More cooking

October 18, 2009 at 10:36 am | Posted in family, food | 4 Comments

It’s stew season! Last week we altered a BC (Betty Crocker, from the plaid cookbook) recipe. It called for butternut squash, but one squash gave us more than double the amount of squash called for! One of the reasons we like this particular recipe is that it has red wine.

I don’t have the recipe in front of me, but here’s a brief sketch. Brown a pound of stew meat in oil and drain it. Then simmer it in a cup or two of red wine, a couple of minced cloves of garlic, a cup or two of broth, and some spices (thyme, oregano, salt, pepper) for about 20 minutes. Then add 4 to 6 cups of stew veggies cut into 3/4 inch cubes (we added onions, garlic, butternut squash, and celery) and simmer for 1/2 hour or until the veggies are cooked. Then take 1/3 cup of plain unsweetened yogurt and 3 Tbsp flour mixed together with some of the broth and mix it in. Stir it in and let it simmer some more to thicken it, and it’s done.

The red wine and yogurt are really the only things that make this recipe different from your basic stew. We’ll often do this sort of thing in a crock pot and let it cook slowly the entire day. When it’s done in a crock pot, we put the meat on the very bottom so it cooks relatively quickly. The meat should be relatively low in fat, or trimmed of fat, since you won’t have a chance to drain the fat as in the above stove-top method. Then the onions and garlic go right on top of that so their (relatively strong) flavors get the most chance to cook into the stew. Then everything else. Do this in the morning (you can cut the veggies the night before), turn on the crock pot for eight or so hours on low, and you come back from work to an awesome meal.

Last night Jenny & I made an apple pie. Straight out of BC, but I substituted unsalted butter for shortening. I almost ruined the pie crust, though. I added way too much water. I used all the tricks that Morgan from the co-op gave me, but I added too much water. It was way too sticky, and it was sticking to the wax paper like crazy even though I sprinkled the wax paper liberally with flour before rolling. When I finally got it into the pie plate, it was all holey. So I just gathered it all up, formed it into a ball again, added a few more Tbsp of flour, and it was fine. *whew!* I got lucky.

I also made my second attempt at a lattice top. The last one I made was too tightly woven; you couldn’t even see the apple filling underneath! I wove this one more loosely, and you can see the apples inside. It was bubbling over at the very end (smokey!), and when I took it out of the oven I decided to tip the pie and drain some of the liquid. I was thinking this would make the pie not quite so wet, so the slices would hold their shape better. I hope it doesn’t turn out too dry. Even if it does, we’ll just have to serve it with ice cream FTW!

My next food post will probably be about sauerkraut and sauerbraten. Kurt gave me a fantastic sauerbraten recipe back in college, but my Dad’s side of the family has been making suaerbraten since before I was born. So I’ll probably have to do both recipes and compare them to make a final judgement as to which will be “my” recipe.

*Post edited to incorporate Jenny’s corrections to stew recipe*

I cooked.

October 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Posted in food | 4 Comments

Here’s what I came up with. It’s a mixture of a couple of recipes, most notably this one. I think it worked.

Polenta-stuffed tomatoes, peppers, squash, … whatever.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 chile peppers, diced… Read More
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 15-oz. can of black (or pinto or kidney) beans
1 cup dry polenta
3 cups water (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 large tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook polenta in watter (or chicken broth). Cut open the tops of the tomatoes, scoop out the insides and set aside. Cut a very thin slice off bottoms of tomatoes so they sit without rolling. Saute the onions, peppers, garlic and spices for 4 minutes in olive oil. Add beans and the tomato insides; cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Add polenta and parmesan cheese and mix. Stuff tomatoes and top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and serve. Serves 4.

There will be plenty of leftover stuffing. Stuff 4 hollowed out bell peppers and bake for 40-50 minutes, or stuff cooked acorn squash and top with cheddar cheese. (To cook acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, place inside down on greased oven pan and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F or until soft. Scoop out seeds when cooked.) Bake stuffed squash for 5 minutes if everything is still hot, or 10-15 minutes if filling or squash was allowed to cool.

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