Showing posts with label The Beef Chronicles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Beef Chronicles. Show all posts

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Beef Chronicles: Chocolate Chip Chili

Huh? What are these Beef Chronicles? See the bottom of the post for links, recipes and the full story on why we bought a cow.

You're just going to have to trust me on this one. I know it sounds freaky, and I had my serious doubts, but hear me out.

So there's Nigella Lawson, who some people love and some people love to hate. Personally, I both adore and admire her and when she says "Chocolate-Chip Chili" I say "Giddiyup".

There is so much more to this complex chili than just chocolate chips. In fact, they play such a small role in this feature, don't ask me why they earned a spot in the title instead of just credits; however, the words 'chocolate' and 'chili' in the same sentence got your attention, admit it!

Big bold flavors in Nigella's chili include chorizo, cumin and cinnamon--not sure what she was thinking with the alliteration (yes there is even cardamom & chilies) but it works. It really works.


This hearty one-pot wonder comes together looking like a mess, but after 4-5 hours in a slow oven, and overnight chill in the fridge, it collects itself and the final result is remarkably presentable!

In short. We loved it.

This recipe offers everything we love about chili, but is a welcoming change from the usual Super Bowl sludge. It has plenty of textures, thanks to the beef cubes used instead of ground beef, and is completely satisfying and the most substantial way.
And for the chocolate-chips? They added another dimension of flavor and complement the chilies superbly.

If you are a fan of batch cooking, this chili freezes beautifully and I might even go as far as to say it improves with age.


Chocolate Chip Chili

In keeping with the "C" theme, I topped my chili with cilantro. Avocado is great too, as are tortilla chips, and sour cream is essential.

550g chorizo sausages (not the salami sort), to give 10 sausages or 5 linked pairs
1.5kg boneless shin of beef, cut into 1.5cm cubes
500g onions (about 3), peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 fresh long red chili, de-seeded ( I used less, you know, for the kiddo's sake)
4 x 15ml tablespoons vegetable oil
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies
4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato purée
4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato ketchup
4 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained
3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
50g dark chocolate chips
250ml water (swilled out in one of the chopped tomato cans)


Preheat the oven to 150C/300F

Finely chop, or process the onion, garlic and chili.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan (with lid) or flameproof casserole and fry the onion, garlic and chili until soft, on low for about 10 minutes, then add the cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and dried chillies.

Stir the onion-y spiced mixture together and then add the chorizo sliced into 1/4"(5mm) coins, letting them ooze their paprika-orange oil.

Drop in the cubes of beef, turning them in the pan with the chorizo and onion mix to brown the meat.

Stir in the tomato purée, ketchup, drained kidney beans and chopped tomatoes. Add the water and bring the chili to a boil.

Once it's started bubbling, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the chili and give it a good stir. Put on a lid and transfer to the oven.

Cook at this low heat for 3 hours. Stirring occasionally. Chili will taste mighty firey, but the heat will mellow out overnight.

Once cooked it is best left overnight to improve the flavour. Enjoy!


More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow

An Introduction

Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter

Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone

Cumin-Scented Kebabs

Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda

Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée

Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries

Ossobuco in Bianco

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beef Chronicles: Ossobuco in Bianco


January is always dubbed The Budget Month, as people tighten their belts after weeks of holiday extravagance, and turn to pantry staples for their dinners. I'm all for that, believing there is a time and a season for everything, so I don't expect anyone to rush out and purchase a brown paper package of fresh veal shanks upon reading this recipe.

But you should. Oh, trust me, it would be the best thing you've done all year.

Now before I lead you to think that we have thrown frugality to the winds at Under the High Chair, let me assure you, we are eating basic home cooking along with the rest of you this month. This particular Ossobuco feast was enjoyed back in December; in fact, it rather kicked off a slew of dinner parties that lasted for two weeks straight and only came to a screeching halt as we said adieu to 2009.

What a shame.

It may or may not surprise you that I have never prepared ossobuco before, well from scratch, anyway. Sure I served about 87 plates of it during my One Night With Rocco (DiSpirito), but that was merely a heat n' shave truffles n' serve kind of deal, as he flew the ossobuco in from NYC already cooked (no comment).

Ever since we purchased a calf (and the Beef Chronicles were born), I've had the lovely veal shanks in my freezer, just waiting to fulfill their destiny and give me a chance to make ossobuco.
Of course, rebellious me didn't want to go the traditional route with tomatoes & red wine, but instead chose a recipe from my beloved River Cafe Cookbook for a 'White' ossobuco that uses anchovies, white wine and celery instead.

We loved every morsel. I served it with the traditional Risotto Milanese (that had been perfumed with fresh-bought saffron) and we were in carnivore heaven.

Sure, the bank account is a lot less padded after the holidays, but you may just want to start a change jar labeled 'Ossobuco Fund'. At least, that's the best idea I've got. There's no more shank in my freezer and I DO have to try the traditional way now, right?


Ossobuco in Bianco

From the River Cafe Cook Book
Serves 6

Ingredients:
8 or more veal or beef ossobuco bones, at least 2 inches across
75g plain flour
salt and fresh ground pepper
120g butter
2 tbs of olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 celery sticks, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
9 salted anchovies
½ bottle dry white wine


Gremolata
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Preparation
Preheat oven to 300F

Dust each piece of ossoebuco meat with flour and salt and pepper.
In a large, heavy bottomed casserole dish or pot (I used a Dutch oven) melt half the butter and the oil and seal the ossobuco on each side.

Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.Pour the fat away for the pot, then add remaining butter and gently fry the celery and onion until they are soft but not too brown.

Add garlic and anchovies to the onion mixture and mash them together for a minute or 2 with a fork. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil and reduce a bit.
Carefully put the ossobuco back in the big pot, arranging the shanks to that they make on layer in the bottom of the pot. Scoop some of the celery/onion mixture on their tops.

Cut a circle out of parchment paper the size of the pot and cover ossobuco with it. Cover pot with lid and place in oven

Cook for at least 2 - 2.1/2 hours. Liquid will reduce and veal will become quite tender.


Mean while, prepare gremolata by stirring together the finely chopped garlic, lemon zest and chopped parsley.
Carefully transfer ossobuco to a serving platter and sprinkle with gremolata.
Serve with Risotto Milanese.


More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow

An Introduction

Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter

Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone

Cumin-Scented Kebabs

Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda

Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée

Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries


Now that we are in our new home, every meal feels like a celebration: the dreaded move is over, Christmas is coming and we feel very blessed with where we find ourselves. We have so much to be thankful for! Practically speaking, I'm grateful we have an actual dining room now. No longer do I have to share my kitchen with the family table, the new workspace is all mine. We can now enjoy meals in a dining room where the view out the patio doors shows snow falling on our Narnia-like forest.

Said forest has already been the source of much adventure for the boys. The very first morning after the move, Noah was out slaying invisible dragons amidst the trees with his sword and shortly after, we were watching ducks from the nearby river bank. Growing up rurally myself, nothing gives me greater joy than to nurture that love of nature in my own children.


With such a regal view from where we are seated for dinner and elbow room around the table for a change, it's no wonder there is cause for celebration every time we break bread.This 'Steak au Poivre' or Pepper Steak, is the perfect fare for such occasions.

Perhaps Pepper Steak feels special because it is reminiscent of a restaurant dish. I've spotted it on menus countless times, yet this was my first attempt to recreate it at home. Thanks to the Beef Chronicles and the various cuts of steak in my freezer, I challenged myself to try something new and thanks to the clear (if not a tad wry) directions from Anthony Bourdain, the dish was a hit.

The sauce for Steak au Poivre is killer, there is no messing around with peppercorns and make no mistake - it's HOT. Fortunately I paired the steak with some oven roasted sweet potato fries, and their sweetness was the perfect complement to the heat.

You may want to hold the sauce for the kiddos and don' be surprised if they request ketchup with their sweet potato fries, they are kids after all.



Anthony Bourdain's Steak au Poivre


Recipe (and all extra comments) courtesy of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, Bloomsbury

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
4 8-ounce steaks of your choice. (I, Aimee, used flank steak)
2 ounces olive oil
2 ounces freshly cracked peppercorns (crushed but not ground to powder!)

4 ounces sweet butter

1 ounce good Cognac

4 ounces strong, dark veal stock (something to keep in your freezer)

Salt and pepper


EQUIPMENT
Heavy skillet, Kitchen tongs, Wooden spoon, Serving platter.

DIRECTIONS FOR STEAK


1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Moisten the meat very slightly with oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed peppercorns to thoroughly coat. Don't be shy with the pepper.


2. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 ounces, which is half of the butter. Place the steaks in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and so on. Remove from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest. Have I told you yet to always rest your meat after cooking? I've told you now.

DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE

1. Return the skillet to the stovetop and carefully stir in the Cognac. As much fun as it is to create a column of flame as you add flammable material to an incredibly hot pan, it's not really desirable or necessary — especially in a home kitchen. Unless you're a pyromaniac, I recommend carefully adding the Cognac to the still-hot pan off the flame, stirring and scraping with the wooden spoon to get every scrap, every peppercorn, every rumor of flavor clinging to the bottom of the pan.


2. Now place the pan on the flame again and cook it down a bit, by about half. Stir in the veal stock and reduce over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with French fries or sautéed potatoes.
Note on searing: With any recipe that calls for searing meat and then using the pan to make a sauce, be careful to avoid blackening the pan; your sauce will taste burnt. Avoid by adjusting the heat to, say, medium high, so it will still sear the meat but not scorch the pan juices. But stoves and pans vary, so pay attention.



Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Home Fries


Adapted from"Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics"

Serves 2


2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the maple syrup, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.


More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow

An Introduction

Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter

Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone

Cumin-Scented Kebabs

Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda

Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée



If you've been reading for a while, by now you know that my boys are picky eaters. Yep, they rank up there right alongside the most turned-up of noses. Getting them to eat their greens can be a challenge and so when a vegetable dish makes it past the ever-dubious first glance and that cautious initial bite, it is well worth a mention here. Hence this veggie-laden Shepherd's Pie.

The traditional - and beloved by all children - topping of mashed potato I replaced with a fluffy cauliflower puree and no one suspected a thing. Imagine!


I wouldn't label myself as a sneaky cook. I don't go to great lengths to disguise vegetables, but if it just so happens that I bring healthy ingredients together and give the illusion of something entirely different, I'm going to sit back with a smile on my face and watch the children devour seconds.

On another note, we're really enjoying our beef and the Beef Chronicles. If you're new to UtHC, here's the background to the Chronicles in a nutshell...

