Posts Tagged With: onion

Ruth Is Right

Sharwoods Curry with yogurt

A friend’s cool, dark basement was a welcome place to spend a sultry summer evening. After watching some of a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s celebration, our host popped in the dvd I had brought along. The Lunchbox came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of it. If you have an interest in foreign places and/or enjoy food for more than just nourishment, you might like the movie.

The story was set in India so now, naturally, we are craving curries, paneer, and chapati.  Since the last two recipes from Ruth Reichl’s book, Tender at the Bone, have recently provided success in our kitchen, I thought I would see what she has to say about Indian food. At the end of one of Gourmet‘s foodie travel videos, Reichl gives instruction for a simple tandoori-style entree that you can make at home.

Rather than insisting you purchase a zillion spices to create an imitation of the complex flavors of an Indian restaurant, she claims that the bottled sauces at your grocery store will be sufficient. Besides a bottle of Vindaloo sauce, you need yogurt, cilantro, and mint to season your chicken.  You should let the skinless chicken marinade for at least 40 minutes.

The cooking method almost convinced me to set the recipe aside. Summer temperatures in July do not encourage one to use the oven, much less an oven set to 500*F.  However, after a torrential downpour last night, the outside temperatures have dropped to near 70* F. Because I was still afraid of setting off the smoke alarm,  I didn’t leave the chicken in long enough for it to get the prescribed char.

I’ve got to work on the Basmati rice. But, alongside the curried vegetables, and the slices of raw tomato and avocado, the false-tandoori chicken was satisfying.

 

Categories: Chicken, Entertainment, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Rice, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cooking from Memories

pork tomatillo stew

Memoir is an interesting genre. The work is autobiographical, but the author chooses to emphasize a specific theme and/or focus on a shorter period of their life rather than telling their whole story. I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies, because I can learn about worlds that are completely different than mine without leaving earth. Sometimes I am tempted to covet their wealth and opportunity.  At other times the character’s struggle and despair are such that I am reminded to be thankful for the eternal hope that I have.

One of my favorite popular authors is Ruth Reichl. When she shares stories from her past you can feel along with her. When she describes the aromas, flavors, and textures of an amazing meal you are as satisfied as if you had been sitting at the table with her.

Recipes are sprinkled through Reichl’s books. This morning I took inventory of the ones that are included in Tender at the Bone.  A stew made from pork and tomatillos was especially interesting to me, because the bag of tomatillos from Produce Junction was larger than I had needed for a large batch of green sauce.

Ruth instructs the cook to prepare the stew on the stovetop. However, my Saturday plans wouldn’t allow me to babysit a simmering stew for two hours. Instead, after browning the pork and sauteeing the garlic and onions, I tossed everything into a crockpot.

Four hours later, we were home and ready for supper. My husband said the “juice” was good, but he isn’t so sure about the beans being included. I can’t say that the stew was amazing, but I can’t say that it is the recipe’s fault, either. When I cut the recipe in half some of the ratios didn’t quite match.   Also, I don’t keep “dark beer” on hand, so my blackstrap molasses substitute certainly affected the flavor.

 

Categories: Books, Food and drink, Pork, stew | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crockpot Cowboy Stew

It seemed a good idea to have something prepared in case we invited people over after church on Sunday night. People stand between the pews and talk for even an hour after the service has ended. Sometimes we get hungry and have to decide whether to abandon the conversation or to invite friends to continue it over something to eat.

For these sort of situations a crockpot meal is a good option. You can prepare it ahead of time, and the dish isn’t likely to be over or under done when you come home.

Also, the heat and humidity have been high these past few weeks, so it was best not to fry, boil, or bake something for guests.

The following recipe explains what I put together on Sunday afternoon.  We did stay talking to people after church, but we didn’t end up inviting anyone over. Alas. It might have been too spicy for most folks.  We like it a lot, though. It is spicy, but the flavor of the beef and the red wine still come through. Leftovers served well for lunch the next day.

IMG_3173Cowboy Stew

serves 4-5

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion, sliced
1 large jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 T garlic, minced

1 lb. Aldi beef for carne picada
2 T flour
1 T chili powder
Valentina’s fruit seasoning (citrusy chile flakes)
1/4 t dried oregano flakes

14.5 oz can Aldi salsa-style fire roasted tomatoes

1/2 c red wine
1 beef boullion cube + 1 c water
2 T tomato paste

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices (2 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot. In a separate bowl or large plastic bag, mix the beef with the flour, chili powder, Valentina’s seasoning, and oregano. Toss these ingredients until the beef is coated. Put this beef mixture on top of the vegetables in the crockpot.

Pour the tomatoes over the beef.

In a small dish, combine the red wine, beef boullion, and tomato paste.  Pour this into the crockpot. Do Not Stir.

Let the stew cook on High for  4 1/2 hrs.

Right before you are ready to serve the stew, fry the zucchini in oil or butter. Add the fried zucchini to the stew and stir it before ladeling it into dishes. If you prefer not to fry the zucchini, the recipe book actually said to just add it to the crockpot during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Serve with sour cream.

First try I served with it arepas.  Could be good with mashed potatoes. The book recommended creamy polenta.

 

Based on a ecipe called Cowboy Stew Over Creamy Polenta from Heartland Cooking Crockery Favorites Traditional American Recipes  by Frances Towner Giet

 

Categories: beef, Food and drink, Meat, Soup | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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