Sunday, March 31, 2013

Abbey's Kitchen Has MOVED

Thank you to all of the loyal followers!
I am thrilled to announce my new website is finally ready! Here you will find all of the blog posts, beautifully organized and easy to find.
Take some time to look around, and make sure to check out my webisodes which will be coming out every other week.
See you soon on the other side!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Endless Dippin' of Tasty Chicken with Yorkshire Valley Farms

On February 28th, celebrity Gastro-entertainer, Christian Pritchard, and ten hungry food bloggers gathered at the super sexy Sub-Zero Wolf Showroom to test out the highly anticipated Yorkshire Valley Farms’ Organic Chicken Nuggets.

The nuggets themselves were crispy, juicy, and perfect for little hands and picky palates. Delicious in their own right, of course, but what food isn’t made more tempting by a tasty dip?  Lucky for us, there just happened to be ten of the top artisanal and large-brand sauces to enhance our chicken experience. 

 And to refresh our palates between dips, Magners was in attendance to pour their crisp Pear Cider. If you missed the #ChicknDip party, here’s a visual of our dipping delight and a quick plan for I’m going to do with them.

DA (Dine Alone) Foods: “Southern Blues” Kickin’ Original BBQ Sauce (Launched & Tasted Exclusively at #Chickndip)

Slather it on BBQ ribs

Eudora Foods: Khaldin Traditional Curry Sauce


Saute it with shrimp and rice

Killer Condiments: Sweet Pepper Relish

Use it to top a fresh lamb burger with feta

Rossy Earle: Rossy’s Diablo’s Fuego Hot Sauce

Cook it into scrambled eggs

The McEwan Group: McEwan’s Own Bacon Jam

Serve it with a mild creamy cheese and neutral cracker. Heck, who am I kidding, as Guy Fieri would say, this would taste good with flip flop.

Neal Brothers: Toasted Sesame (Launched & Tasted Exclusively at #Chickndip)

Drizzle it over chicken souvlaki

Neal Brothers: Honey Dijon (Launched & Tasted Exclusively at #Chickndip)

Dress a pasta salad with it

Bonne Mamam: Bonne Maman Plum Spread

Mix it in with oatmeal

Bumpercrop: Green Tomato Garlic Jam

Smear it on crostini

Maggi: Hot and Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce

Squirt it onto a sweet Italian sausage

Billy Bee: Billy Bee Honey 

Use it to dip chicken nuggets- my childhood staple is just as delicious today!

Now, that’s my kind of Thursday night! And with the big box of YVF nuggets happily sitting in my freezer, I have a feeling that every Thursday (or Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday) is going to be getting a whole lot tastier!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Richmond Station Toronto Restaurant Review

Since the first episode of last season’s Top Chef Canada, I had been rooting for Toronto-based chef, Carl Heinrich. And not only because of his beautifully executed food and his adorable little face, but because of what his win might mean for Toronto’s food scene future. I mean, it’s one thing to have a culinary masterminds in this crazy-costly city, but it’s quite another to have the cash to be able to use it. Well, thank goodness Toronto not only now has a Top Chef, but we’ve got a really smart chef, too. Because while most male 20-somethings would probably blow that kind of dough on a sexy car, or a big Euro trip, or a couple nights at the casino, this one made his restaurant-owning dreams come true in the city.


Co-owned by Heinrich and his long-term friend, Ryan Donovan, Richmond Station delivers 80-seats worth of comfortable, laid-back dining. It’s a convenient alternative to the near-by Eatons Centre’s mall eats, and mere steps away from the subway, making it a refreshing alternative (and a less costly cab ride less) than my weekly Parkdale restaurant shlep.

Well just before Heinrich became the new face of Canadian Top Chef celebrity, I had enjoyed his and Donovan’s food at downtown restaurant, Marben.  And as fabulous as those meals were, I anticipated that if given full creative reigns, and absolute culinary control, Heinrich could show Torontonians why he took that big win home.  Let’s just say he’s made his point with this one.

