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06.06.2019
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Hello, friends! It’s been a beautiful few days here in Central PA and I’m so happy! It’s also been a wonderful spending time with our kids. As I’ve written before, all of our offspring are now young adults and doing their own things. It’s especially great when their own things involve cooking for their mom and dad…or just cooking for themselves and sharing.A few weeks ago I featured a recipe that one of our daughters had made for a large dinner party. Today, it's a recipe that another of our daughters made for herself but was kind enough to share.Some of you might have seen the Instagram/Facebook post of the stack of pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries. (See the photo above.) The really cool thing about that little stack of pancakes is that it was made using our pastry flour, our vanilla, and our vanilla sugar – all of which are now available at the bakery. (I just made more vanilla sugar this week and we have a few bottles of vanilla left on the shelf. Get them while they’re here because I’m not certain when we’ll be bottling more.) Then, she made homemade whipped cream using the vanilla and vanilla sugar, too. Can I just brag that they were AMAZING?!Now, I’m not usually a big pancake or waffle person. I prefer savory to sweet, especially for breakfast. However, pancakes for dinner (when you daughter is cooking!) is just fine with me. Try these out and let me know what you think. If you need flour, just ask and we’ll mill and bag some for you!  Whole Wheat Pancakes 1 ½ c Sandi’s Pastry Flour3 ½ t baking powder1 t salt1 T vanilla sugar1 ¼ c milk1 t vanilla1 egg, beaten3 T butter, meltedIn a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter. Mix until smooth. Heat a lightly-oild skillet over medium high heat. Pour or scoop 1/8 c batter onto the griddle for small pancakes, ¼ c for larger pancakes. Cook until bubbles start to form and pop, then flip and brown on other side. Serve with homemade whipped cream – 1 c heavy cream, 1 t vanilla, 1 t vanilla sugar, whisk until fluffy.
31.05.2019
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So, I know that last week’s post was all about our buns, but I just couldn’t resist showing you this delicious (extremely easy!!!) meal that we whipped up tonight. Thursdays at the bakery are incredibly busy and most nights I’m not even hungry when I get home. I’m focused on getting the post written and distributed so I can relax and get ready for Friday. However, this week we got ahead of the game by cooking a roast in the crockpot earlier in the week so we could just warm it up on Thursday night. What a great plan! Now, I’m able to sit and focus with a very satisfied tummy. I’m getting the newsletter done as well as Instagram posts made. (Yes…I’m hangin’ with the millennials and doing that Instagram thing!)If any of you are on Instagram, I’ve been posting for a while now and am finally getting the hang of it. Tonight, while eating my amazing French Dip sandwich, I got a lesson on the difference between my Instagram feed and my story from one of my daughters. So, watch for more postings from the bakery!Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how to create your own version of the scrumptious sandwich in the photo, so here it is.Purchase a nice sized chuck roast from Linda’s Meats at the market. Place the roast in the crockpot with a cup of water. Sprinkle an entire packet of French Onion Soup mix on top of the roast and turn the crockpot on low. Cook overnight. Remove meat and reserve gravy. Shred meat. Serve with our New England Hot Dog Buns with dishes of au jus (the gravy) on the side for dipping.See? Isn’t that just the easiest meal ever? Write back and let me know if you’ve tried this, or have other easy, make-ahead meals like this.In other news, I made Strawberry Rhubarb pies for the first time ever this week. (I’ve never had one, so it was a bit of an adventure.) They turned out great. I can’t wait for you to try them and let me know what you think. Also, if you have any suggestions for other pies you’d like us to make, just shoot me an e-mail.Looking forward to seeing you this weekend at the market!
