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Monday, October 26, 2009

We almost lost my brother, John, last week. He collapsed while working out and fortunately two guys were there and knew cpr. Triple bypass. So, he's out of commission for several weeks. And, he's the primary cook. I spent the weekend cooking recipes from our kidhood so he'll have familiar stuff to eat and so Pam won't have to cook on top of everything else she's got to do. One of my favorite recipes is

Lou's Barbecue Beef. You take about a pound of stew beef and cut it in smaller pieces. Brown it well in olive oil. Pour in a 46 oz can of low-sodium beef broth, about 1/4 c- 1/3 c ketchup, a couple of tablespoons of mustard, a couple of cloves of finely minced garlic and a good dash of Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook on medium-low heat until the meat is very well done. Toss in a large onion cut in pieces, an 8 oz package of mushrooms sliced and a green pepper cut in 1" pieces. Let it all cook until the vegetables are very well done. Great served over brown rice and better if you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight then reheat it.

Tonight we were back to "normal." Had rigatoni with mushroom pesto, leftover salad fixings from last night and a wonderful new broccoli dish:
Broccoli with Lemon Crumbs
One head broccoli, cut into florets.
1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced (I use Penzey's dried shallots)
1/3 c panko
1 tsp lemon peel
1 Tbs lemon juice

Melt the butter and stir in the garlic and shallot. Cook until they're all happy together. Toss in the panko and stir until they're browned. Add the lemon peel. While you're doing the bread crumbs, bring some water to a boil and toss in the broccoli. Cook until it's barely done. Drain and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve topped with the bread crumbs.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We've switched to the Broad Ripple Farmers Market. Too many vendors have left the Binford market - they're done for the season. We'll go back next week for the last weekend to stock up on Annie's lamb jerkey. Then, sometime this winter we'll have to find Terry to get another supply that'll last til the market starts up in the spring. We love the shagbark hickory syrup and the persimmon folks at Broad Ripple. But, my favorite has to be Jacquie's. They've got the BEST pestos ever. Last week we bought a container of mushroom/truffle oil pesto. This week they were out of that so we bought cilantro lime and asparagus. Since we'd munched away half of the mushroom pesto on Triscuits, I needed to re-create the recipe so we could have pasta with mushroom pesto. Fortunately, the ingredient list has to be in order of quantity. Good starting point. Mushrooms, pine nuts, olive oil, romano, garlic, truffle oil. Are the mushrooms roasted? Chopped and sauteed? Chopped and put in raw? Are the pine nuts raw or toasted? What are the actual measurements? The thought process was that mushrooms have a considerable amount of moisture so it's best to cook them in some way. I chose to chop them finely in the processor then saute them in olive oil (8 oz box buttons.) I didn't toast the pine nuts but probably will next time (1/3 c.) Added in about 2/3 c of finely shredded romano and a clove of garlic. Then, about 1T of truffle oil. Once all of that was nicely blended in the processor, I poured a stream of olive oil in until it had the right consistency. Mine was almost as good as Jacquie's. And, at about $4 for two times the quantity we bought, it was a LOT less expensive.

Along with the pesto and rigatoni, we had filets with gorgonzola mushroom sauce and butternut squash with fruit. The butternut squash was about half of a 2 lb squash. It was leftover from making autumn vegetable soup. I cubed the squash and tossed it with about 8 diced dried apricots and an equal number of diced prunes. Then, I made a sauce with about 2T of butter, 1 t curry powder, 1 T brown sugar, 2 t lemon juice and tossed everything with the sauce. I baked it at 400 for about 30 min. The apricot flavor was wonderful and the butternut squash tasted almost like candy. YUM!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shaved Steak Sandwiches

Every year when we host our holiday party Connie preps three of the beef tenderloins from Sam's club. He got on YouTube and found a video demonstrating the technique. After about eight of the tenderloins (also requested at family get-togethers) he's a real pro. We take the chain and make the best beef stew ever. The actual stew is ever changing depending on what we're hungry for. Then, there are the pieces we've called the Chateaubriand. Evidently, that's a misnomer because that cut is actually a part of the long tenderloin. At any rate, it's the piece that's up at the top and is semi-round. We've done all kinds of things with it - from beef wellington to beef roast. Last night I cleaned up the kitchen for two with it. I'd decided it was time to start using up some of the things from the freezer. We used a pork tenderloin earlier in the week so last night it was time for beef. I had 1/4 of a loaf of french bread, about 1/2 cup of black olive tapenade (from Todd English's The Olives Table cookbook) and a huge pile of arugula from the garden. Sandwiches it was. I brushed the bread with olive oil and broiled it until it was nice and brown. Then, I slathered on some of the tapenade. Connie sliced the beef very thinly (easier when it's partially frozen) and I quickly sauteed it in a bit of olive oil. I wanted it to stay rare. That was layered on the bread then was topped with a big handful of arugula and a handful of chopped artichoke hearts. We picked out a cheddar blue cheese to strew over the top then broiled the sandwiches just until the cheese was melted. Scrumptious!