Hello to all; this is a new and hopefully recurring theme; I will cook something, take pictures of it, and eat it. It may not be good, and it may not get posted on Wednesday. I enjoy cooking, and am relatively adventurous. I am, however, a horrible baker. This can best be explained by pointing out the differences between my wife and I in the kitchen- she measures with precision and follows recipes to the T, and I do not measure or follow them. Well, I measure most things. Here is another good example- the recipe below calls for 10 ounces of corn, but I had a 16 ounce bag. I used the SWAG method- a Scientific Wild Ass Guess. My intent here is to get men to try something other than lighting a grill and burning meat. Cooking aint rocket science at its elementary level; get your men in the kitchen and get fed. Gents, ladies appreciate a man that can rock an apron and whisk. Think of the potential here, fellas. Don't you know Tom Colicchio gets plenty of action based on his kitchen prowess?
This week I made beef and vegetable barley soup, from a recipe on http://www.epicurious.com/. I like epicurious, but my favorite is http://www.smittenkitchen.com/. Since we are talking cooking, I should mention that the one woman I would leave my wife for would be Ina Garten; sweet house in the Hamptons, her husband has done well for himself (I haven't figured out how to maneuver him out of the picture- damn you Jeffrey!) She would keep me well-fed to say the least. She does seem to have a lot of people dropping by though, which would be awkward...... On second thought, I could stash my wife nearby, and sneak her food from the Barefoot Contessa's kitchen. Mrs. French would tolerate this setup for the right amount of multi-course goodness.
Anyway, here we go:
BEEF BARLEY AND VEGETABLE SOUP
Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef stew meat
1 pound meaty beef bones (such as beef shank bones)
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
2 14 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels
2 cups frozen sliced okra
2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
The dog loves the bones that were left over. I haven't cooked with bones enough, but it really makes you feel like you are making something of substance. Better than a stupid ass bay leaf.
**Important note: I gave the dog one of the large bones. She ate the whole thing, and it kept her up all night with the runs. Which means I slept on the couch all night in order to let her out every hour.
I use this chef's knife and the steak knife at the top pretty much exclusively. I keep them super sharp, which is really, really, macho. When I use the sharpener, the dog comes running as she knows there may be meat pieces available soon.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add stew meat and bones; sauté until beef is dark brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer beef and bones to plate. Add celery, onion, and barley to pot. Sauté until onion is golden, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups water, beef broth, tomatoes with juices, corn, okra, bay leaves, and garlic powder. Return beef and bones to pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour.
Add peas and 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce to soup. Cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper, and more hot pepper sauce, if desired.
This soup needed an assload of salt- an assload means more salt than you can imagine. I was worried about the okra, as it gets gluey and goopy sometimes. It was fine in here though. All in all, pretty good; more like vegetable beef than beef barley, but that is good too.
If someone can tell me how to not overcook fish, please share. I suck at it.