My kitchen is one of my happy places. I like to cook. I like to eat. I like to read cookbooks and food blogs and try new recipes. And once in awhile I strike what I think of as recipe gold, a dish worthy of adding to our regular repertoire, serving to guests and sharing with friends.
You may or may not follow Jenny Steffens Hobick at Everyday Occasions. She writes a fun, informative blog, often but not always about food, and has a wonderful online shop that stocks simple, quality homemaking goods like classic white serving pieces and cooking gear. I am especially smitten with her recipes. As a former caterer, Jenny is very good at easy and elegant, as well as assembling recipes for a complete menu.
Earlier this winter she shared her recipe for Slow Simmered Beef Ragu. I have now made this three times! The first time was just for us, testing it for an upcoming dinner party. It was a success the first time and at that dinner party, so I served it to company again last weekend. It’s delicious, hearty, comfort food (especially appropriate for this fickle winter!) and everyone loved it. This includes my friend’s Italian-born mother-in-law, a real honor.
This beef ragu is very much like a delicious dish we enjoyed at a winery in Tuscany last year. Even better, it’s easily made early in the day or a day ahead. In my book this makes it perfect for dinner guests.
I made it with short ribs, though the recipe gives an option for stew meat. And I have served it with fresh pasta from the grocery store, rather than making my own as Jenny does. It starts with a fair amount of chopping:
But look what you get for your efforts! Yum! Grab her recipe and try it.
My favorite new gadget
I try to limit the number of gadgets I add to my cooking gear. They take up space and I find they are often just plain unnecessary. However, a recent acquisition is too fun not to share.
My daughter-in-law works for a small chain of charming, upscale restaurants. Jen does a bit of everything: payroll, wine taster, employee trainer, and much more. And, thanks to her familiarity with the food industry and her appreciation of my love of cooking and entertaining, she buys the best kitchen gifts ever.
My gift this Christmas was this mini dessert whip. So much fresher than cream in a can and easier than using the Kitchen Aid to whip cream. With this you add a cup of cream, a little powdered sugar and vanilla, screw down the mini gas canister and presto, change-o you have cream! Okay, there are a few tricks, the first being careful where you aim. (Yes, I sprayed myself with cream in setting up this photo.)
But, if you come to my house for dinner this spring, expect dessert to include whipped cream!
And while we’re talking about kitchens…
I think kitchens deserve the same design respect as the rest of the house. Artwork. Rugs. Accessories. These recent pins illustrate my point (along with my willingness to dive deep into Pinterest for eye candy!). I love how these traditional pieces — gold frames and all — glam up these tidy, bright white spaces:
And has anyone else seen this gorgeous blue and white kitchen with the traditional red runner:
And then there is this hood mantle with the silver and transferware:
And this kitchen fireplace mantel from Patina Farm:
I’m not sure how or if any of this fuels my creativity, but it does make me think it may be time to freshen things up for spring. In the meantime, what’s cooking in your kitchen these days?
See you next time!