Braised Beef with Vegetables

I have to give my kitchen manager the credit here because he is the one who made this braised beef. And man, oh man, did he do a fabulous job. This has to be the best way to prepare a chuck roast. He dedicated his Saturday to this dish. When I came home from work I could not have been more impressed! I could not stop eating it, it was so insanely full of flavor. He actually made this with parsnips the first time. I did not like the parsnips in this at all so we have left them off. If you divide the recipe as detailed below, it comes out to be only 360 calories!

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You should serve this with Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. This is a fabulous and dependable cab that complements the beef. It is a slightly spicy red wine with intense blackberry notes. The tannins are very smooth and not overpowering. If you want to spend a little more money, get the BV Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is rich with the classic taste of the Rutherford region, black cherry and cocoa.

Braised Beef with Vegetables
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup peeled, chopped, sweet potato

Preheat oven to 325°. Over medium high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven. Season beef with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from the pan. Add onion to the pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add beef and broth; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 325° for 2 hours.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan; toss to coat. Place pan on bottom rack in oven; bake at 325° for 50 minutes, stirring once.

Cut beef across grain into slices. Return Dutch oven to the stove over medium-high heat; cook the sauce for 5 minutes. Place 1/2 cup vegetables in each of 4 shallow bowls; top with 3 ounces beef and 1/4 cup sauce.

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes

This recipe changed the way I think of cupcakes I made these and I could not amazon prime the book, Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes, fast enough! You should absolutely buy this book as soon as possible, it will change your life. I think its obvious how amazing these cupcakes are, just look at the name. I made some adaptations here, my recipe produced 20 cupcakes, I only needed 2/3 of the French Buttercream. But I used the same amount of vanilla and peanut butter and it was perfect. I actually completely forgot about the ganache the first time I made these. They were still amazing but I think the ganache really adds something to the crunchy topping. Definitely use only the best cocao powder, I recommend Valrhona Cocoa Powder.

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Continue reading “Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes”

Robicelli’s French Buttercream

I have just finished reading Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes, cover to cover. The book is laugh out loud funny and the cupcakes are insanely good. This is one of the only cookbooks I have read lately that I absolutely could not put down. Most of the time you look through a cookbook and mark some recipes you would like to make. I plan on making all of the 50 cupcakes in this book (I have chicken marinating in buttermilk in the fridge right now for the Chicken n’ Waffles cupcake, yes I know, sounds crazy!) The Robicelli’s will change your mind about what a cupcake should be. Go buy this book!

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To provide a complete review of the book, I have only one criticism. All the recipes were converted from weights to volume measurements to make things easier for home cooks. I really wish the weights were listed as well. It is actually easier and more accurate to measure ingredients by weight and makes halving or doubling recipes way easier. But as far as complexity of the recipes and ingredients, everything in the book is reasonable. You will not be missing many of these ingredients if you already have a pantry stocked for Bubbly Kitchen recipes. I did not use the xantham gum for my buttercream, but when the eastern NC summer heat hits, I will probably start adding the xantham for stability.

Every frosting recipe in the book is based on the oh so exquisite French Buttercream. This recipe is life changing. I will admit the recipe does require a lot more work than most frostings. It will seem very time consuming to add in 1 1/2 pounds of butter piece by piece. But this buttercream is well worth it. The book suggests that this recipe would frost 24 cupcakes but it actually produced enough frosting for 36 cupcakes for me. I ended up freezing the leftover buttercream. I thawed this at room temperature, whipped it up in the mixer, and it was just as fabulous. This really freezes so well. If you have one of the larger kitchenaid mixers, do not hesitate to double this recipe.

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French Buttercream
Makes enough for 24-36 cupcakes

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/8 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 lbs cold unsalted butter

In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar. Cook this over high heat with a candy thermometer in place. You will cook your sugar to 235 degrees.
While this is cooking (it takes some time) place the egg yolks and egg in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix the eggs on high, leave them alone while you keep a close eye on your sugar. You cannot over-mix the eggs.

When the sugar is 235 degrees, slow the mixer down and add the xantham gum to the eggs. Turn the mixer back to medium speed, pour the sugar in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl into the eggs. (I was scared the first time and actually used a metal measuring cup as a scoop to combine half the sugar with the eggs so they didn’t scramble.)

After all the sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Beat the mixture until it is cool to the touch. Change to the paddle attachment (This is important!). Add the cold butter by slicing off thin pieces, adding each piece one at a time.

