Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Moroccan Beef Stew

Damn I love meat. It makes me happy when the Thrifty Sifter throws a recipe my way for dinner which includes some lovely stewed beef. This Moroccan beef stew recipe came from Epicurious and it's quite novel to my palate. Golden raisins, dates, and cinnamon are not ingredients I expected to taste with meat, but this stew is a complete winner. Leftovers didn't last long.

Prepping the various ingredients pre-cooking. 

Browning the beef. You'll notice we used stew meat instead of a beef tenderloin. Unfortunately Key Food never has beef tenderloin. 

Cooking up the onions, carrots, and garlic. Sort of reminds me of mirepoix

Bringing everything together for a nice simmer.

Simmer it!

Served with some Magic Hat #9

Your soundtrack for this entry: The Cure - A Short Term Effect

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Coriander Tuna with Cabbage Salad

As you probably noticed in my previous entry I've rearranged the kitchen once again. It does cramp the sink a tiny bit and make one of my undersink doors unusable. However, I never keep much under the sink, so we're good there.

The plusses are numerous, including making it easier to transfer from work surface to stove to sink in any combination. I've also freed up space on the other side of the kitchen for my bicycle, my two spare dinner chairs, and the trash and recycling are closer to the work station.

Chronologically this meal took place before the chicken in my previous entry, but that Dragon's-wort chicken was too much on my mind to avoid writing about first.

Tuna's been absent from the menu for a while and I wanted to bring it back to the table with a bit of something different. Usually I sear it on either side and season with pepper and salt. For this version I also added a nice coating of ground coriander.

I also created a very easy cabbage salad by shredding the cabbage, adding fresh ground pepper and salt, and mixing in some spicy rice vinegar. Let that sit in the fridge for a half hour or so.

Firing up the mandolin here. I've not yet used it to simply slice things and I'll have to wait until I do that before trashing this piece of equipment. It's definitely not good for shredding or julienne. 

Add the rice vinegar. 


Fire up the pan! I like my tuna on the well-done side sometimes and that's the case here.

 This piece was thick and cooked approximately five minutes a side. 

Served with a sprig of cilantro. 

Your soundtrack for this entry: Parry Gripp - Do You Like Waffles.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Dragon's-wort Chicken with Baby Spinach Salad

Tonight I decided to try my hand at making a couple of dishes introduced to me by my friend Lauren. It's been a lazy weekend and, apart from hitting the gymnasium, the Thrifty Sifter and I only had one plan: dinner with Lauren and her husband Bill.

That I once said she could throw down in the kitchen is completely true. Practically everything of hers I've tasted has been fantastic and last night was no exception. Sipping beer (after being told my help wasn't needed, of course!) I watched dinner preparations. The resultant dinner was so good I wanted to try it myself today.

My version's a bit different in that I only used tarragon (sometimes called dragon's wort) and dried sage while eschewing the use of garlic. Okay, I didn't choose not to use the garlic so much as forget to put it in.

Dragon's-wort Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts (with skin)
- half a stick of unsalted butter cut into 6 - 8 slices
- three sprigs of fresh tarragon
- dried ground sage
- salt
- fresh ground pepper

Place the chicken breasts in a glass casserole dish or iron skillet. Place a pat or two of butter on each one (two for the larger ones). Next coat lightly with sage, salt, and ground pepper. Last strip the leaves from the fresh tarragon and place on each breast.

Pop that puppy into an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees. Cook for 40 - 50 minutes or until skin is a golden brown.

Damn, I need to clean my oven. 

Lauren's chicken was good, but her baby spinach salad was fantastic. Made with sliced almonds, gorgonzola, and a poppy seed vinaigrette, I woke up thinking about it today (along with a horrid hangover).

My version includes:
- 2 ounces of almonds toasted and chopped (about 12 almonds)
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 2 ounces of gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries

For the dressing I used the following ingredients and kinda eyeballed the portions.
- 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- dried ground sage
- fresh ground pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp hot paprika

While I was making the dressing it was time to pull the chicken out of the oven. Don't they look delicious? I wasn't going to forget them like I forgot about going to bed last night. 

Shake, shake, shake!

Chopping the toasted almonds. 

I think the Bel Gioso Lauren used last night was actually a better gorgonzola, but this was tasty. 

Dinner is served. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, I intended to use garlic with the chicken and will remember to do so next time I make this. Still, the chicken was quite good. My dressing was a little too heavy on the vinegar, so I'll avoid that much in the future. I actually intended to use balsamic, but for some reason I couldn't get the bottle open.

Your soundtrack for this entry is Men at Work's "Who Can it Be Now." I'd like to dedicate this to Harlan and Jen, who I didn't get to say goodnight to last night due to drunken passing out. Seriously, someone take the beer away from me next time!