Julia’s Flippin’ Omelette

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Some days, I want to spend hours in the kitchen, working through a recipe or experimenting with a new meal. On those days, being in the kitchen cooking is a fun time, not a chore. Then there are busy weekdays, when we are rushing about with sports, homework, scouts and whatever else is on the evening horizon. On those days, I need something quick, easy and nutritious. Enter the omelette. For reasons I still don’t understand, Ellie won’t eat scrambled eggs, but she will eat quiche and, occasionally, an omelette. These quick egg dishes were very popular in Paris cafes, and we noticed that they were not the fluffy, high-rise dishes we were used to. These omelets were flat and thin, but very tender and tasty. Hmmmm, could we do this at home?

We watched The French Chef over the weekend and caught the omelette episode. Julia Child teaches (in her endearing and often hilarious way), how to cook these omelets, which need to be flipped and tossed in the pan. These are really more like crepes than the thick, heavy omelets we are used to in American restaurants, but they are good and definitely worth working on your wrist action!

Here is the video on YouTube:

We gave it a try. My omelets didn’t come out nearly as pretty, but they were delicious and only took 20 seconds (Tom was timing) to cook. Twenty seconds! We used leftover ham and some cheese we had in the fridge. So, twenty seconds and 5 ingredients! Not bad! We served our omelets with honey glazed roasted carrots and leftover rosemary sourdough from our Produce Box. Easy, quick, nutritious and it used up leftovers. Score! If you have egg eaters in your family, you could even set out several leftover options and let each person pick what they want in their omelette!

Omelette (serves 1)

  • 2 farm eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fillings (optional)
  1. Beat the eggs lightly. Add water to the eggs and beat agin. Set aside.
  2. Prepare fillings so they are ready to go, and set aside.
  3. Heat a non stick 7″ sauté pan over high heat.
  4. Add butter to pan and swirl to coat. Do not let butter brown.
  5. Add eggs to pan and let set about 5 seconds. Swirl the pan around in a counter-clockwise direction for a few seconds. Add the fillings on top of the eggs.
  6. Using a snapping motion with your wrist, jerk the pan toward you, flipping the edge of the omelette over on itself (watch the video).
  7. Tilt the pan edge to the plate edge and turn the omelette out onto the plate. Garnish and serve immediately.
  8. Voila!
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A Boeuf Bourguignon Tribute to Julia

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If you’ve been reading along with us for a while, you know that I carry a little torch for Julia Child. She was an amazing woman and a wonderful chef at a time when women in the culinary arts were almost unheard of. With her quirky sense of humor and no-nonsense technique, she managed to teach a generation (or two. or three) of American housewives and home cooks not only about cooking, but about food itself.

Last August we celebrated Julia Child’s birthday and had a wonderful time (read about it here). We made seasonal dishes with our fresh vegetables and local chicken. Definitely, something we will do again. When the weather this week took a sudden turn toward real winter, my first thought was of this dish–a classic French beef stew called boeuf bourguignon. Oh. My. Goodness.

If you are a carnivore and it is cold where you live, you must make this. Yes, it is expensive, but it does make a very large pot and you will get several meals out of it. Yes, it takes some time, but it is totally worth it.

We used local, organic ingredients for our stew (except the wine–I used what I had). Our beef came from a local farm, Coon Rock Farm, and it was so tender and flavorful, it was hard to stop eating. We have so far served it with red, white and blue potatoes (to honor France as well as our presidential inauguration) and will serve it over pasta as well. Make this!

This recipe is an adaptation of this recipe on http://www.food.com.

Boeuf Bourguignon (serves 6-8)

For the stew:

  • 6 ounces uncured bacon
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. lean, pasture-raised stew beef, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 3 organic carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 organic yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2-3 cups low sodium or homemade beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 organic garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh, organic thyme
  • 1 organic bay leaf

For the braised onions:

  • 18-24 white, pearl onions (defrosted and drained if using frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium or homemade beef stock
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh, organic thyme
  • 1 fresh, organic bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh, organic parsley

For the sauteed mushrooms:

