Pot roast is a pretty standard American meal. Many folks have their own recipes that they love. But just in case you don't, here's mine! An herb crusted beef roast goes into a pot with potatoes, veggies, red wine, and beef stock until it is super tender - yum.
First step - rub that beef. Combine kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to make a rub. Sprinkle over and press into the meat.
The you are going to brown those veggies and sear that beef. Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven until very hot. Then add an onion and carrots and cook until really browned. Remove the veggies temporarily, add more oil, and sear the beef on all sides. Then take that out, too, because you need to deglaze.
Happy Pi/Pie Day! I know that most people are probably celebrating with desserts, but what about a savory pie? Or rather a savory dish with pie in the name that isn't actually a pie? Whatever, don't judge me. It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies. Be sure to check out her delicious Pi Day Coconut Cream Pie, it is sooooooo good!
This vegetarian version shepard's pie is packed with veggies, topped with creamy goat cheese, and perfect for St Paddy's Day (which is never St Patty's by the way). I mean, just look at that gorgeous green topping.
The base is made with roasted beets, eggplant, sundried tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes simmered in vegetable stock with thyme, caraway seeds, and fennel seeds. I was a little scared that the fennel and caraway would be really strong and take over, but they added just the right amount of depth and a real Irish flavor.
The January pick for Food 'n Flix is the 1987 Danish film Babette's Feast (now included in The Criterion Collection), chosen by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. This is the story of two deeply religious and puritanical sisters who live on the remote coastline of 19th Century Denmark. They give up much in their lives in order to live the way that they were raised and to help the people of the village. Late in their lives, a French refugee comes to stay with them for many years and cooks them a fabulous meal to thank them. The sisters and villagers are afraid to give in to the decadence of the meal, but it ends up healing many of their wounds and rifts. It is a story about the healing power of food and how it can show love and thanks.
The food cooked in the movie is quite extravagant and I didn't think I could take on turtle soup or quail stuffed with foie gras and truffles, so instead I decided to just go French in general. I must have been influenced by all the soup that the Danish villagers ate (and the stew meat in my freezer), because I made a French stew with beef and red wine - cooked low and slow in a crockpot.
Beef is seasoned with salt and pepper and placed into a bowl with onion, garlic, shallot, celery, carrot, thyme, bay leaves, and lemon zest.
This is the fun part - a whole bottle of red wine is poured over the ingredients and then left to marinate (refrigerated) overnight. The wine is the stock for this stew, and the flavor permeates everything. So make sure that you use a good one! I suggest a Cotes du Rhone for this.
In the ever continuing quest to eat less grains, I decided that I wanted to see how lentils paired with salmon. I found a couple recipes that I liked and combined them into one that worked for me. The lentils are cooked up nice and tender with veggies, and then mixed with the same mustard and herb butter that tops the salmon. This butter, you guys, it's outstanding. I had a little bit left over and I spread it over toasted sourdough and savored every bite with eye-rolling pleasure. I want to make more of the butter just to do that again. This meal is so healthy and so yummy that I can't stand it.
1⁄2 pound French green lentils
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into half moons and thoroughly washed
few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
3⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic (2-3 cloves)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups Chicken Stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
4 (8-oz) center-cut salmon fillets, skin on
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Remove the thyme stems and bay leaf, add the vinegar, and season to taste.
Stir together the softened butter, chives, grainy mustard, and lemon juice with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add 3 tbsp of the butter mixture to the lentils and stir to combine.
Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Serve salmon, topped with remaining 2 tbsp mustard-herb butter, over lentils.
I am trying to avoid carbohydrates and starches as much as possible for health reasons (and not being very successful). For this reason, I like it when I happen upon a tasty looking Paleo recipe. I do not follow the Paleo diet by any means, but I do agree with some of their basic assumptions - like grains and processed vegetable oils are bad, and animal fat is good.
I liked this recipe even more when I saw that it was for the slow cooker. Loaded up with carrots, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and chicken stock - a pot of goodness!
Now, I usually don't like chicken thighs, especially skin-on and bone-in, but I get that breasts dry out and fall apart so I followed the recipe on this one. Picking around the bone was still pretty irritating to me, but that skin that I crisped up (twice) in bacon fat? Yum city. I also threw a little fresh thyme in here because I grow it and why not?
The flavor is rich and satisfying, really great as comfort food. I will say that the proportions of this recipe as written are off. There is so little meat on these thighs that it would take 3-4 to fill someone up, especially if you don't make some other kind of side (greens would have been so good!). And there was a huge amount of puree - I had enough leftover after serving to turn into a soup! So next time, I would double the amount of chicken and will reflect that in the recipe below.
Everybody knows that peaches and cream go well together, so it makes sense to think that peaches would also pair perfectly with creme fraiche. I recently discovered that you can make creme friache at home with just heavy cream and buttermilk - which is way cheaper than buying it! I used the thick, creamy, and tart product in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR peach recipes. So let's dig in!
First up is a pie that I have blogged about before, but am bringing up again because it is just so freaking good. Peaches, creme fraiche, and streusel - layered into tender, flaky pie crust. Definitely one of my favorite pies ever.
Next up we have muffins made moist with the help of creme fraiche, packed with chunks of juicy peach, and with a little kick from both fresh and candied ginger. My husband LOVED these - we went through all 24 muffins in 2 weeks!
What is better in the summer than a lovely bowl of ice cream? This peach sherbet gets it's tart creaminess from (you guessed it!) homemade creme fraiche.
It's pretty easy to make, too, as far as ice cream goes. You do have to cook the peaches first, and then chill them. But after that it is just blend and freeze!
Last, but not least, is a white peach and lemon thyme galette served with sweetened creme fraiche. I, foolishly, did not notice that my peaches weren't ripe before I peeled them and had to get a bit creative, poaching them in honey, lemon thyme, and white wine in order to soften them before baking.
There are many recipes to choose from here, all of them delicious. Enjoy those peaches while they last!
I had never made scallops at home before, so I was pretty nervous. But as it turns out, it's pretty easy! Just make sure that you buy them no more than 1 day before you want to cook them, keep them on ice if you aren't going straight home, and store them in the coldest part of the fridge. Also, be warned that your house will smell like seafood after you cook them.
As for the pasta - whole wheat linguine, lemon, peas, thyme, and of course - fresh ricotta. Fresh and light and creamy deliciousness!
Here's one more shot to tide you over...
It's another vegetarian lunch brought to you by Sarah and Melissa! Unfortunately I am posting this a bit late and you probably can't get some of the ingredients anymore, sorry! There's always next year. There are a lot of delicious components in this dish - Gruyere, brown butter, delicate ramps, and the very weird but very cool fiddlehead ferns.
These guys are kinda funky looking, huh? They have a short season in Spring and taste a lot like asparagus. You need to wash them well when you get them, and it can be a little tricky to tell what is dirt and what is their little gripper feet - so I recommend soaking them in a bowl of cold water then rinsing them off one at a time. Time consuming, but worth it.
Another short season, Spring item - ramps. Most commonly found in Appalachia, these little guys are a wild onion variety that have a pronounced garlic flavor. And they are just so pretty, too!
Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post! Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting! Announcement post is here.
The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital. As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year. These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor. To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name). Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose. When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place. Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital. It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.
Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life. I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting. I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).