24.05.2019
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Kiss the cook, but don’t touch the buns! Have you ever seen an apron with that saying? I love it. And, this weekend we’re all about the buns. Since it’s a holiday weekend that’s popular for picnics, we’ll talk about all the buns we have for your outdoor eating events. (Oh, it’s not just a barbeque weekend because it’s Memorial Day…it’s also a time to be celebrating graduates with great grill-out parties!)In the past, I’ve featured recipes for burgers (using Linda’s Meats’ ground beef, loose sausage, and meatloaf mix in equal parts) and others for beef barbeque in the crockpot. Those are best served on our Whole Wheat Sandwich and Slider Rolls. This week, we’ll do a grilled shrimp recipe that is perfect served on our New England Hot Dog Buns. Our buns are fresh and soft and they don’t fall apart under the condiments. So, you can enjoy your meal without worrying about getting all messy! (Then, you can finish your meal with a Blueberry Crumb Pie!)   Grilled Shrimp Ingredients2 teaspoons ground paprika2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice¼ cup olive oil¼ cup Dry White wine1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper2 teaspoons dried basil leaves (You can also use fresh basil, just adjust the amount to 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon.)1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed2 pounds large shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveinedDirections Whisk the paprika, garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, wine, olive oil, pepper, basil, and brown sugar together in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in the shrimp and toss to evenly coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning once. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil grill grate, and place about 4 inches from heat source. Remove shrimp from marinade, drain excess, and set aside marinade in small pot. Boil the marinade until reduced and thickened. Place shrimp on preheated grill and cook, turning once, until opaque in the center, 5 to 6 minutes. Brush with cooked marinade. Serve immediately. (I like to skewer the shrimp – they’re much easier to manage on the grill. Just soak your wood skewers for a few minutes before adding the shrimp, grill as normal.)
17.05.2019
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Is there anything better than having adult children who cook? Yes! Having adult children who cook AND share their recipes!My daughter and son-in-law recently hosted a large group of friends and family for a meal. During the week prior to the event, she and I brainstormed the menu – dishes for friends who are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free – and determined how many mains and sides of what types to serve. Of course, the idea was to serve a full meal without spending all evening in the kitchen. One of the fun parts was hearing about what everyone was bringing – wine, hummus, potato kugel (a recipe for another time), quinoa pilaf, and a variety of desserts.The other fun part, as my daughter discovered, was seeing everyone enjoy the food she prepared and hearing them rave about how good it was. (As a mom who spends her life involved with food, it does my heart proud to hear that she enjoyed cooking and that others around her enjoyed what she made.) Of course, her chicken soups (she made two – real and vegetarian) and matzo balls (don’t know if she was able to do these gluten-free or not) were a great hit. However, the dish that really wowed them all was her beef brisket. Not everyone is brave enough to do a traditional brisket for a crowd when they’re still getting the hang of “kitchening,” so I’m extra thrilled that she dove into this project. (Also, brisket is expensive, so you don’t want to mess it up.)I heard so much about how great it was from all her siblings that I just had to get the recipe and try it myself. What fun to call my daughter up and ask, “Hey, can I get your recipe for brisket?” (I was delighted, too, to learn that it was in a cookbook that I gifted her!) We consulted on the recipe a couple of times, then I made it for Tom and myself. It was nice, too, that our other two daughters were here for dinner so we could compare the briskets. (I think my daughter’s was better.)So, if you’re up for an adventure, this is a very easy recipe that works well in the crockpot or the oven, looks great on the platter, and is delicious. We purchased our brisket at the market and almost all the other ingredients there, too.A couple of important points: 1) When the recipe says brown the brisket, do it. Don’t skip this step, as it is critical to developing the deep, rich flavor you’re expecting; 2) Don’t forget the salt, pepper, and paprika. Salt is not the bad guy ingredient unless you have to be on a low-salt diet. In moderation, it balances the flavors beautifully. If you don’t want to use salt, use a bit of Mrs. Dash.Ok. Now for the recipe…  Friday Night Brisket (From Joan Nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen) 1 4-pound beef brisket6 garlic cloves, crushedSalt and pepper to tastePaprika to taste2 T EVOO2 large onions, chopped6 carrots, chopped4-5 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped1 c tomato juice (I used V8 juice…also great with a little vodka, a celery stick, and some hot sauce while you’re cooking.)1 envelope dried onion soup mixPreheat oven to 325 degrees.Rinse the meat with water and pat dry. Rub meat all over with crushed garlic and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.Heat oil in heavy-bottomed casserole and brown on all sides.Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cover with tomato juice and sprinkle with dried onion soup.Cover and bake in oven 3 hours. Before serving, remove cover and brown ½ hour more. This dish is best prepared a day in advance, so the fat is easily skimmed off before the brisket is reheated.(Note: This is also easily done in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours.)
