Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Parade Dinner

Well, Tuesday night is the Yazoo City Christmas Parade. This parade is held on Yazoo City's Main Street. My family lives about 3 blocks from the parade route. We're excited because this is our first year in Yazoo and we will be able to host our family after the parade. My daddy always makes a thermos of hot chocolate and another of hot spiced tea. He and mama plan ahead and have a bunch of I'm not sure why we have dinner!

Tuesday night I'm going to make a hearty beef stew for the family. I saw Tyler Florence cook a beef stew once and I took some of his ideas. My cousin Buddy once told me that he was making some sort of beef dish and he threw in some of 'that ole thyme' (pronounced like time but with a th). While I love making fun of him, he's right, that ole thyme and beef are like peas and carrots. Here's what I'm's going to be enough to feed at least 9 of us.

Coat 2 lbs of BEEF (this may be a roast that's cubed or stew meat.) with flour. In a big pot heat 3 tbsp OLIVE OIL. Add beef and 2 large chopped onions and cooked until beef is browned. Once beef is brown add 2 cans BEEF BROTH, 1 cup RED WINE, 3 cups WATER, chopped (large pieces or baby) CARROTS (to taste), chopped POTATOES (large pieces or small red potatoes), MUSHROOMS (I'm using shitaki), 2 tbsp UBON'S SEASON T'UP, 2 tbsp THAT OLE THYME, Salt, Pepper to taste. The longer this simmers the better it will be. If you've got a fair ammount of flour on your beef that will serve as a roux to thicken.

I'm going to make corn bread, nah, I'll get mama to fix that...I usually cop out and make JIFFY.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Something from my Father in Law

I started dating my husband almost 14 years ago. Before we officially started dating he took me home to meet his family and told his nephew "she's NOT my girlfriend." Of course that's a rookie mistake made by many men and served as a means to seal his fate. Before we left headed back to school I made sure I was his girlfriend.

I always found my husband's dad to be interesting. He has methods of doing things that are sort of complicated. He makes a wonderful chowder. It's very rich and I can't eat much of it, which of course always hurts his feelings. He always fusses about how long it takes and how complicated the process is. Same with his beef stroganoff. Now understand me, when he cooks, it's awesome. But you always hear about how complicated it is and how long it takes.

On one trip to the beach my husband decided to make his dad's chowder. We accidentally found out it isn't quite as complicated as was rumored. I tried to come up with a stroganoff recipe for the restaurant and had to go to the source of the best I've ever had. I took part of my father in law's recipe and uncomplicated it. I'm cooking it tomorrow for lunch and serving it with a side salad. Here's my less complicated version:

Take 1 lb of BEEF. Use whatever you can find. Stew meat, sirloin, whatever is cheap. Cut it into strips. Mix 1 cup of FLOUR and 1 tbsp of UBON'S SEASON'T UP (or your lesser seasoning). Dust your beef in this mixture. Chop one small ONION. Dust in your flour mixture. You can pan fry this in batches or do what I do and deep fry. Melt 3 tbsp of BUTTER OR OLIVE OIL and add 3 tbsp of your leftover flour mixture. Allow to cook until slightly brown. (this is a roux) Add about 3-5 cups of BEEF STOCK. Dump all your flash cooked beef and onions into your stock/roux mixture. Add 1/2 cup of SOUR CREAM. Add salt, pepper and seasoning to taste. Allow to simmer until thick. Serve over rice or pasta.
Variations to this could include using ground beef instead of stripped beef or using leftover potroast. Sometimes I add mushrooms to the panfry/deepfry. Some people add cream of mushroom soup. I don't see the merrit in this. (GASP! I'll be lynched by southern women everywhere so don't tell on me.) If you want mushroom flavor add mushrooms. If you want the cream of flavor add some extra cream. I just don't get that cream of whatever recipe must!

