Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Night Haramfest for May 17th, 2008

Boeuf Bourguignon avec une tarte de pommes.....pardon my French. That is dinner.
I joined the Foodie Blogroll, as you can see on the right. Getting to know my new neighbors and like-minded bloggers, and this morning, not sure about what to make for a special dinner, since College Girl is flying in from Kansas City. She wanted home made tamales, which is one of the things I really want to make before I die, but having never made it before, I told the kid to pick something else. Well, kids don't know much, so it is always up to the parental units to figure things out. So a-surfing I will go. And where should I go, but to Brisbane! Yes, I went, in the blink of an eye to Australia and immediately read one of the best descriptions of Beef Burgundy, ever! Served with rice, instead of potatoes. And for dessert, a lovely apple crostata. Aaah. The kid will be happy.

4 shanks of beef, dredged in flour
Large Spanish onion or 1 bag of frozen peeled pearl onions
1 bottle of Pinot Noir, not expensive, but a good wine you would drink
16 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned
1 14 oz can of beef broth (or consommé, which I prefer for the intensity of beefy flavor)
a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, marjoram and parsely.
Salt and pepper

Sauté shanks a few at a time in butter or oil, and after browning, remove. Add wine, broth or consommé and stir the fond off the bottom of the pan. Add back the beef, and add mushrooms and onions and bouquet garni. Cover pot with a tightfitting lid. Braise on a very low temperature, and skim the scum as it rises. Cook over a very low temperature for 2 to 3 hours, skimming any scum that comes to the top.
After cooking the beef, remove to a plate and cover with foil. Remove mushrooms, onions and bouquet garni. Begin to reduce the liquid by raising the temperature. As the liquid reduces, it will thicken. In the meantime, there are few things you can do to add flavor to the sauce. One of the things I like to do is to mix 2 tbspns butter with the same amount of Wondra flour, and add a little to the simmering reduction. Turn the heat down low. This will make for a satiny silky gravy. Lump free as well. You don't always need a slurry to make a gravy. Also, add just a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard or horseradish for added flavor.
The rice is a simple recipe: 3 parts rice to 4 parts water. If you use a steamer, it is easier, and foolproof cooking. But here is the recipe if you have no steamer: Bring water to a boil and add rice. Stir constantly for 5 minutes and put the burner at the lowest setting and cover. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat. stir in two tablespoons of butter, some fresh parsely, salt and pepper.

The good thing about the crostata is that you can just fold over the pie crust, so there is no waste. I will use either golden delicious or honey crisp apples. Some apple crostatas have nuts in them, but I am putting dried cranberries in it.

2 lbs. apples, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of flour
scant 1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon

Toss apples with water, butter bits, flour, cranberries, salt and cinnamon.

Use either a roll out pie crust, which can be purchased in the refridgerated biscuit aisle, or make a recipe that you trust. Pie crusts are touchy things. Either you know how to make it and have a recipe that you always use, or you don't, and don't even know where to start. The best place to look for a good recipe is always, nowadays, the internet. Here is a good recipe. Keep in mind, that ambient temperature, humidity and temperment of the baker affects the outcome of the dough.

Pour apple mixture into center of crust and fold sides up over the top. There will be a nice window for the apples to peek out and taunt you while they bake.

Bake at 375, til apples are bubbly and crust is golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Now here is a good juxtaposition to go with din-din: Sultry, sexy Diana Krall singing Bésame Mucho, with lots of hunky manshots of Andy Garcia. Sigh. I. MUST. Resist. The Urge. To.
Touch. Myself......Inappropriately. I need a mid-life crisis. Sigh.


  1. Multicultural influences at this blog, I see. But now you have to help me out. What's haram? Pardon my ignorance.

    A la prossima volta.

  2. Haram is the opposite of halal, which is the strict muslim observation of all things proper. As far as food goes, almost everything western is haram, or, improper. Not just pork. But music, art, literature, unveiled women. Not all muslims observe this rule of thumb. The ones who wield the power over everyone, as in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and worst of all, Pakistan, keeping the people observant of Halal (proper) rules and regs is suffocation. It suffocates the best that people could offer their cultures by outlawing natural things, like music art theatre. Not all muslim countries are ruled so strictly. Egypt, Morocco, Algieria Turkey, are not. It really depends.
    Now, in the west, many observant muslims have enforced sharia in their communities, especially in France and Britain, where radicals have taken over the mosques.
    In France, Muslim women have formed an organization called Ni Putes, ni soumises....roughly translated, it means Neither whores nor doormats. Muslim women in France feel imprisoned by strict observation of Muslim Sharia and rules governing propriety.
    So when I say haramfest, I am saying, this might not be proper, as far as Islam goes, but it is damn yummy, and I always include some other aspect of the verboten in Islamic societies, such as music.
    I realize this is a longwinded answer, but I hope it works for you.

  3. Yes, very good answer, thanks. I like your translation better than the original.

    Of course, now you've got me all interested in your background (quite a mix of things going on here) but I'll dig around in your early posts rather than asking questions.

    Take care.


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