Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beef Bourguignon, Part Deux!

Rachael Ray claims that beef bourguignon is a 30-minutes meal! I beg to differ on that one!
When I first started out to search for all the wonderful ingredients I had an inkling it would take me at least and hour and half. I was right!
Not only did I get out all the ingredients and have them mostly prepped and ready to go, as much as is possible in a kitchen with very little space for prepping, but I also had all the proper tools and pots out and in their places. (My tea kettle is still sitting on top of a bowl in a mysterious looking way as a result of me having to use every single eye on the stove) With everything ready, I nervously heated my cast iron frying pan without anything in it and with a lid on, which goes against all the rules of stove top cooking for me! Ah well, if this was how Rachael Ray does it, then I was going to do it too!
What happened next was when and where my disaster started. You know how it is when you enter a roller coaster ride, how there is no going back and no stopping until you are at the end. I felt a bit like this as soon as I put the bacon into the empty frying pan. No matter how much prep work I had done and how ready I felt I was, I really had to keep moving like a roller coaster must in order to maintain momentum needed to finish the meal!
I also felt like I was in the middle of a battle. The beef would be sizzling and popping while the noodles were in a raging boil. I would stir the noodles one minute and find out I needed to add more ingredients to the beef. When I thought I was nearly done, I found myself gazing at the kitchen table and stack of dishes and wishing I were a bit like Matilda for just this once and be able to clean and clear off all surfaces telepathically. All my dishes were being used or messy and table was unable to be set.
Fortunately, Nathan came to my rescue or was following his nose and drained the pasta before stirring in the butter, parsley, and chives at my request. Maybe it was because of the foreignness or the lovely fragrance seeping from each pot and pan, or simply out of kindness of his hear, he then moved to the stove and opened the lid to the pan and stirred in some flour to thicken the sauce, then moved on to the next pan and stirred the beans. I have never been able to get him in the kitchen to help me with dinner until now.
"You are taking way too long, dear! Come sit and eat with me!"
I sat and after a blessing we dipped in to the beef and pasta. I was so nervous.
It was delicious! A very messy, deliciously, wonderful beef bourguignon! Surreal even! After nearly two years of meals that I merely threw together as fast as I could just to get out of the kitchen for whatever reason called me away, I have found I still have the touch!
Thanks Nathan for believing in me and enjoying my first times with random, foreign recipes and menus. It was fun!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

So I have a problem. My problem is I have too many books, too many ambitions, which leads to more books on those ambitions, and no desire to stick to just one ambition or one talent.
This also involves my desire to find a cookbook with all the wonderful recipes that call for fresh foods and chef-like qualities to them.
Last week I found/remembered I had a beautiful and nearly new copy of Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals 2." There are very few pictures, but I am ok with that. That means more recipes to fit in all those pages.
I sat down and read through the recipes from cover to cover and marked all the pages that I knew Nathan would like. The best way to get great results and even greater applause in a house of two is to read off the list of each flagged recipes and their ingredients. Since Beef Bourguignon sounds great in just the title alone, it does say "beef," I somehow figured it would be a hit.

Nathan of course chose that above all the additional mouth watering titles. Either that or it was because it was the first one I read and his ADD didn't allow for any more to filter through.
Today I made a trip to the grocery store. Everything was so easy to locate. Over half the ingredients on my list involved fresh produce and meat. It was searching for the kitchen string that had me feeling very weary and aching in my legs and feet. I went down every aisle not only looking on each shelf, but also at every cluster of brightly packaged hanging "extras" down the aisles as well. With no success. "What is up with that?"I found myself saying this with great annoyance to my tone before realizing I had said it loud enough for other shoppers around me to hear. By that point I did not care! Nor also could I find packages of frozen pearl onions.
I walked by the deli section to pick up the meats and was greeted by the deli manager. A light bulb that I didn't know I had was going off.
"Do you know where I can get kitchen string like for tying up bouquets of fresh herbs?"
"I have some in the back," was her reply, "how long of a piece do you need?"
"Really just enough for a bouquet of fresh herbs."
She went into the back and I was beaming as she presented me with half a yard of kitchen string. She handed it over at no cost to me and I clutched it to myself like it was gold and thanked her over and over. My feet were glad too!
I gave up on the pearl onions and bought the only thing I could find. Frozen onions. The back of the bag's ingredient list: Onions. This was very helpful! They were very white, like pearls. Maybe that was what I needed.
Once I was home I found out that a google image search shows how wrong I was in my assumption. Pearl onions are tiny dollhouse sized onions. Pearl refers to their size more than their color. Oops. I will search again tomorrow in the next grocery store. We do have three Ingleses to choose from and a Bi-Lo. Maybe I will have better luck tomorrow at my search.
I am praying God gives me the grace and strength to endure another search and to come home energized enough to go through with my plans.