  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prepare the bacon by cutting it into small pieces called lardons, about 1/4″ thick and 1 1/2″ long.
  3. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large, oven safe casserole dish at medium heat.
  4. Brown the lardons and render the fat, about 3-4 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan, drain and reserve.
  5. While bacon is cooking, use paper towels to dry each piece of beef. (I put some towel in my hand, drop in a piece of beef, give it a quick squeeze and set it aside and start over with a new piece.) This is important! Wet beef will not sear properly an you won’t have that lovely crust on each piece.
  6. Brown beef in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Remove to the bowl or plate with the bacon.
  7. Add a bit more olive oil if needed and saute the onion and carrot until. until softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Pour off any residual fat and add the lardons and beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
  9. Sprinkle all with the flour, salt and pepper and toss well.
  10. Put the uncovered casserole in the oven for 4 minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for another 4 minutes.
  11. Remove casserole to the stove top and lower the oven temperature to 325.
  12. Add the wine and enough beef stock to the casserole to barely cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Stir well and bring to a simmer on the stove.
  13. Cover the casserole and place in the oven for three to four hours. The meat is done when it is very tender and pierces easily with a fork.

While the meat is cooking, make the onions.

  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the defrosted and drained onions to the pan. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes, frequently rolling the onions so they brown evenly.
  2. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs and cover.
  3. Simmer over low heat for 40-50 minutes. Check frequently so the stock doesn’t boil off completely and scorch the pan.
  4. Discard the herbs, remove the onions to a bowl and set aside.

Make the mushrooms:

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet.
  2. When the butter foam subsides, add the mushrooms and toss. Cook about 4-5 minutes.
  3. As soon as the mushrooms are browned, remove from heat and set aside.

Assemble the stew:

  1. When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven. Using a slotted spoon (I use a stir fry spider) remove the meat and vegetables from the sauce and reserve in a bowl. Discard the herbs.
  2. Skim any fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce and it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is too thin, continue cooking it down.
  3. Taste for seasonings and correct if needed.
  4. Put the meat in a heated serving bowl. Top with the onions and mushrooms. Pour the sauce over it.
  5. Serve immediately with noodles, potatoes or rice. Garnish with fresh parsley.
  6. You can make this ahead and keep refrigerated for reheating later.

Week 4 Budget and Menu

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This week ended with a snow fake-out (so much for sledding) and sunny, cool weather that was more like spring. this next week promises to turn bitter cold–real winter? I’m going to harvest most of our tender greens this week and we will eat up as much as we can. Did you know you can cook your greens (chard, beet, turnip, mustard, etc) and freeze them? I think I’ll be trying that as well! Our collards will only get better with the below freezing temperatures–the cold brings out their sweetness, so I’m leaving them parked in the garden. Happily, our farmers market was full of activity today and we had a lot to choose from even with the cold weather! And even more happily, the market was teeming with people out buying fresh food in the cold!

Now that we actually have some winter weather coming on, I’m breaking out my Julia Child Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. It makes a ton, so we will have lots of leftovers this week. Somehow I don’t think anyone will mind!

This week’s budget reflects some stocking up. Ellie loves homemade whole wheat buttermilk pancakes and we ran out of maple syrup. I buy huge containers at Trader Joes, but they are $16.00! That’s a lot, but the syrup will last a long time. We also ran out of spices, which are not inexpensive either. But who can live without cinnamon? Not me, that’s who. Especially since I am experimenting with some crazy gingerbread oatmeal (stay tuned). So our budget ended up being $114.24 for the week, but I am confident we’ll bring it down next week. Here’s how our food expenses break out:

Budget

  • Coon Rock Farm (eggs, chicken, stew beef, carrots): $42.00
  • In Good Hands Farm (Brussel sprouts, broccoli): $6.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (Lebnah Greek yogurt): $4.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (bacon and blue cheese pirogue): $9.00
  • Great Harvest Bread Company (sandwich bread, scones): $7.00
  • Trader Joes (mushrooms, organic onions, cinnamon, pepper, maple syrup, organic soy milk, cheese, sliced turkey, organic potatoes): $46.24

Here’s what we’re having this week. Should be a week full of comfort food goodness!

Menu

  • Sunday–Julia’s boeuf bourguignon with roasted potatoes
  • Monday–roasted chicken thighs with honey glazed carrots and Brussels sprouts
  • Tuesday–grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
  • Wednesday–Oatmeal (girl scout night)
  • Thursday–leftover boeuf bourguignon with noodles
  • Friday–bacon and blue cheese pirogue with brown butter, Swiss chard
  • Saturday–out to dinner or leftover buffet
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