Sunday, October 23, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Nothing says home...like the wonderful aroma of food coming from your kitchen. It says to everyone...you are so very welcome to be here.Cooking good...homemade food...also means you care about your yourself... and your family...and friends.

Sunday Suppers is a meal that everyone will look so forward to each week...so make it a special celebration by using your best dishes...silverware and glasses...and add fresh flowers or small vases of herbs to decorate your table with.

Include each family or friend member that is sharing your Sunday Supper with...to share what is going on with them...including their hopes and dreams...and it goes without saying...start your meal with a prayer or a gratitude blessing...for all you have...and being able to spend this time together.

I do not know anyone who doesn't love pasta...or a tasty pasta sauce. It seems to be a universal food...as well as a comfort food...and is my recipe for this Sunday Supper...as well as another apple dessert...as apples are in season this month.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."


BEEF MARENGO
Serves 4-6

This recipe calls for veal...but as veal can be expensive...I substitute beef stew meat instead...which is kinder to your budget. It tastes just as good as you will see. You can double or triple this recipe easily.

3 pounds beef stew meat...cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic...minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 /2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 wide piece of orange zest...(orange zest is a piece of orange peel)
1 pound white mushrooms quartered
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley ( Italian)
3/4 pound wide egg noodles...cooked according to package directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef stew meat dry. Put the flour in a large zippered plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Shake to mix well. Place the beef stew meat in the bag and shake until evenly coated.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat...heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil.Add the stew meat to the pot...and cook until evenly browned on all sides...about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until lightly browned and softened...about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pot...being sure to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes with their juice...basil...thyme...orange zest...and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Return the stew meat to the pot...and stir to combine.

Cover the pot...place in the oven and cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork...about 1 1/2 hours.

Toward the end of cooking...cook the mushrooms...in a frying pan over medium-high heat...with the remaining olive oil...for about 3-4 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Start cooking your wide egg noodles...according to package directions.

Take the Beef Marengo out of the oven...uncover and discard the orange zest. Place on top of the stove...and on medium-low heat bring to a boil...until it is slightly thickened. Add the mushrooms...and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Drain the egg noodles...getting ready to serve. To serve...spoon the Beef Marengo over the egg noodles...garnish with more parsley.  Serve with a nice green salad and garlic bread or rolls if you wish.


EASY APPLE CRUMBLE
Serves 8

Who does not love an apple dessert? Talk about a comfort dessert! This is cooked in a cast iron skillet...a basic cooking pan in my house...and is cooked in the oven just like the main course...very easy and ever so good.

12 cups sliced Gala apples ( about 6 apples)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar...divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cup gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using butter or olive oil...grease a cast iron skillet or baking pan. In a large bowl...stir together apples...1 cup sugar...and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a food processor pulse the cookies until finely ground. In a medium bowl...stir together 1/2 cup cookie crumbs...oats...brown sugar...flour...and the salt. Stir in the softened butter and walnuts until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Strain apple mixture...discarding excess liquid. Stir in cornstarch...cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Pour into prepared pan...and top with cookie mixture.

Bake until fruit is hot and the top is golden brown...about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Happy Sunday,
Victoria

Sunday, October 16, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016



Who doesn't love the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven on a Sunday afternoon? Or the aroma of a potato dish cooking in the oven? No one that is who! My recipes for this blog post is just that...roast chicken...and a really good French potato dish...that everyone will want seconds with!

If you have never tried cooking or even eating French food...you will be surprised how easy it really is...and ever so fulfilling. And I have also included a French dessert...a delectable apple tart...that is made easy for you...by using frozen puff pastry... I believe it is as good as homemade puff pastry...and a heck of a lot easier on your nerves.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."



HERB ROASTED CHICKEN
 Makes 4 servings

1 4-5 whole chicken
2 tablespoons butter...softened
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse chicken cavity...then pat dry. Tuck wing tips under back.Place chicken breast side up in shallow roasting pan. Combine butter...and garlic...then spread over chicken.In a small bowl...stir together remaining ingredients...then sprinkle over chicken.

Roast the chicken about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until chicken is done. If the chicken starts to get too brown...cover loosely with foil. When the chicken is dine...remove from oven...covered with foil... for about 10 minutes...then carve and serve.



