Belgian Carbonnade

IMG_9791

I’m getting this dish submitted at the last minute for Formula 1 Foods hosted by Caroline Makes. This food challenge is following the Formula 1 Grand Prix, but in food. I don’t watch racing, but I do eat food, so I can participate.

This round was in Belgium, so we had at it and made food from that part of the world. Googling told me about carbonnade, essentially beef stew. Clearly, this did not photograph incredibly well, but it did taste good. Per what I read online, I served it with bread and applesauce. I think it would have been great with some roasted potatoes.

F1 Foods 1

Belgian Carbonnade
(source)

Ingredients
1 lb beef chuck, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 slices bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 onions, sliced
1 cup dark beer
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs tarragon
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the flour.
  2. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a dutch oven. Brown the beef in the butter, cooking about 8 minutes. Remove the beef from the dutch oven and set aside.
  3. Add the bacon and cook for 8 minutes.
  4. Once the fat is rendered off the bacon, add the garlic and onion. Caramelize the onions. This takes about a half hour. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add half of the beer and reduce. Scrape the bottom of the dutch oven.
  6. Add the remaining beer, browned beef, beef broth, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then cover. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Fish out the herbs. Serve with applesauce and bread.
    * serves 4

Biscuits and Bratwurst Gravy

IMG_9769

Food ‘n Flix this month introduced me to a movie that is now on my list of favorites. Hosted over at Eliot’s Eats, this month we watched August: Osage County. This was a movie on my to-watch list, that for some reason I never got around to. Julia Roberts is one of my favorite actresses, but beyond that, this was a very deep movie. I usually find that foodie movies don’t have the most depth, but this was the exception. I don’t know if I would particularly call this movie a foodie movie, but there were definitely many food references and images.

This movie involved so many relationships – dramatic, dark family relationships.

august-osage-county02

This movie depicts a very troubled family, family that has each of their own desires, motivations, and wills. And while, like I said, not really a food movie, a lot of their conversations, revelations, and arguments happen at the table, surrounded by food.

At one point in the movie, Violet (as played by Meryl Streep – the mother) says to her daughter Barbara (as played by Julia Roberts,) that the last time she saw her husband, “the Indian girl” made biscuits and gravy.

Well… I love biscuits and gravy, so that was that. Now, let’s explain this dish, shall we?

I was sort of lazy, hence the Pillsbury biscuits. But the gravy? I made that. And gravy is super easy to make. So, really, this was a super easy meal. We had breakfast for dinner when we had this dish. Earlier in the day we were at the cell phone store getting a new phone and somehow biscuits and gravy were brought us. The sales guy suggested making the gravy with bratwurst. So, I did! And it was delicious.

Luckily, we didn’t have any fights around our table. Actually, I think we ate on our laps on the couch watching TV, so perhaps that’s dysfunctional too.

FoodnFlix

Biscuits and Bratwurst Gravy

Ingredients
1 can of Pillsbury biscuits, baked according to the directions on the package
6 bratwurst links, chopped into pieces
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
plenty of pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the bratwurst over medium heat, until browned on all sides.
  2. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in half of the milk.
  4. Add the remaining milk and whisk together, until thickened.
  5. Tear your biscuits up and serve with gravy on top.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cupcakes Stuffed With Strawberries

IMG_9782

One of my all-time favorite challenges to participate in each  month is We Should Cocoa. This month we were left to our own devices – essentially go out and make something chocolate! But without the usual conditions (either to cook a certain type of chocolate food, to cook with a certain ingredient, etc.) This month I was allowed to do whatever I wanted! So I decided to make cupcakes.

Now, to be honest about this situation though, these cupcakes came about because I have a bottle of Kraken Spiced Rum. I bought this bottle of rum because I like the bottle and because I want to make a lamp out of it. But obviously I need to drink the rum out of it first, yes? To help me with that I made these delicious cupcakes. They are denser than I really would have preferred, because I somehow was out of baking soda and substituted with a combination of cream of tartar and baking powder. While I still got some rise from the cakes, the texture was definitely altered from this substitution. But still! I love them. I stuffed them with strawberries that had been cooked down in the rum. And while Matt initially whined that there wasn’t any frosting, these cupcakes do not need frosting.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

I haven’t been doing a whole lot of baking lately. But perhaps if I do more of these food challenges, I can get back in the groove? These cupcakes are also going to be submitted to Tea Time Treats – this month’s theme being Summer Baking.

TeaTimeTreats

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cupcakes Stuffed With Strawberries

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup spiced rum, divided
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 oz strawberries, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a mixer bowl, beat together 1 cup of sugar and the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beating in until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of the spiced rum. Beat together for 2 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking powder, and salt. Mix together until combined.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.
  4. Prepare a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, or until cooked. Let cool.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the center filling. In a small saucepan combine the strawberries, 1/4 cup of the spiced rum, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, until half reduced and slightly thickened.
  7. Using an apple corer (or something similar,) remove a portion of the center of each cooled cupcake. Fill with the strawberry filling.

