Recipes With Wine

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2 – Beef Ragout

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ~ Dean Koontz

The 2nd  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul.

Another part of my job is cooking for seniors and I am often hired by their “kids” (people like me in the 50’s & 60’s) to ensure their parents are eating properly. A lot of seniors used to be good cooks, but over time, sometimes they are no longer able stand for long periods or they have dietary restrictions. Hiring me gives them the ability to be independent and remain in their own homes.

A woman contacted me and arranged for me to go to her parents’ home – a lovely large Tudor style home. She had said her Mum, Martha, had slight dementia and her Dad, George, was a retired doctor and didn’t cook. When I arrived this couple greeted me at the door, both beautifully dressed, lovely white hair, their cardigans in place. Martha had her full makeup on so my first impression was that they looked healthy and happy.

After I got unpacked and started to work the husband, George came into the kitchen with his newspaper in hand and asked if Martha could sit with me. I realized the poor guy never has time to himself so I said, “Of course. Martha, come sit, watch me cook and I’ll make you some tea.” I kept thinking, “Why are they in this huge house?” Well, you guessed it. They had this dog, a Puli named Sandy, who was a mass of black dreadlocks to the floor. I could not tell his ass end from his front end, but they loved him and they couldn’t give up their home while they had their dog.

After being asked the umpteenth time what my name was, Martha announced Sandy had to go out. So I took the dog and let him out the glass doors onto the patio. It was the middle of January and the patio door was stuck with snow, so I ended up outside as well trying to get the dog out. Then Martha slammed the glass door shut and locked it, with me outside!

I tried my best to convince her to let me in. I could hear her calling out, “George, there is a strange lady in white on our patio.”

“Jeez!” I thought, “Do you think he’s heard that before?” Then I had a brainwave. I picked up Sandy and smiled at her. She opened the door happily saying, “Oh! You found Sandy!”

Chef Janet Craig Cooking With Sin Beef Ragout Who Let the Dog Out?

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2

Beef Ragout

 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
2 pounds stewing beef, trimmed, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted, ground
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 540 ml can diced tomatoes, including juice
2 bay leaves
2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
 

 1.In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add beef and toss until evenly coated.

2. Set meat aside, shaking off any excess flour; reserve flour.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Brown beef in batches, turning and adding more oil, if necessary, for about four minutes per batch.

4. Transfer beef to slow cooker’s stoneware insert. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions and garlic, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Sprinkle with cumin and the flour mixture and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add beef stock, wine, tomatoes with juice, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about two minutes.

5. Add to slow cooker, stirring well. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours, until mixture is bubbly and beef is tender.

6. Stir in roasted peppers, olives and parsley. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Who Let the Dog Out? #1 – Port Sirloin & Portobello Mushroom Stew

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

The 1st  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul

As a Personal Chef I work in many peoples’ homes with a variety of family pets and as a dog owner I love their dogs. Those of us who have dogs in our lives know each one has their own personality and we can rave ad nauseam about this, much like new parents with their infant. I find that people identify with your child or your dog so you are either Buzzer’s Mum or Timmy’s Mum depending if you are in the dog park or the schoolyard. Of course we dog-crazy people can’t quite understand for a moment why some people do not like them or are terrified of them.

Often times I work in clients’ houses alone for the day and I enjoy having their dog as company, but it can also be a lot of responsibility. As a result, I have had some hilarious situations.

One day I went into my client’s kitchen and there was a young standard Schnauzer named Guinness in his crate. The moment the dog saw me, he went nuts so I phoned the client at her office and asked, “Can I let the dog out while I’m here? When I’m done I will re-crate him before I leave.” She was relieved and said the yard is fully fenced so I could also let him outside. So that sounded good.

Now when I am cooking I usually make about 20 entrees with sides that are labelled and frozen so I’m really busy and every burner is on plus the oven, microwave, etc. I often bring my lunch as well.

So that day I was working away and noticed that Guinness was very quiet. Searching the house, I caught him on the living room rug gnawing away on my lunch steak! I freaked! Not only had he eaten my lunch, but it looked like someone had been murdered on the rug! Quickly I put Guinness back in his crate, turned off all the burners, found the soda and vinegar and got on my hands & knees to scrub the rug and try to make it presentable.

Finally I was able to get back to my real job in the kitchen. I was under pressure and behind in my schedule, but I had to listen to the incessant whining, crying of poor Guinness. Wouldn’t you think, with a belly full of rib eye, he would be sleepy? So, later while cubing meat for shish kebobs to grill on the barbeque I caved and let him outside to run around the yard.

Well, you guessed it. A little while later, I returned to the backyard to find NO dog! I frantically called him and there he was smiling like only a big goofy puppy can from the neighbour’s back yard. Was he able to jump the fence?

So I had to run back into the kitchen, again, turn off the stove, then turn off the barbeque, lock the door and leave the house. As I ran around the block to get to the neighbour’s yard I seaw the tail end of Guinness going over the hedge & fence back into his own yard. NOOO!

