"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly Menu: Nov. 17th - Nov. 23rd

Going to a performance at the DSO ( Detroit Symphony Orchestra) & dinner out after 

Slow Roasted Pork Loin with an Apple Cider Glaze
Baby Bliss Potatoes with Thyme and Sea Salt
Roasted Fennel, Carrots, and Onions
Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms

Shredded Chicken with Spanish Rice
Baby Leaf Lettuce Salad tossed in a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette

Italian Sausage and Peppers, Pasta
Chopped Romaine Salad, Parmesan Dressing

Dinner out, downtown Detroit


Leftover Night

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

Nine days to the big day!  My favorite Holiday meal, Thanksgiving!!  The last couple of years we have very graciously been guests of dear friends and their family.  This proved to be a welcome change from the years of journeying back east to Connecticut, where we shared the Holiday with Jeanne's family.  As terrific as those visits were, the twenty-five (sometimes more) for Thanksgiving dinner, four days of running around and a 1,500 mile round trip proved to be less than relaxing.  

This year I'm hosting dinner at our house for a very manageable six.   After much thought, I've decided to go pretty traditional.  A soup starter, served in an antique tea service, and all the hits. And, since I couldn't decide on which pie to serve for dessert, I'll be doing all of my favorites.  Heck, it's only once a year, so why not go for it.  In the immortal words of Dolly Parton, "Go big or go home!"

Roasted Corn Purée with Fried Leeks
Herb Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes
Country Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Currants, and Pecans
Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Salt Pork
English Peas with Pearl Onions, Vermouth Cream
Carrots Scented with Curry and Brown Sugar
Assortment of Holiday Pies (oh yeah, with lots of ice cream, of course)
(Pumpkin, Apple, and Pecan)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

This is a classic dish; the French stew of beef and red wine.  I like to make it a day or two ahead of time so the flavors can deepen.  Just keep it chilled in the refrigerator.  It has become a house favorite and great for a cold weather dinner.  I especially like to make this when entertaining.  Because, it can be made ahead of time and just reheated.  This makes for a stress free party for the chef.

Olive oil
1/2 # smoked bacon, small diced
2 1/2# beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
1# carrots, cut into 1" pieces
2 yellow onions, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. Cognac
1 bottle good Pinot Noir
1 C. Beef broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
4 Tbsp. softened butter
3 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
1# pearl onions, I use frozen ones, no hassle peeling
1# fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Sprinkle beef with generous amounts of salt and pepper, reserve on the side.

In a large Dutch oven heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.  Add bacon and cook until golden brown.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate.  To the hot bacon fat add, in small batches, the beef and sear on all sides until brown.  Remove and reserve on a plate, repeat step until all the beef is seared.

To the pot add the onions and carrots.  Stir frequently and cook until onions are nicely browned, about 10-15 minutes.  Add garlic, stir and cook another minute or two.  Add tomato paste, stir well, lower heat and cook for another 3-4 minutes.   Increase heat and carefully add cognac to the vegetables (vapors can ignite as liquor evaporates) and reduce by half.  Add the wine and broth, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add thyme sprigs, bay leaf, the bacon and beef back into the pot.  Cover pot and place in oven.  Cook until beef is fork tender, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.  Remove pot from oven.

To the stew, add the pearl onions and mix well.  In a bowl combine 2 Tbsp butter with the flour and using the back of a fork mix well.  Whisk the butter-flour mixture (classically called beurre manie and used as a thickening agent) into the stew.  In a sauté pan heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and cook the mushrooms until nicely browned.  Add the mushrooms to the pot with the parsley.  Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve with some crusty French bread or sourdough boule.  Mashed potatoes goes equally as well.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kiawah Island Dressing

OK, you got me.  Yes, I am stealing the name of this dressing from the popular salad dressing at J. Alexander's.  This dressing is just a Thousand Island dressing with, I think, a cooler name.  It sounded good so, here is how I'd make it.

1 small clove garlic, minced
1 C. prepared mayonnaise
1/3 C. bottled chili sauce
3 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. minced onions
3 tsp. sweet pickle relish
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg, hard cooked and chopped fine
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

First, make a paste with the garlic glove.  Do this by sprinkling some kosher salt over the clove on a cutting board.  With the side of your chef's knife crush it until a paste forms.  In a medium bowl whisk the garlic and the rest of the ingredients together, correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  You can adjust the consistency with a small amount of cold water, if you like your dressing a little thinner.  Dressing will hold 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.

Weekly Menu: Nov. 10th - Nov. 16th

Bourbon Glazed Grilled Pork Chops
Caramelized Onions and Apples

Beef Bourguignon
Mashed Potatoes
Chopped Romaine Salad tossed in a Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette

Seared Salmon with Chimichurri Butter
Chopped Salad with Kiawah Island Dressing

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chiles
Mexican Rice and Beans

White Bean and Turkey Chili
Jalapeño Corn Bread

"Clean out the Frig Night"

Dinner out with Friends

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Weekly Menu: Nov. 3rd - Nov.9th

White Fish with Capers, Green Olives & Tomatoes
Mashed Plantains
Salsa Fresco

Pot Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables
Sauteed Kale with Smoked Bacon
Carrots with Sweet Onions and Curry

Vegetable Lasagna
Chopped Romaine Salad with a Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese

Election Night Party in Ferndale

Chicken Enchiladas
Mexican Rice and Black Beans
Chopped Salad with a Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Roast Beef with a Mushroom Gravy
Oven Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Sea Salt


Fisherman's Stew
Baby Greens Salad tossed with Walnuts, Cherries and a Warm Shallot Vinaigrette