POTATOES SAVOYARDE
Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon melted butter for buttering the pan only
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
freshly ground pepper
6 russet or Yukon gold potatoes...unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock... ( I use low salt organic chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the brush and sides of a 2-quart baking dish with the 1 tablespoon melted butter. In a small bowl...stir together the garlic...parsley...cheese...and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Layer one-third of the potatoes in the prepared dish...sprinkle one-third of the garlic-cheese mixture over the potatoes and dot with 1 tablespoon of the cut butter. Repeat with the rest of the remaining potatoes...garlic-cheese mixture and butter.Top with any remaining potatoes. Pour the stock over the potatoes... sprinkle the rest of the garlic-cheese mixture evenly over the top...and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cover with buttered piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil...and continue baking uncovered until the top is browned and crusty and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork...30 to 40 minutes longer. Serve at once.

***I add about 1 cup more Gruyere cheese to this recipe to be honest...do what works for you.



TARTE TATIN or APPLE TART
Serves 6

1 cup superfine sugar or granulated sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 Golden Delicious apples...peeled...cored...and sliced
1 sheet frozen...ready to eat puff pastry
all-purpose flour for dusting
vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)

Place an 8-inch ovenproof skillet ( a cast iron skillet is perfect for this) over low heat and add the sugar.Melt the sugar until it starts to caramelize...but do not let it burn...then add the butter and stir it in to make a light toffee sauce... ( a light brown color). Remove from heat.

Place the apple slices in the skillet on top of the toffee sauce. The apples should fill the skillet. Put the skillet over medium heat and cover. Simmer...without stirring...for about 5-1-0 minutes...until the apples soak up some of the sauce...then remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Roll out the pastry dough ( make sure it is really cold...for easy handling) on a lightly floured surface...making sure it is large enough to thickly cover the skillet with extra space on the sides. Lay it on top of the apples...and tuck the edges down between the fruit and skillet until it is sealed. Do not worry about making it look too neat...it will be inverted before eating.

Put the skillet with the apple tart in it...in the oven now...and bake for 25-35 minutes...checking to make sure the pastry doesn't burn. The pastry should be puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30-60 minutes.

When you are ready to eat...make sure the tart is still a little warm...and place a plate on top of the tart.Carefully invert it ( flip it upside down) and lift the skillet off. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream if you wish. This dessert will get raves...to be ready to bow with pride!!!  

Happy Sunday Suppers,
Victoria

Sunday, October 9, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing Sunday...including keeping the timeless tradition of making a Sunday Supper...and gathering around the table with family or friends.

Sunday Suppers have a long history...and used to be a "must" in our culture. Even families who weren't religious would come together on Sundays to share a big home cooked meal and be together.

I believe this tradition should never be lost...especially in our busy and often disconnected world. Make time for your family and friends...and have a big Sunday Supper.Cook...eat...talk and laugh together...because that is really what the tradition of Sunday Suppers is all about.

"Because nothing says love...like something homemade."

The recipes for this post...are good...easy...and budget wise...because as you know...Seasonal living is all about eating seasonal food...which is being resourceful...making it yourself...and living within your means.

I am featuring pork...for the main course...it is darn good eating...budget wise...and most everyone loves pork.


PORK SALTIMBOCCA
serves 4

This is such a very tasty version of saltimbocca...which usually calls for veal...an expensive cut of meat

1 pound 2 ounces pork tenderloin...fat and membrane removed...sliced into 8 equal pieces
16 slices sliced prosciutto
8 sage leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon drained small capers
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Put the pork pieces on a cutting board...cover with plastic wrap...and then beat with a meat mallet...or rolling pin until 1/16 inch thick. Season each piece with a little pepper.

Lay 2 slices of prosciutto...slightly overlapping...on a clean cutting board...or large plate...and put a sage leaf in the middle. Sit a piece of pork on top.Wrap the prosciutto around the pork to make a package...the prosciutto should stick to itself...but if you want you can secure it with a wooden toothpick. Repeat this process...making the 8 pork packages in total.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over...medium high heat. When the butter is foaming...add the pork packages and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until the prosciutto is crisp. You might need to cook these in two batches. Transfer the pork salimbocca to the oven to keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan...to deglaze. Let it bubble about 1 minute...being sure to scrape the meat morsels in the pan to add flavor to the dish. Remove from heat...and stir in the capers.Take the pork from the oven and spoon the sauce and capers...over the pork saltimbocca. Serve immediately...garnishing with fresh sage. Serve this dish with fresh green beans...and creamy polenta.


BANANAS IN CARAMEL SAUCE
serves 2-4

Who does not love a decadent dessert? Bananas are always in seasonal...and caramel sauce is easier to make then you think.This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 ripe bananas...but still firm...peeled and sliced into 1/2 thick slices

In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat...melt the butter...and swirl it over the pan. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the melted butter and stir gently.Cook this mixture...stirring occasionally until it begins to melt. As it melts...scrape the sides of the pan down...using a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Continue doing this until the mixture is completely melted.

