Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On the Eve of the Feast

Today when I described our menu a co-worker asked if I had ever heard of a little company called "Stove-top." Are you kidding me?

Thanksgiving 2009
Red Bourbon Heritage Turkey with Gravy
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Ciabatta Bread Stuffing
Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Mashed Rainbow Turnips
Slow-Cooked Green Beans with Tomatoes
Wheat and Cornmeal Goat Cheese Rolls

and (drumroll, please....)

Caramel Armagnac Pumpkin Pie
Thanksgiving Spice Cake

p.s. - the whipped cream is in a can. you can't make everything!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bo Luc Lac - "Shaking Beef"

One of my fondest memories of San Francisco is dining at the Slanted Door. On that trip, we stayed on the Embarcadero at the beautiful Hotel Vitale, which is conveniently located at Mission Street right across from the Ferry Market. (convenient for eating, that is!)

Last month I was delighted to see this simple recipe for Shaking Beef, which we first enjoyed at the Slanted Door. Its easy preparation makes it perfect for weeknight.

I hadn't planned on writing about this meal, but a few bites in I realized it was too good to keep to myself.

Bo Luc Lac

Adapted from Michael Huynh
New York Times,
October 21, 2009
Serves 2


1 pound beef filet, (I used Wegman's organic), cut into 1-inch cubes

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


1 medium red onion, cut into paper-thin strips

7 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

most of 1 head butter lettuce, cored, leaves torn into large pieces

1 shaved fennel bulb

1 bunch arugula, chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves

8-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

1. For the marinade: In a bowl, combine beef, garlic, Maggi or soy sauce, sugar, salt and black pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. For the salad: In a large serving bowl, combine onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, sugar, salt, vinegar and olive oil. Mix well, and season with black pepper to taste. Add lettuce, fennel, arugula, mint and tomatoes. Toss to mix.

3. Preheat a large skillet over high heat, and add vegetable oil. Add remaining 5 cloves minced garlic. Add half the beef cubes and sear on all sides, shaking pan, until medium rare, 1-2 minutes. Reserve, then repeat with remaining beef.

4. Transfer beef to salad greens and toss, or serve salad and beef separately, divided among four plates. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. If desired, serve with rice or crusty French bread.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TWD: Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

There is nothing that says November like the perfect spice cookie, and this is it.

I really should stop photographing the baked goods and instead capture the looks of delight on the faces of my eager tasters. They loved 'em!

This is the time of the year when I take inventory in my baking cupboard and replenish my supplies for the holidays. The fresh spices I got from Penzey's in Chestnut Hill really made a difference in this recipe. I used their Vietnamese Cinnamon, which is purportedly the highest quality cinnamon available in America today. It's intensely flavored and deep in color, and combined with Grandma's Robust Molasses, ginger and allspice, made some very dark and delicious cookies. I took Dorie's advice and added a healthy pinch of coursely ground pepper. Mmmmm!

Other than over-baking the first tray a bit, I didn't have any issues with the dough. It was easier to handle the second day, and it didn't misbehave the way I'd heard it might. I loved the way the pressing the dough balls with a glass made the batch nice and uniform.

A big thank you to Pamela of Cookies with Boys for selecting this super-easy recipe. Stop by her blog and try not to fantasize about sitting at her dinner table - she makes some great food! The recipe and some baking tips can be found right here.