Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Was thinking about where to add Star Anise rather than Cookies and found this.

Daube of beef with orange & star anise

The perfect supper for those rainy nights spent in with a good bottle of red and an open fire blazing

Recipe by Mary Cadogan

Serves 8

Prep 45 mins
Cook 3 hrs to 4 hrs
2kg. Stewing Beef
300g. Shallots
1 Orange
A good bunch of Parsley and Thyme
3 T. Olive Oil
25g. Butter
200g. Lardons (Will have to find out what this is - well now I know: small pieces of pork fat)
4T. Cognacc
1 T. Flour
2 Carrots thinly sliced and 3 finely chopped
2 Celery stalks
1and 1/2 cups Red Bordeaux
2 star anise
4 cloves of Garlic

Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 4. Wash and dry the meat. Pour boiling water over the shallots to cover them, leave for 5 mins, then drain, peel and cut in half. Put to one side. Pare long strips of peel from half the orange and tie together with the parsley and thyme with some string.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil and the butter in a large heatproof casserole. Add the meat and half the lardons and brown quickly on all sides (you will need to do this in batches). Return all the meat to the pan, then quickly pour over the Cognac and ignite. Stand well back when you do this as the flames may be fierce. Stir the flour into the meat until the flour disappears.
In a separate pan, fry the onion, finely chopped carrot and celery in 1 tbsp of oil until softened; this should take about 5 mins. Add to the casserole pan along with the wine, herb bundle, star anise, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stir well, then cover tightly and cook in the oven for 2 hrs.
Tip the remaining lardons into a frying pan and heat with a drop of oil until the fat runs, then add the shallots and fry gently until they are lightly coloured. Add to the daube along with the sliced carrots, give it a stir and cover again. Return to the oven for a further 1½-2 hrs, until the meat is very tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the herb bundle (and, if you can find them, the star anise) and serve with the two side dishes. If you're making the daube ahead of time, reheat it either on the hob or in the oven for 20-30 mins. The daube also freezes well for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


325g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus a little extra for greasing
500g chickens’ liver, trimmed
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp brandy
Tiny pinch each of ground nutmeg, cloves,
cinnamon and allspice
1 baguette, sliced and toasted, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 110_C/fan90_C/gas 1/4. Grease 8 x 100ml ramekins with melted butter, then set aside.
2. Put the liver, garlic, brandy and spices into a food processor. Season with white pepper and 1 teaspoon salt and blend for 1 minute. With the machine still running, add 225g melted butter and blend for a few seconds. Press through a fine sieve into a bowl.
3. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and cover with buttered foil. Put in a small roasting tin and pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cook for 45 minutes or until just set. Remove from the tin and cool. Remove the foil and cover each ramekin with cling film. Chill overnight.
4. Slowly melt the remaining butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat, set aside for 10 minutes, then pour away the clear butter, leaving just the sediment. Pour a thin film over each parfait and chill until set. Serve with the toast and some onion marmalade.

Wine Recommendation
Wine note: a luscious pudding wine, well-chilled. Try Sauternes or a good value option, Monbazillac.

Who Still eats Cream of Wheat? I Do!

And the leftover cream of wheat is fried the next day.

And now for that Kohlrabi Recipe
Have you ever eaten a kohlrabi? These little sputnik-shaped vegetables come in green or purple, can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste a lot like broccoli stems. The word kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip) though kohlrabi is more related to cabbage and cauliflower than to root vegetables.

Kohlrabi Ham Bake Recipe

3 Tbsp butter
4 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
8 ounces thick ham, diced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch of mace (can substitute ground nutmeg)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the diced kohlrabi and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
2 Beat the egg yolk, and whisk in the heavy cream, flour, mace, salt and pepper until well combined.
3 Place half of the cooked kohlrabi on the bottom of an oven-proof casserole dish. Layer on the diced ham and parsley. Top with the remaining kohlrabi. Pour the sauce ingredients over the kohlrabi and ham.
4 Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
From Elsie on Simply Recipes

Potatoe, Fennel, Leek Gratin

So here is a recipe using Leeks
by Kira ryder

One might imagine with the holidays behind us that the concept of "eating light" would kick in. Oh well. On our way to Rainbow Bridge this evening I suggest Potato Gratin and Eric said, "Yes. That is What I Want."

