Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stracoto with Shiitake Mushrooms

I was sad to take a month or two off from Taste & Create, but it's not without good reason(s)! First, in July/August we were in France (and very soon we will get back to the story of our trip of a lifetime!). When we got home, I had just two weeks to frame a ton of photographs for my very first gallery show!! My friend Cath and I have a 6-month show at a local art gallery, her paintings and my photographs! So exciting! (let me know if you'd like more information)

So, because I've got some new readers, and I've taken a couple months off, maybe some of you aren't familiar with the fabulous food blog event, Taste & Create. It is the best event around, created by my friend, the lovely Nicole, of For the Love of Food. In which, bloggers are paired off to choose and prepare a dish from their partner's blog, and write about it. Fantastic. I love it!

This month, my partner was Kimberly of Rhubarb and Honey. Kimberly has some tempting recipes (although to be honest, you need to eat more dessert, girl!) I chose to make a pot roast, although it sounds better in Italian...Stracoto. Ahhh. Yum.

Regarding the pot roast, Kimberly wrote: "This is actually my brother’s favorite pot roast recipe, which he probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon had he not been watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network (believe me, he wasn’t watching to see what she was cooking, if you know what I mean)."

Oh yes, we know what you mean, that girl is gorgeous. I read that to my husband, Number One, and he said, "Honey, if you had a cooking show, I wouldn't watch it for the recipes either." Sweet.

This stracoto is scrumptious. Tender, and the gravy is the best part! I didn't have porcini mushrooms, so I used a couple handfuls of shiitakes. I rounded up to 2 cups of beef broth, then with about an hour to go I added another 1 1/2 cups of water along with a couple cubed potatoes (I just had to have something to put that delicious gravy on). Try it and see for yourself! Number One doesn't even like pot roast, but this he loved. Do I have to tell you that no pot roast I know is photogenic? I'll let this photo speak for itself.

Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms
(follow the above link for the original recipe, my changes are noted below)

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups canned beef broth
1/2-ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 6-quart roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total cooking time. Transfer the beef to a bowl.

3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, add the onions and saute until tender, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the wine and boil 1 minute. Stir in the broth and mushrooms.

4. Return the beef to the pan. Bring the liquids to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until the beef is fork-tender, turning the beef over halfway through cooking, about 3 hours. With 1 hour remaining, add potatoes and 1 to 2 cups water, cook until potatoes are tender. Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent the beef with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Carefully remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon.

5. Transfer the pan juices and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. Combine the sauce and rosemary sprig in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

6. Cut the beef across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the sliced beef on a platter and garnish with rosemary. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project Food Blog: Ready, Set, Blog!

Please go vote for me HERE!

Number One & Me, Cafe' Premier, Paris
August 2010

Back in January 2008, my friend Shell and I were chatting about recipes. What if I created a recipe-sharing website, and invited all my friends to join and contribute their recipes? And with that, The Bad Girl’s Kitchen was born.

I created the site as a place everyone can come and post their favorite share with friends, to encourage experimentation, to enjoy cooking for our families. It is my hope that each of us will find new family favorites, have some fun, and maybe even learn something in the process!

The Bad Girl’s Kitchen started out as me and Shell, typing up and sharing some of our favorite recipes. Since then, it has grown to include 30 members, some of whom I don’t even know, and features almost 600 recipes (and counting!) I’ll never forget how exciting it was to get a comment from someone who wasn’t my mom! BGK was quickly noticed by Foodbuzz, who became the blog’s first sponsor, and I became a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher.

Now, Foodbuzz is hosting this challenge. Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on for one year.

YOUR votes will help make my advancement in this challenge possible!

I don’t have to tell you what an exciting opportunity this is! I do, however, have to tell you more about me and my blog, so here goes.

I was born and raised in Northern Lower Michigan. Some of my earliest memories are of food—eating food, watching food being prepared in my mom’s, grandmas’ and aunts’ kitchens, and eventually helping prepare that food in those kitchens. My mom has never been afraid to try a new recipe, and neither have I. I’ve even been known to try new recipes when I have a boatload of guests coming!

I remember eating meals in the dining room at my friend Rene’s house; baking treats at sleepovers with my friend Kelly; exploring Polish and more gourmet cuisines across the street at my neighbors’ house; experimenting with ingredients and foods with my friend Jen, and I will be forever grateful to Jen’s mom for indulging us in our “concoctions” and actually tasting them without gagging. My food world expanded when I went to college, and I was one of few who actually used the dorm kitchen to prepare a few meals for my friends.