This past summer we visited a local organic farm and bought a cow - calf-, well, a yearling Black Angus. Inspired by a dozen or so beautiful cuts of beef in my freezer, I started the Beef Chronicles as a tribute to the young cow and as an exercise to try new recipes and blog about main dishes more often. Here is the complete introduction to the Chronicles and a more elaborate explanation of the project.

Recipes that I have made so far are linked at the bottom of the post.


Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Puree

2 lbs ground beef, or a mixture of ground beef and veal

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, de-germed and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper

1 tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 large Cauliflower

whole nutmeg

2 tablespoons cream

3 cups sweet corn, fresh if possible

paprika, to garnish


Sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened, about three minutes. Add beef or veal and gently sear the meat all over, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon.
Add chopped garlic, cumin, oregano, tomato, vinegar and combine well. Cook for ten minutes on medium, stirring often, until evenly browned. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil while you cut the cauliflower into large florets. Season water with salt and blanch cauliflower until quite soft. Drain. Puree cauliflower in a blender until smooth, adding a little cream to assist in the process. Season with salt and pepper and a fine grating of nutmeg.

Preheat oven to 375F.


To assemble
:
In a casserole dish, spread beef mixture evenly over the bottom. Scatter corn kernels over the meat. Using a flexible spatula, spread cauliflower puree over the top of everything. Smooth to cover. Dust with paprika and bake 30- 40 minutes until heated through.

Dot with butter and serve. To your kids.



More Beef Chronicles:


In Which we Buy A Cow

An Introduction

Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter

Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone

Cumin-Scented Kebabs

Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda

Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding


As much as my dad encouraged my sister and I with our ethnic cooking experiments while we were growing up, I think he always secretly held a special place in his heart for all things British. Born in England to middle-class city folk, he grew up munching biscuits for tea and pudding for dessert. Although he gave us a cookbook entitled "Cooking Around the World", I imagine he much preferred classic feasts such as Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding for the way they reminded him of home, feasts similar to one I prepared recently...

Rosemary & Dijon Roast Beef with Red Wine Jus, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Baby Carrots & Brussels Sprouts, Yorkshire Pudding

If it wasn't for us buying half a cow from a local farmer, I probably wouldn't have roasted a chunk of beef all fall, nay, all winter; there just isn't much point in preparing roast beef for two people (and until the boys learn to properly appreciate good meat, they don't count). But when the butcher called me and asked what sizes I wanted my roasts, I started salivating, remembering the dinners of my youth; remembering Yorkshire Pudding...


What wonderful, crispy, eggy bites they are! Almost reminiscent enough of choux pastries to warrant filling with cream and dipping in chocolate. But instead they are popped piping hot out of the pan onto the dinner plate, cozied up between the beef and the mashed potatoes and doused in gravy.
Oh. My.Word.

Noah couldn't keep his hands off of them, stuffing one after another in his mouth, and asking for thirds with his mouth full. My dad used to tell us that if we were ever invited to dine with the Queen and we used bad table manners, she would order our heads to be chopped off.

She certainly wouldn't have been happy with Noah.

I may have been pleased that he was actually enjoying my cooking--if I wasn't feeling so guilty that I had never served my (newly) four-year-old Yorkshire Pudding. Have I taught him any appreciation for British cooking? I have to wonder.

At any rate, it was a ship-shape meal, one that I will be making variations on all winter long. Hey, I've got that freezer full of beef, remember?



Yorkshire Pudding

In theory, the method is simple, but in the past I have not always be blessed with YP that rise beautifully and crisp up perfectly. After some Twitter q & a, I concluded the following:
  • Ingredients must be at room temperature when they are mixed.
  • The batter should be chilled after mixing for at least an hour before baking.
  • Batter should be poured into a hot pan that has been well lubricated with hot grease.
  • Since they will start to deflate as they cool, Yorkshire Pudding is best served warm from the oven.
  • Cook should have some British ancestors (kidding!)
Here is the recipe from Joy of Cooking; it is the same one we always used when I was growing up. You may want to double it; they disappear pretty fast.

Makes 1 dozen.

Sift into a bowl:
7/8 cups of flour 1/2 tsp of salt
make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, into which pour
1/2 cup milk
Stir in the milk. Beat until fluffy
2 eggs
Beat them into the batter. Add:
1/2 cup water

Beat the batter well until large bubbles start to rise to the surface. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Remove batter from fridge and beat well again. Generously butter 12 muffin tins and place in the oven until butter is sizzling. Remove pan from oven and pour batter into each cup. It should be about 5/8 inch high.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 250F and bake 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown. You may need to raise the pan to the top shelf of the oven to get a nice browning on the tops.

Serve immediately.



Rosemary & Dijon Roast Beef with Red Wine Jus

This is really just a very long name for what is one of the simplest main dishes around. In case you don't believe me, here's what I did:

1 3-4lb roast*, I used a Sirloin Point Roast
several springs of fresh rosemary

2 Tablespoons dijon, I used grainy
fresh black pepper

sea salt


An hour prior to cooking, remove beef from fridge and pat dry with paper towel. Allow to sit at room temperature.This helps shorten the cooking time.


