It’s been a pretty dreary weekend here in Lake Woebegone By-The-Sea (with apologies to Garrison Kielor), with only worsening weather conditions forecast for the next few days. There are tropical storm warnings out for the areas 60 or so miles offshore, but only small craft advisories closer in. Looks like there won’t be a lot of cycling for a few days, but that means maybe I can catch up on my sleep.
So with falling temperatures and spitting rain all day, it was a good day for beef stew for tonight’s Sunday dinner. Tim’s birthday is tomorrow, so I called Mom and got her lemon cake recipe, which is one of his favorites, according to Busy. It was very, very lemony, where mom’s was a lot sweeter. It may be because I used lemon zest instead of lemon flavoring in the batter, and probably used a little too much lemon juice in the glaze. It was lemony, but the ice cream cut some of the tang.
Speaking of mom, she’s just back from Italy, which I think she enjoyed. We’re still hoping we can find a way to fairly painlessly move her down here, which she seems to be far more open to as time goes on. She’ll find the summers down here to be oppressive, which we all do. Air conditioning is a wonderful thing. I’m sure there will be a lot of running for her, particularly in the summertime. But it will be worth it to have her close. I love the Midwest. It’s where my roots are, and it’s beautiful a lot of the time. Still, Florida is home now, and I don’t intend to be be anywhere else. I’d much rather have mom here and be able to use vacation time to go diving, or to Italy myself. I’d rather got to Germany, but Andie has her heart set on Italy, and it’ll be fine. We’ll save Germany for another time. Hopefully we’ll be able to travel more later.
Andie is concerned about her job again. As much as she loves real estate, it might be time to think about something else for a while. Id’t be nice if she’d find some place that treated her fairly and paid her in the way they said they would. Seems like that hasn’t happened since Key Realty. I do miss the booming condo market.
Ok … enough navel gazing.
The beef stew is amazingly easy. This is serious comfort food. Here’s how I did it.
1 4 pound (m/l) bone in chuck roast. You can buy stew beef, but this is a little more economical.
1 cup coarsely chopped onion.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic.
4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias.
1 cup red wine.
1 cup beef broth
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 6oz cans sweet corn.
2 8oz cans diced tomatoes
1/2 bag each frozen peas and green beans.
2 1/2 pounds red potatoes.
3 bay leaves.
2t smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large stock pot, sweat onions, garlic, and carrots until soft. Salt generously. Bone the roast and remove the silver skin and most of the fat. Cut beef into 1-2″ cubes. Increase heat, and brown beef. Add the remaining ingredients, exept the cornstarch. If desired, add beef bones to the pot while simmering. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer covered for 3 hours minimum, stirring occasionally. Near the end of the cooking process, combine cornstarch in enough water to make a slurry. Add slurry to the pot and allow to thicken. Remove bones and bayleaves. Serve with biscuits, bread (I’d recommend a hearty, crusty whole wheat), or cornbread, which is what I made tonight. Simple was the watchword of the day.
You won’t find a heartier meal anywhere. And, of course, the variations are endless. Any vegetable would be good in this stew, but I think what you see above is pretty much a classic.