Put it away.
Separate the egg whites from the yolk.
Unroll your puff pastry on the oven rack. Using a brush, moisten around the pastry with the egg whites.
Put 3/4 of the sauce in the middle of the pastry.
Put the beef on the top of it. Cover the beef with the rest of the sauce.
Cover the beef with the puff pastry, making sure it is well closed. 

Using a brush, cover the pastry with the egg yolk plus milk.Cook it in the oven at 400 degres during 35 / 40 minutes depending on how you like the meat cooked.  A potato puree or French fries make excellent accompaniments. 

Skillet Steaks with Shallot Sauce

Skillet Steaks with Shallot Sauce
Adapted from Epicurious

2 T plus 2 tsp olive oil
2 steaks, 3/4 to 1-inch thick (any weight, recommend filet mignon)
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup sherry
3 T champagne vinegar
Pinch dried tarragon leaves
1 1/2 T chilled butter

Preheat oven to 200F.  Dry beef well with towels and season lightly with salt & pepper on both sides.  Heat oil in large heavy skillet over high heat.  Add beef and lower heat to medium-high heat.  Do not move beef - let it get a good crust!  After about 3 minutes, turn steaks and cook another 3 minutes without moving.  (This is for medium rare.  Cook 4-5 minutes each side for medium or med-well).  Once crusted on both sides, remove beef to an oven-safe platter and place in warm oven.

Return skillet to stove, add remaining 2 tsp of oil and warm over medium-low heat.  Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened and beginning to color, about 1 minute.  Add mustard, broth and tarragon and turn up heat to medium.  When beginning to bubble, add sherry & vinegar and cook until reduced, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Remove from heat and stir in cold butter.

Remove steaks from oven and either toss into skillet to coat with sauce, or spoon sauce over them on plates.  Enjoy!