Thursday, August 25, 2016


All together now
This week will be one of the busiest of
the summer with several family events
happening Friday and Saturday. Those
not so near but dear are on their way to
Lewistown. Meanwhile last night we
hosted a large family dinner for those
already in town. While serving supper
to a full table may seem a daunting feat -
in fact is just as easy to cook for twelve
as it is for two. Thus I really rather enjoy
dishing it out in large quantities. While
there may be a few more dishes, theres
also plenty of fun, fellowship, and love.
Easy does it
Most everyone is fully aware that I'm
always more than eager to set a table.
What you may not know is that I truly
enjoy cooking for crowds. After years
of doing so, I've got my repertoire of
tried and true recipes. Slow and easy
is my motto when it comes to serving
up such group efforts. I want to enjoy
our time together as much as you do.
Thus by the time our guests arrived,
supper was ready and waiting in the
oven. After cocktails, dinner was set
out on the sideboard for all to enjoy.
On the menu
Nothing is more appropriate for a large
family gathering than comfort food. Our
repast started with a garden lettuce salad.
The main event was braised short ribs,
carrots, turnips, and mushrooms. Along
with mashed potato soufflé, gravy, and
lightly steamed green beans from Frank's
garden. Dessert was the rightly named
"Decadent Chocolate Cake" with fresh
whipped cream. All of the above is easy
to prepare and serve. Following are a few
recipes but remember...  I rarely measure.
So good luck! It'll all turn out just fine!

Braised Short Ribs

16 meaty beef short ribs with bone
4 large peeled onions cut into quarters
12 large mushrooms (I peel and de-stem)
2 pounds peeled carrots cut into 4 inch lengths
2 large peeled turnips halved, cut in 2" wedges
1/2 bottle dry red wine
2-3 cups beef stock (preferably home made)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine flour, onion powder, salt & pepper
to taste in a large plastic bag. Add short ribs
and shake until evenly coated.

On stovetop heat a large enameled cast iron
covered casserole (like Staub or Le Creuset).
Brown flour coated short ribs in olive oil on
all sides and ends. Remove and place to side.

Add onions and mushrooms to remaining oil.
Saute' over high heat for 3-5 minutes.
Add red wine to deglaze pan.
Add beef stock and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat.
Place short ribs on top of onions and mushrooms.
Cover and bake in 300 degree oven 4-5 hours.

After two hours, add carrots and turnips on top.
Salt and pepper to taste.

30 minutes prior to serving take out of oven.
Remove short ribs and vegetables onto a
platter. Cover and keep warm in the oven.

Pot juices should be gravy consistency.
If too watery, skim off as much fat as possible.
Add about one cup of heavy cream. Then heat
casserole on stovetop allowing juices to low
boil, reduce, and thicken.

Mashed Potato Souffle

4-6 pounds of russet potatoes
1 head garlic
1/2 pound (2 sticks) European style butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel, half, quarter potatoes
Add peeled whole cloves from garlic head.
Boil in cold salted water until potatoes are cooked.

Drain water.
Add butter and heavy cream to potatoes in pan.
Mash until fully blended.
Stir in cheese and eggs.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into buttered casserole/souffle dish.
Once cool, cover with aluminum foil.
Can be refrigerated for several days.

Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.
Note: if straight from fridge - bake
for about ninety minutes. Remove foil
last twenty minutes so that the top browns.
If still not brown - place under broiler
for a minute or two. ENJOY!

Silver Palate Decadent Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
plus extra for greasing pan

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons
unbleached all purpose flour
plus extra for flouring the pan

1 cup boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour 10 inch tube pan.

Cut butter and chocolate into small pieces.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over them.
Let stand until melted.
Stir in vanilla and sugar.
Whisk in egg yolks one at a time.
Mix baking soda and sour cream.
Whisk into chocolate mixture.
Sift flour and baking powder together.
Add to batter and mix thoroughly.

Beat egg whites until stiff - not dry.
Stir in 1/3 of egg whites into batter.
Gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake on center rack 40 - 50 minutes

Cool in pan ten minutes.
Remove center core of pan from outer.
Let cool till slightly warm.
Run knife under cake and around core to release.
Turn over and gently unmold onto cake plate.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into small saucepan.
Slowly heat over low flame, whisk until smooth.
Spread on cake while frosting is warm.