Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Beef Stew

You know when you're feeling kinda tapped out, and multitasking isn't doing you any favors, and you just wanna curl up in a bowl and call it a night? Yeah, it's that time of year, isn't it. Scott made this stew the other night (he actually cooked!) for when I got home from the field, and after the gym I thought it'd be nice to just reheat a bowl of something instead of cooking. There wasn't quite enough for two full servings, so we decided to eat it on some nice, buttered egg noodles.

I was totally gonna make some croutons to go on top, but the batard was way too stale even for that, and I had to process them into crumbs and fry them to render them edible. The night Scott made the stew, I made thick croutons broiled with shredded fontina, but it was much soupier then and really needed it. The sad thing about stew is that although it tastes so much better a day or two later, the peas go all peaked and look like really sad shadows of their verdant selves.

Pickle-making isn't really a one-day feat, is it? I've been doing small batches every day, but the eggplant chutney set things off on sort of a bad foot. It's too thick to really get all of the air out, and so of course one of the jars blew out its bottom in the pressure cooker. I didn't realize it until I went to vent off some of the pressure when I smelled the chutney that should've been sealed up in the jar. Finally, everything cooled down enough to handle, and I was able to see the carnage of oily eggplant shreds floating around inside the pressure cooker. Ick. I had to wash all the remaining jars in soapy water to get the oil off, and scrubbed the pressure cooker before getting the next batch in last night. Tonight will be the red onion pickle.


peter said...

Sounds like your day was as frustrating as mine. I hope, unlike me, that you're doing better today. Excited for pickles.

Pam said...

the stew looks great! you wouldn't happen to have the recipe used?

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Holy comfort food. I like your hubby. Sorry about the explosive chutney.

Brittany said...

We are also on our 3rd day of stew, and tonight, I am stretching it over some brown rice...but croutons sound perfect with it!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Leftover meals are great aren't they? I have a bunch of beef shins in the pressure cooker now (going for that rich cooked-for-3-days creamy thing) that I anticipate will last me quite a few meals.

Homemade chutney and pickles sound awesome. I've been contemplating the acquisition of a vacuum chambers to fix the air bubble problem. I'm also told they make for quick infusions and marinades.

matt wright said...

YUM. I love stew, but hardly ever cook it. God knows why. This looks awesome. Bugger about your chutney :( that stuff is gold.

Darius T. Williams said...

I love a good beef stew! I have a deconstructed one on my blog now.


Judy@nofearentertaining said...

You sure are busy huh? That stew looked great. Lucky you that Scott will cook for you. I love the idea of the egg noddles to help stretch it further!

Eric Hensley said...

We are on day two of our leftover stew. It's been so cold in Portland that is definitely stew weather.

Anonymous said...

You're a stressed-out food blogger. I can relate to that!

A valium and hop to bed! It's doctor Zen talking. :-)

abadeeba said...

thank god i'm not the only one who can't figure out how to create food gold from the reality of everyday cooking. i can barely summon up the energy to read a food post, let alone create one. keep it coming. times is tough. life remains difficult. work simply gets in the way.

glamah16 said...

Sorry the canning is going a lttle tough. But that stew looks like just the ticket. Pace yourself and dont stress.

Jude said...

Never canned or used a pressure cooker, but I'm even more scared now with your incident. I'm guessing broken glass and high psi don't make for great weeknight happenings.

Manggy said...

Ouch on the pressure cooker mishap :( I do wonder if there's an easier way to do it (can while thin, then it thickens as it processes? Does that make sense? -- "No."). Gosh, I'm reminded of this dumb story of my family eating out with a neurotic sixty year-old family friend.
(Reading menu outside:) "Mark, what's chut-nay?"
"Uh, it's (fruit) cooked in vinegar, sugar, and spices."
"Let's eat somewhere else."

Hmm, maybe adopting your principle of stew you can cook it the day before and add the peas the next day!

Peter G said...

What a great man you have and nothing beats a leftover stew to say thank you! look forward to your pickle stories (minus explosions!)

Heather said...

Jube - I'm just not feelin' it, y'know? Pickles are fun, but everything else is a big "feh."

Pam - I think he used the Joy of Cooking recipe, but then I added a slurry of flour and water towards the end to thicken it a bit.

Anne - I like him, too. He's a keeper.

Brittany - I don't know why, I but I segued directly from stew to a soup that's going to last me for days. I think I need a salad day.

Marc - Vacuum chambers, eh? I need something, because I couldn't stir or tap these bubbles out.

Matt - It's the kind of thing I grew up eating, but I rarely make it either.

Darius - I remember your sexah deconstructed stew. It looked fantastic.

Judy - Egg noodles are good for that. :)

Eric - I know! We're finally getting that autumn chill, a week before winter starts.

M. Zen - You read my mind. :)

Abracadabra - I try to make regular people food look amazing sometimes, but it's really just regular people food.

Courtney - Thank you for the sage advice. I need to not try to do everything at once. :)

Jude - Luckily, it just blew out the bottom in one piece, so I didn't have to dig greasy shards of glass out of the cooker.

Marky - This chutney (tapenade?) is already pretty thick, so there wasn't really any chance to tap the air out. What is it with picky old people?

Petah - I will try to post the pickles later today. :)

Lo said...

Nice. It is definitely stew weather. And I've actually been having a craving, so this might serve to inspre.

I made up a pot of tuna casserole last night, which says a little about my need for comfort at this point in the season.

Seriously looking forward to pickles.

cookiecrumb said...

Note To Self: No Eggplant Chutney.

Poor Heather.

Rick said...

Hey Heather,

Concrete workers use vibrating probes to get the air out of concrete when they pour it. Perhaps if you had something that vibrated like an electric toothbrush held to the jar the air would rise out of the mix.
Just a thought.

Kevin said...

Having comforting leftovers that can be quickly reheated on hand is always nice.

Norm Schoen said...

I want some Red Onion pickles!

MrOrph said...

Yeah, when I make stew, there is one day for cooking and we eat the next day. So much better.

Pickling huh? I am going to try my hand at that soon. I have it on good authority that I am getting a canning kit for my PC this xmas. Yay!

We Are Never Full said...

man, i'm with you on this. what is it about this time of year? we're both exhausted. i'm not even doing much xmas shopping these days b/c of the economy. maybe it's the lack of sunshine? regardless, your hubz made a nice dinner. now, give him a hug and a bowl of chutney!

mmmm. buttered noodles. why don't i do that more often?

Heather said...

yum, that stew looks delicious! and i love putting it on buttered egg noodles. sounds delicious. i've never done pickling before, it sounds like quite a process :) hope the onions go better than the eggplant!


Do you have vintage silverware? I've seen some very pretty pieces in your photos. They look very old and very interesting!