Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Individual Beef and Red Wine Pies

Hi!    I have something to share with you today that I think you are going to like.   It is not hard to make, but does take some time.   Start this dish about 3 hours before you want to serve.   The reason for this is that a long simmer will make your meat "melt in your mouth" tender.   If you skimp on the time, the meat is going to be tougher.   The end result is rich and succulent, so you will be glad for your efforts.  I suggest a simple side salad and a glass of wine to accompany.   My inspiration for this dish comes from a cookbook that has been sitting on the shelf for years.   Happily I opened it yesterday and decided this dish was something I had to try.   The name of the cookbook is “Good Cooking – Marvelous Meat & Poultry” by Rand Publications.   I modified it a bit.  Here is my adaptation….


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 lbs. beef round steak trimmed of all fat and cubed
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons reduced salt tomato paste
1 ½ cups red wine
1 ½ cups reduced salt beef stock
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 portabella mushroom sliced into small cubes
8 ounces crimini mushrooms quartered
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
1 Tablespoon milk


Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden. 

Now, add the garlic and the beef and cook for 5 minutes until the beef is browned.

Next, add the flour and cook for another 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Now, to the meat add the tomato paste, red wine, beef stock and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil.

Then, add the carrots, mushrooms and chopped thyme.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.   

Then, uncover and continue to simmer for another 45 minutes until the beef is tender and the sauce is reduced and thickened.  

Now, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper and fresh chopped parsley.  Set aside and allow to cool.

While the meat mixture is cooling, rub a little extra virgin olive oil around the sides and bottom of 6 ovenproof ramekins.   Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet, and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spoon the cooled filling into the ramekins. 

Now, roll out the puff pastry dough and using the top of one of the ramekins as a guide, cut each circle about ¾ inches larger than the dish. Then brush the edges of each pastry circle with a little water.

Then, cover the ramekin (damp side down) pressing the pastry against the side of the ramekin to seal.    

Cut a small cross in the top of each pie, and then lightly brush with milk.

Bake for 20-25 minutes  or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is hot.


Serves nicely with a side salad and glass of wine.

I am unable to find a link for the cookbook.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ruby Red Russian Slaw

Hi, I’m back!   Some of you may know that rather than a vacation this year, hubby and I embarked upon a basement refresh.   We literally packed up everything in the basement, loaded it in a storage POD on our driveway – not to mention the dining room, living room both upstairs bedrooms and garage.   I had to tell everyone that came to our door for a month that we really aren’t hoarder people, it just temporarily looks that way (due to the stacks of boxes and stuff everywhere from the basement).   Anyway, we painted every room and closet in the basement and then had new carpet and vinyl installed.  Then……….all the stuff we had packed up had to be packed back down and put away.   During all this, I really did not stop cooking for my family, I just didn’t have the time to blog.   But I missed it, and so I’m going to try to get back in the swing of things (blog speaking).   The recipe I would like to share with you today is a Russian slaw.   The inspiration comes from a Diet Cookbook titled “The New AbsDiet Cookbook”, written by David Zinczenko.   Oh, yeah, the other big news is I have been seeking healthy recipes to support my plan to lose some serious pounds this summer – and,,,,,,drum roll, I’ve lost 15 lbs so far.   Okay, back to this slaw…  this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – but if you like red cabbage and the earthy goodness of a fresh red beet, imagine it shredded and sliced with a red onion, red grapes, and then dressed with a zing of horseradish.   Now, if you haven’t said yuck, and are still intrigued, let me say, this salad is kick a** good!  And I’m not kidding about the kick.  I changed the original recipe a bit – this is my adaptation……

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons cream horseradish ( I used Beaver brand “hot” cream horseradish)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 medium head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large beet, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 cup sliced black (if you can find them – or red) seedless grapes

To a small container combine the oil, vinegar, cream horseradish, salt, pepper and caraway seeds.   Mix well, and set aside.

Next, chop and/or shred the red onion, red cabbage, beet, and grapes.

Now, top the shredded mixture with the dressing and toss well.   Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes before serving.


Very nice paired with a steak and green beans.

Link for the cookbook:  The New AbsDiet Cookbook
(the author’s recipe is titled “From Russia with Slaw”)