Posts tagged ‘stew’

April 12, 2018

Free-Range Grazing in My Kitchen

My family just spent a couple of days free-range grazing in my kitchen. That wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. All I wanted to do was have a large pot of something prepared before my out-of-town guests arrived so that there was food within reach if anyone got hungry.

I don’t know about your family, but you don’t ever want mine to get hungry. We don’t just get hangry, we go ballistic. It is not a pretty sight!

I settled on beef stew and bought stew meat, small purple and white potatoes, various colors of carrots, and boiling onions. So that my sauce would thicken on its own, I coated the meat with a mixture of corn starch, tapioca starch, sweet white sorghum flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper before browning it in olive oil.

A couple of hours later, I had traditional beef stew boiling on the stove and a plane to meet at the airport. The crew arrived hungry and started on the beef stew immediately. I threw together some cornbread. All was well.

The next morning, two more sections of the family would arrive. Instead of fixing breakfast while the LA crowd slept, I made pasta sauce enhanced with salami and pork chops with rice. At the time I thought I was prepping for the following days. That’s not how it worked out.

Somehow, as the crowd gathered food started disappearing. I brought out the left over stew and cooked gluten-free pasta to add to my sauce. Before long everyone had a plate of something. A few hours later, everyone had a plate of something else.

The snack bucket I had stocked with gluten-free pretzels, trail mix, peanut butter, crackers, and chips began to empty. Green banana eaters and ripe banana eaters grabbed bananas. The left over cornbread got slathered with honey.

Food disappeared in waves. I ran out of bowls. We grabbed mixing bowls. I cooked frozen gluten-free pizza to fill in the pasta gap once the pasta was gone. The extra salami not used in pasta sauce ended up on crackers.

The kids played, we laughed, and no one ever got hungry. In fact, no one even got fussy much less hangry. Eventually, the dishes got washed. And after a couple of days of free-range grazing, most everyone went home to graze in their own kitchens.

I still have some clean-up to do, but it was a great visit proving a little food can go a long way toward building happy families!

March 29, 2015

Condo Stew Warms You in a Pinch

Condo StewThis delicious Condo Stew warms you when unexpected snow caps appear outside your window. It may be March, almost April, but winter just can’t seem to quit. If you’re traveling about wearing every layer in your suitcase and still feeling a chill, throw together this stew using minimal ingredients for a warm, satisfying, hearty, and delicious meal.

Ingredients
Polish Kielbasa – I chose locally made, fully cooked
1 Large Yukon Gold Potato – washed
Baby Carrots – I had some left from my car snacks
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Salt
Water

Stew Base
Cube the kielbasa and the potato and place in a large pot. You can eyeball the proportions and adjust them to your liking. Slice the carrots and add to the pot. Sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper, and a pinch of salt.

StewinPotAdd water to just cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Simmer over medium high until potatoes and carrots are tender and most of liquid has boiled away. Serve hot.

When you’re warm on the inside, you’ll be ready to brave the elements outside for yet another adventure.
adventure

January 16, 2013

Don’t Like Peeling Butternut Squash? Then Don’t!

I love butternut squash.  I like it oven roasted, mashed, as part of a tart, as a soup, boiled in beef stew – you name it, I’ll gobble it up.  I love it in spite of the fact that my knives always seem to be dull and it has a tough covering.

Some of my friends tell me they avoid cooking this squash because it’s just too much trouble to peel.  To this I say, then don’t peel it.  A moderately sharp knife should cut a butternut squash in half when you use a little elbow grease. Once you’ve managed that, you’re well on your way to using it in some tasty preparations like these:

One of my favorite ways to prepare butternut squash is to oven roast it. I preheat the oven to 425º, clean the skin, remove the seeds, and cube it in one-inch cubes with the skin left on. Then I place the squash on a cast iron baking sheet skin side down, drizzle with olive oil, top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and roast for about 40 minutes. The skin gets brown and adds some pleasing texture to the squash.

Oven roasted squash is delicious by itself, but it becomes decadent when I take the hot squash from the oven, remove the thyme, then toss the squash with bleu cheese crumbles and Sahale Valdosta Pecans. This pecan blend contributes a bit of tart, sweet, and spice to the dish with its addition of cranberries, black pepper and orange zest.

If you like to share, this combination makes a great choice for a potluck contribution. You can roast the squash while you’re getting dressed for a party, then toss with the cheese and pecans just before you walk out the door.

Yesterday, I included butternut squash in some beef stew that I simmered for about an hour before serving. I prepared one-inch cubes in the same manner I described above, leaving the skin on. After an hour of cooking, the skin was perfectly tender and added enough body to the squash for it to hold its shape and keep from disintegrating into the broth. Because I had added a significant amount of red pepper, it was nice to have the natural sweetness of the squash to balance the heat.

Even though butternut squash is a winter squash, I find it in the supermarket all year long. That means it’s available in the summer for a bit of barbecue variety. Just clean the skin, slice in half, remove the seeds and core, then slice in large wedges, season, and throw on the grill.

The more experience you gain wielding a knife against this pale orange nemesis, the more comfortable you may become peeling the squash. That will open the door for a whole new set of preparations. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to throw one in your shopping cart.  It doesn’t have to be peeled to be delicious!