On December 29th I celebrated a “milestone” birthday. I turned 50. Luckily therapy wasn’t required for me to be able to admit my age. Getting older has never really bothered me since each new decade has proven to be better than the previous one. Still, I find the fact that I’ve lived for 50 years to be a bit mind boggling!
My wonderful, amazing husband, Michael, (also known as The Picky Eater) planned a birthday to remember. He set up a spa afternoon for me at the Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa. I got the works—manicure, pedicure, facial and massage. It was heaven! (As you can see from the photo, the hotel lobby is beautiful.)
For my birthday dinner, Michael took me to Jasper’s, an Italian restaurant that is a
institution. The kitchen is currently managed by Chef Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr.,
the son of the founder. I grew up hearing about this place, and I even received
the Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook by Chef
Jasper from Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2009 while I was still living in Kansas City However I never had the chance to eat at the restaurant.
When I moved back to the New
Hampshire. Midwest, a meal at Jasper’s was
on the top of my foodie bucket list.
Jasper's is very “old-school” with white table cloths, silver cutlery, and knowledgeable servers ready to assist you. (They even place your napkin in your lap!) Our server, Chris, took good care of us first-timers.
For my entree, I had a pork shank osso buco that was simply amazing. The meat just melted off the bone and the sauce was rich and flavorful. Michael had spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs, which he loved.
Finally, our server brought me a piece of strawberry Borghese cake for my birthday. It was simply divine—a strawberry cake soaked in strawberry liqueur with layers of
The meal was so good I pulled out my Jasper’s cookbook when I got home. Thanks to the cold weather, I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Tuscan Beef Stew.
This stew just made the top of my “make often” list this winter!
Tuscan Beef Stew
Adapted from Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook: Italian Recipes and Memories from Kansas City’s Legendary Restaurant by Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr.
1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes2 cups low sodium beef broth (or Italian red wine and 1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, cubed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Place all of the ingredients except the cornstarch and water into a 6-quart Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, and then turn to low. Cover and allow the stew to simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender. Mix the cornstarch and cold water together and add it to the stew. Turn the heat up and bring the stew to a boil to allow the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.
For a slow cooker, place all of the ingredients except the cornstarch and water into a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours, or until the meat is tender. At the end, turn the slow cooker to high. Mix together the cornstarch and cold water and add to the slow cooker. Stir until the sauce thickens.