* makes 12 cupcakes
* This recipe was also shared with Flour Me With Love.

Szilvas Pite (Plum Cake)

IMG_9759

Well… Looks like something got into this cake before I could take a picture of it. I can’t blame anyone, because imagine this. Plum cake topped with vanilla ice cream? It’s too hard to resist. I wish I had more left actually, because my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

The downsides of this? I clearly didn’t sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture on top of it very evenly. I actually had forgot. And then tried to do it while the cake was in the oven. That wasn’t my best baking moment.

This cake, or szilvas pite, is a Hungarian desert. I got the recipe from Saveur, which also included an article from 2013 by Carolyn Banfalvi, about Hungarian cuisine.

“I was getting full, but, wait, there was dessert: szilvás pite, a sheet cake dotted with fresh plums that we chased with strong black coffee . . . I make szilvás pite, reveling in the way the tart, juicy ripe plums from the market meld with the tender sheet cake.”

My plums sunk, perhaps I should have used a bigger baking dish to make it less thick? But I really liked the density of the cake. Despite the sunk plums, the taste was so perfect. Not too sweet, but the taste of the plums made it divine. And my plums were fresh from the farmers’ market. Even better.

F1 Foods 1

I made this recipe for Caroline from Caroline Makes . . . fun food challenge called Formula 1 Foods, following the Formula 1 Grand Prix foodie style.

Szilvas Pite

Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp sugar separated
1 egg
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 ripe plums, halved and pitted
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375. Grease a round cake tin and set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl whisk together 1 cup of sugar and the egg. Then mix in the yogurt, vegetable oil, and almond extract.
  4. Slowly combine the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon, making sure that the batter is thoroughly mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into your tin. Arrange the plums, cut side down, over the cake batter.
  6. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the cake batter.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Baked Zucchini with Parsley and Oregano

IMG_9754

This felt like such a long week. Being my first full week back to work after vacation, I had a hard time getting myself moving. I was still on vacation time. The first few days I was back I couldn’t bring myself to cook, because I was just so tired. But with the week back to work, I also made a point to cook dinner every night. On Monday this week I made chicken and this baked zucchini for dinner.

There is so much zucchini at the farmers’ market right now, so I figured it would be a good be a good entry for this month’s AlphaBakes – the letter being Z! I know in some parts of the world, zucchinis have a different name: courgette. Courgette sounds so much fancier than zucchini.AlphaBakes Logo
The zucchini was so tender. The herbs I used were so mild, so the taste of the zucchini really shined through. It was also a really easy dish to make. I loved it! It’s perfect for my submission to this month’s Eat Your Greens.

eat your greens logo

Baked Zucchini with Parsley and Oregano

Ingredients
1 lb zucchini
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp oregano, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
6 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Sprinkle salt on the cut side of the halves and place cut side down on a wood cutting board , allowing some of the liquid to drain away.
  2. Heat the oven to 350. Put the parsley, oregano, garlic, and breadcrumbs together in a bowl and mix together. Add half of the oil gradually and beat together with a fork. Season with pepper.
  3. Oil a baking dish and place the zucchini halves in it, cut side up. Spoon the herb mixture over the zucchini and drizzle 1 tbsp of the olive oil over the zucchini.
  4. Cover the dish in foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 20 more minutes, until the zucchini is tender.
  6. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

* serves 4
* Besides Alphabakes and Eat Your Greens, this dish is also being shared with Weekend Cooking

Brown Sugar Doughnut Batter Waffles

IMG_9710

I woke up this morning craving doughnuts. But since we moved, it’s about a 20 minute drive to the closest doughnut shop. Yes, I live in the absolute middle of no where. No doughnut shop!

So I got online and googled “doughnut recipe.” I then saw The Kitchen Magpie’s post for Mini Doughnut Waffles and my mouth started to water. How could I pass up a combination of two of my favorite breakfast foods? I just couldn’t. And because I had (nearly) all the ingredients called for in the recipe, I rolled out of bed, pulled out the stuff, and had at it in my kitchen.

I replaced the white sugar for brown sugar. And then I noted down on my shopping list I need more white sugar.

simplyeggcellent_logo1I was also hoping I’d be able to find a roundup to submit my version of these doughnut waffles to. Bealleau Kitchen used to be the host of Random Recipes, which I participated in all the time. After many months of successful roundups, Dom retired the roundup. He started a new one though, Simply Eggcellent. I’ve been meaning to join along, but my blogging had tapered off. So this is my first submission to his new roundup! July’s Simply Eggcellent focused on breakfasts. Though I had something else planned to submit, who knows if I’ll actually get around to making it.

