Mar 27, 2010


I have no recipe to offer. Only a few pictures and a description.
What is it, you ask?

Ox Tail.

I saw it on a menu and seized the opportunity to try it!

I have only heard Paula Deen mention ox tail on Food Network once. Otherwise, I do not claim to have any knowledge of how to prepare this dish.

If I had to guess, I'd say it was stewed for a few hours. This probably included some type of meat-based stock, as well as some tomato-type product (sauce or paste), as there was a reddish tint to the sauce. Included were some bay leaves (one found its way onto my problem), and stewed onions, as well as red and green peppers. The star of the show was the ox tail, on the bone (which no doubt added to the flavor of the sauce).

All that said, it was delicious. The meat was literally falling off the bone. And most importantly, what did it taste like? No, not chicken. Truthfully, it tasted like a tender and fatty pot roast--in a good way. The sides included white rice, black beans, and fried plantains. A really tasty Cuban meal.

And yes, that is a vertebrae :-) Don't shy away, the meal was delicious!

Mar 23, 2010

Supper Club

In this area of the Midwest, we have "supper clubs". I'm not exactly sure what defines an eating establishment as such, but that is not what I am referring to. As I was cooking (see below) tonight, I couldn't help but think that one thing I love to do is talk to others about food. My common work conversations consist of:
"So, what did you eat last night?"
"So, this is what I ate last night"
"Mmm, I'm so hungry for this ____"
"Tonight I'm making _____"

You get the gist. I think about food. A lot. I talk about food. A lot. No, I don't have some type of binge eating disorder (and yes I am qualified to make that determination...). I don't think it's an unhealthy obsession. I just like to discuss food, think about food, ponder new combinations of flavors. Sort of like an athlete focuses on a game. Except I'm not super-skilled at cooking. I just really enjoy it.

So, per the title, I should start a real supper club. Not a wood-paneled Midwestern restaurant that features a small salad bar and a waitress with a smokers' cough. But a group of people who like to talk about food, share recipes, go out to eat together, etc. Doesn't that sound like a riot? Anyway, until that exists in my life I will use this blog to talk "at" someone, anyone who might be reading. Welcome to my supper club :-)

Here was tonight's dilemma:
-It is towards the end of the month and we are getting down to the end of our grocery budget. To make a long story short, we have school loans we are *aggressively* paying off, and what we save in budgeted areas we put towards our loans. Thus, I like to save a bit in the grocery line when I can. I didn't want to run out and buy a bunch of ingredients for a meal. So I just played the cards I was dealt (i.e. used what was in the fridge and pantry).
-I made stock (see previous post) and wanted to make a point of using it before it spoiled
-I have some fresh broccoli that should be used, and some uncooked chicken in the fridge.

All this leads to: soup!

What kind of soup? Oh please, I have no idea. Most nights it is the fabulous process of working with what I have creatively to make something that is tolerable on the palate. Tonight's experiment turned out well, which isn't too rare of an occurrence.

I heated up half of my veggie stock in a pot, and added a handful of soba noodles (thanks sis for getting them in little Tokyo!), half of the fresh broccoli, and a can of sliced water chestnuts (drained). I pan-grilled 1.5 chicken breasts (whatever was left from our Indian food this past weekend...I'll write about that soon) and seasoned them with a Chinese-Cajun spice mix (who knew?!). As the soba noodles cooked and the broccoli and water chestnuts softened a bit, I cut up the chicken and added it to the pot. All in all, a delicious thrown-togther-semi-Asian soup.

Mar 22, 2010

Brag a Little

I just wanted to share this picture...and say what beautiful vegetable stock I made this weekend.

The lighting was a bit strange because I finished it later at night. But even so, isn't that a great color?

Vegetable stock isn't really some great art, and it's probably not even worth posting about. But I like making stock. This is what I do:

Roughly chop "some" large carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and put in a large stock pot. Add to that a tablespoon of salt, a palm-full of whole black peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves. Cover all the vegetables with water (8-10 cups) and cover the pot. Put on high and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and keep on a steady simmer for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool, then strain and refrigerate the beautiful stock. For a richer color, add the skins of the onions.

I'm anticipating the last chicken noodle soup of the season with this stuff. Or maybe make a gravy with it for a homemade pot pie. What do you like to do with stock?

Mar 18, 2010

Tabula Rasa

So...angelfood cake. Who doesn't love it? Light, fluffy, sweet, but not overwhelming. Addictive. But really more of a blank slate than anything else. I'd gladly sit down and eat a piece of angelfood cake, but it has to be with something. It isn't like red velvet cake (be still my heart) where it is completely satisfying on its own.

Yes, we can go the whipped cream route. That's pretty traditional for my family. And to be honest, I love whipped cream. My parents would be quick to point out that when I was in high school, I'd come home late on the weekends and sit down in front of the TV with a tub of cool whip, mix in some chocolate chips, and watch some late night rubbish. But alas, my taste buds crave more. Not that I'm past eating out of the tub. I guess I just want other options.

My husband and I invited my sister and her boyfriend over for dinner a few weeks ago, and for dessert we picked angelfood cake. It's her favorite, and I wanted to make it special. The solution?

Ok, so it doesn't have a name. How about "delicious topping for the tabula rasa"? Sounds scrumptious yet philosophical. Here's how it's made.

Allow a container of marscapone cheese to sit out for a few minutes to soften and get to room temperature. Add 1 part marscapone cheese and 1 part fruit preserves. Mix together with a blender. This allows the mixture to be incorporated evenly, as well as adding some fluff to the mixture. Lastly, add 1 part whipped cream and fold together (play with the ratios as desired).

I used seedless raspberry jam for this particular topping because my sister has dietary restrictions that don't allow her to eat seeds. Plus, raspberry is delicious.

It has a fabulously creamy and light texture, along with a tangy sweetness that pairs wonderfully with angelfood cake. Mix some up and slather it on your blank slate.

p.s. like the quennelle?

Mar 17, 2010

Quick Pic

What explains my absense?


I got to enjoy some fun and sun while attending a wedding of some good friends from college.

But I'm back, armed with pictures of eaten and/or made food, and ready to hit it.

For now, here is a quick snack for the eyes. Some delicious pizza from a place in Florida.

Thai Chicken Pizza.

I was afraid that the peanut sauce would be a bit overwhelming, but it was just the right amount. A delightful crust with moderate crisp-ness. Peanut sauce, grilled chicken breast, sliced carrots, bean sprouts, cilantro, and basil. This giant plateful disappeared pretty quickly.