Preheat oven to 425F, I like to start my roast at a high temperature to sear it. Line a casserole or roasting pan with a wire rack (like a cookie cooling rack) and place the beef on it. Brush or rub mustard generously all over the meat and tuck rosemary sprigs into the sides by pushing them under the strings. Season with salt & pepper and place in oven.

After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350F.
Roast until the internal temperature reaches 125F. Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. This allows the juices to settle and the meat will be more tender. It will continue cooking as it rests and will reach the ideal internal temperature of 135-14oF (medium-rare).

Carve into thin slices and serve with Red Wine Jus.

Serves 4 with a few leftovers.

*Remember, cooking times will vary depending on the size, cut and quality of your beef.


Red Wine Jus

Now, pan gravy is obviously the best way to go, IF your roast actually produces any drippings; however, mine never do, especially not these lean, locally raised Angus yearlings and so here's what I do instead...

Oh, and since this is already an epic post, I'll add a word about the wine, because it was fabulous. I opted for a bottle of the California Collection from Beringer, a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Super affordable, it rounded out the jus nicely and the remainder was superb with the meal.
There, your free wine tip of the day.

1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups cold water

1 teaspoon dijon

1 package beef 'au jus' gravy mix ( I used
Knorr)
1/4 cup chilled butter, cubed


The packaged gravy usually calls for 2 cups water, but we are replacing some of it with wine.

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the wine, water, packaged gravy mix and dijon. If you did get some drippings from your roast, add those too.
Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally, until it thickens slightly. at this point you can take it off the heat until you are ready to carve your roast beef.


A minute or to before you are ready to serve, bring jus back to a low boil. Whisking constantly, add the butter, a few cubes at a time, until all the butter has been added. Continue stirring until jus takes on a glossy sheen. Season with pepper and pour into gravy jug.
Serve at once.
Makes 2 cups

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Beef Chronicles:Tacos with Salsa Cruda

What are these Chronicles all about? Here's an intro.

It's generally easier to eat in than out when you are toting around small children. That was my thinking when I grabbed a package of ground beef from the freezer on my way out the door on a recent visit to my sister's place . Although her downtown apartment is just up the street from the oh-so-dangerous Bofinger, I vowed to cook our supper, rather than order take-out.

I'd forgotten what it's like to cook in a tiny apartment kitchen and the challenges it brings: minimal counter space, über-high cupboards, many many stairs to climb with groceries...Oh, and don't forget the two (of four) furry friends waiting for you to drop something just outside the kitchen. I am totally not used to cooking under such scrutiny.

The 'cousins': Roxy & Tulip

Fortunately my sister had a kicking food processor which more than made up for the cramped quarters and left me asking myself why I don't have one of these modern conveniences; it sure whipped our salsa into shape in record time. If you're decent with a knife and have the time, this salsa is better chopped by hand--and looks prettier--but this lazy version is just fine to serve up when everyone is starving after a long, hard day of shopping.



Lazy Salsa Cruda


4 medium tomatoes, washed and quartered

1/2 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 Serrano or jalapeno chilies, quartered and seeded

3/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed

1/2 cup water

juice of 1 lime

Coarse salt


Combine tomatoes, onion, chilies, cilantro, water, and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt in a food processor. Pulse until the salsa is chunky and well mixed. Add lime juice and pulse again. Season with more salt to taste.



OK, so around here we eat a lot of tacos. For some odd reason, Noah will eat pretty much anything as long as it is wrapped in a tortilla, so I stock up on corn tortillas from my favorite Mexican shop (Tortilleria Maya for you locals) and freeze them for dishing up later with re-fried beans, shredded chicken or spiced beef. Tacos are our cheap, fast and easy weeknight dinner and not really something I'd think of blogging about, but I'm committed to chronicling our local beef; hence this post!


Spiced Taco Filling

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon dried garlic
2 tablespoons water
salt

For spice blend:
Heat a large cast iron on medium heat until quite hot but not smoking. add cumin seed and toast gently for a minute or two. Remove cumin from pan and cool. In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, combine cumin, black peppercorn, dried oregano and dried garlic. Grind to a powder. Add chili powder and pulse just to combine. Set aside.

Heat the same skillet again and add oil. When oil is hot, add onions and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño-if using- and spice blend. Cook another minute or so.
Add meat to the pan, crumble with a wooden spoon and stir well to combine with onion mixture. Stir the meat while it is cooking to help it brown evenly, breaking up any large chunks.
After meat is well browned and sticking to the bottom of the pan a little bit, add the water and scrape the pan vigorously to remove all the browned bits. Turn heat to low and simmer until liquid has evaporated. Season well with salt.

Serve with flour or corn tortillas, plenty of shredded cheese and salsa cruda.
Margaritas are optional.


Just so I don't get into trouble, I better add that my sister's high-ceiling-ed, creaky hardwood floored apartment is actually pretty awesome. I miss those days--even if the storage is atrocious.
And look, she was even able to pull together a peach & ginger pie while I was preparing the tacos, so the kitchen is somewhat workable.

Gosh it was good; we must be related.


More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow
An Introduction
Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter
Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone
Cumin-Scented Kebabs
Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps


An introduction to these Beef Chronicles

When it comes to Asian cuisine, I'm the first to admit I'm a terrible hack.

I don't know when to use sriracha or shichimi and mix up udon and soba half the time. My versions of classics such as Pad Thai or Sweet & Sour Soup are butchered because I tend to toss in whatever is wilting in the fridge instead of following a recipe.

