I@MyLastBite My Last Bite Food Travel Writer Blogger Jo Stougaard
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Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie with a Puff Pastry Lid
If you’re searching for a St. Patrick’s Day supper recipe (or a hearty meal to warm your spirits), this is a delicious alternative to the traditional pot of corned beef and cabbage, especially if you’re a “meat pie” lover like me.
The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s terrific cookbook “Jamie at Home”, which coincides with his show on Food Network. The episode with this recipe is called “Pastry”, in case you haven’t seen it yet.
This dish is now a St. Paddy’s Day tradition in our house, and it’s always a hit with friends and family.
My changes to the original recipe are noted in orange.
3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1 oz butter plus extra for greasing
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery trimmed and chopped
4 field mushrooms peeled and sliced
2 1/2 pound brisket or stewing beef cut in to 1 inch cubes
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can of Guinness beer
(Instead I used 2 bottles ofGuinness Draught, 11.2 oz size bottles)
2 heaped tablespoons of flour
7 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 sheets of ready made good quality all butter puff pastry
1 large organic free range egg, beaten
(I also added 1 chopped Jalapeno for heat)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large ovenproof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry them gently for about ten minutes – try not to color them too much.
Turn up the heat add the garlic, butter, carrots, celery, jalapenos and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of slat and a level teaspoon of pepper.
Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in one bottle of Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about one (1) and 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back in to the oven and continue to cook it for another hour or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich dark and thick. (I added another half bottle of Guinness at this point).
Jamie notes: “A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob (stove top) and reduce until the sauce thickens.”
Remove it from the heat and stir in half of the cheese, then season carefully and leave it to cool slightly.
Cut about a third of the pastry from the block. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll both pieces of pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a pound coin.
Butter an appropriately sized pie dish then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges dangling over the sides.
Tip (pour or spoon) the stew into your pastry lined dish and even it out before sprinkling the remaining cheese over it.
Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.
Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic.
Brush the top with beaten egg then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes until the pastry is cooked puffed and golden.
Serves 4 to 6
Jamie Oliver’s Official Website
“Jamie at Home” on Food Network
If you have the U.K. version of the book “Jamie Oliver at Home”, it’s on page 342.
I use this Gram Conversion Calculator
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
Originally posted Mar 13, 2009
My husband Peter and I finally made it downtown for dinner last Thursday. We keep meaning to spend more time in DTLA (DownTown LA), but it took “DineLA Restaurant Week” to get us to check out the sleek and sexy Drago Centro.
The special DineLA menu at the Italian hotspot offers three courses for $44, which is a great bargain (and very filling), but as usual we ordered some extras from the regular menu as well. The three of us (including our friend Laurieann) shared every dish, and now I can’t wait to go back and try the things I missed!
If you’re not familiar with Drago Centro, here’s what Jonathan Gold wrote about the restaurant in LA Weekly:
“Planted at the base of a formerly sterile office plaza, Centro may be the grandest new restaurant in this neighborhood since the early 1980s, a sprawling former bank space blown out into a double-height modernist dining room, punctuated in the middle by a glassed-in wine vault…”
I have to admit, sitting in the main dining room, near the enormous glass wine room was sort of powerfully intoxicating… but then again, it could have been the red wine and grappa!
All around it was a fun evening, especially spending time with sommelier Michael Shearin and our terrific server, Stefano. Make sure you ask for them if you plan on eating there soon (which you should)!
What we ate:
525 S. Flower St #120
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Dining Date: 10/08/09
Photo above right: Grappa flavored with Chamomile made by Marolo
The official dates for the 2009 GOURMET INSTITUTE event in NYC.
SAVE THE DATES: October 23-25, 2009.
Peter and I had a great time when we went, especially mingling with the likes of Eric Ripert and the great Mario Batali!
Check out the promo video from last year. I was totally surprised to see myself and Peter featured on the video! Actually, him more than me… I’m standing behind him (tipsy from wine tasting!) when he’s speaking on camera.
I’m definitely going again this year!
Seriously, I’m a twit for not posting all week! Even though I have at least twenty stories (including many restaurant visits) to share.
After downloading Tweetdeck (for free) and realizing I could actually organize my Twitter subscriptions (aka friends), I decided to search out and “add” as many tweople (twitter people) as I could in one week. I didn’t want to add just anyone, but instead wanted to take the time to search out twitterers with common interests.
Using Tweetdeck, I can now organize the people I’m following into various groups such as: restaurants, L.A. restaurants, chefs, food writers, home cooks, music, publishing, travel, krav maga, entertainment and friends.
