M'lady Peggy made a type of hors d'oeuvre whose origin for her was a commercial wine tasting event. It didn't sound especially good to me (I was in the mood for a meat or seafood hors d'oeuvre) and she didn't have a name for it. She did, however, tell me that they are very good, and she made a few changes/additions relative to what she was served, and WOW, what a fine result. The flavor and texture combination was excellent and quite unexpected by me, and they are very attractive as well. We went through 20 of them in one sitting and I could easily have eaten more. I knew immediately that I needed to make a new appetizer entry in Food Nirvana. Of course, you will likely have to purchase a few of the ingredients on your next trip to the supermarket when you decide to make them.
Peggy had no name for the hors d'oeuvre so I looked at one with a blank mind and figured out a suitable name. They look like colorful little ladies wearing red skirts so I decided to name them Tasty Ladies. If you've had anything similar before you will probably know them by a different name.
These delicious hors d'oeuvres are rather easy to make. They consist of five items skewered on a colored cocktail toothpick and stood on end as a group on a cocktail or small serving plate. The challenge is to find the perfect ingredients so I have indicated in the ingredients list below the brands of tomatoes, cheese and garlic that Peggy used. You can, of course, substitute other products, including what you can make at home.
20 colored cocktail toothpicks
20 green manzanilla pimento stuffed olives (though you might also try a variety of additional small pitted olives for variety, like black or kalamata olives)
10 small salad tomatoes (Peggy used very expensive hothouse grown small tomatoes from Canada that are genuinely ripe and sweet and are not supposed to be refrigerated, simply washed first when used. The brand name is Sunset Angel Sweet®.)
20 cloves of garlic from bottled garlic and spices in water (Pampa® brand) or use the Food Nirvana recipe in Processed Vegetables to make marinated garlic and save a lot of money
10 small mozzarella cheese balls marinated in oil and herbs and spices (Formaggio® brand)
10 small leaves of fresh basil
Directions: (reverse the order of ingredient assembly if you use parasol top or other decorative top cocktail toothpicks)
Cut the tomatoes in half, cross-wise. Do the same for the cheese balls. Cut the basil leaves in half the same way.
Skewer each tomato piece with a toothpick such that the flat part of the tomato is at the bottom when the toothpicks are placed on a cocktail plate vertically.
Push a piece of basil onto each toothpick until it is touching the tomato on the top.
Skewer a piece of the cheese on each toothpick and push it down to the basil.
Skewer each clove of garlic, sideways, and push it down the toothpick to the cheese.
Skewer an olive sideways on each toothpick and push it down to touch the garlic.
If necessary, chill the Tasty Ladies for a few hours, covered with plastic wrap, before serving them to your guests.
I found the following pictures, numbers and general information on the Internet to illustrate the different degrees of doneness for beef in terms of the final internal temperature and the appearance. The information provided next is how to know and to assure that the roast or steak will be exactly what is wanted at serving time. Test roasts for doneness using a meat thermometer placed so the tip is in the center of the roast, not touching bone or resting in fat. Remove the roast from the oven when the thermometer registers 5º F to 10º F lower than the desired temperature as the internal temperature will continue to rise briefly after it comes out of the oven. This is not much of a problem with steaks because they are thinner than a roast. A quick-read thermometer can also be used in roasts and it can be used more effectively than a regular meat thermometer in testing steaks for doneness. V ery Rare 130º F Rare 140º F
8 medium or 4 large onions, thickly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or ½ cup of tomato sauce)
1-1/2 teaspoons of coarse (kosher) salt
2 cloves of garlic, quartered (I use 8 cloves for 6 lbs. of meat)
1 carrot, peeled (I use more like ten carrots, cut to 3 inch lengths, for 6 lbs. of meat)
6 coarsely chopped medium size peeled russet potatoes (optional but appropriate)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Trim the brisket or chuck of most of its fat, and dust it lightly with the flour. Sprinkle it with pepper.
Heat the oil in a large heavy flameproof metal casserole or Dutch Oven. Add the beef, and sear/brown it on both sides and around the perimeter of the meat over medium-high to high heat until some crispy spots appear on the surface. This will take about five minutes per side.
Transfer the beef to a plate. Keeping the heat medium high, add the onions to the casserole/Dutch Oven and stir, scraping up the brown particles left from the meat. Cook until the onions have softened and developed a handsome brown color from the meat particles, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the casserole/Dutch Oven from the heat, and place the beef, along with any juices that have accumulated, on top of the onions. Spread the tomato paste or sauce over the beef as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with pepper and the coarse salt. Add the garlic and carrots, and cover tightly. Place the casserole/Dutch Oven on the middle rack in the oven, and bake covered for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the casserole/Dutch Oven from the oven, and transfer the meat to a carving board. Cut it into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Place raw potato pieces on top of the reduced onions. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice (in effect reassembling the brisket, slightly slanted). Correct the seasoning if necessary and add 1/4 cup of water to the casserole.
Cover, and return the casserole/Dutch Oven to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Cook until the meat is brown and fork-tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Check the meat for tenderness. If more cooking time is needed then add 1/4 cup of water and cook for an addition 30 minutes. Transfer the roast, onions, potatoes and carrot slices to a heated platter, along with the wonderful gravy that formed during cooking. Serve at once on warmed dinner plates.