10.05.2019
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This week is Mothers Day! Yay! That means all our kids will be home for a Sunday brunch and I'm so excited. In honor of all the mothers I know, I'm bringing back this wonderful recipe so everyone has a chance to enjoy a lovely brunch. (If you pass on this newsletter to the other cooks in your house, maybe, just maybe, they'll get the hint.)Before getting to the recipe, let's talk about some other options for the day. We have a variety of breads and pastries to make any meal a special one for mom. Besides that, we've brought back our "Sandi's Own" Vanilla. You can also treat mom to a beautifully handcrafted spurtle (wooden stir stick) or cutting board. Check them out when you stop by! Now, on to the recipe!Our favorite brunch meal is Eggs Benedict. I like to use Gouda in place of the bacon and Country French in place of the English muffin. (Of course, this is Sandi-fied…would you expect anything different?) This is really pretty easy. If you use a prepared Hollandaise sauce, or even one that you make from the packet you pick up at the grocery, it’s easy and quick. (I do make my own Hollandaise sometimes, but we always have the packets in the cupboard just in case we want to whip this up quickly.) The toughest part might be poaching the eggs into nice round shapes, but that doesn’t have to be difficult, either. All you need are a few helpful tips. Here they are:Tips for poaching eggs: Always put vinegar in the water. It helps hold the eggs together so they don’t get that jellyfish look about them. (The technical term is “feathering”.) Use a tea cup to gently ease the eggs into the water. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out onto a paper-towel-covered plate. Bring the water to a rolling boil, add the eggs all at once, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Tips for making your own Hollandaise sauce: Don’t forget or overlook the pepper or cayenne. It adds a lovely, subtle kick that makes the sauce more than just some goop you drizzle over your eggs. Use fresh lemon juice. I know that stuff in the bottle is convenient, but it has a bitterness to it. The only time to use it is to sour milk for baking. Otherwise, just keep a couple of fresh lemons in the fridge. If you’re not cooking with them, put them in your glass of water. Fresh lemon juice has vitamins and lowers your blood glucose levels. It’s all good, so there’s not reason not to have them on-hand. (Plus, Masser’s has been carrying Meyer lemons. If you’ve never had one, try them. They are amazing, with a floral quality and almost a sweetness that you don’t find in the more common lemons.) Don’t rush this. Good Hollandaise requires a little time and patient stirring. Don’t walk away. It’s worth the few minutes of attention. Use a double boiler and don’t let the bowl sit in the water. You’ll risk overheating the sauce which will “break” it and make the eggs curdle. Use an instant read thermometer. See tip 4. Use real butter. Do I really have to say this? You simply can’t replace real butter. We have migrated to using European butters and I must say there is a difference that you must experience yourself. Poached Eggs  2 T distilled white vinegar1 t salt12 large (or extra large) eggsBoiling water to fill a 12-inch skilletCrack 3 eggs into each of 4 teacups. Fill skillet nearly to rim with boiling water. (Don't forget to leave room for all the eggs! The last thing you want is an overflow of boiling, egg-y water.) Taking two cups in each hand, add eggs to water all at once. Cover the skillet and remove from heat. Allow to cook until whites are set and yolks still runny. About 6 minutes. Remove each egg with a slotted spoon, allowing it to drain briefly. Set aside on a plate covered with paper towel. Hollandaise Sauce 12 T unsalted butter, softened to room temp, but not melted6 large egg yolks½ c boiling water (Boil this in a tea kettle, as you’ll be adding it to the sauce.)2 t fresh lemon juice1/8 t cayenne pepperSalt to tasteFill medium sauce pan with about ½ inch water and bring to simmer. Place softened butter and egg yolks in heat-proof bowl and set bowl over barely simmering water. Whisk yolks and butter together. Add boiling water to egg and butter mixture while continuing to whisk. Continue to cook and whisk for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. Carefully remove bowl from heat and stir in lemon juice and cayenne. Salt to taste. Transfer sauce to liquid measuring cup and cover with plastic until ready to serve. Sauce can be held at room temperature for an hour and reheated in microwave at 50 percent power, stirring every 10 seconds for about a minute.Note: This Hollandaise will be a little foamier than other sauces but will hold well. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and is easily reheated in the microwave. Eggs Benedict 12 slices Country French bread12 large poached eggs12 round slices smoked Gouda cheese or Canadian baconHollandaise saucePlace slices of bread on a baking sheet and cover each with a slice of cheese (or bacon). Place under broiler until just toasted and cheese is soft or bacon is beginning to brown. Turn off broiler and transfer pan to lower rack to keep warm until eggs and sauce are ready. Place two slices of bread and cheese (or bacon) on each plate. Cover each with an egg and spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce over each. Serve immediately.
