Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Grilled Peppers

Hot peppers made even hotter
Ever tried grilling hot jalapenos or mild bells? Place them on the grill at your next cookout. The open flame will release flavors. Here’s a tip: Use the kitchen stovetop and a pair of metal tongs to toast peppers in a pinch. Hold each one over a burner set on high for a few seconds to a minute. If you are extra careful and if the pepper is large enough, you can even set it right on the burner. Turn the pepper for even toasting.

Grilling all types of veggies is a way to give old (fridge stored) ones new life. Here is a neat site, which discusses grilling veggies.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Side Dish: Kimchi

Kimchi rocks the meal
Kimchi, Korean pickled veggies, is used as a side dish. The seasonings vary. Pieces of napa cabbage or large radish drenched in a spicy (hot or hot and sweet) sauce are the most common. A little goes a long way. Jars of kimchi base (used to season and pickle) are readily available at any Asian grocery. Here is a site that discusses varieties of kimchi.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday’s Helping: Canned Tomatoes

Tomatoes — because you can, can, can
Our beef stew recipe calls for freshly cut ripe tomatoes. If you want to speed up prep time in any dish calling for fresh tomatoes, substitute with canned tomatoes. Muir Glen, Hunts, and Del Monte are three great brands. But generic brands will do fine, too. We recommend using one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes for our beef stew recipe. The American Dietetic Association compares canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday's Cup: Salt

Salt brings on flavor
It’s known as sodium chloride among chemists. Find it right next to the pepper on many dining tables. Salt forms naturally as the mineral halite. Gourmet salts have increased in use and popularity. We like a red Hawaiian sea salt available at Trader Joes. Nelly is going to try a Himalayan pink salt from Whole Foods next. Fleur de Sel is the king of sea salts and comes from Brittany in France. Do you have a favorite gourmet salt?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The Stew will be back tomorrow. Happy Memorial Day. Here is another fun site!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Lamb Stew

Lamb stew isn’t just for the Irish
That’s right. This Irish favorite is yummy. Lamb is the oldest meat species to be domesticated by human beings. A cup of lamb stew runs at $4.99 (US Dollars) at the local bar/restaurant because it’s a house special. Thyme makes all the difference as a key ingredient. We swear that it’s good. Is there a secret ingredient that makes your stew top notch?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday's Side Dish: Tres Leches

A Mexican sweet surprise
Dessert comes from the French "desservir," which means "to clear the table.” It’s the sweet happy ending to any meal. We like a Mexican dessert called Tres Leches Cake, which translates into Three Milks Cake. It is topped off with whip cream. Sweetened condensed milk is the secret ingredient that makes every slice sinfully decadent. Here is a link to its Food Network recipe.

Sprinkle crushed almonds or pecans on top if you desire.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday's Helping: Short Ribs

Short ribs: The fat is where it's at
Short ribs might seem a bit rustic. We use short ribs because their fat content means loads of flavor. They are taken from the midsection (just behind the chuck flank) of the cow or bull. You’ve probably heard about beef marbling. The best tasting beef cuts have good fat marbling. Look for ripples of fat running through the red meat for better flavor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday's Cup: Onions

The Onion permeates, brings tears and cheers
Don’t underestimate onions. Amino acids containing sulfur are the reason why these members of the Alliaceae family can bring on a moment of tears. They add a flavorful touch in stew. We recommend Vidalia onions if you want to get fancy, but reliable yellow onions will make do, too. Green onions (scallions) are a great topping and garnish that will make any savory dish look (and taste) more appetizing. What can we do to avoid the tears? We suggest keeping a bowl of water close by while chopping onions. Just place it on the counter next to the cutting board. It really does work. Who needs unnecessary tears anyways?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday's Bread Bowl: Beef Stew

Recipe to beat life's pressures

Here's a dish to fortify and help you in today's stressful economy. Take a deep breath and let us lead the way with the nourishment and comfort of a hearty meal ...

Imagine the aroma of a delicious beef stew wafting through your kitchen and living room. Your taste buds won’t be able to wait. There is no big secret to it. Just follow the directions and give yourself a couple of hours. We're not scientific about the details to the recipe, but follow our lead and you'll get the idea. It’s better than good eats. The Mixed Stew has arrived. Enjoy!

What you will need:

1 large stock pot with lid
1 long wooden spoon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves chopped fine
1 large yellow onion chopped fine
2 large ripe tomatoes—chopped small
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup carrots, cut into large 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup potatoes, cut into large 1/2-inch chunks
2 lbs--beef short rib cuts—cut into single rib portions
5 cups water
1 tablespoon flour

Cooking and directions

Start pot off on medium high heat with vegetable oil. Add chopped garlic, onion, and celery. Sauté them in heated oil until they are almost translucent. Place short ribs in pot and let them sit for a few minutes until browning occurs. Add water and chopped tomatoes. Bring pot to a rapid boil and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Cover pot. Let the meat braise for at least one hour. Stir the pot occasionally. After an hour, add the cilantro, carrots, and potato cubes (and more celery if you wish). Leave on low heat for another 45 minutes to an hour so that the large cubes can cook. When the vegetables are tender, stir in flour to thicken the sauce. The beef ribs will be tender. Serve it up hot and yummy. Add salt and pepper to taste.