What’s exciting about eggs in the kitchen, is they get hidden in so many different foods. You can scramble them, fry them, or do something where they’re obvious, or they can be the binding element in your batter!

BreakfastClub_badge0230

Also, I learned about this other roundup called Breakfast Club. Breakfast Club is hosted by Made With Pink and Maison Cupcake. These yummy waffle/doughnuts will be shared there too!

I made far too many for the two of this morning, so the rest will be frozen so Matt can throw them in the oven to warm up while I’m out of town.

Brown Sugar Doughnut Batter Waffles
(original source)

Ingredients
For The Batter:
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup skim milk
3 cups all-purpose flour

For The Topping:
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix together the sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice. Add the eggs, melted butter, and milk and stir to the sugar mixture.

2. Slowly stir in the flour. Mix the flour into the sugar mixture with a wooden spoon, until there are no dry spots of flour left.

3. Warm up your waffle maker and spray with cooking spray.

4. Once warm, place the batter in the middle of each waffle space. The dough will be sticky and thick. It will not spread out like a traditional waffle. My batter was spooned into the waffle maker in portions of about one heaping tablespoon each.

5. Cook for about 3 minutes, or per your waffle maker’s instructions, until the waffles are golden brown.

6. Let the waffles cool.

7. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Dip each waffle in the melted butter and then the sugar-cinnamon mix. Let set for about 5 minutes.

* this made about 12 waffles
* this recipe is also shared with Small Victories Sunday

Asian Noodles with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Tofu

IMG_1780

Sometimes I have problems with movies with subtitles. Eat Drink Man Woman provided me some trouble in that regard with paying attention. I kept seeing food, but I hardly followed the story line. Because of that, I can’t tell you what the movie was about.

Why am I talking about the movie though? Because this month’s Food n’ Flix hosted by Kahakai Kitchen features this movie. To participate I made some Asianesque noodles. Perhaps not the most inspired dish this month, but at least I’m participating? That’s more than I can say from the last few months.

foodnflix

Asian Noodles with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Tofu

Ingredients
12 oz ramen noodles (without the spice packets)
12 oz firm tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3-inch piece of ginger, minced
1 tbsp mirin
4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb asparagus, with fibrous ends removed cut into 3 inch pieces
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seeds
pinch of red chili flakes

Directions

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet. Once sizzling hot, add the tofu and cook 2 minutes per side. Remove and place on a plate.

2. In a pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.

3. In the cast iron skillet, add some more oil. Add the mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mirin on top. Pour into a large bowl.

4. Add some more oil to the skillet. Cook the green onions for 2 minutes and place in the large bowl with the mushrooms. Then cook the asparagus in the skillet for 2 minutes. Place in the large bowl.

5. Add the noodles, tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chili flakes to the vegetable mixture. Toss to combine.

* serves 4
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this dish is also shared with Delicious Dish Tuesday

Shrimp Pasta with Spinach Sauce Topped with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

SpinachShrimpPastaBrussels

I didn’t really know what I was making when I was making dinner tonight. I had three recipes in front of me, that somehow morphed into one dish. It all worked together very well. I had the pasta, a dipping sauce for the shrimp, the shrimp and tomatoes, and the brussels sprouts all separate. I took a step back and realized this dish would be perfect as a pasta dish (instead of having the pasta on the side.) And I was right.

Had I known I was going to do this, I would have thickened the spinach sauce up a bit – but the flavors were all great.

Though this was not the dish I had intended to make for this month’s Pasta Please, I figured I should share it, because as life seems to prove time and again, I’m bad at getting blogs done. So if I have something that qualifies, I should get it in!

Pasta Please is a fun monthly roundup, hosted by Tinned Tomatoes, but this month at SliceOffMe.

pasta please

Shrimp Pasta With Spinach Sauce Topped with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
8 oz dried spaghetti noodles
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb uncooked shrimp, deveined and peeled
1 lb Brussels sprouts
olive oil, enough to fry the brussels sprouts
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup baby spinach
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook per the box’s directions. Drain and set aside.

2. When the pasta is cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Add the shrimp and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

3. To prepare the Brussels sprouts, trim the stems. Peel back and separate the leaves of the Brussels sprouts. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a cast iron skillet pour in the vegetable oil to sufficiently cover the bottom. Heat until sizzling. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves and fry, flipping continuously so they don’t burn. Once they have browned and begin to fold, remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on the lined baking sheet.

4. In a blender or food processor combine the spinach, green onions, yogurt, milk, vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Process until smooth.

