Barefoot In The Kitchen: Sunday Supper

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I LOVE Fall! How can you not?  It’s blessed cool breezes, a reprieve from Augusts scorching heat, riotous colors, hot cocoa at football games, boots, sweaters, scarves and caps…the fragance of pumpkin,  cinnamon,  nutmeg, allspice and the first fires stoked in the hearth.  Even chores take on a joyful note, raking leaves into piles where children and dogs alike, love to play.

AND….Whether you call it comfort food or soul food, Autumn’s cooler clime heralds the return of heartier, soul warming fare.  Tis the season for steamy bowls of soups and stews with piping hot loaves of crusty bread. *sigh*

The following recipes are wonderful  as a stand alone, anytime dinner or amped up for a dinner party.  French Red Wine Stew served over garlic mashed potatoes and a hot crusty bread is ideal for chilly evenings.

For special occasions, I’d begin dinner by first serving a fresh salad with glasses of wine,  following with the main course of stew and bread then finish the meal with maybe a Creme Brulee and french press coffee.

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French Red Wine Stew with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

3 lb stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 bottle Dry Red Wine.

salt and pepper

5 carrots, peeled and rough chop into large chunks

1 orange

1 large onion cut into wedges

2 cloves garlic minced

olive oil

1 6-oz can tomato paste

mushrooms optional.

Season meat with salt and pepper. Place meat in a large bowl with wine, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, orange zest and juice, onion, and garlic. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Heat some olive oil over medium high heat in a large stockpot.  Remove the meat from the marinade (but reserve the liquid) and brown the pieces in the oil on all sides.  Pour the marinade liquid into the pot and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, skimming any foam from the surface.  Lower the heat to a simmer, stir in the tomato paste, and add 4 – 5 c. water.  Cover, and let stew on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and allow to simmer at medium heat until thickened, about 15 min.

Serve over garlic mashed potatoes.

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Garlic Mashed Potatoes

6 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

8 cloves garlic, cut in quarters

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. Butter

salt & pepper

Place cubed potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with cold salted water and bring to a boil.   Boil for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and place in a covered bowl.

Return saucepan to heat, lower heat to low, and add garlic, cream, and butter.   Heat until garlic is fragrant and cream begins to simmer, then add to potatoes.  Mash potatoes until preferred consistency.

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Creme Brulee

1 pint whipping or heavy cream (2 cups)
4 egg yolks from large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch salt, optional and to taste
about 3 to 4 cups water, for water bath
1 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar per each ramekin, for caramelizing (granulated may be substituted but superfine melts more smoothly and evenly)

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Place 6 ramekins in a 9×13 pan or large baking pan that will be used for a water bath. Spray ramekins with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Add the cream to a 2-cup glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power until cream begins to bubble just a bit, but don’t let it come to a full boil; it took 3 1/2 minutes in my micro (or heat cream over medium heat on the stove, about 10 minutes). Remove cream and set aside to cool.
  3. Seperate eggs, placing yolks into a large bowl.
  4. To the bowl with the yolks, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is light and pale in color, and has fluffed in volume. Set aside.
  5. With a spoon, remove any skin that’s formed on the cream. It will be quite warm, but not scalding; it should read 165F max on a thermometer.
  6. Very slowly pour about 1/4 cup of cream into the eggs, whisking the whole time. This is tempering the eggs (getting them used to the warm cream) so you don’t scramble them.
  7. Continue pouring the cream into the eggs very slowly, whisking the whole time.
  8. Add the vanilla, salt, and whisk to combine.
  9. Evenly pour mixture into prepared ramekins; set aside.
  10. Add 2 cups water to 2-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high power until boiling, about 4 minutes. OR, use a tea kettle.
  11. Slowly and carefully pour the hot water into the 9×13 pan. The water creates a water bath so the crème brûlée bakes more evenly. Make sure the water isn’t being poured onto or splashing into the ramekins. Top off with more very hot tap water until the water level in the pan is about as high as the level of crème brûlée inside the cups.
  12. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set with some jiggle. The crème brûlée will set up more as it cools. If you open the oven and gently move the baking pan and the crème brûlée makes a wave-like motion, more than just slight jiggling, they’re not done. They should not be browned, won’t rise.
  13. Remove pan from the oven and very carefully with a hot mitt, remove ramekins from water bath and place them on a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  14. Cover them with lids or plastic wrap, and transfer to fridge to chill for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days in advance.
  15. Prior to serving, evenly sprinkle each ramekin with 1 to 2 teaspoons superfine sugar. I prefer 2 teaspoons each to achieve an appropriately thick caramelized top layer.
  16. Using a torch held about 6 inches away from the surface, heat the sugar, making sure to keep the torch moving evenly to prevent burning. When sugar is sufficiently caramelized to your liking, serve immediately. Crème brûlée that has not been sugared/torched will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Always With Love – Laura💕

ALWAYS WITH LOVE – LAURA

20 comments

  1. You are right about the way autumn changes our outlook. Sometimes time seems to slow down as the trees begin to lose their final colorful canopy. My wife (who grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore) and I enjoyed homemade cream of crab soup last night, but the best part is enjoying the rest of it later today.

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    • “Sometimes time seems to slow down as the trees begin to lose their final colorful canopy.” How beautifully spoken!
      After the rush and bustle of summer, at last we stop to smell the roses as they fade.

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  2. Our ongoing heatwaves FINALLY stopped this week. It’s supposed to stay below 70 on Sunday… I hope it does!!

    Your pic is PERFECT timing for me. I want to try a fall leaves painting but have no references here.Thank you!!!!

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    • Thank you! I’m so looking forward to the seasons of soups, stews, roasts and days spent baking in the kitchen! I know that by the end of these cooler months, I’ll be longing for the sun on my face, sandals and fresh salads but for now, I’ve had my fill. Haha

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    • Oh yes, half of the love of Fall for me is it’s leading to the somnolent while robes of winter. I live on the shore of a huge lake in the mountains….its practically a forest. By the time all the leaves have fallen and we’ve unburied ourselves from them….I’ll be cussing! Lol

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