Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday Dinner: Beer and Meat

Randomly, I have had 3 conversations in the past week about Ireland, cooking with alcohol and beef stew. I think the universe is sending me a sign about what to have for dinner… a little Guinness Beef Stew. Plus, it’s time to cook at home. I’ve been eating out too much lately. ‘Tis the season, I guess.

Guinness is an awesome ingredient to add to your cooking and also a pretty good beer. I had my first pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar in Dublin. While there is a certain cache to that, it’s also entirely pitiful it’s taking me that long in life to veer away from Bud Light. Don’t worry. I am slowly learning to venture out more with my drink selections, and after all who knows if I would have enjoyed it as much if I had a pint stateside. Guinness always tastes better in Ireland. 

* Ingredients*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs beef stew meat, well trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 large bay leaves
1 large onion, roughly sliced
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1-2 Yukon Gold Potatoes, roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 16 oz Guinness Stout
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth

1. Heat olive oil in Dutch Oven. Evenly coat the meat with flour, salt and pepper. Add meat and bay leaves to Dutch Oven. Brown meat about 2-3 minutes per side.
2. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
3. Pour Guinness over Worcestershire sauce into pot. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and carrot to Dutch Oven, followed by rosemary and thyme.
4. Dissolve tomato paste in beef broth. Add to beef and veggie mixture. 
5. Place Dutch Oven in oven and cook for 5-6 hours.
6. Serve with bread. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Warm and Festive: Two Ways

Today is December 1st. This means two things…

Number One.  It’s getting a little bit chilly outside. This is exciting for me. It means ski season is right around the corner. (For me, corner = Friday. Pretty exciting! )

Number Two. Christmas is right around the corner. Twenty-five more days of festive fun.

Since obviously today I am into enjoying the cold and being merry and I guess the number 2, I am going to share two ideas that will both keep you cozy and celebrate the best Christmas color: green. (Sorry red… you are just way too played out, too close to Coug crimson in Apple Cup week, and green is my second favorite color anytime of the year.)

Project One: A Green Scarf
A super easy project with just a few basic stitches! Plus scarves make the perfect gifts – something fashionable and something homemade.

For those of you new to knitting, try “Learn to Knit” on Lots of good pictures. I have used it as a reference many times when getting started.

* Pattern*
With size 15 needles, CO 12.
Even Rows: K1, K2 tog, YO,  K2 tog, YO, K2 tog, YO,  K2 tog, YO,  K2 tog, YO,  K1. 
Odd Rows: K1, P10, K1.
Repeat pattern for approximately 24-36 inches.
BO 12.

* Abbreviations *
CO: Cast On
K: Knit
P: Purl
YO: Yarn Over
K2 tog: Knit 2 together
BO: Bind off

Project Two: Spicy Green Chili with White Beans and Turkey 

* Ingredients *
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spicy turkey sausage, casings removed
3 cups chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds turkey cutlets, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can, white beans, rinsed and drained, mashed
2 14.5 oz can, white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can green enchilada sauce 
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chili flakes 

* Instructions *
1.  Heat oil in large stock pot. Brown sausage, breaking with wooden spoon. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 5 min.
2. Season turkey cutlets with salt and pepper. Add to pot. Sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. 
3. Simmer on medium-low for 45 minutes.
4. Serve with shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and chopped cilantro. If it’s a little spicy for ya, add a dollop of sour cream. If this is too much food for you, do what I did  - freeze it. Frozen soups can easily be de-thawed  for a yummy homemade lunch.