I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Potsticker Sauce

We had some pan fried potstickers with our Thai food tonight. I bought the potstickers raw from the grocery store and they were delicious. All I had to do was pan fry them. I also had to make some potsticker sauce to dip them in.

Potsticker Sauce

4T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
1 T rice vinegar
1 t fresh finely chopped ginger
a few leaves of fresh finely chopped cilantro

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How to Reheat a Caramel Pecan Roll

I used to go and stay at my grandpa's farm quite a bit. Because it was out in the middle of nowhere the chances were that if you had a caramel pecan roll it was a couple days old. The challenge is to make a 3 day old caramel pecan roll palatable. It turns out you can do much better than that.

When my grandpa was a cook at the girl's dorm at William Penn University he used to take caramel pecan rolls, slice them in half and grill them in butter. The rolls were a HUGE hit.

First you have to heat a cast iron skillet and drop in a little butter. Then you slice the pecan roll in half like a hamburger bun. Drop the pecan roll into the butter and grill for a little bit.
When it is done the roll should be just starting to brown like this:
The next thing to do is reassemble the roll on a plate like nothing happened.

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Here is the recipe for the Christmas Day caramel pecan rolls. My wife got the recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook.

Pecan Currant Sticky Buns

For Dough

1 ½ c warm milk (105˚-115˚F)

2 (1/4 oz.) packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast

5 ¼ c all purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

½ stick (4T) unsalted butter, softened

For Filling

2/3 c packed dark brown sugar

2/3 c dried currants

2/3 c chopped pecans

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ stick (4T) unsalted butter, softened

For Syrup

1 stick (8T) unsalted butter cut into pieces

½ c packed dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 T light corn syrup

¼ c heavy cream

Make the Dough

Stir together ½ c warm milk, yeast and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes.) If the mixture doesn’t foam discard and start over. Put flour, remaining sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and stir together until combined with the dough hook. Combine the rest of the milk with the eggs and add to the flour mixture. Add the yeast mixture and mix at medium speed until a very wet dough forms (about 2 minutes.) Add the butter and continue mixing with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes.) The dough will be very sticky. Rinse a large bowl with hot water, transfer the dough to this bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled (about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.)

Prepare the filling

Stir together all ingredients except the butter.

Make the syrup

Butter your pan OR large muffin cups (Texas-sized.) Combine butter, sugars, corn syrup and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan or spoon a few tablespoons into each muffin cup.

Fill and form the buns

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and dust with flour. * I used a baker’s couche and covered the rolling pin with a pastry sleeve because the dough is extremely sticky. Roll out into a 16-12” rectangle so that the long side is nearest to you. Brush off excess flour and spread softened butter over all. Sprinkle filling evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough to form a 16”log and press seam to seal. Cut into 12 rounds with a very sharp bread knife or dental floss. Arrange buns, cut sides up, in pan or muffin cups. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled (bout an hour.) * I did all of this the night before and retarded the dough’s rise by placing the pan in the refrigerator overnight. This worked well. The buns were doubled in size by morning and ready to bake.

Place oven rack in center and preheat to 350˚. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack, then invert and remove from pan so caramel syrup is on the top. Serve warm.


Chiang Mai Curry Noodles

I am a big fan of the Thai curries. I found this recipe in the book Quick and Easy Thai. I modified the recipe to use tofu but you could use chicken instead.

Chiang Mai Curry Noodles
Kao Soi

1 T chopped garlic
2 T red curry paste
Tofu, cut up and fried

2 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 t ground turmeric
2 T soy sauce
1 t sugar
1 t salt
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1 pound egg noodles or spaghetti, cooked
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup sliced green onions

Heat up a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add oil and saute garlic. Add the curry paste and stir for about a minute. Add the tofu, coconut milk, chicken broth, turmeric, soy sauce, sugar and salt and stir well Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice and remove from heat.

Divide the noodles into individual serving bowls. Ladle on the hot curry and sprinkle each serving with shallots, cilantro and green onions.
I made some garlic chili sauce today from the chiles that I grew. It turns out significantly hotter than the store bought brand!

