Slow Cooker Beef Bone Stock 

Did you know Julia Child’s very first show featured the classic French stew, Boeuf Bourguignon? It is one of my very favorite episodes and recipes! Watch it here. It’s so great!

Beginning in October, I am adding “Dinner in Burgundy” to my EatWith Fall/Winter offerings, and few dishes suit the season better than Boeuf Bourguignon. 

As with many classic French recipes, good stock is an essential element of Boeuf Bourguignon. Luckily, beef stock is easy to make! You end up with a far superior, healthier product when you make your own, and you will save a lot of money as well. I am going to walk you through the steps. I use a slow cooker (the best invention ever for making stock and a lot of other things!). For stock, I use my 6 qt Hamilton Beach Stay or Go cooker  because the lid clamps down tight so there’s less evaporation. You will find the entire recipe under my Recipes tab, so don’t just follow the steps! Read the recipe! Ask the meat department at your grocery store or your butcher to save marrow bones for you. They are very inexpensive. You can also use oxtail bones. I like to use a combination of the two. 

As always, feel free to ask me questions. 
Enjoy, and bon appétit!

The Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a heavy, rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place your marrow bones and root vegetables on the sheet. Spray or or lightly brush all with olive oil. VERY IMPORTANT! If you are canning your broth, do not use any oil! Oil can not be canned safely. Simply roast the root vegetables by themselves.
  3. Place sheet in preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Shake the sheet and roast for 20 more minutes. When you remove them, the vegetables and bones will be a deep golden brown. Your house will smell  AMAZING!
  4. Place your roasted marrow bones, root vegetables and the remaining ingredients in a 6 qt slow cooker. Fill to the top with water, cover and set on high. After one or two hours, set cooker to low and leave it alone for 24 to 36 hours. No opening the lid! Meat stocks need to cook for much longer than poultry stock. The longer you cook them, the better they will be. A note on bay leaves: there is a difference between domestic California bay leaves (typically available in the United States) and French  bay leaves. The latter is sweeter and more complex. To achieve an authentic flavor in your French recipes, use Mediterranean bay leaves. Often, they come from Turkey. That’s fine. They are still the same type of bay leaves.
  5. Take the crock out of the slow cooker, remove the lid and cool on a heat safe surface for 15 minutes.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine wire mesh sieve like this. If you don’t have one, you can line a regular colander with cheesecloth. If you want SUPER clear broth (I don’t worry about it myself), line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth. 
  7. Nest the bowl strained broth in ice and stir frequently until broth is room temperature (about 15 minutes).  The voice of experience, make sure the melting ice doesn’t overflow and flood your counter!
  8. Cover stock and refrigerate for six hours (or longer if it’s more convenient). The fat will solidify on the surface. Remove it with a slotted spoon and discard. While this certainly makes the stock healthier, you can skip this step if you want a richer stock. The fat will reincorporate when the stock is heated. 
  9. Your stock is done! It will keep in the fridge for three days, frozen for three months or canned for one year.  Canning is definitely preferred because it best preserves the flavor. It also saves precious freezer space, AND  you can safely store it for up to one year. In a future post, I will show you how to can stock. It’s safe and easy to can. If I can can, anyone can can!

Bon appetit!


Moroccan Preserved Lemons….Essential, irreplaceable and so easy to make

Today, I put up a batch of Preserved Lemons for use in my upcoming  EatWith offering “Dinner in Marrakech” (more on that later).

Preserved lemons are essential to Moroccan cuisine. Their exquisite flavor, aroma and silky texture cannot be substituted in a recipe with lemon juice. Trust. Luckily, they are very easy to make. They require a brining period of 30 days, but they will keep for up to one year. Once you start to use them, you will be hooked! I always have some ready to use in my larder. Tonight, they are bringing it in Yogurt Mint Sauce which I’m using as a bed for Moroccan Mini Meatballs. I’m still tweaking the Meatball recipe, but I promise I share will it once I’m satisfied with it!

Learn how to make preserved lemons here.
As always, don’t hesitate to ask me questions.
Bon appetit!
Tess

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Moroccan Pickled Carrots … Oh Yum

The flavors of Morocco where spices such as cinnamon, coriander and cardamom take center stage are rich, pungent and completely captivating. Who could fail to fall in love with Moroccan cuisine? France and Morocco have had a long and complicated relationship. French remains the primary language of Morocco. As a result (and luckily for me), excellent Moroccan cuisine is available throughout France.

I am readying my next EatWith offering – “Dinner in Marrakesh … Exploring Moroccan Cuisine.” I will write more about it in a future post, but I want to share with you my first dish. Moroccan Pickled Carrots are infused with traditional Moroccan spices plus garlic, lemon and red pepper. They are spicy hot, and they are addictive! Since they are refrigerated rather than canned, the brine is much less salty. I use Cigalou Piment de Cayenne entier. They are readily available in nearly any French grocery store, and I always bring a bottle back with me.

