beef bourguignon: revamped


Happy 2018! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Mine was full of family and way, way, way too much delicious food. As a result, I’m doing that typical thing where, now that the holidays are over and a new year has commenced, I want to re-commit to health and fitness. However, I decided that before I really started committing, I needed to make something warm and hearty to start the new year off right — especially in the frigid cold we’re currently experiencing in New York! If you are trying to stick to a new year’s resolution, I’m going to apologize in advance for being a bad influence and encouraging you to indulge in this warm, classic beef stew this weekend.

I’ve actually posted this recipe once before in 2012 and funny enough, I also made it on New Year’s Day! My passion for cooking was still relatively new six years ago and I was nervous to cook this “ambitious” recipe by Julia Child (it really is an all-day event). The reason I decided to post this recipe again is not only to remind you that it is truly delicious, but also to update the pictures.

This year for Christmas, my wonderful husband bought me a Neewer lighting kit so that I can try to improve my photos. I know I haven’t been blogging often, but I have still been attempting to take pictures of my food over the last few months and I always end up complaining to Mike about the terrible light in our apartment. Our kitchen only has one half-window so in order to get natural light I bring the food into our living room or dining room. But, right now the sun sets at 4 PM, so I am basically never cooking in the daylight anyway! This usually results in photos with an ugly yellow-y tinge to them (refer to my last post).

Now, I am equipped to try and obtain higher quality images and really tempt you with the recipes I post! I still have a lot to learn about photography in general and the DSLR camera that Mike bought me last year. But with all this awesome equipment, I’m doing more research to try and understand how to capture and edit more true-to-life and stylized photos of the food that I cook!


Anyway, I wrote way more than I like to so I’ll get down to the recipe:

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 6-oz. piece chunk bacon*
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (I used beef chuck)
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 crumbled bay leaf
  • 18-24 small white onions
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, half a bay leaf, 2 thyme sprigs tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
*I used regular sliced bacon because that is what I had on hand. I blanched the bacon, but did not have any rind for flavoring.


Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks about a 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if damp. Add beef to Dutch oven, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Set aside with the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced carrot and sliced onion. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set Dutch oven uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove Dutch oven and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and about 2 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind (if you used the chunk bacon). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover Dutch oven and set in lower third of oven. Allow liquid to simmer very slowly for 2 1/2-3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms:

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add small white onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they begin to brown lightly, remove from heat.

Back to the Dutch oven:

When the meat is tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef, lardons, carrots and onions to a separate dish. Pour the remaining contents of the Dutch oven into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the Dutch oven and return the beef, lardons, and vegetables to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Then pour sauce over meat and vegetables and enjoy!

How I eat it:  This time: over egg noodles; Last time: with a crusty whole wheat bread

Again, I promise you all the work is well worth it 🙂 And according to Mike, the leftovers are even better!

Also, here’s a before and after my recently-learned color correction (and some cropping), using a color card and Photoshop, so you can see how much the kit has helped me so far!






turkey chili


Don’t look at my previous post! Okay, I know that actually made you look at my previous post. And I know, it’s from August 2015… and it’s February 2017 (insert that monkey emoji that’s covering it’s eyes to convey feelings of shame).  Although I haven’t stopped cooking, my busy past year and a half has prevented me from blogging.

If you remember in this post, I shared that Mike and I got engaged in January of 2015. Well, planning our wedding while in school, getting married, and moving in with Mike has been an absolute whirlwind! But, a truly great whirlwind. We were so lucky to share our wedding day with family and friends out in beautiful Montauk. And now, we are all settled in to our first place together.

I feel so grateful to have everything we need to cook yummy meals in our apartment. Thank you to everyone who helped set us up so perfectly.  It’s been just about six months in our place and we’ve been able to sit down to a home-cooked dinner together each night as we wind down from our busy days. And we’ve been able to host our family and friends for holidays or just for fun!

Since we’ve moved in, Mike has been encouraging me to blog again.  However, I was complaining that I could no longer hijack my dad’s Nikon to take food pictures.  Well my wonderful husband solved that problem with a Nikon D3300 under our Christmas tree this year.  I definitely still have a lot to learn about photography and now that I have my own DSLR camera, I am looking forward to trying to improve my photos. And hopefully as I continue to blog without year(s)-long interruptions, you can track my progress!

Anyway, let’s get down to the recipe: turkey chili. Last week, the Northeast got hit pretty hard with snow and chili seemed like the perfect thing to enhance the coziness of a snow day. There is a great recipe by Geoffrey Zakarian for beef chili – it has beer and tons of meat and spice.  But, I like this recipe for a lighter, healthier version that makes me feel less guilty about piling on the toppings. I’ve taken my favorite aspects of several turkey chili recipes and have coined this one as my own. Enjoy!

Also, check out this awesome flat saute by Earlywood.  My mom got it for me for my birthday and this was my first time using it. I loved it! Super great for stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot.

Turkey Chili


  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4-tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I sometimes omit these because I prefer no beans, but Mike likes beans)
  • 1/2-cup chopped scallions
  • red hot sauce to taste
  • green hot sauce to taste

My favorite toppings:

  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • chopped avocado
  • chopped tomatoes
  • pickled jalapenos
  • scallions
  • sour cream
  • red & green hot sauces


Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Once hot, add onions and garlic and sauté until tender (~5 minutes). Add turkey, breaking up with a fork and cook until browned (~8 minutes).  Add bell pepper, jalapeño, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Cook until peppers are tender and spice is incorporated (~5 more minutes).  Then, add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, kidney beans (if using), and scallions.

