Sunday, October 31, 2010

SMS - Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins, combines with the Gutsy Cooks Oxtail Stew and Polenta - Plus Some

It is Hanaa's week to host for Sweet Melissa Sundays! Hooray for Hanaa of Hanaa's Kitchen! Such a wonderful baking friend and always helpful with cooking/baking tips and knowledge. Hanaa chose Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins. Since I have missed the last two weeks with the Gutsy Cooks, who also post on Sundays, I caught up by making a full dinner by combining the menus from both groups. Hopefully I am not confusing anyone here =).



I stuffed my muffin cups with batter since I decided on baking a full batch. Melissa says the recipe only makes 12 muffins but the last 3 times I have baked this recipe, using the different add-in ingredients, the recipe has made more like 18 muffins.


Melissa's baking time is a little too long, according to my oven. The muffins were done in 18 minutes.

The filling with goat cheese, olives, and rosemary is delicious! I wish I had added more rosemary because the fresh herb seemed to get lost in my muffin.
Thank you Hanaa for the easy and delicious choice. Look at other SMS's bakers twists on the recipe by clicking here or go to Hanaa's blog here for the recipe. Now, ON TO GUTSY COOKS!
I may not have been posting the blog BUT I have been cooking right along with the Gutsy Cooks. My excuse, after looking for work in the Northwest for the last 10 months, I have officially started a new job and what a relief~! I am exhausted getting by at 4:15 a.m. and not getting home till after 7 p.m. but I will take the schedule any day over the stress of job hunting.
Now on toooo this week's menu chosen by Monica as the last week of October: Oxtail Stew with Wine and Herbs over Polenta. The recipes are found in The Illustrated Kitchen Bible by Victoria Blashford-Snell and to get the recipes, you will need to buy her cookbook. The author has not given permission for the host to post the recipe. Dessert is last week's Vanilla Custards.
My first time EVER trying oxtail anything. I went to my local butcher, the only place out of 4 major grocery stores to carry oxtail, and the butcher only had 1 package weighing 2 pounds. They sell out on a regular basis - who knew? I ordered another 5 pounds to be picked up next Friday, encase we loved the stew. My husband and I enjoy trying new dishes and this is definitely new for the both of us. I already had beef soup bones with lots of beef still attached so I made up the difference of 4 1/2 pounds with beef.
The recipe calls for fresh thyme and rosemary, a drizzle of honey, salt and pepper for seasonings.
Chopped onions, carrots, fennel, garlic cloves (I added 4 minced) and 2 hot red chiles are all sauteed until tender (about 5 to 6 minutes) then add with the browned oxtail tail and beef bones. A bottle of hearty red wine Cabernet Sauvignon was added as the liquid base for the stew to slowly braise in.

2 1/2 hours later, the oxtail stew came out of the oven and smelled amazing with all the slow roasted vegetables and meat. The sauce had a deep brown color and the flavor picked up all the fresh herbs, vegetables, and meat to make an amazing gravy, poured over the polenta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
I was raised around brown and white rice, potatoes, and pasta for versions of side dishes. Polenta is a newer dish for me, in fact, this recipe will be the third time I have made polenta. We like it but the texture is still an adjustment.
The verdict is we LOVED the oxtail stew. Oxtail meat does not taste like beef and pulling the meat off of the bone takes a little doing. Definitely tender but a different texture and the meat can kind of a sweeter, different taste that I liked but just can not put my finger on to compare with anything else I have eaten. I am curious to see what others already know about the meat so I can get a better idea of what is normal to expect.

Then there is the vanilla custard. I baked the custards in a water bath the same as the coconut custards we tried earlier ONLY this time I baked the custards a LOT longer. The custards baked along with the oxtail stew but only for 40 minutes at 300 degrees F.

