food fanatic.bookaholic.mommy

Posts tagged ‘Recipes to Rival’

Steak Diane

Steak–the final frontier.

For me at least.

I usually leave the steak-cooking to the man in the house..mostly ’cause it makes him feel manly.;) So I am a bit out of practice when it comes to grilling or pan-searing a steak.

But, it became my time  to cook steak when the Recipes to Rival selection was announced as Steak Diane. The sauce called for some flambe action, which I did, but since I was flying solo in the kitchen I was unable to get a snapshot of the flames.


The recipe was relatively quick and easy and could work as a week night meal. I served my steak with a side of sauteed broccolini.  My husband loved the mushrooms and sauce and gave me his permission to make Steak Diane again. ha.

Thank you to Temperance of High on the Hog and Shawnee of Delishes Delishes for selecting this month’s Recipes to Rival dish.

Steak Diane Flambé (recipe from Frank Bordoni  from Great Food Live.)
For the steaks
4 beef medallions
1 tsp Dijon mustard
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the sauce
1 tsp Butter, clarified
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Shallots, finely chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
125ml double cream
1 tbsp Chives, snipped
50ml Brandy


  1. Rub the medallions of beef with the mustard, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, add the clarified butter and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Add the shallots and mushrooms, and push to the centre of the pan. Arrange the meet around the edge of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring and tossing the mushroom mixture as you go.
  4. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Turn the steaks over and pour in the cream and chives. Tilt the pan slightly (away from you) and pour in the brandy at the far end. Now turn up the heat to high so that the brandy ignites.  Swirl the sauce around in the pan and turn off the heat.
  6. Put the medallions on 4 plates, pour over the sauce and serve.

Turnip Greens Holopchi

Do you know what a holopchi is?  Before a few weeks ago, I didn’t know.  And now I do, thanks to a cooking challenge. Holopchi is  a Ukrainian peasant dish where leaves are stuffed with beef, rice or something else.


For this month’s Recipes to Rival, Kat from A Good Appetite and Equal Opportunity Kitchenselected a Beet Leaf Holopchi recipe. The beet leaves in this recipe are stuffed with bread dough and topped with a creamy dill sauce. I opted to make these with turnip greens instead…mostly because the beet leaves all looked frightful.

These took a lot of time due to having to make the bread dough from scratch. They were very different from anything that I have ever made. Since I’ve never eaten holopchi before, I can’t comment on how close to the “real thing” they came.  Even if they weren’t exactly like a Ukrainian grandmother would make them, I enjoyed them… particularly with the garlicky dill sauce. My husband took one look at the holopchi and deemed them “weird”.

These would make a great dish to munch on while discussing the novel A Short History of Tractors in the Ukrainian. I read this book a few months ago for a book club and we all thought it was a great read. NO, it is not about tractors…it is about Ukrainian immigrants living in England.

Here’s the recipe…

Beet Leaf Holopchi
(from The Keld Community Ladies Club in Ashville, Manitoba. )

Bread Dough:

  • 2 pkgs. yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 8 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • a couple bunches of beet leaves


1. Dissolve 1 ts. sugar in 1/2 cup tepid water, sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. To the milk-water liquid add the melted butter, dissolved yeast and 8 cups of flour. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 1 hour)

3. Add salt, beaten eggs, sugar and remaining flour.

4. Knead well until dough is smooth and top with melted butter or oil.

5. Place in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. It will take about 2 hours. Punch down . When dough has risen to double in bulk, place a piece of dough, the size of a walnut on a beet leaf and roll up (leaving sides open)

6. Place holopchi loosely in a pot to allow for dough to rise to double in bulk again.

7. Arrange in layers, dotting each layer with butter.


8. Cover tightly, bake in a moderate oven of 350 F for 3/4 to 1 hour. Serve with dill sauce or cream and onion sauce.



1/2 cup butter
2 cups whipping cream
8 small onions (I used chives)
2 handfuls of chopped fresh dill (this makes the whole dish)
2-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions (chives) garlic, dill and cream.
Let it come to a boil and then turn down the heat.
I like to cook the holopchi with the sauce but you don’t have to. You can add it later – just make sure you have enough butter in roasting pan before layering your beet leaf rolls.



Turnip Greens

Holopchi Hold-up

My Recipes to Rival Holopchi post will be posted later today. I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my ancient camera. I apologize for the delay. I need to stop by the electronics store today during lunch to fix the situation.

A Very Cheesy (and Tasty) New Year!

These past few days I just may have single-handedly kept the dairy/cheese counter at my supermarket in business.  Between making the Tall & Creamy Cheesecake, and the two following appetizers I’ve purchased my fair share of cheese.

 For this month’s Recipes to Rival we were charged to make 2 out of 3 appetizers. I selected to make the Gruyere Cheese Gougeres and the Bleu Cheese Walnut & Pear Crostinis.

