Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Guinness Stew

I wanted to make some pub-style Irish stew to celebrate St. Patty's Day.
This recipe is done in the slow cooker/crock pot.


2 1/2 Pound stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup 1/4-inch diced onion
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 clove garlic, sliced
1&1/2 Cup beef stock
1&1/2 Cup Guinness or other dark beer (an entire bottle/can - approx. 355ml will do)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped (1/2 tsp. dried)

1. Coat the stewing beef in 1 tbsp. flour, salt and pepper. Brown in frying pan with olive oil. Do not cook all the way through, just enough to brown the outside.
2. Add beef to slow cooker. Add all of the brown bits from frying pan as well, it adds flavour. Add leftover flour. Stir well.
3. Add remaining ingredients in the order they are listed and stir mixture.
4. Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the best dessert i've ever had...

I'm sure many people who have traveled to Las Vegas, NV just had to check out the Bellagio hotel. The hotel has the Fountains of Bellagio, a large dancing water fountain synchronized to music. It's so beautiful that I had to watch it quite a few times.
And inside the hotel there is a glass-encased 27 foot high chocolate fountain with 2 tonnes of melted flowing white, milk and dark chocolate. It's the world's tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain at the Jean-Philippe Patisserie.

My husband and I had already ate when we found this place, but we couldn't help but to try one of the desserts. There had to have been about 40 desserts to choose from. We finally settled on a triple chocolate cheesecake. The chocolate was so luscious and the cheesecake like velvet. I had decided that was the best dessert i've ever had so far.

Rachael Ray's Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Celery Succotash Salad

It was snowing so bad the day we made this and my husband and I were tired of sitting around watching television. I thought it would be fun to find a recipe that we'd never tried before and spend a few hours in the kitchen making it.
My husband doesn't do much cooking so I let him choose the recipe for enlisting his help. After scouring a few cookbooks he decided on a Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Celery Succotash Salad from '2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray (Paperback - Nov 7 2006)'.
The only thing we knew about 'succotash' was that 'sufferin' succotash' was what Sylvester oftenly muttered from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Succotash is actually a food dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans.

Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Serves 4

•3/4 pound chicken breast cutlets
•Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
•2 teaspoons grill seasoning, such as McCormick brand Montreal Chicken Seasoning (eyeball it)
•1 pizza dough, store-bought or from your favorite pizzeria
•Cornmeal or flour, to handle dough
•2 tablespoons butter
•1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
•2-3 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on how hot you like it
•1/2 cup tomato sauce
•1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (a few generous handfuls)
•1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
•3 scallions, thinly sliced

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Pre-heat a grill pan to high.
Place the chicken on a plate. Drizzle EVOO over it and season with grill seasoning. When the grill is hot, add the chicken and cook about three minutes on each side.
On a cutting board, stretch the dough to form the pizza crust, using cornmeal or flour to help you handle it. If you let it rest and warm up for a few minutes, it will handle even more easily. Set the pizza on a pizza pan to the side and clean board.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and tomato sauce.
Remove the chicken from grill and thinly slice it. Add the chicken to sauce and coat. Cover the pizza dough with the saucy Buffalo chicken, cheeses and scallions. Bake 18 minutes or until crisp.

Celery Succotash Salad
Serves 4

•2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
•2 tablespoons honey (a healthy drizzle)
•1/2 lemon, juiced
•2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (eyeball it)
•1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•Salt and pepper
•1 whole celery heart, thinly sliced
•1/2 cup shredded carrots
•1 box frozen corn (10 ounces)
•1 can chick peas or garbanzo beans (15 ounces), drained
•1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
•1/2 small or medium red onion, chopped
•2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk in EVOO and season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the celery, carrots, corn, chick peas, peppers, onions and thyme. Toss to combine the salad and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

Final Thoughts:
Delicious!! My husband and I both loved it!
The pizza was yummy. We made the pizza dough from scratch too and that was something I had never done before. Next time I would make the pizza crust thinner.
The salad was very colorful and we really enjoyed the salad dressing for it. I would make the salad dressing on it's own and put it on a regular garden salad.
I also wish I would've taken a better picture of the meal.