Beef Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy) - ☺
Who doesn't like beef bourguignon? It sounds like a classy dish but in reality it is simply great comfort food. I know you will enjoy it.
The origin of this recipe is mixed. Marie used to make a yummy beef bourguinon but I never found the recipe for it. I also made this dish many times so what I provide here is likely a mixture of Marie's and my thoughts and preferences. Ingredients: 3 slices of bacon, chopped
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley Directions: Heat a large deep skillet with a heavy bottom and a lid over medium high heat. Add the bacon pieces to the pan and brown them. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt it in the bacon drippings. Add the onion to the pan and turn the pieces to coat them evenly with butter and bacon drippings. Season the onions pieces with salt and pepper. Sauté them for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the mushroom slices and the diced garlic to the pan. Continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes longer, then transfer the mixture to a plate and return the pan to the heat. Add the remaining sautéing butter to the pan and melt it, then add the meat to the very hot pan and brown it evenly on all sides, keeping the meat moving. Add flour to the browned meat in the pan, mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine to the pan slowly while stirring. When the wine comes up to a bubble and you have scraped the drippings to get them mixed in, add the beef broth and the bouquet of fresh sage and thyme sprigs to the pan. Cover the pan. When the liquid boils, reduce the heat to low. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the mushroom, onion and garlic mixture and the bacon pieces. Simmer the beef bourguignon with the cover off until the sauce thickens a bit. Adjust the seasoning and remove and discard the herb bouquet. Cover the skillet and set the heat to very low to keep the contents hot but not boiling. Prepare the noodles per package directions. Toss the hot egg noodles with butter and the parsley. Place a bed of noodles in each individual serving wide and shallow bowl and ladle the beef burgundy over the noodles. Serve and enjoy! Beef Jerky - ?
There are many beef jerky recipes and the two provided below are from the Internet. I modified them as appropriate. I opted to provide jerky types that have some sweetness and smokiness instead of only strong sauce and garlic flavors. I also showed the two most common ways of making beef jerky at home, in a low temperature oven or in a dehydrator. The best thing to do is experiment with small amounts of lean beef, trying each recipe with your own variations until you find what is perfect for you. You may want less of one or more of the sauces shown and you might have an idea for trying a different sauce. Refrigerate the final product for long shelf life and no spoilage.
You might also vacuum seal the jerky, which inhibits molds from forming.
I have not tried these specific recipes yet, though I have made a lot of beef jerky in the past. I will report back to you with my results and recommendations. 1. Teriyaki Style Beef Jerky Ingredients: (The volumes of sauces seem far too high. Adjust them as necessary.)
5 pounds of lean beef
5 ounces of Wright’s® hickory seasoning liquid smoke (or less)
15 ounces of French’s® Worcestershire sauce (or less)
15 to 20 ounces of teriyaki sauce (or less)
15 to 20 ounces of soy sauce (or less)
2 to 4 Tbsp. of garlic powder
2 to 4 Tbsp. of dark brown sugar (or more)
2 to 4 Tbsp. of onion powder
2 to 4 ounces of molasses or dark corn syrup (or more)
2 to 4 tsp. of cayenne pepper (this will create a hot/very hot jerky)
Directions: Cut the meat across the grain into strips no more than ¼” thick. Thickness is easy to control by using semi-frozen meat. Cut away and discard any and all fat. Let the meat strips thaw completely and then dry them using paper towels. Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a four quart bowl. Add the meat strips a few at a time and mix the contents well with each addition. Cover the bowl and put the meat/marinade mixture in the refrigerator and let it marinate for 24 hours. Stir every six hours. Cover your lower oven rack with aluminum foil and place the marinated meat across the uncovered upper oven racks, keeping it as flat as you can. Set the oven at 160° F to 180° F. The lower temperature is best if your oven can be set to that temperature. Keep the oven door slightly open with a metal spoon between the door and the oven frame, as this will allow moisture to escape the oven, which is critical. After one hour turn over each piece of meat. Cook for a total of 4 to 6 hours depending on what you want in terms of dryness. Remove the beef jerky from the oven racks and let it cool to room temperature. Put the jerky in an airtight container, in Ziploc® freezer bags, or vacuum seal it. 2. Sweet Smoky Style Beef Jerky
Ingredients: (the marinade ingredients listed don’t seem to provide enough liquid)
2 pounds round steak, cut across the grain into strips no more than ¼” thick
Directions: Place the beef strips between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound each strip to 1/8 inch thickness with a kitchen mallet. Put the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika into a large bowl. Mix well. Add the pounded beef strips to the bowl a few at a time, mixing with each addition to coat the beef with marinade. Do a final mixing to assure all the meat is evenly coated. Cover the bowl and marinate the mixture in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Stir every two hours.
Arrange the marinated meat strips flat on the trays of a dehydrator and dry at your dehydrator's highest setting until the jerky is done to your liking in terms of dryness, at least 4 hours. Turn off the dehydrator and set the trays out to cool the beef jerky. Store the jerky in an airtight container or in Ziploc® freezer bags when it has cooled to room temperature. Even better, vacuum seal it.