Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stewing

I haven't been crafty lately. I'm experiencing a bout of "Mommy burn out syndrome" and have reverted back to the ways of when we first brought home the baby...as in I've been doing nothing but nursing and trying to sleep when the baby (finally) sleeps. I've been thinking about projects though. Those that I want to do and those that I need to finish. Just waiting and hoping for my exhaustion levels to subside a bit and for my "high-need baby" to calm down and gain some independence so that I can gain my sanity back.

I did manage to make a stew yesterday though. The excitement of receiving my Le Creuset dutch oven made me do it. I was keeping tabs on the shipment of my LC DO via the UPS website and had bought all the fixings needed for the stew over the weekend. The day I got the DO I immediately marinated the beef chuck, which was the first step of the Ina Garten recipe I was using to christen the LC. I've never marinated anything before...and definitely have never marinated any kind of meat before...and now I know why:
It doesn't look appetizing at all! It had kinda grossed me out. I think if I was marinating the chuck in anything other than red wine I'd be fine, but the wine was a little too reminescent of blood. Hence being kinda grossed out.

Anyways, yesterday was the first day in a week where I didn't pass out as soon as the baby fell asleep for his naps. I took every opportunity I had, from when the baby slept to when he would actually play in his jumperoo without throwing a fit, to prep and cook up the stew. I even had the time to clean up the kitchen in the process! Now that's what I call a successful day!

The stew came out absolutely deeelish! I'm quite proud of myself! Especially since I have never made a stew before. There are a few things I would change the next time I make this recipe though, like following one recipe rather than the 2 versions given. Yes, that's right. This recipe has 2 versions. The online/Food Network version, and the Barefoot Contessa's version from her very own book. I had bought ingredients given in the latter's version, then freaked out when some ingredients weren't mentioned in the former version. Very confusing! Luckily I watch enough of the Food Network to kinda know the gist of how to make a stew. Next time though, I would definitely omit the dredging of the marinated beef chuck in flour before browning it. Not unless I did it wrong (which is highly likely!), but my beef ended up having a thick crust and didn't really brown the meat itself - and the whole point of browning the meat is to add flavor. I would also hide the wine from Brett next time too. The recipe calls for marinating the chuck in an entire bottle worth of wine. I used only half a bottle. Which made Brett think the leftover wine was fair game. I'm just glad that I had extra beef stock on hand to make up for the difference.

Overall, the stew was a success...and there is soooo much left over! We'll be eating well for the next few days with the leftovers!
Yummm....stew!

*Sorry for the abbreviations...I'm just too tired and really didn't want to sound repetitive in having to say and type Le Creuset and dutch oven so many times!

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