Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bits and Pieces (& Husband's Stew!)

#1 - Are you getting dizzy yet from all the different layouts I've experimented with this week? I think I'm going to stick with this one... I think.

#2 - I have a new favorite blog (this happens like every other day, BTW): Today's Letters.

Today's Letters

I originally found Tim and Em through The Kitchn, who linked to their freaking brilliant Campfire Orange Cakes recipe. I was immediately sucked in - they write letters to each other and are super sassy and adorable. That's a bad description, but I trust you know me well enough now to know what I like and probably have a good idea about what I mean.

#3 - For those of you who enjoyed my post on menu planning and grocery list making, you might find these sweet Meal Planning/Grocery List free downloads from avie designs fun and helpful. I especially like the "here's what I have/here's what I need" aspect.

#4 - I went to the doctor on Monday and was there for about 2 hours being poked and prodded and getting shots and giving blood and blah blah blah. Turns out I'm still anemic! And I have runner's knee! I'm going to save my thoughts on these diagnoses for later though.

#5 While I was getting all medical on Monday, B made dinner - a rare but awesome event.

This picture totally sucks - sorry!
For Christmas last year I bought Jamie's Food Revolution for B.

This is a really great cookbook for folks who are just learning how to cook/put together meals. The recipes are easy but delicious and Jamie offers lots of variations.

Take this stew recipe, for example:

Jamie provides a basic stew base and then 4 different stew options (beef & ale, chicken & white wine, pork & cider, lamb & red wine).

 On the following pages, he also offers 4 different ways to finish the stew, if you're so inclined.

So basically, over a total of about 5 pages, you have 16 different stew recipes (or permutations according to my nerdy husband) to mix and match! Brilliant.

B made the Beef & Ale stew, and it was killer (if you know me in person, you totally heard me singing the word killer!).

Here's the recipe he used:

Beef & Ale Stew
from Jamie's Food Revolution

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • olive oil
  • 1 heaped T all-purpose flour
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 lb diced stewing beef (we cut it down to 3/4lb with no problems)
  • 2 cups brown ale, Guinness or stout

  1. Trim the ends of celery and roughly chop the stalks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Slice carrots lengthwise and chop.
  2. Put a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  3. Put all veggies and bay leaves into the pan with 2 glugs of olive oil and saute for 10 minutes.
  4. Add meat and flour.
  5. Pour in the beer and canned tomatoes.
  6. Stir well and season with S & P.
  7. Bring to boil, put the lid on, and simmer for 3 hours (we got impatient and only cooked for 2 - you just want the meat and veggies to be tender). Remove the lid for the final half hour of cooking and add water if it looks dry. 
  8. Remove bay laves before serving.

The flavors in this stew were really complex and developed - I was very impressed! We also had a crusty loaf of bread for soaking up the juices. Yum.

I imagine if you don't relish the idea of letting your stew simmer for 3 hours before dinner (like, if you get home at 5pm), you could probably saute your veggies and then throw everything into the crockpot on low for the day. You know how much I love my crockpot!

#6 - I am still slowly emerging from the avalanche of grading that buried me last week. I have lots and lots of things I want to write about though, so rest assured I'll be flooding your Google Readers soon enough!

Until then, Happy Birthday Maria!