Beef Vegetable Soup

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Sooo.  Yesterday I made a pot au feu broth to use for my fabulous pancake topped with sauteed foie gras and whatever else.  Today I made whatever else in the form of a beef vegetable soup using the broth and reserved broth ingredients.

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I cut the reserved carrots and beef into dice and cube like pieces, chopping the onion separately to cook with the stock and uncooked vegetables.

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But really, this is not rocket science, the broth’s already made and you can do whatever you feel like doing with the reserved ingredients.  I chose to make a soup with the addition of potato, mirliton and a bay leaf.

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Beef Vegetable Soup

12-16  cups pot au feu broth, fat layer removed and discarded  (see link above)

2 large raw potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 large mirlition, peeled, seeded and cubed

Reserved onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

Salt and black pepper

Reserved carrot, diced

Reserved beef, cubed

1 handful parsley leaves, chopped

Place the broth, potatoes, mirliton, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a stock pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the carrot and beef, bring to a boil, then continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Pot au Feu Broth

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I think I’m losing my enthusiasm for cooking and perhaps for blogging  :(   Maybe I’ll stop now and teach myself to play the accordion or something.

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What am I saying?!  Spring is coming and so is France.  Healed!  Maybe it’s my francophil-ish desire for French market fruits and vegetables, my frustrated need to paw and finger each item before purchase.  I did that last summer at the Scranton farmer’s market and was frowned upon, which didn’t stop me because I was still in my  “c’est mon tour” French mode.  I also hate it that I can’t buy 1 or 2 branches of celery but am obliged to buy the whole stalk/bunch which ends up moldering in the refrigerator with the rest of the vegetables that I unenthusiastically purchased.   Woe is me :D

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I wonder how seriously I should take freezer burn…  The internet says it is safe to eat but may affect the taste.

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And then again, they might just be “fooling” us like they did with the cholesterol fake out. That’s why I used these flanken ribs for my pot au feu broth.  Browning and boiling with some veg will usually solve any freezer aged issues ;)

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I made this broth so that I can duplicate a dish I had in Alsace France; potato pancake in pot au feu broth, topped with sauteed fois gras.  I’ve made this before for M. Parret et al. The recipe for the broth is inspired by James Beard and because I don’t need a large amount for the potato pancake, I’m going to chill the broth overnight, skim off the fat and make a soup from the larger portion of the broth, the boiled meat, carrots and onions.   Stay tuned.

Pot au Feu Broth

3-4 slabs of flanken ribs or about 2 lbs of meaty, marrow bones

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large whole onion stuck with 4 cloves

2 whole shallots

2 leeks, trimmed

4 small carrots

4 sprigs parsley

1 whole head of garlic, outer skin removed

Salt to taste

Brown the ribs all over in the vegetable oil, then place in a large stock pot.  Add the onion, shallots, leeks, carrots, parsley, garlic and salt.  Cover with 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, then boil for 3 hours.

Drain the stock, reserving the meat, onions and carrots for a future soup.  Cool the stock and refrigerate overnight.  Remove fat layer and discard.

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Dacha on the Delaware

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On Sunday we went to Vadim’s and Galina’s for a late lunch.  They have a beautiful European style country house whose living room picture window affords an uninterrupted view of the frozen Delaware river.  The gazebo next to the river was built and decorated by Vadim.

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My idea was to get a photo of the house during the daylight hours but we were delayed and distracted by a very old and very fat chihuahua shivering and whining at the kitchen door. When we called the number on the tag, the people were very defensive and denied all knowledge of the dog, supposedly not understanding how we got their phone number. The dog also had a senior citizen owner’s tag attached and was very well cared for.  My husband and I imagine that on the way back from dumping Mom at the senior citizen’s home, not wanting to bother with taking the dog to a shelter and really too stupid to remove the tags, this brilliant couple threw the dog into a snow drift and accelerated home.  The woman told me to never use her phone number again.  I assured her that I wouldn’t but that the animal shelter probably would.  These people are polluting the gene pool!  Simpleton b*****ds.  Anyway, too upset to think straight, I didn’t think about photographing the outside of the house until this morning and also there was so much to see inside of the house!

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Every painting, carving, decorative flourish, sculpture and woodwork was created by Vadim.  This bench says, “Love thy neighbor.”

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Upstairs and downstairs, each wall was covered with Vadim’s paintings.  We were dazzled!

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Like the Louvre, we’ll have to visit the house again and again to see everything and also because the ambiance is so relaxed and comfortable and we adore Vadim and Galina :)  A Russian balalaika painted by Vadim.

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In Russia, Vadim received a teaching degree in history but has worked in various art media for most of his life.  When we asked why he had not shown some of his pieces in a gallery, he replied that he had but didn’t like the gallery scene.  Galina says that he can’t bear to give up anything because he considers them his children :)

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When Vadim is not painting the table tops, he takes a break in the kitchen.  This is his homemade gravlax.  Delicious!

