Tuesday, November 20, 2007

beef! it's the other thanksgiving meat!

Happy almost Turkey day! i haven't even done my grocery shopping yet for the big day, have you?

After more than 10 years of being good, i have decided that "I don't eat read meat" is for the birds. (why no red meat you ask? as a goodie two shoes high school student i had to rebel against something. . . but it couldn't be too much of a rebellion. i was a goodie two shoes, you know) and i have discovered sweet and sour pork, and beef burgundy! while i am still trying to find the recipe for that disgusting florescent red sweet and sour sauce served at chinese restaurants, i have found the most magnificient recipe for Beef Burgundy. this is far easier than it looks. all you do is chop some stuff, and stir some stuff, and the stove does all the hard work for you.

Beef Burgundy

you'll need a heavy, very large skillet with a lid, or a dutch oven for this. before getting started, have ready near the stove two heavy plates, both lined with paper towels.

1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 sliced turkey bacon or 2 slices regular bacon
small package pearl onions (about 25 pearl onions)
8 to 12oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 to 1.5 lbs beef chuck steak, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp flour
2 cups burgundy wine
salt & pepper
2 tbsp "herbs de provence" (mix of rosemary, marjoram, basil, thyme, bay leaf, lavender)
1 bay leaf

heat the olive oil in the skillet. cook the bacon, remove it, chop it and leave it to drain on one of the paper towel lined plates. add the pearl onions to the skillet, and cook and stir occasionally, until they begin to brown. once slightly browned, remove them to the second paper towel lined plate. add the mushrooms to the skillet, and cook until they begin to brown, adding a little more oil if needed. once the mushrooms are slightly browned, remove them and add them to the paper tower lined plate with the pearl onions. put the beef in the pan, and cook over medium heat until browned all over. at this point, we're not trying to get the meat cooked all the way through. when the beef has browned a bit, put it on the same plate with the bacon.

add the onions and carrots to the pan, and cook till the onion starts turning translucent. put the bacon and beef back in the pan, and stir in garlic and and flour. stir in the burgundy wine, herbs de provence, bay leaf, and some salt & pepper. heat until simmering, then cover, and cook on very low heat for 2 hours, or until the beef is very tender. add the reserved mushrooms and pearl onions, and cook another 10 minutes to get them heated through.

serve hot, with crusty bread or wild rice. makes 4-6 servings and usually leaves enough wine in the bottle for 2-3 glasses.

mmmm.... food. and i got a 6-pack of Bell's Special Double Cream Stout. holy crap is this stuff good. you know it's a limited edition when the graphic design on the label sucks. i love Bell's!

beyond my two favorite things, food and beer, is my other favorite thing: reading books and making all sorts of snarky comments about them.

just finished Crashing Through by Robert Kurson. I can not recommend this book enough. no one told me it was non-fiction, and it's so unbelievable, it's easy to think you are reading an inspirational novel. as a young child, Mike May is blinded in a chemical explosion. having been born sighted, he is a candidate for a rare stem cell transplant that may give him his sight back, or at least parts of it. after May and his wife Jennifer weigh the fears and doubts against the possibility of the regaining of his sight, he decides to have the procedure. and it works. he can see. but May will never see like you or i do. he has no depth perception, and can not read faces. Kurson spent two years with the May family, researching Mike May's childhood, the damage to his eye (one is a prosthetic), and interviewing neural and optical surgeaons. i usually avoid non-fiction, and i can't say enough things about this book!

Cimmerian City - not as good. as i said before, it's La Femme Nikita meets Underworld, set on the movie set of The 5th Element, with some plot holes big enough for the Titanic to sail through. I'll link to the full review, once i've written it. i hate to be mean to a young, new writer, but this story did have a lot of potential, and most of it went right down the drain.

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters. some new writers should get a day job. I want this S.M. Peters guy to quit any day job he has, and write full time. Peters gets steampunk right, and i mean superb. book doesn't come out till February, so book review won't get published till shortly before then. in paperback, this should retail for under $10, and if even I can afford to buy a copy, so can you! so go to Amazon right now, and pre-order it! because it's really good!

in DVD news, finally got to see Final Fantasy: Advent Children. i can see why so many cosplayers dress up as Cloud. all you need is a bunch of black clothing, a bucket of hair gel, and an 8 foot styrofoam sword. the movie was mostly never ending sword fights where no one ever got hurt or broke a sweat, melodramatic monologues, cool robots and explosions, and ansgst filled orphans and street people. as far as quality movies go, it was pretty bad. but kinda fun, in that stylish video game kinda way. i might watch it again before it goes back!

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