Okay... it is so cold in February so I am cooking up something warm and yummy while listening to something warm and yummy.
Menu: Baked Potatoes, Steak and Mushroom Soup, Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, Pear Pudding Cake, Wine, Coffee. ~ Music: Beethoven Symphony #7 (George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra).
Music: Beethoven Symphony Number 7 Go ahead and play while you are cooking!
The Recipe I am featuring here, I found in a book "Lee Bailey's, SOUP MEALS". I highly suggest getting this book. I have tried many of these recipes and they are all AMAZING! The baked potatoes are supposed to be topped with caviar but I left that out.
(I just cannot get myself to eat a baked potato with little fish eggs.)
6 medium baking potatoes, washed and dried
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped green onions or chives
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Generously rub the potatoes with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Split each potato down the center and press open. Spread with a generous amount of butter, pepper and sprinkle chopped green onions (or chives) or (caviar ~ if you wish) over the top.
Steak and Mushroom Soup
1 1/4 pounds thick shell steak trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium onions, half coarsely chopped, other half thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1 pound fresh button mushrooms, thickly sliced
Flour for dusting
5 to 6 cups Beef Stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large bay leaf
1 1/4 pounds escarole, washed and torn into bite-size pieces, with stems broken
Now, marinating the steak will give it more flavor but if you are in a rush, no worries...
2/3 cup safflower oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
Whisk marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl and add cubed steak, being sure all is submerged. Set aside for 1 hour.
Heat half of the olive oil and butter in a large stockpot. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Cook over medium to high heat until nicely golden, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until they are just wilted. Remove from heat and set aside. Wipe the old butter and oil out of the pot and add remaining butter and oil. Pat the steak cubes dry and flour them. Brown in oil and butter over medium heat. Remove the meat and set aside. Return cooked vegetables and mushrooms to the pot along with the sliced onions. Add 5 cups of beef stock. Bring all of this to a simmer and add salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add steak and simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the escarole. You may add more stock here if you need to. You want to simmer the escarole a bit to make it tender.
Serves 6 to 8
Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and soda together into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks and then cut into flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until butter is the size of large peas. Add buttermilk all a once, and stir just enough to mix.
Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
These biscuits are easy to make, they only have to be the proper consistency for success. And even if they are not, they will simply flatten out a little too much, but will still taste good.
Makes approximately 18 biscuits
Pear Pudding Cake
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs. lightly beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup peeled and coarsely diced firm pear
Pear Slices - Lemon juice - Lemon rind or strips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8 inch square baking dish.
Sift together the sugar, flour and baking soda and salt. Add the eggs and beat for several minutes, until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the bourbon and lemon rind and mix well again. Fold in nuts and pear. Pour into baking dish and bake until puffy and brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve with Vanilla Sauce or vanilla ice cream and garnish with a few slices of fresh pear bathed in fresh lemon juice and topped with a bit of lemon rind.
My choice of wine would be a nice Cabernet Sauvignon and coffee would be a French Roast or Espresso.