12.04.2019
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This afternoon when I arrived at home I was greeted by the sight of a bluebird at our suet feeder. It was such a lovely confirmation that Spring has truly arrived! That, along with the fact that Easter is here in just over a week, is all the motivation I need to get ready for the annual Spring feast of Roast Leg of Lamb with assorted sides, dinner rolls, and our new Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert.We will start our Easter morning with warm Chocolate Cherry Babka, then have the lamb for Easter dinner when we get together with the extended family.Even if you’re not a get-together-with-large-groups sort of person or family, this is a beautiful, easy meal with just a bit of prep time the night before. And, the leftovers are fantastic.Ready? Here goes…   Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary ¼ c honey2 T Dijon mustard2 T chopped fresh rosemary1 t freshly ground pepper1 t lemon juice¼ c balsamic vinegar¼ c EVOO6 cloves garlic, halved1 t coarse sea salt or kosher salt 1 cup water5-pound leg of lambCombine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Rinse and pat dry the roast. Cut 12 slits around the roast and insert halved garlic cloves. Using your hands, rub the marinade all over the roast. Place it in a covered pan and refrigerate overnight.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan, pour water and remaining marinade into bottom of pan. (This will make a wonderful gravy with the drippings!)Place it in the oven without the lid and roast 15 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to 350 and continue cooking for about 45 more minutes, checking for doneness with an instant-read thermometer.The lamb is done (rare) when it registers 140. If you prefer a medium rare, let it roast until the internal temp is closer to 150.Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
05.04.2019
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Every once in a while, well actually more often than that, I am at a total loss of what recipe to feature in the newsletter. So, I end up perusing my monumental stack of cookbooks. One of my favorites is a vegetarian cookbook published by Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve been gravitating toward vegetables lately and this cookbook has been a wonderful culinary adventure. The latest deliciousness is a combination of two of my favorite things – Asian food and peanut butter. Does that sound strange? Yup. But it’s great stuff. The interesting thing about peanut butter is you can add it to dishes and it gives them a robust flavor and a real protein punch. Add some ginger, soy, and garlic, and you have a “sweet, nutty, addictive flavor,” according to my recipe book and my taste buds. You’re going to love this.This recipe works because the most difficult part might be cutting up the vegetables. The sauce is so easy and is made with ingredients that you might even already have in your pantry.  Sesame Noodles with Veggies Sauce5 T soy sauce¼ c chunky peanut butter3 T sesame seeds, toasted2 T rice vinegar (If you have some with garlic, I figure that is a plus since garlic is an essential part of the dish.)2 T packed light brown sugar1 T grated fresh ginger (I had some in a jar. Not as good, but passable.)2 garlic cloves (Again, I had some in a jar already minced.)1 t hot sauce½ c hot waterNoodles and Veggies12 ounces spaghetti or linguini2 T toasted sesame oil5 radishes, trimmed, halved, and sliced thin4 scallions, sliced thin on bias1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin1 carrot, peeled and grated1 c red cabbage, shredded (optional)1 T chopped fresh cilantro1 T sesame seeds, toasted  For the sauce: Process all ingredients except water in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. With blender running, add hot water, 1 T at a time, until sauce has consistency of heavy cream. (You may not need all the water). Sauce can be refrigerated up to 3 days; add warm water as needed to loosen consistency before using. For the noodles and veggies: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until tender. Drain noodles, rinse with cold water and drain again, leaving noodles slightly wet. Transfer noodles to large bowl and toss with oil. Add radishes, scallions, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, and sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle individual portions with sesame seeds and serve.
