28 October 2010
11 October 2010
It is not my birthday, unless you count half-birthdays (which I do, but it has never caught on), but I made beef stronganoff to use the beautiful mushrooms in season and because my fiance and I are going home this week. Home to see my family, to drive through wide open spaces, to see sunshine, to visit my grandparents, to plan a wedding, to eat fast food and drink lots of soda, to have a much needed break. Home for some home food!
Start with some red meat.
Moo. (sorry, vegetarians) I cut the meat into thin strips of about one inch across, coat them in flour and put them into a pot with a hunk of butter.
After they have cooked for a brief two minutes over a medium heat, it should all resemble a huge mess. That's good! Time for lots of mushrooms and onions.
Once these have had a chance to cook down for 5 or so minutes, add water to cover the bottom of the dish, but not enough to cover everything. The water and flour and juices will come together to form a thick sauce and will be reduced down over the course of 10 or so minutes, maybe less.
Serve over egg noodles if available, or rice if you are so inclined.
5 October 2010
You can put practically anything in a pasty, which makes them incredibly versatile. For these particular pasties, I included chestnut mushrooms, onions, peas, walnuts and dill in a cream sauce, almost like a stronganoff. I also made these pasties to make use of some great seasonal ingredients, as highlighted by the 'In the Bag' event, hosted by Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie and Scott of the Real Epicurean, two veteran British bloggers.
For the filling, I sauteed a lot of sliced chestnut mushrooms and a whole diced onion with butter until browned.
Carefully, I folded the pastry into a half-moon shape over the filling and sealed with an egg yolk I happened to have (extraneous, but it does help) and pinched the edges to seal everything in.
The pasties baked for about 30 minutes in a moderately hot oven until the crust was done and lightly browned on the bottom.
Technically I suppose making a sandwich for lunch each day is easier, though pasties would freeze well I imagine and so when you are feeling industrious, you could easily make lots and lots of pasties for future lunches. Mushrooms tend to keep their flavor even when cold and for a lunch snack the next day, these pasties were wonderful. I will definitely be making these again!
28 September 2010
Mashed potatoes and wonderful and warm my soul almost more than any other food, which I inherited honestly from my mother and other Midwestern relatives. We do come from the red meat and potatoes part of the US, so a love of a good potato dish is in the blood. When Thanksgiving came each year, we would make something like 20 pounds of mashed potatoes. Yes, it was for over 20 people, but that is still a pound of potatoes per person. And there were never any leftovers.
In these great mashed potatoes, I went for the classic British flavors version, but you can easily add bacon and chives, sweet potato and cinnamon, bits of apple and fennel, rosemary- anything you want really that will compliment your dish.
I boiled some potatoes with the skins on, but you could easily peel them if you prefer. Apparently, lots of vitamins and good things live in the skins, so I am trying to eat them more often.
After mashing the potatoes when done, add a splash of milk and lots of butter. If it is unsalted, make sure you add some salt too. If you find that the potatoes are too sticky, add a splash more milk and some butter to loosen them.
24 September 2010
I enjoy having foods that are still seasonal in our world of having everything we want whenever we want it. It makes the seasonal food more enjoyable as it harbors excitement and anticipation, pleasure in the taste, fond memories, and finally desire. As I say goodbye to summer for another year, I shall savor the memories of the barbecue and wait, somewhat anxiously, for next year's first barbecue.
There's nothing quite like a summer barbecue, eating the grilled meat with crisp salads outside. But I do start to crave the warm comfort food and flavours of harvest time, and I look forward to cooking and baking in the fall most of all. Some of my most favorite recipes are coming up soon!
5 September 2010
23 August 2010
For some reason, the British weather this year has been running like clockwork. When the calendar said winter, we got snow. Now that it is turning towards fall, the days are gradually getting cooler (well, like they are supposed to but have been skipping around for the past few years). There is a certain feeling and smell in the air of fresh nights, cool breezes, a turn in the weather. Over the years, I love fall more and more and the thought of getting out all my sweaters and coats and gloves and scarves, eating warm, comfort food every night and all the delicious bounty of fall foods makes me urge the seasons on, to get to fall more quickly.