Monday, January 11, 2010

Pot luck

Zut alors, I am behind a day! Here it is Monday night and my last post was Sunday.

Tonight I made the greatest dinner. Well, I thought so anyway. I had beef top round from Jubilee and I made shish kebabs under the broiler. Top round is a magic cut. For some reason you can cook it real quick if you like instead of braising it for hours as stew or pot roast.

For these kebabs what you do is cut your top round up into cubes about an inch, inch and a half. Then you marinate them for about an hour in a kind of vinaigrette. It says two hours but I say one hour. You also toss into the bowl an onion cut into wedges and a pepper cut into pieces. I have also used zucchini and mushrooms.

Then you put the skewers under the broiler and they cook in about 10 minutes and it looks fancy and you can be proud of yourself. We ate our kebabs with an, ahem, mushroom ragout, and my favorite vegetable, Swiss chard. I did the Swiss chard up with raisins and walnuts and olive oil and I am sure it was a million calories but boy, was it good.

I made beef stew in California for Leonard Pennario. I should have made this!

Admit it, isn't it fun to eat in cold weather?

There is nothing like sitting around eating and looking at the snow outside. It is even better if you have people from work come back to your house and eat with you. I do that sometimes. I wish I had done that tonight.

You can cook things up in the winter in Crock Pots and in heavy iron pots, which I love to use. That is why I have to get a gas stove. All I have now is an electric stove and it is a nice stove but it has this smooth cook top which is not made for my Jurassic iron pots. I had two pots on the stove tonight, one for the mushrooms and the other for the chard.

What about the chardonnay?

That was handy too!

I also love to roast things. I love to roast vegetables. Last week I made roasted carrots. You did not have to pre-boil the carrots or anything. You just tossed them into this pan with I forget what, olive oil and kosher salt, I think, and thyme. Then you covered the pan and roasted them and took the cover off and browned them. It took something like 40 minutes but where did I have to be.

This morning I made white bean soup. I made it in the Crock Pot the night before. Here is my heirloom recipe. You take one 1-pound bag o'dried beans, plus one chopped-up onion, plus one chopped-up carrot, plus a handful of chopped-up celery. You put them into the pot and cover it with water. You go to bed.

In the morning voila! White bean soup. It is yours to salt and spice as you like. This morning I washed up a bunch of turnip greens and added them to the soup. That is another vegetable I love, turnip greens. I love their texture and their taste.

Wow, I could yak about food forever. Here is my favorite dinner if Howard is off somewhere and I am alone in the house with no one to watch me eat. I like to take a big iron pot and brown up a cut-up onion, then toss in a couple of chicken pieces and brown them, or not, as you like. Then you throw in a few sliced-up carrots, and a big lot of cut-up greens. You cover the pot and they cook for about half an hour. Then what you do when the chicken is done is, you take a big shallow soup bowl and you just ladle it out. It is so sloppy but so good! And it looks so pretty with the green and the orange.

Once I made that dinner for my mother and me over at her house. She loved it but she agreed with me that it was not something you should eat in front of people. It is just too sloppy!

Another dinner if you are on your own and free to eat what you like is, take a butternut or buttercup squash. Cut it in half. Roast it and eat it like a baked potato, with butter and sour cream and salt and lots of pepper. That is the greatest dinner! Accompanied by my old friends turnip greens or chard it is also very pretty because you get that green and orange effect.


Prof. G said...

How the #$%^& does a foodie like you remain so skinny? I was a beanpole when I was young, but as the years progress I'm becoming a walking advertisement for suet midriff. And I exercise and stay away from red meat, booze and other goodies.

Ryan said...

Speaking of raisins...

I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten what you said about your fruitless search for inexpensive raisins and maple syrup.

I have been keeping an eye on raisin prices everywhere I go. So far, Aldi has the least expensive raisins. In second place is the 24 oz. canister at Wegmans. Both are less expensive than the bulk raisins at Wegmans and Guercio's. The investigation is not over yet!

Now, as far as maple syrup goes, I think your best bet is to buy a good size container directly from a local maple producer. There is a website,, that lets you search for producers by county. This is an undertaking that could require some calling around. You may wish to inquire about "grade B" syrup from some of these producers. From what I've read, the main difference is in the color.

Ryan said...

I have an update! At Price-Rite, their generic raisins are about the same price as Aldi. Currently they have a special purchase of genuine Sun-Maid raisins for the same price! But are Sun-Maid raisins really any better?