Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, November 12, 2007

*tap* *tap* Is This Thing On?

What the hell is wrong with me?? Where the hell have I been?? Is the love affair with my blog waning? Am I getting that 7 year itch 5 years early? Have I stopped cooking and/or baking? I mean, seriously, WTF?

I don't have a good answer. I've got at least 4 recipes I'd like to share, but the thought of sitting down and writing about them hasn't been a priority for me lately.. and really, I don't know why so much. Lots of little things, I guess?

Anyhoo, I'm hoping that my leave of absense (of sorts) is over and that I'll fall right back into my normal groove.. at least an update once a week for cryin' out loud. Hopefully more though. ;)

Have you missed me???? Ya'll had better of missed me. Yeah.. I'm looking at YOU.

Okay well the first recipe I want to share has probably gone around the foodie blog circuit many a-times. It's an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe. Her Beef Bourguignon. Holy cow. I'm pretty sure she is known for her take on this classic French dish, and she should be.. it was.. delectable.

This is a very easy stew to put together and there aren't any fancy tricks or techniques to making melt in your mouth beef & veggies in a delicious gravy - but for me it was an awe inspiring occasion as this Beef Bourguignon was the recipe I chose to christen my brand spankin' new 4 quart cast iron dutch oven. WOOT! If you people had any idea how badly I've wanted one (all) of these things, you'd be shocked. Or maybe you'd be shocked because no matter how badly I've wanted one, and even if I could afford one.. I refused to spend $200.00 on a Le Creuset dutch oven. I know! I know.. the money is well worth it.. they last forever and a day.. I know all of this, but still just the thought of laying down close to a car payment for a pot.. *shudder*

Well on our last day together, Helene and I (after dropping Mary off at the airport) decided to go see what Crate and Barrel had to offer.. you know, I always poo-poo this store - over priced crap! But what I never remember is that every time I've went in, I've managed to find the deal of the year. And their stuff really isn't crap - I'm just jealous that I don't have a $500 a month budget for kitchen gadgets & equipment, dinnerware, glasses and oh anything else that sends me in delicious shivers as I imagine how good it'd look in my wee kitchen.

And imagine my complete shock and utter delight when I found a Mario Batali cast iron, enamel coated, 4 quart dutch oven in a shade of red that matched my kitchen walls perfectly? 'kay now imagine how I peed my pants when I saw it was over 50% off - and I got the thing for $59.99!! Yes, Kmart shoppers - I found the blue light special!!! Le Creuset Le Schmeuset :P

Here.. drool with me!

My new pride and joy =)
Oh how I love you little Mario Batali Dutch Oven *smooches*

Oh yeah, I totally believe that my Beef Bourguignon tasted that much better all because of my new Dutch oven! squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Beef Bourguignonne
Beef Bourguignon
Courtesy of Ina Garten and FoodTV

Serves 6

Mise en place Beef Bourguignonne Mise en Place Beef Bourguignonne

1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced (I used 1 lg. Spanish onion)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac (I omitted)
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir (I went with Pinot Noir)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth (I went with beef stock)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Beef Bourguignonne Beef Bourguignonne

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Beef Bourguignonne

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Beef Bourguignonne Beef Bourguignonne

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Beef Bourguignonne Beef Bourguignonne
Beef Bourguignonne

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Beef Bourguignonne

My Notes: Okay the only thing that didn't work for me was the gravy thickening after I threw in the butter/flour mixture. So what I did was take a ladle full of the thin gravy and mixed it with a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl until it was smooth. Then I poured it back into the pot and continued to cook until the gravy thickened - about 3 minutes.