I am usually in and out of a client’s house in 4 to 5 hours and leaving before they return home from work, but that day my car was pulling out of the driveway as they were pulling in and she said, “I bet you got playing with that dog!”

“Yeah, you got it!” ;)

Cooking With Sin Chef Janet Craig Port Sirloin Portobello Mushroom Stew

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” #1

Port Sirloin and Portobello Stew

Serves 4-6

3 cups hot beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary (or 1 tbsp each of fresh)
1/2 cup red wine
1.2 lb sirloin roast, cubed
salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup veg oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red potatoes, skin on, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup port wine
2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)
 

1. Heat broth; add bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, red wine. Simmer 20-30 min.

2. Season beef, dredge in flour, brown, and remove. Add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic & butter. Sauté until onions are caramelized.

3. Return beef, add port, hot broth, s & p. Bring to boil, simmer 45-60 min.(this is nice in Crockpot or baked in heavy casserole) Near the end, thicken with tomato paste.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

 

Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – March

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Each month in 2014, I am sharing a calendar page that includes a CWS recipe. Here is March’s!

Click to open up the large version of the calendar page, then right click and save or copy it for yourself. Print it off for your fridge, share it with a friend, post it at your office … etc.

I just ask, if you use it in a document, please use the entire image, so Cooking With Sin gets the credit. Thank you. It is yours to enjoy!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Calendar 2014

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

 Check out the story from the original recipe “Veal Cutlets Breaded in Paradise.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Barefoot Wine Little Sips Cupcakes

Posted on: February 1st, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Carla Johnson Cooking with Sin Barefoot Wine Bubbly

For the past three years I have been involved in “Best Bites: Taste of the Region” fundraiser here in Cambridge, Ontario. As the beverage contact on the organizing committee for the event I contact and invite the wineries, breweries & distilleries to the event. As you can imagine, I have the best job! This is the 6th in a series of “Thank You” posts featuring the beverage participants who have been such an important part of helping make Best Bites such a resounding success each year.
 

Barefoot Wine bottles

Barefoot Wine and Bubbly

 

Little Sips

Best Bites Barefoot Wine Moscato bottle

Cupcakes:
190g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
200g granulated sugar
113g butter
2 large eggs
50ml Barefoot Moscato
50ml milk
 
Icing:
250g tub of mascarpone cheese, softened
2 tbsp Barefoot Moscato
1 500g pack of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Shaved chocolate for garnish
 

Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, Barefoot Moscato and milk until just combined.

2. Add dry ingredients; mix until smooth and fluffy. Divide batter evenly into 24 mini cupcake tins. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan: remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Icing

1. In small bowl with electric mixer on high, beat mascarpone cheese and Barefoot Moscato wine just until smooth.

2. Gradually beat in icing sugar and vanilla until blended. Ice each cupcake with a small amount of icing and garnish with chocolate curls with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Barefoot Wine Little Sips Cupcake IcingAll photos credit of Barefoot Wine and Bubbly.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

 

Cheap & Cheerful Shrimp Scampi

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Tonight for supper I made a cheap and cheerful version of this recipe. Most of the eating at our house is cheap and cheerful, but this one was cheaper and cheerful-er than usual. The link to the original recipe is here.

Recipe from About.com Shrimp Scampi

The ingredients are basic, but for some reason I was out of several of them so, I decided to take some risks.  Funny thing, the dish turned out really well. I often don’t like my own cooking, (are you the same?), but this one I really liked and I’m posting it here mostly to remind myself to make it again.

Carla’s Cheap & Cheerful Shrimp Scampi

 

1. I melted a big chunk of butter and several scoops of garlic margarine spread (Ya, the lousy stuff hidden at the back of the fridge) in my large frying pan. I was all out of fresh garlic and while I’m not a fan of margarine, the spread had garlic chunks in it. (Cheap and cheerful enough for ya, yet?)

2. Instead of green onions, I added a finely minced, small onion (cheerful!) and sprinkled a lot of garlic powder (cheap!) over the whole mixture. I stirred the pan just long enough for the onion to soften slightly.

3. A big bag of large, raw peeled shrimp went in the pan and was given a good stir. Shrimp really is fun to cook. It’s quick, colourful and quite cheerful.

3. A unfinished bottle of a very nice Riesling-Sauv-Blanc had been in the fridge for 2 weeks (cheap!!), but it smelled okay, so I took a chance and poured some into the pan along with several squeezes of bottled key-lime juice (cheerful!) (Ya, I was out of lemons and lemon juice). I brought the temp in the pan up to a good boil.

4. To season I added sea salt, pepper, dried rosemary, dried parsley (cheap!) and a sprinkle of dried Herbes de Provence. Then I turned the temp down closer to medium and let the liquid reduce.

5. The liquid became creamy and was nicely sweet, so I quick boiled some rice vermicelli and stirred it into the mix. (Definitely cheerful!)

Voila! Cheap, cheerful, quick and deelish!

Sorry I don’t have a photo. By the time I realized it was worth sharing, my family had eaten it all. I’ll add a photo when I make it again. I promise. :)

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin