Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Braised meats are so delicious, especially when it's cold and gloomy outside. This is my favorite beef stew recipe. Prep is about 30 minutes, then it has to cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, so plan ahead! It taste great warmed up in a frying pan the next day too!

Beef Stew
Recipe adapted from: The Food Channel

1 1/2 pounds stewing beef cubes
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups beef stock or broth
3/4 cup red wine (or grape or cranberry juice)
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
5 thyme sprigs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Season beef with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add meat to pot, searing on all sides until dark brown. Remove meat from pot.
Add shallots and garlic to the Dutch oven. If necessary add remaining oil. Sweat for 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and cook until paste becomes fragrant and dark red, approximately 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add flour.
Whisk in beef stock, breaking up any lumps. Add wine, fish sauce, black peppercorns, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Add the reserved beef to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven. Cook until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Sauce should continue to be at a light simmer while in the oven. If the sauce stops simmering bring it back to a simmer on the stove top and return to the oven.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I have been craving a meal I have not had in at least 5 years, if not more. A couple of restaurant around here have a killer plate of chicken brochette over rice pilaf served alongside roasted potatoes and a garden salad with creamy and thick garlic sauce.

I had a commitment free Sunday this weekend, the first in I don't know how long, so I set out to replicate this meal.

Boneless chicken breasts were cubed and were marinated in store-bought "mediterranean" sauce while I checked my cookbooks for recipes for rice, potatoes and garlic sauce. I came up with zilch.

So I entered the dish I was craving into Google and trusted the first link that came up. It also helped that the blogger who provided the recipes said that she had eaten at a restaurant near where I live when she moved to Eastern Ontario.

So I made the potatoes first, since they have to roast for 50 minutes. Peeled and cut potatoes into wedges, then tossed them into a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, zest, rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper.

Lemon Potatoessource: Australian Women's Weekly cookbook via A Little Bit of this, A Little Bite of That

12 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp grated lemon rind
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper and salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Place diced potatoes in a bowl. Combine remaining ingredients. Once combined, pour over potatoes and stir well to coat. Place potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and cook for 50 mins.

For the rice pilaf, onion, carrots and celery get sauteed in oil, then thyme, oregano and salt get added in for flavor. I used basmati rice and toasted it in the saucepan with the veggies, before adding chicken broth. The rice simmers for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Rice Pilafsource: thebestmomontheblock.blogspot.com via A Little Bit of this, A Little Bite of That

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 med carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups of chicken stock or water
kosher salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and zucchini and sauté for a few minutes. Add the oregano, thyme and salt. Now add the rice and stir to brown for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, stir and cover. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is light and fluffy (about 20 minutes).

I was also craving that thick and creamy garlic sauce, but had trouble finding a recipe. I finally settled for a recipe that didn't call for mayo or sour cream, but it was way thinner than I had wanted it to be. I added a spoonful of mayo hoping it would thicken it up, but it didn't. In any case, even if it was more of a salad dressing then the dipping sauce I was hoping for, I really enjoyed the flavor. 

Creamy garlic sauce
recipe source: Pinterest

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
3-5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender.

Loved this meal. Tasted like summer.