December 31st, 2008

Steak Pie for New Year’s!

It’s almost 2009 and I have no idea where my year went.

I do know I got to eat a lot of great food and I learned a lot in the kitchen.

As you celebrate the arrival of a new year, here’s little Scottish tradition you can try from our friends at

Happy 2009!


Steak Pie – New Year’s Day Without It?

New Years Eve or Hogmanay as it’s known in Scotland is bursting with traditions such as the customary “First Foot”. As the clock strikes midnight there is a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne and then comes the “First Food”. “The “first foot” is the first person to cross the threshold into a house after the chimes of midnight. Usually the “first foot” brings gifts of salt, coal, bread or shortbread and whiskey and if it’s a tall dark stranger then that’s good luck. ”

I always loved New Years Eve when I was growing up in Scotland, it was so exciting as a child going out to visit family in the middle of the night!

On New Years Day every year we’d go to my grandmother’s house and tuck into a big hearty plate of steak pie without it New Years Day just isn’t the same. In accordance with this I decided to make a steak pie for us to enjoy this year on New Years Day, this is my recipe..

STEAK PIE (serves 5-6)


  • 1Kg Lean good quality stewing steak cut into 1? cubes
  • 1 Large onion, chopped finely
  • 250g Mushrooms, quartered
  • 3/4 Can Guinness
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tsp English Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 L Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shop bought, pre-rolled puff pastry


  1. Using a large pot brown the meat well in batches in olive oil and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pot used to brown the meat and allow to soften gently.
  3. Add the stew back into the pot with the onion, followed by the Guinness, stock cube, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, mushrooms and water.
  4. Bring the ingredients up to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender and the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  7. Pour the meat into a large pie dish, cover with the pastry and brush with milk.
  8. Bake the pie in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
  9. Serve and Enjoy!

Excerpt and photo courtesy of

December 29th, 2008

Mistletoe, Merriment and MEAT

Hi, there!

We just got back from a week in our personal definition of paradise — Destin, FL.

Here’s a little video of what we saw and heard all day every day. (Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.)

Our family gathered there for the holidays and hoo boy did we have some great meals!

My sister-in-law Sandy (aka the Kitchen Guru) lead us through the makings of some amazing meals. We’re all still talking about the food we had over the course of an entire week.

Beef tips in red wine sauce. Seasoned beef kabobs on the grill. Bacon-wrapped filet mignon. Prime rib roast in an au jus.

You would not believe the amount of beef this group consumed.

And there was nothing left.

We had family in from across the country. And there’s nothing like a fabulous meal to build a bond.

But you won’t have to travel anywhere to learn what I learned working with Sandy the last week. Over the next few days I’ll be posting photos, recipes and meal-saving tips she shared with me as we cooked incredible meals for our family.

Here’s a little preview . . .


Yup. We even used Christmas colors. Stay tuned and happy holidays!!

December 22nd, 2008

Hanukkah Brisket

Hanukkah began at sundown yesterday and it’s in full swing right now.

And one of the meals often prepared at this beautiful holiday time is yummy, scrumptious, delectable brisket.


Giora Shimoni at tells us the story of the Hanukkah brisket . . .

I don’t like to stereotype, but I think it is safe to say that a high percentage of Jews … love brisket.

Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest. The term brisket usually refers to beef or veal.

While some – especially Texans – like to barbecue their briskets, in traditional Jewish cooking the brisket is braised as a pot roast.

How to Prepare Great Jewish Brisket

Buy good brisket meat (meat #3 in Israel). The brisket should have good marbling between white fat and dark colored meat. The fat should be distributed throughout the meat rather than just in one area.

Jewish brisket should be slow cooked. Whether the recipe is for a savory or sweet sauce, Jewish briskets taste best when slow cooked. In addition, there is less shrinkage of the meat at lower cooking temperatures.

Thirdly, it is very important to slice the brisket correctly. Brisket must be sliced thinly and sliced against the grain. If brisket is not sliced against the grain, it will be tough rather than tender.

Why Prepare Jewish Brisket for the Holidays

Jewish brisket is the perfect holiday entree for many reasons.

Brisket is best when prepared in advance. I cook my brisket a day before the holiday, slice it, and then store it in the refrigerator. Then just before serving, I heat the brisket. Brisket made in advance and allowed to sit tastes better than freshly made brisket. In addition, making the brisket in advance means less last-minute holiday prep work and less mess to clean up. My mother makes her holiday brisket a week in advance, and then stores it in the freezer until the holiday.

In addition, since Jewish brisket is generally cooked in a tightly covered roasting pan, it turns out tender and juicy. So, the meat does not dry out even when it is reheated on a hot plate on the second day of a Jewish holiday.

Lastly, when sliced thinly and served on a platter with gravy, brisket makes a festive entree. And brisket cooked in a sweet sauce is particularly fitting for the Jewish New Year.

Here’s a great recipe whether it’s for Hanukkah, another Jewish holiday — or for anyone any time of year!

Brisket in Wine Sauce

Prep Time: 9 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours


  • 1 (2 1/2 -pound) beef brisket, thick-cut
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water


1. Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius).
2. Rinse brisket. Place in roasting pan.
3. Rub paprika, basil, salt and pepper into meat.
4. Scatter onions and garlic over meat.
5. In a medium bowl, mix ketchup, wine and water. Pour over brisket.
6. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting so that the foil does not touch the meat.
7. Bake at 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius) for 3 hours, or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the brisket reads 190° for well done.

YIELD: 8 servings

SOURCE: Quick and Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, by Jamie Geller. Recipe reprinted with permission from Feldheim Publishers.

Photo courtesy of

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About Me

Hi! My name is Dena P., and I love steak. In fact, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect steak for a few years now.

I love experimenting with food and I like to get my family, friends and neighbors involved. They add a lot to my cooking experience by helping me perfect techniques and sharing recipes.

Read More About Me »

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