Beef in Beer, Twice Baked Potatoes, French Bread, Creamy Slaw, and Strawberry Shortcake Cake, Menu for a Weekend Meal.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
French Boule Baked in Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Slow Simmered Casserole of Beef and Beer
I started cooking for the weekend Thursday morning by stirring together 2 loaves of French bread that need a first rise of 12 to 24  hours.  Then I separated 4 eggs and set out a stick of butter to soften for a cake I plan to bake this afternoon.  Meanwhile a 3 1/2 pound sirloin tip roast defrosts to be cooked this afternoon as it is to set overnight before serving for optimum flavor.  Tomorrow I will frost the cake, bake the bread, roast potatoes for twice baked spuds,  and make creamy Cole slaw.   I am sharing this menu with a friend and will deliver half of it to them Friday afternoon all packaged up and ready to warm and serve.  I sure hope this all goes well!!

Miracle Boule

3 C. flour, (1/2 all purpose and 1/2 bread flour)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. instant yeast
1 1/2 C. warm water

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk to incorporate.  Add the water and stir together with a wooden spoon.  The dough will be a slack and sticky dough but will come together in  a rough ball.  Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 12 hours.

Friday morning  (20 hours later) :

Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it.  Sprinkle a bit more flour onto the dough and fold it over onto it's self a couple of times.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let this rest for 15 minutes.

Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers and shape the dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, or if you prefer flour or wheat bran.  (You need to use quite a lot as to keep the dough from sticking to the towel.)  Again cover with a towel and this time let the dough rise for 2 hours.  When ready the dough will be more than double in size.

Half of an hour before the dough is ready preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.   Place a 8 quart cast iron dutch oven into the oven with the lid on to heat.

When the dough is ready remove the dutch oven and turn the dough into it, seam side up.  (This will look terribly messy but this is really OK.)  Shake the pot a bit to settle the dough evenly.  Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue baking for 15-30 minutes.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and checked it then baked another 7 minutes and it was perfect.  Cool completely on a rack.  This is a unbelievable loaf of bread!! Crisp, big uneven holes , chewy inside!!
VERY Artisan like and European a very uncommon  accomplishment in a home oven.  And, easy!!

This recipe was adapted from one by Laura Calder and makes one loaf.  I just happened to make two batches at a time today.  I was thrilled with the result.

As I progress through making the dishes on this menu I am emotionally going back and forth between fear they might not like what I am cooking and excitement as my kitchen fills with the wonderful aromas of the preparations.  The main dish is a slow simmered dish of French origins and smells heavenly bubbling away in a sauce of onions, garlic, stock, and beer.

The cake has been baked and I am ready to prepare the frosting and "beautify" it up a bit!!  Then I will roast the potatoes and cut the vegetables for the slaw.  I am trying to remember to take some photos as I go to share with the recipes when the meal is completed.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake:

This is a recipe I adapted from one I saw in Mehan's Kitchen.  She got the recipe from a chef that had served her and her husband at his restaurant.  I was interested because it is not an overly sweet cake and that attracted me as I don't care for things so sugary it makes me cringe.

1/2 C. butter at room temperature
3/4 C. sugar
4 egg whites
2 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
1/4 C. cornstarch
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 C. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 2 cake pans.  I used 9" squares but the recipe called originally for 10" rounds.

Sift the dry ingredients but NOT the sugar, into a bowl and set it aside.  Using a stand mixer place the butter, sugar, and vanilla inside the bowl and beat with the paddle attachment  until smooth.   Add egg whites and beat to incorporate.  Mix on high for 1 minute more.  Turn the mixer down to medium.  Add the remaining ingredients alternately and slowly beginning with the dry and ending with the wet.  Bake 30 minutes until skewer tests clean in the center of the cake.  Cool completely on rack before frosting.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting:

16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 oz. soft butter
3/4 C. sugar
1 whole fresh vanilla bean scrapped
1 1/2 C. diced fresh strawberries

Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and scraped vanilla bean in a stand mixer until smooth.  Add the strawberries and mix to incorporate.  Frost the cake and enjoy!!

Beef in Beer:

2 T. butter plus more as needed
1 T. olive oil
3 pounds sirloin tip sliced thinly
3 large onions dice4 cloves garlic chopped
2 T. all purpose flour
1 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. beef stock
2 C. beer
1 T. red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bouquet garni

Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large pan and working in batches, brown the beef on all sides and then remove from the pan proceeding until all of the meat is cooked.   Using the same pan fry the onions until soft for about 15 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Remove the vegetables and check to see if there remains any fat in the pan.  If not add a good tablespoon of butter and melt.  Add the flour and sugar and cook for a minute to make a roux.  Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.    Add the beer and vinegar to the broth mixture and continue to boil for  about 10 minutes until thickened.  Remove from the heat.

In a large casserole layer the beef and onion mixture alternately seasoning each layer as you go.  Tuck in the bouquet garni and pour the sauce over all.  Cover and bake 2 1/2 hours.  If you can wait a day before serving, cool and refrigerate over night, the flavor will be even better when you rewarm it!!

Yield 6 servings.

This recipe was adapted from one given by Laura Calder.

The recipes for creamy Cole slaw and twice baked potatoes are given in earlier posts and can be found using the finder box.

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