Last week, after a very exhausting 4 days of work, I was excited to have a Friday off so I could spend some time doing some slow and chill cooking. I had a few bay leaves in my freezer that I wanted to use up and the cold weather has made me want some beef stew. I've made beef stew in the past, and I've been pretty successful, but this time I wanted to kick it up a notch.
Kenji's beef stew recipe came up in my youtube feed, and even though the video itself is a whole 37 minutes and 54 seconds long, I decided to watch it and I decided to make it. The recipe states that it takes 3 hours 10 minutes, and at my pace, I need to double all recipe times, so I know this is going to be an all day affair.
Well, I woke up on a very, very cold Friday and saw that my power was out. 😧 I paced around my apartment, wondering what to do (I couldn't even make coffee!), but then...the power came back on. Okay, I'm making this beef stew.
(Had I known that the power would flicker off and on at least 20 more times during the day, I may have decided to do this a different day)
So in the video that I watched, Kenji cuts up all the veggies while his steaks are searing, and he still has time left over to just wait for it to finish searing. That was not my experience. I definitely should have cut up all the veggies in the beginning. I think it took me at least half an hour to cut them all up. Maybe an hour. I also should not have seared them on HIGH. My kitchen very quickly became a smoky mess.
And then when it came to blending up the broth, I realized that my little nutribullet is too small! (And I wasn't gonna use the food processor after what happened when I made those beef tacos) So I blended up a small amount of the chicken broth with the other ingredients and just mixed them all together in a saucepan. I attempted to add gelatin, but it all immediately clumped up. (Apparently I should have "bloomed" it first. Whatever that means)
Oh, but the worst part was dealing with the pearl onions. Kenji recommends just using frozen ones. I really should have listened to him, but I was at Whole Foods, and they only had fresh pearl onions, and I didn't feel like going to another store. So I'm standing at my counter, cutting off the nubs of the onions and peeling them and tears are streaming down my face.
Anyway, I got everything prepped and I figured the bulk of the actual cooking part would be easier. I threw some veggies in the pot, and I threw my cubed beef into the pot, and I threw in some wine, and...the power went out again 😑
Fortunately, that didn't last too long, maybe five or ten minutes. Unfortunately, this would happen at least twenty more times while my stew was cooking. I managed to eventually get it to a simmer and into the oven, but this was no set-it-and-forget-it experience. I had to sit in my living room the whole time, making sure I was aware every time the power went out so I could turn the oven back on 😣
But I did it. I let it cook for a while, and then I took the pot out of the stove, and it wasn't tender enough, so I let it cook for even longer, and eventually the meat got to a consistency I was happy enough with. I started prepping at about 1pm, and it was finally done around 6:30pm.
I was exhausted all over again. I was so exhausted I forgot to add the peas. And then I forgot to take a picture!
It did taste really good though. Was it worth it? Maybe. Would I try making this again? Honestly, I would. But only if I know I have stable electricity. And frozen onions.
A couple of months ago, I saw this beef stew recipe pop up in my nightly food blog browsing and I saved it because it looked really good.
Since this is a crockpot recipe, I had to make it way in advance. I had planned to prep and start cooking Friday night, but I was talking to my cousins and doing other silly things online, and before I knew it, it was midnight. I almost decided to just sleep and make the recipe later, but if I waited until the next morning, it wouldn't be ready until Saturday night and I didn't want to wait that long to eat this.
So, there I was at 12:30am, cutting up potatoes and carrots. It was actually pretty easy to prep. I had it all prepped by 1am, which means I didn't even get to eat it until lunch.
Overall, the recipe was pretty good. This was sort of an Asian beef stew, but I couldn't taste anything Asian about it. I didn't have lemongrass or any of the other aromatics, so maybe that's what I need to take this to the next level. I also had to double the broth so everything could be covered. And if I ever make this again, I think I'll need to add sugar. I was missing that hint of sweetness.
I really don't know how to make beef stew look aesthetic, but I think I like putting it next to a lump of rice.
Day 21 (Wednesday): Sometimes when my sister and I take a walk around the neighborhood we pass by this Indian restaurant. It always makes me want Indian food. I figured we could make chicken tikka masala since I bought this family pack of chicken breast.
What I didn't realize was the fact that we've been eating so much that we're really cutting it close on having enough for this recipe. But we just make it work. I also didn't realize how low we were on tomato paste. Whatever, we'll just omit that. And the chicken stock.
We also made creamed spinach, and my sister made some naan. We were a little worried since we didn't have any more yogurt and we barely had enough yeast. But it didn't matter! It was all delicious.
Day 22 (Thursday): I haven't had a noodle dish during the quarantine yet, and I have some vermicelli noodles left over from the spring rolls, so I decide to make Singapore noodles.
This recipe called for tofu, but I didn't have any, since I didn't plan to make this meal in advance. But I did have some shrimp so I threw that in instead. I actually think having the crispy tofu would have been nice. It wasn't bad, but I think it could have used a little more flavor.
Also, we're officially out of garlic now. We almost went grocery shopping today. But we stopped ourselves! We can last a whole week! I know it!
Day 23 (Friday): Our supply is seriously dwindling. But we have enough for my sister to make some Nikujaga (Japanese beef stew).
This is one of the dishes she made when she studied Japanese cuisine in school. It seemed easy enough for me to make it, though! And it was delicious.
At this point we're also out of soy sauce. Though I guess we still have some soy sauce alternatives. We're determined to last at least another day without shopping. Can we do it? Tune in to find out...
Okay, I know we're not really quarantined, but I didn't know what else to call this blog post. I had some pictures of things I made before my sister visited. And I know I can't tie these all together nicely, but whatever. Enjoy the pictures!
I've been on a hummus kick for the past few months. Back when I could still go into the office, I would snack all the time. I don't think I went a single hour without eating something. And the cafe in the office doesn't exactly offer the most healthy options.
So, I'm trying to make sure I have healthier snack options. And since I love chickpeas, that also means I love hummus. And homemade hummus is way way better than anything you can buy at the store.
Remember those fish tacos I made a while back? I actually bought the family pack of tilapia, so I needed to do something with the rest of the filets. I saw a chimichurri fish recipe on Budget Bytes, and you know I love chimichurri.
I was going to buy a head of cabbage for this, but I saw a pack of coleslaw mix on clearance for $1 so I grabbed that instead.
You know a post about lots of food I make wouldn't be complete without tacos. Sweet potatoes were on sale at Aldi, and I also saw these tiny little tortillas at Trader Joes that I impulse bought!
Since the potatoes at Aldi come in 3 lb packs, I still had to so something with the rest of them. So why not continue making more Mexican-inspired dishes?
The chipotle chili powder in the lime crema was a great addition. I think I'm going to always add the chipotle powder in the future.
And to finish off the sweet potato recipes, I also made some beef stew. The sweet potatoes made the whole dish sweeter, which was nice.
For something completely different, here are some pierogies! That I bought from the store, because sometimes I need an easy meal.
Dumplings! The best freezer meal and completely worth the hour of prep time that goes into making a large batch.
And tacos again! Because I love tacos! All recipes on this page get a 5/5 star rating from me. Hopefully I'll remember to post more often in the future.