Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year 2015: Bos Creek Ribeye With Creamy Horseradish Sauce

As you all well know, this has been a year of big change for me and my family. We love our new home and have gotten a few things done, but injury and Christmas have made us rework our renovation schedule a bit. That's OK, there's no big hurry. The ugly bits aren't going anywhere.

I also decided to get a part time job earlier this year. Like many of us who were lucky enough to stay at home while we were raising our children, I found myself feeling unfulfilled since their high school graduations. I simply adore my new job assisting chefs prep for their classes at a nearby cooking school. Thank goodness there was a job opening at my "happy place". I feel all warm and fuzzy just walking in the door. This might explain my blogging gaps lately, but I'm slowly getting my rhythm back.

So in just a few days we will be saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to a brand new year. I really love New Year celebrations because it is the last excuse we all have to splurge with some decadent little nibbles and drink a glass or two too many to wash them down. I adore appetizer suppers and they are a New Year's tradition around here.

A few days ago I was contacted by meat company, Bos Creek and asked to help them get the word out about their new company. They offer mail order, all natural, grass feed and finished beef in a variety of subscription packages that are shipped directly to your door. They also offer pork from Berkshire pigs, and chickens that are both free to forage and are fed a non GMO diet during the winter months.

Anxious to sample some of their beef I decided to try a little New Year's Eve recipe dry run,  Since I only had a small beef sample, and I wanted to get as many opinions as I could, I borrowed an appetizer recipe idea from my niece and served one of Bos Creek's ribeyes seared in my cast iron skillet, then cubed, along side a creamy horseradish sauce for dipping.

My football watchers really enjoyed this dish. The beef was super flavorful without the gaminess that is sometimes found with grass fed and finished beef. The nice size 13 ounce ribeye was tender and delicious, just perfect with the horseradish sauce (recipe follows).

If you would like to learn more about Bos Creek and their products and prices, please click here. I hope you all have a safe and delicious New Year and a prosperous and healthy 2015!

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

1 cup sour cream
2 ounces grated fresh horseradish (or prepared horseradish to taste)
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley (optional)
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 - 3 tablespoons whole milk (to thin the sauce out a bit)
1 pinch white pepper
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Stir well to combine. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.

Serve with beef cubes, whole sauteed mushrooms, roasted fingerling potatoes or homemade potato chips.

Makes about 1 - 1/2 cups.

I think a great little secret (Gary Rhode's not mine), is to rub steaks with a little beef bouillon paste made from bouillon granules and a tiny bit of water.  Let it sit for an hour or so so the meat can absorb the flavor. Besides a little pepper, you really don't need any other seasonings. The bouillon contains all the salt and flavor you will need.

Sear your seasoned steak in a screaming hot cast iron pan or outdoor grill for just a few minutes on each side; remove, cover and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into cubes and serving.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Applegate Uncured Good Morning Bacon: Creamy Bacon, Mushroom and Onion Soup

I love my association with Applegate. They produce clean meat products without hormones or antibiotics, and I like clean meats without hormones or antibiotics. Win, win I'd say.

A few days ago the folks at Applegate sent me a box with a couple of packages of their Good Morning Bacon inside. In my opinion it is not exactly traditional bacon by definition, but pretty darn close. This bacon is made with meat from the pork shoulder instead of the belly, resulting in a cut of meat that is 60% lower in fat than regular bacon but is still pretty tasty.

Now, I didn't exactly admit to Applegate (like I am admitting to you now) that I am not a real breakfast girl. All I know is they said "bacon", and I said "yes". If given a choice I would much rather have leftovers from the night before for breakfast than eggs any day. When it comes to bacon though, I can eat it 3 times a day, so I think I am qualified.

For this post I did actually consider doing something breakfasty like an egg sandwich, but I believe that most people already have their own favorite recipe for those. I also thought about making some pancakes and spiking them with bacon, but it seems like I already did that a few months ago. So to be true to myself, I decided to use this delicious, super lean bacon in one of my favorite soups, cream of mushroom.

I stopped buying most canned soups years ago. Once I discovered how easy most of them are to make, I kicked the can in favor of homemade. The biggest trick of all to making homemade soups is not getting carried away and making too much. Who needs 6 gallons of soup for a family of four? The only other problem I ever had was adding too much rice or pasta. After years of dry soups in the fridge, I now only put about half as much pasta or rice in as I feel inclined to. Thanks to this rule and lots of bacon, they now turn out great every time.

For more information about Applegate and their products, including their Good Morning Bacon, please click here.