I currently follow 1288 people on Twitter and plan to keep on adding more, but will get back to the writing first. If you’re on Twitter and haven’t tried Tweetdeck yet, it will make your experience so much better and definitely more organized.
After multiple visits to the Bazaar (this being number eleven), Peter and I get most excited when we’re bringing in “Bazaar Virgins” (first timers) to the restaurant. It’s even more fun when they’re big time foodies like our friends Ron and Diane. Thanks to the wonderful staff (William, Felix, Alison, Audra!), we were seated at my favorite table in the Rojo room, with a direct view of the open kitchen.
It’s always a delight when Amanda rolls up to our table with the liquid nitrogen cart (or caviar or cotton candy). And I love when servers that aren’t even working our table (Calvin and Hugh) stop by for a quick hello. I’ve had several people ask me why I keep returning to the Bazaar, when there are so many other places to try, and honestly… besides the incredible food and fun atmosphere, it’s because they make me (and my “virgins”) feel perfectly welcome on each and every visit.
THANK YOU to everyone at Bazaar and SLS!
The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
Dining date: 4/26/09
The Kogi Taco Truck made me miss being in my twenties. Especially over the last couple of months, since I started following their Twitter updates on my cell phone. Late at night I’d be in bed reading a book, and have to stop so I could see the incoming Twitter text: “10PM-2AM@The Brig – Abbot Kinney and Palm in Venice”. I couldn’t stop wondering, “Who ARE these people partying EVERY night of the week, chasing down the Kogi taco truck at 2AM?”
It was sort of depressing, because I wanted to be out there chasing the truck too, but then again, I didn’t want to be OUT THERE chasing the truck (or chasing anything for that matter). The Alibi Room in Culver City actually runs a Kogi kitchen (monday thru saturday), but still, I had no desire to fight rush-hour traffic and wait in a ridiculously long line, just for a TACO.
Shortly after I turned twenty-one, I moved to Pacific Beach in San Diego, then spent the next couple of years partying non-stop with my friends. Our days consisted mostly of working in retail during the day, sunning ourselves on our days off and planning “girls night out” EVERY single night of the week.
Most of us were on pretty tight budgets, but we knew which beach bars served free “happy hour” food (drinks bought by the fellas), and it usually consisted of nachos, taquitos or plates of bacon-topped potato skins. Remember when potato skins were the cool, new appetizers?
Our favorite drinking holes back then were places like the Beachcomber or the Pennant, and we never missed a Tuesday $1 Margarita night at Diego’s on Garnet Avenue. Quick trips to Mexico for cheap lobster and margaritas were followed by dancing all night at the local clubs.
These nightly adventures always ended with a trip to Roberto’s Taco Shop in Mission Beach, which was steps from the shore, next to the aging Big Dipper roller coaster. The giant, carne asada burrito was my favorite and I always ordered it with extra guacamole. I can’t recall ever eating there during the day, or going there sober for that matter, but back in the day, Roberto’s Taco Shop was MY Kogi.
If you’re not familiar with Kogi BBQ, then you probably don’t live in the Los Angeles area. The first time I read about Kogi was on an EaterLA/Lesley Balla post back in December (boy, do I miss her on Eater these days). Ever since then, Kogi has been the “it” taco truck in the city, offering the flavor of spicy Korean barbecue, conveniently wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Kogi gained even more followers when they started using Twitter to communicate upcoming locations with their customers. It was a simple (and brilliant) way for Kogi to keep in contact with hungry, usually late-night, eaters.
Last Thursday, I just happened to be reading the Kogi website, when I noticed a post titled, “What 20 Bucks Can Buy You”, and was thrilled to learn that it was for a fundraiser in nearby Burbank the same evening. The Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project partnered with Kogi to offer All-You-Can-Eat Kogi tacos for $20, with the proceeds benefiting the Center of Hope Village (for abused children) in the Philippines.
I called Peter and made sure he could make it home early so we could finally try the now-famous Kogi tacos together. Just last week the Kogi truck had been on the Fox lot where he works and he hoped to try it then, but the line was just too long for a my workaholic husband, who doesn’t like to break for lunch anyway.
We arrived at the event 30 minutes early, and after paying our $20 donation (each), we headed for the Kogi truck line, quite pleased to be very close to the front. It was another hour before the truck actually showed up, but there was plenty of entertainment to keep us occupied (photos below), and we didn’t mind because it was all for a good cause.
Peter and I both ordered two Korean Short Ribs and one Spicy Pork. The All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco offer, was limited to three at a time, which made sense because when I looked back at the line behind us, there must have been at least 150 hungry people waiting on the street.
