Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lazy Sunday Stew

Who are we kidding? Every day is lazy around here! Not for long though, I feel that given my last pregnancy I only have about a month left of the sickies. Don't be fooled by my plastic bowls and plates. This stew tasted like it deserved to be served on a golden platter.

The meat was so tender it melted in my mouth. The flavors of the carrots, potatoes, and peas with the tomato flavor in the sauce was the epitome of comfort food. It may seem like a strange meal for Arizona in the middle of August, but I do very little normal around here. Might I add the cornbread is the perfect touch to a dish like this.

4 lbs bottom round, trimmed and cut into 2-in pieces or 4 lbs precut stew meat
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2-in pieces, peel if desired
8 oz baby-cut carrots
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
1 T kosher salt
1 T fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the beef in the flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat (Dutch oven matters here--the lid has to be heavy enough to really trap moisture and heat). Add some of the beef to the pot, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the wine and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, for 1 minute. Add the beef, potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the peas and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or so. Ladle into individual bowls.

TO FREEZE: Omit the peas. Let the stew cool, then ladle it into resealable freezer bags. Store for up to 3 months.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This recipe has been floating around our family for years. The funny thing is, it has been called barbecue chicken. I, however, feel it is more accurate to name it sweet and sour chicken. It is pretty easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. I served this with fresh pineapple on the side. I have to say lately I have been quite the fruit picker. If you can, try to take me along the next time you need a pineapple or cantaloupe. I am on a roll for picking some good ones.

Sweet and Sour Chicken


3 lbs chicken breasts skinned and boned. Season with garlic salt and seasoning salt.

1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Accent

Prepare chicken and place in casserole dish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. In separate bowl combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water. Mix well and add then add to the sauce mixture. Stir and mixture to the chicken. Cover and bake at 325 for 90 minutes. Serve and enjoy over rice!

NOTE: We all know that the more fat, the tastier it is. You can also make this a little tastier, but not as healthy by coating the chicken with cornstarch and then cooking in oil before adding the sauce and baking. If you do this, omit the cornstarch mixture above. The sauce will thicken from the coated chicken breasts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Interview with a Foodie

Let me introduce you to my favorite foodie. His name is Kade from rkadetokens.

I am so grateful he agreed to this interview. If this goes over well, perhaps I can interview more Chefs and food connoisseurs from my favorite blogs in the future. Kade's sense of humor is killer which is why his blog is one of my favorites. He blogs about the many places and types of food he tries and does it so creatively you want to be invited to his next lunch break.

Me: So you are a an attorney by day for a very successful law firm. You have your pick of amazing steak houses, gourmet cuisine on the Strip, or pretty much anything. What compels you to go to places like Han Shik Taco, a random Taco truck in Las Vegas?Hhadfasdfasdfasfdlkjdfalskdf

Kade: While I technically have my pick of a million great restaurants, because I am not rich, I have been compelled to find my culinary joy at less expensive establishments. Also, since eating is a sensual experience, taco trucks stimulate my senses differently than a regular restaurant. If you eat at a taco truck or "hole in the wall" spot, you aren't eating at an organization, it is more like you are eating at someone's house. McDonalds is an impersonal corporation. People say things like "I want to sue McDonalds", but people don't often say, "I want to sue El Bocadillo Sabroso, that taco truck down the street." I think one reason for that is that you see the taco truck as personal, not corporate. If you eat out enough, I think you will want to start sharing your meals with people, not faceless corporations.

Me: Why do you have such a passion for food and a desire to try it all?

Kade: I have a passion for food because I am hungry. It makes sense, kind of, but we HAVE to eat, and we have to do it regularly. I guess it logically follows that we would make eating a ritual/diversion. However, we also HAVE to breathe, but no one is doing TV shows about those stupid oxygen bars at the airport. Humans are weird, I guess. It's also subjective. I am very competitive, but don't have a lot of real skills. If you want a guaranteed win, choose a game with no objective measure of success. If I want to be the world's fastest runner, someone has written down the fastest time for 100 meters. That is an objective measure of success. With food, it only has to be tasty. But no one has objectified taste, so even if a critic hates it, you can flip them off and call them stuck up and wrong. Thus, you can always win at the food game (unless someone dies of food poisoning).