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Galina made these scrumptious, meat stuffed blinis.  They went down a treat with a chilled vodka ;)

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As if it was not enough that they have this wonderful, art filled dacha on the Delaware river, they also have this, intelligent,  talented, handsome, composer, producer and guitarist son, Benya Barshai.  Blood will tell.  Check out Ben’s work on this website.  I wonder what happened to our kids….  :)

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I did bring a Jamie Oliver inspired bruschetta topping to share, however the original recipe included chilli but, not wanting to set Vadim’s and Galina’s little Russian souls on fire, I substituted with roasted sweet peppers :D

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Jamie grilled his vegetables over charcoal, probably in the summer, in clement weather. The top of the stove worked just fine for me.  I grilled these in a non stick pan with a cast iron skillet on top.

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This is a good recipe and I will make it again.  Thanks Jamie.

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Vegetable Bruschetta Topping with Roasted Peppers

1 large aubergine

2 large courgettes

Olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1/4-1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small bunch mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Score the aubergine and courgettes, then sear in a hot non stick skillet with a cast iron skillet pressing down on top until the vegetables are brown.

Place each vegetable half in an aluminum foil packet, then sprinkle with the olive oil, the zest and half of the lemon juice.  Seal the packets and roast in a 400 F oven for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Remove the skin of the aubergine, then chop the aubergine flesh and the courgettes, then place in a bowl. Add the the remaining lemon juice, the red pepper, the garlic, mint, salt and pepper to the bowl, mixing well to blend.

Serve with baguette slices or whatever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, English, Food and Wine, Hors d'oeuvres, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

“So This Is Where She Makes Her Mistake”

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In some classic literature novel there is a character who always says, “So this is where (he/she) makes (her/his) mistake.”  I think it was Mr. Wickfield in David Copperfield, but I’m not sure.  Still, it’s a quote I’ve always liked for some reason :)

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Just before we made our last wine run to New Jersey, I saw a post on radish (daikon) cake for Chinese New Year.  I’m not really sure where I saw it but give me a shout out if it was your post.  I probably commented on it.  Anyway, I wanted to make it and picked up some items at the Asian market in New Jersey with this in mind, even though I didn’t have the recipe and therefore was not quite sure about the ingredients and quantities.

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When I got back home, I was still not sure where I saw the recipe, so had to search the internet for any recipe for Chinese radish cake.  The one I found could be it but I think not. It was a good recipe but at first I thought I made my mistake with sausage, mushroom, bacon and shrimp overkill.

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The real mistake was in the radish and flour quantities.  I should have had 3 radishes not 1 and then figured out what they meant by 8 oz; I think it was weight, not cup, because when I took a cup of flour out of the 16 oz bag, it was no where near half empty.

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I did get the flour right for the amount of radish I had.  I used 1 1/2 cups of flour and that seemed to work.  I don’t have a kitchen scale yet (amazon.com) because the very nice digital one is in France.  Again, the quantity of flour and radish allowed me to fill only one pan instead of the two the recipe calls for and the “loaf” lost a lot of it’s smooth elegance, bearing a close resemblance to a Christmas fruit cake :D

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I’m not saying it wasn’t good, because it was.  It just wasn’t elegant, more like hearty :D

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Another thing.  I used fresh mushrooms instead of the dried because I could and they were very pretty in the store.

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No recipe today.  Follow the link for the real thing.  Tomorrow we go to Vadim and Galina’s for lunch at their home on the Delaware river.  I’m taking the camera ;)

 

 

Posted in Appetizer, Asian, Chinese, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Lady Fingers

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When I was in New Jersey, I bought a pork belly at the Asian Market, thinking to make Shinae Robinson’s caramelized pork belly again.

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And I did, but what I really wanted to make today was lady fingers/okra/gumbo.  That, and to use my new vegetable noodle making machine.  Roger’s going to love this :D

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You just stick the vegetable onto the machine and turn the handle.  I’m going to have so much fun with this :)  Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free people rejoice!  You can just eat the courgettes like this, in a salad or whatever you do AND it will be pretty!

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Anyway.  Withered, meaning dry and shriveled.  Here’s the picture.

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I found these sad ole things in the back of the refrigerator crisper and wondered if I should toss them and go to the store for regular scallions.  Nah, they cleaned up fine.

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I need a bigger pantry and an Asian supply store located in Honesdale.  That way I need never worry about running out of Gekkeikan, the supreme Japanese sake.  Gold.  Or shichimi togarashi which must be in the Sens pantry  :(

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Okra seems so southern U.S. to me or Nigerian.  However, it is widely used in both East Asian and Indian cuisine because they know what’s good :)

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I wanted to sprinkle some shichimi togarashi on my cooked lady fingers but I didn’t have any.