5. Place the drained Brussels sprouts leaves in a bowl and toss with red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

6. Heat a skillet with Pam over medium heat. Cook the shrimp and cherry tomatoes, for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp are no longer pink.

7. Toss the pasta with the sauce, shrimp, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts leaves on the top.

* serves 4
* Besides Pasta Please, this dish is being shared with Small Victories Sunday

Blueberry and Chocolate Banana Bread

IMG_9696

Um…. Hello? Hello out there? Can anyone hear me? I have fallen off the world of blogging for nearly two months. I’m not sure what happened except life just kept going. I’ve been working nonstop, because I still have 11 days left until I’m off of my probationary period at work and can actually take time off. I’m taking time off this month to travel to Ohio to see family.

In the last two months I’ve been in trial about every other week, got new privileges at work (which don’t really equate to a promotion, because that’s not how it works – but I can now handle more serious cases,) and I moved into a new house. I’m still renting and I’ve downsized significantly. I was paying nearly $1200 a month for the house I was in, which realistically isn’t that much money for the size of house we were in, but I was just spending more than necessary. I mean, we didn’t really need a house that big for the two of us and our cat. So we are saving $300 a month now, but my kitchen is significantly tinier. I’m trying to come up with ways to maximize the storage, because there isn’t much shelving. We already bought something to use as a pantry for the food, but oh my god, I have so much kitchen stuff. There were more boxes of kitchen stuff that we moved than anything. Is that embarrassing?

We officially moved on the 20th, but then we had to clean out the old place and I got busy at work . . . and we hadn’t gone grocery shopping. We finally went today, so I decided to take this as a new start.

I will post in my blog again.

I will also try to lose weight again.

Today’s food won’t help with the weight loss . . . but at least I’m posting in my blog?

One of my favorite challenges continued in my absence (because apparently the world continues even when I don’t!,) and this month I decided I would play again. Given chocolate is my downfall in life, I decided it would be the most likely challenge for me to actually do. So I used the oven in my house for the first time today and found a recipe that combined blueberries and chocolate for We Should Cocoa. This banana bread is so moist and filled with such yummies. My boyfriend took a bite and exclaimed, “This is the best banana bread I’ve ever had!” So there it is. I’m back and I have banana bread.

I had to make a few variations from the original recipe, because I thought I had sugar? But I don’t? Or it’s still packed? I don’t know. I made it work with powdered sugar and it came out just fine.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

Banana and Chocolate Banana Bread
(original source)

Ingredients
1/2 stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 bananas, mashed
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf tin.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, fully mixing them into the butter.

3. Add the banana and chocolate and mix with the butter.

4. Sift the dry ingredients together and mix them with the wet mixture until just combined. Stir in the blueberries, making sure not to break them.

5. Spread the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes before slicing.

* makes 1 loaf
* besides We Should Cocoa, this dish is also being shared with Small Victories Sunday

Cuban Sandwiches

I’m the worst blogger ever. Life has kept me busy. Work has kept me busy. I would say I promise to be better, but that might just end being another lie. I don’t mean to be a liar . . . But it probably wouldn’t be the truth.

But I did participate in this month Food ‘n Flix! Are you proud of me?

chef

This month’s movie, Chef, was hosted by Culinary Adventures by Camilla. I had been intending to watch this movie for some time, but it took Food ‘n Flix to kick me in gear.

Chef is a movie for any foodie. A chef, Carl Casper, loses his job and tries to put his stuff back together – to find his drive. And what does he do? He opens a food truck, featuring Cuban Sandwiches!

There was a ton of choices in this movie. My list includes andouille sausage sandwiches, french onion soup, noodles of some sort, try to make something relating to Twitter, breakfast . . . There were a ton of choices.

But I decided to go the sandwich route, the Cuban sandwich route, in honor of the food truck.

The sandwich was delicious. I have so much pork now though, I’ll be eating pork for a week.

And this wasn’t the greatest picture . . . but I tried. I at least tried.

IMG_1003

Cuban Sandwiches

Ingredients
roast pork
several slices of deli ham
mayonnaise
mustard
sliced pickles
sandwich rolls
butter

Directions

1. Heat butter in a cast iron skillet.

2. Prepare the sandwiches. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on the bun. Layer with the ham, pork, and mustard on the roll.

3. Place in the skillet in the melted butter. Toast until golden brown on both sides of the bread.

Roast Pork

Ingredients
1 head garlic, minced
2 tbsp salt
6 cups orange juice
3 cups lemon juice
3 cups lime juice
2 onions, diced
1 tbsp oregano
3 cups olive oil
7 lbs pork shoulder

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients except the pork. Place the pork in the marinade and let marinate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 325. Cook for 3 1/2 hours (or 30 minutes per pound of pork.)

FoodnFlix