• What Have I Done For You Lately…

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

Belgian Beef Stew

Hello Cooking Friends,

It is getting to be Fall, which is my favorite time of the year. And that means that stews and soups can come out of hiding and take center stage, woohoo! So my first fall stew was accomplished with a bit of this and a bit of that, as per the usual for me!

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Belgian Beef Stew.

My brother wanted steak one night, so he had bought some steaks. Having only used 2 of them, I was trying to figure out what to do with the other 2 when it hit me: STEW!!!!! I was researching Belgian recipes for an upcoming Charlotte Beer Babes event, and found this Belgian Beef Stew recipe that sounded delicious-and-adaptable.

C’mon, you know I am almost physically incapable of following recipes all the way! ūüėČ

Anyways, to start I took 1 lb. applewood-smoked bacon, chopped it up into 1/4-inch pieces and added to a crock pot with 1/2 cup light margarine (hellooooo Country Crock!). I cooked that over high heat for about 5 minutes. As that was cooking, I chopped up 15 peeled pearl onions, and added them and another 1/4 cup light margarine to the pot, mixing them all together. Then I chopped up 1 clove garlic, fresh, and added that and another 1/4 cup of light margarine to the pot. Remember to stir every few minutes! At this point you should be at around 10-12 minutes for the bacon cooking, and it should start to smell deliciously bacony!

Next, chop up your 2 steaks (believe me this yields plenty of beef!), into about 1/2 inch cubes. Add that to the bacon mixture and stir to mix well. Cook for about 10 minutes (still on high setting in your crock pot).

Now this should be getting some liquid gathering at the bottom of the pot, so take about 1 ladle full and pour into a cup to make a slurry (no, not a slurPee). Add 1/8 cup flour, 1 tspn salt, and about 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Mix this all until completely combined, no flour chunks remaining. Add the slurry to the stew and mix well. Let cook about 5 minutes.

Next, pour in 1 12-oz bottle of a beer of your choice. Traditionally this should be a dark Belgian, however we had a Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout on hand that sounded delicious, so I used that instead. Mix this well into the stew, and it should be a dark color. Let stew for about 5 minutes. (Har har har!)

Meanwhile, chop up most of a 0.75 oz package of fresh parsley (produce section!), without the stems, until you basically can’t chop it any more by hand. Don’t process or blend this, as that will make it into a paste, but go ahead and use a chopper if you have one!

Add your parsley to the stew, and then grate 1 lemon (all of it) directly into the stew. Slice your lemon in half, de-seed it, then squeeze the juice into your stew. I know, I know, you think this is in the “WHY are you ruining a good stew?!?” but trust me – this makes it extra delicious!

Now you just need to let the stew sit for about 15 more minutes on high, then reduce heat to low and let sit 20-30 minutes more. This will fully incorporate the juices in the meats, as well as let the stew thicken.

When you’re about 10 minutes from serving, take 1 bag of Egg Noodles (like these) and cook with 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender. When drained and ready to serve, scoop some noodles into a dish (bowl or plate that has curved sides) and top with a few ladles of stew. Garnish with a sprig of reserved parsley if desired. Serve. Enjoy.

belgian beef stew egg noodles beef bacon onion garlic stew soup fall food parsley lemon juice

Observe, plated Belgian Beef Stew! Mmmm.

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie

Hello Baking Fiends!

I had a special request from a friend to make a Lemon Icebox Pie for dessert. So I looked up a bunch of recipes and found these three that I really wanted to base my pie off of: AllRecipes’ Lemon Icebox Pie III, Emeril’s Lemon Icebox Pie, and Papa’s Lemon Icebox Pie.

So, typical me, I basically combined some elements from all of these recipes, added a Strawberry twist of my own, and came up with my own creation! Shocked? I figured you would be!

Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

What you’ll need:
1 box of Vanilla Wafers (you’ll use all but maybe 12 wafers)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 quart of fresh de-stemmed strawberries, divided
3 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8oz package 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 8×8 cake pan or 9×9 pie pan (preferably with a lid)

What you’ll do:
First, using a food processor, a blender or a rolling pin (and some repressed anger or frustration), make the wafers into a cookie powder-like mulch. You laugh or cringe now at that description, but just do it, I dare you. Dump the cookies into a bowl.

