Friday, June 11, 2010

Is it Spring Yet?


There are many things I love about the North West. The green, the water...the rain? Not so much. It seems as though it's rained every day since November. Will it stop long enough for my herb garden to sprout?

So, while I complain about the absence of dry, I think I'll snuggle up with a good book and a steaming bowl of my own soup. So much better than anything out of a can!

This is my version of Ellie Krieger's Beef Soup with Barley and Mushrooms in The Food You Crave.

1 lb chuck steak or stew meat, cut into 1\2 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
8 oz mushrooms (I used creminis), roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 c beef stock
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1\2 c pearl barley
1\2 tsp dried thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper

Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown in olive oil and remove to a plate or bowl. Add another Tbs or so of olive oil and saute the onion and mushrooms for a few minutes, or until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute a few minutes more. Add tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pan. Sit in broth, barley and thyme.

Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the meat and barley are tender, about an hour. Season to taste.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"IThis cheese had the flavor of a prison riot.."

Over on the Salon Food page, Francis Lam has recently posted a witty take on the "joy" of fromage fort. Or maybe not.

I hate to admit this (as someone with a food-related blog) but I'm not really all that adventurous an eater. Although I've tried a lot of things that many other people wouldn't consider eating, I think Tony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern and Michael Ruhlman would be terribly disappointed to take me to dinner.

That being said, however, I don't care how damn much garlic you put on a snail, I'm not eating one. As a NW girl I've stepped barefoot on far too many slugs, and far too vividly remember that odd and disgusting combination of slime and crunch to want anything to do with gastropods on any level.

There are a good many cheeses I would not approach. Shortly after meeting Daniele and attempting to make the sort of food he hadn't had access to in years, I bought some proscuitto and gongonzola to make panini out of.

Let's just say I'd had a little too much chardonnay that evening. When I got up the next morning I checked in the fridge and saw a leftover sandwich. Thinking it was something my kid had made and then changed his mind on, I took a bite. The gagging stopped when I spit it out.

Daniele was puzzled. "But you ate it last night and said you liked it." Ahh, the amazing power of love. Or cheap wine from Ernest & Julioville.

"Jesus," I muttered rhetorically. "How drunk did I have to have to be to eat that?"

Something tells me that neither fromage fort nor gorgonzola and I have any possibility of a future together.

Curtis Stone

Not sure why, but his name barely registered when I hit a link to his rib recipe on AOL this morning. Ribs sounded good, in a rather primal carnivoreish kind of way. His recipe and the accompanying video seemed okay enough, but the one that really grabbed me was his Avocado-Tomato-Mozarella Panini with Pesto. Sort of a margherita pizza but with avocados added.

I will definitely have to make this.