It was three years ago this month (I don’t recall the exact date) that my friend Irina talked me into starting a blog to share my recipes. I didn’t know anything about the blogosphere at the time but she used to religiously read several hugely popular fashion blogs so she told me how popular bloggers can become and how much free stuff they can get. The idea obviously appealed to me. Having a sufficient amount of free time, decent writing skills, and a passion for cooking, I thought, “Hey, why not? I have nothing to lose.” And here I am today, three blog name and numerous layout changes later. Sure, my blog is no Smitten Kitchen, and “free stuff” never went beyond a cookbook here or a coupon there, but I’m proud of it nonetheless and I absolutely love writing it. Though it’s only been three years, it feels like forever. I don’t even remember a time when I didn’t feel the need to scribble down new recipes, or to photograph my food prior to eating it, at home or elsewhere. It’s also been wonderful meeting (well, virtually anyway) and learning from my fellow bloggers.
I would like to once again thank all my readers for showing their support. And, as always, feel free to share your ideas/suggestions in the comment box below or via email at ChezSasha@yahoo.com. Hopefully, there are many more blogging years to come
Also, you may have noticed some minor changes around here: First, I added the “Share with:” buttons, which appear above the comments section. Second, I added a Blogroll page. And third, I have finally purchased my own domain name! No more ‘dot wordpress’ for me! I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier but better late than never.
Fred couldn’t resist the heavenly smell in the kitchen and absolutely had to interrupt my photoshoot.
Phew! That was a lot of words. But wait! There’s more!
Here’s the story of why this dish, Boeuf Bourguignon (for help pronouncing it, click here), is so special to me: When I was like 17, I made a reservation for my girlfriends and me to Capsouto Freres during NYC Restaurant Week. I knew nothing about the restaurant scene then either but I knew I wanted to go to a nice French restaurant and $35 for three courses seemed like a good deal. The menu was all in French but I did recognize this dish so that’s what I ordered. When I tasted the first bite, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The beef was unbelievably tender and it melted in my mouth, and the mashed potatoes it came with, were the airiest, most buttery potatoes I had ever tasted. That was one of the most delicious and memorable meals of my life, and I thought to myself, it must take years of experience and true craftsmanship to create something this remarkable.
I’m not going to tell you that my Boeuf Bourguignon is as amazing as the one discussed above, but it is pretty damn good.
*Bacon and mushrooms are usually a part of this dish but I decided to omit them.
(Yield: 4-6 servings)
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lbs beef eye round, cubed
2 large carrots, sliced on a diagonal
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 c dry, full-bodied red wine (like Burgundy, Pinot Noir, or my favorite, Malbec)
1 14 oz can beef stock
Salt/freshly ground black pepper
Procedure: Place a Dutch oven on high heat and add olive oil. Wash beef and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Place in pot seasoned side down and season opposite side. (Sear beef in two batches! Do not overcrowd the pot!) Cook 2-3 min per side, or until well seared.
Lower heat to medium-low and add carrots and onions, with a pinch of salt. Sauté until softened, about 6 min, add garlic and cook for 1 min.
(Preheat oven to 325F at this point). Then add beef back to pot and stir in flour. Cook for 1 min. Then add tomato paste, thyme, wine, stock and a pinch more of black pepper. Stir until incorporated, raise heat and cover tightly with lid. Bring to boil. Then transfer to oven for 2 hours.
I served this with parsley mashed potatoes, but it would also work with boiled potatoes, noodles, or crusty French bread.