1. Heat the Oven to 375.
2. Cut a piece of garlic in half and smear all the sides of a 9x12 baking dish.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan (like a Creuset Dutch oven) pour in a quart of milk. (If you are trying to gain weight, make it a half n half creme to milk mixture).
4. Peal and thinly slice a lot of your favorite potatoes. Tonight we used the Yellow Finnish ones they had a Rainbow. I think i peeled and sliced about 9 or so. Add to the milk as you go cuz peeled and sliced potatoes do not respond well to open air.
5. Thinly Slice 2 large leeks and wash. Drain and add to milk mixture.
6. Thinly slice 3 cloves garlic and add to milk mixture.
7. Tonight I added 2 bay leaves, some dried thyme (fresh sprigs is also great), freshly ground nutmeg, white pepper (did not feel like grinding fresh so added already ground), and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I think this is a pretty standard offering. Obviously there is room for experimentation.
8. I start the heat at medium under the milk and potato mixture. I was busy blogging about class today and my latest discovery of my own depression and I did not want to watch the milk come to a boil. So I set the timer for about 15 minutes and came back to check every so often. In general, you want to bring the mixture to a boil slowly and then turn down and simmer until the potatoes become soft, but not to the point of falling apart.
9. Slice up a big bulb of fennel as thinly as possible. Once milk has come to boil and you are simmering it, add fennel.
10. Grate the block of Gruyere that you can get at Rainbow. Seems like a shy 2 cups but I did not measure.
11.. When ready, use a slotted spoon to bring some of the potato mixture into the gratin dish. Sprinkle with some cheese, some ground black pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Layer some more potato mixture and repeat. Layer the last layer and add enough of the milk to come up to the edge of the top potatoes. Cover with remaining cheese and dot with butter. (Clearly there was no resolution to lose weight!)
12. Put in oven and set timer to 45 minutes. Check on gratin. You want a nice toasty brown crust and not too much bubbling. When done, remove and make a simple sharp green salad to cut it.
13. Tonight I made a dressing with garlic, shallots, Serrano, Meyer lemon rind, Meyer lemon juice, country mustard and olive oil. The Salad was Butter Lettuce with cilantro and celery. (Fridge Review, baby).

I like the way "Baking Bites" puts it best.
There is still alot of people out there that do not know the difference between melted butter and browned butter.
Browned butter is pretty much what it sounds like: butter that has been cooked until it is brown. The slightly more formal name for this is “beurre noisette,” or hazelnut butter - a double reference to the light brown color of the cooked butter and the lovely nutty flavor that it acquires during the cooking process.
If you’ve ever cooked with butter, using it to grease a frying pan before cooking eggs, for instance, you probably know that it is very easy to burn butter. The milk solids in butter have a low smoking point compared to pure fat, which means that while oil and shortening can take very high heats and be stable, butter cannot. But their ability to take the heat also precludes them from being able to achieve the browning that butter can. The browning of beurre noisette is a result of the milk solids in the butter cooking, toasting, and taking on a deep flavor and brown color. It doesn’t take long to go from brown to black (beurre noir), so stand by the stove while you’re cooking.
To make browned butter, simply melt some butter (I prefer unsalted for this) in a small saucepan on the stove. Continue cooking it on medium-high heat until the butter boils and begins to brown. Don’t worry if your butter bubbles or foams; just keep cooking it. When the butter begins to brown, you will see specks of darker brown develop at the bottom of the pan. Stir these up and cook until the butter has a nice and even dark honey color. Remove from heat and transfer to another container to cool.
Browned butter can be used in baking in place of regular melted butter and is a great way to finish off a simple vegetable or pasta dish and really kick up the other flavors.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



