December 3rd, 2013 · Holidays
My little Hanukkah ledge reminds me of the desert. I’d be pretty happy to be hanging out in Joshua Tree right about now. Well maybe not at this very minute – night time and it starts getting cold. Seven candles tonight, and I don’t want the holiday to end. There are so many latkes left to eat, and I haven’t yet played any dreidel! Dinner tonight was a mish-mash of pantry food: Rancho Gordo Florida butter beans, brussels sprouts, a little bacon, and a couple of eggs.
Tags: bacon·Brussels Sprouts·butter beans·eggs·hanukkah
December 2nd, 2013 · Meat
After making three reservations for our vacation in Montreal in a few weeks, I’ve decided that it would be best to reduce superfluous spending on food, and start cooking through my fridge and freezer. I think I’ll permit myself fresh vegetables if I need them, but I have weeks (if not months) of food in my pantry, so I’m just going to have to be a little creative.
Tonight I defrosted some bone-in goat stew meat from the butcher, about a pound of it. Unsure what to do, I picked up my favorite Bruce and Mark tome – Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese for inspiration. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have written several dozen cookbooks in the past few decades, and were two of my favorite authors to grace Omnivore during my tenure. Goat the cookbook is full of punchy, robust recipes, and ridiculously aromatic Vietnamese inspired shanks caught my eye as a launching point for my dinner tonight.
The recipe calls for an overnight spice rub, and some large pieces of meat, but I thought that I could adapt it fairly well for my needs tonight, and cut some corners without sacrificing too much flavor. I seasoned my goat stew meat with a large spoonful of chile powder, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of five spice. I then browned my meat in my All Clad with some leftover drippings from the sausage last night. Yep, I’m a girl who doesn’t like to waste. While the goat browned, I chopped up a few cloves of garlic, a knob of ginger, and a large shallot. I pushed the goat to one side of the pan, and added in the chopped aromatics, and let them cook for a minute or two. I then added a spoonful of Red Boat fish sauce, a spoonful of soy sauce, a spoonful of cider vinegar and a spoonful of honey. I topped everything off with about two cups of beef stock, brought it all to a boil, turned it down to a simmer, and let it cook for an hour. I added a small handful of orzo and let it all cook for another 25 minutes until the pasta was mostly cooked through, and had absorbed much of the liquid. I determined that it was a little too salty near the end, so I added just a tad more beef stock and let it cook for a few minutes more. The resulting sauce was sweet, salty, and a little sticky – with just enough punch of chile and ginger to make the back of your throat tingle.
Tags: goat·goat stew·vietnamese
December 1st, 2013 · Meat
The last day of this long holiday vacation is bittersweet – I’m looking forward to getting back to the office and doing good work, but my couch is so very comfortable, and being home has been a treat. For dinner tonight, I had lofty goals, I’d cook something long and slow from scratch. I’d start cooking by mid day. But by 6pm, we were hungry, so we made a quick stop at the store. Devon got cream soda to replace a black cherry that I had dropped and shattered yesterday. Suddenly the hot bar was calling, and so I picked up some mashed potatoes and spinach to go some fat little pork sausages – sweet Italians from the local sausage shop, DePasquale’s. When we got home, I spent 15 minutes at the stove listening to the sausages sizzle, assembled our plates, and then sunk into the couch to watch Dark Shadows.
December is always an adventure, we still have a few more days of Hanukkah, holiday parties on the docket, and a trip to Montreal in the works. I suspect it shall be a very full month.
Tags: mashed potatoes·sausages·spinach
November 30th, 2013 · Shopping
It should be known that Vietnamese food is on the absolute top of my cravings list, and the best that I’ve found in the Boston area so far is at Pho So 1 Boston in Randolph. Today we had to make our way to IKEA to make a return and for a few household items, and we stopped here for a quick lunch. I had my usual – bún thịt bò nướng – grilled beef over rice noodles with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs. I’ve yet to learn to adequately re-create this at home with just the right marinade and char on the meat, but probably for the best, because I’d be eating it every other day. (When I do make this at home, I usually ditch the rice noodles, and just grate extra veg and call it salad.)
At IKEA, we made our return easily even without the original receipt, and picked up a knife magnet, some candles, and a coffee frother to take home. I know that there are people who loathe the IKEA experience, but I’m not one of them – I’d happily move in to one of those 372 square foot apartment spaces, and who can resist salmon portions and swedish meatballs in the dining area?
These pictures are all from last weekend, when we did the exact same IKEA/Pho So Boston 1 run. Creatures of habit? Hammy, the traveling lion is a cute scheme created for my high school reunion this summer – he spends his time traveling from classmate to classmate to pep us up for the big weekend. It’s right this time of year that I need some cute overload, so I’ve been showing him the sights before sending him on to a lucky classmate. Also, I really need a dog.
Tags: exeter·IKEA·Pho So 1 Boston·vietnamese
November 29th, 2013 · Holidays
Winter is here, and it’s here to stay. It’s no longer safe to leave the house without a hat around these parts, and our neighbors have put up the Christmas decorations. Today we brunched at Rox, and ran into my grandmother, Sterra, who was midway through her weekly beauty parlor routine: a manicure, a quick break for soup, and then off to get her hair done. Her schedule is booked from morning to night – zumba, tai chi, museums, the symphony, lectures, entertaining friends for 5 o’clock cocktails – she lives at a pace that is even exhausting to think about. She’s quite a remarkable woman. Our day was quieter – we braved Guitar Center without purchasing anything, Target for toilet paper (I know, I know, what crazy people attempt an errand run on this nightmare of a weekend?), and a quick stop to Anthropologie, where I broke my “no spending on this stupid day” rule because that bright happy coffee pot was a mere $15 dollars on sale. I had to do it.
I love how it feels like a lazy Sunday, and we have two whole days of weekend left!
Tags: Anthropologie·brunch·coffee pot·Rox