Tuesday, February 26, 2013

French Beef Stew

To all my loyal readers, I apologize for going MIA for so long. Work has been super hectic since I returned from New Orleans, but it has not all been for nothing...Last week I officially received my promotion! Yay me!

I went home this weekend to celebrate my promotion with my parents and to celebrate my brother's and his girlfriend's birthdays (who happen to only be three days apart, how cute is that?!). Friday we went to St. James in Suburban Square, which is super convenient since I take the Amtrak to the Ardmore stop (aka 35 yards away.) On Saturday we all went to the amazing sushi restaurant Nectar and chowed down like it was going out of style.

Although I have not been blogging, I have been cooking. I made this recipe on a cold Sunday when I had time to watch the bubbling, boiling mix become a delicious stew. It was perfect for a snowy day.


3 lb. cubed stew beef
750ml bottle of Bordeaux or Cote du Rhone
Salt and black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
1 orange, washed and cut into wedges
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Olive oil
16 oz. can of tomato past
4 oz. pitted black olives, chopped


1. Season meat with salt and pepper on all sides. Please meat in a large Ziploc bag with wine, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, carrots, onion, garlic and orange wedges. Cover and marinated in the fridge over night--at least 12 hours, perfect would be 24.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Remove the meat from the marinade and brown the pieces. Pour the marinade over the meat and bring to a boil. Keep at a rolling boil for 5 minutes, skimming off the foam.

3. Lower the heat to simmer, stir in tomato paste and add about 5 cups of water. Cover and let stew on low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. 15 minutes before the stew is ready, add the pitted olives. Let cook for 15 minutes on medium heat without the lid to thicken. Serve over mashed potatoes, as I did, rice or pasta

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Happy Oscar night! Best dressed nominee for me is clearly Naomi Watts--she looked gorg! 

I'm calling Daniel Day Lewis for best actor and Argo for best picture--because the Academy totally screwed up not nominating Ben Affleck for best director, he's a shoe in for picture.

Here is my Sunday Meal planning list:

Monday: toasted baguette with pesto, garlic and prawns

Tuesday: chicken schnitzel with arugula salad

Thursday: baked mussels

Friday: brown riced stuffed peppers

Saturday: Leprecon in Hoboken!

Sunday: sausage and red pepper pasta

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Orleans

Hello real world. To be entirely honest, I did not miss you.

In case my lovely readers have been wondering where the heck I went, I just spent a magical five days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend. It was an awesome trip filled with delicious (fried) food, great new and old friends, a ton of beads and other fun objects thrown from floats and, luckily, no boobs (cause really, what women wants to see those)!

My very first parade. Before I left, I was concerned that I wouldn't like the parades and would be the odd man out. Boy was I WRONG.

One of my friends from college (and my new love, his sister) live in New Orleans and their dad is part of a Krewe. We got to go with their dad when he dropped off all his accoutrements to riding on a float, and were able to see all of the floats in the warehouse and even get on a few. 

Best never-before-seen tourist spot ever!

Every house was super decorated for the holiday. Move over Christmas, Mardi Gras in NOLA has you beat FOR SURE.

It took me a while, but I figured out how to "win" the parade game. Next time--I'm buying ball tickets!

While I was not sure how much I would enjoy the parades (LOVE!!!), one thing I was not in the last bit concerned about was liking the food. I mean, who doesn't like fried food served with more fried food served on bread. It was every dieters nightmare, but, for a vacation, it was perfect. I must say, the one thing I am happy about coming home for is the healthy food (salmon and asparagus, here I come). I need a serious detox...

My first meal off the plane--peacemaker po' boy. Half fried shrimp, half oyster, remoulade sauce and all deliciousness. But seriously, fried food served on bread with fries as a side? Carbo-load anyone?

We got the above po' boy and this fried soft shell crab platter (served with fries AND hushpuppies. Seriously. Michael Phelps would fill up on this food) are from the delish Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter

Muffaletta from Napoleon's House, a restaurant known for their drink the Pimm's Royale. And they're $17 bottles of house wine, which was delicious and perfect for a large party.

On Friday, we all went to my friends house for a crawfish boil. I learned from expert NOLA-residents how to de-shell a crawfish and chowed down on these little nuggets, corn, sausage and a delicious beer from NOLA Brewing

Friday night we walked from my friends to Dat Dog, a hipster-ish hotdog stand that looks like it used to be a gas station. Obviously I ordered the chili cheese fries and...

...a polish kielbasa topped with guacamole. 

and tried a bite of this deliciousness--polish kielbasa topped with creole mustard and sauerkraut

Other NOLA food recommendations from places where I chowed down much too quickly to take a picture included:
  • John Besh's Domenica - the tagliatelle with rabbit and duck was to.die.for.
  • Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar - i got a lamb shank that looked like a brontesaurus bone
  • The charbroiled oysters at Dragos, which may have been the single food highlight of my entire trip
  • Last, but CERTAINLY not least, is the wonderful Praline's By Jean, owned by my friends' family and the location for our parade shenanigans. I highly recommend going there to meet the sweet Jean and devouring the pralines. Seriously. Stop reading. Go now. Your stomach will thank me.
Basically, I can't wait to go back and eat even more deliciousness. Is it Mardi Gras 2014 yet?