Monday, October 08, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner, French Recipes, Anniversary and The Great Big Bumble Bee

Happy Thanksgiving To All Who Celebrate!
Yesterday was the best day for us to have a dinner and it was also our 7th anniversary. Not wedding, but when we met. I got a beautiful card and this gorgeous rose :)

Set the table ......

Seared the beef in olive oil.....

Gathered up the vegetables....

Went out back and picked the herbs I needed for the Herbes de Provence seasoning...

Plopped it all together with the meat and liquids into the crock pot......

Baked two tortes because I burnt the first one. Wasted 5 eggs and mounds of chocolate!

The potatoes were roasted last....

But the end results turned out much better than I`d expected considering this was a first time experiment. Yes, I actually used family members as guinea pigs :) The meat practically fell apart and the sauce was delicious....

This Chocolate Torte was the richest and most decadent desert I think I`ve ever had. Excellent recipe, thanks to the Domestic Goddess and some homemade raspberry puree and warm fudge sauce ( recipes all below)...

This was the biggest, fattest bumble bee I have ever seen, sipping from the butterfly bush. Just had to get some pictures of him, even though you may not be able to see how big he was. The pictures are all clickable....

Now for the recipes....

Raspberry Purée

8 oz (225 g) fresh raspberries
2 level tablespoons golden caster sugar ( or corn syrup or I used just plain white sugar.)

Place the raspberries for the purée in a bowl, sprinkle them with the sugar and leave for 30 minutes. After that, purée them in a processor and pass through a nylon sieve to remove the seeds, then place in a serving bowl, cover and chill till needed.

Warm Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch salt

6 squares unsweetened chocolate

Place the cream, chocolate and butter in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the cream just comes to a low boil. Add both sugars and stir for a few minutes until they are dissolved.
Reduce the heat. Add the salt and stir briskly with a small wire whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat.
**** It seemed coarse and odd looking to me and the butter or something separated from the rest so I just drained it off and added another half cup of cream and it became nice and smooth. Added just a pinch more sugar too.

Serve immediately or pour into a straight-sided glass jar to cover and store in the refrigerator. To reheat slowly, spoon the sauce into the top of a double boiler over hot water, or in a heavy saucepan over the lowest heat.

Decadent Chocolate Torte from the Domestic Goddess

This torte, made with just a hint of coffee liqueur goes great with coffee (obviously), tea or even a nice glass of red wine. It has a lovely robust flavour that melts in your mouth and leaves a sly smile on your lips.


¾ Cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ½" chunks
¾ Cup unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 ½ teaspoons coffee liqueur
¾ Cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
¼ cup cake flour, sifted
1 tablespoon cocoa
5 large eggs at room temperature, separated


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9" cake or springform pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over low heat. Stir until smooth and then set aside and allow to cool slightly.

3. Sift together flour and cocoa. Using a stand mixer, beat egg yolks with all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the coffee liqueur, until smooth and pale. With the mixer running add the melted chocolate and mix to combine, then fold in the flour mixture.

3. In a second bowl, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment on medium-high until they start to foam. Add the remaining sugar and pinch of salt and continue to beat until the whites form soft peaks but still look wet. With a large rubber spatula fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack - cake will fall! Loosen cake from sides of pan and remove to serving platter. Serve with a sprinkling of Maldon salt, whipped cream or caramel sauce.
*****or raspberry puree and warm fudge sauce :) Also watch carefully not to burn like I did!

Beef Provencale From Food Network Kitchens Making it Easy, Meredith, 2004

1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice ( I used garden tomatoes)
1/4 cup cognac or brandy ( I used 1/2 cup of dry sherry)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (recipe below)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces ( I used almost full carrots with tops partially left on)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced ( I used 21 pearl onions)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the oil to the skillet and heat just until beginning to smoke. Brown the meat all over and sear the roast, turning as each side turns a deep mahogany, about 10 minutes. While the meat browns, put the flour into a medium bowl and whisk with about 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth until smooth.
Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; stir in their juices, 3 tablespoons of the cognac, herbes de Provence, and the 2 teaspoons salt.

Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth to the skillet; let it bubble for a minute and then stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour over the meat, then scatter the garlic, carrots, fennel, and onion over and around the meat. Pour the flour mixture over. Cover the cooker, set it on HIGH, and cook for 4 hours. Set the cooker on LOW and cook until the meat is very tender, up to 2 hours more (for a total of 6 hours). Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Skim any excess fat off the top of the sauce in the cooker.