I added a few drops of it to the curry but it made it extremely hot. My naughty wife suggested that I slip a piece of the tofu from the curry to the dog. Poor Daisy. She went and hid under the chair for a while.

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Pad Se Eu

I have posted before about an excellent Thai food place in Chicago called Penny's Noodle Shop. One of my wife's favorite dishes there is Pad Se Eu. Penny's menu describes it as follows:

Wide rice noodles stir fried in a lightly sweetened soy sauce with egg, broccoli and your choice of chicken,
beef or tofu ...... $6.40
I looked through my cookbooks and finally found a good recipe in the book Real Thai.
I have modified the recipe a little to our tastes.

Pad Se Eu
Kwaytiow Paht Si-Yu

2 T soy sauce with 2 T brown sugar mixed in
1 T black bean sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 T red curry paste
1 T chopped garlic
About 3 cups broccoli
1/2 pound chicken, very thinly sliced
flat rice noodles (we ended up using fresh fettuccine noodles)
2 eggs

Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add a little oil. Saute the garlic briefly and then add the broccoli. When the broccoli is just starting to soften remove it to a plate. Next stir fry the chicken and remove to the plate. Scramble the eggs and remove to the plate. Finally add the noodles to the wok and dump in all the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry
until heated through.

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Our Christmas Morning

We had to reschedule our Christmas morning this year to the 29th because I was on call.

When I was growing up we always had some sort of a brunch dish with caramel pecan rolls and grape juice. My naughty wife obliged and made the tastiest caramel pecan rolls ever and an excellent brunch dish. The recipe for the rolls will be posted when wifey can get to it. The brunch recipe can be found here.
The baby was hard at work with one of her new toys - a laptop. She had to have a working brunch.

After brunch we went out and tried out her other new toy - a Skuut Bike.
A Skuut Bike is a wooden bike with no peddles. The kid pushes along with the feet like a Flintstones car. Eventually they get the idea and can balance well enough to get a running start and Skuut with their feet up. It is supposed to help them learn to balance. She loves her new Skuut Bike.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Red Alert

Sources say our 'man in the field' has been in the process of making homemade sauerkraut!!!! Details will follow as they become available. We here at damngoodfood are bringing you team coverage.
Stay tuned.

Cape Brandy Pudding

Part of my interest in South Africa has lead me into a study of South African Cuisine. When I bought the South African History book I also picked up The Complete South African Cookbook from amazon.com. There are all kinds of interesting recipes in the book, but one that sparked my interest is Cape Brandy Pudding. It came to South Africa from the Dutch. I have been researching figgy pudding for the holidays and I thought I would try this version first, which contains dates.

Cape Brandy Pudding

8 oz package of dried pitted dates, finely chopped
2 cups flour
2 beaten eggs
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

1 T butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brandy
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

1) Divide dates into 2 equal portions and place in separate bowls.
2) Add baking soda to one batch and pour boiling water over. Mix well and leave to cool.
3) Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix in eggs.
4) Fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the creamed butter/sugar/eggs.
5) Add the 2 bowls of dates and nuts. Mix well.
6) Bake in a baking dish in the oven at 350 until done, about 40 minutes. Test with a skewer, but a few crumbs will often adhere to the stick even when the pudding is done.

1) Heat sugar, butter and water until well dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, brandy and salt.

To serve, pour the sauce over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven. It will soak into the pudding. This is what you are going for. You can serve it warm as is or let it cool and serve with whipped cream. Most sources recommend serving with ice cream.

I don't have a suitable pudding mold so I had to bake mine in a greased mixing bowl.


Dutch Fried Rice

I've written before about how the history of colonization by the Dutch influenced their cuisine. I bought the book Let's Go Dutch a while back from amazon.com. Last summer there was a possibility that I would be going to South Africa so I started reading about the history of South Africa. The Dutch had quite a role in South African history. Reading about all that made me more curious about Dutch history and in Dutch food. There is a Malaysian dish of fried rice called Nasi Goreng. According to Let's Go Dutch:

"No Dutch household is complete without an individualized recipe for Nasi Goreng."

