You don’t have to be Julia Child or a Master of French cooking to make this winter favorite. Just plug in your slow cooker and heat up the iron skillet to create this month’s wonderful beef stew. Our take on this classic dish raises the bar from a simple stew to an art form. Enjoy!
5 slices bacon, finely chopped
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut to 1 inch cubes
1 cup red cooking wine
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup flour
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
5 Medium Carrots, sliced
1 pound baby potatoes (I used tri color)
8 ounce fresh mushrooms, sliced
fresh chopped parsley for garnish
In a large skillet cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Put bacon in slow cooker. Salt and pepper the beef and add to the skillet and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef to the slow cooker.
Add the red wine to the skillet scraping down the brown bits on the side. Allow it to simmer and reduce and slowly add chicken broth, and tomato sauce, and soy sauce. Slowly whisk in the flour. Add the sauce to the slow cooker.
Add garlic, thyme, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms to the slow cooker. Give it a good stir and cook on low until beef is tender for 8-10 hours or high for 6-8. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with mashed potatoes if desired.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cocoa. Set aside. Cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla and mix until combined.
Gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks or chips. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and place on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until cookies are set with a soft center. Cool completely.
To make the ganache, first add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles around the edges. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30-45 seconds, then stir until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, about 1-2 minutes.
Lay out wax paper. Dip the cookies, halfway, into the warm ganache. Place the dipped cookies on paper. Sprinkle with candy cane pieces. Let cookies sit until ganache hardens, about 2 hours. Enjoy!
Ready or not we have pumpkin! Frightfully simple no bake pumpkin layered dessert served with a homemade caramel that you can set and forget. Surprise your guests with this unforgettable seasonal treat for a ghoulishly good time.
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. milk
3 small packages vanilla pudding mix
1 c. pumpkin purée
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
10 graham cracker sheets
1/4 c. Caramel
Pecans, for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and ¼ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form.
In another medium bowl, beat milk, pudding mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice until well-mixed and thick. (Start with 1 1/2 cups milk and beat until it’s the consistency of a pudding—if it’s too thick, continue to add the rest of the milk.)
Layering: Spread a thin layer of cream cheese mixture in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish. Top with a layer of graham crackers. Add half the pudding mixture and top with a layer of half the cream cheese mixture. Drizzle with caramel and repeat, ending with the cream cheese layer (hold the caramel until ready to serve).
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Drizzle with caramel and garnish with pecans before serving.
How to Make Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk
Ingredient: 1 14-oz. can (396 g) sweetened, condensed milk
Remove the label from the can. Make sure that it’s sealed.
Place the can in a pot and cover it with 2 inches (5 centimeters) of water.
Bring the water to a simmer over high heat.
Reduce the heat for medium.
Allow it to cook for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water as needed.
September’s deviled egg macaroni salad is sure to be a hit at your Labor Day brunch or next beach barbecue. It’s a super easy recipe with just a few simple ingredients, packed with deviled eggs and combined with creamy pasta. Make ahead so you can chill out and enjoy your day!
16 oz. salad macaroni or Ditalini pasta
1½ cups Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
6 hard boiled eggs sliced
2-3 ribs celery finely chopped
½ cup black olives sliced
4 oz jar pimientos drained
3 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with green onions
Prepare pasta according to the directions, drain and let cool completely
Prepare hard boiled eggs, let cool and slice
In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except eggs and mix with pasta until blended. Gently fold in eggs. Garnish with green onions
At its peak, fresh summer squash is coming out of our local gardens and displayed in abundance at the farmers market and on grocery shelves. Try this month’s healthy side dish wonderfully crafted with a Ritz cracker crust. You will find it to be the perfect complement to any meal or offering at your next family gathering.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1 sleeve buttery crackers, crushed medium to fine
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, cheddar and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.
2 3/4 cups cake flour (2 1/2 cups AP flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon strawberry extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of two lemons
3-9 drops red food coloring (optional)
40 small fresh ripe strawberries, trimmed
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5-7 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
For the Cake: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on low and add in the baking powder, salt, eggs, strawberry and vanilla extracts, and lemon zest. Scrape the bowl again and slowly beat in the flour and milk. Mix in food coloring if desired.
Once smooth, pour the batter into the two cake pans. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Then flip the cakes out onto a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
For the Frosting: In a clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beat in the butter. (Do this separately to avoid clumps.) Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the lemon juice. One cup at a time, beat in the powdered sugar, until you reach your desired consistency. Scrape the bowl and beat again until very smooth.
To Assemble: Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Spread frosting over the cake in a thin layer. Press the strawberries, trimmed side down, over the surface of the cake Then slather more frosting over the berries, filling the spaces in between. Set the top cake layer over the strawberries and press to level. Dollop frosting over the top and spread in out and down over the sides.
For Hombre Frosting Effect: Leave 1/2+ cup frosting in the mixing bowl. Add 1-3 drop red food coloring into the frosting and beat until the color is consistent. Starting at the bottom, spread the frosting around the edges. Then move upward in sweeping motions. Spread a little pink over the top if desired.
The easiest way to level and frost a cake is to take the time to freeze the cake layers first. Wrap each layer in plastic and freeze for at least 2 hours. Then stack, level, and frost the cake as directed. Set the cake out on the counter for another 2-3 hours to thaw and soften. This helps ward off broken cake layers, slanted cakes, and crumbs in the frosting. This cake can sit out at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.
Sweet juicy watermelon paired with salty feta, fresh basil, and tart lime juice is a refreshing and easy to make summer salad. Amazingly simple, this healthy summer treat is sure to please friends and family on warm evenings or casual events.
1 whole mini/baby watermelon
4 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
Balsamic reduction for drizzling, I used the one in
this recipe or you can buy pre-made at Trader Joe’s
Cut the watermelon into 1 inch thick slabs and lightly brush them with olive oil.
Place the slabs of watermelon cut side down onto a heated grill and grill for
about 2-3 minutes per side or until marked and warm.
Remove from the grill and cut off the rind, then cut into 1 inch cubes.
Toss the grilled watermelon with the basil, salt, pepper, and lime juice.
Gently fold in the cubed feta being careful not to break it up.
Drizzle the salad with the balsamic reduction before serving.
The origin of the flourless cake is Italy’s Isle of Capri and the Amalfi coast, but we discovered this amazing desert at an Intracoastal Corporate event courtesy of Phil Clark. This deep dark chocolate Torta Caprese will tempt the devout chocoholic with a gluten free pastry dense, decadent, delicious. Do yourself a favor. Make this one!
4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 Eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°
Prepare a 9 inch cake pan – coat the pan with butter. Place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and butter the parchment paper.
Over medium heat in a small sauce pan combine 1 cup of water and 3/4 cups sugar. Cook until sugar has melted. Keep warm.
Over low heat in a medium sauce pan, combine 1 stick butter and the chocolate. Melt slowly and blend with a whisk. Add the simple syrup and stir into the butter chocolate mixture until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla and remaining sugar (1/4 cup). Whisk thoroughly until sugar has dissolved and eggs turn pale yellow.
Gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, fold until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
For best results, bake in a water bath for approximately 45-50 minutes. Or, until the center of the cake has a slight “jiggle”.
Allow the cake to cool in the water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from the bath and continue cooling to room temp. Place in the freezer a few hours. This makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan.
Option 1. substitute 1/4 cup coffee liqueur for vanilla if you prefer.
Option 2. substitute 1 teaspoon orange extract for vanilla