Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beef Stew With Parmesan Parsley Dumplings

Like many of us, I grew up eating beef stew.  It was a meal I always looked forward to..  We probably had it every couple of weeks in the old homestead. 
This recipe is almost the same as Betty Crocker's  but over the years I've made a few changes.  In the past I loved to use sirloin tips as my beef but they are way to expensive right now so today I used blade steak.  I just cut around the fat and dice it into 1 inch pieces. As a kid,  I remember being so excited when my mom would make dumplings with the stew.  It didn't happen every time so it was a real treat.  Tonight... it's beef stew with Parmesan Parsley Dumplings and I can't wait....


4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil ( Divided)
2 Lbs boneless beef chuck or tips cut into 1 inch cubes.
2 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Water
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
4 Carrots Peeled and Sliced
8 Tiny New Potatoes, Halved ( no need to peel)
3 Stalks Celery Sliced ( about 1 Cup)
1 Large Onion Diced
1 Bay Leaf ( Don't forget to removed before serving)

2 Teaspoons Salt
1 1/2  Teaspoons of Dried Italian Seasoning

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

For Thickening
1/2 Cup Cold Water
2 Tablespoons Flour

1. In a Dutch oven or heavy cooking pot, heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium heat, add beef and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until brown on all sides. Remove Meat from Dutch Oven and set aside.

2, Add Remaining 2 Tablespoons oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped celery and onions. Cook for 3 minutes until slightly tender.

3. Add back the browned beef, the water, beef broth , salt, pepper, bay leaf, Italian Seasoning and Tomato Paste. Heat to boiling and scrape bottom of the Dutch Oven to loosen up the bits. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the beef is tender.

4. Stir in all the cut vegetables. Cover and cook another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Make sure you remove and discard the bay leaf at this point.

5. In a small bowl, whisk the 1/2 cup cold water and 2 tablespoons flour. Pour into the dutch oven and cook on low for 1 minute until thickened.

For Dumplings: ( Makes Six)
1 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Chopped

Directions For Dumplings

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium size bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk, parsley and cheese to make a soft dough.
Drop by spoonfuls into boiling stew on top of vegetables and beef. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. Serve.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Double Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Bread

My mother use to make this awesome lemon bread when I was a kid but I don't have her recipe ( she's looking for it).
I found this one on the Tasty Kitchen site...and it's amazing.  The creator of this recipe also has a  wonderful cooking blog. You should really check it out!


The only thing that I altered in her recipe is that I added a lemon glaze to the top. 

What makes this bread so amazing is that the Hungry Couple uses ricotta cheese and buttermilk in the batter.  The end result produces a super moist bread, almost like a pound cake. You really have to try this.  You seriously won't be able to stop eating it...

Here is her recipe:

1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/2 Cup ricotta cheese
1 Cup blueberries
Zest of 3 lemons

Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl and beat until thoroughly combined and lightened in color.  Beat in the butter followed by the ricotta cheese, vanilla, lemon zest and buttermilk.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat the dry ingredients into the wet until mixed.  Fold in the blueberries and mix by hand just until combined.  Pour the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool before removing from the pan and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.  Makes approximately 10 servings

Here is what I did for the glaze:

1 Cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place sugar in a medium bowl, stir in lemon juice until blended.  You will want a thick, pourable glaze.  Add more sugar or more lemon juice to achieve the correct consistency.
Once you remove the bread from the loaf pan, pour glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides.

Print Here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eggplant Rollatini with Meat

I've had this beautiful eggplant sitting on my counter for about 5 days... just looking at me.....waiting to be made into something .  One eggplant isn't really enough to make eggplant Parmesan for 4 people but it sure is enough to make eggplant rollatini.  I have a great recipe for eggplant rollatini that my sister found in the Gloucester times.  She made it, passed on the recipe to me and  I've made it a couple of times.  It's a good one. Here's the link. Eggplant Rollatini
But I'm not going to make it tonight because I Know I'll get the "what???, no meat" comment. Heaven's forbid I have a dinner with no meat.
So... I'm going to experiment a little bit, nothing to fancy.  Maybe just a combination of the above recipe with some sauteed ground beef added in. 

Basically all I did was:
1.  Make a quick sauce. ( you can find that recipe on my blog.) Quick Sauce
2.  Mix some ricotta cheese with grated parmesan.
3.  Saute some ground beef and onion, throw in some oregano, basil and salt.
4.  Slice one eggplant lengthwise, salt it, let it sit for an hour in a strainer, then dry with paper towel.
5.  Grille the eggplant to soften it up.
6.  Combine the ricotta mixture, cooked meat and some sauce. 
7.  Put about 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture on each grilled eggplant, roll it up, place it seam side down, pour some sauce over it, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake until the cheese is melted.  ( about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.)