Sunday, November 20, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Beef and Apple Goulash with Czech Bread Dumplings


It is the end of an era folks. Today is the last reveal day for group C during Secret Recipe Club. I've been blogging with the group for a little over two years and it has really made me step up my blogging game. It has made me keep up with posting recipes and keep track of things I do. Usually, it's somewhere along the lines of "hey, that banana bread recipe was really great but I can't really remember which of 10 banana bread recipes it was or how I changed it..."

This has been a wonderful group and I will miss it so much. If anyone knows of any other similarly fun blogging challenges that you're part of, please let me know. I'll have some time to fill.

For my last secret recipe club post, I'm so happy I was able to explore Where's My Spoon by Adina. She lives in Germany and has a really fabulous selection of recipes. I was super interested in her black bean brownies (which I made tonight and which were delicious, but didn't seem special enough for a final post since lots of people have been posting black bean brownies recently). I was also interested in her Arab Almond Cake and German Cheesecake, which I will absolutely make in the near future.

I opted to make her Beef and Apple Goulash, which was delicious and complex. It had just the right amount of sweet and tart flavors from the apples and it went perfectly with another recipe for Czech Bread Dumplings. I made these with fried cabbage, which was so delicious I wish I had recorded what I put in it. Next time, I suppose

Thanks Adina. This recipe was perfect and I know I'll make it again.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed of larger pieces of fat and cut into bite sized pieces
  • vegetable oil
  • flour
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 12 oz carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
  • honey as needed
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Dust beef with flour and cook in oil in a dutch oven until well browned on all sides. Do this in batches and remove beef from pan
  2. Add onion, celery and garlic to pan, scraping up the fond. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and beef stock after vegetables are tender.
  3. Add beef. Cover and cook for 1 hour
  4. Add carrots and cook for 15 minutes. Then add diced apple and cook another 15 minutes
  5. Add dairy and stir in until well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  6. Serve immediately over noodles, bread dumplings etc with fresh parsley and cabbage


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stuffing Bread (Perfect for Sandwiches!)


These rolls were are from the always amazing Cheeseboard Bakery Recipe Book. This particular bread was something they only served in their bakery once a year.  They called it "Stuffing Bread" because it had all the flavors of Thanksgiving and could be dried and used to make stuffing, or be used to make turkey sandwiches with your delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

I made it recently as a trial run before Thanksgiving. I made rolls as well as a loaf and decided that this was not what I wanted to serve with my meal this year. I did, however, have it with a roast chicken for dinner and it absolutely makes the best sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced sage
  • 1/2 cup buttermik
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
Directions
  1. Mix yeast and 1/4 cup of water to dissolve.
  2. Mix 4 1/2 cups flour, salt and sage in a large bowl. Add yeast mix, water, butter and buttermilk and mix in a stand mixer until everything is well combined, soft and only a little sticky (10 minutes or so)
  3. Add onion and celery and more flour as necessary, kneading until dough is soft and shiny.
  4. Form dough into a ball and let rise about an hour until doubled in size. Divide into two pieces, form into loaves and place in loaf pans. Let rise another hour until bread rises just above the loaf pan.
  5. Bake loaves for a total of 50 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool completely before slicing.
One year ago: Masala Chai Tea
Two years ago: Peach Sorbet
Five years ago: English Muffins

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sous Vide Asparagus


Asparagus is one of my all time favorite vegetables. It goes with just about everything and is very easy to do, so long as you don't get distracted by other things. It is super easy to overcook normal steamed asparagus, but this sous vide asparagus recipe from Anova is foolproof. It takes a long time for the circulator to heat your water as high as it needs to go (185 degrees) so if you're pressed for time, I would still stick with steaming.

I made asparagus this way because I hadn't put away my anova yet after making my amazing sous vide maple rosemary pork loin for dinner with friends.They loved it and we had plenty of leftovers, so we got to love us some leftover pork with cornbread stuffing and asparagus (and really, waffled stuffing is he best way to reheat stuffing)

Give it a try sometime. It's not necessary, but fun, and the butter poached asparagus is really delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody stalks trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • large pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • fresh herbs (I used tarragon because that is what I had, but mint is what is called for, and would also be delicious)
  • touch of lemon zest
Directions
  1. Heat a water bath to 185 degrees with your Immersion Circulator. Meanwhile, trim asparagus bottoms.
  2. Place asparagus in a single row in a vacuum seal bag with butter, cut into small pieces, salt and pepper. Seal bag on dry setting and set aside
  3. When water is hot, place bag in the water. It may have a large air bubble due to the high heat, but try and find a way to weigh it down. Let cook for about 10 to 12 minutes depending on thickness
  4. Remove asparagus from bag onto plates. Spoon a little of the butter from the bag over the asparagus and garnish with herbs and lemon.



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Rosemary Chicken Chowder


This Secret Recipe Club reveal week!

This week we have a special theme reveal. There are 5 Mondays this month and this week's theme is Fall recipes.

You all already know all about Secret Recipe Club. Every month, a group of bloggers make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and reveal on a particular day. I usually participate in group C, the 3rd Monday of the month, but this week everyone is participating together to make some delicious fall recipes.

