Sunday, March 14, 2010

I cooked like Julia!

So like I said in my last post, it was my friend Jackie's birthday. And she is a ton like me. We both are sort of foodie people at heart, we read the book Julie/Julia and had to go see the movie. Well it has been my dream for some time now to make Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon. I just knew it had to be for Jackie's birthday dinner. Adam and I bought ourselves a great red Dutch oven for Valentine's day so now was my chance. I picked up some 2 buck chuck from Trader Joe's the last time I was up there, and headed over to the butcher's to get the meat. The next time I make it I will ask my dad the butcher to hook me up with some amazing cut of beef. What I used was fine, but the guy behind the counter was not very nice. Oh well. I started cooking at 2 in the afternoon when the kids went down for a nap. There is not one part of this recipe that is difficult. It is just a little time consuming. I printed out a copy of the recipe and taped it to my cabinet so that it would not get splattered and to free up extra counter space. I found a copy of the recipe on but it was not the full recipe. I will post the one I used and when I get home, I can dig out the rest of it later today. The whole process took 5 hours, but you need to remember that 3 hours of it was baking time. So not an all day thing like you may have heard. So we had Adam, myself, Jackie, L, D, and my brother in law Ben over for dinner. It fed all of us, and we still had leftovers. We served it over buttered egg noodles, with a side of buttered peas. It was fantastic! And I can wait to make it again!

Servings: Serves 6


Kitchen Supplies:
  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon
Boeuf Bourguignon:
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs


Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Copyright © 1961, 1983, 2001 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Super Yummy Cake!

Well it was my friend Jackie's birthday once again, if you remember last year I made the fabulous 14 layer cake! So I asked her what she would like for dinner and what kind of cake she would like. Her response, "Anything, but not another 14 layer cake. It was good, just too much.", and it was! It is just so sweet and rich that it can be a bit much. She was having a rough month also because her mom had gotten really sick and she was helping tons to take care of her, so I really wanted to make it special. I started to scroll through my recipes that I have stored on the computer and I came across this one. It is a sour cream chocolate cake, with a peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter glaze. One word, AMAZING! It was perfect for her, her two favorite sweet flavors together. This cake was super easy to make, and very delicious. We ended up eating almost half of it that night, and I forced her to take the rest to share with her family.

This recipe came from the book Sky High: Irresistable triple-layer cakes
by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne

Sour cream-chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
and chocolate-peanut butter glaze

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
Peanut butter frosting
chocolate-peanut butter glaze
1/2 cup chopped peanut brittle

1. preheat the oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of the 3 8” round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.
Sift in the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 min. or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 20 min. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.
To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up on a cake stand. Spread 2/3 cup of the peanut butter frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
To decorate with the chocolate glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 min to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

peanut butter frosting

10 ounces softened cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on med speed until light and fluffy 3-4 min.
Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

chocolate-peanut butter glaze

8 ounce semisweet chocolate, coursely chopped
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-half

In the top of a double boiler combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-half beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

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