With its deceiving shoe-box signage outside, the restaurant is actually composed of two good sized dining rooms and floors.  After poking our heads through the front door curtains, we were walked down a long hall of appropriately spaced tables, adorned with old black and white photos on our left and an adjacent bar on our right.  Barely visible to our table in this downstairs section was a large open kitchen dining room and an additional enclosed table along the wall upstairs. Actually, had I not had that extra cocktail and needed to seek out the ladies room, I might have not even noticed the additional space.  While the rooms were certainly set up differently, the atmosphere throughout the restaurant was comfortable, breathable and cheerful.  Lights were dim enough to allow for the table-top tea candles to emit a radiant glow, but thankfully, were not so dark that I may mistake my surroundings for one of the neighbouring clubs.  Likewise, noise levels were kept to an ambient, agreeable level.  It was just loud enough to create a buzz, but never so noisy that I felt myself strained to hear my partner or server speak.  This is unfortunately a pleasure I don’t find so often anymore.  I also appreciated their clear attention to the thermostat, and the heavy wind-breaking curtains at the front. While in all honestly, I didn’t experience RS in in bare-leg cocktail dress (come on, the two of us are so past that dress-to-impress phase), I’d bet I would get through the meal without a single drafty chill.

From the moment we walked in, the service was friendly and unpretentious- our jackets were hung, our drinks were poured, our meal was well timed and prompt (in and out in 1 ½ hours).  While of course, having drinks refilled, and cutlery replenished is a very important attribute of good service, I am always more interested in smiles and enthusiasm and even a little humour when eating out. Thankfully, at RS, they’ve nailed them both, embodying a professional, yet pleasantly relaxed atmosphere that exudes feelings of warmth and welcome.

The drink menu predominantly draws attention to its good selection of local and international wines, about a third of which are available to drink by glass or half bottle.  They also feature an interesting variety of craft beers (draft and bottle), and about 7 different house-made cocktails.  I was honestly drawn by nearly every cocktail on the list, so I employed the server to help me make choices. Throughout the evening we sampled the Tequila Sour (Tromba, Egg White, Lime and Agave, $14), Cranberry Old Fashioned (Marker’s Mark, Muddled Cranberries, Winter Syrup, $15) and French Twist (Zubrowka Vodka, Heering Cherry, Pineapple, $12).  While all of the cocktails were easy to drink and well-balanced, I found the flavours of the French Twist the most pleasantly assertive and enticing.  We also went for a half bottle of the Malbec "Ben Marco" from Dominio del Plata, Mendoza ($41), which made for a really smooth red wine to carry us through our meat-heavy mains.

Cranberry Old Fashioned 

Tequila Sour

French Twist
Food at RS followed the theme set by the atmosphere, service and Heinrich himself- it balances cozy and comforting, with fresh and effortless beauty. Here you won’t find pretentious descriptions, overly-complicated preparations, or fad-driven items to distract from respectfully treated proteins and seasonal veg.  But rather, RS offers a “Pantry” and “Daily Chalkboard” menu full of familiar, yet inspired farm-to-table flavours.  The kind of foods you might think of if a really sexy bachelor or bachelorette were to cook you the comfort foods you grew up with- what could be hotter than that?  


 Well, after some coaching from our server, we opted to share a good sampling of both their regular menu items and specials. We went for:

Salumi Board: Chocolate, Miso, Cassis, Burgundy, Walnut with Pickled Veg, Beet Chutney, Spicy Mustard, Crackers, and Bread with Baco Noir Vinegar and Olive Oil ($18)

A unique selection of gorgeous charcuterie, each with their own subtle nuances and textures. While the thought of chocolate salumi originally made me think of some gross-out lunch-room dare, it turned out to be the favourite of the night. I loved the mildly bitter aroma and slightly creamy texture of the chocolate against the salty satisfying chew of the fatty meat. I also particularly loved the beet chutney rolled into a slice of the rich walnut studded pork.  A great, sharable start to our meal.

