Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Slow Cooked Guinness Beef Stew and for dessert, Petite Pumpkin Toffee Tarts

Slow Cooked Guinness Beef Stew
3 cups (750 mL) 1" (2.5 cm) potato cubes or mini potatoes, halved
2 cups (500 mL) each, baby carrots and sliced celery
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 lb (750 g) 1" (2.5 cm) stewing beef cubes
1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper 
 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
2 cups (500 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use 25% Less Salt Beef Broth
200 ml Guinness
1/2 tbsp (7 mL) Worcestershire sauce
 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
 2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine vegetables in 4-1/2 qt (4.3 L) slow cooker. Add bay leaves.
Place stewing beef, flour and pepper into a sealable plastic bag and toss to coat beef.
Brown beef well on all sides in heated oil over medium-high heat in large non-stick skillet. Place beef on top of vegetables in slow cooker.

Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and garlic to skillet and combine well with pan drippings. Pour mixture over beef and vegetables. 
Cook, covered, on HIGH setting for 4 hours* or until the beef reaches internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and is fork-tender. Discard bay leaves before serving

Petite Pumpkin Toffee Tarts
Makes 24 tarts
tart shells
3 39-g Skor chocolate bars
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened pumpkin pureé
1/3 cup (75 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) whipping cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pumpkin pie spice or 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
24 pecan halves, about 100-g pkg

Arrange oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 375F (190C). Place tart shells on 2 large baking sheets, leaving a bit of space between them. Thaw at room temperature for 10 min.
Meanwhile, finely chop chocolate bars. Spoon 1 scant tsp (4 mL) into each shell. In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin with sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla and pie spice until blended. Fill shells nearly to the top, then place a pecan half on each.

Bake sheets on separate racks. Rotate baking sheets between racks after 10 min. Then continue baking until filling is set, about 10 more min. Serve warm or cool on a rack. If making ahead, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They'll keep well for 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
I think I'll be bringing some of these to work for the kids!

Just a week behind

Mixed Olive and Lemon Tapenade served with French Baguette to start, followed by Grilled Pesto and Goat's-Cheese Stuffed Chicken and  French Green Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette with Toasted Hazelnuts.

Last weeks blog - one week later!
Gotta say, I was just too pooped last Tuesday to get the blog up.
I also ran into a little snag when making my tapenade last Tuesday...mechanical malfunction! Yip, my mini chopper (little device I've been using as a food processor), bit the bullet. I was in the middle of processing the ingredients when it just died...couldn't get the darn thing to go. So I was left with half of a batch of tapenade...better some thatn none, I guess!

Mixed Olive and Lemon Tapenade
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp capers
1 cup black olives
1 cup green olives
1 cup Kalamata olives
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Toasted baguette
This is where it all went wrong!
Had to bin that thing...good-bye.

Add garlic and capers to food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
Add olives, red peppers, basil and process until coarsely chopped.
Add lemon zest, vinegar, parsley to mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest  1 hour.
Serve with baguette.
Yes, some is better than none.
Grilled Pesto and Goat’s-Cheese Stuffed Chicken
8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
½ cup pesto
½ cup goats-cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
Lift skin and make a small pocket between skin and meat.
Stuff one tablespoon of pesto and cheese into centre.
Press down to distribute.
Transfer to oven for 35-40 min. Skin should be crisp and golden and chicken should be cooked through.

French Green Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette and Toasted Hazelnuts
2 cups fresh green beans
2 tbsp Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
Blanch beans in salted boiling water 3-5 min depending on size. Beans should be crisp and be dark green.
Strain and plunge into cold water to stop cooking.
Blot dry on clean kitchen towel.
Toss in Dijon Vinaigrette until evenly coated, season to taste.

Dijon Vinaigrette
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallot, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Whisk in one direction to avoid splitting dressing while slowly adding oil in a thin stream.
Continue whisking until dressing is emulsified and thick enough to coat a spoon.
Transfer to a clean jar and store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Inspired by a Wine and Dine Fundraiser with Anthony Sedlak

This weeks dinner was inspired by a meal I had at a fundraising event on Sunday, at Mt. Lehman Winery.
The menu was created by Food Network's chef, Anthony Sedlak. He prepared a whole smorgasbord of food, including; a whole, spit-roasted Fraser Valley suckling pig, slow-roasted turkey with rosemary and sage, caramelized onion gravy, and Dijon and herb-crusted rib of beef. From the feild we had buttermilk and roasted garlic spun Youkon Gold potatoes, roastted red, yellow and candy cane beets with valencia orange, brussel sprouts with double smiked bacon and caramelized onions, and asparagus.
The food was a hit as well as the event. It was organized by the folks involved in a TV show called "Million Dollar Neighbourhood" whish will air on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) in 2012. There were lots of TV cameras, but no Oprah!

The dessert table

So these are the dishes I came up with...a most wonderful autum meal.

Leek and Pea Soup

50g butter
350g leeks, trimmed and sliced
2  potatoes (peeled weight), sliced
800ml hot vegetable stock
2 sprigs of mint
200g frozen peas
100ml single cream
Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the leeks and potatoes and turn them in the butter so that they’re well coated. Cover and cook over a very low
Heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the mint and peas and bring back to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly for about 15 minutes, then purée with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Return to the pan, stir in the cream and reheat. Serve with croutons.
Sautéd Beet Greens (like spinich)

Heat 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil in a large skillet.
Add 4 cups chopped greens including stems; 1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish, 1 finely chopped shallot or small onion, ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.

Fresh Beets  
7 to 9 beets, peeled, quartered
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter

Combine beets with water, brown sugar, vinegar, and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue simmering, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until beets are tender and most of the liquid has boiled away.
Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and Apple
1 onion
3 tbsp (50 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
pork tenderloin, about 1-1/2 lb (750 g)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) cider or apple juice
2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch

Cut onions in half lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise. In large skillet, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil over medium heat; fry onions, stirring often, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in apple; cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. (Make-ahead: Let cool; set aside for up to 2 hours. Rewarm.) 

Season pork with pepper. In large ovenproof skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; brown pork all over. Transfer to 350°F (180°C) oven; roast until juices run clear when pork is pierced, about 20 minutes. Transfer to carving board; tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, pour fat from skillet. Add stock and cider; bring to boil over medium-high heat, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. Boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup (175 mL). Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tbsp (25 mL) cold water; stir into skillet and cook until thickened.

Arrange onion mixture on warmed plates. Fan pork slices alongside; drizzle with sauce.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
3 tbls butter

Peel and cube potatoes.
Boil until softened, about 10 minutes.
Drain and return to pot.
Add butter and mash until smooth.
Add pepper to taste.

Proudly wearing my gift from Adele and Doug

Feed me til I want no more is sung by the Welsh at their beloved Rugby matches...a land of song!