And my only suggestion for next time would be - unless you are a HUGE pearl onion fan? I'd cut that down to 1/2 pound or even a 1/4 pound - because 1 pound was way, way too many onions. =)

Not only did I choose this recipe to make to christen my sexy hot new Dutch oven, but this recipe also fell right into place when figuring out a weekly meal plan for $40.00 - which just happens to be this month's theme for that sexy thang, Sara's Weekend Cookbook Challenge! How good am I? AND it's an EARLY submission! Let's all wait for Sara to regain her composure and pick her cute lil butt up off of the floor... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Okay! I decided to take this challenge to see if I really could figure out a weekly plan for $40.00 - and if so, then why the hell are my grocery bills so freakin' high?? Well.. I don't think I could do this every week. To come in at $40, we had to eat the Beef Bourguignon two nights in a row. That's something that doesn't happen in my household often. Hubbs is a strict non-believer in left overs. Yeah, he makes not wasting food a bit of an art for me. Thank God for my mommie and my co-workers. *sigh* But this stew was so amazingly good, that he did not complain.

Okay here's my menu:

  • Monday: Chicken wings with peppers, corn and salad. $4.00 (for 2 people - peppers & salad free from garden)
  • Tuesday: Beef Bourguignon with toasted sour dough. $15.00 (for 2 people 2 nights in a row)
  • Wednesday: Beef Bourguignon
  • Thursday: BLT sammiches with sliced cucumbers and chips. $2.00 (for 2 people)
  • Friday: Baked Walleye with onions & spinach, mac & cheese and salad. $4.00 (for 2 people - Walleye free from Lake Erie, onions & salad free from garden)
  • Saturday: Grilled pork shoulder steaks, smashed potatoes and green beans. $7.00 (for 2 people)
  • Sunday: Marinated chicken breast chef salad, bread sticks. $7.00 (for 2 people)

Grand Total: $39.00! Not too shabby, eh? :D

Start looking on WCC and this month's hostess, Cady of $40 a Week's blogs around the 19th for the round up - should be quite interesting to see what everyone's meal plans look like. Also - if you are interested in participating (and you should be!) get your submissions to Cady at "gambini at gmail dot com" on or before Nov. 18th =)


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Comments on "*tap* *tap* Is This Thing On?"


Blogger breadchick said ... (11/13/2007 8:35 AM) : 

WOWSA!! Helen told me you got a wonderful Dutch oven at Crate and Barrel and that sure is a nice one!!

Not to mention the yummy looking Beef Bourguignon.

OH, and for kicks and giggles and here is how I test microphones: "Zebras make very good pets and belong in zoos except for Sundays" (takes one through all the syllables that cause microphones to "pop")

So glad to see you are back!!!

hugs xxoo


Blogger Kalyn Denny said ... (11/13/2007 8:36 AM) : 

What a great looking pan! I just got something similar in blue and I'm just loving it. You're right, it does make everything better!


Blogger Cheryl said ... (11/13/2007 8:58 AM) : 

Great deal on the oven. I'm jealous. The bourguignon is amazing too.

And yes, I missed you something awful. I am in therapy for it now.


Blogger Laura Rebecca said ... (11/13/2007 9:28 AM) : 

That is a damn fine looking bourguignon! I'm glad to see you're back (but I think everyone understands the need to step away from the blog from time to time)!


Blogger Deborah said ... (11/13/2007 10:52 AM) : 

I just had to go over to Crate and Barrel's website to see if that Dutch Oven is on sale online - it is!! I wonder if my husband would notice if I bought something else for the kitchen....

The bourguignon looks great!!


Blogger Sara said ... (11/13/2007 12:04 PM) : 

Oh that pot is gorgeous! I bet you are right - it would make the bourgignon taste better. Thanks for taking part in WCC!


Blogger Helene said ... (11/13/2007 12:27 PM) : 

See, I find that a Mario Batali Dutch ovn is more fitting in La Mia Cucina kitchen than a "La Creusette" (wink, wink Hubbs!)...ahahah!!
The bourguignon looks so flipping good!
Re- absence: do you want me to come by and whoop your the tunes of Richard Simmons?!! I'll give you something to blog about!!


Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (11/13/2007 1:13 PM) : 

Well, when you come back you do it with style! I am wrestling with the same urge to quietly draw the curtains on my site and quit pulling myself in too many directions with the spare time I have. It seems to be a universal battle. Cheers to you -- and happy Thanksgiving (almost).


