Root Vegetable Stew

 

We realized today that we haven’t cooked and blogged about it for a while — and, since winter is nearly over (knock on wood), we figured we should make a root veggie stew.

We started with 2.6 lbs of rump roast, cut into about 1 inch chunks.

Seasoned it with lots of salt, pepper and (an EFG staple) garlic — a “metric shit ton” of garlic…  We browned it up in about 2 TBS of vegetable oil and mostly olive oil.

Then a huge onion, chopped up… went in the pot and we browned the meat for a while…

2 heaping TBS of flour — cooked for at least a couple of minutes to start the roux.

Add a healthy splash of red wine and 1 large container of beef stock and, of course, more garlic.. Bring to a boil so the liquid thickens, then add most if not all of another large container of beef stock.

Now — let it cook on low for at least a couple of hours — go take a nap… that’s what we did… We strongly favor recipes that include naps…

After your nap –Dice up a potato, several carrots, a rutabaga and a parsnip.

Add them to the pot — simmer for another hour or so — until the veggies are tender.

Eat and enjoy with a big hunk of bread…

 

Stuffed Manicotti

or — Food is Love…

One of Andy’s parents had a same-day surgery — the kind of thing that takes most of the day in the hospital, but you get to come home afterward…

So, Andy thought it would be nice to cook supper for his parents — and I thought it would be good to take photos and blog about it.

Start with manicotti shells and a big jar of good sauce.

 

Cook the pasta (you can use jumbo shells and they may be easier to work with) — and let them cool.

 

While the water is boiling, mix a big tub of ricotta, a healthy few handfuls of mozzarella, Parmesan and a big lump of garlic from the jar —

 

Add a bunch of fresh, chopped spinach and about half-cup of diced onion.

Mix it all up in the bowl — if it’s a bit stiff, put it on top of the stove to warm up a little.

 

Put it in a freezer bag, cut the corner off of ONE corner and use it to fill the cooked shells.

 

When you’re shopping for freezer bags, and in life in general, avoid expandable bottoms!!  They’ll only lead you to trouble — and a messy stuffing shells situation.  You want a regular corner to cut off.

 

Fix up the sauce as you’d like — Andy added garlic and red wine to ours as it was warming up.  Then line up the stuffed shells and pour the sauce on top.

 

Top it with cheese (and ignore my finger in the photo… ) — leftover filling and mozzarella.

 

While you’re at it — make some yummy cheese bread — scoop out a little of the middle of the bread, spread some extra filling on top, then olive oil and garlic and whatever else looks good.  This will go in the oven after the pan comes out…

 

Baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, or until it’s brown, bubbly and wonderful…

Then enjoy.  Clearly, food is love — and I love this dish!

Spicy Cheesey Bread

The challenge came from my cousin Emily.  She and her family spent a year in Madison and got addicted to Stella’s Spicy Cheesey Bread…

Emily tried to make it herself and fell short, so it sounded like a perfect challenge for the EFG… and, of course we have to blog about it!

As usual, Andy was the food mastermind.  He also took some of the photos and I took others.  Max and I were prep cooks…

Here are the cast of characters… yeast, white flour, cheese (hiding behind the yeast), red pepper flakes and the most important (at least to Andy and I) — nice full coffees… to drink, not to include in the bread.

Warm water went into the bowl, followed by half cup of sugar and two packages of  yeast.

An EFG trick… warm the oven to 200 degrees, then let the yeast percolate on top of the warmish stove… until it’s foamy…

Then  you add enough flour to make the dough… (Andy doesn’t measure…).  Throw in a lot of red pepper flakes… how much you may ask?

Since Andy doesn’t measure — I can tell you this bottle was full before he included the red peppers in the bread… adjust to your liking.  Andy says it’s about 4 Tbs of crushed red pepper, but I didn’t see him measure…

We decided to try two different alternatives for the dough… after rising, we punched it down again then took a hunk, flattened it out and wrapped it around a chunk of cheese and put it in a muffin tin.

This is the rest of the dough — we took hunks of Wisconsin block cheese (that’s what they called it…I swear) which is a pretty mild soft cheese.   Any white soft cheese would probably work.  Andy squished out the dough, then smooshed the cheese down into the dough.


Notice how Andy’s folding the bread and keeping all the cheese chunks inside…

To finish it before the final rising — Andy took a sharp knife and made three slits on the top of the bread.  He also liberally distributed additional red pepper flakes over the top.

Then — let it rise until it doubles at least… bake at 350, about 40ish minutes…

Here’s the mini one — kind of the size of a decent sized muffin.

And here’s the final loaf…

It smells wonderful.  The cheese is melty in the middle and it has a decent amount of heat, for bread. I’d say it’s spicier than mild chili — and without the more complex heat of our chili.  It may be about as hot as Taco Bell mild sauce. It would be good with soup or chowder.

So — try it for yourself — I’ve never had Stella’s version, but I like our version just fine!!

 

Pie crust and cookies…

.. first of all, sorry, no photos — I had my hands dirty…

But, I did get to have some “involvement” with a pie crust.

I got to roll out the top of one of the Thanksgiving pies…

this week I got to cut the butter into the flour for the pie crust — and add the water, under EFG’s close supervision.

Because we didn’t have time to chill the pie crust, I didn’t get to roll it out… a

maybe next time…

Last week I also got to bake most of the batches of “Aunt Rachel’s Cookies”… eventually making the executive decision as to when they should come out of the oven.  Aunt Rachel’s cookies are kind of like sugar cookies crossed with cake — super-duper yummy…. and part of Andy’s family tradition.