Crispy Confit Chicken Wings: House-Made Kimchi, Soy Chili Salt ($12)

Thank goodness there were an even number of chicken wings for us to split, because odd-numbers of tasty-fried foods are really not a good way to kick off date night. These chicken wings were seasoned to perfection with an umami rich salt that brought a kick to the tongue once you got to the juicy meat within. Without any typical wing sauces to weigh the batter down or sog it up, the wings remained light on the palate, and blessedly crispy.  The Kimchi was also a welcome accompaniment as it helped to cut deep-fried fat with a satisfying tangy crunch.

Duo of Muscovy Duck: Smoked Sweet Potato, Turnips, Honey Gastrique ($28)

A generous portion of duck breast and what I would call a tasty confit “croquette”  laid atop a bed of beautifully sweet root vegetables. While the breast was a bit overcooked and tough for us, the crispy cube of fried duck leg was divine.  Beautifully seasoned throughout, the exterior was golden and wickedly crispy and the insides were packed with rich, sweet juicy meat. These were particularly delicious when smeared with the sweet and smoky potato puree.

Stn. Burger: Lettuce, Beet Chutney, Aged Cheddar, Rosemary Fries, Jardiniere ($20)

Best-Burger-Ever. Now, I am not one to order a burger in any other place than a burger shop.  But after learning the art of gourmet burger making from Boulud (and no, I’m not talking about how-many-outrageous-toppings-can-I-load-between-these-buns “gourmet”), I knew this was a non-negotiable order. Heinrich’s version is stuffed with decadent tender short ribs and served a beautiful medium rare. The meat is remarkably juicy and well seasoned, and as a result, needs only a simple strong-flavoured cheddar, crunchy ice burger lettuce and sweet beet condiment stand in as supporting roles.  Choosing an appropriate bun to contain all these juices must have been a challenging feat, but like a commercial-grade sponge towel, the RS bun does the job right. The bounty of sumptuous meat juices were efficiently soaked up by the sturdy bun, and ensured that all that delicious flavour ended up in my mouth and not on my hands. Once I had quickly conquered my share of the burger, I promptly did the same for the fries. Light, and crispy with a gorgeous hint of rosemary and crunchy salt- a flawless accompaniment to a flawless meaty main.

Wunderbar: Peanut and Caramel Sensation ($9)

A chalkboard special for the night, I just had to read peanut and caramel and know it was for me. This bar featured a gorgeously fluffy peanut butter mousse set atop a pool of golden caramel, and finished with a generous coating of chocolate ganache. I loved the balance of super sweet caramel against the bitterness of the ganache, and the ethereal texture of the mouse. Yep, I scraped that plate pretty clean with this one.

Cracker Jack: Sticky Toffee Pudding, Peanut Brittle, Popcorn Ice Cream, Stout Tuile ($9)

Believe it or not, I loved this dessert even more. But then again, you just have to say the words STP to get me salivating like a tail-wagging dog. RS’s pudding was bouncy, sweet, and so moist it nearly melted on the tongue, while the generous crackle of peanut brittle gave my palate a stimulating kick. I appreciated the subtle buttery scent of the popcorn ice cream, and the mildly bitter beer tuile, both of which helped balance out the rich thick toffee on the plate.  I would return to RS for this addictive dessert alone. And next time, it won’t be up for share-sies.

Mignardises: Earl Grey Chocolate Fudge

A lovely gift last bite sent to us with the bill, I really enjoyed the slightly musky sweet aroma of the tea against the rich bitterness of the chocolate. And who doesn’t like a chewy dense fudge? It certainly helped to butter and sweeten us up after we recognized what we’d spent on booze. 

So what did we spend? For 3 cocktails, ½ bottle of red, 2 share plates, 2 mains and 2 desserts, the bill came to $240 including tax and tip.  This was likely one of the more expensive meals we’ve had in the city, but admittedly, we were drinking more. I don’t think the prices were at all outrageous for the quality and generous portions, and all of the drinks were comparable to other similar-style establishments.