Also on page 112:

"It is a social 'must' to drink beer with Nasi Goreng."
The author suggests Heineken or Amstel beer. Seeing all of the Indonesian influence on Dutch cuisine makes me wonder if maybe my grandfather's brief foray into cooking Chinese food wasn't related in some way to the old country. Also the use of bacon grease to saute the onions gives me an insight into my own cooking. That was a trick I learned from my mother.

Dutch Fried Rice
Nasi Goreng

2 cups raw rice which has been cooked (it will make more than 2 cups)

3/4 pound bacon
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large onions, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 T peanut butter
Chili Garlic Sauce such as Sriracha to taste
1 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
soy sauce to taste

Fry bacon in a wok. Remove from heat and crumble. Saute the celery, onions and leeks. Dump in everything else except the rice and stir. When everything is well combined add the rice and stir well. Serve topped with a fried egg.

Sriracha is available in most grocery stores in the Asian food section. It looks like this:

The recipe actually calls for Conimex Sambal Oelek, which is the Dutch version.

And here is a plate of this wonderful fried rice:
Rarely do I single out recipes on this site for particular praise. I like all of the recipes on this site otherwise I wouldn't put them up. This recipe is special. Wifey says "this is the best fried rice I've ever had." It truly is a most amazing fried rice.

Lest anyone forget the joys of Wanna's Won Tons:
We had a few of these badboys tonight. They make a great side to the Dutch Fried Rice. You can find my original post on Wanna's Won Tons written about 1 year go. We had ours tonight served with the leftover peanut and sweet and sour chili sauce.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika

I was reading in myGourmet Cookbook about Smoked Paprika. Apparently most Hungarian paprika is sun dried but in Spain it is smoked. I bought a bottle and tried out the Gourmet Cookbook recipe for deviled eggs.

Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika

6 hard boiled eggs, split lengthwise
1/4 cup mayo
1 t Dijon mustard
1/4 t salt
sprinkling of smoked paprika

Combine egg yolks, mayo and Dijon mustard in a bowl with salt. Mash up real well. Place the mixture into the egg halves and sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Dinner

Tonight we had our usual - chili and cinnamon rolls.
We also listened to Chip Davis' American Christmas Special on the radio. It was very pleasant. We had to reschedule our actual Christmas Eve and Christmas day to the 28th and 29th because I am on face call today and hand call tomorrow. My schedule is too unreliable to devote the proper attention to the holiday on the 24th and 25th. The little one doesn't know the difference and I actually like being able to stretch the season out just a few more days. I really like Christmas.

Chicken Kabobs

The apartment complex has still banned my grill and smoker. I am starting to get pretty good at using the broiler but I miss the charcoal taste. Here is a nice recipe for chicken kabobs. They go pretty well with tzatziki sauce.

Chicken Kebabs Shish Tawook

10 cloves garlic, mashed

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

2 T plain yogurt

½ tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. white pepper

2 lbs. chicken breasts cut into chunks for grilling.

Combine all and marinate in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Grill or broil on skewers. Serve with tzatziki sauce or garlic yogurt sauce. The tzatziki sauce is a little more trouble to prepare but well worth the effort.

Tzatziki Sauce

3 cups plain yogurt, strained

1 cucumber, sweated and seeded

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 T fresh dill

Salt to taste

Pour yogurt into a coffee filter over a bowl to strain off excess liquid. This may take several hours but it’s important. Sweat the cucumbers by peeling them, seeding them and then sprinkling about a tablespoon of salt over them. This will draw out the excess liquid. Pat dry with a paper towel. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until very smooth. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving so the flavors can meld.

Philly Cheesesteaks

I occasionally scour the internet looking for new ways of doing things. I am particularly interested in pizza and other foods that people are passionate about. One such food is the Philly Cheesesteak. I did a fairly exhaustive search of the internet again yesterday and I still think the best source of information is on this website. I don't really have anything new to add except that I have been using cheaper meat (sirloin) and diced onions. I like them just as well that way. I made some up for us last night and they were a hit.
I still think that you shouldn't ask for lettuce and tomato on your cheesesteak like this moron:
That photo just screams "I don't get it but I want you to think I do."

