Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


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Steak, Wine, and Mushrooms

As some of you may know, I often watch The Chew when I am at home.  I love the mix of talk-show banter and cooking goodies.  My favorite co-host is Michael Symon, because he isn’t afraid of butter, steak, or bacon.  A few weeks ago he did a Pan Roasted Steak with a Red Wine Sauce.  John has started making his own wine, so I decided to make this recipe with his wine!  He even built a wine rack!
Since then, he has filled a few more rows up with his white wine.  It is pretty good, too!  I’m so proud of him.
Anyway, back to the food.  I started by defrosting some steaks, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
I cooked them in our enameled cast iron pan in tallow… MMMM!
When they were seared and cooked I added a few cups of sliced up mushrooms to the pan.
When they started to cook, I added in sliced spring onions and garlic.
Once they were browning nicely, I added John’s delicious red wine, oregano, and red wine vinegar.
I took the steak out, let the sauce start to reduce and added butter.
It finished reducing the sauce while the steaks rested.
While all of this was going on, I also cleaned all the random leafy greens we had in the fridge.  Beet greens, rainbow chard, carrot tops…
I had another pan going that I used to saute onions and garlic for the greens.
Together, the steak with mushroom sauce and garlicky greens were a perfect match!
This post was shared on Pennywise Platter!
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Balsamic Chicken with Arugula Salad

This was so easy that I am almost embarrassed to share it.  It was a great thing to have on a night that I work late, but still, hardly worth sharing.  The only reason that I am is because it was incredibly tasty.  
The magic part, in my opinion, was the marinade/dressing.  It starts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
 The only other ingredients are smashed garlic and salt!
I mixed it all together and put 1/4 cup of it in a bag with chicken thighs to marinate.
When John got home from work, he baked it at 350* until it was done.  I had already made up a quick salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, and shaved Parmesan Cheese.  I tossed it with the rest of the dressing right before we ate.
The chicken (shown here with John’s hummus and baba ghanoush) did not photograph very well, but it tasted great!  Next time I will probably slice the chicken and serve it over the salad.
This post was shared with Simple Lives Thursday!


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Macaroni Monday is Cancelled!

Well, for this week, at least.  Instead, I am sharing the delicious steak tacos we made for Cinco de Mayo.  I am all about having special meals to celebrate all year ’round.  In fact, I really need to make a list of all the crazy food-related holidays so I can make fun recipes to celebrate.  Remind me to add that to my to-do list!
Anyway, at the last minute, John and I decided to make steak tacos for dinner.  About 40 minutes later we were sitting down enjoying them.  If I had already made the tortillas, or if we purchased them, it probably would have been ready in about 20 minutes.  Is that fast enough for ya?
To start off, I made tortillas.  They require almost no active time, just about 30 minutes of resting time for the dough.  They are impossibly easy to make, and pretty fun, too!  Every single time I make them, I ask myself why I don’t do it more often.  I have no idea.
 While the tortillas rested and were cooked, John seasoned some steaks with garlic, salt, pepper, cumim, red pepper flakes, and oregano.  He grilled them and I sliced them against the grain of the meat so they would be easy to bite into when in taco form. 
 While all of this was going on, John and I prepped the fillings.  We used things we had around the house, like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and peppers.
When everything was complete, we mad the tacos!
Not too shabby for an unplanned taco night!

This post was shared with The Hearth and Soul Bloghop!


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I’m back… with steak salad!

Hi!  Long time, no see!  After spending the last 2 months snuggling on this little face…
I’m back!  
I’ll be posting again as regularly as I can, starting today with a quick steak and kale salad I threw together the other night. 
I sliced up some steak thinly and brushed it with garlic olive oil.  Then, I threw it on the cast iron grill pan.
While it cooked, I threw together Russian Kale, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  I meant to take a picture, but I got distracted.
Yeah, I am going to be shamelessly adding baby pictures…
Anyway, once the steak was cooked, but rare, I threw it on top of the kale salad.  So quick and easy!
This post was shared on the Hearth and Soup Hop.


