Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meatless Gumbo?

Last night was one of those nights where I didn't feel like going to the grocery store, but I didn't quite have the normal makings for a dinner in the fridge, freezer or cabinet.  So I simmered one of those sketchy Everything Stews on the stove.  I did have some rustic bread leftover from the weekend that wasn't getting any fresher, so I cubed and seasoned before crisping it up in the oven for a crouton soup topper.  The stew started with a mirepoix.  You can see my faithful half teaspoon giraffe keeping watch by night over the simmering pot. 

I cooked down a little beef stock before adding a tablespoon of flour or so to brown and deglazing with some of the Bell's Amber Ale I had in hand. In went a couple quarts of Jeremy's homemade chicken stock, some frozen green beans, an unmeasured amount of rice, some sriracha, thyme, a bay leaf, you get the picture...
While that pot of mystery food was stewing I continued with my recent craft obsession- creating various items from wine corks.  I managed to finish a trivet before serving myself some stew and settling in to finish District 9.  It was terrible.  Really, don't see it.  I expected much more and was disappointed with such an unresolved ending.  You really have to have a movie that can stand on its own pretty strong in order to hint at a sequel like they did. 

So for tonight, I'm looking forward to an hour and a half massage and seeing what fun items I can scope out at Trader Joe's. 
By the way, if anyone has a really nice camera they would like to donate to my blog cause, I will gladly accept... iPhones rock, but they are better suited to more phone and internet-like tasks than they are to food photography. 
Thanks for reading, and have a super duper day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie Night!

Since last night was a movie night (Jeremy and I watched The Ugly Truth and part of District 9), I decided to make a super easy dinner. By the way, I highly recommend The Ugly Truth if you're not easily offended by crude humor. It was hilarious. As for District 9, I'm disappointed so far.

I like to keep a jar of organic pasta sauce in the fridge for emergency purposes since I normally prefer making my tomato or pasta sauces but don't always remember to pick up tomatoes. I preheated my oven to 425, thickened up some Newman's Own Roasted Garlic tomato sauce with a bit of leftover tomato paste I had in the freezer, and slapped it on some Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Wraps. Found some leftover herbed goat cheese in the fridge and sliced that up along with some onions to top my Cheater's Pizzas. And then there was bacon. I forgot I had it leftover from the other night, so needless to say I was pretty happy. After crisping that up and tossing the pizzas in the oven for about 10 minutes, it was go time. A leftover creme brulee from the night before sealed the deal.

So this pizza turned out pretty good, but had Jeremy not had a say, I would have reached for other fridge ingredients. Here is the pizza that didn't get made:
Ezekiel wrap brushed with crushed garlic in olive oil, sliced onions, sliced pears, blue cheese and a few sparse dollops of fig preserves. I may have to make this version for lunch Thursday while I am working on my crafts...

Monday, December 28, 2009


...And We're Off!

I'm blogging!

Now is as good a time as any to start, as I just made an attempt last night (or all day yesterday, should I say) at Julia Child's recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon last night. If you have no idea what this entails (like me yesterday morning), then it's definitely worth looking up the recipe. That's a laugh. By far it was the most complex and difficult thing I have ever attempted, and thank God it was one of the most delicious as well. Nothing like the pressure of company coming for dinner to break out the big guns.

So I had never purchased a hunk of red meat this large before, so it had to be documented. I have to admit that after cutting it up into 2 inch cubes and browning it in bacon fat, I considered tossing out the whole plan and just chowing down with a big glass of Boujelais right then and there. But somehow, I made it through the next billion steps. Then there was the onions in butter and beef broth which caused me to ingest almost pure fat by the spoonful because the smell was irresistable.

Believe it or not, I actually finished it all before the guests arrived with enough spare time to whip up some creme brulee for everybody. I didn't get any photos of the finished products, but maybe I'll post some pics of the leftovers I'm going to eat for lunch? It's not the most beautiful dish you've ever seen...

The verdict? Well my boyfriend Jeremy and I loved it, but I'm not sure our guests could distinguish it from any other beef stew. Lesson learned: invite an equally as crazy foodie over for dinner next time I make this dish.

I'm trying to branch out a bit with the ingredients I buy so I learn to cook new things, especially vegetables. I braised some Rainbow Chard I bought for the first time this week, and it was a pretty exciting new addition to my repetoire. It's pretty! Next on the list... Belgian Endives.

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