 I will certainly be back to satisfy my burger and STP cravings, and maybe get my charcuterie fix while we’re stopping by. So in conclusion, while it is surely a massive accomplishment for a young chef like Carl to win a huge Canada-wide competition, what he does with it in practice is ultimately what counts. And after my meal at RS tonight, I’d say, he’s come out on top again. Great job, Carl! You’ve made Toronto proud!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Red Wine Rosemary Fig Compote with Cranberries & Cherries

A few days ago, I posted a recipe for the Rosemary Orange Candied Nuts that I took to my lovely friend's #KingsmountKitchenParty.  Remember when I told you about that cheese-nut sandwich? Well, that sandwich would not be as delicious without this tasty fig compote.


This recipe could not be easier, though admittedly, it's not the cheapest thing to make. It basically requires a whole bottle of wine, a vanilla bean, and a lot of dried fruit, which can make for a pretty decadent little spread. But believe me, it's worth it.


I love the combination of figs with cherries and cranberries. You get a floral note from the figs, an unmistakable sweet kick from the cherries, and the tart hit from the cranberries. You also get lots of crunchy seeds to chew on which create a satisfying crackle between the teeth.

This compote is beautiful with cheese and crackers, but would also make a nice alternative to cranberry sauce at your next holiday meal.


Try it out and let me know what you think!  This is what I did:

Red Wine Rosemary Fig Compote with Cranberries and Cherries
Serves 12-18 (about 4 cups)

3 cups dried mission figs, chopped fine
1 cup dried sweet cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. In a medium pot over high heat, add in the figs, cherries, cranberries, wine, water, honey, sugar, rosemary, vanilla bean seeds and residual bean, vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until the mixture is thick and the fruit is tender, about 45-50 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, discard the vanilla bean, and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to jam jars or containers. Store in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rosemary Orange Candied Nuts

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of being invited over to a lovely new friend's house for a little St. Patty's Day get-together called #KingsmountKitchenParty - yes, this event has it's own hashtag.  Now, of course, I was told I didn't have to bring anything, as there would be real chefs in attendance who would surely be making something fabulous. But come on! I couldn't just show up to a foodie-fest sans food!


 So in between this weekend's tedious task of transferring all of my blog posts onto my soon-to-be-launched new website, I whipped up a salty snack to serve alongside cheese, crackers, and a boozy fig compote (I will post the recipe soon).

The seasonings
Even if you're not a fan of nuts in general, these ones will likely get you hooked. They have a really nice balance of salty, sweet, spicy and aromatic, and of course a satisfying, yet meaty crunch from the nut itself. I use a combination here of pecans and walnuts, but you can stick to one or the other if you'd like. I do prefer these nut varieties to almonds or peanuts, for example, because they have lots of ridges and crevices for loading in all the seasonings.  And actually, if you are going to choose just one nut, go with the pecans.  For some reason their nooks and crannies do an extra good job holding onto that flavour.

Toasting the nuts
My favourite way to eat these (other than just out of my hand), is to create a cheese sandwich.  I go cracker-cheese-nut-compote/preserve-cracker. You get lots of crunch, some richness, sweetness and a burst of aromatic flavour. It's not a very delicate operation, of course. It often ends up crumbling in my hand and then I have to pull the ol' just-shove-it-in-my-mouth move, but it's delicious nonetheless.

Adding that seasoning
These are great for any get together or family snack, and for my Jewish brothers and sisters, a bowl of spiced nuts would make beautiful little hors d'oeuvre for an upcoming Passover sedar. You've already got the walnuts busted out for making charoset, so why not let them do double duty?

Hello there, gorgeous

So in an interest to let you get to work, this is what I did:

Rosemary Orange Candied Nuts
Serves 20

1/2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fine orange zest
3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 lb raw pecans
3/4 lb raw walnuts
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp water

1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small container, mix together the chili pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, zest, rosemary and salt.
3. Heat the nuts over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet until they begin to smell toasty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remember to stir constantly and watch them so they don't burn!
4. Add in the butter and toss to coat. Once melted, add in the ramekin of spices, and stir to combine.
5. Add in the maple syrup, sugar and water and stir until completely coated.  Cook over medium heat until the liquid thickens and becomes very sticky, about 3-4 minutes.
6. Pour the nuts onto the sheet pan, arranging them so that they don't touch each other.  All the nuts to cool completely (at least 3 hours).  Transfer to an air tight container and store at room temperature (in a cool, dark place) for about 2 weeks (they won't last that long, of course).

