Music: Talking Heads – Radio Head
Last night we celebrated my father-in-law’s Birthday. Whoopie! We made him a special dinner reminiscent of his honeymoon in France. This was a combination of the classic Julia Child recipe, Ina’s and some stuff in my brain.
We had all the Thomas Vanderberg’s over…a full house! Peter and Liz brought the babies and we realized just how un-child proof our home is. What is extraordinary is that they eat everything (including prosciutto and Humboldt fog!) They are not picky at all for a 2 year old and a 1 year old. Paul talked about finishing up school at Pratt and was abuzz with all his final illustration projects. My mother-in-law baked a fantastic orange chiffon cake with chocolate frosting. We started the night with some provisions from Choice Greene, drank loads of Cote du Rhone and Pinot Noir and finished the night off with some Spanish Brandy.
This meal will feed 7-10 (depending on how many wee-ones attend your dinner parties).
Beef Bourguignon – What you’ll need:
4 lbs of beef stew meat cut into 1.5 inch squares (or something like that), 2 tbsp. olive oil, 16 oz. diced smoked bacon, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, salt & pepper, 5 carrots sliced into ½ inch chunks, 3 sliced yellow onions, 5 cloves of minced garlic, ¾ cup of Cognac, 1-1 ½ bottles of Pinot Noir or Cote du Rhone (we bought this at Thirst), 3-4 cups of beef broth, 2 tbsp. of tomato paste, herb bushel wrapped in cheesecloth (made from three bay leaves, 1 twig of rosemary and 3 twigs of thyme), 4 tbsp. of room temperature butter, 5 tbsp. of flour, 1 lbs. of pearl onions, 3 boxes of quartered mushrooms, 1 minced shallot and 1 tsp. of Vermouth.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Pat dry beef cubes then season with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in stew pot or Dutch oven.
- Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until bacon starts to crisp.
- Add cinnamon and cook for 5 additional minutes.
- Remove bacon from pan and let rest on plate with paper towel.
- There will be a lot of excess renderings in pot. Remove half of the grease and put aside for later use.
- Sear beef in hot oil, single layers so as not to crowd pot, until each side is brown. About 2 minutes each side. After all beef is seared, set aside with bacon.
- Deglaze pot if there are lots of black bits remaining.
- Add the extra bacon grease, carrots and onions and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook together for an additional 10 minutes until onions start to brown.
- Add the Cognac and ignite with match to burn off alcohol. (Be careful!)
- Put bacon and meat back in pot.
- Add the wine and the beef broth to cover the meat.
- Add tomato paste and herb bushel.
- Let simmer on stovetop for 15 minutes.
- Cover pot with lid and put it in the oven for 1 – 1 ½ hours until meat is tender and starts to separate.
- While stew is in oven, blanch the pearl onions. Clip ends of onions off and they will pop out of the skins. Set aside in small dish.
- Put 2 tbsp. of butter in fry pan. Add shallots and cook for three minutes before adding mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for 10 minutes until all water is cooked off. Add Vermouth and cook for additional 2 minutes.
- Take stew out from oven when done.
- Combine 3 tablespoons of butter with flour with a fork and stir into stew.
- Bring stew to boil on stove top. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes – What you’ll need:
3 lbs of fingerling potatoes, 5 small cleaned leeks, 2 tbsp. of butter, 3 tbsp. of olive oil, salt & pepper, 2 tsp. of thyme and rosemary.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut potatoes into 1 inch pieces and place in baking dish.
- Season with salt and pepper, thyme, rosemary and olive oil. Toss.
- In small fry pan, melt butter.
- Add leeks and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add to potatoes and toss again.
- Put in oven and cook for over an hour until potatoes are crispy. Toss ever so often while roasting in oven.
Haricots Verts –What you’ll need:
2 lbs. of haricots verts, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 medium minced shallot, 1 tsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. of thyme, 5 tbsp. of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- In pot, boil salted water.
- Add haricots verts and cook for 5 minutes.
- Drain and put aside in serving dish.
- In small fry pan add olive oil.
- Add shallots and garlic and cook for 7 minutes.
- Add thyme and cook for 2 additional minutes.
- Drizzle over haricots verts and toss with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
French Bread – what you’ll need:
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2006. We plan to try many many French Bread recipes and we’ll post them all!
4 cups all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (note: a ¼ ounce package is approx. 2 teaspoons), 1 2/3 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon olive oil
Special Equipment: 2 (17 inch) French Bread Pans (we were gifted this by a friend when we got married). This is a very easy recipe with the help of the food processor, which does most of the work.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Pulse flour, salt and vinegar in a food processor until blended.
- In a small bowl stir together the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm water.
- Once the yeast is dissolved, let it sit until it looks foamy, about 5 minutes.
- With the motor running, add the yeast and the other 1 1/3 cups of warm water to the flour mixture.
- Blend together until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl (about 1 minute). (The original recipe says you can let the dough rise in the food processor, but I didn’t trust that my processor was large enough.)
- Once the dough forms pull it out and form a ball with floured hands.
- Coat the bottom of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and let dough rise covered with a cloth towel for about 1 hour. Once it rises deflate by punching down several times.
- Generously oil bread pans with olive oil and set aside.
- Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide in half. Press down one half into a 10 by 8 inch rectangle and fold in the 2 short outer sides to meet in the middle, pinching edges together. Turn over, seam side down and roll and stretch into a 15 inch long loaf. Place loaf seam side down in bread pan and brush top with oil. Repeat with second loaf, and let dough rise in bread pans for another 30 minutes.
- Put oven rack in upper third and another in lower third.
- Place a roasting pan or baking sheet with one inch of water on lower third or bottom of oven.
- Make three shallow, diagonal slashes across the top of the loaves and bake on the upper third rack of the oven for 30 minutes.