MeHi.  My name is Mark and this is my cooking blog.

I get asked a lot for my recipes, so I decided to start this cooking blog.  What you’ll find here will be my recipes and my variations on others’ recipes, my cooking tips and who knows what else. 

I should say up front that I’m lactose intolerant (check out my lactose intolerance site and I also try to live a low-carb lifestyle.  So the recipes you’ll find here will generally be devoid of milk and milk products and try, wherever possible, to be low in carbs.

I hope you enjoy the site and the recipes.


Main Dishes28 Jan 2011 03:40 am

This is my version of Carbonnade a la Flamande or Belgian Beef Stew.  It was one of my favorite meals when my family and I visited Belgium in the summer of 2009.  It’s a hearty beef stew that in its native form consists mainly of beef and onions cooked in a beer broth.  The best ones I had in Belgium were made with either Kriek or Framboise – a cherry or raspberry flavored Lambic beer.

This recipe is based primarily on what appeared in The New Best Recipes from Cook’s Illustrated, but adapted for the slow cooker and made with the addition of carrots like Beef Bourguignon.  I also changed the meat to boneless short ribs and used the “correct” Belgian beer.

(serves 6-8)

3-3.5 pounds of boneless short ribs, well trimmed and sliced into 3/4″ pieces
1 small bottle (375 ml) of Kriek or Framboise
1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 pounds of yellow onions, halved and sliced thin
1 pound of carrots,  julienned
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon caramel coloring
1/4 teaspoon dark molasses
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large or two medium bay leaves

Brown the meat well on the two flat sides in a lightly oiled dutch oven.  You’ll have to do this in several batches if you’re only using one pan.  I find that I don’t need to any any oil for successive batches or the onions as plenty of fat comes off the meat.  While the meat is browning, I make the broth (using Better Than Bullion) and also stir in the sugar, vinegar, molasses and caramel coloring.  Set the meat aside and add the onions to the skillet and saute them until they are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Then add the flour to the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring to coat the onions well.  Add the chicken broth mixture and deglaze the pan and stir to make sure all the flour is wetted and there are no lumps.  Slowly add the beer and then bring the mixture to the boil.   Put the browned beef and the carrots into the slow cooker and then add the onions and liquid, thyme, bay leaf and pepper.  Stir well, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.    Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.

Notes:  The caramel coloring makes the gravy nice and dark.  If you can’t find it, substitute Kitchen Bouquet or the equivalent.    If you can’t find Kriek or Framboise, other lambics will do, but if they are light on flavor (like Pomme or Geueze) then also add in 3 tablespoons of cherry preserves.