Monday, October 29, 2012

Hearty Beef Stew

Hurricane Sandy is hitting New York and there is only one thing I could think of to do - braise a hearty beef stew. Beef stew is warming and filling and is the perfect comfort food on a day like today. If you are also experiencing the effects of Hurricane Sandy - stay safe and dry!

Recipe yields 4 servings

2 lbs cubed beef chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb carrots
1 lb baby white potatoes
1 lb celery
2 large yellow onions
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 large head of garlic
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
32 oz beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp Worcester sauce

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Begin to prep your veggies by cutting everything up into a large dice. First up the celery.

Next are the potatoes, cut these into quarters.

Then comes the carrots - I sliced these.

Chop the yellow onions.

And finally top with the mushrooms.

Mince the garlic and chop the rosemary.

Set all vegetables aside for the time being. Pat the meat dry with towels and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven on high heat. Add in the cubes of beef and let cook until golden brown on the bottom.

Flip pieces and continue to cook until all sides are browned. Remove to a dish and set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the dutch oven. Add all your vegetables and the garlic. Saute on high heat 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add beef stock, red wine, Worcester sauce and rosemary. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and add the cooked meat back to the dutch oven. Stir until everything has been coated.

Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. Braise for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until meat is tender and can be broken with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve alongside/on top of rice or egg noodles. Serve & enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stuffed Tomatoes Provencale

I'm not going to even try and pretend I like tomatoes. I honestly just can't stand them. But that was before. Before I had these tomatoes. My mom is a tomato lover and has been dying for me to make them for her. Let me tell you, these flavors combine to pack a big punch and even the most picky tomato eater (aka ME) will enjoy them.

Recipe yields 8 servings

4 medium tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp garlic
2 tbsp shallots
5 tbsp fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each tomato along its equator.

Clean out seeds and juice and sprinkle with salt. Turn upside down on a cooling rack and allow to drain for 20 minutes.

Mince the garlic and shallots. Finely chop the basil and remove the thyme from its stem.

Combine garlic, shallots, basil, thyme, a pinch each of salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.

Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with pepper. Fill each half with 2 spoonfuls of stuffing and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the tops with droplets of olive oil. Place dish in the oven.

Bake for 35-45 minutes. The tomatoes should be tender and hold their shape and the breadcrumbs should be lightly browned.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mongolian Beef

This morning on my way to work, the radio hosts were discussing the Mongolian Beef they ate at a wedding this past weekend. After going on and on about, I knew it would fit the bill for dinner tonight.

Recipe yields 6 servings

2 lbs flank steak
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp ginger
10-12 stems of asparagus
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp sesame oil
6-8 green onions

Slice steak into thin pieces. Place in a ziploc bag with the cornstarch and shake to coat all pieces.

Heat oil in a skillet. Shake off excess cornstarch and then place steak in pan to cook. About 3-4 minutes each side, depending on how you like your meat cooked.

While the steak is cooking, cut your asparagus and green onions in half. Mince your garlic and ginger.

Once all steak is cooked, remove from the skillet and place on a dish to set aside. Add garlic and ginger to the skillet.

Cook for 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant and add the asparagus. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender.

Add soy sauce, water and sesame oil into the pan with the asparagus. Boil for 2 minutes.

Toss in the green onions and cook for a minute or so until soft. Add the steak back into the skillet to coat with the sauce.

Serve right out of the skillet to soak up all the extra sauce. Serve alongside rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Haricot Vert with Shallot Vinaigrette

This shallot vinaigrette is a great match for fresh and crisp green beans. This makes a simple and healthy side dish for any night of the week. If you are looking to sneak a vegetable into tonight's meal, this is a great way to do it.

Recipe yields 6-8 servings

1 large bag of fresh green beans
1 large shallot
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil

Steam green beans until they are tender. While they are cooking, finely mince the shallot.

In a small bow, whisk together Dijon mustard, egg yolk and white wine vinegar. In a slow steady stream, add oil while continuously whisking.

Once vinaigrette is combined, stir in the shallots to evenly distribute. Pour dressing on top of the cooked green beans and mix until coated. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mushroom Barley Soup

As the weather is getting colder, nothing can warm you up quite like a hot bowl of healthy and hearty soup. Loaded with vegetables and barley, this soup has everything you need to fill you up. It is perfect to make in a big batches and save. With one easy preparation, you could have lunch for a week!

Recipe yields 8-10 servings

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups carrots
2 cups yellow onion
2 cups celery
4 cups baby bella mushrooms
8 cups chicken stock (you can also use vegetable or beef stock - your choice)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups dry barley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut the carrots, onion and celery into a small dice.

Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add your carrots, onions and celery. Toss to coat with the oil and then cover to steam for 5-8 minutes on medium high heat.

While vegetables are cooking, heat the other 1/2 tbsp of oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms until lightly brown on the outsides.

Once vegetables have softened, add chicken stock to the pot. Give it a good stir.

Add in the mushrooms, parsley and thyme. Stir it all up and bring to a boil.

Toss in the dried barley and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes or so until the barley becomes plump.

Add salt and pepper to heighten the flavors. Be sure to taste it along the way to know if more seasoning is needed.

Spoon into serving bowls. You can serve this with a piece of fresh baguette as a main dish or on the side of one of your favorites. Enjoy!