Blogger Julie said ... (11/13/2007 2:31 PM) : 

I missed you! My mouth is really watering! I actually saw the episode where Ina cooks this dish, and my mouth was watering then, too. Your version looks so delicious! And hooray for Dutch ovens! I want one!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/13/2007 3:01 PM) : 

Nice looking dutch oven. Glad to see its debut with beef bougignon! Yeh, I think a pound of pearl onions seem a bit too much . Look's delicious,sis.


Blogger Katie Zeller said ... (11/13/2007 3:55 PM) : 

Gorgeous new pot! I got a blue one a few months ago, also not Le Crueset, (it's Bocuse) and mine works really well, too. Amazing, isn't it?
Well done on the shopping - both kinds!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/13/2007 4:46 PM) : 

Congrats on your new dutch oven. It's very handsome! I need one too..maybe if I'm good, Santa will bring me one :)


Blogger Dolores said ... (11/13/2007 4:47 PM) : 

Okay, so I *clearly* need to ditch Dayton in January and go foraging with you at the after Christmas sales!


Blogger Callipygia said ... (11/13/2007 5:45 PM) : 

Lis- As much as I love Le Creuset, I have seen the Batali one and think it is a much better deal (& that smoky eggplant color, sexy)And I sure did miss you too, good to see you back!


Blogger Peabody said ... (11/13/2007 8:07 PM) : 

Yes, you were missed my dear!
I love the beef bourguignon, I use this recipe quite often.
And yes, Crate and Barrel is not least I hope not since I own a lot of the store :)


Blogger Jenny said ... (11/13/2007 8:22 PM) : 

Congrats on the new pot! And great work on the meal plan. Not sure I could do it for less than $40.


Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said ... (11/13/2007 8:57 PM) : 

Congratulations on your beautiful new pan -- such a deal!!! I've made this recipe, too, and it's delicious (and I did cut down on the pearl onions too).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/13/2007 10:17 PM) : 

Must. Make. Beef. Bourguignon.



Blogger Brittany said ... (11/14/2007 3:23 AM) : 

THERE you are! ;) Your new dutchie is a beut. Yes. I am Jealous.


Blogger Annemarie said ... (11/14/2007 8:48 AM) : 

Congrats on your new hot pot (hee hee) - I love my Le Creuset but I managed to get it from a charity shop for an embarrassingly low price (I really should have donated extra money to the charity since they were so short changed). I hope it brings you loads of cooking happiness, and very pleased to find you back and posting!


Blogger Unknown said ... (11/14/2007 9:22 AM) : 

what a great deal and such a pretty oven, i want one too i love them i asked santa for one for christmas hope he finds a deal like yours


Blogger Megan said ... (11/14/2007 9:40 AM) : 

The oven is beautiful and a great deal just makes it that much better


Blogger Lis said ... (11/14/2007 9:50 AM) : 

Mary - Isn't she a beaut? :D

Kalyn - Thanks! Ohhh did you get the pretty cobalt blue? I saw a couple of those at Sur la Table by different "chefs" and they were gorgeous!

Cheryl - I hope to hell you are talking about ice cream therapy. :P

LR - Thanks sweetie!

Deborah - squeeeeee! It's a MUST BUY!! xoxo

Sara - My pleasure!

Helene - WOO HOO! Oh yeah baby! Oh yeah!

Kevin - Nooooooooooooooooo! You can't leave!!!! :(

Julie - Thanks!

Sis - Way too much. Now this is a dish I've love to see you make. =)

Katiez - Yay! Hooray for us and our brand new pots :D

Maryann - Tell Santa about the deal at C and B.. he couldn't possibly pass up a deal like that, could he? ;)

Dolores - Oh yes.. that's very clear! :D

Callipygia - I MISS YOU TOO!!! Did you get my email? Love you!xoxo

Gracie - hehehee! I'd like to see some of your bargains from C and B. :D

Jenny - Thanks!

Lydia - Thanks sweetie! Excellent recipe, isn't it? =)

Ivonne - Yes. You. Must. hee! xoxo

Brittany - you can borrow it any time you'd like!