Sure I've been to Thailand and Indonesia, but that doesn't account for much--certainly didn't instill an instinctive Asian touch to my cooking. On the contrary, it fostered such a fondness for coconut milk and lemongrass, that many a promising Chinese or Japanese dish has been ruined by the addition of a can of coconut milk. Obviously I need help.

I either need to get my hands on a really good, all-inclusive Asian cookbook or take some classes. Marrying into an Asian family is no longer an option, unfortunately. Maybe I should have considered those marriage proposals a little more seriously back in my wild and free backpacking days.

With that disclaimer, I can now bring you today's new recipe in the Beef Chronicles: Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps.
I'm not sure if they are Korean or Vietnamese, but I do know that they were baaaad--in the good sense of the word, of course.

Here's why we can't get enough of them:

Self. Assembly. I just don't have time these days to roll sushi or spring rolls. Ingredients go in the middle of the table and everyone helps themselves.


Fresh, Fresh, very Fresh. Simply LOVE lettuce as a wrapper for these crunchy bites. As much as I'm fond of bread and its many forms, it gets a little boring--not to mention fattening--as the means of transporting toppings & fillings. Pizza, souvlaki, panini, hamburgers, calzone, fajitas, wraps, quesedillas--all those relatively quick, family style food have bread as a base. Heavy.

Easy Peasy. Marinade the beef in the afternoon and stir together dipping sauce. 20 minutes before dinner, start rice. Shred some carrot, grill the beef, grab a head of lettuce and dinner is served.


Grilled
. I liked that the rolls offered the ease of outdoor cooking--particularly helpful these days because I'm trying to keep my kitchen extra clean--but they don't scream BBQ, because by now, BBQ is getting a little old, you know?

Have I mentioned Fast? Fast to prep, fast to grill, fast to serve. Leaves plenty of time to relax around the table and prepare each wrap lovingly by hand.


Hmmm, I guess they are more like 'folds' instead of 'wraps'. As you can see from the photo, I didn't really wrap them. They're actually more like tacos. Asian tacos? You see how confused I am?

By the way, we're really, really enjoying our beef, a locally purchased Angus calf, for those of you who are new (and there's plenty more beef recipes at the bottom of the post).

Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
Serves 2-3

1 head Boston lettuce
3 cups cooked rice
2 carrots
bunch of green onions
250 g minute steak or flank steak
Dipping Sauce (of choice or recipe below)

Marinade:
2 small garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper

Peel and chop garlic cloves. Sprinkle with sugar and using the side of your knife blade, crush the garlic to make a paste with the sugar. Place in a bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Coat steaks with marinade and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

Peel and finely chiffonade or grate carrots. Wash and pat dry the green onions and chiffonade the green stalks; reserve the bulbs for another use. Toss green onion and carrot together and reserve until ready to serve.

Pull apart leaves of Boston lettuce and place in a bowl.

Preheat BBQ. Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly oil with vegetable oil. Grill quickly to desired temperature. Time will vary depending on the cut of steak. Remove from grill and allow to rest a few minutes.

To Serve:
Place rice, lettuce, and carrot on the table. Slice beef into thin strips and serve with dipping sauce of your choice or the recipe below.
Each person assembles their own wrap.


Korean Barbecue Dipping Sauce

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon minced green onion
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon water

On a cutting board, use the side of the blade of your knife to crush the garlic and the sugar together, forming a paste. Transfer paste to a small bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix together well an reserve until ready to use.


More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow
An Introduction
Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter
Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone
Cumin-Scented Kebabs
Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda
Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée
Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries
Ossobuco in Bianco
Chocolate Chip Chili

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Cumin-Scented Kebabs & Best Broccoli Slaw



For a year now, I've been getting the wrong magazine subscription. Wowed by her Christmas cookie issues, I thought I wanted to receive Martha Stewart Living, but my husband knew better and ordered Gourmet as well, both Christmas gifts. For a while they competed for space in my mailbox and for attention on my coffee table, but it wasn't long before I was completely seduced by the recipes and articles in Gourmet, and read each issue cover to cover before glancing at MSL. It didn't help that MSL seemed to have less and less food articles and focused more and more on fashion. Sorry, but I just don't want to read eight pages of summer jacket requirements--I don't care that much about their versatility or how a good jacket is 'the ultimate team player'. (April-'09) Kudos to Martha for using her own staff to model the blazers and the like, but unfortunately I won't be renewing my subscription.

That being said, did you read the August '09 issue of Gourmet?? Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs, Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita, Corn-on-the-Cob with Mint and Feta, Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl....The mag is chock-full of recipes, each one begging to be made this instant. Everything about the 'Freewheeling' feast appealed to me (p.62) and became the inspiration behind a recent casual BBQ in honour of my birthday.


Yes, I cooked for my own birthday. Get over it!
Does NO ONE know me by now? Friends and family were incredulous that I wanted to cook a meal for them and 'work' on my birthday. Don't they know by now that I truly DO love to cook?

Perhaps they didn't understand my terms:

"An afternoon of distraction-free cooking, with no children underfoot and no clean-up required by me."

I believe that was what the official contract read.
OK, so there was no such contract, but for the first time ever, I employed a 'Mother's Helper', which is about as close as I'll ever get to a nanny! My neighbor's teenage daughter brought the boys to the park, then bathed them and put them down for naps while I zipped around my kitchen in fifth gear. Then I enlisted her to shuck 24 ears of corn and skewer two dozen kebabs, while I freshened up before our guests arrived.

