Daube de Boeuf

Once again, I am going to write about a recipe I read in “Lunch in Paris” by Elizabeth Bard. I read the book last year and since I came upon this recipe I have wanted to try it. Now that I have a Dutch oven it was time. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but there is a lot to the recipe. I’ll begin with the ingredients.

Braised Beef with Red Wine, Garlic, and Thyme

4 pounds rump or chuck roast, cut into 6 pieces.
1 marrow bone
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 large shallots, whole
6 large cloves of garlic, whole
1 carrot, chopped
Zest of 1/2 navel orange, peeled in two long strips
One 16 ounce can of whole tomatoes
1 cup of full-bodied red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bouquet garni (6 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 8 sprigs of thyme, tied with a string)
4 carrots, halved
12 cremini or button mushrooms (I will admit I didn’t include this in my recipe as Angie hates mushrooms and I am not really a fan myself)

I like to prepare ahead of time, get all the ingredients in one spot, that way I am not overwhelmed trying to get everything ready while trying to brown the meat, etc. Chop one carrot, halve the other 4. Remove paper from around shallots and chop off root ends. Cut the beef into 6 pieces. Peel the zest of 1/2 navel orange (2 long strips).

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In Dutch oven, brown meat and marrow bone on all sides, add generous amounts of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. This will take on average 15-20 minutes. Once browned, remove from Dutch oven and set aside.

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Add olive oil, garlic, chopped carrot, shallots and orange zest, cook until softened (it was about 15 minutes for me).

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Return meat and bone to pot and add tomatoes (with the juice). I recommend crushing the tomatoes between your fingers before you add them. Add wine and broth. Add the bouquet and simmer.

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Cover and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the meat and cook for another 1 1/2 hours. Add the carrots and mushrooms (if you choose to add them) and cook for another 40 minute, until the vegetables are cooked through and the meat is fork tender. Once I put the carrots in Angie and I both tried a bite of the meat and it was incredible. Once it is done discard the bouquet garni and serve the beef surrounded by vegetables. I made garlic mashed potatoes to go with it along with some freshly baked bread.

This was seriously amazing. The meat just fell apart around my fork. No need for a knife (I would honestly be offended if somebody asked for a knife!) My brother, Bill, is an incredible cook. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything bad that he has made and even Angie said tonight my beef stew was better than his! That’s a great compliment! I had a lot of fun making this recipe. I think Angie was a little scared (the list of ingredients was a bit daunting I think) but it really was very easy and the end result made up for any (little) stressing I did about it!

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Easiest Bread Ever

Do you want the recipe for the easiest bread ever? Are you sure you can handle it? If you screw this bread up you didn’t follow my directions specifically. A friend sent me a link to a recipe blog. I have tried to make bread before and failed miserably. It has been years since I even attempted to make it because why embarrass myself anymore? After viewing this recipe and also seeing my friend make beautiful bread I decided to give a whirl.

I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Here is what you need.

3 Cups unbleached flour

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of yeast

1 1/2 cups of water

I also use a little olive oil. I don’t measure it, I just pour a little into the dough.

Any sort of pot with a lid. I have a enamel cast iron Dutch Oven and it works beautifully. Per the website (which I will link at the end of the post) you can use clay pots, pizza stone with a lid over it, insert from crock pot. Basically anything with a lid! This is mine

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Directions

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt and yeast.

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Whisk together

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Add water and olive oil and mix

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It looks a little scary, right? Don’t worry, it is supposed to look like that. Loosely cover with plastic and leave to sit out for at least 12 hours. I let mine sit out for about 14 hours or so. In that 12-18 hours you leave it out it will rise. And look like this!

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Here is the fun part. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Once heated place the pot (empty) into the oven with the lid on and ‘bake’ for 30 minutes. While that is baking take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a highly floured area. Roll it into a round ball. Don’t play with it too much. I still haven’t quite mastered how to get that ball perfect but I’m learning. Let it sit out (plastic covering) while the pot heats in the oven.

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Once the 30 minute timer goes off take out of oven and very, very carefully place bread into the pot. Thanks to my friend she gave me a great idea to actually roll the dough onto parchment paper and then all you have to do is lift up the parchment paper and put it into the pan. Per the original recipe you don’t need parchment, you don’t need to grease the pan or anything. But I chose to do the paper because it would be easier and I wouldn’t burn myself (which I tend to do any time I am in the kitchen). The choice is entirely yours!

Once the bread is in the pot, put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and you will cry from joy. I didn’t get a picture of it while it was still baking but lets just say it was beautiful. Golden and it rose beautifully. My girlfriend was behind me keeping the cat away from the oven and all I heard was “That looks amazing!” After you ooh and ah for a minute keep the lid off and continue baking for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, take out of oven and carefully take the bread out and let it cool on a rack. Once it is done, this is what it will look like:

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Isn’t that the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen? And it tastes wonderful! We waited almost 2 hours to slice into it and it was worth the wait! Last night we took it to Angie’s parents house where they were having a party and everyone really enjoyed it. One of her aunts even said it looked professionally made. After yesterday and how wonderful it turned out we decided we won’t be buying bread anymore, I’ll just bake it!

The best part about this recipe is mix it up! Add stuff to your bread. My friend added rosemary and garlic. Per the original blog you can add raisins, cranberries, lemon zest, cheese, herbs, anything you want! Play around with it.

Link to the original recipe:

Bread

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Trip with Brit

Kitchen Near-Disaster

Over the summer I read Lunch in Paris, A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. If you know me you know how much I adore Paris and basically all things French. Not to be cliche but if you look up Francophile in the dictionary you would see my picture. And in that picture I would be wearing a beret and holding a baguette saying oui. The first line of the book is Elizabeth confessing she slept with her French husband half-way through their first date. With that kind of honesty I knew I would adore this book and I quickly bought it. I was not disappointed. It also made me cry at one point and that rarely happens!

Throughout the book, in between funny stories about her in-laws and living as an American in Paris there are loads of recipes. Some of which terrify me to even try, some I can’t pronounce but a few that I would like to master.

So, tonight I mastered a yogurt cake. Okay, master isn’t quite the word I would use. More so it schooled me and called me its bitch. But I fought back and we came to a compromise. The cake almost overflowed the pan (well some of it did) then it went flat in the middle. It doesn’t look as bad as it sounds. It was a combination of things that made it a near disaster in the kitchen. The baking soda is a bit old (I was unaware of this until after I googled “Why does a cake fall flat?” and my darling Angie informed me of this). I opened the oven door a few times and we also had to put a pan under the cake pan so if it really overflowed I wouldn’t catch the oven on fire. In the end it all worked out. It tastes delicious. Next time it will be better.

The next recipe I plan on ‘mastering’ from the book is Braised Beef with Red Wine, Garlic, and Thyme! The recipe alone makes my mouth water. I’m planning that for after our Europe trip.

Recipe

1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk!)
1 cup  sugar
Large pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
Fruit of your choice. The recipe calls for apricots but I choose pears mixed in brown sugar. Strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb would work too.

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Oil 10 inch round cake pan and line with parchment/wax paper.
Combine yogurt, sugar salt, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Add oil as you whisk. Add eggs one by one as you whisk.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda then add to yogurt mixture. Whisk lightly, then stir in lemon zest.
Transfer batter to pan, top with fruit of your choice. Bake on center rack for 45 minutes until golden and slightly risen (or in my case falling out of pan and then flat…) Cool on cooling wrack then transfer to plate (remember to remove the wax paper!). Eat at room temperature. Cover with foil, do not put in a container or plastic bag as it will make it soggy. Per the book its actually better the next day!