The Gruyere Cheese Gougeres were from a recipe from one of my cooking idols, Thomas Keller of French Laundry.  I had a few techincal issues on these. My 3/8″ plain piping tip was M.I.A. so I tried using a smaller one, but my puffs were looking a little weird, so I changed over to using the good old school, bare bones method– put the dough in a baggy and snip off one of the corners… Perfect!  So my gougeres ended up being all sorts of shapes and sizes depending upon which method I used to pipe them.


When folks at the party asked what they were I referred to them as Cheesy Poofs (a homage to Cartman from South Park I guess…although I spared them my Cartman impersonation). These little bites were cheesy AND poofy. The platter quickly became half empty. I liked these a lot, although I thought there was perhaps a bit too much salt. The 1 tablespoon of salt that the recipe called for sounded like a lot to me. I would definitely make them again, perhaps cutting down on the salt a bit.
I assembled the crostinis at the party. Yes, I was THAT person… the person that shows up and demands usage of the oven while the busy hostess tries to put the finishing touches on the meal.
For the crostini, I brushed the sliced baguette with butter instead of olive oil. I spread the toasted bread with a smear of mascarpone cheese and then topped it with pasteurized bleu cheese crumbles (went with a pasteurized variety since a few of the women at this NYE party were pregnant) and a piece of walnut.  Once the cheese had melted a bit, I took the crostinis out of the oven and added some cubed pear.  Next time, I think I will cut the pear into small, thin slices to put on top. I think this will make a better presentation and result in a more stable crostini — sometimes when picking up one of the crostinis, the pear cube would tumble off.
The crostinis were also a big hit. I loved the flavor combo of the bleu cheese, walnut, and pear. They were pretty easy to make with most of the time spent in topping the bread with the assorted toppings.


The recipes are after the jump. Definitely try out these 2 if you are a cheese lover!

Yellow, Vanilla, Love

This month I joined another cooking challenge group: Recipes to Rival.  Each month the group chooses a different savory recipe and cooks it together and post our results. The recipes are ones that should “increase our repertoire of cooking skills”.

The challenge recipe for November is one from the last season of Bravo’s Top Chef. It’s the squash soup recipe created by Andrew & Spike for the Improv challenge. In this challenge the chefs had to create a recipe based on 3 words supplied to them by the audience at Second City Comedy Club. The 3 words that Spike & Andrew’s team had were: Yellow, Vanilla, and Love. They decided to make Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche.

I enjoyed making this soup and spaced out the process over a couple of days—making the veggie stock one day and then doing the remaining steps the next day. The resultant soup was very flavorful and decadent. I can see how it helped Andrew and Spike do so well in the Top Chef challenge. I am not the biggest squash soup fan in general, so I am not sure if I will make this recipe again, but I am glad I did for this challenge.

The hosts of this month’s challenge are Meg or Joy Through Cooking and Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness.  The official Recipes to Rival post for this challenge is located here.


Recipes to Rival Challenge Requirements:

  1. Make your own stock. You can use the recipe given or play with the flavors. The given stock is a vegetable one. If you want to go with a chicken stock you are welcome to, but it must be homemade. This part can be done ahead.
  2. Incorporate a creamy vanilla element. You can use whipping cream if crème fraiche is cost-prohibitive. For those with allergies/food restrictions of course please substitute as needed but for those who do not have those restrictions, please incorporate a creamy vanilla garnish.
  3. For the soup it should be a squash soup. I used a mix of Butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash but you can use your favorites (or what is available). You can pre-cook the squash as well.
  4. Whatever you choose to do, please cook your soup with LOVE.

Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche

Please see the original inspiration recipe from Top Chef. I’ve tweaked the recipe to reduce the number of servings by half of what was on Bravo’s Top Chef site, since their recipe serves 8 and there are inly 2 of us. 🙂

Prep Time: one hour and 30 minutes
Serves: more than 8
Spike & Andrew’s recipe:

3 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
10 shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup miso stir
Salt and pepper

5 acorn
5 butternut
Oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper

Vegetable Stock:
4 quarts water
2 white onions
4 carrots, peeled
2 leeks
6-8 button mushrooms
Bouquet garnish (parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Creme fraiche
2 vanilla beans

Additional Ingredients:
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste


Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper.


Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve one butternut head for garnish. Rub squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one piece of sage under every piece of squash. Place squash face down on a sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until done. Scoop flesh out and pass through a ricer.
Vegetable Stock:
In a pot, boil all ingredients together with the exception of the bouquet garnishes. (NOTE: allow to simmer for at least 1 hour)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Whip creme fraiche and scrape vanilla beans and fold in.

Combine squash and vegetable stock to desired consistency. Add mirepoix and cook. Blend with a vita prep and strain through a chinois. Season with salt and cayenne.
To Plate:
Add 6 ounces of soup in bowl and spoon in creme fraiche. Garnish with bouquet garnishes.