Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Phew!

I have SO many pictures to share. I have close to 3 posts started {the one that qualifies as 'close to' only has a title} but haven't uploaded pictures for editing yet.

But I will share one with you! I keep talking about how fantastic Dempsey's is and I finally remembered to take a picture before I scarfed down my hamburger and truffle fries.

mmm...I really want one....NOW.

Instead, I'll be enjoying a delicious dinner of beef stew.

I'm coming to realize that I like simple cooking. There are a few meals on rotation that I can pull together in a pinch, don't require a recipe, are delicious {that's key}, and turn out different each time.

Tonight was beef stew. Really, all you need is a general knowledge of how soups thicken and simmer themselves into a stew. Contrary to belief, they don't take all day. I started mine at 5:30pm and it's now 7:08pm. It's been ready to eat since 6:45. So, what is that...45 minutes?

Tonight's contains a full day's helping of vegetables, includes minimal beef, and is delicious and TENDER. The tenderness of the beef was from the cut that I purchased. I think it was tri tip something or other. It was the 'manager's special' section beef, which I've come to love and know as the 'cook with me tonight or freeze me or I'll turn on you in two winks' section. Instead of paying $8 for the cut, I paid $3.20. Awesome savings and I used it immediately...win-win.

So...on top of the fab cut of meat, here's what I did:

Start with a pot - somewhat large

1/2 c. diced onion
2 stalks celery - also diced
a few carrots
1 clove garlic

turn on medium heat with a little olive oil and let cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile,

dice 2 potatoes,
2 cups fresh broccoli florets,
1 cup yellow zucchini squash
1/2 cup zucchini

the last two vegetables should be sliced into medallions.

Still with me? Good. Now, the onions and celery should be quite translucent at this point and the rest of the vegetables should be getting nice and tender. Add enough water to your vegetables to cover them by one inch. Turn on high and let boil for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

Move to the beef. Cube your beef. It's best if it's a nicely marbled cut.

Throw cubed beef into a cup and a half of flour mixed with about a tablespoon of cornstarch, 1 tsp salt, a pinch of pepper, and whatever other seasoning you'd like to toss in there. I added a bit of thyme {because I lurve it}. Now mix all those together and coat each of the cubes of beef before throwing the whole lot of meat into a medium-high pan with a little olive oil. Brown thoroughly. Shouldn't take more than 5-8 minutes.

Alright, while your beef is cooking away, check your vegetables {I cringe at the word veggies - dunno why, but I'd love it if the world used vegetables forevermore}. Turn to a medium-low temp on your stove and add everything from the beef pan. Juices and all. This will help thicken your stew.

About this point I added a little beef bouillon to enhance flavor.

And there you go. As soon as all your vegetables are tender you can serve. If it's not thick enough for you, take a bit of flour and a bit of cornstarch, use liquid from the simmering stew and make a paste. Add more liquid to thin out and get rid of lumps. Add to the stew and voila! Thickened.

Maybe I'll get a picture {I'll be having it for lunch} and tease you all.

Today also included a good sweeping of the house, under all the couches even, and vacuuming of the carpets. I even managed to clean the kitchen and unload the dishwasher AND switch out the loads of laundry. 2 Points for me.

4 comments:

Marcus J. said...

i meant to tell you i saw uncooked tortillas at walmart of all paces, in between the butter and sliced cheese - have you found them yet?

Chelsea said...

No such luck. They have them at the grocery stores (including walmart) in the southwest but not in the midwest. I've called and asked. I'll either breakdown and make some (not likely) or just bring some back around christmas time.

Marcus J. said...

yeah, i was going to say they're by the "mexican" section with the chorizo, but then i realized they might not have one of those in kansas :)

Becca said...

Commenting about comments: Have you checked Checkers? They have a pretty reasonable "Mexican" section by their deli. I will have to look the next time I go by there. I find Checkers does a good job carrying items you can't find in most of the stores. (But probably not tortillas.)