Thursday, November 6, 2014

Staying focused ha ha

Suffering from extreme scattered-ness around here.

BUT I have been managing to cook a lot.  A friend of mine is struggling with an autoimmune disease which has left her unable to work.  A more organized parent from our sons' soccer teams set up a schedule to bring the family dinners most nights.  I am seriously so computer-phobic and spacey that I never actually signed up for an official time.  Instead I just read some cookbooks or cooking blogs on Sunday morning, make a grocery list, and call her to see if she wants a dinner on monday or tuesday.  This seems to work.

AND while I am terribly sorry my friend and her family are going through this, I am grateful for the cooking inspiration.  It's fall!  It's a good time to cook!  And it's a good time to cook big pots of things that you can share with a friend or freeze for later.

Last night's dish was, tho I say it myself, exemplary:

Braised beef with cumin and carrots--enough for 8-10 people, or 2 dinners for 4-5.  

(To start I have to say that I made this one up BUT I had inspiration long ago from our Baltimore friend, Charles Eberhardt who used to make these incredible buttery cumin carrots for a side dish. I could not find the recipe.  You will be shocked to learn that I keep recipes from friends, magazines, etc in a jumble.  Fortunately my tongue has a taste-o-graphic memory so I can usually replicate stuff)

olive oil
big lump of butter
6 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, mashed and chopped
zest of one orange
1T ground cumin
2t cumin seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes if you want a little kick

2-3 lbs chuck roast or stew meat, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces,

2-3 bunches carrots, chopped

bay leaf
2c red wine
juice of the orange you zested,
chicken stock (I used canned.)

sauté veggies, meat herbs and spices in the oil and butter, add the red wine and orange juice, cook down a bit, cover with chicken stock, put the lid on the pot and leave it on low for a couple of hours, before serving, adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve over noodles.

you could also make this up to the point of adding the chicken stock, refrigerate, and finish the next day.  lots of options here.  all measurements and quantities could be modified to your tastes.  Also you could skip the beef and chicken stock and use those giant white beans and veggie stock if you're a vegetarian.  Gluten free folks could use potatoes or serve over get the picture.

The hooligans often are somewhat disparaging of stew-type dishes but they gobbled this one up.  We actually devoured all of it (everyone was hungry).  Next time I will make lots more.