Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine)

This dish is a French classic: a stew created by braising a tough cut of beef in red wine, cooking long and slow to yield something hearty, tender, and full of flavor.

Beef Bourguignon, served over noodles

Now shocking as this may seem, this isn’t a summer dish, but that’s ok–I actually made it during the winter, lol! Can you tell that I’m not great about getting all of my posts published right away? 😉 This recipe is based on that of the great Julia Child from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, a book I’d highly recommend to anybody who is serious about cooking good food (I’ve also discovered the re-runs of her fantastic TV series on PBS–very worth a watch!).

So whether the weather is cold or you just want something to warm you up and… click to read more…

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Baklava

Depending on where you hang your hat, baklava might mean different things to you–a Greek baklava is not a Turkish baklava is not an Arab baklava, and so on and so forth. The core idea is the same across all variants though: an absolutely delicious treat composed of layers of paper-thin, flaky phyllo dough, sweet, spiced, crunchy nuts, and a sticky, sweet syrup to bring it all together.

As exotic as baklava might be to some (to think, some have never had it before! If you haven’t, this goes on your dessert to-do list. Really!), making baklava is easy, albeit a bit tedious. Of course, if I didn’t use store-bought premade phyllo dough, it might not have been quite so easy ;-). At a high level, it really amounts to layering several sheets of the delicate, paper thin phyllo dough with a light brushing of butter between each with a thicker mid-section composed of sweetened nuts. Once this… click to read more…

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Beef Wellington

Some times, when dinner rolls around, we all experiment and try to put together something new. Other times, we resort to the classics, maybe not comfort food, but definitely something “established,” and this is one such dish: Beef Wellington.

I don’t think I ever had a Beef Wellington before this, but was well aware of it (how could you not be when its included on Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen season after season?). Like some other “classics”, I approached this with some hesitation as it seemed like it could be tasty in my mind, but it also just seemed kind of…stodgy and dated, if that makes any sense. But the more I thought about it, I couldn’t imagine how this dish would disappoint.

After eating this, I can easily see why this is a classic. This is timeless: a juicy, tender cut of filet mignon cooked inside a tight, buttery, flaky package of… click to read more…

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Andouille Stuffed Peppers

Who hasn’t had a stuffed pepper of some sort before? The most common stuffed pepper: a green bell stuffed with some mix of rice and ground beef. I wanted to revisit stuffed peppers but see if I could give it a zestier twist.

First, I started with red peppers–I just love the taste of a sweet red bell compared to the other colors (I wouldn’t miss green bells if I could never find them again). I also wanted a more flavorful meat than just ground beef, so I opted for something much more full-flavored: andouille sausage. With this ground up, I also took a trick I’d learned from Peter over a Kalofagas: instead of plain old rice, I cooked up a hearty risotto. Bring these together with some creamy cheese and a number of other flavors, and you’ve got something great.

I thought this tasted amazing.… click to read more…

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Very Strawberry Cupcakes!

As if cupcakes on their own aren’t spectacular, these cupcakes in particular were really something. I had aimed to work strawberry flavors into every element of this cupcake, as if the title of this post didn’t already convey that. Strawberry cupcake? Check. Strawberry cream-cheese frosting? Check. Strawberry Rhubarb jam filling? Check. Awesome? Yes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Filled Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting and some indecisively placed strawberry garnish. I hate strawberries ;-)

With all of this strawberry action at once, you might be surprised, but the result wasn’t just getting hit in the face with strawberry. It actually worked quite harmoniously and each component kind of showcased a different side of strawberry: the cake was subtle, sweet, and floral, whereas the frosting was rich, creamy, and really a much more vibrant punch of strawberry. This is all in contrast to the strawberry rhubarb jam piped inside the cupcake. Oh, and funny thing, the only reason I thought of these cupcakes? I was shocked by how much jam I had made… click to read more…

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Sweet “Faux” Gras Pâté on Pear Chips…wait, wtf? Chicken for dessert?

Jeff at Culinary Disaster posed a challenge among a few friends recently to make a dish using chicken. I think we’ve all made many a chicken dish before, and seeing how dessert is where I seem to have the most fun, I thought it would only be appropriate that I try to do something a little odd and make a chicken-based dessert since I thought (a) that has to stand out and (b) that sounds like a hell of a challenge. I know…dessert…and chicken? You didn’t misread, so let that one sink in and bear with me (have I ever steered you wrong, dear reader?). Trust me, this one has a happy ending!

Obviously, one has to tread carefully to get a dessert out of a chicken, and leaning too heavily on eggs seems like a crutch (given how obvious they are in dessert, anyways). So I thought I might be better off looking away from the usual breast/thighs… click to read more…

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