Monday, February 20, 2012

Beef Stew with Apple Cider

Beef Stew with Apple Cider
Hello everybody,

Are you ready for winter to be over?  A part of me says yes, but, at the same time, I love the heavier, heartier meals we get to enjoy during the winter time. Being cold outside, the warm, hearty meals are especially comforting. We might as well enjoy them while we can.

Now, speaking of hearty meals, last week I looked in my pantry and noticed that I had a whole container of apple cider leftover from the holidays and wanted to use it up. I also wanted to make a stew. Stew, hmmm and apple cider, I thought, is that a good combination?  Sounds promising, but I didn't trust myself to draw up a recipe from my intuition, so the hunt for a recipe began. Surprisingly, I quickly found an interesting stew recipe in the January issue of InStyle magazine. It used a lot of apple cider and wasn't just the plain old potato, carrot, celery, chuck meat stew variety.  Shockingly at first to me, it also had ingredients like pineapple, sambal chili and (gasp!) fish sauce. Under normal circumstances, the pineapple in a stew alone would have turned me completely off, but in this case, i knew it would work well with the apple cider to balance out the flavor. The acid from the pineapple would also tenderize the meat, yielding the most moist, juicy and flavorful stew meat. So, that was ok, but what about non-stew ingredients like fish sauce and sambal chilli? I studied the measurements and they were in moderate amounts, probably added to balance out flavors and not be overpowering or distracting. Finally, given the fact that I had most of the ingredients already in my pantry, I decided to jump into it and make the recipe. And I was very happy that I did, because this is the most flavorful, luxurious stew I have ever made. Very interesting and complex flavors, too.

I have adjusted this recipe and given options whenever possible so that you can try it at home. I promise that you will enjoy this, you won't waste your money, or your meat.  :)

Thanks for reading!

Julie

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Ingredients:
3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3 lb beef, cubed (I used a roast cut)
2 medium onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a pineapple, peeled, cored and finely diced **
1/2 cup red wine
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp sambal paste
Freshly ground black pepper and salt

Directions:
1.  Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat in skillet. Add half of the beef and season with 1/4 tsp pepper. Let the meat brown in the pan and then set aside in a medium sized bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef. 
2. Set the second batch of beef aside in the same bowl.
3. In the same skillet, add another 1 tbsp vegetable oil and over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic until it is translucent. (About 3 minutes).
4. In a large pot or a stock pot, add the sauteed onion and garlic.
5. Next, add pineapple, apple, pear and wine to the pot and reduce the liquid by half (about 5-7 minutes).
6. Once the liquid has been reduced by half, add cooked beef along with chicken broth, apple cider, tomatoes, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and sambal.
7. Bring the whole pot to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
8. Cover and simmer until beef cubes fall apart easily when poked with a fork. (About 2 more hours).
9. Serve with a side of cornbread.

**Side note: If you do not like the pineapple chunks in your stew, you can juice the pineapple in a juicer and add the juice and 1/2 of the pulp to the stew.  This side note is for those who know they do not like to bite into chunks of pineapple in the same way they do not like pineapple on their pizza.  In this stew, the pineapple is an essential ingredient in order to tenderize the meat, but this tip will solve the problem.

Source:
Recipe adapted from January 2012 InStyle Magazine, who featured and borrowed the original recipe from Chicago based star chef, Stephanie Izard.

Resource:
Browncookie.com: Molds to bake corn bread muffins

Full Disclosure: The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heart Shaped Pancakes- Valentine's Day


Hello everybody!

Valentine's Day is coming up. What are your plans to celebrate with your loved ones? Today, I am going to show you a simple way to show your love- Heart shaped pancakes. 

Molded pancakes are super simple to make if you follow these easy steps:

1) Choose a thicker pancake batter.  (Prevents seepage from under the ring)
2) Choose a batter that has more eggs (Cooks and forms pancakes quicker)
3) Use a non-stick skillet (Makes the release easier)
4) Grease your pancake mold carefully before you begin. (Makes the release easier).
Note: The pancake ring gets hot.  Use oven mitts or similar insulation to protect your hands before attempting to work with the mold. Let the mold cool in between batches.
Here is a recipe that is sure to guarantee your success:


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Ingredients:
3 large eggs
115g/ 4oz all purpose flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
140 ml/ 5fl oz milk
A pinch of salt
10 Large Strawberries, diced into small pieces for toppings.

