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Winter Reading and Warm Eating
The holidays have passed, and now the wrapping paper and fallen Christmas tree needles have been swept up to reveal the pile of new books you’ve received. Perfectly compliment your reading in the long winter nights with “A Reader’s Cookbook.”
The book perfectly pairs recipes and quotes with famous literatures from 17 regions around the world. Evoke the feeling of the Scottish isles by complimenting your Joyce or Wilde with a delicious rendition of Shepherd’s Pie (recipe featured below), enjoyed with a traditional Scottish blessing: “Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some nae meat but want it. We hae meat and we can eat and sae the Lord be thankit.” Or follow the advice of the Russian proverb: “Drink a glass of wine after your soup and you steal a ruble from your doctor,” while enjoying a thick volume of Dostoyevsky and a rich, filling Borscht (recipe featured below).
“A Reader’s Cookbook” includes tons of tips and recipes for the perfect pairing of winter reading and delicious, warming food. The book, normally priced at $29.95, is available right now for just $23.95! Pair it with Mrs. Choate’s newest book, “The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles” (normally priced at $15.95) for the outstanding deal of just $32 for BOTH books (http://www.preservesandpickles.com/
More information is available by contacting Daniel@RedRockPress.com or calling 1-212-362-8304.
This is another recipe that has about a million variations, ranging from a soup made from just beets and water to luxe versions brimming with meat, and vegetables beyond beets and herbs. This is my version of the more traditional make-a-meal of soup. It is so filling that all you need is some Russian black bread and sweet butter to complete your tribute to Dostoevsky or another Russian author.
• 2 pounds beets, well-washed
• 2½ pounds beef short ribs or pork spareribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
• Wondra flour for dusting
• Salt and pepper to taste
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 2 ribs celery, well-washed and cut into pieces
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
• 1 large onion, well-washed, peel on, stuck with
• 3 whole cloves
• 1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut into pieces
• 4 cups nonfat, low-sodium beef broth
• 4 cups water
• One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 3 cups shredded red cabbage
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon caraway seed
• Sour cream for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil, taking care that they are completely enclosed. Place on a baking pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the point of a small, sharp knife can be easily inserted into the thickest beet.
3. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
4. When cool, using your fingertips, push the skin and stem end off of each beet. Using a sharp knife or a box grater, cut the beets into thin strips. Set aside.
5. While the beets are roasting, begin the soup.
6. Lightly dust the meat with the flour and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
8. Add the meat, in batches if necessary, and sear, turning frequently until nicely browned.
9. Return all of the meat to the pot and add the celery, garlic, onion, and carrot along with the broth and water, stirring to blend. Raise the heat to high and add the tomatoes along with the dill and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.
10. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is almost tender.
11. Add the cabbage and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
12. Add the beets, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and caraway seed and return to the simmer. Taste and, if necessary, season with additional salt and pepper.
13. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until the soup is well-seasoned and slightly thick.
14. Remove from the heat and ladle into soup bowls.
15. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh dill.
Serves 8 to 12
Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie was made from leftover cooked meat. Today, we so seldom use large cuts of meat that most cooks rarely have enough leftovers to make this substantial pie, but it may be even better with fresh ground meat. The pie can be made in advance and easily reheated before serving. There is no better entrée to finish off a meeting sharing the work of one of the Brontë sisters, a Hardy or Lawrence novel, or any number of Irish, Scotch or English writers who look to the countryside in their work.
• ½ cup butter
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 3 pounds ground veal (or beef, lamb, pork, or poultry)
• 1 large onion, peeled and minced
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon dried dill
• 2 cups chopped, cooked spinach, thoroughly drained
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 6 cups mashed potatoes
• Two 9-inch unbaked pie shells
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
2. Combine the butter and canola oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground meat, onion, thyme, and dill and cook, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until the meat begins to lose its color. Add the spinach and 2 cups of the mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Place an equal portion of the meat mixture into each of the pastry shells, mounding slightly in the center.
4. Using a spatula, generously cover the top of each filled pie shell with mashed potatoes, taking care that the potatoes come to the edge all around.
5. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the potatoes with melted butter and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15minutes.
7. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue to bake for 30 minutes or until hot in the center and golden brown on top.
8. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.
Red Rock Press