The recipes from Gourmet are so easy to follow and the meal came together with no hitches. If only the weather was so manageable. It poured rain at the beginning of the evening - just as I was out barbecuing some lamb 'popsicles' - and thoroughly soaked me. The twenty or so guests took shelter in my kitchen and munched Greek meze while I panicked over how I was going to feed (and fit) everyone in our cozy bungalow. Fortunately the rain tapered off enough to allow us to move outdoors for the meal, and everyone had the luxury of a little elbow room after all.


Our beef stole the spotlight dressed as Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs, tender chunked sirloin that had been marinated in garlic, coriander, cumin and loads of fresh oregano. The skewers were sandwiched between grilled pita bread that had been bathed in a pungent garlic and oregano infused olive oil and the whole thing dressed with homegrown tomatoes and slathered with Peter's Tzatziki. Several variations of Greek Salad were the colorful accompaniments, along with my Current Obsession Number 1: Corn-on-the-Cob with Mint & Feta, and Current Obsession Number 2: Broccoli Slaw --the recipe for the slaw is given at the end of the post.

And for dessert...my sister brought a killer Carrot Cake (I do draw the line at making my own cake. Thanks, Miranda!) and our fingers got sticky with baklava from Montreal's own Patisserie Mahrouse. It felt a bit weird planning a party with no sweets, so a few days before I churned a batch of vanilla ice cream and made my own version of Gourmet's Ice Cream Sandwiches. Between thin layers of blondies (like a brownie, but no chocolate) I spread vanilla ice cream and swirled in a chunky blueberry jam. Delish! Of course they were consumed before I could get a photo. It didn't even cross my mind to photograph them--I was too busy eating as many as I could before they melted.

As usual, I was flying around the kitchen with an 18-month-old permanently attached to my leg--so there was no way I could snap as many photos as I would have liked. I handed my camera off to my brother-in-law at some point, and he snapped a few for this post.


This is a great menu for a big gang when you want to BBQ, but perhaps have had your fill of burgers for the season. Do try these recipes; this is food that gives maximum flavour for minimal effort.

Cumin-Scented Beef Kebabs
Recipe courtesy of the lovely Gourmet Magazine

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 pounds sirloin flap steak or flatiron steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces


Equipment: 12 (12-inch) skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes if wooden


Stir together oil, oregano, garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then toss with beef. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.


Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (high heat for gas); Thread about 4 pieces of beef onto each skewer, leaving small spaces between pieces, then transfer to a tray.

Oil grill rack, then grill beef, covered only if using a gas grill, turning, until browned but still pink inside, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita (recipe below) and fresh Tzatziki.

Beef can be marinated up to 8 hours

Serves 6



This is my favorite salad this summer and I've made it so many times! It's great to bring to a potluck or just for eating all by your lonesome for a healthy--and crunchy--lunch. You can't get much easier than four ingredients and a dressing! Don't forget to toast the almonds--they really make the salad. Oh, and I once used golden raisins instead of dried cranberries and they were fabulous, too.

Broccoli Slaw

Recipe slightly adapted from the original version given to us from that blogging queen of slaw, Smitten Kitchen
Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing


1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot


Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply hand chop it into smaller pieces. I used both the stem and the flowerets, but you can just use the tops.


Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli (if you’ve skipped the stems, you might not want it all; I otherwise found this to be the perfect amount) and toss it well.
Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Should keep up to a week in the fridge.


Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita Bread
Also from Gourmet Magazine August 2009

3 tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashes

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

2 pocketless pita bread rounds

kosher salt to taste


Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, turning once until pale golden. This took a few minutes. Discard garlic and remove skillet from heat, then stir in oregano.
Preheat grill. Oil grill rack. grill pitas, 3 at a time, turning once, until grill marks appear. Remove from grill and brush both sides with garlic-oregano oil. I had a friend stand by, brandishing a silicone brush, to do this part while I continued grilling.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and serve warm. May be cut into wedges.


Got Beef?

The Beef Chronicles: an introduction

TBC: Rib Steak au Buerre Rouge

TBC:T-Bone Goes Camping

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: T-Bone Goes Camping & Laptop Tomato Salad


Curious about the Beef Chronicles? Read the intro to the series here.

They say food tastes better when you are camping. Perhaps it's the smoke from the open fire, perhaps the fresh air that stimulates the appetite, at any rate I chose T-Bone steaks for our recent camping supper, hoping that perhaps Mother Nature would help inject some excitement into this otherwise boring cut.

Yowsers.

Everything about the family-style dinner was absolutely delicious, from the potatoes that were baked in the campfire ashes to the sweet summer corn, but when I think back to that steak, the words 'best ever' come to mind.

Earlier in the afternoon, while the gang of us hit the beach, the T-Bone marinated ever so simply in olive oil, cracked black pepper, crushed garlic, and fresh rosemary--all ingredients I 'happened' to have on hand on our two-night camping trip. Later it was quickly seared on a portable grill and the result was fork-tender, flavorful steak.



