These mid-autumn days welcome dishes that begin to tease the palate for the great gatherings on the horizon. Featured is a treasure from the immortal Julia Child who brought joy to our dinner table and showed us that cooking also provided some entertaining television shows. While we still abide by health and safety measures, our emotional health benefits from intoxicating tastes, flavors and aromas. The wines lean toward more hearty dishes and are great on their own.
Fresh Fall Salad
2/3 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Place salad greens in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, mustard, salt and remaining vinegar and sugar; drizzle over greens and toss to coat. Arrange the greens, pear slices and pecans on six salad plates. Sprinkle with cheeseIn a large heavy skillet, cook the pecans, 2 tablespoons vinegar, cayenne and cinnamon over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook and stir for 2-4 minutes or until sugar is melted. Spread on foil to cool.
12 fresh oysters on the half shell
? cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup minced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup finely chopped white mushrooms
¼ cup finely chopped fresh shrimp
2 tablespoons white wine
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chicken broth
3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
Garnish: sliced green onion, lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 400°.
In an 13×9-inch baking dish, spread a ¾-inch layer of rock salt. Arrange oysters on top of rock salt.
In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, shrimp, wine, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender and shrimp are pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, and stir to combine. Add milk; cook until creamy and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and slowly add egg yolk, stirring constantly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon shrimp mixture onto each oyster, and top with bread crumb mixture.
Bake until tops are lightly browned,
16 to 18 minutes. Garnish with green
onion and lemon, if desired. Serve immediately.
Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces (170g) bacon, roughly chopped
3 pounds (1 1/2 kg) beef brisket, trimmed of fat (chuck steak or stewing beef) cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large carrot sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
12 small pearl onions (optional)
3 cups red wine like Merlot, Pinot Noir, or a Chianti — for a milder sauce, use only 2 cups of wine
2-3 cups beef stock (if using 2 cups of wine, use 3 cups beef stock)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 beef bullion cube, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (divided)
2 bay leaves
1 pound fresh small white or brown mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons butter
TRADITIONAL OVEN METHOD:
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy based pot. Sauté the bacon over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large dish and set aside.
Pat dry beef with paper towel; sear in batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Remove to the dish with the bacon.
In the remaining oil/bacon fat, sauté the carrots and diced onions until softened, (about 3 minutes), then add 4 cloves minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Drain excess fat (leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan) and return the bacon and beef back into the pot; season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown.
Add the pearl onions, wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Then add the tomato paste, bullion and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
Cover, transfer to lower part of the oven and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is fall apart tender (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, prepare your mushrooms:
Heat the butter in a medium-sized skillet/pan over heat. When the foam subsides, add the remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, while shaking the pan occasionally to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Once they are browned, set aside.
Place a colander over a large pot (I do this in my clean kitchen sink). Remove the casserole from the oven and carefully empty its contents into the colander (you want to collect the sauce only). Discard the herbs
Return the beef mixture back into the dutch oven or pot. Add the mushrooms over the meat.
Remove any fat off the sauce( if any) and simmer for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon lightly.
If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to the right consistency.
Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if desired. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
If you are serving immediately, simmer the beef bourguignon for 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.
Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
Sir Verde Wine Suggestion: a noble red wine, 2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel. A white wine for fall dining, 2018 Domaine de Bellene Savigny-Lae-Beaune Blanc, has few equals.
Stay Safe. Eat and Drink Well. Love One Another.