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Beef Stock with Lots of Gelatin

Did I ever post about the marrow I made?  No, I didn’t think so.  Well, a while back I made some delish roasted marrow bones with crusty bread and lemony salad.  I saved the bones to make beef stock.  Of course, in the meantime, I got a little distracted.  While I was cleaning out the freezer, I stumbled upon the bones and decided to make the stock.  
First, I put the bones into a huuuuuge pot.
I added in frozen veggie scraps.
I filled the pot up with water and cooked it for ages.  By ages, I mean a few days, on and off.  Then, I took the jar of gelatin-ey broth stuff from rendering tallow out of the fridge.  
It was so jiggly!  I poured/dumped it into the pot and let it melt in.  It would be a shame to let all that good gelatin go to waste. 
Once it was melted in, I strained the stock and froze it.  I can’t wait to start using it!!

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday, Your Green Resource, Pennywise Platter, and Simple Lives Thursday!


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I Rendered Tallow!!

I am so beyond excited right now.  I can barely contain it!  I rendered tallow!  Successfully!  We cooked french fries in it!  They were tasty!!
Okay.  I want to tell you about it.  But I am too excited.  I don’t even know where to start!
The beginning.  Good idea.  Here goes.
Occasionally our supermarket has a great deal on grass-fed beef.  The catch is, you have to buy the whoooooollllle tenderloin.  We do it, of course, and then John trims the layer of fat off and cuts it into steaks, cubes, and other shapes.  We realized that the fat would be GREAT to use to render tallow.  Sure, it isn’t the “best” fat to use, but we already had it.  It wouldn’t cost us anything to use it, and if it came out badly, it was no loss.  So, we saved it from the last 2 tenderloins and froze it.  When I worked up enough nerve, I took it out and started to render it.  Instead of letting it defrost (and then losing my nerve), I stuck it in a pot as a whole chunk of fat-n-meat.
It took forever to cook down.  I kept the heat on low (between a 2 and 3 on my electric stove) and tried to break it up as best I could as it defrosted and then melted.  After a few hours, it looked like this:
 I started scooping the meat out of the bowl and letting the fat drain off of it.  Finally, I had just melted fat and some tiny pieces.  
 I CAREFULLY poured it through a cheesecloth to get rid of as many solids as possible.
When it seemed clear, I put it into a mason jar to store it.  
When it cooled, it was a beautiful shade of white.  Success!
In the background of the picture above, you might notice the other jar.  It has a top layer of tallow, and the bottom is a gelatinous mixture.  I think it is because the original fat had a LOT of meat, connective tissue, and other “undesireable” things in it.  What is it?  Could it be gelatin?  It is really jiggly!

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fat Tuesday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, and Your Green Resource!


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Beef, Acorn Squah, and Red Wine Risotto… MMMMM!!!!!

I have no idea where I got this recipe from.  All I know is that it has to be one of my favorite meals of this winter.  
Our most recent produce delivery included an acorn squash.  John isn’t the biggest fan of dishes that feature winter squash, so I knew it had to be a supporting character.  I sliced it up to roast it while I figured out what to make with it.
After brushing each slice with olive oil, I threw a bulb of garlic in to roast, too, for good measure.  You never know when you are going to need it!
For the main dish, I decided to go with the old standby of beef cubes.  To start, I melted down leftover bacon grease on our cast iron pan.

I added 2 BIG sliced up onions and cooked them down to nothingness.
While they were cooking, I started up some risotto as a side.  The strong autumn flavors called for a red-wine risotto.  That, and the fact that we had an open bottle of red wine that needed to be used up.  To start the risotto, I sauteed some onions in butter.
Then, I added 1 cup of arborio rice and let that get a little buttery.
Next, I added in 1/2 cup of red wine and stirred it until it was fully absorbed.
Then, about 1/2 cup at a time, I added in leftover whey and chicken broth.  Each time, I would alternate whey and broth.
When it was almost done, I turned my attention to the steak cubes.  By this time, the onions were nice and brown, so I removed them from the pan and added butter instead. 
Into the pan went the beef cubes!
When they were getting brown and tasty…
I sliced up the roasted acorn squash into cube-sized pieces. 
I added them to the pan, along with the onions, and let the flavors melt together.
 As the steak mix danced together, I added in some butter and Parmesan cheese to the risotto.
The meal was complete!  It was the perfect combination of flavors, and we enjoyed it more than almost anything we have made lately.
This post was shared on Fat Tuesday, Dinner on a Dime, and the Hearth and Soul Hop!