March Menus 58 to 71 - Spring is in the air...

March, how did we get here? Because it seems only yesterday that we were celebrating new years.  But, here we are – MARCH.  And with it a new set of menus.

Not going to lie, this one was a tough one.  I have no idea why, usually the monthly recipe line up come to me pretty quickly, but March was proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Besides, green beer celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. March, marks the beginning of spring, which means for most of us, the gardens are waking up…

Carrots, cauliflower, leeks, spring onions, oranges, salmon, mussels, oysters, parsley are at their best…

So how about building some of our menus using these ingredients?

Week 1, to post week of March 5th 

Week 2, to post week of March 12th 

Week 3, to post week of March 19th 

Week 4, to post week of March 26

Lets throw in here a recipe from scratch challenge – DONUTS! 

I’m really looking forward too these, I hope you are too.  Let March madness begin!

December Menu - Free Choice "Holiday Favorite"

And our little club is growing guys!  Please help me welcome two new members:

Anna from Making Ends Meat and Hyma from Hyma’s Flavours

Remember visit their blogs and show some comment love.

It was so hard to choose menus for December, between all the options out there for the Holidays and the fact that this month is the busiest for most home cooks out there, the Gutsy Cooks have decided that the best thing to do (to keep all of our sanity in check) is to make this a FREE month.

Pick any recipe that you are doing this month and post it under the Gutsy Cook tag. 

Have a holiday family favorite? A great holiday cookie recipe? A recipe that reminds you of your childhood during this special time of the year?

Cook it, Write about it and share your post!

And in between, I wish you and your love ones a great Holiday season - with lots of great surprises and safe and happy days.

See you in 2012!


October Menus 40 to 44 - Ingredient: Rice

Thank you all for the participation in last months Mexican theme, I was so happy to see the different takes on the chosen theme and I can tell that everyone is much more exited with the new club model.

But, before I let you on the October Menu.  We have a new member in the club – Andrea from Adventures in all things Food has joined our virtual kitchens. And if you have time, please give her blog a little visit and say “hi”.

Last month I choose the theme.  This month I decided to let luck picked our ingredient for the whole month.

And out came the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, specially the East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and West Indies.  It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after maize (Corn).

Oh glorious rice!

So there you go – October recipes will all involved one common ingredient – Rice.  And for it not to get boring, I decided to give you all different techniques and/or themes in how to cook it.

You can cook any of the recipes that I suggested, or venture on your own, as long as you stay within the theme of the week

Ingredient: Rice

Week of Oct 2 - Theme: Unusual and out of the box Use 

Week of Oct 9 - Theme: Stuffed into something or with something

Week of Oct 16 - Theme: All in one dish 

Week of Oct 23 - Theme: Let’s make it Sweet!

Week of Oct 30 - Theme: What came first? The Risotto or The Paella? 

There you guys have it, hopefully I got your Gutsy-ness flowing and we will be treated to wonderful takes on any of the above themes.  Can not wait to start!

So are you guys ready? Get Set, and GO

Menu 24: Ficelles, Irish Stew and French Apple Tart

Get ready cooks, because all of the choices this week make a perfect choice to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. You got your Irish Stew (page 342) , and Ficelles (page 79)  to soak up those stew juices. Then to finish it all off, a impressive (and easy!) French Apple tart (page 454).

Let’s break it down shall we?

Ficelles, whose name means, “string” is basically a small baguette and like it’s sister bread filled with many air pockets and boast a prime ration of crust-to-crumb – which I don’t know about you, but for me that is what the perfect piece of bread should always have.  While searching more about this bread, I found different variations, the one in the book coats it with a combo of water and salt, but I found another version that makes it with lots of poppy and sesame seeds (extra crunch if you ask me!) or you can even coat it with a bit of parmesan cheese or gruyere or…wait, I let you be the cook.  But, whatever you decide to do, it’s perfect to serve with the next item on the list the Irish Stew.

I got to tell you, when I read the recipe I was like… ok, wait, don’t you pre-cook the lamb? For a minute there I thought I found another typo error in the book (they are a few), but after doing a Google search I found tons of variations and this one is suppose to be the “original, authentic” way to preparing this stew. Apparently you do not pre-cook the meat, or the onions or the carrots.  But you layer each one in the casserole and cover with the stock and top with the slices potatoes and into the oven it goes to cook for one hour or more.  I’m still debating with myself if I should do it this way or give the meat a nice sear before hand, along with cooking the carrots and onions as well on the skillet, then layering it all down.

The last option is a French Apple Tart.  The recipe calls to use pie dough, but does not give you the recipe for it, so we will assume that you can use your own recipe for this, buy it at the store, or hunt it down in the book, which can be found in page 436 under the Shortcrust pastry.  I also recommend the pie crust from Nick Malgieri, or you can also use his pastry dough recipe as well.  I have done both and they have yet to fail me.

So are you going to put on green underwear on and drink green beer while cooking this great menu? I hope so, don’t want to be the only crazy one in the kitchen!