Annemarie - Thanks! Those are the kinds of sales I dream of finding. :)



Blogger kellypea said ... (11/14/2007 3:55 PM) : 

I just lurve it when people play with their food. Just look at them purdy pitchers...And that POT. When I was shopping for my panini pan, I went through the same thing. I really liked the color on the Le Creuset and asked the lady WHY they were so expensive. She said they were guaranteed for life. I figured it didn't matter because I wouldn't be able to lift the dumb thing in ten years anyway and did the very same thing you did -- bought the Mario Batalli. Your Bourguignon looks fabulous. I saw the sneak preview on flickr. Hah!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/14/2007 4:33 PM) : 

drool...drool ... that certainly looks delicious. I have those days where housework and looking after little one just took over everything and I didn't have time to blog my recipe.


Blogger Heather said ... (11/14/2007 11:11 PM) : 

Good Find! But gees now I want one. For be to get one of those babies I need to find an episode of Good Eats where Alton says it is the MUST HAVE pot then I am golden. My honey thinks that we need everything Alton says.


Blogger jko said ... (11/15/2007 4:16 PM) : 

$40 a week...but what about lunches? What do you do for the midday meal?


Blogger Caribbean Dreamer said ... (11/15/2007 5:58 PM) : 

Girl, you did the proverbial "robbing of the cradle" with that Dutch oven! Way to go! I sent you an email earlier today asking you to share your mailing address with me again...make sure it didn't go into a "junk mail" folder. :)


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (11/16/2007 9:39 PM) : 

And that's just what I've been saying . . . you have to go in those expensive fancy places and check out the discount table. That's a fabulous pot! And great bourguignon!


Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (11/17/2007 11:49 AM) : 

Of course we've missed you =) =)

I love your pot! and that picture of it with the spoon bursting with the stew, I want smell=a=blogging too, I can just imagine how great it is!

Hope you and your pot have many happy times together =)


Blogger Lis said ... (11/18/2007 7:08 AM) : 

Jennifer!!!! Holy crap, it never even occured to me that I had to incorporate breakfast & lunch within the $40! HAHAHAHAHAHAAA! 'kay well then I admit defeat - there is no way we could live on $40 a week for all of our meals.

'kay well it wouldn't be impossible.. just not likely. ;)

Thanks for pointing that out! Duh!



Blogger Chris said ... (11/18/2007 9:35 PM) : 

I love the dutch oven. I so need one. Think I could find one that comes with Beef Bourguignon? hee hee....

And - you were missed...but Blog Blips happen - man, I think I am the queen! And I am not even at a year yet.

Hugs Chica!


Blogger Inne said ... (11/19/2007 12:35 PM) : 

oooh, Lis, threading on thin ice now! Watch what you say about le Creuset... They really do last forever, you know. S and I have a few orange ones that used to belong to his mum; they're 30+ years old and are still the best I ever cooked with.
But I admit they are ridiculously expensive and the Batali ones are apt for your cucina.
Great looking bourguignon!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/20/2007 4:58 PM) : 

No, you totally could live on $40 a week for all your meals! the reason being, it is $40 a week EACH. I was amazed that you made all this food for two people for $40, dinner only or not! Because that leaves you another $40 for lunch and breakfast, right, and if dinner is your big meal then....

Oh my god, I love your Dutch oven and the story about it. I am all about splurging on good, long-lasting things I really want, and it's such a great story of abundance that when you brave that kind of store you always get an incredible deal. Maybe I need to hit Crate and Barrel this weekend.

Thanks for your awesome post! I am working on the roundup right now, so you can check out for it soon!

And proof for everyone who doesn't think this is possible: I'm starting a little business where people can pay $40 a week (each, or less if two or more people go in on it together) and I'll send them a suggested meal plan, recipes, and a box full of ingredients each week. No math, no busy crowded grocery stores...!

I'm especially glad for this WCC entry, actually, because I have been needing to explore how to make more dishes within those boxes without exceeding the budget - since I'm used to eating leftovers! - and this is giving me some great proof that it's possible and some good inspiration for it. Yay!



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