Usually, theme reveal day is pretty easy. There's usually only 10 or so recipes that fit that theme and you pick your favorite one. It might be difficult because you can't find anything you want to make, never the other way around.

This month, I had a hard time with Amy's Cooking Adventures because there were just too many delicious recipes. I had about 20 tabs open when I was letting my husband pick what I should make. Amy has tons of recipes involving pumpkin and fall flavors and more soups than I can count. When I think fall, I always think soup first.

The man picked her Rosemary Chicken Chowder for me to make. I really wanted to make these awesome Pumpkin Pie Bars, but he vetoed that one (not sure why...he usually has a sweet tooth). Doesn't matter because I'm sure happy he told me to make this chowder. It was absolutely delicious with chicken, bacon, corn (I kind of mixed to recipes) and just the right amount of rosemary. Thank you so much Army! I will 100% make this recipe (and so many of your other recipes) again.

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of bacon, cut into half inch pieces
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
  • `1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz potatoes, diced into bit sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained
  • 1 bunch kale, removed from stalks and chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn.
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Cook bacon in a heavy bottom pot and render the fat. Remove bacon and set aside.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and brown well on all sides. Remove from pot and dice into small pieces
  3. Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until aromatic.Add hers, chicken, potatoes and chicken stock. Cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through
  4. In a separate pot, melt butter and stir in flour until it smells nutty. Whisk in milk to form a bechamel sauce and set aside. 
  5. When potatoes are almost cooked through, add milk mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. Add beans, corn and kale and let thicken slightly.
  6. Add cream cheese at the very end, stirring until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh parsley and the reserved bacon. 



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Carrot Cake Oatmeal


Oatmeal is always such a great, simple breakfast but it can get very boring after a while. Even so, it is still extremely versatile. This oatmeal is one of my favorites because it tastes like dessert and it's full of vegetables and not too much sugar. You can dress it up as much or as little as you want. I top mine with a big dollop of greek yogurt mixed with maple syrup. The richness of the dairy really adds something special. You could also top it with cream cheese frosting, I suppose, if you have it on hand.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • dried cranberries or raisins
  • nuts
  • preferred sweetener to taste
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a pan and brown the oats lightly.
  2. Add water, milk, spices and 3/4 of the carrots to the pot and simmer until thickened. Add more milk if necessary
  3. Season oatmeal to taste with honey, maple syrup, agave or brown sugar. Spoon into bowls and top with reserved carrots, cranberries and nuts. Serve with yogurt or cream cheese if desired.
4 years ago: Easy Coffee Cake

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - French Dip Sandwich


Sadly, it is the second to last Secret Recipe Club reveal day. I've loved Secret Recipe Club since I joined over two years ago. It has kept me diligently blogging and making new, delicious recipes on a regular basis. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to stay motivated to keep up this blog now that it's gone, but if any of you know of other good food blog challenges, please let me know!

Secret Recipe Club is a great collection of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and write about it on a given reveal day. This week is group C's reveal day and I think I picked an excellent choice for my reveal.

I was assigned Lynsey Lou by Lynsey, a wife and food blogger. Her blog is full of delicious looking recipes (especially desserts). She had a great number of recipes I wanted to make, including Sour Cream Doughnut and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies. However, I knew we needed a main dish option this week so I ended up making her French Dip Sandwiches.

Man, this was a delicious sandwich. The store was out of brisket, so we ended up using a cheaper chuck roast instead (which I honestly always prefer for braises). This meal came together so quickly, easily and perfectly. It was a perfect Monday night dinner that smelled amazing after coming home from a long day at work. Best of all, this meal served us for multiple nights, including rice bowls and a great, re-purposed beef ragu  with red wine fettuccine (recipe for that to come later).

This meat was super tender and perfectly savory. This will certainly make it into our regular meal rotation and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs a new, delicious slow cooker recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 3lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat (or 3 slices bacon)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 gloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Hoggie rolls
  • Fresh parsley for serving
Directions
  1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear in the rendered bacon fat until well browned on all sides.
  2. Place onion, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaf, Worcestershire, honey, thyme, and broth in the crockpot. Place beef on top and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Toast the bread in a little butter. Place cheese on the bread and place hot shredded beef on top. 
  4. Serve sandwich with leftover broth for dipping and enjoy


Five years ago Bagels 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

West African Chicken and Peanut Soup



One of my favorite blogs has always been Taras Multicultural Table. I discovered it as part of Secret Recipe Club and I always wanted to have her blog as my partner. Sadly, that never happened (but I did add a "By Region" section in my recipes because of her).

I'm always trying to make different ethnic foods. This is a wonderful recipe that has easy ingredients you can get anywhere. This West African chicken stew with peanuts, greens and yams is super hearty and delicious. I like this recipe because it doesn't have a too much peanut butter like some of the recipes I found. Some of them call for a full cup or even 2, which just sounded so fatty and too strong. This one was just right (though it could have used a little more heat. Adjust to taste as you desire).

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, sliced into thick strips
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, plus extra for garnish.
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Directions
  1. Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add peanuts, chicken stock, yams, tomatoes and collards and cook until potatoes are tender. Sir in peanut butter and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve with right and a few extra peanuts for garnish.
Five years ago: Chicken Kiev
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