Tuesday, January 31, 2012

win a set of le creuset?

Want a chance to win this fabulous set of Le Creuset cookware?

Read on, because you can!

If I was to pick a cooking technique that I like the most, it would have to be braising. I love that long slow cooking that breaks meat down into deliciousness that just melts in your mouth. I also love that big pot bubbling on the stove that sends out those great smells, filling the house with the promise of a terrific dinner.

And for this one-pot wonder, there's only really one thing you need, a Dutch oven.

Want a chance to win one?

I'm really excited to be starting my own on-line store with Open Sky. If you haven't heard of it, here goes! I plan to bring you my personal favorite things that I'm going to scout from all over the world. I saw a few things when I was just in Morocco and a couple of weeks ago when I was at the Fancy Food Show, I found delicious honey in sexy glass jars from Spain, the most unbelievable chocolate and really fantastic hard-to-find ingredients, tools and cookware.

Speaking of cookware and braising, you can have your very own Dutch oven by registering to follow me on Open Sky. If you do, you will automatically be registered to win.


Here's a little sneak preview of what I've been working on for the last several months,- my new book Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence that will be released in early fall. It's the companion to my new PBS TV series that just began airing a couple weeks ago.

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 pounds beef chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup full bodied red wine, Chianti or Cabernet
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

Pour 3 cups boiling water over the mushroom and let stand until the water is cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown the meat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften and turn golden, 15 minutes. Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid. Add the revived porcini mushrooms and the garlic to the pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the tomato paste, sugar, red wine, porcini soaking liquid and tomatoes. Increase the heat to high, add the tomato mixture and add the meat back into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat occasionally, until the meat is tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours. To see if the meat is tender, insert a knife or even a fork into the center of the meat. There should be no resistance and the meat should almost fall apart. If the sauce is too thick, add water ½ cup at a time.

Remove the meat from the pan and cover loosely with foil. Puree the sauce in a blender or a food mill until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the meat into ¼-inch slices and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce onto the top. Serve the remainder on the side in a small pitcher.

Serves 6

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

joan boada and i dance in the kitchen

Man, is it ever tough to get back into the swing of things, isn't it? I hit the ground running after the first and have been crazy busy ever since. Maybe I am just crazy but I love to be busy and have my hand in a thousand little projects. Are you the same way?

One of the projects that I've been telling you about is my new TV series, Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence, that premieres on PBS in most US cities this weekend. Here in SF, it's on channel 9 at noon!

I invited the crew over and I'm recreating the menu I did on the first show with my student Joan (that's pronounced JO-ON) Boada. If you're not familiar with Joan, he's one of the principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. Yes, Joan is a guy!
If you don't know his name, you will remember it after watching my show. He's so damn handsome, he makes Clooney look like Godzilla.
Joan is genuinely interested in cooking and it's his first time cooking lamb. Wait until you see what he says about the lamb stew. You have to have the recipe!

I'll see you on Saturday, OK? Promise you'll watch! I want to know what you think. Yes, of Joan of course, but I also want to know what you think of the new series.


Since fresh shell beans aren't available right now, substitute 1 cup dry white beans.

5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut from the shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, fresh or canned
1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh shell beans, shelled
½ pound dry chorizo, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon pimenton
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Hot green chilis, optional

In a large heavy soup pot, warm the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the lamb, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss the flour onto the top and stir together. Cook 2 minutes.

Add the minced garlic, bay leaves and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the beans and chorizo and simmer 40 minutes. Add additional water as needed.

Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and add the paprika, pimenton and sliced garlic but don’t let it take on color. Pour this mixture over the beans and stir gently together. Add water if needed. Let simmer for 30 seconds. Taste and season with salt.

Serve garnished with hot chilis if desired .

Serves 6