Monday, April 19, 2010


The dish so nice I packed it twice - pictured here with the rest of today's bento: rice and a spinach-red onion salad with homemade red wine-Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

I was hankering for some home cooking, and so created a riff on this recipe. Alas, the butcher stand was out of goat, but I made do with what was left of the stew lamb and some beef to make up the difference. Turned out wonderfully - rich and umami-filled from the long-simmered meat and soy sauce, tangy from the vinegar and tomato sauce, and just a tad sweet from the vegetables. Next time, I'll probably add another bell pepper, more peas and carrot; I'll also add some garlic during the vegetable sauteing process and remember to use either liver pate or the liverwurst we had in the fridge.
  • 2 lbs. stew meat, cubed  (I used 1-1/2 lb. lamb and 1/2 lb. lean beef and cut it into 1 to 1-1/2 in. pieces)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 heaping cup garlic, minced (most of a plump head)
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil (I used peanut)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1-1/2 medium carrots, chunked (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1-1-1/2 lbs. potatoes, chunked (about 3 heaping cups)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen were fine)
  • 1 small can liver pate (couldn't find any, alas, so skipped this)
Marinate the meat in the soy, vinegar and garlic for at least an hour. Pat the meat dry (forgot to do this) and put in a bowl; reserve the marinade.

Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat briefly, in batches (got about halfway through this and raised a decent amount of fond despite the added moisture from the marinade). Remove from pot and set aside.

Add more oil if necessary. Saute the onion and bell pepper till onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and simmer till slightly reduced, about 3-5 minutes.

Return meat to pot. Add reserved marinade and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, till meat is tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Add carrots, potatoes and peas. Simmer till vegetables are tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir pate (next time!) into dish. Adjust seasoning and serve over white rice.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dinner: Pasta with Butter and Chives + Peas with Olive Oil and Mint

A quick, light dinner, made even tastier with the addition of fresh herbs from the garden. John made the peas (from this recipe), while I made the pasta - they were ready at about the same time. The dish was one of my grad school go-tos, but having fresh chives instead of dried makes a lovely difference.

Pasta with Butter and Chives
  • 12 oz. pasta (used a box of tricolor rotini)
  • 2 tbsp. butter, or more to taste
  • about 1/3 cup chopped chives (a healthy handful from our flourishing plant)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the pasta till al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add butter, chives and salt and pepper to taste (be generous!). Mix well and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Overlooked: Cucumber-Infused Vodka!

I blame our recently-concluded conference for my forgetting to post this recipe and pic. The above is about a heaping cup of peeled English cuke in 750-800ml of Svedka vodka. Though a few recipes advocated letting it sit for a mere four days, I waited a week and a half, and was rewarded with a cool, gentle, almost bite-less concoction. It's lovely over rocks or chilled by itself, but I'd like to think up some recipes for it. John's already put up another two jars, this time with more cucumber. We'll see how those turn out.

Happy spring, everyone!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Repeat: Vietnamese Cabbage Salad

Not a new recipe, but one that I suspect we'll be making a lot this year - especially for taking to the baseball stadium. We just had some for dinner while watching the Yankees-BoSox season opener. More to the point, it looks yummy, and I hadn't yet posted a picture of it. Recipe here.