I moved to Utah in the early 1990’s, and am now married to a real, live cowboy, raising up two young boys. We live on my husband’s family’s cattle ranch in the remote red rock desert, literally in the middle of nowhere. We generate our own electricity and have absolutely no telephone service (not even cell service in the canyon). We are 35 miles from the nearest town, and the grocery store there is just a bit bigger than most convenience stores, which adds a special challenge to grocery shopping. Our nearest neighbors are more than 15 miles away, but they make a darn good milkshake. We raise cattle, have dozens of horses, three dogs, four cats, a small herd of chickens, and a couple lizards.

Some people couldn’t handle the isolation here, but we love it. It is the perfect place to raise our boys, and the scenery is spectacular every day. I have a garden every year, with vegetables and fresh herbs, and we have bountiful fruit trees which produce peaches, pears, apples, apricots and plums. I’ve followed in the footsteps of generations of women in my family, canning and freezing produce to provide for our families. I learned how to bake bread, and now store-bought loaves are a rarity in our house. We are doing our best to move to more local, less processed products (also a challenge in a small community).

I am a firm believer in moderation when it comes to food—no food should be completely off-limits, just don’t eat it every day!

I have collected recipes from most members of my extended family, and am working to assemble a family cookbook. Many of the recipes on the website are family favorites that I simply couldn’t wait to share! I cook everything from meals for my family and birthday cakes, to elaborate party foods and gourmet or ethnic dishes.

Spices with Orange

©MR Photography

The Bad Girl’s Kitchen has encouraged me to explore more foods with my family. My boys, H-Bomb, age 7, and Sawed Off, age 4 ½, help in the kitchen frequently, and have their own small cookbook collection. Their reactions to the foods we eat are an important part of the blog, although we sometimes disagree. Our recent family trip to France has expanded my food horizons even more, and I’m excited to learn more about French cuisine and share it with my readers!

I’ve also become acquainted with many new blog friends, too many to list them all here! Taste & Create is now a big part of my life, and I’m a weekly contributor at Our Krazy Kitchen, where my theme is “Try A New Recipe!” The Bad Girl's Kitchen even has a Facebook fan page!

I have many hobbies, including photography, jewelry making, gardening, hiking, quilting and tons more, but a girl’s got to eat. Cooking will always be a big part of my life, and I’m happy to be able to share it with everyone. It’s my love of recipes, of family, of friends, that I’d like to share as the next food blog star.

To reiterate what I said in my Project Food Blog Profile, the most rewarding thing about blogging is the friends I have made along the way; the recipes I've collected, been given, and stumbled across; sharing those recipes with others, and the encouragement I've received from total strangers. Food bloggers form a very diverse and supportive community, and I'm happy to contribute to this delicious world.

Please don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME!

And let me know what you think of the recipes here!

Monday, September 13, 2010


1 pound green beans; washed, trimmed & cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cashews, chopped small
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange*
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
  • In a small bowl whisk together the sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, garlic and orange juice until well blended. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and water together. Set aside.
  • In a skillet melt butter over medium high heat.
  • Stir fry the green beans 5-7 minutes until tender.
  • Add the cashews and soy sauce mixture.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Add cornstarch mixture and simmer just until the sauce thickens and the beans are well glazed.
We had it with a slice of fresh bread and cantaloupe.
*You could substitute chicken broth.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Maple Bread Pudding

I came home from Rudi's Gluten-Free Gourmet Dinner at Root Down, Denver, with a loaf of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bread and a recipe for the delicious gluten-free bread pudding that had been served for dessert. Root Down made a really good bread pudding, so I was eager to re-create it using my gluten-free loaf of bread.

I cut off most of the crust and cubed one loaf of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Bread for this recipe.

I altered the recipe slightly to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. Here's what I mixed up:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of sea salt

I poured my liquid mixture over the bread cubes and let it sit, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Then, I added 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, mixed it one more time, and poured it into a pyrex baking dish to bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes, until it was golden brown and cooked through the center.

I patiently let it cool, then served it with farm-fresh strawberries, some peach, and a drizzle I made with equal parts heavy whipping cream and maple syrup.

This recipe is a winner! It is definitely some of the BEST bread pudding I've had.
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