Posts Tagged ‘being domestic’

New Adventures: 12 of 30 – Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.

Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Then sear the meat on a super hot nonstick pan until crisp and golden brown on the outsides.

You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)

After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…

Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.

Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:

Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.

Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!

I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!

You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago.  But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.

12 of 30 completed!

 

Vegetable Garden – 2010 – Planning Phase

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
Thanks Lilley1 from Flickr!

Spring is quickly approaching, and I finally got around to ordering seeds for my garden this year. I’ve decided to go through Johnny’S Selected Seeds, which is a local employee owned company that has pretty reasonable prices. In addition, I used their seeds last year & stuff turned out pretty well, so why not be a repeat customer? :)

This year I’m going with Red Grape Tomatoes, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Zucchini, Collard Greens and Scallions, along with some various herbs, and maybe I’ll pick up some Pepper or Broccoli plants later in the summer. The tomatoes should be interesting, as I’ve never grown those from seed before. Last year I just gaffed some plants from my mom, so hopefully I can figure it out on my own. Also, I’ve never tried scallions before, but how hard can they be? :)

Now all I need to do it get my gardening staff (aka Devon) started on building the 2nd raised bed so I can increase our harvest by double this year!

New addition in the garden.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

My sugar snap peas are nearing the end of their growing season and most of the pea plants are dying. We’ve really enjoyed eating them, but since there is no new growth, I decided to rip most of those out and to plant something else that I could harvest by fall. I decided to pick up a few little plants at the local Whole Foods, but was somewhat disappointed by the plant varieties available. Basically I had a choice between various herbs, hot peppers or some Veronica… Luckily I have had Veronica before at a friends house and D & I really enjoyed it. It’s a type of cauliflower that is green and spikey (see above picture)… But it’s much more mild and doesn’t taste like cauliflower… hence Devon actually tolerating it… You can cook it like broccoli or cauliflower or you can eat it raw… Basically,  you can do a TON with it.

So, I bought 2 2×2 trays and planted them where the snap peas were and the Veronica should be ready to harvest in about a month and a half or so… My cherry tomatoes ripening and should be about ready in a couple of weeks, along with my collard greens. The yellow summer squash still has a ways to go, along with my carrots, I think. Herbs are chugging along, but after a serious mishap with one of my container gardens, I’m basically starting over from scratch with my cilantro and nasturtiums.

I’m really excited to have found another vegetable that Devon is excited about again! Go Veronica!

Emma’s Favorite Things: Cake Wrecks Blog

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

This is my new favorite blog: Cake Wrecks.  Soooo many disasters. I’m no awesome cake decorator, but man, there are some real gems on that site. I’ve been going through the blog laughing my butt off and freaking Devon out in the process.

From cakewrecks.blogspot.com

From cakewrecks.blogspot.com

Check it out. I guarantee that you’ll find it hillariously delicious.

Legs of Steel and floors of wood.

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I’m currently packing up everything on the 2nd floor, and carrying it down to store on our 1st floor for the next 2 weeks, while we’re getting hardwood floors put in upstairs. The master bedroom, our office, our guest room and 4 closets…. Good times. My arms and legs are getting a madd good work out.

While our life is going to be really disrupted for the next 2 weeks, I’m seeing the bright side. 1.) Beautiful pale maple floors are going to look SOOOO much better than the nasty stained & burnt beige carpeting that we currently have. 2.) I’m using this as an excuse to sort through all of our stuff and separate it into Keep, Toss or Sell at the yardsale.

I am so young and carefree and a wild spirit and the antithesis of a responsible adult.

A wonderful day in the yard.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Today I finished filling my raised garden bed. The snap peas, carrots, spotted mint and some cilantro are in the ground. I have other stuff to plant, but it’s too early to plant them.

Fifi also had a lovely day in the garden. She got out and romped around, eating as much clover as she possibly could. She even made a friend who had similar interests….

Fifi made a bunny buddy... Click on picture for larger view.

Fifi made a bunny buddy... Click on picture for larger view.

:) Cute no?

Productive Spring day.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

I feel like I had a productive and enjoyable spring day. I ordered a bunch of stuff online, that we’ve been desperately needing. Bamboo shades to block the sun in our bedroom in the AM, a new comforter (our current one outdates D & I’s relationship), a big wagon to hall yard junk in addition to Fifi, etc…. I went to the dry cleaners, and did the bi-weekly grocery store trip. I hung out with Fifi on the deck and read a great book as Fifi soaked up the sun’s rays. I planted 4 rows of sugar snap peas in my garden, and I made little hangers for my garden tools in the shed. And I’m currently in the process of making greek-spiced baked shrimp with feta for dinner. Yeah, domestic goddess!

Beginning of a Garden

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
Emma gardening

"Emma" gardening

First off, I love using photo shop poorly. Next. It’s spring time and I’ve always wanted to have a small garden to grow things to eat. I’ve experimented in previous rental houses with herbs, collards and flowers… I’ve also planted a blueberry bush that I harvested about 6 ripe blueberries off of last year, and we had a patch of wild stawberries that the squirrels harvested the night before each one was ripe.

Now that we have a huge yard, I’ve decided that I will actually have a real garden. We’ve decided to go with a raised bed version, so its not as permanent, if we decide to move its location. Also, hopefully it will make it a bit easier to keep kritters out… Ok, they can share, but they can not eat everything! hehe. My garden staff, aka. Devon, will build/help build a pretty simple one, that will be about 4 ft. by 8 ft, and it should be big enough to hold the few things that I plan on trying to grow this year.

They are: Collard greens, yellow summer squash, carrots, sugar snap peas, nasturtiums and possibly zucchini. I’m also thinking about doing some herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley in some containers. We also have a big apple tree in our back yard. We moved into the house too late last year to see if they were yummy or not. But yeah. I’m feeling a smidge domestic… Although, we’ll see. Devon and I still have to build the raised bed tonight…. and then I have to plant things… Oh yeah.. and then weed, and weed, and weed, and weed. Good times.

Is anyone else trying to growing anything this year?

Recipe: Curry and Yogurt Braised Chicken Thighs

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

This is a new recipe I came across from Food & Wine, that I altered a bit. It was absolutely delish, winning approval from D and my mom. It tasted just as good, if not better, than a curry from my favorite Thai restaurant. It’s pretty easy to make, relatively healthy, very satisfying and it looks beautiful when it’s plated.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup  canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 anaheim chile(green chile pepper), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper—cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I used half 9 spice curry from Thailand, half McCormick Brand)
  • A little over 1 pound tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, chile and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over high heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, yogurt and water; stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the chicken is tender and the juices are slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro.
  4. Serve with steamed rice.