Tag Archives: entrees

Beef and Red Wine Stew

Beef stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food.  This recipe comes together quickly.  I often start a batch in the early afternoon and let it simmer all day until dinnertime.  It tastes even better when reheated the next day.

1 tablespoon oil oil
2 pounds stew beef
2 large onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cubed baby red potatoes, scrubbed with peels still intact
1 1/2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
32 ounces low sodium beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1)  Place the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  When the oil shimmers add the
     beef and sear on all sides until evenly browned.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened,
     5-7 minutes.
Beef, onions, and garlic cooking

2)   Add the red potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, herbs, salt and pepper to the meat mixture.  Mix to

Vegetables and spices ready for the pot

3)  Add all of the beef broth and the red wine.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover.


4)  Continue to cook over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally.  Taste and add more salt
and pepper if needed.

Potato Pancakes With Rosemary Infused Pears

The most memorable meal during our recent trip to Bavaria was an impromptu lunch eaten on the top of the Zugspitze.  We had taken shelter from the snow squall in a glass walled cafe and ordered off of a poorly translated menu.  Much to my delight this is what the waitress brought to our table:

My inspiration eaten at the top of the Zugspitze

The potato pancake was light and crispy and smothered in melted Gruyere cheese.  The sauteed pears that accompanied the pancake had been infused with fresh rosemary.  I immediately began to think about how I could recreated this dish at home.  Although it isn’t exactly the same, my resulting dish was just as tasty.  To appease my meat loving family I served this with some leftover spiral cut ham that I fried in a bit of olive oil.  I also reheated the previous night’s Swiss cheese fondue and served a dollop of the melted cheese on top of the pancakes.  Served with a sparkling white wine, the resulting meal was a perfect light dinner.


For the pears:

4 large ripe (but not too soft) pears
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
3 or more tablespoons apple or pear juice, or water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg

1)  Peel, core, and slice the pears.

2)  Place in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan
with two tablespoons of juice or water.  Add
the rosemary and salt.

3)  Cover the pot and cook over medium heat
until the pears are fork tender –or cooked to
your likeness.  Watch the pot carefully, adding more liquid as necessary to

keep the fruit moist.

4)  When done, remove the rosemary sprigs from the pan.  Sprinkle with the nutmeg.

For the latkes:

1 lb potatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Using the largest holes of a box grater, shred the potatoes
into a large bowl.

2)  Add the salt and pepper, toss to combine, and let the
potatoes sit for 5 minutes.

3)  Using your hands, squeeze all of the liquid from the

4)  Heat the oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet.

5)  Once the oil is shimmering, drip the potato mixture by large
handfuls into the oil.  Quickly spread the potato mixture to
form a flat pancake.

6)  Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and
brown.  Adjust the heat to make sure the potatoes don’t cook too quickly.   Using a spatula,
flip the pancakes over and continue to cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.

Side two is cooking

7)  Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack in a 250 degree oven until all of the pancakes have
been cooked.

My version

Italian Meatballs


To finally fulfill my Christmas promise to Sidney I cooked up a batch of meatballs this past weekend.  Not being able to find any ground meat that I liked in the local stores, I purchased whole portions of veal and pork and ground my own.  Yes, I finally broke out the Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment Glenn gave me for my first birthday in Albania (isn’t he romantic?!?) and made my own ground meat. I don’t know why I waited so long.  Not only was it easy but the quality of the meat was so much higher.  It looks like the meat grinder will be getting a workout in 2013.

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil as needed for frying
1)  Combine bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Breaking out the meat grinder for the first time


2)  In a large bowl combine veal, pork, egg, Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, and spices.  Add the bread
      and milk mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Everything goes into the bowl


3)  Using your hands, knead the mixture until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Some therapeutic mixing going on


4)  Using your hands, form 1-inch sized balls.  Place on a tray or baking sheet until ready to fry.

Ready to cook


5)   Heat 1/4 inch of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
6)  Once the oil is shimmering add the meatballs, in batches, to the oil.  After 2-3 minutes, turn the
      meatballs over so that they brown on all sides.

Frying to a golden brown


7)  Remove the meatballs from the oil and drain on paper towel lined plates.
8)  Continue frying the meatballs until they have all been browned.
9)  Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
10)  Place the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minute until hot and cooked through.
Yields:  50 1-inch meatballs

The meatballs can be served with a tomato sauce over pasta, with ketchup (Sidney’s preferred method) or as is.

Because one can not survive on meatballs alone, I served
these with risotto and steamed spinach
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