the Eyeopener

Beef Carbonnade Flamande

Beef carbonnade is a Belgian stew in which not-so-tender cuts of beef are braised slowly in stock and beer, creating an intensely flavorful sauce. It’s very beefy, with fewer vegetables than most stews. Traditionally it’s served over buttered egg noodles, but mashed potatoes are delicious too – you just need something to catch all that gravy.

2-3 lb. (1.25 kg) beef chuck or blade, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup beef broth or stock
1 can or bottle dark beer
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (optional)
egg noodles, for serving
butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a medium bowl, toss the beef cubes with flour, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set a medium ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and when it’s hot, brown the beef on all sides, working in batches and setting the browned beef aside on a plate. Add the onion to the pot and cook until almost crisp and the fat has rendered; add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add the beef stock to the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Return the beef to the pot, pour over the beer and add the thyme and bay leaf, cover and cook for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package directions, timing it so that they are done at roughly the same time as the carbonnade. Discard the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the beef carbonnade hot over buttered noodles. Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Pastry for a single crust pie

3-4 cups rhubarb, chopped
3-4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup sugar (I like using half white, half brown)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Crumble topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll your pastry out to about a 10 inch round. Transfer it to a pie plate, letting the edge drape over the side.

Put the rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle it over the fruit and toss gently to combine. Mound into the pie crust. Fold over all around – it should cover an inch or so around the edge.

To make the crumble, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in a small bowl (or in the bowl of a food processor) and mix with a fork or your fingers (or pulse) until well combined and crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit, squeezing it as you go to create larger clumps.

Bake the pie for about an hour, until bubbly and golden. Eat warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8-12.

Mango-Rhubarb Galette

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 Ataulfo mangos (the smaller yellow ones) peeled and diced
pinch salt
1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed, or pastry for a single-crust pie
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into bits
1 egg, lightly beaten
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, parchment.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb, mango, sugar-cornstarch mixture and a pinch of salt.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out into a square or circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and mound the filling onto the pastry, spreading it out to within an inch of the edge. Fold the edges up around the edges, just enough to contain the filling – it can overlap and look rustic; there’s no need for neatness.

Brush the edge of the pastry with egg and if you like, sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Cool for a few minutes before sliding out onto a cutting board to cut and serve warm, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 6.

Babybel Burger Collage

Stuffed Burgers

Stuff your burgers with any ingredients you like – make sure they’re cooked first so that you don’t have to worry about them cooking through. (Cooking veggies like onions and mushrooms will also get rid of any excess moisture and condense them so that they take up less room.)

1 lb ground chuck
salt and pepper

Possible fillings:
Babybel cheese, unwrapped
caramelized onions
sauteed mushrooms
thinly sliced or grated aged cheddar or gouda
sundried tomatoes
minced jalapenos
cooked, crumbled bacon
Boursin cheese

On a cutting board, divide the meat into 4 pieces; shape each into a very thin patty. Sprinkle them all with salt and pepper. Pile your choice of fillings in the middle, leaving about half an inch around the edge, and top with a second patty; pinch all around the edges to seal. (Alternatively, take a handful of ground meat and shape it around an unwrapped Babybel cheese, sealing around the edges and shaping it into a patty.)

On a preheated grill or in a hot cast iron skillet, cook for about 5 minutes per side – start with a hot pan, then turn it down to medium and cover to help them cook all the way through. (To be sure, the internal temperature should read 160?F or 71?C.) Serve on soft buns with your choice of condiments.

Makes 2 burgers (recipe is easily doubled – or scaled down for smaller burgers).

Brioche Burger or Slider Buns

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
additional egg, for brushing, and/or sesame seeds (optional)

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water, milk, sugar and yeast. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, until it’s foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, the yeast is kaput – get some fresh yeast and try again!) Crack the egg into it and beat it a little with a fork to break it up.

Meanwhile stir together the flour and salt; add the butter and blend it in with a pastry blender, whisk or your fingers, rubbing it until it’s crumbly, as if you were making pastry. Add the yeast mixture and stir until you have a soft dough; beat it with a dough hook in your stand mixer or knead it on a lightly floured countertop until it’s nice and smooth; 5-10 minutes. It will be stickier than regular dough; resist the urge to add too much flour. Leave it tacky.

Place the ball of dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it sit for an hour or so, until doubled.

Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces (or 20 if you want wee slider buns), shape them into balls, place them a couple inches apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg if you like, and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes (a bit longer if you made larger buns) until golden.

