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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beef Stew Presentation

We all get into a rut with cooking. Sometimes it's because we are too tired to be creative and other times it is easier to fall back to what we know works. This is one reason I have never got into regular menu planning other than Friday's dinner is either fish or homemade pizza. Simply changing the presentation of foods can keep them from becoming boring.

Tomato Soup

One of my favourite recipes for home canned tomato soup was posted last year. For those who do not can this recipe can be frozen. Once you taste the soup you will never go back to store bought condensed tomato soup again. I don't pay for tomatoes so a batch costs me $1.57 to make including the electricity. The yield is 14 - 500 ml (pint) jars at a cost of 11¢ per jar so it is significantly less expensive than store bought. But even paying as high as 99¢ per lb for tomatoes it is still a good deal. Home canned tomato soup can be used as is in other dishes or add milk or water for soup.

Tired of the same old soup? Spice up the presentation with a simple garnish. Serve with an open faced sandwich to make the meal feel different. Pictured is the tomato soup garnished with dried parsley and open faced grilled cheese sandwiches. The parsley was from my garden. This meal took less than 15 minutes to prepare! When I was growing up this was the only grilled cheese sandwich I knew. They were always made with real cheddar cheese never American processed cheese slices. I make them the same way today.

Beef Stew

March continues to be March with blustery winds and a snow storm predicted for tonight. Last night was also cold, damp and blustery so I made beef stew. My stew is always a bit different because I add extra vegetables in depending on my mood so it is never really boring. What I decided to do instead of serve the stew with fresh baked bread is to serve the stew in a bread bowl.

I made the dough for basic white bread using the KitchenAid® stand mixer instead of the breadmaker. The method that is working well for me when using the stand mixer is to mix all the dry ingredients on speed 2 then mix the wet ingredients together in a large measuring cup and slowly pour into the dry ingredients while continuing to mix of speed 2. Then I knead the dough on speed 2 until smooth and elastic, remove the dough hook, cover the bowl and let the dough rise either in a warm spot or in my oven on bread proofing setting until doubled. I punch down the dough then form into desired shape, let rise again until doubled then bake.

Once the dough was finished the first rise I divided it into four equal sized pieces. Then I formed the dough into large rounds and left to rise again. I was a little concerned as the mini loaves looked a bit on the flat side but they rose nicely while baking. When the loaves were golden brown and sounded hollow, I removed them from the oven and while still hot cut a rounded portion out of the top. Then I hollowed out the bottom leaving about 1 - inch of bread forming a bowl. I was a bit worried the stew would leak through so I sat each bowl on a plate lined with baby spring mix greens. I ladled the hot stew into each bowl and served with the top. This presentation was a huge hit with my husband!

1 food lovers commented:

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Krissi! You are quite welcome. I'm glad you find my blog inspiring for your blog (Cook's Academy) and kitchen. I hope you stop by again :)