28 December 2017

Salisbury Steak - Classic American Comfort Food

Salisbury Steak - An American Comfort Food Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Salisbury Steak recently popped into my head on a day that was just calling out for good old-fashioned comfort food. Nothing fancy, expensive or complicated; just good and satisfying.

Salisbury Steak was the invention of a 19th-century American physician. A great proponent of the health benefits of beef, Dr James Henry Salisbury recommended that his “steak” be eaten three times a day. Though three times a day is a bit much for me, I do enjoy Salisbury Steak occasionally.

Of course, if the only version you’ve ever had is the TV dinner (with painted-on "grill marks") or school lunch sort, you’re probably gagging right now. The elementary school I went to up to age 9 did quite a good job of most things on their menu, but the one after that had such bad food I nearly cried on my first day there.

Anything with ground beef in it was especially bad. It must have been the absolute lowest grade of beef allowed to be served to humans. I quickly learned to chew carefully so as not to break a tooth biting down on a piece of bone. Needless to say, more often than not I brought my lunch on Salisbury Steak days.

I always use organic grass-fed ground beef. Besides all its other benefits, it just tastes better. Read about the blind tasting I conducted in my Big Bad Burger Throwdown post.

Mr Delightful likes my Salisbury Steak so much he insisted on opening a rather decent bottle of pinot noir to go with it! It was a good pairing.

And can anything be called comfort food without my favorite accompaniment, Perfect Mashed Potatoes? What do you like to make on those days when only classic comfort food will do?

Salisbury Steak - An American Comfort Food Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com



Salisbury Steak


(Makes 5 servings)

The Steaks

1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) lean ground beef (organic and grass-fed, if possible)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

The Gravy

1 small (4 ounces/113 grams) yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound (8 ounces/227 grams) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups lower sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 In medium bowl, mix together ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, dry mustard, salt, pepper, marjoram and Worcestershire sauce. Using 2/3-cup measuring cup, divide mixture into 5 equal portions and shape into oval patties about 5 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

2 Heat (I mean really heat!) a large skillet*, add butter and oil, and brown the steaks well (I mean really well!) over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a plate and pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Do not clean it! Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping up the tasty brown bits in the pan, until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

* I use this All-Clad 6-Quart Saute Pan (12-inch, 2.75 inches deep, straight sides). Being stainless steel with no nonstick coating, you can get it really hot to put a brown crust on things. I can't imagine that my gravy would have turned out so beautifully brown if the steaks hadn't been browned really well, leaving fabulous fond in the pan. And its straight sides mean a large surface area for cooking.

3 Add beef broth, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to skillet. Mix well, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. When sauce begins to bubble and thicken, add steaks back to pan. Cover loosely and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to heat through. When 2 or 3 minutes remain, taste and adjust seasoning.

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21 December 2017

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri-Rave Rémoulade - A French Classic

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri Rémoulade - the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear / www.delightfulrepast.com

Celery Root Remoulade, Céleri-Rave Rémoulade, is the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear. When I first posted about it more than six years ago, one commenter called it "an adventurous coleslaw," but it's much more sophisticated than that!

Could this refreshing winter salad be the "something different" on your menu this month?

Celery root, also called celeriac, is a very unattractive fall and winter root vegetable that can be prepared many ways. If you haven't tried it, it's probably because you've been put off by its appearance.

It is perhaps the ugliest vegetable you'll ever see, sort of like a hairy turnip with tumors. After all the ugliness is trimmed away, you're left with about three-quarters, even two-thirds, the weight you started with.

You can cook celery root, but this raw salad that is a French bistro classic is my favorite. Celery root remoulade is something I first made years ago after seeing Julia Child* make it on television.

Of course, I made up my own recipe to suit myself; and here it is. It can be tricky to follow a recipe when celery roots come in such a wide range of sizes. Just adjust the dressing amounts to the weight of the celery root.

To make enough to serve two people, look for one that is about 3/4 pound. After all the strange bits are trimmed away, it will probably be down to 1/2 pound, just right for two people.

If you've been passing over celery root just because of its appearance, as I did for so long (I feel so shallow!), quickly pop one or two in a bag next shopping trip. After you taste this, you might even decide that celery roots, like baby hippos, are so ugly they're cute!

PS I just learned that ThermoWorks Electronic Gift Certificates are now available and are the easiest and fastest way to give the gift of ThermoWorks (the famous Thermapen and all kinds of thermometers and timers).

Celery Root Remoulade - Céleri Rémoulade - the French classic that makes a silk purse out of a sow's ear / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Celery Root Remoulade


(Serves 2)

3/4 pound (12 ounces/340 grams) celery root
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish or finely minced sweet pickle
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Garnish: minced fresh parsley or julienned green apple

1 Cut off the leaves and root end, then scrub. Trim, peel and halve lengthwise the celery root. Cut each half lengthwise into 2 or more pieces, whatever will fit into the feed tube of your food processor. With shredding disk in place, coarsely shred the celery root. In 1-quart bowl, toss the shredded celery root with salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cover and set aside to soften for 30 to 60 minutes.


Note: Though the shreds should be no bigger than a matchstick, they should not be too fine. Coarsely shredded.

2 In small bowl, stir together 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and remaining ingredients. Stir the dressing into the celery root and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.


Note: Though some people say it's not good the next day, I haven't found that to be the case.

