In the 1960s, you could eat anything you wanted, and of course, people were smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, and there was no talk about fat and anything like that, and butter and cream were rife. Those were lovely days for gastronomy, I must say.
Easter Greek Salad
With all of the festivities of Easter in the past I looked forward to a quiet Monday and hopefully a little productiveness with common household chores, the mini goals of the day.
I had a “lick my bowl” dinner and I had to tell about it, not that anyone will cook it exactly as I did, but OMG, lick the bowl gravy and all…
Hoping for a dinner to have on the porch on such a beautiful day I prepped an old favorite from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Estouffade De Boeuf/Terrine De Boeuf, as noted “casserole of beef with wine and vegetables-hot or cold” country style. I made smashed fingerling potatoes with roasted garlic to go with the beef dish and a good basic salad of fresh greens and cucumbers dressed with French mustard and fine herbs, perfect I still have a little of that wonderful French mustard that my daughter bought in Paris…
Thanks to many sources and versions online I didn’t have to sit and type the recipe, but I did make ½ the recipe for the two of us and it was enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches.
Ingredients and my adaptations…
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2.5 in squares
1.5 cups dry white wine, dry white vermouth or red wine
1/4 cup brandy, eau de vie, or gin
2 Tb olive oil 2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme or sage (I used fresh-1 teaspoon each)
1 crumbled bay leaf
2 cloves mashed garlic
2 cups thinly sliced onions (fresh Vidalia onions)
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1/2 lb. lean bacon cut into 1″ slices, 1/4″ thick and 2″ long
1.5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (the assorted sliced mushrooms were good in this dish)
1.5 lbs ripe red tomatoes peeled, seeded, juiced and chopped 1 cup sifted flour for meat cubes 1 to 2 cups beef stock
Place the beef in the bowl and mix with the wine, optional spirits, olive oil, seasonings, herbs, and vegetables. Cover and marinate at least 3 hours (6 if refrigerated), stirring frequently.
A handy tool for peeling tomatoes and other thin-skinned fruit is available from OXO/ serrated peeler. $8.99
Simmer the bacon for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Drain and dry. Prepare the mushrooms and tomatoes.
For tomatoes: drop tomatoes one at a time into boiling water to cover, boil for exactly 10 seconds. Remove. Cut out the stem. Peel off the skin starting from the stem hole. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise, not through the stem. Squeeze each half to extract the seeds and juices from the center of the tomato. Chop into small chunks.
Remove the beef from the marinade and drain reserving marinade.
Preheat oven 325 degrees.
Line the bottom of the casserole with 3 or 4 strips of bacon. Strew a handful of the marinated vegetables, mushrooms and tomatoes over them.
Piece by piece, roll the beef in the flour and shake off excess. Place closely together in a layer over the vegetables. Cover with a few strips of bacon, and continue with layers of vegetables, beef, and bacon. End with layer of vegetables and 2 or 3 strips of bacon.
Pour in the wine from the marinade and enough stock or bouillon almost to cover the contents of the casserole. Bring to simmer on top of the stove, cover closely, and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers slowly for 2.5-3 hours. Then meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Tip casserole and skim out fat. Correct seasoning. (*) May be prepared ahead and reheated. While the recipe says “hot or cold” I prefer it hot.
Fresh lettuce greens with French Mustard dressing
Bowl of fresh clean assorted salad greens
1 tablespoon wine vinegar, whisk in 2 good pinches of salt and a little fresh cracked to dissolve the salt before adding oil and thoroughly blend in 1 good teaspoon French mustard (Dijon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Now add the oil, a little at a time, beating continuously until the dressing has thickened and completely blended.
Herbs should be fresh, fennel, chervil or parsley, tarragon, chives and 3 leaves of marjoram. I didn’t have fennel and a pinch of dried marjoram had to do for the dressing.