Thursday, January 31, 2013

Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

2  pounds  Beef Chuck, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes,  -OR-  Beef Stew meat, cut to size
2  Tablespoons  Oil  (confession here:  I, ahem, use bacon grease)
4 Cups  Boiling Water
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Juice, optional
1  teaspoon  Worcestershire Sauce
2  cloves  Garlic
1  medium  Onion, sliced  -OR-  a few good dashes Dried Minced Onion
1-2  Bay Leaves
Salt, to taste
1/2  teaspoon  Black Pepper
1/2  teaspoon  Paprika
Dash  Cloves  (yes, that's right)
1/4  teaspoon  Crushed Rosemary
1/2  teaspoon  Dried Tarragon
Dash  Cayenne Pepper
6  Carrots, peeled and cut to same size as Beef, or can use Baby Carrots
4-6  Potatoes, peeled and cut to same size as Beef  (I used my canned baby red potatoes, 1 quart)
 1/2  Cup  Red Wine(Cabernet or Ruby Port)  -OR- Water  -OR-  Beef Broth
shaken together with 1/4  Cup  Flour
 1  Cup  Frozen Peas
In a 6-quart stock pot, thoroughly  brown the Beef on all sides in hot Oil, turning often.  Add the Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, Garlic, Onion, and Seasonings.  Cover and simmer (don't boil or the meat can become tough) for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.  Remove Bay Leaves.
Add  Carrots and Potatoes.  Stir in the Red Wine and Flour mixture.  Cover and cook 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are done.  Stir in Frozen Peas.
Serve in bowls with forks and spoons to 6 or 8 of your favorite hungry people to warm them up on a cold winter's night.
"For we are
laborers together
with God;
ye are
God's cultivated field,
ye are
God's building."
1 Corinthians 3:9

I was at the grocery this past Monday and a lady stopped me, wondering what to put into Beef Stew (celery? squash? carrots? potatoes?) as her husband had requested it for dinner that night.  It had been so long since I'd made stew that I had to stop and think, too.  We chatted a bit and I was inspired to make stew as well.  I should have checked the weather first, though.  It was 64 degrees here yesterday--warm, sunny, the front door was open and the children were out playing basketball barefoot.  Not hardly stew weather!  I've adapted this recipe slightly from the 1962 edition of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook which my mother-in-law gave me.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013



1  Cup  Whole Milk
10  Tablespoons  Butter, melted
1  large Egg
2  large Egg Yolks, whites reserved
3-1/2  Cups  Flour
1/3  Cup  Sugar
2-1/4  teaspoons  Rapid-Rise Yeast or instant yeast
1-1/2  teaspoons  Salt 

Cheese Filling:
6  ounces  Cream Cheese, softened
3  Tablespoons  Sugar
1  Tablespoon  Flour
1/2  teaspoon  Lemon Zest
3/4  Cup  Ricotta Cheese  (whole milk or part-skim;  NOT nonfat)       

2  Tablespoons -plus- 2 teaspoons  Flour
2  Tablespoons -plus- 2 teaspoons  Sugar
1  Tablespoon  Butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces

Reserved Egg Whites, beaten with 1 Tablespoon Milk

For the Dough:
Grease a large bowl, set aside.  Whisk the Milk, Melted Butter, Egg, and Yolks together in a 2-cup measuring cup (the Butter will form lumps).  Whisk the Flour, Sugar, Yeast, and Salt together in the bowl of stand mixer.  Fit mixer with the dough hook, add Milk mixture to the Flour mixture, and knead on low speed until no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes.  Increase speed to medium and knead until dough clears the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom of the bowl, about 8 to 12 minutes.  If the dough hasn't cleared the bowl after 12 minutes, add more Flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, up to 2 Tablespoons.

Transfer dough to greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Place dough on the lower-middle rack and place a loaf pan on the upper-middle rack.  Pour 3 cups Boiling Water into loaf pan, close oven door, and let dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

For the Cheese Filling:
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Flour, and Lemon Zest on low speed until smooth, about 1 minuteAdd Ricotta Cheese and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Streusel:
Combine the Flour, Sugar, and Butter in a small bowl and rub between your fingers until mixture resembles wet sand.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Bake the Kolaches: 
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Punch down Dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Divide Dough into quarters and cut each quarter into 4 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a smooth, tight ball.  Arrange 8 balls on each baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Place the baking sheets in the oven, replace the water in the loaf pan with 3 cup Boiling Water, close oven door and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Remove baking sheets and loaf pan from oven.  Heat oven to 350*.  Grease and flour the bottom of a 1/3-cup measure (or a 2-1/4-inch-diameter drinking glass).  Make a deep indentation in the center of each dough ball by slowly pressing until cup touches sheet.  The perimeter of the dough balls will deflate slightly.

