Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last meal of 2009

Peanut Butter Beef Stew!

It can't get any easier than this.

1 cup of chunky peanut butter (I only had creamy)
5 cups of stew meat (I used tenderloin)
1 tsp. of allspice
rosemary (oops, forgot this)
2 cups of beef broth
1/4 cup apple juice
In a large pot over medium low heat melt down the peanut butter and then add in the apple juice.  In a skillet brown the meat and add into the peanut mixture.  Stir and pour in beef broth and seasonings.  Simmer for 1hr or until meat is tender.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup, surprise!

More domesticity...

A few nights previous I had bought a rotisserie chicken from Wegmans.  I industriously cleaned much of the meat from its bones and put the carcass in a pot of water with carrots.  I let it boil away for quite some time.  What was left was some good chicken stock.

Today (Sunday) I bought about 2.5 lbs of butternut squash (already cleaned and cut) and decided to make soup. 

Loosely following a recipe, I baked the squash for about 30 mins (light coating of olive oil) and then poured it into the pot of stock.  I'm not sure how much stock there was, I'd say no less than 6 cups.  I also cut up a granny smith apple and plopped it in, along with the remainder of the bag of carrots.

I then squirted a good 3T of honey on top, threw in some bay leaves, and then liberally sprinkled cinnamon on top.  A little bit of cayenne pepper, some curry powder (not much) and my kitchen is now aroma laden and I hope this will turn out well.  When I get closer to the end I will put a cup of heavy cream into the mix.

When all was said and done I used a potato masher to even out the big chunks.  It worked out very well - very flavorful!  I now have several meals...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'd like a wafer thin mint... another successful dinner party!

I invited my friends Colleen and Adam (AKA my Foodie Consultants) and Bethann and Dan.  We found out we all met because of friends of friends, and even though we rarely get to see the friends who introduced us we all remained friends with each other. 

Three bottles of wine, three apps, two main course components, dessert, and great conversation.  If there is a better way to spend an evening I don't want to know about it. 

The apps were:  pate with truffles; brie and cherry jam; and Colleen and Adam brought absolutely divine goat-cheese stuffed little red peppers - spicy and marinated in heavenly juice (I need to find out the name of the peppers).  Two baguettes, a bottle of prosecco, one of white Bordeaux (from the area of Entre deux Mers, in honor of Bethann's heritage) and we were well on our way to a food coma before the main course.  With the meal we had a Cab from California (via Wegmans). 

For the main course I made two standbys:  marinated tenderloin and mashed potatoes - Paula Deen's mashed potatoes, no less. 

The marinated tenderloins could not be easier.  I got the recipe from a book my friend Jody gave to me (and quite the cook she is, too).  Here it is:

Curry Glazed Beef Tenderloins

It makes 16-18 servings which clearly I did not need or want.  Adjust accordingly.  I bought 6 cuts of beef which were about half a pound each (worked out to about 3.5 lbs of beef) and with that I halved the below recipe.

1.25 cups of mushroom soy sauce or tamari sauce (I got the tamari sauce - it is basically a more intense soy sauce)
.33 cups honey
.25 cup curry powder
Two 4-lb tenderloin slabs (I got half pound slices)
olive oil

Whisk the tamari sauce, honey and curry powder.  Score the meat.  Put the meat in two gallon ziplocs and pour the marinade in each.  Mix well and then throw in the fridge overnight. 

To cook:  Heat oven to 500.  Tenderloins, with all marinade sauce, should go into a baking dish large enough to hold it all - I used a 13x9 cake pan.  Pour olive oil on top.  Roast the meat in the top third of the oven.  Every ten minutes, baste the juices on top of the meat.  30 minutes should be enough, I had them in there for almost 40 (last ten the gas was turned off) and they were moist and tender although not rare.  The last ten minutes probably weren't necessary.

Paula Deen's Mashed Potatoes

As it turned out, I used the 10 potatoes it called for but didn't pay attention to the MEDIUM in the book, and bought large ones. Oops.  I doubled up on the butter and sour cream because it was clear there were a lot of potatoes.  It turned out magnificently and in fact more butter wouldn't have hurt.

8-10 medium potatoes (it calls for red, I used regular ones)
1/2 cup hot milk (I used heavy cream)
1 stick of butter (I used two)
.5 cup of sour cream - I used a full one.

Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick.  Boil about 15 minutes.  Any old potato masher will work fine.  I threw in the two sticks of butter and put a lid on the potatoes (off heat) for about 10 minutes to get it nice and creamy.  Mash mash mash, then add the heavy cream and sour cream.  Mash mash mash. 

This stuff is SO EASY.  I really should do this more often. 

Bethann brought Rum Cake, which recipe will be put here later.  It was also quite good but we were all pretty full by then.  Oh yes, let's not forget the Twinings Tea I brought home from London. 

Time to take my tummy for a nap.  A run would be better, but, it's 35 degrees out and dark.  Maybe a nice walk tomorrow... 

I didn't take photos (of course, what is wrong with me??) so here is a photo taken in France earlier this year:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ice bath for the tomatoes?

That's what it said...

I'm making tomato sauce. Simple tomato sauce. It is bubbling downstairs right this very second. In 30 minutes I'll take it off simmer and let it cool and then toss it with pasta and some grated parmigiano cheese.

Garlic Tomato Sauce
Gourmet, May 2008

• 2 lb ripe plum tomatoes (see cooks' note, below)
• 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and halved lengthwise and any green sprouts from center discarded
• 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes

• Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool, then peel, seed, and chop.
• Cook garlic in oil in a small heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Season with salt.

Cooks' notes:
•If ripe tomatoes are not available, substitute 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (not in purée; preferably San Marzano), chopped, including juice; season sauce with sugar if desired.
•Sauce keeps, chilled, 4 days.

yield: Makes about 3 cups (enough for 1 pound of spaghetti)
active time: 45 min
total time: 1 3/4 hr

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Google speaks - 2009 top recipes

Top searched recipes are (drum roll)

Banana Bread
Pancakes (really?)

I suppose I better make the above and write about it then!

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