This homegrown beef has got it going on.
This is my favorite marinade for meats of all kinds and it's approximately:

1/4 cup olive oil
four garlic cloves, a cast iron pan works well for crushing them when you're camping
generous handful of rosemary (or thyme, oregano, or sage)
plenty of cracked black pepper

Usually I'll add a squeeze of lemon, especially with poultry, and the herbs can be switched up for whatever suits your fancy. I season the steaks with salt just before grilling.



Cherry tomatoes and green beans, both from my potager, were sautéed up for a colourful side, while this juicy tomato salad was prepared on my lap while sitting around the campfire.



Tools? A bowl and a Swiss Army knife. I had fresh yellow and red tomatoes from my garden, which I carved up and let drop into a bowl to mix in their own juices. Next I cut up half a red onion (in the same way you would carve an apple and eat it slice by slice) and let that fall into the bowl as well. I tore up a generous handful of fresh herbs -oregano, basil and thyme-, drizzled olive oil over everything, and tossed the salad together with salt and pepper. Voilà, summer in a bowl.



After dinner I got to work on the S'mores, cranking them out three at a time to satiate the needs of the little campers. For the record, open faced is the only way to go, or else the cracker/chocolate ratio was way off. I like having a warm log to toast the graham crackers and warm the chocolate, while I brown the marshmallows. Perfection!


Alright, so far the Beef Chronicles have been pretty tame, I'll be the first to admit; however, it's been like 35 degrees all week around here and cooking is a chore in that heat. The Beef Bourguignon is just going to have to wait until the cool fall weather.
It's going to be fabulous paired with my ripening squash.


Hey! Tomorrow is my birthday! We're celebrating on the weekend, but tomorrow I'm going to go see the much talked about Julie & Julia with my sister. Maybe they'll cook some beef in the movie and I'll get inspired!



Previously in The Beef Chronicles: Rib Steak with Buerre Rouge and Corn with Feta-Mint Butter

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: Rib Steak with Beurre Rouge & Corn with Feta-Mint Butter


Now what are these Beef Chronicles all about? Get an introduction here.


Our first meal of beef was predestined.

One package in the 133lb haul had not been vacuumed-packed properly and was henceforth the only obvious choice for that night's dinner.

"Hmm, I guess we'll have to eat this first." I remarked to Danny, thankful it wasn't a package of liver that was slipping around in it's plastic shrink-wrap.

Apparently fate wanted us to start with steak. Rib Steak, to be exact. That was fine by me as I was in need of a quick meal as a result of dealing with the post-vacation-stress-disorder still manifesting itself in our home.

The day after we picked up our beef from the farm, I had made a grocery list of items I thought I better have on hand for cooking all this meat, items like red wine, sherry vinegar, and shallots. Sure enough, the recipe for Faux Filet au Beurre Rouge from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, called for French shallots and red wine. Apparently my intuition paid off.
It sounds very fancy, but was really the quickest of suppers: Preheat grill, season steaks, grill to desired doneness, transfer to a plate and top with a generous slice of red-wine butter. Voila. Tony's dish calls for a New York strip, but I used the pre-selected-for-me rib steak; pretty much any cut of steak would work for this recipe.

I served it with corn on the cob that had been tossed with a feta-mint butter, a recipe I've also included because it is rapturous.

Dinner with two different flavored butters? Julia Child would have been proud.


The red-wine butter is easy to make, yet tastes surprisingly sophisticated when melted and mixed with the steaks juices. It becomes a sauce in it's own way and elevates a rather boring steak to something, well, something worth writing about!

As for the beef itself? Sublime. Very lean. Flavorful. I can't wait to try more. We're off on another camping trip this weekend and I'm bringing--guess?--more steaks.



Beurre Rouge or Red-Wine Butter
adapted from Les Halles Cookbook

This recipe makes a lot--enough to top a dozen or so steaks--but it can keep for a while if it is well-wrapped in the freezer. It's nice to have something like this garnish a good steak, because, as Tony Bourdain puts it, you never know when your deadbeat friends are going to drop by demanding a meal.

1/2 cup red wine

1 shallot, finely chopped

8 oz butter, softened

1 handful of flat parsley
, finely chopped
salt and pepper

In a small pot combine the wine and shallot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, taking care not to let the shallots burn. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool.
In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine butter, shallot-wine mixture, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Scrap out of the bowl with a rubber spatula and place in the center of a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently form into a 1-inch diameter log, shaping and squeezing, like rolling a nori roll. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly and refrigerated until the butter is firm enough to slice.
Serve over grilled steaks.


Corn on the Cob with Mint-Feta Butter
Adapted from Gourmet
August 2009

4 ears of corn, shucked and cut in half

2 tbsp butter, softened

2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled or grated

3 tbsp minced fresh mint

1/4 tsp (generous) kosher salt


In a large bowl, combine the butter, feta, minced fresh mint, and salt. Mix well.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the corn pieces. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the corn kernels are just tender.

Using tongs, remove the corn from the water, drain slightly, and place it into the bowl with the feta-butter mixture. Toss the corn in the butter mixture until all of the pieces are well-coated.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Beef Chronicles: an introduction



Under the High Chair is happy to bring you...The Beef Chronicles!

What's this?
A new series on UtHC featuring beef in both classic recipes, such as Beef Bourguignon and steak tartare, and a few of my own creations. I'll cook almost every cut imaginable on a side of beef, and display the results, be they good or bad. With any luck, every meal will be a celebration of this noble animal and I'll learn a lot along the way.