Gently brush the Kolaches all over with the Egg-Milk mixture.  Spoon filling into the Kolaches, about 1-1/2 Tablespoons per Kolache.  Sprinkle with Streusel.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.  Let cool on pan for 20 minutes.  Serve warm.  Makes 16 Kolache.

Fruit Filling for Kolaches:
Combine 10 ounces frozen Pineapple, Blueberries, or Cherries; 5 Tablespoons Sugar; and 4 teaspoons Cornstarch in bowl.  Microwave, covered, until bubbling and thickened, about 6 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.  Mash with a potato masher.  Let cool completely and fill Kolaches as directed.

 There is only one problem with this recipe: the Kolaches need to be eaten fresh.  After about 24 hours they start to really dry out.  My sister mentioned that she made and froze the Kolache and was disappointed.  So, eat them fresh--which really isn't so very hard to do!

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God,
and keep His commandments;
for this is the whole duty of man."
Ecclesiastes 12:13

From Cook's Country, December/January 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak
1/2  Cup  Milk
7  Tablespoons  Instant Potato Flakes (do not use potato granules--they give an 'off' flavor)
1  pound  90% Lean Ground Beef
4  Tablespoons Butter, divided
1  Onion, quartered and sliced thin  (use a mandoline if you have one)
1  pound White Mushrooms, sliced thin  (I only use 1/4-pound, if I even use them.  I abhor mushrooms)
1  Tablespoon  Tomato Paste
2  Tablespoons  Flour
1-3/4  Cups  Beef Broth
1/4  Cup  Ruby Port or dry Sherry

Whisk Milk and Potato Flakes in a large bowl.  Add Beef, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, and 1/2 teaspoon Pepper and knead until combined.  Shape into 4 1/2-inch-thick oval patties (I make 6 patties) and transfer to parchment-lined plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Melt 1 Tablespoon Butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook patties until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate, cover and keep warm.

Add Onion and remaining Butter to empty skillet and cook until Onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Add Mushrooms and 1/2-teaspoon Salt and cook until liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in Tomato Paste and Flour and cook until browned, about 2 minutes.  Slowly stir in Beef Broth and Port and bring to a simmer.  Return patties to skillet, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Season gravy with Salt and Pepper as needed.  Serve with Mashed Potatoes, Green Peas, and a glass of Milk for a home cooked diner-style 'blue plate special'.  

 "Who can find a virtuous woman?
For her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:10-12   

This recipe is from Cook's Country, October-November 2007.  The magazine states that "Dr. James Henry Salisbury (1823-1905) was one of America's earliest proponents of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.  His notion that diet could greatly affect overall wellness was revolutionary at the time.  In addition to advocating a diet of lean ground beef and coffee for Civil War soldiers, Dr. Salisbury also believed that vegetables and starches were unhealthy and caused disease."  

I have really enjoyed Cook's Country magazine.  If you're looking for a cooking magazine with no advertising (and I am finding that more and more of the advertisement in magazines is so repulsive that I don't even want the magazine in the house!),  I highly recommend this magazine.  I appreciate the time that is given to researching each recipe, too--the details that the kitchen staff share certainly help me to understand the mechanics of the recipe: how it works and why.  My family just agrees that everything tastes delicious.


Friday, January 18, 2013



Quarts  Popped Popcorn, unbuttered, unsalted
2/3  Cup  Sliced Almonds
1/3  Cup  Wide Ribbon Coconut  (I like Bob's Red Mill brand, it is the easiest to find--in the baking aisle)
1  Cup  Butter
1  Cup  Sugar
1/4  Cup  Karo
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1   teaspoon  Vanilla

Mix popped Popcorn, Almonds and Coconut; set aside.  In a 2-quart saucepan, cook the Butter, Sugar, and Karo until a light golden brown.  Remove from heat and stir in Salt and Vanilla.  Pour over the Popcorn mixture, stirring well to coat.  Turn out in a single layer onto waxed paper or parchment paper.  Let dry until set.  Makes 3 quarts.

This is a fun {read: yummy} variation to Caramel Corn.  I especially like the fact that you don't need to bake this for an hour or more, stirring every fifteen minutes--that can really try my patience!  You may find, like me, that you'll need to double this recipe.  If you do, here's a tip on what to mix it in:  use a CLEAN paper grocery bag!  Mix the Popcorn, Almonds, and Coconut in the bag; pour the Butter mixture over it and stir it well.  You can even fold the top closed and shake it well to help distribute the syrup mixture.  Best part of all?  Throwing the bag--and all the mess--away!

"Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
And the world passeth away..
but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
1 John 2:15 & 17

        Seasoned With Love, page 19