Me: I know you have tried, alligator, kangaroo, and questionable cow parts. To this date, what has been the most random thing you have tried? Was it truly tasty?

Kade: Sweet breads. At an Argentinean restaurant (that I blogged about), I ordered a grilled platter. Included were "sweet breads." I thought it would be bread. It looked like chicken and it tasted like nothing. I thought I might have been eating brains, but my phone told me it was glands.

Me: Do you think the more food a person exposes himself too, the more flavors the palette grows to appreciate?

Kade: Sure. I thought I hated bleu cheese as a kid, until I tried it. However, I still haven't learned to appreciate dirt, though I have definitely tasted it.

Me: If you were a type of food or a certain dish, what would you be and why?

Kade: I would be sweet breads. I would have a misleading appearance and an unfamiliar taste paired with a shocking real identity. Or, I'd be a rutabaga because it sounds funny.

Me: Are you familiar with the Travel Channel series Man Vs Food featuring food enthusiast Adam Richman? He has taken on the biggest hamburgers, biggest breakfast burritos, gallons of ice cream at a time, and I just watched an episode where he had to complete a bowl of the spiciest Thai food made in the U.S. It was so hot that the preparer of the dish wore a gas mask. What challenge do you feel you would be up to if you were Adam Richman?

Kade: I am familiar with the guy and his show. I also am familiar with Andrew Z, and his exotic food show. I would be up to a challenge where I had to see how much delicious money I could "eat" by cramming it in my wallet. I would also be up to eating buttloads of Creme Bruelee'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morning Sickness Brownie Dessert

Thank you so much for your support in the joy of motherhood and pregnancy. I realize I am not the first or the last to suffer from the symptom of morning sickness and therefore should not be given any extra sympathy. However, it is such a peculiar problem. On one hand it gives me the joyful reminder that there is a baby growing and developing inside of me. On the other hand I have to ask why does this have to be a possible side effect to the greatest gift on earth? While I am on the subject, why the strong sense of smell? Isn't that just uncanny to have a terrific nose and a queasy stomach? Either way it is humbling and heaven knows I am always in need of that.

In a world of so many advances ie; "There's an APP for that!". Sadly there isn't an IPhone App for morning sickness. There doesn't seem to be a cure anywhere. That truly is OK. However, for someone who loves food so much it is hilarious to me and I am sure annoying to others ( spouse mostly) how much I do not like food now. My own little cure seems to be sweets and fried foods. Besides the obvious problems with that, the looming threat of gestational diabetes makes me hope this doesn't last. While I look forward to feeling good again, I will revel in my sweets and try to share them with you.

This is a new favorite at my house. While it is so easy even a lazy pregnant person can make it, it tastes as though your favorite sit down restaurant just made it and charged you an arm and a leg for it. You can make it and feed about 6-8 people for about 6 dollars total.

Sure you can find a recipe for Cheesecake brownies. Might I suggest just using this:

Make as directed and while the brownies are slightly cooling prepare your Cook and Serve chocolate pudding that looks like this:
You just follow the directions by mixing the contents with two cups of milk and stirring while it comes to a boil. It thickens as it boils. I like to keep it fairly thin in consistency so when it comes to a boil I take it off the burner quickly. Serve up one slice of brownie (generous if you are giving it to me), top with one scoop of vanilla ice cream (before my current state I made this with homemade vanilla ice cream), and top with the hot fudgy sauce.

Let me tell you how impressed my visitors have been with this treat. It looks simple because it is, but it tastes divine. The hot pudding sauce melts through the ice cream just enough to compliment the brownie with the perfect creaminess of flavor. Sounds too sweet? No way! With the cheescake topping to the brownie it is a perfectly well rounded dessert! It is my husband's new favorite dessert as well as for baby #2! Serve and enjoy!

Raw Spice Bar

Raise your hand if you love to cook, but find yourself just finishing up your 8,987th meal and you are fresh out of ideas. Just me?  I h...