Cook on low heat for at least one hour with the cover on but ajar, stirring occasionally. I like to let it simmer for a good 4 hours if I have the time to let the flavors blend. Add red and green hot sauces to taste.

How I eat it: with every topping listed above and some good cornbread on the side

Note: This is a great recipe to take half the batch and freeze it for a quick and easy meal that tastes even better the second time around!




chocolate “birthday” pie

the best thing you'll ever eat

There is a strong possibility that this is the tastiest and most delectable recipe I have ever, or will ever, post on my blog.  I know, it’s a bold statement.  Since I can remember, my mom has made my brother and I “birthday pie”.  After the first year she made it for us, we never wanted a birthday cake again, we just wanted pie. We are chocolate people in this family and this is truly as chocolatey and fudgy as it gets.  Made with semisweet chocolate, crushed almonds, sugar and butter, the filling is a perfect match to the flaky pie crust and sweet, but tangy raspberry sauce. (Are you drooling yet?)

Both my brother’s and my own birthday fall in the winter, so now to us, winter = pie time.  Once I realized my passion for cooking and baking, I started to take over the tradition. I admit, there were a few years that the pie baking really got out of hand — as soon as one pie was finished in about all of 2 days, I would bake another, and another. And maybe even another… It was bad.  Therefore, I warn you: once you try this recipe all self-control goes out the window.


Chocolate “Birthday” Pie


For the crust & filling:

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts (I opt for deep dish)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg, separated

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 1 12-oz. bag frozen raspberries, without syrup, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice


For the crust & filling:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Thaw both pie crusts.  Poke holes with a fork in one of them and bake for 3 minutes.  Press other crust out of pan and lay flat on a cutting board.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of the butter, stirring constantly until smooth.  In a medium bowl, beat remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add almonds, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and chocolate, and blend well.  Spread mixture evenly over bottom of crust that was baked.

To make lattice top, cut the crust that was previously laid flat into strips.  Arrange strips in a lattice design over the chocolate mixture.  Trim edges and seal.  In a small bowl, beat egg white until foamy and gently brush over lattice top.

Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.  Bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes.  Cover edges of pie crust with foil after about 15 to 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning.

For the raspberry sauce:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend raspberries at highest speed until smooth.  In a small saucepan, combine raspberry puree, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.  Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Serve the pie with the raspberry sauce. Store both the pie and the sauce in the refrigerator.


As you can see, I was about to eat a slice before taking a picture of the finished product. It’s that irresistible!

Recipe courtesy of my mom who cut it out of a newspaper years ago

(Those newspaper recipes can be real keepers!)

How I eat it: with raspberry sauce on the bottom and a whole buncha whipped cream on top!

happy holidays!


As always, it’s been a while! But, I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays! 2013 has been a busy, but great year and I hope that 2014 brings everyone luck, love, & joy!

Here are some holiday season highlights…

treePresents under the tree on Christmas Eve

sushiFirst attempt at homemade sushi for Mike’s family Christmas party- made by myself & Mike’s mom!

mike family christmas eveMike & I being cheesy on Christmas Eve ❤

IMG_2533Alex making brie baked in puff pastry with raspberry jam, basil, & bacon – an awesome Christmas Day appetizer!

dessertsChristmas Day dessert table – brownies, seven layer bars, Oreo truffles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and German apple crumb cake.  Later joined by a homemade birthday cake. My family isn’t really into dessert… uhhh NOT.

alex birthdayOut to dinner on the 26th for Alex’s 21st birthday!

There were plenty of delicious & wonderful memories not included in this post and I just want to thank all my family & friends for such a wonderful holiday season!

It wouldn’t be a real post if I didn’t share recipes, so here are the links to some of the recipes that I followed this holiday season:

Seven layer bars (made without walnuts)

Peanut butter cookies with Reese’s cups (definitely my favorite new cookie recipe!)

Oreo truffles

Homemade California rolls

Brie baked in puff pastry

Happy New Year! 

chicken stew with biscuits

This post is dedicated to the many people affected by Hurricane Sandy. For everyone without electricity or heat or gas or worst of all, your home, I wish I could make every single one of you this chicken stew.

I want to thank everyone who helped my family while we were without power and heat. And now that we are fortunate enough to have returned to normalcy in my household, we are glad to provide warm food, beds, and showers to friends that are still without.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my new appreciation for the comfortable lives we lead and for life itself.

This recipe is the ultimate comfort food and it is the perfect thing to cook if you are in a position share it with someone (or two or three..) who could really use it right now.


Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Ingredients (serves 8-10)


  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 10 oz. package frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, plus 1 tbsp. water for egg wash


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare sheet pan with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts on sheet pan and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones, discard skin, and cut chicken into a large dice. Should yield about 4 cups of diced chicken.

While chicken is cooking, prepare the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until butter is the size of peas.  Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the half and half. Mix in the parsley. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board and with a floured rolling pin, roll dough out to 3/8-inch thick.  Cut out biscuits with a 2-1/2 round (I used a glass).

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock.  In a large saucepan, or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions and carrot over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the hot chicken stock and stir for 1 more minute over low heat.  Season with salt and pepper and add heavy cream.  Add the diced chicken, peas, onions, and parsley.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until frozen vegetables are heated through.

Prepare a 10 x 13 x 2 baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer stew to baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove stew from oven and arrange biscuits on top of the filling.  Brush them with egg wash and return to oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes until biscuits are browned and stew is bubbly.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

How I eat it: with extra biscuits on the side for dipping! (You may want to double the biscuit recipe like I did!)