This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Clean Out the Icebox!

Time to clean out the freezer and fridge and use up whatever is found before it is too late.

Found all kinds of goodies lurking in nooks and crannies. Based on what was found we put together a menu for a Sunday afternoon supper for Leslie's Mother who was coming over for the day.

Beef Stew
Kitchen Sink Salad with Homemade Balsamic Dressing
Apple Galette with Caramel Sauce

I found a frozen package of strips of beef, and few frozen peas in the freezer, a few lonely potatoes and carrots in the fridge all needing using up. Mom can be fussy about what she eats and how she likes it prepared. She wants her beef and veggies tender. So, I went after a good old-fashioned stew.

Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds--Stew Beef cut into 1" cubes
1 cup--Whole Wheat Flour
3 T--olive oil
2--cloves garlic, minced
1--onion chopped into large chunks
3-4--carrots peeled and sliced into 3/4" coins
1 cup--frozen peas
1/4 pound--mushrooms, cut in half or quartered
4 cups--beef broth
2 cups--red wine
salt and pepper

Toss the cubed beef in seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil until near smoking point. Toss in the flour coated beef cubes and brown off. Remove beef and drain leaving drippings in the dutch oven. Add garlic, onions, carrots and mushrooms to drippings and saute until brown. Add meat back in along with wine and broth. Cook on low for 2 hours or until beef is tender. The flour should have also helped thicken the stew. 15 minutes before serving, add frozen peas, add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

As I said, Grandma loves her veggies and especially salads. So when we make one of our Kitchen Sink Salads which are always given a fancy name when done in a fine restaurant, she loves it.

Kitchen Sink Salad

1 head--Romaine, washed and torn into 1" pieces

1--Carrot, peeled and grated

1 cup--Broccoli, cut into bite-sized bits

1 cup--Cauliflower, cut into bite-sized bits

1 c--red seedless grapes

1 c--Cucumber, sliced into thin coins

1/2 cup--walnuts, roasted (see recipe below)

This recipe does not need to be adhered to at all. Whatever you have fruit and veggie wise will probably combine to create an amazing salad. You can even toss in cheese--grated cheddar or more exotic kinds. Don't have cucumber? Don't put it in, or use something else. Be creative!

Roasted Walnuts

1/2 cup--Walnuts

1 t--Salt

1 t--Pepper

1 t--Sugar

1 T-Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine spices and toss with walnuts on a baking sheet. Place on middle rack of oven for 5-7 minutes. Pull from oven and pour onto another plate to cool. Don't leave it on the baking sheet as the walnuts may become too done and taste bad. Pour the cooled walnuts over the top of the salad just before serving.

Balsamic Dressing

1/4 cup--Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup--Apple vinegar

1/2 cup--Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T--whole grain style mustard or Dijon style

2 cloves, Garlic

1 t--Oregano, fresh

1 t--Rosemary, fresh

1 T--Honey

1/4 cup--Mayonnaise

Combine all ingredient except oil in a blender. Start blender and slowly add oil. When combined pour into a jar or storage container. Dressing will last for a week in the fridge easily. ______________

Finally, Grandma has to have her dessert. My wife, who is the baker in the family, whipped up this delicious, melt-in-the -mouth apple galette with on hand items.

Apple Galette with Caramel Sauce

1--pre-made pie shell

2-3--Granny Smith Apples, cored and sliced thinly into wedge shape

1 t--cinnamom

2 T--almond paste, crumbled

1 T--butter, cut into small bits

1 T--lemon juice, fresh

1/4 cup--oats

1/4 cup--walnuts, chopped

1-egg white

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Fill the center of a thawed, frozen pie crust with sliced apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice, cinnamon and fold the crust over the apples leaving the center open. Top with crumbled almond paste, chopped walnuts, oats, and dot with butter. Using pastry brush, paint egg white over pastry. Bake in oven on middle rake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and apple mixture is bubbly.

Caramel Sauce

6 T--Butter, melted

1 cup--Sugar

1/2 cup--Whipping Cream

In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, add sugar and mix until it melts (you may add a little water if you'd like). Add butter and continue stirring until it incorporates into sugar. Remove from heat and add Half and Half continuing to mix until smooth and all ingredients combine. Mixture will foam so be careful. Allow mixture to cool a while before use as it is VERY HOT!