Gently whisk the mixture while you pour in the cream. Let it melt...then start stirring again. Continue cooking until you have a creamy...golden-brown caramel sauce.

Add the sliced bananas and arrange in the pan...so they are submerged. Cook for 1-2 minutes...just until bananas have softened. Remove from heat.

Let cool for 2-3 minutes...then serve over vanilla ice cream. Oh my...you will enjoy this...you will want to lick your spoon!


Happy Sunday Supper,
Victoria


Sunday, October 2, 2016

OCTOBER SEASONAL LIVING SUNDAY SUPPERS 2016

October...I love the tradition of Sunday Suppers...that many cultures practice throughout the world...and I know... many of you also embrace this lovely weekly tradition and bonding with loved ones...each and every Sunday...to share a special meal...and spend time together.

Food...no matter where you live...or who you are...always brings people together... to a common ground... and common connection...the pleasure and joy...of shopping for...preparing...and eating a good meal.

In a world where we always seem to be in a hurry...striving for more...seeking instant gratification...and grabbing food on the go...the value and tradition of Sunday Suppers...can and will add something vital...something special...to look forward to each week...and add so many happy memories to each and everyone you love and care about.

Your Sunday Suppers do not have to be fancy...or perfect...just good food... made with care and love...as well as... good old-fashioned family time.

All of my October Sunday Suppers are seasonal...and call for seasonal ingredients...so this month's recipes work perfectly for this month. Cooking by the seasons...is a resourceful...money wise...and more healthy way to eat...and please be sure to buy your ingredients locally...to support your local economy.

So let's get going on my Sunday Suppers for October...is your apron on yet?

Because nothing says love...like something homemade!



BRAISED SHORT RIBS IN RED WINE
Short ribs are a very inexpensive cut of meat...and very tasty. Your wine you use for cooking does not have to be an expensive wine...just one that you would actually want to drink will do fine.

Serves 6
1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds beef short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large onions...chopped
4 large carrots...chopped
3 cups red wine...such as a Merlot
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic...split in half and sliced
1/2 bunch fresh chives...about 1/4 cup...chopped for the garnish

Heat the olive oil in a heavy- bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper...then add to the pot and brown...turning frequently...until the ribs are nicely browned and caramelized on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pot...and most of the fat...leaving about 3 tablespoons...and then add the onions and carrots...and cook over medium heat until the veggies soften and are lightly browned.

Add the wine to the veggies...turn the heat to high and boil until the wine is reduced by about half.

Return the meat to the pot...add the thyme...garlic...and add 4 cups cold water or beef broth...so the meat is just covered. Cover with a lid...and simmer for at least 3 hours...or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Transfer the cooked meat to a plate...and discard any bones or fat.Strain the liquid into a bowl. Next put the strained liquid back into the pot...and cook until it has thickened or reduced about 15 minutes. Put back the short ribs and bring to a simmer over medium high heat to heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve...sprinkle fresh chives over the short ribs and sauce. This would be really great served with mashed potatoes or  wide egg noodles.


And of course no Sunday Supper would be complete without a really good dessert.


CHOCOLATE GANACHE TART
Make this ever so yummy tart early in the day...or the day before serving... as it requires cooling...and chilling. This is a very rich and wonderful dessert.

Makes 8 servings
CRUST
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies...about 30 wafers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...melted

GANACHE FILLING
8 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate baking bar...broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter...cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large eggs...beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
unsweetened powdered cocoa for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform cake pan.

To make the crust...in a medium bowl...stir together the ground wafers...and melted butter until the mixture is evenly moist. Transfer to the prepared pan...patting the mixture onto the bottom and three-quarters up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes...and then cool completely in the pan.

To make the filling...melt together the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water...stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and let stand for several minutes.

In a medium bowl...mix together the eggs...cream...sugar...salt...and vanilla, Mix in the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Tap the pan several times on a flat surface to eliminate any bubbles.

Bake for 20  or 25 minutes...until the filling has risen to an inch from the top of the pan...is set...and has slightly raised in the center. The center will continue to set...then fall slightly as it cools.

Transfer the tart still in the pan...to a rack and let it cool completely... about 2 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator...uncovered...until the center is firm...3 to 4 hours. Remove the sides of pan...and sprinkle tart with cocoa...serve with whipped cream.