Monday, November 20, 2006

Slow but Steady. And - Beef Not Crab

I wanted so much to put up a post last night, thanking you all and telling you what the Scooter Plan was from here on out. And I was so excited and happy and exhausted, wrung out from crying and smiling and crying and smiling, such a sweet emotional rollercoaster, that all I could do was go to bed.

And then today? Same thing. Except this one included Walter, who got home just in time for a dinner of Meaty Beef Stew and k's Fresh Baked Bread and Caramelized Onion.

This was tiring, sure. I did half the work on the stew last night. Had the bread made into loaves and rising just when he called for me to come pick him up where he leaves the truck. It's a bit of a drive and I ran into traffic...and when we finally made it home? The loaves were exactly right, time to turn on the oven and cook 'em up.

The final simmer on the stew was finished exactly when the bread was ready to eat. Quite warm still. OH, what a great smell in my house!

And that man said, Meat! Home baked bread! And he ate one bite and said, Now THAT is FOOD!

oh happiness!

So we're both very contented here, and ready to get going on some serious scooter shopping tomorrow. And again I wanted to give you all the latest - including another interesting phone call with the insurance company! - but again, I'll just have to crash for now instead.

Walter likes beef. k needs more protein. So here are many pounds of a beautiful roast, all rudely cut up into stew beef instead.

I like chuck too, but it's got so much more fat than I like to eat. I'm not afraid of eating fat, I just don't want to eat it if it's not the kind I'm fond of. To trim the *excess* fat from chuck is more work than I'm up to just now. And the chuck was only a few cents less per pound. Throwing away that much fat, it probably cost the same to buy a roast, and less work too.

This sounds gross, but I like gristly beef. Slow cooked in the presence of moisture, the gristle turns into gelatin. Not fat. Jello. Very tender and very flavorful. And healthy too, good for your hair and fingernails, right?

I cubed all that beef and browned the hell out of it in batches all night, with salt. Then I put three of my enormous chopped onions in the pan and browned that a bit. Put the meat back in, added a giant bay leaf and a teaspoon or so of tumeric. Water to cover it. That's all. Put it away for the night and went to bed.

I took it back out this morning and simmered it. Just before I left to pick up Walter, I added one and a half heads of peeled garlic cloves. If you put them in too soon they disintegrate. This way, Walter can fish out the intact cloves and give them to his loving cook. Who promptly scarfs them down.

Now this is pretty minimalist cooking, right? Not many ingredients. Good for allergic people. When you're allergic to all food it's less risky if you simply use less ingredients.

Not to mention, when you can make it taste kick-ass great with just a few ingredients, you know you did a good job.

The bread we cut when it was still quite warm. Supposedly this isn't as healthy. I have no idea why. And the trade-off is WAY worth it. YUM!

It does leave the cut parts dried out when you do that. However! I see a pronounced need for somewhat dried out or day-old bread coming in my Thanksgiving future...

Can you see how big that pot of stew is? Huge. It was filled to the top before Walter started in on it. The little garlic cloves in there? Mine all mine!

See how dark the liquid is? It got that way just from browning the meat. Deep dark roasted type flavor.
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How's that for a simple peasant dinner for two tired-out people?

My stew bowl is significantly smaller than Walter's. No seconds for me, either. I have very little metabolism. But I did eat 2 heels of bread - my fave - and a half a caramelized onion, too.

That's about twice the size of my usual dinner. Special treat night.

Got a good man I wanted to feed. Wanted to watch him eat that food, too.

Walter LOVES him some meat!


Desert Cat said...

Dang, girl! I'm still digesting the wonderful spaghetti dinner Daisycat prepared, but this post is making me hungry again.

For years and years (until I went on the Atkins Diet the first time) I ate no other bread but homebaked whole wheat.

There is nothing so fantastic as a hot loaf straight out of the oven, slathered with butter. And with beef stew no less! Ooh!

Livey said...

Is that an egg in the glass of water?
I'm so glad you are happy!
Can't wait to hear about the scooter biz!
Love ya!

k said...

Oh, it was great! Walter does the European thing of not buttering his bread. He did lots of stew-sopping with it.

Me, I love to slather it with whipped butter. Then it kind of melts into the warm bread, yum!

For some reason whipped butter always tastes both more buttery and fresher to me. And I use less because of the air volume. So again, I'm eating a *fat,* but only the fat I actually like to eat.

Livey, ummm...well, to someone who's uncomfortable in hot weather this will sound really odd. But I don't use ice. My fridge's icemaker was never hooked up - on purpose - and I don't make ice cube trays either. So, ain't got none.

But I do like it in my Diet Sprite -'scuse me, now it's called Sprite Zero (snort!). So what I do is, I make Sprite ice. I put a little in the bottom of a glass and put it in the freezer, in the door shelf.

Then I get nice fresh undiluted *ice* for my drink.


This amuses the hell out of my niece and nephew.

Granny J said...

Home madebread is a dangerous and addictive substance and I have shied away from it for the simple reason that a proper home made loaf lasts maybe 1,2 hours once out of the oven. Impossible to keep bread on hand that way.

k said...

Ha! GrannyJ, the good news is, since my recipe makes 4 loaves, I have too much to handle by myself. So I have some neighbors who like to get my extras.

Just before Walter leaves, I bake bread. He takes 2 loaves.

I've found that because I bake bread so often, it helps me be partially immune to it. You could say I'm not a bread addict, just a problem bread eater.

One way I make sure I behave is that I freeze extra bread right away. Once it's slightly frozen it's easier to cut anyway - so I take it out then, slice it, pack it up in doubled ziplocks and put it back in the freezer.

And although it's never quite as good once you freeze it, if you do get it in there when it's still warm, it retains some of that *fresh* flavor.

AND - that way, I can keep some bread on hand.

Desert Cat said...

That's what I used to do. I'd make a batch of five loaves at a time, eat one, keep one out, then freeze the other three for later.

Jean said...

Life is GOOD!

k said...

Jean, yes it is. Indeed.

You see why Desert Cat is my *true blogdad?* We keep finding out these things we do identically.

My recipe actually called for 3 loaves. Walter had some input about the great height of those loaves, and about the Dog Ear Effect. He prefers less Dog Ear, where it hangs so fetchingly over the edge of the loaf pan.

So I divided it into 4 not 3 and it was a perfect solution.

Now, when I make the loaves and put them in the loaf pan for the final rising, I press down on them a little. Sort of squares them off. That way they don't dog ear near as much. Makes Walter very happy.

Cool by me.