Friday, February 29, 2008

Boeuf Bourguignon- it's what's for diner

The French know a thing or two about a thing or two. Particularly when those things pertain to culinary matters. Perhaps it is their liberal use of wine, their devotion to butter and cream, or the utilization of the fresh aromatic herbs that grow in abundance in the countryside? Their food is known to be flavorful and robust, and their desserts are both sinful and divine at the same time.
This evening at chez nous we enjoyed a hearty beef bourguignon. I really do enjoy making this Gallic version of beef stew because whenever I cook French food I get really into it. I pour myself some wine, and bust out the Edith Piaf. After sampling the dish I say silly things like "ahhh formidable!" and "Zut alors! c'est magnifique!" Thank God for highschool french, right?
My beef bourguignon would probably be scoffed at by a frenchman/woman or any boeuf bourguignon purist, because I omit the bacon, and I don't always use Burgundy (I usually use whatever I have on hand). Despite all that, I still think it's tasty, and even if it wasn't- you couldn't stop me from making it. I really have too much fun pretending to be a french chef.

Beef Bourguignon
In a large pot cook 1 lb. boneless beef cut into cubes in 2 tbsp. veg. oil until meat is browned. Add 1 large chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook until onion is translucent. Stir in 1 1/2 c. dry red wine, 1 c. broth, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. marjoram, salt, pepper, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for approx. 45 mins. Then add 3 c. whole mushrooms, 2 handfuls baby carrots, and a jar of pearl onions. Return to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and cook again until veges are tender. Discard bay leaves. Combine 1/4 c. cold water and 2 tbsp. flour; stir into the stew. Cook and stir until thickened.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dental Patient Chili

Coming back from my mental dental appointment this afternoon, the LAST thing I felt like doing was cooking dinner for the ravenous throng at my house. I had two molars drilled and filled, and the novacaine (sp?) was doing it's thing, making the right side of my mouth a tingling, twitching, and numb space where no sugary matter should ever be allowed to visit again. This is highly unlikely since I've never met a gummy bear I didn't love.
Dinner therefore had to be quick and easy and of course comforting. Well, three cheers for chili! It's just what the dental patient ordered. A nice big bowl with a side of corn chips, tonight I'm using Abuelita's brand, and a couple of dollops of sour cream in addition to a sprinkling of cheddar, and everyone is happy.
I was not able to enjoy the chili during the first shift, as my mouth was still filled with an awful metallic taste and the lingering effects of the novacaine. But I'll have some as I watch Scrubs later tonight, and believe me I'm looking forward to it. This version is meat free, but I really don't think that even die-hard carnivores miss the carne. The addition of sour cream endows it with creaminess and coolness that I think is fantastic.

Chop up one med. sized onion, mince 2 cloves of garlic, and chop 1 small green pepper add to a saucepan with 1 tbsp. of veg. oil. Stir until onion starts to soften. Add 1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes and a 15 oz. can tomato sauce, 2 cans of drained kidney beans. Add half package of chili seasoning powder (I used Ortega) or 4 tbsp. of chili powder. Dump a 4 oz. can of diced green chilies. Bring to a boil and simmer until you feel it's ready. Add a few tbsp. of sour cream, stir and dig in!