The tacos were terrific (LOVED the spicy pork), and we were content with the three that we tried. Of course if we didn’t have to get back in line and wait again, we would have definitely made it a furious pig-out session, but mostly it felt good to make the donation (Peter later told me he slipped them another $20), and to FINALLY get a taste of the Kogi phenomenon!
Afterwards we headed home, took our pups for their evening walk, and then I fell asleep next to my husband reading my favorite, new book. And guess what? I was tickled pink, NOT to be in my twenties again.
Upcoming All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco dates:
Thurs, June 25
Thurs, July 30
Thurs, August 27
You must rsvp for your name to be placed on the list.
Email/RSVP or Get more info by contacting
My current, favorite book (that I’m reading again)
Roberto’s Taco Photo Courtesy of David C.
Dining Date: 4/30/09
Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.
The service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.
The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.
“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?
Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.
My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart.
After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.
Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.
Tasting Menu is $120 per person.
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese. I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.
Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!
In the kitchen with the chefs
Allergy season in the San Fernando Valley is, by far, my least favorite time of year. It’s now been a month since my spring-time symptoms kicked in, and I’ve been feeling pretty lousy the entire time: Itchy and watery eyes, non-stop sneezing, postnasal drip (with congestion, which I don’t understand), loss of smell, and the worst part, for me, are those dreadful hours when I loose my sense of taste.
I’m currently taking two different prescription medications that definitely help ease the symptoms, but living with three dogs (who sleep in the bed) only adds to the problem. Peter and I will never get rid of our dogs (aka our “kids”), and honestly, most of the time I just feel really grateful that seasonal allergies are my only health issues.
But last week, on top of dealing with my sensitive sinus problems, I came down with a nasty, head cold. I didn’t even know it was a cold for the first few days because I hadn’t had a good night sleep in weeks, and already felt drained and depressed. I tried to shake the blues by drinking extra cups of green tea, reading my current favorite book on the sunny porch out front, and also by taking extra walks with the pups.
When I woke up Thursday morning still feeling gloomy, I suddenly remembered that one thing that was missing from my days. Talking aloud to myself (with my dogs tucked in snugly beside me), I sat up in bed and said, “cook, stupid”.
Because I was suffering from both allergies and a head cold, I hadn’t cooked a proper meal all week. Hot tea and cereal for breakfast, cold meds for lunch and “frozen entrées” for dinner. No wonder I felt like crap. Physically, I wasn’t getting any real nutrition, and I’d forgotten to do the one thing every day that makes my spirits soar.
I then decided to make one of my very favorite, super EASY one pan meals. Greek Lemon Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Potatoes. I first had it when I visited friends in the Greek Islands over twenty years ago, and it’s always a comforting plate of food. And as you can imagine, I felt amazingly better after just one bite.
Greek Lemon Chicken w/ Roasted Garlic and Potatoes
3 1/2 to 4 pounds of chicken pieces (I prefer thighs and legs) with skin.
3 medium lemons (juiced, but save lemon halves)
3 pounds of baby potatoes (your favorite)
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons of salt (to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 medium heads of garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F
Clean the chicken and potatoes, dry then place in large baking pan.
Cut tops of garlic (be careful) to expose cloves, and set face up in pan.
Next add olive oil, the juice of 2 lemons, then rub over everything.
Make sure there’s a nice coating of oil on the bottom of pan, so the chicken doesn’t stick.
Add oregano, salt and pepper. Coat everything in the pan.
Add the last two lemon halves in pan and let bake with the other ingredients.
Now, turn chicken pieces so the skin in facing down on the pan bottom.
Cook for about 90 minutes total:
After 30 minutes, carefully remove hot pan from oven and gently turn over the chicken pieces so the skin is facing UP. This way you’ll get a nice, crispy and flavorful skin.
At the same time, turn over the potatoes and then place back in oven for 60 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
To serve: After the garlic heads have cooled, you can pop out each roasted clove with a knife and serve the sweet, mushy cloves on top of the chicken. Or, do what I did and serve the entire half of the clove itself. They’re delicious smashed into the potatoes or added to warm, crusty bread as well. The extra lemon halves (now soft and baked) can be eaten too. Enjoy.
Note: The dish is terrific on it’s own, but it’s even better with a Horiatiki Salata (classic Greek country salad). I didn’t think to get the Greek salad ingredients at the market that day, so I tossed together a side dish with things I had at home: clementines, fresh green beans, and roasted beets.
Horiatiki Salata: Recipe for Greek Country Salad
Current favorite book: “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg
“Cook, Stupid.” written by Jo Stougaard ©MyLastBite.com All Rights Reserved. No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.