For some reason I’ve only eaten steak on the rare occasion. It isn’t that I dislike steak, it’s just that I like chicken and fish considerably more. I even went a year without eating beef or pork, and only started up again because at the end of that year I happened upon a blood drive and they almost wouldn’t allow me to contribute because I was borderline anemic. The nurse asked me if I was a vegetarian, and when she was certain that I didn’t have any moral objections against doing so she suggested that I start incorporating more red meat into my diet. Continue reading
Pigs-in-a-blanket are great when you need a portable breakfast. They’re even better when you make them yourself because you can control the ingredients.
In some parts of Texas pigs-in-a-blanket are known as kolaches. More on those another day, this post is all about soft, buttery buns with savory fillings. I’ve had them stuffed with boudin, bacon and eggs, ham and cheese, plain sausage, sausage and cheese, and sausage, jalapeno and cheese (my favorite). Continue reading
I have made this Boeuf Bourguignon recipe on a number of occasions over the years and it is sublime. It’s easy and much faster than the original French recipe. However, it is still dark, rich, and wine based with a slow cook style. Slow cooking is very important, a simmer for three to four hours is key. Continue reading
Can I ask you a question? How many of you love Pot Pies? Do they bring back good memories for you? I assume many of you have had the store bought versions however, how many grew up on the homemade type? Well I for one grew up on the store bought version and I thought they were OK but not terrific. As time went by the meat and vegetables became less and less in many of the pot pies we purchased and more sauce. Have you noticed this too? Continue reading
Early on I made a chicken stock for you, as winter had arrived and well, lets face it, there is nothing like homemade soup- for which you need a good stock. So today we’ll make beef stock and oh I see beef stew in my future. Actually, French Onion Soup sounds really wonderful with melted cheese… and a glass of wine, too. Doesn’t it sound perfect?
There are many occasions where a recipe calls for either chicken or beef stock and what is called stock in our grocery store is so watered down it no longer resembles a stock with the appropriate adjectives such as rich, deep flavor, mouth watering, and soul satisfying. Your stock is the essence of the dish; if it’s not the very best the dish will not be your best creation. You can make a good stock and freeze it and for the occasion when you just need a few tablespoons it’s a great idea to freeze them in ice cube trays then pop out what you need. Great for soups, stews and sauces.
In classic French cuisine stocks are so important that they are known as the “fond du cuisine”
or the foundation of cooking. Stocks are not intimidating by any mean but rather easy and economical and taste wonderful. Save all your bones, freeze them and they will be there when you have time to cook them up and make your stock. Here we go.
In a large stock pot add all your bones, vegetables, spices and water. Bring it to a boil then lower heat to medium and continue simmering for 2-3 hours. Check it often and adjust the temp if necessary. I usually aim for 3 hours as it has time to render the marrow and make it richer. Remove bones and vegetables to a strainer and drain broth thru strainer right into a bowl, pressing any liquid out of vegetables with the back of a large spoon. Discard any solids and drain remaining stock if any in the same strainer catching any spices or pieces. Again, press liquid out with the back of a large spoon, and discard the solids. If you can drain everything all at once, great! I tend to do batches- it’s just easier and I don’t have a large enough strainer. Remember you want a smooth, silky broth.
Refrigerate stock so fat rises to the top, you can now skim off and discard the fat. Freeze in ice cube trays or freezer bags. Now you’re ready for the next time you prepare a soup, stew or sauce. You’ll taste the difference and never purchase at the grocery store again. I promise.
- 4 pounds meaty beef neck bones or beef soup bones
- 12 cups water
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into pieces
- 2 large celery stalks with leaves cut into pieces
- 1 large leek, cleaned and cut into pieces
- 1 heaping Tablespoon parsley
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- Add all ingredients to a large stock pot.
- Bring to boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
- Remove bones and vegetables.
- Strain liquid into a container.
- Refrigerate until fat solidifies at top.
- Remove fat.
The Italian meat sauce in this spaghetti dish will make you feel like you’re in the old country. Add garlic toast, salad and your favorite beverage (I enjoy a dry red wine with this) and you have a hearty meal.
I like to say this is how I enticed Will to be my husband as this is one of his favorite dishes. I was trying to remember how long I’ve been making this recipe. I think I was about ten and because it was one of my favorite pasta dishes I asked my mother to teach me. Over the years I’ve made small changes that have made it better (sorry Mom). As I grew up and my palate