Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday night thoughts - beef carbonnade

I was going to play Patrick's Sunday meme, but when I looked at it...List the seven varieties of Hamburger, Tuna or Chicken Helper that are the most appealing...I realized I absolutely could not do it. I NEVER buy hamburger, tuna or chicken helper. Never. The only time in my life that I resorted to those...mixes...was in the late 70's when we'd gutted our kitchen in Chicago and for 3 months I had to prepare dinner for 4 in an electric frying pan or on a hotplate, and I had the pleasure of washing the dishes in the tub...YUCK. We ate like Henry VIII for months after that, because the new kitchen included double ovens, one of which came equipped with a spit...a wonderful thing to have...and I fell into the habit of buying various roasts, but especially pork roasts, that I cooked slowly and lovingly on that spit, and served with julienned, buttered, steamed rutabaga on the side, a la James Beard (don't knock it unless you've tried it...rutabaga is a delicious winter vegetable), with cranberry sauce and a tossed salad and loaves of homemade French bread, a la Julia Child...flour, water, salt, yeast, no sugar, no shortening. These days, cooking for myself, admittedly I'm not preparing meat on a spit, and I have lots of quick and easy things that I make myself for dinner, e.g., black bean burritos topped with extra sharp cheddar, sour cream, and jalapeno jelly, for example. But sometimes, when the weather is turning, I get in the mood for one of the dishes I used to prepare when I was first learning to cook...and if it's more work than I'd usually be inclined to go to for just myself, I go ahead and make it anyway, because I don't usually mind eating it for several nights.

Tonight was such a night. I spent part of this afternoon potting pansies and dianthus and cyclamen for the winter, and tonight I decided it's been entirely too long since I've made and devoured a beef carbonade. So I went to the supermarket and picked up the ingredients, including a 24 ounce bottle of Heineken's, and even as I type the house smells WONDERFUL as this stew cooks slowly in my kitchen. This stew is really good served over brown rice, and the better the carrots, in terms of flavor, the better the end result.

You can see that Ike, the stray who found me the weekend of Hurricane Ike, and who's staying with me until I can find a home for him, is chillin' on the couch, no doubt thinking if he minds his manners, there's some beef carbonnade for him too.


Lisa :-] said...

You are quite the gourmet!

Of course, I've never enjoyed the kind of cooking facilities you describe, even in any of the jillion restaurants I've worked in since 1973...

We do the best we can with what we have... :-]

dreaminglily said...

What a pretty kitty. Wish I could take him, I love cats.

And good food sounds good lol I've had to eat at mall food courts way too much over the last few months.


Chris said...

There is something about the onset of cool weather that makes comfort food like this so wonderful.

Tammy said...

I laughed at that question when I read it. You would never go there. lol Between you and Chris I have a serious case of food envy. ;)

Can't we keep Ike? Awwww

Alex said...

Talk about being on the same wavelength. Tonight Chris and I made a carbonnade from Cook's Illustrated. I hadn't heard about Ike. Very cute.