Creamy Bacon, Mushroom and Onion Soup

This soup certainly isn't just something that you add to casseroles, although you certainly can if you like. This soup is a meal in itself. Flavorful, hearty and elegant enough to serve to your mother-in-law. Make this once and you'll kick the can too.

4 ounces Applegate Good Morning Bacon or lean streaky bacon, chopped
3 nice big shallots (or 1/2 of a small yellow onion), finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter or light olive oil or a combination of both
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cup HOT chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup of your favorite white wine (can be substituted with additional stock)
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (Whole milk can be used but you will have to increase the flour by an additional tablespoon to thicken the soup. If heated too high for too long, milk can curdle, so I advise adding it at the end of the cooking time, just long enough to heat it through.)
1 healthy pinch white pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Place bacon in a large saucepan set over medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until it is browned. Add the shallots and cook for 1 - 2 minutes longer or until they start to sweat. Add the Mushrooms and cook for 2 - 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. To this stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Sprinkle the flour over the top of the mushrooms in the pan. After stirring and cooking for about a minute longer, slowly add the hot stock while stirring constantly. Add the white wine, whipping cream, pepper and rosemary. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to low, covering and simmering for 5 minutes.

Before serving add salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot with croutons or crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.

This recipe serves 2 large dinner size portions or 4 small appetizer size portions.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Well-Seasoned Kitchen Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Elegant Wild Rice Salad

At this time of year as everyone gathers together with their family, I get just a little bit melancholy thinking about how much I miss the loved ones that I have lost. I miss my mom, dad, grandparents, special aunts and uncles and several friends that passed away far too soon. What I wouldn't give to spend just one more Christmas with them. On the bright side, I must also say that remembering the ones I have lost also makes me that much more grateful for those that I still have in my life.

On this same sentimental train of thought, I was recently offered an opportunity to review a very special cookbook by a mother and daughter team, Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper. After noticing that her mother was beginning to suffer the early effects of memory loss, daughter Lee was wisely inspired to begin this book as a way to engage her mother by evoking memories of their time together cooking and entertaining.

As I looked through "The Well-Seasoned Kitchen", which contains over 180 recipes, I was slightly reminded of one of those well loved community or Junior League cookbooks. You know the kind I am talking about. The ones where contributors' favorite recipes are cooked and tweaked until they are nearly perfect, then lovingly compiled. I have a couple that I count as some of the favorite cookbooks that I own.

More along the lines of a Junior League cookbook, this book contains recipes that are smart and a little bit more dressed up than your usual community offering, but just as approachable. From Tex-Mex Cheese Fondue and Dijon Pork Chops with Arugula to Frozen Brandy Alexander Pie and Nama's Lemon Love Notes, this is definitely your go to cookbook for a bridal shower, al fresco dinner party or girlfriend luncheon.

Sadly, Sally passed away a few years ago, but what a great gift she left behind in the form of this cookbook. I really enjoyed flipping through their delicious recipes and reading her and her daughter's anecdotes and seeing their family photos. It is a nice little peek into the lives of a loving mother and daughter and their warm, well-seasoned lives. In my opinion, just perfect for this time of year.

Elegant Wild Rice Salad

After pouring over this cookbook several times (like I like to do), I finally landed on making this recipe since I thought it a good one for Christmas and New Year's buffets, and boy was I ever right. I can see where this dish would be just as perfect with a prime rib roast as it would be with a chicken salad sandwich. This would also be a great party dish since it makes enough for at least 8 - 10 people.

3 cups wild rice, rinsed, or a mixture of wild with white and/or brown rice (I used wild and brown jasmine)
2 - 6 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 - 10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pint small cherry tomatoes, halved
Toasted slivered almonds (I used a 2.5 ounce package)

1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt (I used celery seed with good results)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 of the juice from 1 jar of the marinated artichokes

In a large saucepan, heat 2 quarts and 1 cup water and rice to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is done. Drain off any remaining liquid. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving marinade for dressing. Chop artichoke hearts and add to rice with thawed peas, green pepper, green onions, tomatoes and half of the reserved marinade. Set aside.

In a large lidded jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well. Toss half into rice mixture. Cover and chill. Just before serving, toss again and taste. Add additional dressing as needed and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and serve.

Rice salad can be made the night before and refrigerated.

As with all my giveaways, I like to keep things simple. You are entered by just commenting below or on Savoury Table's Facebook page by clicking on the button at the top right of this page. If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book it can be found in bookstores, home good and specialty gift shops, and on I will be choosing my winner on Monday, December 15th. Drawing is open to US addresses only. Please be sure I have a way of contacting you in case you are my winner. If notified, you have 48 hours to contact me or an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!

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