Panini Sandwiches

The other night we had some panini sandwiches. I like ones made with slices of fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato slices and a basil leaf.
They go well with some soup. You can buy a panini maker at Target for like 20 bucks. My naughty wife tried to sell mine at our moving garage sale but no one bought it.

Deaf Oral School Christmas

I went with our toddler to the Louisville Deaf Oral School Christmas. She isn't so much into Santa.
But she did like her present!

Public Service Announcement

Don't forget to put out a bowl of mixed nuts.

Caramel Cheesecake

I'm a big fan of cheesecake. My wife made me a very tasty one for my birthday.

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake from The Gourmet Cookbook

Crumb Crust

1 ½ c (about 5 oz.) finely ground chocolate graham crackers or cookies

5 T unsalted butter, melted

1/3 c sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

Butter a springform pan. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Press onto the bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of the buttered pan. Fill immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours.


1 c sugar

¾ c heavy cream

8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped

½ c sour cream

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Put rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cook sugar in a dry, heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork until melted and pale golden. Continue to cook caramel, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally, until deep golden. Immediately remove from heat and carefully add cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and mix in chocolate mixture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Mix in vanilla.

Put springform pan with crust on a baking sheet with sides to catch any drips. Pour filling into crust. Bake until cake is set 3 inches from the edges but center is still slightly wobbly, about 55 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, then cool completely on a wire rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) After the cake is cooled refrigerate, loosely covered (with a kitchen towel) at least 6 hours. Remove the sides of the pan, transfer to a cake plate, and bring to room temperature before serving.

*May be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Naughty Vegi Tacos

My naughty wife made these great tacos from Rick Bayless' new book Mexican Everyday. I must have eaten 4 or 5 of the things.

Rick Bayless’ Tacos with Swiss Chard, Spinach or Greens, Caramelized Onion and Fresh Cheese

1 bunch Swiss chard, (or collard, mustard or beet greens), thick lower stems cut off OR cleaned spinach

1 ½ T olive oil

1 large white or red onion, sliced ¼ inch thick

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

½ cup chicken or vegetable broth


Warm corn tortillas

Crumbled Mexican queso or feta cheese

About ¾ cup Smoky Chipotle Salsa for serving

Cut the chard or greens crosswise into ½ inch strips. If using small spinach leaves they may be left whole. We used collard greens and they were wonderful. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes.) Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic, then add the broth, ½ tsp. of the salt and the greens. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook 7-8 minutes for the collard greens, about 2 minutes if using spinach, 5 minutes if using Swiss chard. Uncover and raise the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is almost dry. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.

Serve with warm tortillas, cheese and salsa. We ate these tacos with our old standby GQ tacos that call for fried shells so we opted for fried shells. They were very tasty. To fry your own shells heat about ¼ inch of vegetable oil to medium high in the bottom of a heavy skillet. Drop a corn tortilla into the oil and wait until it puffs up. Tap the tortilla with your tongs and let it bubble up again (about 15 seconds total.) Take a pair of tongs and lift it out of the oil. Turn it over but fry half of the other side at a time to create a folded taco shape. Drain on a paper sack or paper towels and salt both sides.

For the smoky chipotle salsa just drain a can of tomatillos and put them in the blender. Add a chipotle pepper or two and a little cilantro. Blend until smooth. Add salt if needed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweet and Sour Thai Chili Sauce

I found a recipe for some Thai Chili Garlic sauce. It calls for fresh Bird's Eye Chiles which I just happen to have. One of my co-residents gave me 2 chili plants that were grown from seeds that have been handed down in his family forever. It makes a good dipping sauce for the pork tidbits featured below. It also makes a good sauce to cook with and for spring rolls. I left the fish sauce out of the original recipe.

Sweet and Sour Thai Chili Sauce

9 Bird's Eye Chiles, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped cilantro
1/2 t paprika
1/2 cup water
1 T lime juice
1 T soy sauce
1 t salt

Add everything to a saucepan except the cilantro and lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken a little bit. Then add lime juice and cook 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Add the cilantro and place in a jar in the fridge.