08.03.2019
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It’s been a busy week in Farmstead Market’s Building 2.  With Tina Marie’s Chocolates moving in, we’ve been visiting with Tina and Ed in between our baking tasks. It’s going to be so fun having them in the building with us. That said, we already miss Cyndee and Kristi and will be visiting them often in the other building. Make sure you wander through both newly-renovated spaces when you come in this week!And, that’s not all that’s going on…we have great news! You did it!!! You got us into the Simply The Best contest by Harrisburg Magazine. We will be competing for the Best Bakery in Central PA in April. I’ll keep you posted on when it’s time to vote. Remember, you’ll be able to vote once a day. It would be so cool to get this recognition. Thank you all for your efforts to get us into the contest!Now, back to speaking of renovations…Many of you have observed the road signs indicating the closure of Rt. 743 from 3/11 – 3/29. (I know. We’re not very happy about it either.) The best way to get here will be to either take Rt. 39 to Rt. 22 and come in from there (Turn right at Ciocca Honda, then right again onto 743.) or, take Gravel Hill Rd. out to Rt. 22 (Turn left onto 22, then left again onto 743). I hope this helps. It’s only for a couple of weeks, then we’ll be back to normal.Well, that’s enough business. Now for this week’s recipe – Louisiana Gumbo. This is one that’s not going to be fast, but it will be SOOO worth it. It’s a mildly spicy dish best served with a loaf (or two) of our Country French bread. The trick here is to get the roux right. You must take the time to brown it to a nice rich color or the gumbo won’t have that deep, complex flavor that makes it so tummy-warming and amazing. This recipe makes a lot, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers and some to freeze. If you’re not into leftovers, better cut it in half.  Louisiana Gumbo 1 T EVOO2 c skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped (about 3 good-sized thighs)1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced1 c butter1 c all-purpose flour4 cloves garlic, minced2 quarts chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon works well for this.)1 12-oz can or bottle of beer6 stalks celery, large dice1 lg yellow onion, large dice1 c okra, chopped (Can use frozen)1 chopped fresh jalapeño2 10-oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies2T Tony’s Creole seasoning1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined  Heat EVOO in medium skillet until shimmering. Cook sausage until browned. Remove and sauté celery, and onion in skillet until just tender. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, melt butter then stir in flour over medium heat. Continue cooking and stirring roux until it becomes brown (a little darker than peanut butter) and gives off a nutty aroma. (About 30 minutes…remember it’s all worth it!) Mix in garlic and cook about 1 minute. Gradually stir chicken broth and beer into roux. Bring to a boil and add chicken, sausage, and vegetables. Add all remaining ingredients except shrimp and okra. Reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat, stir in shrimp and okra and let sit about 10-15 minutes. (Shrimp will be perfectly cooked this way, not over-cooked.) Serve over rice and accompanied with loaves of fresh Country French bread.
01.03.2019
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You all know that Tom and I work together in the bakery every day, so you wouldn’t think we can surprise each other much. Au contraire!Imagine my delight when I walked into the kitchen recently to find Tom at the stove, a pot in front of him with an amazing aroma wafting from it. He looked up and grinned at me and said, “I made three-ingredient tomato soup!” He then proceeded to tell me all the (not three!) ingredients he put into the pot that was bubbling there. Smirking, I responded, “So, you ‘Tom-ified’ the recipe.”What you must understand is that Tom has, for many years, teased me about my inability to follow a recipe. I view recipes as guidelines, then I (as Tom puts it) Sandi-fy them by adding my own ingredients and changing the proportions as I see fit.Now, those of you who have used the recipes that I have published know that this is a technique that works – as long as I remember to take notes. So, after years of this teasing, it was wonderful to have the chance to give him a bit of a hard time. (We have to get mileage out of these opportunities when they don’t come very often!)Back to the soup, though. It was amazing – thick, flavorful, very tomato-y. The best way to eat it is with a few of our croutons sprinkled into the bowl with freshly-grated parmesan on top of it all. We just made fresh croutons this week, so pick up a bag of them and make this soup to warm your tummy.So, without further ado…  Three (Not So Much!) Ingredient Tomato Soup, ala Tom 2 28-oz cans whole tomatoes1 medium onion, diced4 cloves garlic, minced1 T Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base1 ½ c milk½ c heavy cream¼ c EVOO1 t dried thyme1 t dried basilSalt and pepper to tasteSandi’s Gourmet CroutonsFreshly-grated parmesan(optional: 3-5 slices 100% Whole Wheat bread – see note below)Add 2 T EVOO to a Dutch oven. Heat on medium high until shimmering. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken base and stir until it is incorporated with the onions and garlic. Pour both cans of tomatoes into the pot. Mash tomatoes with potato masher. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. (If using bread as noted below, this is when you add it and let it simmer with soup.) Add milk and cream, salt and pepper. Serve immediately, drizzled with remaining EVOO, topped with croutons and freshly-grated parmesan.NOTE: You can make this recipe dairy-free by replacing the milk and cream with vegetable or chicken stock and 3-5 slices of Sandi’s 100% Whole Wheat bread. Once the tomatoes are in the pot and the soup is starting to get steamy, tear the bread up and add to the pot. Let soak while soup simmers, then process the soup with an immersion blender. The addition of the bread will add a creaminess to the texture of the soup without actually adding cream.
