Friday, March 18, 2016

CtBF~Belgian Beef Stew with Beer and Spice Bread

CtBF~Belgian Beef Stew with Beer and Spice Bread
There is nothing quite as good as a potted meal on a cold winters day. Although spring is in the air here in the North East, it is still pretty cool. In fact, they’re predicting snow for Sunday. OH NO!! Our pick this week for CtBF's was David’s Belgian Beef Stew with Beer and Spice Bread. It called for making a beef stew with beer. Wow, I could definitely get behind this! Despite that, when I read that you added four slices of spice bread, spread with mustard, to the stew while it cooked, I was skeptical to say the least. Although, I have learned that following a recipe the first time you make it, is very important. I’m so glad I trusted David on this one!

Pain D'Épices
I made the bread the day before making the stew. It’s a simple batter bread, but the taste is anything but simple. This bread reminded me of the spice bread that we were served all over Holland, usually  with breakfast or a cup of coffee. It’s dense and full of spicy flavor. You can find the recipe for David's spice bread (Pain D’Épices) on Lottie and Doof, where it has been shared with permission...David’s Honey Spice Bread.

The stew is a basic stew made with beer, instead of the red wine I usually use. First, tossing the beef with seasoned flour, and searing in batches. When the beef is browned, remove from pan, and add onions and bacon. Once the onions are translucent, remove to bowl holding the beef. Add water to pan to scrape up any browned bits, and then add the beer. Return everything to the pot, along with some thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and whole cloves. Here’s where I became a bit of a rebel…I need veggies in my stew.  I added carrots and mushrooms to the mix. Now cover and let simmer on low heat for about an hour.  Spread the bread with Dijon mustard, and place on top of the stew. Cover and cook for another 1½ to 2 hours. Leave the lid ajar and stir occasionally.  I served mine with egg noodles, and a salad. This was a phenomenal stew, and my taste tester dubbed it a keeper! Another delicious week down!! 

As a side note, I will be attending my granddaughter’s play tonight. Being a grandma is such fun!
Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe participates with CooktheBookFridays, where we are cooking through David Leibovitz’s new cookbook “My Paris Kitchen”.  If you’d like to see what the rest of the group in CtBF thought of this recipe, visit our LYL post here. 

Amazing aromas were permeating my kitchen from this delicious stew
Bon Appétit

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Paddy’s Day~Irish Cream Crepes

A perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s a special treat for all your St. Paddy’s Day leprechauns. While I was browsing the Internet recently, I saw a few recipes that reminded me that our favorite Irish holiday was just around the corner. I have been known to turn certain foods green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Keeping that in mind, I decided to take my favorite crepe recipe, and change it up for the day. I also made a luscious Whipped Cream flavored with Irish Cream, or if you’d prefer, Dulce de Leche whipped cream works very well, too. The choice is yours! 
I served mine smeared with some Chestnut Spread. Something yummy I picked up in Italy last year. Once they were folded in quarters, I finished them with a dollop of whipped cream.   You can find Chestnut Spread in many specialty stores, or on Amazon. These babies were delectable! Hope you’ll give them a try! Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! 

For the next few weeks I will be on Long Island soaking up my grandkids. Getting lots of hugs from my grandsons and granddaughter makes everyday better. It has been such a great visit so far. Over the weekend, we attended a SCMEA Concert that my granddaughter was chosen to be part of. Such a great event, with wonderfully talented kids! Last night we were at a Board of Ed. meeting, where my granddaughter read her winning essay! Next weekend, we will be attending her school play. For grandparents, these are the best of times! 

