Monday, March 27

Traditional Beef Stew

Growing up this was one of my favorite dishes. I would ask my mom to make it for my birthday, special occasions, or as much as I could. These days I actually cannot beef, but occasionally I do...ssshhh...Anyway, I love making a great pot of stew and serving it alongside bread. On a side note I love Lima beans in mine, but since I am the only Lima bean eater in the house, they sadly get left out.

Full time 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours
Makes 6-8 servings

You will need:

1 1/2 lbs lean stew meat
3 medium-large potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
3-4 stalks celery, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 large onion, diced fine
1 beef bouillon cube
2 cup beef stock
1 cup baby carrots, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 cup Cabernet or dark red wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen petite peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp cold extremely cold water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Let us begin:

In a dutch over or heavy bottom pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add in onions and cook 3-5 minutes or until they soften.

Add in stew meat brown evenly, roughly 5-8 minutes.

Once meat has been browned nicely, you may still have some red spots, it is okay. Add in the carrots and celery.

Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring once.

Add in wine and bullion cube.

Bring to a boil and then add in rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Allow to boil for 10 minutes to cook off the alcohol, stirring occasionally.

Add in stock.

Add in potatoes.

Watch, actually listen for the pot to sound like it is boiling again. You will probably not see more then small bubbles on the surface, do not let that fool you.

This takes a few minutes, while it does it's thing. Place frozen peas and corn into a microwave safe bowl. Add in the water.

Place bowl on surface next to the dutch oven. This will allow them to slowly defrost and warm without cooking them.

Once this begins to happen, lower the heat to low-simmer and cover with a lid. Set a 20 minute timer and walk away.

When the timer goes off, carefully lift the lid and poke potatoes with a fork to see how they are progressing. Give a stir and recover.

Reset the timer and walk away again.

When the timer goes off, carefully lift the lid and poke the potatoes. If you can easily pierce them with a fork, you are ready to move on. If you cannot, recover and check in 10 minute increments.

Once potatoes are fork-able, add the contents of the vegetable bowl.

Stir well and return mixture to medium-high. Bringing it back to a gentle boil.

In a small bowl combine the extremely cold water and cornstarch to a smooth and even mixture with a fork.

Stir into the dutch oven and let cook 5-8 minutes to slightly thicken the base.

Serve and cheers!

Tuesday, March 21

MUG IT: Individual Cheesecake

Ever want cheesecake? Just craving that soft cheesecake goodness? Here is a great way to get that wonderful flavor in a short amount of time.

Full time 10 minutes
Serves 1

The needs-

1 egg
2 oz. cream cheese
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The know-

Place cream cheese in ramekin and microwave for 20 seconds to soften.

Mix in all remaining ingredients.

Microwave 30 seconds and mix everything again.

Microwave 30 seconds and mix one last time.

Microwave 30 seconds.

Place in a refrigerator to cool and firm.

If desired dust with graham cracker crumbs before eating.


Tuesday, March 14

MUG IT: Apple Crisp Mug Treat

Mug cakes are the current foodie food. Easy to make, single servings, which can be produced in very little time. This one actually is not really a cake-but rather a great dessert featuring the classic comfort of an apple crisp in an easy to eat, single serve style.

Full time 6 minutes (includes cooling time)
Serves 1

The needs-

1/2 cup canned apple pie filling
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp oats
2 tsp chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tsp butter, chilled and diced fine

The know-

In a microwavable mug place apple filling and microwave for 2 minutes.

While this cooks, in a small bow combine all remaining ingredients, and smoosh together with your fingers.

Top apples with crumble mixture and microwave 2 minutes.

Allow to cool for 2 minutes before eating. 


Monday, March 6

Canadian Ginger Cake/Cupcakes

Ginger cake is a traditional and classic Canadian cake. Moist and sweet with a hint of spice, this cake is the perfect finish to a dessert table. I love making it into cupcakes and topping it with cream cheese frosting for the perfect treat.

Full time 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Makes 1 bundt (or 18 cupcakes)

The needs-

1 egg
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

The know-

Preheat oven to 325', grease and flour a bundt pan or line 18 cupcake wells with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl cream together brown sugar and butter until fluffy.

Add in egg.

Add in molasses and hot water, whisking aggressively until the surface appears foamy.

Set a timer and walk away for 12 minutes to let bowl sit.

Once your timer goes off add in ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisking well to fully combine.

Add in flour and whisk well to create a batter which is lump free.

Pour batter into bundt pan or fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full.

Bake bundt for 40-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Bake cupcakes 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan 15-20 minutes.

Carefully flip out of pan and allow bundt to cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes more before serving.

For cupcakes, allow them to cool fully before frosting or serve warm, cheers!

Wednesday, March 1

MAKE IT: French Onion Soup

French onion soup, simple, easy, extremely tasty, and one of my other half's favorite foods. There is no words to describe how easy, although a tad bit hands on, this soup is to make.

Full time 30 minutes
Serves 4

The needs-

30 oz beef stock, low sodium
2 large red onions, sliced as thin as possible
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp flour

For serving-

Thin slice baguette rounds
Shredded mozzarella cheese

The know-

Preheat oven to 400'

In a deep pan or shallow pot, melt butter and oil together.

Add in sugar.

Add in onions and cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Stir and recover for 5-8 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown on edges.

Sprinkle flour over evenly and add in wine. Cook 5 minutes uncovered.

Slowly pour in stock stirring while pouring.

Allow stock to come to a boil.

Reduce temp to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

While this simmers, lay baguette rounds out on a baking sheet. Depending on how thin your baguette is you may need more than one per bowl. In photos I am using two bowl sizes so you can see the difference.

Top each round with 1 tbsp shredded mozzarella.

Place in oven and let bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Once browned place oven proof bowls on a baking sheet and add 1-2 tbsp of cheese to the bottom of each bowl.

Ladle in soup to roughly 1/2" from the top of bowl.

Add in toasted bread rounds.

Top with 1-2 tbsp cheese.

Return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve immedietly once new cheese has melted!