Archive for dinners

Beef Stew by the Husband

We strongly encourage culinary interest in the men in our lives.  I am delighted to say that my husband has continued his run of taking over the kitchen on Sundays.

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Poor guy. He’s the one who is forever missing specialty dishes at home when he travels for business. Then he comes home on a weekend and volunteers to take on Sunday dinner. He favors  hearty, manly foods like stews, braises, and lotsa meat. Last week, he pulled out his trusty Beef Stew recipe, courtesy of epicurious, and made a generous tub in advance of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.

Now, I know better than to make unsolicited suggestions to someone who is willing to cook dinner for me.  At least not to his face.  But I have to say that the beauty of a stew is that all of the ingredients are tossed in together, simmered to tenderness and spooned out later.  This version requires a lot of different pots, many steps, at least one massive strain of hot ingredients through a colander, two versions of cooked vegetables (one for the stock, which is discarded, and one to simmer during the final hour of cooking and eat.)   In sum, an awful lot of fuss for a meal that, in my mind, should be simple.

However–and this is a biggie–you can’t argue with the results.  The stew is delicious, and I am spared both the cooking and the cleanup.  I am also given another night off, because this recipe makes enough for about 10 people, so I normally freeze half and save it for a(nother) rainy day.

He started by searing the meat, removing it from the pot, setting it aside,

preparing the braising liquid with wine, veggies, broth, and seasonings….

 Served with roasted golden cauliflower, crusty bread and a simple green salad, the stew was pretty great.  Followed by my brown butter apple tart (to be featured in upcoming post) we were well fortified to withstand the anticipated storm.

Scallops and Lemon Fettuccine

Poor husband.  His business travels always result his his missing the dinners planned by his foodie teen daughter and executed by his food blogger wife.   Following up on the homemade pizza dinner, the young lady requested a dinner featuring scallops and fresh pasta.  Naturally, our culinarily conservative son stuck with a burger that night–though he did have a grand time with the pizza.

Here’s what we came up with:  Lidia Bastianitch’s Lemon Alfredo, and sauteed dry scallops.  I recently learned from another Lydia–the fishmonger at John Yi Seafood in Reading Terminal Market that dry scallops are better for a sauteed or grilled dish because they brown well.  Wet scallops, which are a few dollars cheaper, are better in stews, curries, soups and other sauce-based dishes because they don’t brown.  It has to do with the way the different types hold and release water–I didn’t get all the technicalities, but as you can see from the picture, the dry ones do brown.

I started by allowing the scallops to reach room temp, then salting and peppering them.

Next, I placed them in a buttered skillet, browned them,  gave them a spritz of lemon juice and a splash of white wine.  I turned them frequently, and cooked them for a total of about 8 minutes.

While the scallops seared, and the pasta water came to a boil, I prepared the sauce to Lidia’s specifications, starting with the grated lemon zest and butter in the skillet.  It took all of about 6 minutes.

The arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette was the perfect accompaniment, keeping the lemon flavor motive infused through all items on the plate.  I tossed the leaves with a squeeze of lemon, a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil.

The returning husband did get to enjoy the leftover pasta 3 days later…..

Fettuccine for the Flyers Game

How ‘BOUT that Danny Briere?  I’d like to have him for dinner….

Sunday dinner is usually a relatively involved meal in our house.  It’s the one night of the week that we are all guaranteed to be home, so we always have a semi-elaborate sit down dinner.  But this past Sunday, both cooks in the house wanted to watch the afternoon Flyers Game, so dinner required some logistical attention.

It meant that  preparations either needed to be mostly done by 3pm, or really, really minimal at around 6.  I scanned the fridge inventory, found a lb of fresh fettuccine, some boneless chicken and a bag of sundried tomatoes.  Inspiration struck.  And the very best part of the whole thing is that my ever-critical teenage daughter tasted it and said, “This is good!  Is it Lidia?”   I replied, “No, I made it up.”  She said, “Oh, then it’s ‘Mom-ia.’”

Chicken & Pasta Mom-ia AKA Flyers Fettuccine

4 lg boneless chicken breasts
2 TBSP chopped garlic
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water

1 lb fettuccine (or whatever pasta you like)
Parmesan Cheese

In Dutch oven, heat oil and garlic.  Sear chicken on all sides, and add salt, oregano and pepper and tomatoes.  Stir briefly, the add liquids.  Reduce heat to low simmer, cover pot, and forget about it.  I checked it and flipped the chicken between periods, giving it an occasional, brief stir.  This can simmer for anywhere from 1 1/2  to 4 hours.  When the chicken is fork tender, pull it apart.  I used a wooden spoon to break it up–having cooked it for about 4 hours it was almost shredding itself.  Cook pasta to just al dente, drain, pour chicken mixture over top, and toss generously with Parmesan cheese.  This, with a simple arugula salad and a loaf of bread made for a pretty terrific Sunday dinner–and I didn’t miss a goal.