Try this quick and easy beef sirloin steak recipe in your slow cooker when you want a satisfying meal without much effort. Add your favorite side dish and a salad as accompaniments.
1-1/2 lbs. beef top sirloin steak
8 oz. Trinity mix (chopped green pepper, celery, onion)
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup reduced sodium beef broth
½ cup dry red wine
¼ tsp. dried thyme
4 whole peeled garlic cloves, quartered
In a large nonstick skillet, sear meat on both sides. Spray large slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread Trinity mix on the bottom. Place meat on top of mixture. Combine liquids in bowl, add thyme and garlic cloves, and pour over meat. Cover and set timer for 6 hours on low. When done, transfer meat to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan drippings for gravy. Serves 4.
This past weekend, we attended a cooking class at Publix Aprons Cooking School. The guest speaker was from Noble Vines Winery, describing the wines that accompanied our meal. These are from the Delicato Family Wines in California. We started out with a welcome aperitif. I liked the Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t too fruity and would make a pleasant drink just to sip or perhaps to accompany fish or poultry. Meanwhile, the chefs were busy creating our dishes and demonstrating how to make them.
Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay was paired with the first course, clams with linguini. While our friends indulged in this dish, I had written ahead to request mushrooms instead of clams. I am not a big shellfish eater except for shrimp. The linguini with mushrooms was delicious and would make a satisfying meal in itself. We liked the Chardonnay as well. In fact, all the wines tonight were really good.
Next up was pan-roasted duck breast served with mushroom farro and cherry vinaigrette. I’d never had farro before, and I liked this grain that reminded me of barley. The duck was tender. It was paired with Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir. I could have eaten this dish for a meal alone.
The main dish was grilled Korean beef short ribs with coconut rice and wok-friend bok choy. Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon was the accompanying wine. The short ribs were done just right, but I’ve had better. Actually, the ones I tasted recently in my blog post about the Epcot Festival of the Arts were much more tender. I prefer short ribs slowly braised or done in a slow cooker so that the meat practically falls off the bone. The rice was okay but the bok choy had more taste.
We left enough room for the dark chocolate raspberry tart and the Noble Vines 515 Rose wine. What’s not to like about chocolate?
By now, we were more than stuffed and woozy from all the wine. It had been an enjoyable evening with entertainment and an appealing meal experience. The best part is that we got to take the recipes home.
Enter Here March 1-18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench
The original recipe I used called for Crème de Menthe, but you really could use any type of liqueur you have sitting in your liquor cabinet. This cake is great for a party. You can make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
15.25 oz. box white cake mix
½ cup canola oil
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. flavored liqueur
16 oz. can Ghirardelli chocolate syrup
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. flavored liqueur
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, but substitute 3 Tbsp. liqueur for the same amount of water. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake according to package directions. When cake is done, remove from oven and place pan on wire rack. While cake is still hot, pierce in several places with a fork. Pour chocolate syrup over cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Fold 2 Tbsp. liqueur gently into whipped topping to blend. Spread whipped topping over cake, slice and serve. Serves 12.
If you can’t find pre-sliced zucchini or yellow squash in the grocery store, slice it yourself. Feel free to be creative and toss in your own ingredients to suit your tastes. This soup can be reheated the next day.
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. sliced zucchini and yellow squash
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, garlic, dill and parsley. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. When done, remove pot from heat. Let cool slightly and then blend with immersion blender. If you like a creamy soup, gently stir in the heavy cream at this stage. Ladle into individual bowls and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
We attended a Publix Aprons Cooking School Class featuring the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I always enjoy these demonstrations with a sampling of different wines and recipes to take home.
We started out with a taste of Elouan Rose wine. It was light and on the dry side and a pleasant welcome drink.
The first course was Coriander Encrusted Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Apricot-Shallot Jam. This was delicious. Normally I wouldn’t make scallops at home or order them in a restaurant because they can become rubbery if overcooked, but these were tender and done just right. They paired well with the jam. The accompanying wine was a Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc that was a pale yellow color with a slightly fruity taste.
Cooking Tips from the Chef (any errors are due to my misinterpretation):
Iodized salt, like table salt, can turn bitter when you cook with it. He prefers Morton kosher salt, which does not contain iodine and is consistent in quality. A second choice would be sea salt, but characteristics can vary depending on place of origin.
The chef prefers grapeseed oil as you can cook at higher temperatures with it. He suggests you don’t use extra virgin olive oil for cooking as it burns at a lower temperature. Vegetable oil or regular olive oil is okay. Use the EVOO in salad dressings and such.
If oil isn’t hot enough, the food can absorb it. Test with a popcorn kernel. When it pops, the oil is the right temperature.
When preparing scallops, remove the abductor muscle.
Baby Kale Salad with Pears, Burrata, Bacon, and Spiced Yogurt Vinaigrette was our salad. The dressing went well with it. The accompanying wine was A to Z Pinot Grigio. We liked this one.
Slice an onion from root to stem, not the other way.
Burrata cheese is a mozzarella cheese stuffed with a ricotta-like cheese. It comes in a ball, and you can find it in the specialty cheese section.
Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Orange-Cherry Gastrique and Shiitake Risotto was a tasty entrée and fairly easy to make. The accompanying wine was a Sidur 2017 Pinot Noir. This was okay but I like a Cabernet better.
You can buy the boneless duck breasts in the frozen food section. Defrost and slash the fat side to prevent it from curling when cooking.
Put honey for 20 seconds in the microwave to liquefy if it’s crystalized.
Peach Panna Cotta with Biscotti Crumble and Blueberry Compote wasn’t overly sweet and was paired with an A to Z Riesling.