Deliciously Yours,


Monday, March 18, 2013

Superfood Slow Cooker Minestrone

Minestrone soup is a classic Italian bowl of comfort that is naturally high in fibre and low in fat. It was one of my go-to dishes while on my trip to Italy because it was a light alternative to another bowl of pasta after one too many scoops of gelato. Packed with hearty white beans, satisfying pasta, tonnes of vegetables and as much cheese as my little heart desires, it's food you just feel invigorated to eat.


Dice that mirepoix

Well, seeing the dearth of veggies at you-know-who's lunch today (yep,  he had lasagna with Caesar salad AND a 4 + cup container of some fried lo mein dish, just in case he needed a "snack") and the abundance of said vegetables in our fridge, I figured I'd load up my crock pot and call it dinner. Oh, and loading did I ever. Actually, I hope you're crock pot is bigger than mine because I ended up with a little spillage as I packed the last handful of kale in. It was totally worth it though because I ended up with not one, not two, but legit-three two-person meals full of delicious Italian love.

Saute them veggies!

Into the pool

Now, as I'm sure you know, this girl is definitely not a vegetarian (nor is that boy), but I assure you that this is Vegetarian meal going to win over any meat-loving family. With all those high fibre veggies, beans and whole grain pasta, you can feel satisfied with a modest bowl, but totally justified if you go back for a second (or third).  This is actually a really balanced vegetarian meal, as well, because it features both beans and grains (pasta) together, which when combined yield a "complete vegetable protein". I don't want to get into too much " nutritionese" jargon here, but in lay terms, there are very few non-animal food products that contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need to properly function. Thankfully, different vegetarian sources of protein are only missing a few amino acids each, and they don't all miss the same ones! That means if you "combine" vegetarian protein sources (like eating beans and grains together, for example), the overlap of amino acids basically covers you. So long story short, that's what minestrone does. It's got your back. And your quads, and your biceps, and all of the other protein-dependant muscles in your body.

Chopping up the veggies

Almost doesn't fit!

Now, off of the protein and back onto veg. I used kale as my dark leafy green in place of the more traditional spinach option but feel free to sub in your fave. Personally, I really like the heartier texture of kale, and since it's apparently become super culinary chic in the health-food world lately, I figured you'd appreciate the switch.  But if you're not a fan, you can try spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, arugula, mustard greens, or dandelion. All of these options are nutritional powerhouses, so no need to stress over which is "best".  
So before you're going to want to get that crock pot going ASAP, this is what I did:

Superfood Slow Cooker Minestrone
Serves 6

1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
4 stalks celery, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 tsp fresh oregano, minced
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, cut up into small chunks
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can White Navy beans, rinsed and drained
Rind from a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano
3 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 small bunches of kale, stemmed and leaves chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen cut green bean, thawed
1/2 cup whole grain macaroni (or other short cut pasta)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium non-stick skillet. Add in the carrots, celery and onion and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add in the garlic, red pepper and oregano and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir until the garlic is fragrant, about another minute. Remove from heat and load all the veggies into the slow cooker.
3. Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, beans, and cheese rind. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
4. About 30 minutes before ready to serve, add in the zucchini, kale, green beans, and pasta. Increase heat to high and cook covered for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the pasta is cooked al dente.
5.  Throw in the basil before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish generously with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Deliciously Yours,


Friday, March 15, 2013

Crockpot Italian Beef Braciole with Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes

It's Nutrition Month, folks, and this year the theme is all about helping Canadians put their best food forward when meal planning and grocery shopping. And yes, it's easy for a dietitian like myself to tell you to buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy and whole grains, but let's be honest- most of us have to balance those healthy eating standards with our budget.

