Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beef stew that even I'll eat. between comic books, that is!

i better write it all down, so i don't forget something. . .
beef stew
adventures in risotto
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
A Voyage Long and Strange (non fiction! Can you believe it?)

and i have to introduce a new member of our adventuring kitchen family:

Our lovely Calphalon non stick dutch oven! Recipes that call for a large heavy skillet or dutch oven will no longer daunt me!

Ok, so the beef stew deal. was unlike any beef stew my Mom ever made me when i was a kid. the cookbook, my everpresent Meditteranean cookbooks calls this Corsican Beef Stew. i did alter it some, for ease and convenence.

Corsican Beef Stew
1 lb stewing beef, cubed
4 or 5 sliced bacon (I used turkey bacon)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry white wine - we used a Riesling, was excellent.
1 can diced tomatoes, drained over a colander
6-8oz mushrooms, sliced or chopped
pinch cinnamon
1 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound penne, or other pasta of similar size
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

in dutch oven, cook bacon. I used turkey bacon, so i had to add some olive oil. when bacon is cooked but not crispy, remove and chop. season beef with salt & pepper, and add to pan with 2-3 tbsp oil. brown meat on all sides, don't worry about cooking it all the way through. if you need to do the beef in two batches, that's fine. remove the beef to a plate and set aside. add onions to pan, cook till slightly browned. mix in chopped bacon, garlic, wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, cinnamon, rosemary, and bay leaf. cook for about five minutes to soften the mushrooms, then stir the beef back in. cook gently for 20 more minutes, stirring often to keep it from sticking. Now, add enough water to nearly cover, and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to simmer, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until beef is tender.

when it's nearly done, cook your pasta, being careful not to over cook it. To serve, put pasta down on plate. put parmesan cheese on top of your pasta. put beef stew on top of that. is super good.

Adventures in Risotto! thank you cute teeny weeny little Rice and Risotto by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen! now i just need to find a good bulk source of arborio rice.

again, i adapted this recipe to include veggies i had on hand.

Risotto Primavera
2 tbsp olive oil, you might need more.
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
small can mushrooms
approx 1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
6 and 1/4 cups simmer chicken stock (i used 4 cups stock, the rest water)
3 scallions, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
2 tbsp chopped basil

first things first, set up your stove. because once this gets started, you can't stop for anything. on the stove, have your lovely dutch oven, and a sauce pan that can hold all your broth (i learned the hard way my sauce pans hold exactly 6 cups). have handy ALL ingredients you need, a large spoon, a ladle, and another large bowl.

start the broth heating up on the stove. i had the head up to medium, then i turned it down a little. you want it simmering gently, not boiling. saute zucchini, carrots, and peas in dutch oven with some oil. when they are nearly done, add the mushrooms. season with a little salt & pepper. when they are done, remove to a bowl. make sure nothing is left in your dutch oven. put a little more oil in the pan, and add the onion. stir and cook till it's turned a little clear. now stir in the garlic. add the rice, and stir constantly until it is coated with rice and oil, about a minute or two. now, add your first ladle full of broth. it will bubble all over the place in the bottom of the dutch oven. stir that rice and broth baby! this is the point where you can't walk away until the dish is done. when the broth has been absorbed by the rice, add another ladleful. after this, it's pretty easy. stir till absorbed, add more broth, stir, repeat. takes about 30 minutes. when you're about to add the last of the broth, put all the sauted veggies in, the raw scallions, the butter, the parmesan cheese, some salt & pepper, and the basil into the rice. now pour the rest of the broth on top of that, and stir and stir and stir. you've also got to get that butter and cheese melted and mixed through.

i'd make it again. requires some concentration, but easier than it sounds.

Finished Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Greg Maquire. Was surprisingly good. i shouldn't say "surprisingly", but i was happily surprised and satisfied at how nice this book was. good tempo, great characters in intense states of denial, no slow bits. the book is about a lower class Mother who wisks her daughters Iris and Ruth away from England to a loving yet estranged family in Holland. they arrive, no family to be found. Mom manages to marry a very recently and suspiciously widowed local merchant, and moves her family in with his sullen and beautiful daughter Clara.

this book never tries to be something that it isn't, and i can't tell you how much i appreciate it. it isn't Iris's fault she's not beautiful. She does her best to befriend Clara. when Clara and Margarethe fued, Iris is stuck in the middle, and ready to break away from her mother. And Ruth, no one even pays any attention to her, why should they? she's metally retarded, and couldn't possibly have anything to say about anything.

my friends are always askind me for book recomendations, but i read so much SF, that i don't know what to recommend to friends who aren't into SF. now i've got something that no one won't like.

I'm also reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. started this a few years ago, couldn't get into it. but now that i'm all into comic books, i'm totally into this. i'm highly entertained that Dream looks just like Gaiman's picture in the back of the book. and Dream's sister is fricken hilarious!! between the two libraries that i frequent, they've got all the issues between them.

Deathnote - ummm, it's about a bored teenaged boy who kills people? morbid, but rather comic. absolutely addictive.

also reading Tony Horwitz's A Journey Long and Strange. my first Non fiction in a while. it's about what happened between (and before!) Columbus screaming "Land Ho!", and the british colonists showing up for the first thanksgiving. fascinating because it's funny. i'd read more history if it was written this way. Horwitz doesn't pull any punches about idiotic explorers and their patrons. the etymology is fun as well.

1 comment:

emily said...

These recipes sound delicious! We're having a comfort food recipe contest and would love to have you enter one of your favorite recipes. The prize rocks!