Monday, January 12, 2009

Hot Chocolate Reviews

Steve and I both gave each other new brands of hot chocolate to try for Christmas. I gave him a can of Schokinag's Mint Chocolate and he gave me a bag of Chocolat Vitale - European Style. Both of these were a change from the normal powdered hot chocolate's that we're all used to, but are rather composed of very small bits of chocolate. For the Schokinag you melt the chocolate in your mug first and then stir in the milk and for the the Chocolat Vitale you do the opposite. While both were delicious we both preferred the Chocolat Vitale. Both are expensive (about $10 for a decent sized can) and available at Whole Foods.

What's for Breakfast?

My husband told me I should expand my I am. I will no longer limit myself to the arduous question of "What's for dinner?", but also "What's for breakfast?"

Our favorite breakfast lately is steel-cut oatmeal - also known as pin-head or Irish Oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are oats that are chopped up into bits instead of smashed flat like classic oatmeal. They produce a hot cereal with a pleasing texture. You can pay way too much for these in one of those fancy tins or Bob's Red Mill, available nationally I think, sells a packet for a good price. The best option is to buy it from the bulk foods section. The best price around me is at PCC at $1.21/lb and that's organic to boot!

To cook for one person - place 1/3 cups oats, 1 cup water and 1/8 tsp salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low for about 10 minutes stirring occassionally. The cereal is done when all the water is absorbed and the cereal just starts to want to stick to the bottom of the pot. For 2 adults and 2 kids *(who don't eat a lot), go for 1 cup of oats, 3 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt.

Steve likes his with a touch of cream, dried cherries and turbinado sugar. I like just cream and brown sugar. Natalie likes her's loaded with golden fact she likes anything loaded with golden raisins.....

Let me know what you think! If you have leftover cereal, save it in the fridge and email me for a recipe for crackers or bread that will use it up!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This is not your Grandmother's Beef Stroganoff....

Unless of course, she made excellent beef stronganoff...

This recipe (that I put together from several others on is divine. No starchy sour cream sauce, no tough meat etc. - just flavor infused tender beef and mushrooms. While this may take a little longer than other stronganoff recipes you've seen, it's worth it, don't try to cheat and combine steps. The layering of the flavors in the sauce are the key to this dinner. I've included directions about how to get a side veggie and the noodles all done at the same time. Let me know what you think.

Beef Stroganoff

1 ½ lbs thinly sliced tender beef (flat iron steak is great)
Salt & pepper
2T olive oil
2 T butter
1 shallot
6 oz sliced mushrooms (crimini)
1 c beef broth
2 T sherry
¾ c cream
2 T chopped parsely
Salt & Pepper

1 large package egg noodles
Frozen peas or canned green beans or whatever

1. Thinly slice, pat dry and lightly salt and pepper the beef
2. Heat oil (2T) in saute pan, brown meat – remove from pan,set aside
3. Melt butter (2T), add shallot, cook till tender (2 minutes is good)
4. Add mushrooms, cook ‘till all liquid (it will come out of the mushrooms) is gone (about 12 minutes)
5. Add broth (1 cup) and sherry (2T), cook until almost all evaporated (about 14 minutes)
6. Start water boiling for egg noodles and pop a bowl of peas or green beans into the microwave, but don’t cook yet
7. Add cream (3/4 cup), any accumulated meat juice, cook for 2 minutes to thicken.
8. Press Go on the microwave, set the table.
9. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust. Stir in parsley and meat.
10. Serve over egg noodles