3 Spoon each serving into a small bowl or on a small leaf of butter lettuce on a plate. Garnish.

* See Vegetable Quiche post for one of my Julia Child stories. And, speaking of Julia, she favored white pepper and would not have liked the black specks of pepper in my remoulade! But I love my coarsely ground black pepper and put it in and on everything.


Updated and edited from my archives, Celery Root Remoulade.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop!

14 December 2017

Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic

Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Earl Grey Eggnog? Usually I'm a purist when it comes to eggnog (refuse to even try additions like pumpkin or chocolate), but this week I thought I'd shake things up a bit and combine two of my favorite beverages, tea and eggnog.

I’m a firm believer that people who say they don’t like eggnog have just never had good eggnog. Eggnog without eggs doesn’t count (unless you’re vegan or allergic to eggs, of course).

And eggnog with raw eggs just isn’t happening around here. Besides the concerns about salmonella, there is the fact that the taste and texture aren’t quite as good (IMHO) as in an eggnog made with a cooked base.


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


If you’re not interested in messing with the classics, try my usual Classic Eggnog. But I was feeling wild and crazy this week and thought I’d throw one of my favorite teas into the pot and see what happened.

With just 1 teaspoon of sugar per 1/2-cup serving, it has far less sugar than is typical; but you won't miss it, I promise. And I use just enough brandy for great flavor, about 1/2 teaspoon per 1/2-cup serving; but you can leave it out altogether if you like.

Are you an eggnog fan? If not, maybe this is the year to try it my way! Or at least try Eggnog Ice Cream!


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Earl Grey Eggnog


(Makes about 2 quarts, sixteen 1/2-cup servings)

2 3/8 cups (19 fluid ounces/562 ml) hot milk
2 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey tea or 6 Earl Grey tea bags
6 large egg yolks (Make a batch of meringues with the whites!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) cold milk
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/45 ml) to 1/2 cup or more brandy or rum, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg plus more for garnish
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 At least 9, or up to 24, hours before serving time: In 1-quart saucepan, stir the tea into the hot milk, cover and steep for 10 minutes; strain the tea. In bottom pan of double boiler, heat an inch of water to a gentle simmer. In top pan of double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt until well blended.

2 Gradually whisk in the tea-infused warm milk and cook over hot but not boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken slightly and registers between 160F/71C and 170F/76C (but do not boil) on an instant-read thermometer.* Just pull a tall stool up to the stove like I do 'cause it's gonna take a while, perhaps 10 minutes.

* I have the Thermapen Mk4 now, but I used to have the Classic Super-Fast Thermapen and it’s fabulous as well. You don’t want the eggs to curdle on you while you’re messing about with a slow thermometer!


Earl Grey Eggnog - A Delightful Twist on the Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

3 Stir in the cold milk. Strain custard into a 2-quart bowl; stir in brandy* or rum, vanilla and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours.

* Actually, you could leave out the alcohol and let each person add his own favorite tipple or have it alcohol-free. I just use 3 tablespoons of brandy as a flavoring.

4 To serve: Whip cream just until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into custard. Pour eggnog into chilled 2- or 2.5-quart punch bowl or pitcher; sprinkle with nutmeg.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop!

07 December 2017

Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread

Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Delightful Repast is all about comfort food. And Cretons (pronounced kreh-tohn) – French Canadian Meat Spread – is one of the classic Quebecois comfort foods my husband grew up with.

As with Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie, Mr Delightful hadn't had this dish since his Mémé died many years ago. I decided to give it a try.

Knowing Mr Delightful’s “texture issues” (he won’t touch pâté, hummus, guacamole, dips of any kind), I couldn’t quite believe that he ate and enjoyed cretons in his youth!

With that in mind, I decided to make just a small batch. But I needn’t have worried. It was a hit! Especially on my toasted Homemade Sourdough Sandwich Bread


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Though it is traditionally spread on toast and served for breakfast, we had it for lunch, since we nearly always have oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. Mustard and gherkins (cornichons would be good) are the traditional go-withs.

I wanted to take an “in progress” cooking photo, but cretons really isn’t that photogenic while it’s cooking. But you can see in the photos of the finished product that I left it just a bit chunky.

I thought of giving it a few licks with the immersion blender, which you can do if you want a smoother spread, but what with Mr Delightful’s aforementioned issues I thought I better leave it alone.

Have you ever made, or had, cretons? For breakfast, or as an hors d’oeuvre?


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread - A Centuries-Old Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cretons - French Canadian Meat Spread


(Makes three 3/4-cup pots)

1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) pastured ground pork
1 small (4 ounces/113 grams) yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 packed cup soft breadcrumbs

1 In 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except the breadcrumbs. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a large fork until the meat is broken up into crumbles and not clumping together.

2 Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.* Check it every half hour or so to make sure there is enough liquid, adding a little water if necessary. There was no need for me to add liquid as there was plenty of fat in the ground pork.

* I just have to show you my new ThermoWorks Christopher Kimball Signature Timer. I've had it since October, and I think it's the best purchase I've made all year! Sleek and unbulky but with bigger buttons, and it's two timers in one. Great gift idea, too. I want to buy one for everyone!


ThermoWorks Christopher Kimball Signature Timer - sleek and unbulky but with good-sized keys, times two things at once / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes or so. Pack into three 3/4-cup ramekins or in glass jars. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving; keeps in refrigerator for several days. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate accounts at ThermoWorks and Amazon. If you purchase something through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop!

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