beltainelady: (Default)
( Jul. 20th, 2010 11:56 am)
For anyone else who might want it:

Basic Marinara Sauce )
...isn't really all that easy. I'm pre-cooking all of the food for our Midsummer camping trip. I figured it would be easier than cooking from scratch; all I have to do is reheat the dishes and freezing them will keep all the other stuff cold as well.

But, that means I'm prepping for:

Chicken penne ala vodka.
Athenian frittata.
Potato salad, cranberry-chicken salad, and tuna mac sans mayonnaise, which will be added before eating to keep it from going bad.
Two loaves of sourdough bread.
Lemon/blueberry scones and maybe some orange cranberry scones as well.
Massive amounts of iced tea.

Most of all this will be prepared and put into trays or plastic bags for mixing together at our campsite.

So yeah, it'll be easier at the campground but it's a lot of work now.
Country French Beef Stew
I got this recipe from the Century 21 Realty magazine. I think it was originally printed in Better Homes and Gardens.

1/2 cup dry navy beans
4 cups water
1/4 cup flour
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tbls olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 3/4 cups beef stock or one 14 1/2 ounce can of beef broth
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tsp dried thyme, crush or 2 tbls snipped fresh thyme
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 medium parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch slices
snipped fresh parsley (optional)

Rinse beans. In a large saucepan, combine drained beans and the 4 cups water. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for one hour. Or, soak beans in a cool place for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse

Add 1/2 tsp pepper to flour, and dredge beef a few pieces at a time. In a Dutch oven, brown half the beef in a tablespoon of hot oil. Remove beef and add the remaining oil, beef, onion and garlic. Cook until beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat, if necessary.

Stir in wine, scraping until all the brown bits are dissolved. Return all beef to pot. Stir in beans, soup stock or broth, tomato and dried thyme, if using. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots and parsnips and return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25-30 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender. Stir in fresh thyme, if using. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with a nice red wine and crusty baguette.

554 cal, 31 g total fat (10 g saturated fat), 99 mg chol, 295 mg sodium, 29g carb. 8 g fiber, 34 g protein.

beltainelady: (Default)
( Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:26 pm)
I sent this to David on FB, and realized others may want it. It's actually a reworking of a recipe one of Will's friends sent him, adjusted to how I cook. Since I tend to play with almost every recipe I try, this is the one that has made Will decide I make better chili than he does. :)

All weights and measures are estimates and depend entirely on how much you need/want to make/desire in flavor. I tend to cook by taste, and usually use the cup of my palm to measure for stuff like chili.

2lbs ground beef (I would recommend against the extra lean kind as the fat is an important factor in the texture and flavor)

chili powder (some people use it to the exclusion of other spices. I prefer to use a mix of spices and use chili powder to boost the flavor. But that's me, and I have a fully stocked spice cabinet ;)

one (at least one) good sized whole coarse chopped onion

5 or so whole garlic cloves, peeled and pounded or very thinly sliced. Use a garlic press if you have one.


Depending on how tomato-ee you like your chili, you can add any combination of the following to suit your taste

-tomato sauce (about an 8oz can or so) You can get various kinds that include various seasonings (here, we have a brand called "Rot-el" that has chilis, or jalepenos in it. )

-canned whole stewed or cut tomatoes (My personal preference. I prefer my tomato flavor to come from actual tomatoes). Do not drain.

-tomato paste (great tomato flavor but adds less liquid for a firmer body) Sometimes I use it, sometimes not.

Add salt to taste. I tend not to use a lot of salt while cooking, preferring to let people salt their food at the table.

Black pepper - a good palm full. 1/4th tsp minimum (to me at least)

Cayenne pepper (be careful, a little goes a long way. Start slow, add more as needed and sampled)

Cumin - sparingly. Too much, and it's all you'll taste. It's chili, not curry ;)

The rest:
Chopped bell peppers
Chopped jalapeno or chili peppers (to taste. A little goes a long way with these.) I've been known to add a habanero as well...but they are HOT! Make sure you wear gloves to de-seed them.


Whatever kind you like or have on hand. I usually use a combination of black beans and red or pinks. I also add corn. Don't drain the beans, the juice adds the needed water and gives it good body.

Prep: Can be done in a pot on the stove, or a crock pot.

Brown the beef with the onions, garlic and peppers. Once the beef is browned and the onions are caramelized, drain. Add to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. If you're doing this in a crock pot, start out at high and then turn it to low. If on the stove, allow the mix to come just to a boil and then lower the heat.

After about 20 min or so of this mix working together, sample and start adding spices to taste. Go slow with spices as you don't really get the impact of them for about 30 min to an hour after adding them. Adjust it slowly upward in the heat factor/salt factor/flavor factor until it suits you.

Cook covered at least an hour, stirring gently on occasion. If you're doing this in a crock pot, you can leave it on low for the day.

If needed, you can add masa flour, which acts as a thickener. I don't usually use it, but I have in the past. Make sure to add it slowly or it will clump. I don't think it's usually needed unless you added too much liquid. We have a spice here called "Caroll Shelby's Chili Kit" (or something like that) which has all the basic spices in it. I don't know if it's available in Canada, though.

Serve over rice, or polenta or whatever. Cheddar cheese and sour cream toppings are always good.

Well, there you go. Chili. I don't think I've ever made it the same way twice. It's kind of like my marinara sauce: I just throw it together and let it bubble.

beltainelady: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2009 05:34 pm)
Hey you southern-style cooks, I have a question.

Besides frying it, what else is good to do with okra? I've never had before moving here, and have only tasted fried okra. I need some ideas for what to do with the rather large amount I have. I'll probably freeze most of it (yay for vacuum sealers!)
beltainelady: (Default)
( Aug. 18th, 2009 12:29 pm)
Today is bread-baking day (the last loaf went QUICK!), so I'm grateful to Will for buying the KitchenAid stand mixer for me. Makes kneading so much easier!
beltainelady: (Default)
( Aug. 14th, 2009 06:45 pm)
Today I am grateful for finding King Arthur Whole Wheat flour, and the incredible recipe for whole wheat bread. It came out better than I've ever made before. I guess I won't be buying store-bought sandwich bread for a while. It's worth the work you put into it when you get a wonderful loaf of homemade bread...and the smell of baked bread in your home.
beltainelady: (Default)
( Nov. 24th, 2008 06:46 pm)
People have asked me in the past about my brined turkey, so instead of hunting through past posts, I figured I'd just make a new one.

Depending on the size of your bird, you'll either need to use a large stock pot or a cooler.

After taking out the giblets, rinsing and cutting out extra internal fat, sprinkle 1 1/5 to 2 cups (depending on bird size) of KOSHER salt in the cavity and on the outside. Dissolve about a 1/2 cup to a cup of brown sugar in 3 quarts of water, then add herbs and spices. I usually add a couple of torn bay leaves, a palmful of thyme, sage and oregano. Place the bird in the pot/cooler and cover it with water. Keep it overnight in your fridge, if you have room, using a can inside the bird to keep it from floating. If you don't have room, put all of this in a large, unscented garbage bag, squeeze out the air and stick them in a cooler and cover it all with ice.

That's it. Make sure you rinse it well before cooking and don't add ANY salt to as it cooks. You won't need salt if you make pan gravy either. Make sure you use KOSHER salt, not table salt or sea salt. Kosher salt has the right coarseness for brining and won't break down. Regular salt just makes the meat salty and gross.

This year, I'm going to use the convection option on my oven. It's a tiny oven, to make room to cook other things I'll need the convection to free up some time.
I just received the La Bonne Soupe Cookbook, with recipes from my favorite French bistro in Manhattan. I may not be able to visit their red-checkered tables anymore, but I can enjoy the wonderful vinaigrette de Jean-Paul, fondue au fromage et fondue au chocolat, and the incredible Soupe Crème Andalouse (Creamy Tomato Soup) from my own kitchen.

I will admit - receiving it and looking through it brought tears to my eyes.

Today's dragon brood:

Adopt one today!
Adopt one today!
Adopt one today!
Adopt one today!


beltainelady: (Default)


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