Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sunrise in cubeland


Another Monday another cube land picture.


Sunday, Busy Sunday.


Stain Deck – Check

Menu planning – Check

Grocery shopping – Check

Laundry – Check

Culinary Goddess – Check check check

Presenting Beef and Stout Pies with a Stilton Crust courtesy of Williams Sonoma

This hearty beef stew is slowly simmered on the stovetop, then topped with Stilton pastry and finished in a hot oven.


7 Tbs. olive oil

1 lb. white button mushrooms, quartered

2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbs. tomato paste

2 1/2 cups Irish stout

1 cup beef broth

1 lb. carrots, cut into chunks

1 lb. red potatoes, cut into chunks

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme

One 16-inch round Stilton pastry (see related recipe at left)

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water


In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add one-third of the beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the liquid into a separate bowl. Repeat the process 2 more times, using 2 Tbs. oil to brown each batch of beef and deglazing the pot with 1/2 cup water after each batch.

Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beef, stout, broth and reserved liquid, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Brush the rim of the pot with water. Lay the pastry round on top, allowing it to droop onto the filling. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang, and crimp to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture, then cut 4 slits in the top of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the potpie rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

A sprinkling of creamy Stilton cheese sets this pastry dough apart. Use it to form the crust for our Beef and Stout Pie (see related recipe at left).


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. sugar

16 Tbs. (2 sticks/250g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

4 oz. Stilton cheese, crumbled


In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until blended, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 1/3 cup of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 Tbs. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cheese over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll out the dough into a 16 1/2-inch square. Using a paring knife, trim the dough into a 16-inch round.

Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 10 minutes, then lay the dough on top of the beef and stout pie and bake as directed in that recipe. Makes enough dough for a 16-inch round.



Tuesday Blahs


Winter is coming.  There I said it.  The warm weather is passing me by and I need to think about getting everything ready for the onslaught of my least favorite season.  Woolies need to be pulled from storage and hung, summer clothes need to be put away, the front half of the house needs to be prepared to be shut down so I don’t have the pain of massive gas bills this winter.  I need to work on scheduling my time a whole heck of a lot better.  There are 71 knitting days between now and Hexmas and not a gift has been made.

I have also started a part-time job at Wegmans which could possibly be compounding my problem.  No more lazy mornings in bed until 7:30 on the weekdays.  I need to be in the office by 7am to make everything work.  I’ll figure it out, I’ve just been in slacker mode for so long this summer that it is hard to get my butt back in gear.