Directions:
1) In a large bowl, beat the eggs until the the yolks are broken.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir quickly until they are incorporated.
3) Do not over mix- the batter should be lumpy.
4) Grease the pancake ring with cooking spray or with butter.
4) In a completely flat frying pan or griddle, place the heart ring in the middle of the pan. 
5) Add the batter until that pancake ring is about 3/4 full.  (The batter does have baking powder, so it will rise a bit during the cooking process).
**If you find that the batter is seeping out underneath the pancake ring, your pan is not completely flat.  Use a different pan.**
6) Cook on medium heat until the top is no longer liquidy, then remove the formed pancake from the ring.
7) Flip the pancake over and continue cooking for another 1 minute.
8) Serve warm with maple syrup and sprinkle strawberries over the top.  This is a rich, delicious and luxurious pancake to be shared with those you love.



Source: Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

Resource:
Heartshape Pancake Ring- Browncookie.com
Pancake Pen- Browncookie.com


Full Disclosure: 
The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com.  Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you.  All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions.  Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Breakfast Casserole-Jamie Oliver


Hello everybody!

This is a continuation of my last blog post about my brunch. For brunch, I knew I wanted to make a breakfast casserole of some sort. I looked online everywhere- at foodbuzz.comannie-eats.net and marthastewart.com to find inspiration for a colorful, delicious and hearty breakfast casserole, but I was not successful.  This was until my friend told me about a dish her brother made for brunch recently... and then she showed me a photo of the dish. I was immediately intrigued. The recipe is from Jamie Oliver. 

I looked over his recipe, and it had everything I liked, EXCEPT(!) I hate cooking vegetables in animal fat, which is basically what the recipe said to do.  Ok, let me retract my last sentence about animal fat..what I mean is, I hate using animal fat unnecessarily, especially when I feel that it doesn't add to the final result of the dish.  We can only consume so many calories in a day, so animal fats should be used only when necessary- i.e. when the dish will fall apart without its use.  Some examples of this- Poaching a piece of duck in its own fat to make duck confit, pieces of lard in wonton noodles for a burst of texture and flavor and cooking certain lentils in ghee to make a creamy daal. Just for cooking vegetables? No need to waste calories and consume saturated fats. In this dish, you won't be missing too much flavor from the animal fats since the red pepper is such a dominant flavor.

So, what I ended up doing was rewrite the recipe with a healthier version in mind. I also made the cooking steps more efficient.  **Side note, I don't like chorizo sausage, so I have replaced it with Italian sausage (which is my favorite).  You can use whichever sausage you like best.

Ingredients
Small mini potatoes in 3 colors: Golden, Red and Purple (About 4-5 of each color)- Cut into chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 6 links of Italian sausages (Ok to substitute with chorizo)- Cut into thirds
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
Two large handfuls of ripened cherry tomatoes
A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp Olive Oil 

*Note: Original recipe called for over-easy eggs to be plated together, but i prefer to serve eggs separately as a stand alone dish.  

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. On the stovetop, in a hot frying pan, brown the Italian sausages and render out the fats.  *Drain the FAT* and set the sausage aside. 
3.  In a separate oven-safe casserole dish, add olive oil.  Add potatoes, tomatoes and peppers and give everything a good shake and toss in the olive oil with a large spatula.
4. Bake for 20 mins in the oven, until the vegetables have softened and are cooked through. 
5. Remove the casserole from the oven, add the Italian sausage and return the dish to the oven for another 5 mins.
6. Season with salt and pepper (it is unlikely you will need a lot of salt because the Italian sausage is likely to be salty).
7. Sprinkle chopped parsley.
8. Let cool and serve with eggs over-easy and a loaf of good French bread.
9. Enjoy with your loved ones!

Source: 
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

Resource:  
Oven proof casserole dish- Emile Henry
Spatula for tossing- Browncookie.com
Spoon for serving jam or honey: Browncookie.com

Full Disclosure: 
The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com.  Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you.  All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions.  Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.
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