One of my 2 favorite places to get Thai food is in Chicago and it is called Penny's Noodle Shop. The one we used to go to was right underneath the El stop on Diversey avenue. I led a group of people up there for our trip to the Iowa game last fall but it was closed! My naughty wife always used to get Pad Thai or Pad Se Eu. I always got Hot Pepper Noodle. The menu describes it as follows:

Stir fried wide rice noodles with egg, chili sauce, onion, red pepper,
tomato, basil and your choice of chicken,beef or tofu ...... $6.40

We call it HPB around our house because of the amazing and sometimes devastating effects it has on the gastrointestinal tract. Ask me sometimes and I'll tell you what HPB stands for. I don't have the actual recipe but here is what I do.


1 box tofu, cut into pieces and fried

3 eggs, scrambled

1 onion, cut into pieces

1 tomato, cut into wedges

1 T red curry paste

Thai red pepper hot sauce to taste

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely minced

salt to taste

1 T brown bean sauce

1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

Wide rice noodles (if you can find them) I usually end up using some sort of egg noodle

a few basil leaves, torn up into small pieces

some finely chopped cilantro

Cut the tofu into pieces and fry until done. Set aside.

Scramble 3 eggs and set aside.

Saute the onion and set aside. (the goal is something that is sauteed but still slightly crisp)

Saute the red pepper and set aside. (the goal is something that is sauteed but still slightly crisp)

In a wok or large pot heat a little peanut oil. Saute the minced garlic and ginger just until it softens. Add the red curry paste and stir. Cook this briefly. Add the tomatoes and cook briefly, just until they start to soften. Dump in all the rest of the ingredients except the hot chili sauce and heat briefly. Taste the mixture. Add salt and the hot chili sauce until it suits your taste. I like mine HOT HOT HOT!

Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

I love Thai food! I recently acquired a couple of new Thai cookbooks. This recipe comes from the book Real Thai available from Amazon.com. I have found a ton of great recipes in the book and I plan to feature a bunch of them in the coming months. Here is one that would make a very nice appetizer or adjunct to a noodle dish.

Grilled pork on Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Moo Satay

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 t brown bean sauce
1 t brown sugar
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t turmeric
1 pound lean pork

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Slice the pork into thin long strips about 3 inches long by 1 wide. Combine the pork with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours. Grill the pork pieces on bamboo skewers or use the broiler.

1/2 cup coconut milk
2 T red curry paste
1/2 cup chunky-style peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 T brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 t brown bean sauce
salt to taste

Warm coconut milk over medium heat until it reaches a gentle boil. Add the curry paste and stir. Cook 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning with salt. Cool to room temperature.
PS - Michael says "Hi!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dutch Round Steak

One of the neater things about Dutch cuisine is that they had colonies all over the world at one point. You may have heard of South Africa and of the Dutch East Indies Company? Foods and spices from each of these locales have made it into Dutch cuisine. In fact, the book Let's Go Dutch has a special section on Indonesian food.

This recipe for round steak reflects the use of spices from other countries pretty well. Both my wife and I thought that the dish tasted almost Indian in origin.

Dutch Round Steak


Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. prepared mustard OR Dijon mustard

1 lb. boneless round steak

½ cup butter or margarine

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 large winter carrots, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, quartered

¼ cup dry red wine

¼ tsp. (or more to taste) curry powder

¼ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. sweet soy sauce

¼ tsp. fresh OR dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup tender young peas, cooked

Mix the salt, pepper and mustard and rub it on both sides of the steak. Allow the steak to stand for about 10 minutes. Heat the butter in a large frying pan until it turns a light brown color. Sear the steak on both sides over high heat. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside. Fry, over medium heat, the onions, carrots and tomatoes until the onions are translucent. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the gravy into the bottom of a Dutch oven. Stir in the curry, nutmeg, soy sauce, thyme and the bay leaf. Place the steak and any drippings into the Dutch oven. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Add the cooked peas. To serve, place the steak on a warm platter and pour all of the gravy on top.

We served it with one of my new favorite vegies - roasted Brussels sprouts.

You can see instructions for roasted Brussels sprouts here.