White Bread

Bread and other such related things (pizza crust, rolls, bagels) have such simple ingredients when you make them at home. Yet when you buy them from the store there is a long list of other things. The goal for Bubbly Kitchen in 2014 is to bake all my own bread. I don’t think I will be grinding my own grains into flour with my kitchenaid anytime soon. But it seems simple enough to make bread on a weekly basis. I started this journey with the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This has a fabulous basic bread recipe that makes a large amount of dough that you store in the fridge. When you want to make a loaf, you pinch off a piece and bake it. The book teaches you a lot about baking bread and makes it seem more accessible. Unlike Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller which makes baking bread seem like engineering rockets, in an OCD, glamorous mad scientist sort of way. I will probably continue to keep a stash of this Artisan Bread dough in the fridge because it makes the goal of not buying bread easily achievable. But that particular recipe does not rise very tall, not tall enough for a substantial sandwich. This white bread recipe however is the perfect size for sandwiches. It is also insanely soft and full of flavor.

 

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I have found that it is super difficult to determine if bread is done but a thermometer takes all the guessing out of it. You should take the temperature of all the bread (or anything really) that you bake and make note of it on the recipe. I also like to take the temperature of the water I am dissolving the yeast in, it should be around 110 degrees. I would love nothing more than to have Bouchon Bakery bread in my kitchen every day. Maybe with practice I will acquire the skills and patience to make bread the Thomas Keller way. But until that happens, I will be baking this white bread… over and over again. I weighed my bread loaves and calculated the total calories for the recipe. 1 ounce of bread is 85 calories. Most of my slices were a little over one ounce and were closer to 100 or 125 calories per slice. This is a bit shocking when you consider all the brands out their with the 60 calorie per slice breads. But obviously the store-brought bread is nothing compared to this recipe. Once the bread is cool it is much easier to slice thin for sandwiches. Besides just loaves of bread for sandwiches, I use this same recipe to make hamburger buns. Just roll up a small ball of dough, just a bit larger than a golf ball. Flatten this and roll out with a rolling pin, decrease your baking time to 24 minutes.

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White Bread

4½ tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
3/4 cup water
3 cups warm milk (120 degrees)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Add in the sugar, salt, 3 cups warm milk, butter, and half the flour. Mix this on low speed until combined. Add in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. A smooth and elastic dough should form around the dough hook. Continue to mix for 7 minutes, kneading the dough.

Lightly grease a large bowl with butter. (You may need to use two bowls here.) Cover this with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours. The dough should double in size.

Prepare two loaf pans by greasing lightly with butter. Lightly flour your work surface, punch down the dough, and turn the bowl out onto the floured surface. Divide into two equal parts. Roll each portion of dough out to 9 x 12 inches, the 9 corresponds to the length of your loaf pans. (I used a 9 x 5 inch loaf pain and a 9 x4 inch loaf pan because that is what I have but if your pan is a different size, then adjust.) Roll the dough up tightly from the short end and pinch the seam shut. Fold the ends under and place in your prepared loaf pans. Cover these with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 30 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, to an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I make this pork tenderloin constantly for any occasion, weak night meals or even for dinner guests. I cannot express how delicious and simple this recipe is. You can serve this any time of the year, during winter or summer. You should serve this pork tenderloin with grilled vegetables. If it is cold outside, French Onion Soup and mashed potatoes will make a fabulous dinner. The pork tenderloins usually come in a package of 2 pieces. You can freeze this other piece and make it another day. But you will be extremely disappointed when you run out of pork tenderloin leftovers to eat on your salad for lunch or for your tenderloin sandwiches. You do not have to marinate these for a full 12 hours. But the longer you do, the more flavor the meat will have. It is pretty easy though to put the tenderloins in the marinade first thing in the morning and they will be ready to go on the grill for dinner. I have had good results though with just 2 hours in the marinade. Definitely serve this with a fruit forward red wine, you should try Pepperwood Grove Merlot. This is a fabulous and versatile value wine from Chile. If you are lucky you can find their “green boxes” which are super portable and environmentally friendly. They are 100% recyclable containers and use less energy for production.

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the fat from the pork tenderloins and place in a glass container or large gallon ziploc bag. Mix up the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Poor the marinade over the pork tenderloins. Allow to rest in the fridge for up to 12 hours, turning over a few times if you think of it.

Prepare a medium heat fire in a charcoal grill. Remove the pork tenderloins from the marinade and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on the grill and cook for 20 minutes, flipping over once. This should be medium, with an internal temperature of 140 degrees. You can cook longer for medium well or well done. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.