August

August

September 16, 2011

Savoring Autumn

As the crisp autumn weather makes its way into our day to day, the way we view our homes starts to change. What was once a refuge from the sweltering heat is now a warm and welcoming gathering place, where we are most comfortable.



For me, early fall is a time to make the most of both the outdoors and the indoors. So dine alfresco with friends and family amid the bright and brilliant hues of the changing leaves while a cool breeze brings a whisper of nostalgia. Then, retreat to your cozy indoors. Get lost in conversation with loved ones, or curl up with a good read.




Make the most of the season, whether you spend it with
 family or with friends.
Celebrate, relax, and enjoy the blessings in our lives.







Estelle's Savory Beef Stew
2 1/2 pounds good-quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1(750 ml bottle) good red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
6 ounces bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
All-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 (14 1/2 ounce can) beef stock
1 large (2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas


Place the beef in a bowl with the red wine (I use a good one since it’s an important flavor), whole garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate overnight.


 The next day, preheat the oven to 300˚F. Brown the bacon in a large (12-inch) sauté pan for 5 to 7 minutes, over medium-low heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. In the sauté pan, brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in the Dutch oven with the bacon and continue to brown the remaining beef, placing it all in the Dutch oven.


Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onions to the sauté pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven with the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade (discard the rest) to the sauté pan and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring it to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250˚F or 275˚F.


 When the stew is done and the meat is tender, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of the sauce together and pour it back into the stew. Simmer for 3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot. Be certain to toast some crusty sourdough bread along with your beautiful autumn stew!








Pumpkin Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.


 Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.


Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and
sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.


Maple Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.





















































No comments:

Post a Comment

I so love receiving your thoughts and comments. I also hope you found something that made you smile.