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Instead I used some of my neighbor Caroline’s Spanish Rub.  It worked out fine.

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I mixed in the courgette noodles with fresh udon noodles and fried tofu for a spicy stir fry. Mah-velous!  Inspiration for the recipe here.

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To be honest, I did have a problem with the caramelized pork belly and it was the same problem I had last time.  I must be an idiot because I didn’t learn.  Way too much pork fat ends up in the sauce when it is cooked in cubes in the tajine.

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The last time this happened, I resolved to cook the pork belly whole on a rack to burn off some of the fat for the first hour, then cube it and continue with the recipe.  I recommend you do this even if I didn’t.

Lady Fingers

1lb okra, trimmed and sliced diagonally

1 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp sake

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

Shichimi togarashi

Stir fry the okra on high in the hot peanut oil for 1 minute, add the sake and continue to stir fry for 1 minute,  Add the sugar and stir fry for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce and stir fry for 1 minute.

Sprinkle the okra with the shichimi before serving.

 

Spicy Udon with Courgette Noodles

1 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp chilli paste with garlic

2 tbsp lime juice

2-3 tbsp canned sweet red beans (yude adzuki)

2 tbsp soy sauce

3 single servings of fresh udon noodles

4 cups water

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups courgettes noodles or ribbons

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fried tofu, cubed

Mix together the sugar, chilli paste, lime juice, beans and soy sauce, then stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil, then drop in the noodles and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok, then drop in the garlic and stir fry until aromatic.  Add the courgettes to the wok, season with the salt and stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Add the reserved noodles, water and chilli paste mixture to the wok, mixing well to heat.  Stir in the tofu and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Cabbage with Turmeric, Bacon and Tomatoes

 

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The vegetables in the refrigerator bins have been giving me accusatory looks for a while now.  It’s not like they’re people or anything, nor are they quite alive, just dying a slow ugly death in the refrigerator bin.  Not really into reality dramas, I’ve tried to ignore this because I don’t like cooking random vegetables just because they have that “it’s over” look. Still, compost heap-less, I had to do something.

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Do tomatoes go with cabbage I asked myself.  Yes, I think so because people are always putting a tomato sauce on stuffed cabbage.  So that’s why.  I trimmed the blackened leaves from the cabbage, threw out the cherry tomatoes that had gasped their last, took out the wok and fished in the freezer for a chunk of my lardon like bacon.

It was good.  Vegetarians could eat this if it wasn’t for the bacon.  I think Uzbeks would like it too :D

Cabbage with Turmeric, Bacon and Tomatoes

1/2 cup bacon, diced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 small onion, thinly sliced

1 small cabbage, shredded

Salt and pepper

1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp cider vinegar

Brown and crisp the bacon in a wok, then remove and set aside.  Remove all but 2 tbsp of the bacon fat, then add the garlic and onion, stir frying for a minute or two.  Add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper and continue to stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and turmeric, continuing to stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Finally, add the water, cover and steam for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the reserved bacon and vinegar and serve.

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, side dish, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Vadim’s Bones

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The family was excited about trying a new Uzbek restaurant, Cafe Vostochniy Palace, in the neighboring town of Hawley, especially after we looked at the google images for Uzbek cuisine!

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In fact the food we were offered at the Vostochniy Palace bore only a faint resemblance to the rich and interesting cuisine of Uzbekistan.  This supports one of my beliefs; not everybody who opens a restaurant can necessarily cook.  The only thing we liked in this restaurant was the tea cup.

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First of all, not everything on the menu was available.  In fact, of the 5 items we ordered, 3 were not available.  This doesn’t really bother us because it used to happen a lot in West Africa and we adjusted by always asking before ordering if they had everything on the menu.  If only we had known.  Secondly, the descriptions of their plates were whimsical; schnitzel was called schnitzel and two other meats that were schnitzels were called something else.  Thirdly, everything was dry and the chicken schnitzel cold, as in pre-breaded meat taken from the refrigerator and plunked on a plate without the accompanying side of mashed potatoes. Fourthly, appetizers, mains (cooked or not) arrived all together, just shoveled onto the plates and plunked down in front of us unattractively.  Ugly.  I have other pictures but I really can’t be bothered.  So there.  We need never discuss this restaurant again.

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Vadim had given me some bones to make soup with and when we got back from the restaurant, I thought I would roast them and use them to make a pho stock.

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As the bones were slow roasting, Jessie constantly sniffed the air and whined hungrily, so I just gave her the bones when they had cooled.  She was grateful.

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After that, I called our neighbors Skip and Caroline and invited them to share wine, blueberries, cheese and conversation.  The smartest thing I did all day :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments