Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I think this recipe from Martha Stewart will be a nice addition to pickling (and way easier).

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for filling jars
  • 6 whole dried red chiles
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for jars, rinsed and dried
  • 2 cups Cerignola olives
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and 2 sprigs rosemary; heat until fragrant. Toss with olives and vinegar. Let cool. Transfer to jars. Add a few fresh sprigs rosemary. Fill jars with remaining oil. Refrigerate immediately for at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks.


Last night for the First Official Roommate Dinner I tried to combine a healthy "South Beach" version of chicken stroganoff, with beef stroganoff, which I thought McRoomie would like better.
It was kind of meh so I'm going to have to work on this.

Beef Stroganoff
1 lb or so of beef loin, thinly sliced (I freeze it for an hour or so to get it firm enough to slice easily)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups of sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup beef broth
1/4 French red wine
1 1/2 cups lowfat sour cream
salt and pepper
olive oil
whole wheat pappardelle pasta

Put the pasta water on to boil and chop your veggies and meat. Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta but don't forget about it or it will get gummy.
Put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium high. Add garlic and onions and cook for a minute or two until fragrant and soft. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, broth and wine. It should be noted that while I liked the flavors I got from the broth and the wine, my sauce was a bit thin for my liking, so I might cut back. In fact, I might just use a tsp or so of the concentrated beef broth that comes in the little one cup packets from Trader Joe's, instead of mixing it with water as the directions on the package state. That way I'll get the meaty flavor, with a bit less liquid. The mushrooms added a ton of their own, so I think this would work well.
Lay strips of beef on top of mushrooms and cook for a minute or so, flipping and stirring as necessary to cook the meat.
Stir in the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, stir to coat, serve, and ruminate over what you'll do differently next time. Consider sticking to the super yummy South Beach Swedish Meatball recipe from here on out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beef Stew

While couch potato-ing just the day before Thanksgiving, I watched Giada Di Laurentis make the most amazing looking beef stew. The bonus? It called for the fresh herbs I just happened to need for the turkey that Ina Garten inspired me to make.
A quick trip to Trader Joe's gave me a big ol' bag of ready to go, cubed stew meat; ready to go, cubed butternut squash, and I was in business.
I read other users' comments too late, but now I know for next time. And the time after that. And the time after that as well. Because this stew was AWESOME and easy and I am totally making it again. It serves 4-5 (five only if you're having a big salad or some starters first, and your company is really polite and refrains from going back for more).
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (or if you're lucky it's ready to go for you; several other users swear by using boneless ribs)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Marsala wine; red wine; or sherry - I used Dry Sack and it was awesome, and another user said she used plain old red wine and it was still amazing
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 cups beef broth - I used the little packs that TJ's sells and they're delish. Best part? No more wasting half a carton; each little pack makes one cup!
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley - I skipped this, but to each their own
Crusty bread - sourdough, obviously, for serving
optional ingredients:
roux - have it on hand since you will probably need it; I made mine with flour, but cornstarch is probably quicker
tomato paste can also be used to intesify the tomato flavor and to thicken

In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour (I shake and bake those punks in a plastic bag). Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine (or whatever you're using). Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef, I used 3 cups. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. 30-40 minutes in, add the squash. Giada says to add it in the beginning, but it will probably turn to mush if you do. If you wait until later, the cubes will maintain their cubeyness. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley if you're into that sort of thing. Serve with copious amounts of sourdough.

My stew was certainly ready within the hour, but depending on your cut of meat, it may take longer so keep an eye on things and poke around when you think it's done. I'm probably going to add mushrooms next time. Booyah!

This is easy to prepare, fast (for a stew), hearty and will make your house smell amazing. Quinn arrived well into the cooking process and said he could smell it as he came up the stairs and had his fingers crossed that it was coming from my apartment. Silly boy, there are always delicious smells coming from my apartment.

Unless it's cauliflower night. : /


Tried it again with some delicious wine Andrea brought over. I also didn't have the fresh herbs I needed so I used an Italian herb blend. I tossed the beef with whole wheat flour rather than AP flour. I waited until the last 20 minutes to add the squash and that worked out much better. I did not need any roux to thicken this batch. It was amazing, yet again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grandma's Favorites

Once upon a time, I was sitting with my grandmother watching television, and this commercial came on. You know the ones, sponsored by some big food manufacturing conglomerate that owns thirty brands and they're showing you how to use all their brands to make a "quick and easy" treat or some such hoo ha.
This particular one featured Cool Whip and Jell-O pudding so it must've been Kraft. In any case, we both kind of went, "mmm, that looks good." So for Grandma's birthday Quinn and I stopped by the assisted living facility and dropped one off. Apparently it was just about the Greatest Thing Ever because she's been talking about it ever since. Like any time anyone mentions birthdays, cakes, desserts, pineapple, Cool Whip or the weather.
And because I always have to think, "wait, what was in that again?" posting it here will save me a precious few minutes of redundant web searching.
You can make it too, I hear it's pretty tasty, especially in the opinion of diabetic grandmothers who shouldn't be eating it anyway.

I'm putting all the brand names in caps because I'm sure KRAFT would (to show their GREAT IMPORTANCE), so you can decide if you'd like to fall prey to the manipulations of the KRAFT machine, or so you can swap 'em out and get whatever brand because I'm sure it doesn't matter one bit. Don't tell KRAFT I said that though please.

Pineapple Cream Angel Food Cake
1 package JELL-O instant vanilla pudding (4 oz)
1 can DOLE crushed pineapple in juice
1 ready to go Angel Food Cake
fresh berries for garnish

Mix pudding and pineapple in medium bowl. Fold in the COOL WHIP.

Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. To make this easy and even, some genius recommended I put the cake in a baking pan/cookie sheet with sides and slice across using the sides as a guide for my knife. Brilliant!
Top bottom layer with 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Repeat layers 2 times.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with berries just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Travel with it carefully; it's slidey.

I hear she also likes this stuff, which I totally forget how to pronounce, even though my mom just told me not five minutes ago.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Casserole

I haven't even had a turkey sandwich and I'm sick of my leftovers already. I don't even know how that's possible, but it is.
I found a recipe online for a turkey casserole which calls for a lot of stuff I already have on hand, including plenty that I've been hoping to use up before they go bad. I'll post once I make it; maybe tonight if I have time. Stay tuned - I hope it doesn't suck.

** Update **
Meh, it was entirely mediocre. I won't post the recipe here because I know it can be better. Maybe next year.