Food Flight

An aviator's culinary adventures

Leftovers Creation January 23, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Pasta — flyingbubble @ 4:33 pm
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My mom and I had extra Bechamel sauce from our crepe dinner the other night so we devised a genius plan to consume the leftovers.  I’ve blogged about Shirataki noodles before, they’re a super low calorie pasta replacement which are as good as whatever you serve them with.  We had a bag of them in the fridge along with extra chunked ham and frozen peas/carrots.  My mom cooked dinner so I don’t have eyewitness or first hand details on the process but the basic idea is that we had shirataki noodles with swiss cheese bechamel sauce, ham, peas and carrots.  I believe my mom just toss everything in a saucepan and warmed it up together.  I would imagine the frozen veggies were microwaved before their union with the cheesy sauce.  I came in near the end, tasted the sauce and claimed it needed extra swiss cheese.  An additional cup of shredded swiss cheese was added.  Here are a few tips assuming you decide to try my stuffed crepe dinner recipe, resulting in a cup of leftover bechamel sauce which you think would go well with some pasta:

* Be careful about adding liquids to the sauce, my mom was concerned that it would be too thick.  Our dinner was almost a noodle soup (she added milk).

* Don’t worry about measuring anything its pasta… with sauce… make it your own!

* The sauce is a great base for almost any flavors so don’t feel restricted by anything I say, use whatever vegetables, meats or cheeses you prefer.

*Adding some spices/herbs to compliment your ingredients would be a great idea, we just stuck with salt and pepper though.

As always, here are the editor’s (yes, that’s me) picks from the photo shoot:

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Daube de Boeuf December 30, 2009

Filed under: Dinner — flyingbubble @ 11:07 pm
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After skimming the pages of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, hopefully searching for a recipe that sounded somewhat appetizing.  (Most of her recipes involve ingredients that I don’t currently care to eat.)  This recipe (aka Estouffade de Boeuf or Terrine de Boeuf) is a casserole of beef with wine and vegetables.  “Daube” is a covered casserole, unfortunately I missed the line of the recipe with the direction to “cover closely”.  This was also one of the few recipes I found with absolutely no butter!  The fat comes from the bacon that gets layered into the casserole.  My mom doesn’t own a 5-6 quart casserole dish (actually I don’t either), and the biggest size she could find was 1.5 quart.  We borrowed a 3 quart dish from a neighbor and decided to cut the recipe in half.  I’m not sure if that caused any problems with the preparation or cooking, maybe next time I’ll get a bigger dish and cook the full amount.  The stew was very good and my dad requested the recipe after announcing it “a keeper”.  If you have an entire day to waste cooking, you should definitely try this out.  Actually I just spent some time in the morning, picking up groceries and tossing together the marinade, and then roughly 4 hours later I did some more preparations in creating the casserole and then it just went into the oven for 3 hours.  I had my mom checking on it while Jeremiah and I took the dog (Red) out for a long walk.  Here’s the recipe (full size):

Ingredients:

3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2.5 in squares

1.5 cups dry white wine, dry white vermouth or red wine

1/4 cup brandy, eau de vie, or gin

2 Tb olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp thyme or sage

1 crumbled bay leaf

2 cloves mashed garlic

2 cups thinly sliced onions

2 cups thinly sliced carrots

1/2 lb lean bacon cut into 1″ slices, .25″ thick and 2″ long

1.5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1.5 lbs ripe red tomatoes peeled, seeded, juiced and chopped

1 cup sifted flour on a plate

1 to 2 cups beef stock or bouillon

Directions:

Place the beef in the bowl and mix with the wine, optional spirits, olive oil, seasonings, herbs, and vegetables.  Cover and marinate at least 3 hours (6 if refridgerated), stirring up frequently.

Simmer the bacon for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water.  Drain and dry.  Prepare the mushrooms and tomatoes. (For tomatoes: drop tomatoes one at a time into boiling water to cover, boil for exactly 10 seconds.  Remove.  Cut out the stem.  Peel off the skin starting from the stem hole.  Cut tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem.  Squeeze each half to extract the seeds and juices from the center of the tomato. Chop into small chunks.)  Remove the beef from the marinade and drain in a sieve.  Preheat oven 325 degrees.  Line the bottom of the casserole with 3 or 4 strips of bacon.  Strew a handful of the marinade vegetables, mushrooms and tomatoes over them.  Piece by piece, roll the beef in the flour and shake off excess.  Place closely together in a layer over the vegetables.  Cover with a few strips of bacon, and continue with layers of vegetables, beef, and bacon.  End with layer of vegetables and 2 or 3 strips of bacon.

Pour in the wine from the marinade and enough stock or bouillon almost to cover the contents of the casserole.  Bring to simmer on top of the stove, cover closely, and set in lower third of preheated oven.  Regulate heat so liquid simmers slowly for 2.5-3 hours.  Then meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Tip casserole and skim out fat.  Correct seasoning.  (*) May be prepared ahead and reheated, and its good either hot or cold.

Beef Marinading

Me: blanching a tomato

Layered casserole ready for the oven

DONE! (with a crispy top layer because I forgot to cover it)

 

Split Pea Soup September 13, 2009

Filed under: Soup — flyingbubble @ 7:39 pm
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I want to learn how to cook but mostly I just bake or fry some eggs in a skillet.  This recipe is a made from scratch soup that takes 2 hours to make so I thought it would be a step in the right direction.  Its worth the wait if you have time to kill (leisurely Sunday?) but if you don’t have the time, a pressure cooker will also do the job in about 10-15 minutes.  The soup was actually really easy to make, just throw vegetables in a pot of water, add some seasonings and simmer for 2 hours.  The result was great! The soup was delicious and filling. Split peas actually have a lot of fiber so this is a great low calorie meal that won’t leave you feeling hungry.  You could also add some ham or other meat to the soup for added protein.

Thick and Hearty Split Pea Soup

2 cups dried split peas

8 cups water

2 medium onions, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 medium potato, chopped

1 large bay leaf

1/2 tsp celery seed

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1 tsp basil

1 tsp thyme

1-2 tsp liquid smoke (the secret ingredient)

2 tsp salt, pepper to taste

Combine the peas and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. While its heating, chop the vegetables and add them and the bay leaf, celery seed, parsley, basil and thyme to the pot. Once it is boiling, cover and cook over low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours and peas are very soft, disintegrating actually.

Add the liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Cook several minutes uncovered to thicken if necessary (or add water to thin if  necessary). Serve with warm whole-grain bread.

Pressure Cooker: Follow the general instructions but only use 6 cups of water. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes; then allow the pressure to come down naturally. Add the liquid smoke, salt and pepper; taste and ad more seasonings as desired. Cook several minutes uncovered to thicken if necessary (or add water to thin if necessary).

Makes about 8 servings.

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