Next purée about 5 of the small strawberries (should be a small handful in total) until it looks like a smoothie. While that is going, melt your butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Dump the strawberries and butter in with the wafers.

Making the crust….

Once this is mixed together really well, and it will look more like cookie dough at this point, dump the crust mix into your sprayed-with-Pam pan (I used an 8×8 cake pan), and spread it out evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Crust to bake….

Bake your crust at 350 for 15 minutes, remove from oven and pat the bottom down (spreading it back out evenly) if needed, then bump the oven up to 425 to bake for an additional 8 minutes. Turn the oven off and remove, letting it cool.

While that is baking, in a bowl (I just used the crust bowl again) dump in the softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, condensed milk, juice of 3 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, and the pulsed (not fully puréed) remnants of another 5 small strawberries. Mix really well with a whisk until fully incorporated.

Making the filling….

And now pour the filling into the crust and spread it evenly all up the sides. Slice the remaining 4-5 strawberries into quarters, and place on top of the filling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

Voilà: Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

Verdict on this was “delicious” across the board. This was definitely very lemony, so if you don’t like as much lemon, I would maybe only juice 2 lemons instead of 3. However I was impressed with how well the crust turned out, and think it would be fun to try other fruit pur√©es in them, maybe even in place of the butter! Hmmm. Mmmm. ūüôā

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes

Hello Baking Lovers!

Today we are having Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes —¬†√† la Beth. I have a coworker who not only is allergic to chocolate (oh the HORROR of it!), but absolutely LOVES Strawberry Shortcakes of all kinds. His birthday is this weekend, so I decided to start our long weekend off right at work and make him (and the rest of my taste-tester victims) some sweet treats to make the day more enjoyable.

Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes!

I was looking at my favorite Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, which is courtesy of the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder, a Hannah Swensen novel, by Joanne Fluke. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 48 hours to let the Pound Plus Cake sit before serving, so I decided to shop around some more for quicker recipes.

In my search, I happened upon this nice blog site unsophisticook, and found some great stuff! I found what would be the basis for my Shortcakes, and a great Bisquick baking substitute for not having to buy the boxed product as well!

To start, I didn’t alter the Bisquick Substitute recipe. Contain your shock, I know it has your jaw agape, but please…miracles do happen! So to start the whole process off I knew I would only need 3.5 cups of the substitute, so I halved the recipe from the above link. I didn’t want extra since it is so easy to whip up!

Step 1: Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbspn baking powder, and 1/2 tbspn salt until thoroughly blended. Add 1/4 cup cold sliced butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives or a whisk, mix in the butter until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Step 2: To the flour, add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and stir completely until dough is lumpy and dry.

Step 3: Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and mix dough well: this will moisten the dough and make it sticky.

Step 4: Drop spoonfulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, mine is lined with foil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar, Bake for 14 minutes at 425 F (preheat your oven first!). NOTE: You want the dough balls at least the size of a hacky sack, otherwise you won’t have enough cake for the full effect!

Step 5: Slice up 2 lbs of fresh de-stemmed strawberries and put in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup sugar over top (distribute evenly).

Step 6: Combine 2 tbspn lemon juice and 1/3 cup cold water. Pour mixture over strawberries & sugar. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Step 7: To make the Crème Fraiche, put 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer on high for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and let whip for around 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Then add in 1/2 cup sour cream, switching the speed down significantly (on mine went from 10 to 3).

Now, I made all the stuff, refrigerated the crème and strawberries, covered the shortcakes (left on top of the cooled stove), and went to bed. You could do this immediately after everything has cooled, but it worked out great overnight for me!

Assembling the Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes:

Step 8.1: Split the cooled cakes in half horizontally.

Step 8.2: Place the bottom half of the cake in a cupcake holder (easiest way to keep them together AND transport them, I promise!).

Step 8.3: Place a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the cake bottom.

Step 8.4: Place 3 slices of strawberries on top of the crème. NOTE: you probably want to drain the juices from the strawberries before starting this process. I drained into a glass & enjoyed a yummy strawberry juice, with a few slices slipped in!

Step 8.5: Place top of cake on top of strawberries, dab a small dollop of crème on top, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, as this will enhance the flavors immensely!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

So that is the easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make these cute, individual sized Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes! Let me know how you like them – so far everyone at work has absolutely loved them! Have a great rest of your Friday, a great weekend (for those in the US – HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY weekend!), and until next time…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

%d bloggers like this: