Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seared Flank Steak with 'stop me before I drink this' Shallot-Mustard Sauce

I love flank steak. It is so easy to cook and can be prepared in so many different ways that it never feels like the same meal twice. Last Sunday we had Seared Flank Steak with Shallot-Mustard Sauce served with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Maple-Sage Butter. Both recipes are from Fine Cooking and both are dishes I would definitely enjoy again. We were particularly enamoured with the Shallot-Mustard sauce. It came together as the last part of the meal and while I was reducing and whisking, simmering but not boiling I thought to myself 'Do we really need sauce? I bet the steak will be just fine without it.'. Man, was I wrong. Not totally wrong. The steak would have been fine with no sauce. But the sauce (which, if I'm being honest is mostly butter) made the meal. As the title of this post suggests.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gluten-Free Goodies

I am somewhat relieved that no-one in my household requires a special diet. We have no allergies to contend with - just the usual aversions and picky palates, which are easily (generally) dealt with. I know if I had to, I could cope with peanut-free or gluten-free but it's so nice to be able to cook with whatever ingredients happen to strike my fancy.

I didn't set out for this to be a gluten-free baking kind of weekend but that's how it ended up. I baked a gluten-free chocolate cake for a potluck and then on Sunday tried my hand at making a gluten-free apple pie. Here are the recipes, both of which I would recommend whether you are gluten-free by necessity or just curious to try something different.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy. Life.

That pretty much sums things up lately. It has been weeks since I have spent one of my Sundays in the kitchen, which has meant falling back on old favourites for dinner. Which isn't such a bad thing. This past weekend we had a great Shepherd's Pie with Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potato Crust. The week before that we had Pumpkin Pasta Surprise. (Surprise! No one knew there was pumpkin in their pasta!) On Sunday I did manage to throw together soup for the week - a very reliable Squash-Pear soup that is just a little bit sweet.

This weekend we are pot-lucking with friends and I am in charge of cake. And it's going to be chocolate. To keep things interesting, and because everyone at the potluck should get cake, I'm also going to try making a gluten-free chocolate cake using my new favourite grain, quinoa, or 'round rice' as we've billed it when serving to the boys.

Since I use this blog as a sort of diary of our food adventures I hope to get back to more interesting posts soon. And since I hate to have a post with no pictures here are two. One, my plate at Thanksgiving. Fantastic meal cooked by my SIL. I brought Rainbow Salad since it worked out so well the first time. See that big ol' zucchini? Stuffed with goat cheese and mint, then baked. Despite my vow to ban zucchini from my plate, I quite enjoyed it.

 And how about these cuties?

Cookie Monster Cupcakes. Which work on so many levels. Courtesy of my other SIL for my nieces' second birthday bash. Adorable and I am told, delicious. (I went for the pumpkin cheesecake instead, which was fantastic.) So I've been having some great meals lately, I just haven't produced many of them myself!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Butterscotch Bark. AKA - Trouble

With a capital T. That's what these squares are. I would know - I've already eaten two. Two. They are kind of a cross between a butterscotch bar and a magic square. To make them required a stick and a half of butter. A stick and a half. Of butter. So if you're wondering, the best way to end a busy week is to make some Butterscotch Bark. Then eat more of it than you should instead of having a run.

Butterscotch Bark from Martha Stewart

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
12 graham crackers
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light-brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 cup each chopped pecans and shredded sweetened coconut on baking sheet; bake until golden, 5 minutes. Cool; toss with 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Line a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil. Break 12 graham crackers in half; fit in pan in single layer.

In saucepan, whisk 12 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/2 cup light-brown sugar over medium until smooth; spread over crackers.

Bake until bubbly, 10 minutes. Sprinkle with nut topping; press gently. Cool; break into pieces.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Football Brownies

    We are not a football household. Despite the fact that our first date was at a football game, neither David or I could be considered football fans. In fact, I only went on that first-date football game because it was a chance to get to know David better. We were in first year University and football was a rite of passage on campus. Everyone went to the football games, particularly the Homecoming game. I don't remember anything about that first-date football game. Well, that's not entirely true. I don't remember who won. I do remember that Laurier was playing Western, at Western. Both of us had gone home (from Laurier - go Hawks!) for the weekend and the game was a good excuse to get to see each other on a Saturday afternoon. It wasn't like I was a fan. Of football. I didn't - and still don't - get football. I think David knew I had no idea what was going on. He was too nice to say anything. Or maybe he was just as smitten as I was? (Not that boys can be smitten. You know what I mean.)