Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

We came back home on Monday night and things just seem to start to be back in order. I’m (almost!) finally unpack, the kitties are not bouncing off the wall of excitement of seeing us again and our diet is back to normal and not just made mostly of wine, cheese and chocolate anymore. While the holidays are nice, it’s also really nice to be back to normal. I am still not finished with my chocolates and all but I was looking for a simple and healthy lunch today and since I got these beautiful blood oranges at our green grocer this week, I decided to put them in a salad where they can shine.

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I know it is nothing special but I figured I might as well share as it is so pretty (and delicious). I am a big ricotta fan (well, very very big fan to be honest) and since we had some I though it would be nice in the salad to add a bit of creaminess against the orange and fennel which are both pretty sharp. If you don’t like ricotta you can probably add goat cheese or feta (or no cheese at all), I though some kind of toasted nuts (almonds? walnuts?) would also be nice but we had none at the time so that will be for the next winter salad.

Blood Orange and Fennel Salad

  • 2 blood oranges, cut in supremes
  • 1 small bulb of fennel, sliced
  • romaine lettuce
  • arugula
  • ricotta cheese

Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt, pepper

Put all in a bowl. In a glass (or small bowl) whisk the vinaigrette together. Add to the salad, toss and serve.

Beer Braised Beef

As I mentioned before, we’ve been all about stews recently. Even though November has been nice and gentle so far and the trees still mostly have their leaves, which is unusual at this time of year, we are slowly settling in our winter routine. Stews and roasts have gradually increased in frequency over the past few months and now every week-end wouldn’t be complete without one or both. So I though it would be about time I share another meat stew recipe with you here too since it seems like I tend to favor more the vegetarian options here which is not that representative of our table. We made this beer braised beef last Saturday and it was really good.

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It was inspired by a few recipes, most of which called for short ribs. Since we couldn’t find any short ribs that fit what we were looking for (i.e. not too fatty and for about 4 portions not 10) we decided to get a beef tenderloin instead which worked beautifully and was also a cheaper cut. Once cooked, the meat was extra tender and very easy to shred in pieces. We used this hoppy and unfiltered beer, which has become one of my favorite fall beers really, and while any beer would be nice, a good darker one is probably better to give the whole thing more spice and depth of flavor. We served it with parpadelle and pecorino cheese which worked great but another probably quite fabulous option would be polenta although that would definitely kick the richness factor up a few notches.

In other news, I was featured in The Hindu newspaper last week-end which both amazes me and surprised me a little and for which I am very grateful. I am glad you like the blog, the recipes and that I am perplexing you a little. Perplexing people is always good right? In any case, welcome new friends, I’m happy you’re here!

Beer Braised Beef

4 portions

  • 1 beef tenderloin, cut in large chunks
  • 3-4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup dark beer
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can tomatoes, crushed
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt, pepper
  • 4 portions parpadelle pasta, cooked
  • Pecorino (or parmasan) cheese, to serve

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil and the butter on medium heat. Roll the beef chunks in the flour to cover them and dust off any excess. When the oil and butter are hot, add the beef and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes a side. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes more until they are translucent. Add the beer and with a wooden spoon, scrape off any bits that stuck to the bottom of the dutch oven. Add the remaining ingredient and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook with the lid open slightly, for 1 hour until the sauce is thick. Remove the beef to a plate, shred in pieces with two forks and return to the sauce. Serve on cooked parpadelle pasta with a little pecorino cheese.

Navy Beans and Kale Stew

This time of year really has a special feel to it, a renewal, new start sort of thing. I haven’t been in school for a few years now but I still feel the same excitement and sense of urgency to get things done. Or that might just be me this week running behind everything after spending a the long relaxing week-end in Montréal. All this busyness makes me just really want to sit on the couch and hang out in a blanket and warm socks while eating all sorts of warming things. And this is exactly what I finally did last night. We took the evening off, sort of, and we made this simple stew for dinner which made the cool rainy evening that more cozy.

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It is quite straightfoward to make, if you don’t have dry navy beans you can replace them by canned beans but reduce the cooking time. You can add some herbs to it (especially if you decide to skip the pancetta) but I like the super simpleness of it with most of it’s flavor coming from the pancetta. We had quite salty pancetta so I didn’t add any salt but feel free to add some if yours is not too salty (but check before!). You can serve it with some pepper flakes and a bit of parmasan for a little bite.

Navy Beans and Kale Stew

  • 150g pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 celeri stick, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cup navy beans, soak overnight or for a few hours
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of kale, cut in large pieces

In a large pot, heat the olive oil (medium-high heat). Add the pancetta an cook for a few minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celeri, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beans and the stock, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 1 hour, until your beans are cooked. Add the kale and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with pepper flakes and/or a bit of parmesan!