Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brussels Sprouts

Yes....they originally were popular in Belgium...hence the name.  A lot of folks don't care for them...I love them.  If you overcook sprouts, they release a sulphurous odor ... which is one of the reasons some people don't care for them.

This recipe is for raw sprouts.  I prefer them at least slightly cooked myself because they are sometimes a bit strong or bitter to me if raw. But... still love 'em ... however, I do sometimes wish we could all taste fruit and veggies directly from the vine..(or tree or whatever) ... at the peak of freshness and perfectly sun ripened.  If wishes were horses, as they say.......

Okay, back to this particular recipe.

I watch a new cooking show called Best Recipes Ever ... they have a ton of great recipes available online... called "tested til perfect".  Find them at

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

3  tbsp. light mayonnaise
2  tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1  tbsp. lemon juice
1  tsp. each Dijon mustard and Anchovy paste ( I omitted the Anchovy paste)
1  large clove garlic, minced
1/2  tsp. Worcestershire sauce
pinch pepper
4 cups (1 L ) shredded Brussels sprouts (about 16 sprouts)  (she used food processor to shred them)
2  tbsp. each extra virgin olive oil and diced prosciutto or bacon (who needs oil when you have bacon fat? ..hmmm...)

In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Add brussels sprouts, tossing to coat. Set aside.

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook prosciutto until crisp.  (I used bacon and no oil of course)  Add prosciutto with oil to sprouts mixture, tossing to combine.  Let stand for 10 minutes to wilt slightly.

Other option::::    I chose to cut my sprouts in halves and quarters, and toss them into my pan with some slices of almost cooked bacon. Once softened a bit...I turned off heat and added the mayo mixture ...folding into the sprouts.  Served it in the nice stainless pan in which I cooked the bacon.  Next time I think I will blanch or ever so slightly cook the sprouts first... ooooohhh.... it's a yummy dish.
Creamy mashed potatoes, carrots in broth with fresh parsley....tenderloin with Apple cider ...

Of course, not necessarily one to make every time you enjoy sprouts...but, for special occasions.  Or... even as what I call "Sunday on a Monday" as I decided we were having the other day.  I didn't do much for supper on the Sunday because the day just got away from me.  So, figured, what the heck... I'll do something nice on Monday.  I'm home all day.... and with tenderloin as the main sure doesn't take long to turn out something pretty special....stay tuned for the tenderloin recipe.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Art Smith's Peach Cobbler

Well, actually.... the only reason I call it that is because I watched Top Chef Masters a few weeks ago and he was on as a contestant.  One of the things he was doing was a tiny version of Peach Cobbler... rolling out some light dough with a miniature rolling pin.... and he used the teeniest little ramekins with a handle.... it was pretty cute because he has huge hands and it made everything look even more miniscule.  The judges were suitably impressed with the cuteness of it as well.

I don't have a clue what he put into it... they don't tell you and you don't get to see all of the preparation...

But, .. I had to give one a try even though it was a guessing game.  I tried to find his recipes on line... no luck at all.  Too much advertising to go through to get anywhere with that.  I gave up.

No fresh peaches around here at this time of year, so I used some canned in pear juice.  Butter the ramekins.   I added a bit of cornstarch to my juice and tossed in a few blueberries.  I thought it would add to the dish as I have seen recipes before that had peaches and blueberries, but, honestly, it makes the peaches a horrible deep purplish colour and just didn't look that great to me.  Next time...just peaches.

I was already mixing up some sweet tea biscuit dough for an apple cobbler, so just swiped a little blob...added a bit of flour to it.. and floured the countertop and rolled out a piece.  I sprinkled a bit of sugar on top as counter the adding of flour. Don't want dry tasteless tops on my cobbler!

Baked them til lovely and golden and voila... Peach Cobbler.  So cute.  The perfect snack for Mr. BV and me when he came home from work....

Then.... we had supper.  Hahahah.... yes, indeed,  always have dessert first.  That's my motto.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Those puffy white things?? Dumplings

Last time I made stew, my sweetie asked if I was going to make "those puffy white things" to go with it.  Huh? ...  for a second I was stumped.  Then, I realized what he meant.  And...  was quietly pleased that he thought my dumplings were puffy and light.... what better compliment could the chief cook and bottle washer receive?

As is my usual.... I'm posting the basic recipe from my old Canadian Cookbook.... I add or subtract items if I don't or do have them in the house on the day.  The underlying flavour is very much the same.... and I love the aroma of a good stew.  Our Mom wasn't one to cook daily...but, when she did, she made some great tasting suppers.  Stew was one of the most amazing aromas to come home to after a cold walk from school....  so it brings back memories.  This stew is very similar and therefore very familiar.... I love it.

Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef
1/3 cup seasoned flour
1 small onion (sliced or chopped)
        some vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup celery sliced
6 carrots, halved or chopped
6 potatoes, quartered or chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Trim fat and coarse tissue from the meat; cut into 1 inch cubes.
Dredge at least half the meat with flour; brown slowly in a little hot fat in a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid.  ( I like to make it in my electric frying's so easy to adjust the heat and have it simmering for as long as I want) (Alternatively, at this point you could put meat into crock pot..add the veggies and continue simmering in the crock)
Add the rest of the meat and the onion; add just enough stock or water to cover the meat (about 1 quart). Cover the pan.
Simmer 1 hour; add the vegetables, and more water if necessary and simmer another hour. Add 1/3 white wine if desired.
Thicken with a mixture of flour and water if you like.

NB::.....   I don't know what they mean by seasoned flour... but, I usually grind in a good scraping of fresh black pepper.  Once the meat is browned and I have added onion and water...I also add a good splash of Rice Vinegar and another splash of Light Soy Sauce.
I like to use sweet basil, some rosemary ...  or, a mix of Italian Spices or Herbes De Provence....  and, always, a large Bay Leaf.... that is the taste of stew for sure!

If I have a turnip around.... I like to add some and even parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh or frozen green beans or peas... don't forget the celery tops and leaves too.... ! ... whatever veggies you love.  And... I chop lots of fresh parsley into it as well.

Then... when it has simmered for a few hours... those puffy white things!


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 to 1/3 cup fat
2/3 cup milk

Mix and sift flour, salt and baking powder.  (Again... for us..I never use salt.. and find that salty butter is enough... it's up to you)

Cut in fat with pastry blender til it is the texture of meal.
Stir in the milk to make a sticky dough.
Spoon out large dollops of the dough either onto a floured plate... and from there to the stew...or directly onto the gently bubbling stew.  There should not be so much liquid that the dumplings cannot rest on the meat and vegetables.  Allow a space of about 3 inches for the dumplings to rise.
Drop dumplings quickly into the stew, spacing them out a bit and cover the pan.
Keep the stew simmering and do NOT lift lid for about 15 minutes.
Lift dumplings onto a plate; thicken the stew; pour the stew into a serving plate or leave in electric skillet and arrange dumplings back on top....

NB::   I use only 2 to 2  1/2 tsps. baking powder ... I don't like tasting it AT all and they seem to puff up just fine. I used the larger amount of butter... 1/3 cup... and no salt.