What is not admire and enjoy as a true comfort food the a custard whose base starts with a fresh vanilla bean, simmering in heavy cream and whole milk? Whipped egg yolks and honey are whipped into a thick frenzy and the simmered and soaked vanilla bean mixture is slowly added. Pour into 6 oz. ramekins, set in a water bath containing boiling water and slowly bake until set. Did I mention what is not to like? What a relief to have several dishes turn out right.
I feel terrible saying such a think BUT the empanadas and coconut custards did not turn out and I was having a little trouble pushing myself to keep trying the next recipes. Now, I am glad we did! Thank you Monica, the creator of the Gutsy Cooks group, for choosing all the recipes for the month of October. Last night's dinner kicked butt and was delicious!
Here is the photos of the Empanadas and White Bean Soup for the week of October 17. I really added twists to the bean soup. First I did not blend the beans up in the puree. Also, I simmered the beans with a smoked ham hock. I later took the bone out, pulled the ham and added the pulled meat back into the simmered beans with celery and carrots. I omitted the Pancetta, even though I bought it because, well simply stated, I forgot.
I am not sure if this soup counts since I deviated a LOT from the recipe but we loved it.



The empanadas are a different story. I made a big mess trying and we really did want to like these. The dough is what caught us up and I already changed up the filling ingredients. I just could not do Tuna. The thought made my tummy flip-flop.



Maybe I rolled the dough to thick but the flavor was bland and dry.

I used diced pork with the chopped tomatoes and 2 tsp.'s of tomato paste along with a jar of chipotle corn salsa.

The filling was okay but the whole empanada was hard to eat more then one. I pulled out more salsa for dipping, still we did not eat even half of them. I felt bad posting a negative response but I think being part of a group is knowing that we all have different tastes and this just didn't hit ours.

I do want to try empanadas again, with a different dough recipe, since this was also a first for me to make and the idea was a wonderful one. Thank you Monica for widening our horizons in the kitchen!

16 comments:

Gloria said...

Congratulations on your new job! All your food looks wonderful. I have never had oxtail either and have been curious about it. Glad to heard it was a success! Your custards look so creamy and delicious. Nice job!

Eliana said...

Now I'm upset that I skipped baking with the SMS group this week because your muffins are lookin glorious!

Flourchild said...

All of the food looks incedible Shandy! Nicely done!
Congrats on your new job too. I hope you still find the time to bake! Im thinking yes from this post..ha ha!
I miss you too and love to see your comments on my blog and facebook!

Candy Girl said...

Congratulations on the new job! All of the food looks great!

Julie said...

Congratultions on the job! I am sure that is such a relief!!

I've never had oxtail either. One of my co-workers loves them and says they're hard to find.

The custard looks so delicious.

Oh yes, the muffins...perfect to go with the stew.

Happy Halloween!

Jennifurla said...

OH I just love goat cheese, this is wonderful

Monica said...

I'm so glad that the next menu for Gutsy Cooks redeem itself with the oxtail/polenta combo - I knew most of you would like it. :)

Don't feel bad about the empanadas, everyone had issues with it, including myself and made empanadas before, just never with that filling (which we like) or the dough recipe (which we hated).

Love the variations that you did with the bean soup, I'm making notes on the margin of the recipe for the next time.

Hanaâ said...

Thanks for baking along with me this week, Shandy. I'm not surprised you turned out a wonderful dinner, combining both baking group recipes :o) Your muffins look nice and moist. I have to make a note in my book regarding the rosemary (sounds like a good replacement for thyme, if you want to change the flavor of the muffin). Haven't had oxtail soup in ages but always enjoyed it.

Jackie Hale said...

First of all congratulations on your new job. Secondly, I have now joined Gutsy Cooks and look forward to baking with you and the gang for months to come. Your oxtails looks amazing. Wish I had joined before the recipe was due. I love oxtails!! Jackie
www.salsainwarwick.blogspot.com

Sanjeeta kk said...

Love the peeping cheese . Lovely flavors. Like the recipes out there.

Beth said...

Congratulations on the new job! The muffins look great and so does the soup.

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