Why beef?
We recently purchased a side of locally raised, grass fed Angus beef. It's hard not to be inspired after loading package after package of beautifully butchered young beef into one's freezer. After we made a glorious list of all the cuts, feeling pleased as punch over our padded freezer, I decided that this young cow deserved a tribute. We feel particularly blessed to have access to such fine beef and it deserves better treatment than getting groped with some Montreal Steak Spice and merely slapped on a grill.


Why now?
I need an exercise, a kick in the pants, so to speak, and a new focus on UtHC where the main ingredient isn't sugar! I tend not to blog everyday meals, mostly because I feel I have nothing new to share and honestly, they are pretty boring, what with two picky eaters to cook for and whatnot. Believe it or not, this new project will be a challenge for me.


Why would cooking a hundred and thirty three pounds of beef be stretching my culinary repertoire?
For one thing, cooking massive amounts of meat isn't really my forte. As a youngster, I grew up mainly vegetarian, as my mother had some insight into the questionable world of processed meat and we couldn't afford to buy organic all the time. While we raised some meat ourselves on our 1/4 acre (chicken & rabbit), we simply did without others (beef), so I seldom had a chance to learn to cook red meat.

Also, in my restaurant days I wasn't Forever Garde Manger Girl for nothing. Give me twelve dozen oysters to shuck or 48 quail to de-bone and I could give anyone a serious run for their knife skills, but seldom was this five-foot-three-inch girl allowed near the four-legged creatures.
Anyway, (and this is going to sound like a food snob pretty much any way it comes out), most of the fine dining establishments I worked for didn't even serve beef, so I wouldn't have gotten much expertise under my belt had I worked the meat station.


The Cuts
Here's what I'll be choosing from over the next few months--and hopefully well into the winter.

Cross Rib Roast
Tournedos
Filet Mignon
Bavette (skirt steak)
Veal Shank
Sirloin Point Roast
Spare Ribs
Blade Roast
Flank Steak
Stewing Veal
Veal Cutlets
T-Bone Steak
Hamburger
Minute Steak
Rib Steak
Sirloin Steak
(Heart)
(Liver)
(Kidney)

The last three are intended for the cat, but you never know, I may get inspired to try them out. I'm not much of an offal-lover, but maybe I'll try a steak & kidney pie sometime.
I'm looking forward to my very first batch of Osso Bucco with the veal shanks, and also devising ways to use the stewing veal--somehow I ended up with ten bags of it. That's a lot of stew.


Input/Feedback
Please provide!! Send me your family recipes, give me your best tips, request a recipe; just talk to me!
I'll also be relying on my Twitter friends for input as I go along; the first question being:

"Can I even consider a decent carpaccio if the beef has been frozen?"

Hope so. I love carpaccio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strawberry-Peach Cobbler and a Father's Day Gift


Apparently, after a recent cross-Canada poll, it was stated that the majority of dads want a flat screen TV for Father's Day. I hope that's not what Danny wanted because I got him something a little different...


See that cute black fellow on the right?
In a few weeks he's going to be delivered to our place in brown paper packages tied up with string, namely as organic, free-range Angus beef! Yep, I got my hubby a cow for Father's Day--all the barbecue he could ever want. How's that for manly?

It's been in the works for a while to split this locally raised yearling with some friends of ours; their cousin raises them on a gorgeous farm that has been in the family for generations in (very) rural Quebec. We drove out on the weekend to meet the farmer, select our calf and see where it was raised.
Gee, I wish I had this view. It was quite picturesque!


The cows were practically knee-deep in buttercups and clover. I haven't seen Food, Inc yet, but I'm pretty sure that few beef cows have it as good as these ones.

Our little ones snacked on all the carrots intended for the cows and enjoyed the outing immensely; however, Mateo didn't like it when they 'mooed'. Cows can be pretty intimidating up close, especially the bull that stared us down.


We attempted the whole "...this is where hamburger comes from" talk with Noah, but abandoned it pretty fast. He's extremely sensitive (he wept over the shorn tomato plants that were eaten by unknown creatures in our garden) and is much too young to be troubling his little head over such matters.

Zipping along Quebec's rural roads, I kept my eyes peeled for a sign announcing 'Fraises du Quebec'. It wasn't long before we found a fruit stand and treated ourselves to a basket of the season's freshest fruit. We devoured most of them on the spot, but I managed to save a few for later. I stretched them with some fresh peaches I had sitting around and made a few of my favorite simple summer desserts. Perfect for bringing to a pot-luck!


I'm anticipating picking my own strawberries soon and the endless possibilities that await! For now, I'm perfectly content with my cobbler--and have 125 lbs of beef to look forward to in a few weeks.

Happy Summer!


Strawberry-Peach Cobbler
(adapted from Everyday Baking)

For The Filling:

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 pound peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and cut again in half crosswise

1/2 lb strawberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


For the Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk


1. Make the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Wash and prepare fruit; you should have about 4 cups of strawberries and peaches. Add fruit to cornstarch mixture and add lemon juice; toss to combine. Divide filling evenly among four 8-ounce custard cups (or one 2-quart baking dish); transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.


2. Make the topping and bake: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until a dough forms. Drop dough onto peaches, using about 1/3 cup dough for each custard cup. Sprinkle dough with remaining teaspoon sugar. Bake until fruit is bubbling and biscuit topping is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve warm.

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