Herbes de Provence
By Brenda Hyde

Herbes de Provence is a blend of herbs native to the Provence region in southern France where the fresh herbs are gathered from the mountain sides to use in traditional dishes. Rosemary, thyme and bay leaf are the base for the blend-without these it is not herbes de Provence. From there basil, lavender and fennel are added. In France, lavender is only added in very small amounts and sometimes excluded, which was a surprise to me. Lavender is so much associated with this region in France that it is assumed that it is the main ingredient, but it's actually optional.
Here is a very basic blend that can be mixed, although each cooks adds her or his own touch to the blend which changes it slightly.

Dry herb Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon summer savory
1 tablespoon thyme
1 crushed bay leaf
1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon fennel

Mix together and keep in a covered container.

Mini Potatoes Roasted in Garlic and Olive Oil
by me :)

24 mini potatoes

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Rosemary and Basil

Mix in a lidded bowl, the herbs and spices in the oil and plop in the potatoes. Shake container so that each potatoe is covered all up with oil and place in a roasting pan, pouring any remaining oil over the potatoes and leaving the lid off.

Bake at 350 until tender and crispy, stirring them up once inwhile so that more then one side gets browned.


farmingfriends said...

Looks delicious. Hope you had a good time.
Sara from farmingfriends

tash said...

That meal looks heavenly - congratulations on your anniversary. My husband and I always celebrate the day we met too, because it's important to us as well.

Love the bee photo, is it a carder bee? They can be pretty large, perhaps it was a queen as they are coming out at this time of year!

Have a lovely week.

LADY LUXIE said...

Hoooow sweeet!! Everything looks tasty and warm and oooh' I hope I can follow the cooking instructions to the letter:>

Thank you for sharing.

PG said...

These lovely foody posts you do always make me realise how hungry I am! Happy thanksgiving - and anniversary. :)

Mary said...

food looked delicious hope you all had a great time

Tricia said...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TEA!!! I loved your photos of food....drool. I def want to make that beef dish, ah...yum!
I love the pics of your home, so warm and cosy and pretty!!

Kahshe Cottager said...

What a feast your prepared! I almost got a toothache just looking at the torte! Chocolate heaven!

Happy Thanksgiving Tea!

Alice said...

A beautiful meal and pretty tablesetting. I love your cow butter dish!

Rowan said...

Great recipes - I put on about 10 pounds just reading them:)

Sandy said...

This must have been delicious. Our thanksgiving is still ahead of us and I sure hope someone else cooks. Great photos and recipes you put up. I might have to pass these on to the one who will cook.


Sandy said...

This must have been delicious. Our thanksgiving is still ahead of us and I sure hope someone else cooks. Great photos and recipes you put up. I might have to pass these on to the one who will cook.


Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Drool is happening! Yummy! Happy First Meeting Anniversary to you both!!

Christine of Epiphany said...

Oh, that sounds soooo good! It got very chilly here, very suddenly, and this recipe will be perfect to eat in this weather!

By the way, love the massive bee photos! Thanks for sharing!
And how romantic your anniversary seems to have been! Congrats!

ally said...

Oh boy that all looks sooooo good! I think I will start with the cake! :-)

Zoey said...

Your meal looks simply delish.
But what really caught my eye is your vintage china. I've rarely met a china pattern I didn't like! :) Is it by any chance Homer Laughlin,Tudor Rose? It's beautiful!

Kari said...

OH wow. Now THAT looked like a perfect meal! I'm so impressed. (And I'm hanging my head in shame because I know I could never accomplish that. Ever.)My best friend was just telling me yesterday that she was searching for great recipes for me. When I laughed, she assured me that she knew a "great recipe" for me had to have only about 3 ingredients and be able to practically cook itself. lol
Happy Belated Thanksgiving and anniversary!!

Tea Time and Roses said...

Thank you so much for your visit and very sweet comment to my blog... Everything looks so delicious here. Lots of delicious recipes, and beautiful photos! :o) I sure hope you drop in for another visit soon, and I must come back and see what yummy recipes you will have. You have a beautiful weekend...



Joy said...

mmmmm it all looks very delicous, happy thanksgiving!

carolyn said...

Congratulations on your anniversary and a belated happy thanksgiving.

Gina E. said...

Happy Anniversary and Happy Thanksgiving! Your menu looks sooooooooooooooooo yummy...I'll be on the next plane!

Gledwood said...

I love bumblebees!

& will save those recipes for later... yumyumyum you makin' me hungry...

elena jane said...

that looks so tasty...esp the potatoes...i have never been able to get roasted potatoes to taste like they did/do in england....i think it's the oil.....