It’s Saturday afternoon, and we, in coastal Florida, are decidedly “over” winter. We had our moment of cool weather – where the temperature dipped down into the low 40s on some mornings in January and February – but have promptly returned to lovely tropical weather. The air is a little more humid now; you smell the ocean air with every deep breath, and the ocean is returning to its milder, more enjoyable temperature, while families pack their cars to flock back to the beach for moments other than enjoying Starbucks on the boardwalk.
Strange, then, that we should be making a decidedly winter-weather dish. I know, I know… most ordinary people are just waking from their long winter’s nap, with the spring equinox right around the corner (as of the writing of this blog), so making a winter-weather dish isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
I’ve just begun the Pain d’Épices; the heady smell of the typically “Holiday” spices has filled my kitchen, and has me closing my eyes, dreaming of Gingerbread and a White Christmas. I’ve just peaked through the oven window and it is coming together nicely. I think I will enjoy this bread even on its own. After having tasted it, it seems not quite as sweet as gingerbread, but similar to it, and quite delicious. On its own I have enjoyed it as I am running to the office, or with a cuppa at tea time to tide me over until dinner.
I enjoyed the carbonade. I think I have made Julia Child’s from MTAFC, or at least something very similar. When you close your eyes and whiff at the pot gently gurgling away, the spices are reminiscent of phô. The addition of the bread was interesting. I enjoyed the flavor the spice bread imparted, but the previously velvetty texture of the carbonade was lost by the addition of it, I thought. It seemed to me that it was almost curdled. The beef was incredibly tender. I used my husband’s favorite beer, Rum Aged Innis & Gunn in the cooking, and served the carbonade with fresh spaëtzle. Although delicious, I might only serve this for the coolest of “winter” days here, with it being officially back into the 90s, and this being a rather heavy dish. From a technique standpoint I might pulse the bread through a food processor with the mustard to help it better cook down into the pot, rather than just set the bread on top and stir it in.
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