My coveted de Buyer crepe pan…best pan ever
Wonderfully delicious Irish Cream Crepes
Join me?
Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Irish Cream Crepes
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1 1/3 cups milk 
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 2 tablespoons Irish Cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon of green food coloring, optional
Whisk together, in large bowl, the eggs, milk, melted butter, flour, sugar, salt, Irish Cream and green food coloring until smooth. You could do this in a blender.
Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter or oil to the pan. Using a small ladle, spoon about 2-3 tablespoons crepe batter into the hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes…flip over and cook till lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Dulce De Leche, or Irish Cream Whipped Cream
  •  2 cups heavy cream
  •  1 Tablespoon brown sugar (or powdered sugar)
  •  2 ½ Tablespoons of Dulce de Leche (or 2 Tablespoons Irish Cream)
Combine all ingredients. Then whip until peaks form. Enjoy!
Stores well in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blogger C.L.U.E. Sweet Almond Pastry

Sweet Almond Pastry
Welcome to Blogger C.L.U.E. for March! After a long winter, spring is in the air. You can sense nature’s rebirth.  Our theme for this month is ‘Easter’.  I was assigned to meet and browse through Kate's very lovely blog, A Spoonful of Thyme.  As I browsed her blog, I learned that Kate and I share some similarities.  Sunday dinners at our grandmother’s house, while growing up, dinnertime rituals with our own families, and belonging to a gourmet dinner group a very long time. I have been cooking with mine for about 29 years, Kate for more than 30.  
Easy and delicious…What else could you ask for?

As I searched for something that I could serve for Easter, I came upon some truly lovely recipes. I thought about her Bar Eggs. In our house, we always serve pickled eggs at Easter, a Hungarian tradition. Our pickled eggs are made with beets. They are bright red, and have a slightly sweet taste. Hers were hot and spicy!  Did I dare switch a family tradition? I don't think so...but I will be making them for my son and grandsons, who love spicy, hot. I actually saw quite a few dishes, I would love to go back, and revisit.  The Rose Tea sounds perfect for a hot summers day. Her Cherry Crumb Cheesecake was to die for. However, when I saw her Sweet Almond Pastry, I immediately knew I wanted to serve it Easter morning for breakfast. 

This was quite easy, wonderfully delicious, and looks utterly impressive! A definite winner with my family!

Happy Easter!

Sweet Almond Pastry
adapted from Pepperidge Farm
2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
6 oz almond paste
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 sheet of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets), thawed per package directions
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Confectioner's sugar

Heat the oven to 400° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a fork, stir one egg and the water together.

Place the almond paste, granulated sugar, one egg and vanilla in a food processor.  Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.

Unfold the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll the pastry into a 12 X 10 rectangle.  Withe the short side facing you, spoon the almond mixture on the bottom half of the pastry to within one inch of the edges.  Cut several 2-3 inch long slits, about 1 inch apart,  on the plain side of the pastry.  Fold this side of the pastry over the filling and seal the edges with a fork.

Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.  Sprinkle with the almonds and place the filled pastry on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 375° F.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes to serve warm or let cool completely.  Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired. 

And please check out what the other bloggers from Blogger C.L.U.E. have cooked up this month:

Friday, March 4, 2016

CooktheBookFridays Dukkah~Roasted Cauliflower

The Dukkah nuts and spices

Roasted Cauliflower is one of those dishes that I grew up on. I adore roasted veggies,  especially Cauliflower.  Growing up  in a Lebanese family, it was something my grandmother made regularly. Always a part of our meatless Friday meals. Those days when you couldn't eat meat on Friday if you were Catholic. Anyone remember meatless Fridays? I love the way cauliflower caramelizes as it roasts. So when I saw this recipe as our pick this week, I was excited. 

The Cauliflower baked and ready to eat...not so pretty but totally delicious

However, the Dukkah was something new to me. In my family we use za'atar, which is a mixture of sumac, wild thyme and sesame seeds. I buy mine, ready to use, at the Middle Eastern market in Paterson. Dukkah is an Egyptian mixture of nuts and spices. The aroma, as you roast each spice separately, is heavenly. Then they are ground together. "Oh My God"!! David said, I would say it! He was right!

For this dish you break your cauliflower into florets. Place them onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. At this point sprinkle with the Dukkah mixture, and stir to coat.  Bake for another 20 minutes. As this bakes, the aroma permeates your kitchen with the most wonderful fragrance

I ate this by myself (hubby doesn't do cauliflower) for my lunch. It was absolutely amazing!! Oh My God! Happy Friday everyone! 