IF you want you can talk about how difficult this is to fix and I won't tell a soul.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My meds are kicking in

this maybe a bit outside of how i usually post. I constantly diet, so of course I bought a box of bridge mix. it's gone down hill since even last christmas. where are my chocolate raisins! Ah ha! there was the one in the box. My dad always has the coolest and most awful christmas candies. Maybe I will do my research and give you the recipe for my Great Granny Sally's Fruit Cake.
(I took my sleep sorry if this makes no sense) I think its time to bring some of the older Roark Family recipes. This weekend I'll get some together to post when I'm lucid.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So I was thinking

Last night I started some ground beef with peppers and onions. I asked the boys what they wanted for dinner after I’d already started. I realized that with those 3 ingredients could have started several things. Add beans, tomato sauce, chili powder etc (see earlier chili post) and you’ve got chili. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and basil and oregano and you’ve got spaghetti. How can we not have ground beef in our fridges when dinner is right there?

When my sister and I were in highschool we did a lot of the cooking and grocery shopping for our family. My neighbor, Mr. Westbook, had a huge garden. Like a good neighbors all over the country, Mr. Westbrook shared his bounty with us. We would wake up and find a 5 gallon bucket of vegetables waiting for us. Toward the end of the summer we’d started getting tired of tomatoes with salt and pepper. Ever the experimenter I decided to put those tomatoes to work. I came up with this sauce that’s served over pasta and isn’t italian at all, so I hesitate to call it spaghetti. Lets call it summer vegetable sauce.

Start by browning 1 lb of GROUND BEEF. I prefer leaner ground round. Add 1 large ONION diced. Add 1 large GREEN PEPPER diced. Add 1 tablespoon CHOPPED GARLIC. Cook until vegetables are wilted. Add 8-10 FRESH TOMATOES peeled and diced. For best results, peel over the pot and allow juice to drop into the pot. Then squeeze the tomato into the pot. Chop the remainder (remove seeds if you’d like). Add 1 small can of TOMATO PASTE. Add 1/4 cup of RED WINE (of course I didn’t use this in highshool. I was drinking Boone’s Farm then!) Your taste may prefer more than 1 can of tomato paste. Add 1 tablespoon of SALT, PEPPER, OREGANO, THYME. Toast 1 teaspoon of FENNEL SEEDS and add. (You really need to toast them, surprisingly it’s that flavor you can’t put your finger on.) Chiffanade 5 or 6 BASIL LEAVES, or add 1 tbsp dried. This is weird but it works: add 1 dash of CINNAMON and 1/4 cup of SUGAR.
Let this stew, the longer the better. Serve with pasta of your choice or (weird again, but trust me!) over toasted French Bread.

This recipe can be made with canned tomatoes, which is what I did last night. This taste always reminds me of Mr. and Mrs. Westbrook. If only I could replicate her hummingbird cake!

Monday, November 5, 2007

This is a Hard one!

Well, so soon and I've got bloggers block. My husband emailed and fussed at me for stopping and I tried to explain to him as I will try to explain here. Sometimes a culinarian can get blocked. We can reach a point where we can't think of a dang thing to cook. I'm in the midst of being unable to think of a dang thing to write about, recipe about, and tell about. For instance, tonight I was home on my own, not a traditional time for me to cook something nice, but at least something that makes sense. I made a tuna casserole. ME. I cooked it like I had no shame. and then I ate part of it. when I wouldn't finish what i started I realized that I do have some sense in me. Tuna should be treated like the raw fish it wants to be. not something smushed in a foil pack that causes my child to say "whats that stinkin mama?"
I've fallen into a bland world. Luckily a couple of things are going to be different tomorrow. First, Heath will be home so I will feel that I need to cook. Second it's going to be cccccccccold. We're pretty cheap and I don't believe in turning on the heat so I will need to concoct something warm and snuggy. In the mean time I'll go drink some of my general mills mochas and eat some pre packaged pimento cheese (a travesty!) say a prayer for my taste buds, precious.