08.02.2019
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As I sit here contemplating this week’s recipe, I realize that I haven’t really cooked this week because we were on the road, and then trying to catch up from being away. Here’s why…For those of you who don’t know, we stone mill our flours for all our breads and pastries. This means we have mill stones that must be “dressed” or “sharpened” about once a year. So, every 12-18 months, we pack up our mills and trek down to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It’s a great opportunity for both of us to unplug and chat about what’s going on in life and in the bakery. It’s the time when we typically brainstorm about new things we want to try. And, it’s the time we make sure to stop at other bakeries, visit with the owners, and learn from others’ experience. Essentially, it’s a learning vacation…in three days.This year, we stopped at two bakeries in Charlottesville. We ate some great naturally-leavened breads and saw some beautiful desserts. We came away with a couple of ideas that you will see on the shelves this weekend – Everything French Bread and Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cakes.As for the foods we ate, we kept it simple this time and stuck to what we know. Big salads, steak, grilled catfish, and pasta. The big salad was my favorite this time. A beautiful green salad with a steak cooked to perfection, sliced, and arranged on top. It was enough to share and it inspired me to look into making some good steaks at home. Here’s what I found…  Pan Seared Steaks with Red Wine Pan Sauce Before I get to the recipe, there are a few tips we have to cover. Get the pan really hot – smoking hot – before adding the steaks. This is the only way they will get that delicious well-carmelized exterior. Pat the steaks dry and, once they’re in the pan, don’t move them until it’s time to turn them over. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes after removing them from the pan. This will allow the juices to return to the fibers in the meat, ensuring that you have a lovely, juicy steak, rather than a well-cooked dry piece of meat. Finally, purchase the right cut of meat for your purpose. For this steak salad, the best cut will be a boneless strip steak or rib eye. Now for the recipe. Steaks          4 (8-ounce) steaks, 1 to 1 ¼ inch thick          Kosher salt and pepper          1 T vegetable oilRed Wine Pan Sauce          1 shallot, minced (or a small onion, if you can’t find shallots)          ¾ c chicken broth          ½ c dry red wine          2 t packed brown sugar          3 T unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled          1 t minced fresh thyme (yes, it’s worth finding it in the produce aisle..dried thyme just isn’t the same)          Salt and pepper to taste  Pat steaks dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add steaks and cook until browned on first side, 3-4 minutes. Flip steaks over and continue to cook until meat registers 115 to 120 degrees (for rare) or 120 to 125 degrees (for medium rare), 3-5 minutes. Transfer steaks to large plate, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 -10 minutes. Pour off all but 2 t fat from skillet. (If there isn’t that much, add some oil to equal 2 t.) Add shallot and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, and brown sugar, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in any accumulated meat juices. Off heat, whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.  For a steak salad, I would slice the steak thin, drizzle the sauce over it, then plate on top of a pile of mixed greens with cucumbers, avocado, blue cheese crumbles, and tomatoes (maybe even a little red onion if I’m feeling adventurous). Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette and a loaf of crusty bread.

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