The Dukkah...a new addition to my kitchen
Cauliflower ready for the oven
Loved the flavor the Dukkah added to the Cauliflower...OH MY GOD!

This recipe participates with CooktheBookFridays. We are cooking through David Lebovitz' new cookbook, "My Paris Kitchen". We do not post the recipes unless they have been previously published. The Dukkah recipe was found here. and here.
If you don't have David's book, you might pick up a copy, and join us in the fun of CooktheBookFridays. We'd love to have you!

Egyptian Spiced Nut Mix (Dukkah) 

From My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2014)

Makes 1½ cups (150g)

½ cup (50g) hazelnuts
1/3 cup (50g) sesame seeds
¼ cup (35g) hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 8 to 10 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and most of the skins are loosened. Remove from the oven. When the nuts are cool enough to handle, rub them briskly in a kitchen towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Put the nuts into a bowl.
3. Heat a skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Start with the sesame seeds, spreading them in an even layer in the pan and shaking or stirring them frequently, until they crackle and become lightly browned. Scrape them into the bowl with the hazelnuts. Then toast the pumpkin seeds, then the coriander, the cumin, and finally the fennel seeds in the same way, adding each to the bowl as it is done. Finally, toast the peppercorns. Most will take less than a minute. Add the salt.
4. Grind the nuts, seeds, and spices, in a mortar and pestle, with a spice grinder, or in the bowl of a mini food processor, working in batches if necessary, until the mixture is well ground together, but not too fine.
Dukkah will keep for about a month stored in an airtight jar at room temperature.

Variations: Use toasted almonds, peanuts, or cashews in place of the hazelnuts. Make a quick dip by stirring together ¾ cup (75g) of dukkah with 6 tablespoons (90ml) of olive oil in a small bowl.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Wonderfully delicious Carrot Cake Pancakes

Believe it or not, until recently I had an abundance of carrots, pulled from my garden last fall, sitting in my fridge. Usually the carrots I plant don't do so well however, this year was an exception. I pulled most of them out in September.  Then before the weather got really cold, I went back to my garden, and pulled the rest. I wish I took photos...I gave bags of them to my daughter, son and friends and still kept bags for myself. I have been using carrots in everything since the fall.  Stews, soups, breads, salads…etc.  This week I finally ran out, but not before I made these amazing Carrot Cake Pancakes. I found the recipe in Cooking Light a while back, and although I had planned on making them at that time, somehow I misplaced the recipe. I totally forgot about them, until recently while looking in my recipe folder. That’s when I came across this wonderful recipe again, right under my nose!  

And they're healthy

These pancakes are decadent, rich, and taste as if you're eating carrot cake for breakfast...but a whole lot healthier! They get their sweetness from just a ¼ cup of brown sugar. I served mine with maple syrup, because that's my husband’s favorite...but they would be great with a cream cheese drizzle, or the honey butter that is included with the recipe. 
We enjoyed these babies for a Happy Leap Day breakfast! You can bet I won't be waiting four years to try them again! A healthy option for a pancake breakfast, for sure.

Whisk together the batter ingredients....
Add the carrots
Place about a 1/4 cup batter on griddle
Filled with carrots, walnuts, and spices...Oh so good!


Carrot Cake Pancakes from Cooking Light


These cakey flapjacks feature warm spices and bright carrot flavor. Our lightened version calls for low-fat buttermilk and a small dab of honey butter.

 6 servings (serving size: 2 pancakes and about 2 teaspoons honey butter)


  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (about 1 pound)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey


1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs); add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in 2 cups carrots.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon 4 (1/4 cup) batter mounds onto pan, spreading with a spatula. Cook for 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 1 minute or until bottoms are lightly browned. Repeat procedure twice with remaining batter. 
3. Combine butter and honey in a small bowl; serve with pancakes.