Continuing our tradition of trying new places to eat in Orlando, we dined at Toledo, the new rooftop restaurant inside Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. A magical elevator takes you to the top floor where you emerge into a spacious lounge area. You can come for drinks and the view if you don’t care to stay for dinner. Here we are gazing toward Hollywood Studios. You can see the new Star Wars land under construction and the Tower of Terror.
Inside the restaurant, we were led to a quiet table among the bustle. We began our meal with an olive medley and flatbread with melted cheese for appetizers.
I ordered tilefish for my entrée and was pleasantly surprised by the tasty dish. Dessert was the best, a couple of chocolate concoctions that we all shared.
Our other days in Orlando were taken up with family visits. On this night, we were celebrating our son’s birthday. We’ll soon have a lot more to celebrate as my husband and I become grandparents for the first time later this year.
Are you following me on BOOKBUB? Join my list to get new release notices, book bargains, pre-orders & reading recommendations. Follow me Now.
Our most recent visit to Orlando had us visiting Epcot for the Festival of the Arts. I tasted the mushroom risotto at the Masterpiece Kitchen around World Showcase but held off eating more until we went to the Morocco café for a vegetarian platter with hummus and more. At Disney Springs another day, I indulged in a root beer float at Ghiradelli. We enjoyed the ambiance as we strolled through the marketplaces and past numerous restaurants. Our adventures continued at historic Winter Garden as we strolled downtown. The main street still has its old-time charm, while a brewery hall attracts a young crowd with several fast-food eating choices. Here’s a peek at the lobby of an earlier era Edgewater Hotel and an adjacent ice cream shop. We took walks at Disney’s Riverside and Boardwalk resorts, and gained a couple of extra pounds from dining out the entire weekend. Now we’re home, and we brought a cold along with us as a souvenir.
NEWSLETTER Sign Up now for my quarterly email newsletter if you don’t want to miss the latest issue going out this week. Exclusive bonus for subscribers only!
GIVEAWAYS Booklovers Bench, March 1 – 18 Enter Nowto win a free book from the Prize Vault at Booklovers Bench.
Cozy Mystery Bonanza, March 1- April 1 Enter Here to win 40+ cozy mysteries included my book HAIR RAISER.
For something different than the usual dinner at a restaurant for Valentine’s Day, we signed up for a Publix Aprons Cooking School class. We’ve enjoyed these before, and the night’s menu looked appealing. It was a popular choice. The place was full with 48 people present to watch the demo-style class. As we waited for the show to start, one of the chefs poured us each a welcome glass of Cupcake Sparkling Rosé wine. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I grew up on rosés before learning to appreciate drier varieties. Remember Lancer’s? First course was a Pistachio Shortbread with Goat Cheese, Strawberries, and Mint-Honey paired with a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. This was almost like dessert. The shortbread was a tasty cookie. The wine went well with this selection but it was a bit too fruity for my taste. I’d like it better before dinner. The next course was really good and very hearty. I could have made a meal out of this alone. We got a generous portion of Seared Sea Scallop Chowder with Smoky Sourdough Croutons paired with Bread & Butter Chardonnay. This wine went on my “I Like It” list. The soup was delicious. You could vary the recipe at home and make it with shrimp or lobster instead. If you use scallops, remove the abductor muscle from the sides. The main dish showed me a cooking technique I’d never heard of before. It used a temperature-regulated water bath. You insert the food in a vacuum sealed plastic bag, so you’d also need the vacuum device. I’ll never make this at home with all the extra equipment required, but the meat was tasty and tender. The dark things are purple potatoes. Sous Vide Lamb Loin with Butter-Roasted Radishes, Carrots, and Baby Potatoes paired with a La Crema Pinot Noir. I liked the dry red wine. Tip for pearl onions: cut off the bottoms and blanch in boiling water for a minute, and the skin peels right off. The dessert, a Butterscotch-Toffee Budino (pudding) was paired with a Veuve Cliequot Brut Champagne. Apparently, the tinier the bubbles, the more expensive the brand. This one had lots of tiny bubbles. The pudding was like a dense flan, a rich dessert that melts in your mouth. We had a gourmet meal and wine for a decent price, plus we got to see an entertaining cooking demo and take home the recipes. Let’s check their calendar and see what’s appealing that is coming up next. GIVEAWAY Read my post on how to bring more romance into your lives at Booklovers Bench. While there, Enter Now to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet in Booklovers Bench anniversary giveaway.
Happy New Year! Time is moving on, so let me tell you about our latest adventures in Orlando over Christmas. We took a stroll at The Mall at Millenia that was nicely decorated for the holidays. Dinner included an evening at Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine. We began with their hollow lava bread and hummus appetizer. I really liked the zucchini patties served with yogurt. I could eat this savory dish for an entire meal. The appetizer includes three huge pancakes, so be prepared to share. I didn’t care so much for the falafel ones. My husband had the lamb shish-kabob for his entrée, and I had moussaka. I always like this eggplant dish. I’d wanted to explore the Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens in Kissimmee. It’s mostly a retail store with a café and tasting bar. Although they advertise tours and a botanical garden, these don’t really exist. We each enjoyed a turkey sandwich along with our wine tasting. I liked the dry blueberry, the slightly sweet peach, and the cranberry wine. The company has a full-fledged winery at Hawthorne, FL: https://www.islandgrovewinecompany.com/ From here, we went down the street to an indoor flea market but the twisting stalls held a collection of shlock. Good place for tourists but not for us. It doesn’t compare to the Festival Marketplace at home. Coming Next: Christmas Day in Disney Springs GIVEAWAY Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card at Booklover’s Bench