Monday, February 01, 2010

snow days

here in the South, getting any snow is like an earth-stopping Event. no one leaves the house unless they must, except to go play. they predict snow--we plan to stay in. we run to the grocery store to stock up on food and beer, and in my case, stuff to cook. when they said on thursday that it would snow on friday, i hit both whole foods, and the asian market. i had Plans. and luckily for me, it DID snow, so i was able to follow through on them and cook warm and comforting foods both days this weekend.



everything in the pot


on saturday, i made chinese pork rib soup, which i found on use real butter. and yes, i know that my pictures do not hold even a tiny small match to jennifer yu's, but i am posting them anyway as evidence of my efforts. this is the first time in a long while that i have made something completely new to me, following someone else's recipe and using some unfamiliar ingredients. i forgot how much fun that is! the soup was pretty damned good, and i will definitely make it again. however, there are a couple of small changes i would make for the second time around. the broth had a fantastic flavor, but it was just a little intense for me, even after i added a cup of unsalted chicken broth i had in the freezer. next time, i'll back off on the soy sauce a little bit as well as the star anise, maybe to 2/3 or 3/4 of the called for amounts. i would plan to add a little more chicken broth or water at the end to cut the salt a bit as well. lastly,i think i might add more ginger next time--you can never have enough ginger for me! all of that said, however, it was good enough that i can promise you there will be a next time. the flavor that the broth gave to the noodles and the spinach was just amazing, and the meat was out of this world. i think the meat and broth would freeze well, so next time, i will double or triple this and put what we don't eat in the freezer for some ready-made-meals. the hippie ate two huge bowls of it, and the critter was all about the broth, so this was definitely a success for the whole family. highly recommend!

lamb stew
on sunday, i made some lamb stew. this is something i almost feel obligated to make when it snows--it's SUCH comfort food! i picked up some good crusty bread from la farm on friday to go with, which was absolutely the right thing. i'm having some leftovers from this for lunch today for sure. and since this is my own concoction and is tried and true, i figured i'd share the recipe with y'all:

2 lb lamb stew meat (or really, any stew meat--beef, venison, etc.)
3-4 garlic cloves, cut in half
~2-3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups red wine
1 qt. beef broth
1 qt. water
3-4 bay leaves
4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 bag frozen pearl onions
1 8-oz pkg baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 small bag frozen peas

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup flour

in a large-ish pot, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan until pretty hot. add the lamb and garlic and turn until lamb is browned on all sides. add the red wine, beef broth, water, and bay leaves. bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. simmer for an hour or so, and then get to work on the rest of the stuff.

peel and slice your carrots, then add them to the pot. melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. add pearl onions, and saute until onions are golden. add them to the pot. saute mushrooms in the same pan until they get a bit of a sear on them and begin to sweat, then add them to the pot as well. cover, and continue to simmer for another hour or so until the meat has become tender. stir in the peas, turn the heat up to medium, and set about making a roux.

melt a stick of butter in your skillet, then add the flour all at once. stir rapidly and constantly until the mixture stabilizes and begins to darken. pay attention--this is easy to burn! you want the roux to be still a bit liquid-y and about the color of good caramel. when the roux is done, stir it into the stew. voila. you are done.

serve in big bowls with some hefty bread and a big glass of red wine.

critter in the snow

hot chocolate
and that's not all! it was snow, so there was also playing in the snow! we took the critter out for a romp, and he LOVED it! WAY WAY better than last year, when he was less than pleased. he stomped, threw powdery snow into the air, and generally had a time of it. he cried when we came inside, but i consoled him with some hot chocolate, which he also loved. he drank all of his, half of his daddy's, and would have been happy to keep going. lol. boy, i love this kid.


Anonymous said...

The food looks great, but that is one beautiful boy child you have in those pictures! Oh, the sights he'll see as he grows. Heartbreaker galore!
Tressa in NC

jackie said...

thanks, tressa! i think he's pretty cute, but then--i am a tiny bit biased. :)