Our Ingredients

Unfortunately, until some changes occur in food policy, a lot of healthy foods are pricey. Heck, I just saw a teeny package of baby cauliflower (like literally maybe a cups-worth) for $5! Yikes. Now, of course, I have the choice to just choose regular cauliflower, or try frozen if that worked out as a better deal, or maybe just pick a different vegetables.

Pound that puppy!

So, arguably, if I were flexible, that expense could perhaps be somewhat mediated by the huge selection of produce options.  But what about our meat?

Roll 'er up

I bet if you took a close look at your grocery bill that you'd see how pricey animal protein can be! I mean, sometimes I can get a couple chicken breasts on sale, but often, I'm paying $12-15 or so for two basic non-organic breasts, and that's just for one weeknight meal! Don't even get me started on the filet mignon! And while I definitely advocate for a meatless Monday (for your wallet and your waistlines sake), there are ways to have your meat and pay your rent, too.

Brown 'em off

Round, eye round, bottom round, flank, skirt, and brisket (though this is sometimes more pricey) are a few examples of less expensive beef options that are naturally low in fat, but sometimes can be chewy or unpalatable if cooked quickly like you would a pricey steak. So what do you do to make these cheap cuts seem flavourful and juicy despite their low fat content and price tag?

Everyone in the pool!

Hello there, Mr. Crockpot. Slowcooking, as the crockpot is designed to do, particularly in a moist environment, will help to tenderize that tough muscle tissue and turn your budget-friendly beef dinner into a family fave.
Brown those mushrooms

I made this recipe for just the two of us, but the meat portion can easily be doubled or tripled to accommodate your family's size.  Obviously, for just two of us, the sauce yield is excessive, but I simply freeze the leftovers and will later use them for making a quick ground-meat sauce.


You can also feel free to add in your family's favourite vegetables. We are huge mushroom fans over here, but this could have easily been packed with eggplant, zucchini, spinach, or bell peppers. Get creative and let me know how it goes!

This is what I did:

 Crockpot Italian Beef Braciole with Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes
Serves 2 (with extra sauce) 

2 thinly sliced top round steaks (1/2 lb total)
1 small package of dried mushrooms, rehydrated in 1 cup of water (keep the water), divided
1/4 Provolone cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated in water, sliced thinly and divided
Salt and pepper

2 tsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, cut up
1 large can Tomato Sauce (I used a roasted garlic flavour)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tsp olive oil
2 lb mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used button, cremini, and portabello)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano reggiano, for serving
Italian parsley, chopped, for serving
Whole Grain Pasta, for serving

1. Using a meat mallet (or a heavy-bottomed pot), pound out the steaks until they are less then 1/4 inch thick.  Leaving about a 1/2 inch border at the ends of the steak, top the steaks with about 1 tbsp of sundried tomato pieces, 1-2 tbsp of mushrooms and 2 tbsp of the provolone cheese each.  Carefully roll the beef up and secure with a few toothpicks. Repeat with second piece of meat.
2. Season the outside of the beef with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
3. Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Sear the beef quickly on each side until lightly brown (about 1-2 minutes per side).  Transfer to your crockpot.
4. Return the pan to the heat and add in the onion.  Cook for 3 minutes on medium high, then add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about another 30 seconds.
5. Working quickly, add in the red wine and scrape up all the stuck on beef bits from the bottom of the pan.  Transfer all of the wine and onion mixture into the crockpot.
6.  Add in the san marzano tomatoes, the tomato sauce, a pinch of red pepper flakes, balsamic, brown sugar, the remaining mushrooms and the poaching liquid (holding back and discarding any sediment that is at the bottom of the bowl), and the remaining rehydrated sundried tomatoes (discard the poaching liquid).  Cook on low for about 8-10 hours.
7. About 15 minutes before you're ready to serve, start to cook your pasta (according to box directions), and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add in the mushrooms and saute until they have released their juices and are browned.  Transfer to the crockpot and stir into the sauce.
8. To serve, create a bed of cooked pasta on the bottom of your plate. Top with a piece of the beef braciole (remembering to take out the toothpicks first), ladle over a few good scoops of the tomato mushroom sauce, and garnish with additional parmigiano reggiano and some chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Deliciously Yours,