Sorry for beginning 2009 with 11 days of silence. It was not my intention. I spent 7 of those days in sunny Florida for a Disney filled vacation with Dave’s Family.
It was just what I needed: sun, warm weather, pool/hot tub, great company and of course all 4 Disney parks that make up DisneyWorld. After having a pretty crappy end to 2008, this was just what I needed to start 2009 on a better note.
As part of the terms and conditions of me being invited on the trip (not really, but it was a way for me to feel better about the Schmidts oh-so-graciously getting my plane ticket to Orlando), I bought the supplies and cooked breakfast for the 9 of us all week. It was a little hard waking up between 7:30-8:00 on vacation, but I forgot how fun it is to cook for a crowd. I didn’t do anything super fancy, just eggs, lots of bacon, cereal, etc but it was still a whole lot of fun. Rich and I also made our respective Mac and Cheese recipes for dinner the first night. As you can see, he approved.
Of course when I got back to Chicago, it snowed for 2 1/2 days straight. It is still beautiful and such, but it makes it hard to go for a long run outside. I should have run more than once in FL! It took me 2 days to make it through my backed up and loaded Google Reader and give me a little more perspective of what I want this blog to mean to me in 2009. I have found a few blogs out there that are more of the: this is what I ate and did today rather than, this is a super awesome recipe that I just made. I don’t think I want to take it in the direction of a food diary (maybe in the future, not yet) but I do think I will add more personal stuff here, rather than just a post to try to get onto tastespotting and what not.
Any how…I was also very fortunate to add a few new tools to my kitchen that I will be using here over the next few posts. Yesterday, while Dave was at his first day of Intensive IP Trial Ad, I watched the snow and read through my reader and the Kitchn and found a recipe for Beef Stew which sounded perfect. Warm, cozy, something I have never made, and a perfect use for my new dutch oven! It was the perfect dish to make on a snowy, lazy Saturday afternoon. And the best part is that I have two full portions frozen for a quick meal during the semester.
Adapted from Classic Beef Stew
1.5 Pounds beef (bottom/top round), trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
4 Cups of low sodium chicken broth (I like TJs Brand)
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Bay leaves
3 Pounds of red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (I left the skin on)
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (Listen to Bitten and buy the tube!)
1 cup of red wine (optional-but it gives you a good excuse to open a bottle)
1 cup frozen corn
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 1%)
Salt and Pepper (I got to use my new Peugeot pepper mill; Thanks Deb and Rich!)
Set a large dutch oven or pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Toss the beef cubes with salt and pepper. When the pot is hot, add a teaspoon of oil and enough beef cubes to so that it is full, but none are touches. Let them sear without stirring until they “unstick” on their own. Once they are mostly cooked on all sides, take the cubes out and sear the rest of the meat in batches.
Once all the beef cubes are seared, deglaze the pot with one cup of broth. Scape the bottom of the pan to lift up the fond. Once the pot is deglazed, put all the beef back into the pot and add enough broth/water until the liquid is just below the surface of the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cover. Simmer for around an hour, until the meat is easily skewered but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, add one teaspoon of oil to another pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions are turning translucent. Add the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste evenly coats the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper during the process. Remove from heat and set aside until the beef is done simmering.
Once the beef is done, add the vegetables to the meat and add more broth/water to cover. Simmer uncovered for another 40-60 mins until the meat is very tender. Stir in the wine and corn.
Whisk together the milk and flour. Add a little stew broth to the mixture then slowly add it to the stew. Stir to fully incorporate. Remove the bay leaves and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in individual bowls with some warm crusty bread (or with egg noodles if you are Dave)