Category Archives: recipe

Sonoma Slow Cooker Stew

Winter in Sonoma means rainy weather, cozy fires and warm stew.  Having 2 young boys around makes finding a dish that all will enjoy challenging at times.  This stew though is a winner.  With Bobby loving the veggies and CJ the meat, this dish is both baby and toddler friendly.  The deep flavor imbued by the red wine (I use cab) makes it adult friendly too.  Plus this recipe yields quite a bit of stew so it is a perfect excuse to invite over a few friends to share it with.

4.5 lbs of stew meat

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp bacon fat

1 lb frozen white pearl onions

1 lb crimini mushrooms quartered

2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes cubed

2 cups kale chopped

1 leek

1 stalk celery

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 cups beef broth

1 bottle red wine

¼ cup flour

2 tsps parsley

2 tsps thyme

3 bay leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

Heat pan, add oil and bacon fat, heat till smokes.  Brown meat.

Add bouquet garni (leek cut lengthwise and 1 stalk celery tied together with kitchen twine) and bay leaves

Add mushrooms, potatoes, onions, broth, wine, tomato paste, spices (parsley, thyme, salt and pepper).  Cook on low in slow cooker for 7.5 hours.  Toss the bouquet.  Thicken sauce to desired thickness with flour.  Add kale.  Let kale wilt.  Serve with rice.  Enjoy!

Birthday Bash Baked Brie

Celebrating birthdays Sonoma style means being surrounded by close family, close friends and good food.  This is how we have been ringing in Bobby’s 3rd birthday.  The highlight food wise so far has been what I’ve named Birthday Bash Baked Brie (try to say that 10 times) or as it has also been called Brie Cobbler.   It is both easy and versatile.

You will need:

1 package of frozen puff pastry sheets

Wheel of brie

1 egg (beaten in a cup)

Two cups of fresh fruit (peaches, apples, pears would work well)

¼ cup sugar

1 Tbsp Quick cooking tapioca

Dash of cinnamon

Thaw your puff pastry sheets.  Slice your fruit.  Warm a saucepan and cook fruit with sugar, tapioca and cinnamon.  Stir frequently until the fruit is soft and the juices are thick.  About 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease an ovenproof dish with a bit of butter.  Lay one sheet of puff pastry on the bottom.  Unwrap brie and place on top.  Place fruit mixture on top of brie.  Fold pastry over brie – Depending upon size of brie, you may need another sheet of puff pastry.  Seal pastry at the seams.  And, then brush with an egg wash. Bake in oven at 350 until golden brown (about 40 minutes).  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.  Serve with crackers and/or sliced baguette.

Enjoy!

Toddler Treasure Chest Treats – Sweet Potato Banana Scones

Within the last few months Bobby’s imagination has bloomed!  The other day we made these treats for breakfast and he decided to call to call them treasure chests.  When he bit into them, he found a special surprise.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll probably guess what that ingredient is – chocolate.   You might think I’m nuts to give my tot chocolate for breakfast, and maybe I am, but when the chocolate is surrounded by sweet potatoes, whole wheat and bananas, it seems a bit healthier.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup milk (half and half or cream works too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 super ripe banana
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • ½ cup to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Set your oven on 400.  Prepare your cookie sheets.  I just line mine with parchment paper.

While the oven preheats, make your dough.  You can make these scones in either a food processor, stand mixer or by hand.  Peel and cook your sweet potato.  I cooked it in the microwave for 4 minutes.  Then, blend the sweet potato and banana in a food processor.  Add the butter.  Blend well.  Then add the liquids, milk, egg and vanilla.  Add the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.   Blend.  Add the chocolate chips.

This dough is super sticky.  So, using two tablespoons just drop bits of dough on the sheet.   Brush the dough balls with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 17 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.  Let your little one marvel at the chocolate chip treasures that await within the baked goodness!

Bobby Snacks

ImageEarlier today, Bobby and I came up with a new snack.  Why not combine his two favorite foods – chocolate and marshmallows?  We added them to his new favorite cereal, Rice Krispy Treats which he calls “Snap Crackle Pops.”  The result was something between fudge and crunchy bliss.  So, here is the recipe from my future chef:

  • 1 bag of marshmallows (10 oz)
  • ½ bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons of good unsalted butter
  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • Toppings as desired – we used candy.  Specifically chocolate covered caramels.

Take out a large skillet or saucepan.  Heat on low to warm the pan.  Add the butter. Melt the butter.  Then, add the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir occasionally until the mixture is melted.  Turn off the burner.  Add Rice Krispies.  Mix gently.  Put in a greased pan.  Add toppings.  Let cool.  Enjoy!

Also published at:  http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2012/Bobby-Snacks/