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Inspired by Bon Appétit, May 1994

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb cremini, brown or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cognac, sherry or brandy (optional)
1/2 cup finely diced ham
1 cup grated Gruyère, aged Gouda or white cheddar
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

To make the crust, in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour and salt, then pulse or blend in the butter until almost combined – the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. Let it sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to rest – or stick it in the fridge if it’s warm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-12-inch circle – just bigger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit it into the pan and fold the edges over inward, making a double-thick crust; trim to about 1/8-inch above the edge of the pan. (I used a larger pan and so didn’t do this – just trimmed it to within 1/8 inch without folding it over.) Preheat oven to 375°F and chill the crust for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft; add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden. If you like, add a shot of Cognac, sherry or brandy and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the ham.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Whisk together the cream, yolks and egg – add a few extra snippets of thyme if you like – and pour the custard over the mushrooms. Scatter with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 12.

Greens, Eggs & Ham Salad

1 small bunch kale
1 cup chopped or sliced roasted ham
a few hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
shaved Parmesan, aged cheddar or Gouda

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
juice of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Put the kale and ham in a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle overtop; toss to coat. If you like, transfer it to a platter. Scatter with eggs and cheese and serve. Serves 4-6.


Tartiflette with Oka

1 1/2 lbs thin skinned, yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
5-6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
a grating of fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream or 18% coffee cream
1 small wheel Oka cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, but still somewhat firm in the middle. Drain well.

In a heavy ovenproof skillet (cast iron is ideal), cook the bacon until almost crisp; add the onion and continue cooking for a couple minutes. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and nutmeg and mix well. Drizzle the cream over the top. Remove the rind from the bottom of the cheese and lightly scratch the top rind of the cheese with a knife. Place the cheese, rind side up, on top of the potato mixture.

Bake for 40 -45 minutes until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are cooked through.
Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Sticky Baked Ham

1 5-6 lb. bone-in ham
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Unwrap your ham, check for a small plastic plug on the bone and remove it if there is one, put into a baking dish it will fit in and bake for about an hour. (Alternatively, put in a large slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, then remove from the slow cooker and put in a baking dish.)

Meanwhile, in a small dish, stir together the brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. Brush all over the surface of the ham and return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, brushing once or twice with the glaze.

Serve warm. Serves lots.

Grilled ribs

Grilled Pork Ribs

2 racks pork back or side ribs
dry spice rub or salt and pepper
1 cup bottled barbecue sauce (I like Cattle Boyz)

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and rub generously with dry rub, or sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2 1/2 hours. (They can be made ahead up to this point; cool, wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.)

When you’re ready to grill, preheat your grill to medium-high. Brush the ribs generously with barbecue sauce and grill, turning, for 10-20 minutes, or until heated through and the exterior is caramelized with crispy bits. Cut into ribs to serve. Serves 4-6.


Portobello Pizzas

These portobello pizzas are great made with any pizza toppings you like – crumbled cooked sausage, chopped ham or pepperoni, caramelized onions, olives… you name it.

Portobello mushrooms
olive oil
tomato sauce or pesto
toppings of choice
grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the grill to medium high. Pull out the mushroom stems and scrape out the gills with a spoon. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil (or not) and grill for 4-5 minutes, until charred and softened. Top with tomato sauce, your choice of toppings and cheese, reduce the heat to medium-low and close the lid for a few minutes, until the cheese melts.

Homemade Eatmore Bars

These dense, chewy bars taste a lot like Eatmore chocolate bars, with nutritional benefits! The oats and dried fruit make them an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, while the peanuts and peanut butter contribute protein – important for kids (and grown ups) on the go. Cut them into bars and wrap individually in plastic wrap to pack for a hike or other outing.

3 cups Rice Krispies or Special K
1 cup oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit (such as raisins, apricots & cranberries)
½ cup chopped peanuts
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup honey
½ cup cocoa
½ cup peanut butter

Spray the inside of a large bowl and toss together the cereal, oats, dried fruit and peanuts.

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, cocoa and peanut butter over medium heat and stir until completely melted and smooth (it will be thick).

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Press into a 9”x13” pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cool in the fridge or at room temperature before cutting into bars.

Makes 18 bars.

Chewy Granola Bars

These thick granola bars can be customized with any kind of nuts, seeds and dried fruit your kids like, in any proportion. If you don’t have oat flour, make some by processing oats in a food processor until powdery, or try substituting brown rice or quinoa flour.

1 3/4 cups quick rolled oats, barley flakes, or a combination
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup oat or barley flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups chopped dried fruit, nuts and seeds
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup peanut butter, golden pea butter, or almond butter
1/3 cup liquid honey, maple syrup or Roger’s Golden Syrup
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 8?x8? pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, oat flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the dried fruit, nuts and seeds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, nut butter, honey and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended and crumbly. Press into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden around the edges. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Makes 12 thick bars.

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June 02 2008 10:15 am

2 Responses to “the Eyeopener”

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