Moroccan Pickled Carrots are easy to prepare. Make a batch for yourself, and bring a bit of Morocco to your kitchen. Get the recipe here. I hope you’ll come eat with me soon!
Bon appétit!
Tess

French Pickled Garlic

When pickled, garlic retains all the flavor of fresh garlic without the “bite” or oder. This is because the acid in vinegar breaks down the the oder-causing components in garlic. Pickled Garlic has long been a part of French cuisine and is often served as an appetizer. It’s particularly popular in Normandy. I prepared a  batch last night in preparation for my EatWith “Dinner In Normandy” offering which will go live in mid-September. You can find the recipe for French Pickled Garlic here. 

I’m leaving for a month in France tomorrow and will begin my stay with a week and a half at Casa Belle. Gilles, who is both host and chef, has kindly invited me to observe him in the kitchen. Such a treat! Since Pickled Garlic needs to brine for four to five weeks, it will be ready to enjoy when I return in a month….and enjoy it I shall!

Bon appétit!

Tess

State Fairs…Only In America!

There’s nothing the world over like State Fairs. These surreal, magical cities spring to life just once a year, rising pheonix-like from lonely, clapboard buildings, weedy fields and dusty tracks. The stuff of rich childhood memories, they are anticipated, revisited and relived with pleasure. While agricultural fairs have existed for thousands of years, the State Fairs Americans know and love, unique to the United States, did not emerge until after the Civil War. Prior to that time, the majority of Americans lived and/or worked on farms. Small local fairs were the norm and the focus was entirely agricultural (with a bit of horse racing thrown in). As manufacturing increased and urban areas grew, fairs began to add attractions to entice urban Americans. Freak shows, oddities, carnival rides, carnies, sky gliders, hoochie-coochie girls and so much more were added. The State Fair was born.

Yesterday, I attended the Ohio State Fair, just as I have nearly every year of my life. Oh, how my sister and I looked forward to the Ohio State Fair when we were children! Months before the big day, we would start begging for chores and saving our pennies for THE FAIR. Every State Fair has it’s own special traditions, and one of Ohio’s is the “Butter Cow” and it’s attendant butter sculptures. In 1903, the first Butter Cow and Calf, sculpted entirely of butter, made their debut. In the ensuing years, attendant Ohio-themed butter sculptures were added. This year’s were sculpted with over 2,000 lbs of pure butter! You can read more about the Butter Cow here.20140727-142721-52041090.jpg

Agriculture still plays an important role in State Fairs, particularly in major agricultural states such as Ohio. The oldest structure on the Ohio State Fairgrounds is the Poultry and Rabbit Pavillion, erected in 1903. It is the largest poultry fair in the United States.

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In it, you will see an absolutely astounding array of chickens of all colors and sizes! I never miss it.

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Near and dear to my own heart, canning and preserving holds it’s own honored place at the Fair. With the resurgence of interest in home preserving, there’s been a steady growth in entries.

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You can see photos and learn more about the fascinating history of the Ohio State Fair here. I have, on occasion, had the pleasure of taking European visitors to the Ohio State Fair and witnessing their absolute amazement (and befuddlement). Truly, there is nothing in the world like a State Fair. I was happy to be in Ohio yesterday.
Bon Appetit!
Tess

Confitures… The Joy Of Canning French Jam

Making jam, “confiture” in French, is a beloved tradition in France. When Americans think of canning, they often picture steaming stockpots, pressure cookers and rows and rows filled jars lining the pantry shelves. I know that’s what I thought! In France, it is quite common to can just one or two jars of confiture. Fruit is selected at the peak of ripeness and cooked with cane sugar, pectin, and a little lemon juice in a copper pot. Being high in acid, jams can be canned in a water bath which is safe, easy and doesn’t require lots of complicated equipment. Here is a great water-bath canning how-to.

I often make just a few jars of jam. Last week, I made one of my favorites… Raspberry and Rosé Jam. You can find the recipe here.

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Strawberry, Mint and Black Pepper Jam is another traditional recipe I love. Mint is one of the easiest, hardiest herbs to grow, and I’m always looking for ways to use it. Don’t be put off by the black pepper. The amount is small and you actually don’t taste it; rather, it offsets some of the sweetness of the strawberries and brings out the mint. You can find the recipe here.

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Of course, fruit tastes best when fresh and in season. When I see something fabulous I want to make into jam but don’t have the time, I vacuum seal and freeze it. Canning and vacuum sealing are my best friends when it comes to eating locally and seasonally! I just made a batch of jam using frozen, vacuum sealed strawberries.

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If, like me, you’re not putting up an entire pantry full of canned goods, you don’t need an industrial strength vacuum sealer! I have owned two Food Saver brand vacuum sealers over the past 20 years. Here is my second, current one. They are affordable and the customer service is excellent. Get one and it will soon become your best “eating seasonally and locally” friend, too!

Here is one last reason to make jam. A jar of jam makes a wonderful gift. Beyond being delicious and pretty to look at, they are personal. Recipients truly appreciate the care that goes into making them.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions.
Bon Appetit!
Tess