I have family coming to town this week. I'm excited to see them, but I automatically start thinking of what we're going to eat. I tend to plan our activities around food. My sis and brother in law love Mexican, so tomorrow I'm making enchilada's and Sunday we'll barbeque something. My sis lives in an apartment, so she likes to take advantage of our grill while she's here. My Mom will arrive after they leave, we've made reservations for dinner on Fat Tuesday, steaks all around.
I can't believe Ash Wednesday is upon us. I haven't given much thought to what I'm giving up this year for Lent. Usually it's chocolate, although one year I gave up beer, which was particularly difficult on St. Patrick's Day. My Mom gives up listening to the radio, hmmm, maybe I should give up the ipod for my outdoor runs, since it turns off anyway!
My sister recently bought a crock pot, so while she's here I'm going to give her some recipes for it. I remembered I made beef stew a few weeks ago, I ate it for four meals in a row. It's a cross between Ina Garten's Beef Bourguignon, and Tyler Florence's Ultimate Stew. Speaking of Bourg, I finally saw Julie and Julia last weekend, and loved it. The Julie segments take place in Long Island City, which kept reminding me of Astoria.
Here is the beef stew recipe, it's better the next day, which gives you a chance to skim off any fat that had accumulated overnight:
one bottle of burgundy wine
3 pounds of beef chuck, cut in cubes
one pound of carrots, cut in half, then into chunks
two large vidalia onion, cut into quarters
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
8 potato's, peeled and cut into quarters
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups flour
Pat the beef with a paper towel, season it with salt and pepper, then toss in the flour to coat.
Shake off the excess in a strainer, so that it's lightly coated.
In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of butter, add the beef in small batches to brown, then set the beef inside a heavy stockpot or crock pot.
De glaze the pan with about a cup of wine, then scrape up all the beef bits. Add a tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper, the carrots, garlic, and onion, stir and cook about 8 minutes.
Add this to the beef, along with the rest of the wine, beef stock, bay leaf, thyme, potato and mushrooms.
Bring to a boil, cover, set to simmer for 2 - 3 hours until vegetables are tender. Get a hunk of bread and dive in.