What Are Leeks?
Leeks look more or less like a giant scallion, and in some ways that’s exactly what they are. They are part of the genus Allium, which you may remember from such foods as onions, garlic, and scallions. The white and light green portions are normally the parts that people eat, and they have a mild onion flavor that is slightly sweet - much less harsh than a normal onion. The dark green leaves can be used in stocks or soups for flavor.
Leeks can be grown in fairly cold temperatures. It is interesting that in order to get a longer white base (the delicious part), farmers will stack dirt around the plant as it grows, keeping more of it from sunlight. As a plant with many layers, this means that dirt gets deep inside the plant, so it needs to be washed well.
What Should I Look For?
When buying leeks, look for ones with large, white bases. They should not be slimy, dried out, or browning. Just store them in loosely wrapped plastic in the refrigerator and they should last for a couple weeks.
What are Kohlrabi
When is a root vegetable not a root vegetable? When it's a small bulbous member of the cabbage family called kohlrabi, that's when. For all intents and purposes, kohlrabi appears to be a root vegetable in the same company as turnips, radishes and rutabagas. However, the bulbous shape of kohlrabi is caused by a swelling of the plant's stem near the ground. In that sense, kohlrabi is more of a tightly packed version of its cousin, cabbage. In fact, the name kohlrabi is derived from two German words: kohl meaning cabbage and rabi meaning turnip. It is not unusual to hear the term "turnip cabbage" to describe kohlrabi.
Despite its connections to cabbage and turnips, steamed or boiled kohlrabi is said to taste more like broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Indeed, kohlrabi is in the same general category, the Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group, as the broccoli it resembles in flavor. It can also be used in lieu of cabbage in many of the sausage and cabbage dishes favored in German cooking.
A raw kohlrabi can also be eaten like an apple, although it contains far less sugar. Some people find the taste of raw kohlrabi to be an acquired one, but many people who were raised in largely German communities in the Midwest grew up eating kohlrabi whenever it was in season. One town in Illinois even held annual festivals in honor of the kohlrabi, but such enthusiasm for the vegetable has waned somewhat in recent years.
There are certain things to consider when shopping for kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is not always available in the produce section of many grocery stores. It it very seasonal, and low consumer demand often keeps it off the truck for long-distance deliveries. The best kohlrabi is usually found in farmers' markets or locally owned produce stores.
Ideally, a kohlrabi bulb should be about the size of an apple or smaller, approximate 3 inches in diameter. Anything larger could have noticeably less flavor or woody sections. Kohlrabi may look like a root vegetable, but it should be displayed separately from true root vegetables such as turnips or rutabagas. Kohlrabi plants have a distinctive leafy stalk protruding from the top of the swollen stem. This stem is usually removed before chopping the actual kohlrabi bulb for steaming or boiling in salted water.


Amaretto liqueur lends almond flavor to a red wine bacon vinaigrette dressing for fresh or wilted spinach salad. It is quite easy to make and is packed with flavor.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 pounds spinach (4 bunches)
1 pound bacon, diced
1/2 cup salad oil
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup Disaronno® Originale Amaretto
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
Preparation:Wash spinach. Remove large stems and tear into bite-size pieces. Store in plastic bags in refrigerator until ready to use. To make dressing:Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and all fat is rendered. Remove bacon, reserve 1/8 cup bacon fat, discard rest. Return bacon fat to skillet and add oil, garlic, wine vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, Amaretto, salt, and pepper. Simmer until blended. When ready to serve, place spinach, mushrooms, red onion, and reserved bacon in large salad bowl. If you like a wilted salad, pour the dressing over very hot; if not, let cool a bit before serving; toss well. Yield: 8 servings Recipe Source: DiSaronno® Originale Amaretto

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 cup water
6 green bell peppers
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned.
Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Could be the weather - Winter just won't let go and let Spring.

I could have more than one Bowl of this.

Image from annieseats.wordpress.com- check out her site also

Italian Wedding SoupIngredients:For the meatballs:3/4 lb. ground chicken1/2 lb. Italian sausage2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs2 tsp. minced garlic3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley1/4 cup grated Romano cheese1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese3 tbsp. milk1 egg, lightly beatenKosher salt and black pepper
For the soup:2 tbsp. olive oil1 cup minced yellow onion1 cup 1/4-inch diced carrots3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth1/2 cup dry white wine1 cup small pasta (I used ditalini)1/4 cup minced fresh dill7 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Directions:Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Mix gently with a fork until well combined. Form the mixture into 1- to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 additional minute. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Monday, March 2, 2009

Italian Food With Rick Steves

I have some friends, a husband, wife and kids, who are a military family, and they recently just returned from a tour of duty in Italy. They have taken me out to eat Italian food and kind of given me an overview of what it was like to live in Italy. I love talking about food with them, the husband and I went to college together, down in Texas. So over the years we have went out to eat at many different places and shared ideas on all types of food.

I was really interested in hearing the radio show "Travel with Rick Steves." According to their website;
is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.
This week he had several guest that discussed Italian food.

The February, 28 show is titled, Everyday Italian Cuisine. It was a discussion of Italy's distinctive regional cuisines. And how food is a high point for many travelers. They also covered the distinctive customs that Italians have for their food and drink and how it sometimes baffles American visitors.

Two Italian food guides talked with Rick to explain the basics of good everyday Italian style food. I also really enjoyed the calls form listeners, they made many great points about Italy, the food and the people.

I wanted to pass this link on to my friends and also share it with those who read our blog. You can listen to the show here >>> Traveling on your stomach: Everyday Italian Cuisine Windows Media Player.

Links to Italian Food Guides;

Tommaso's website