Thursday, January 6, 2011
"Baby's First Wine Dish" or "How to Make Your Boyfriend Order Pizza"
I'm not a big drinker, I'm kind of an old fashioned lady that way. It didn't hold that much of a sparkle for me in my teen years ( I think I spent my free time buying records and dreaming of marrying Jack White) and once I got old enough to buy it for myself I've had to either choose beer (which, eh) or trudge down to the seedy-ish liquor store to get anything else because of Tennessee liquor laws ( which you know, kind of "eh" too).
This brings me to my recent dilemma when I discovered a recipe in for Italian Beef Stew in Cooking Light (hey it's January!) that I thought seemed perfect to christen my beautiful new lime green dutch oven only to find that the recipe called for wine, (noooooooo!)
So I did what anyone else in my situation would do, I went straight to google.And of course it totally makes a difference, there's a whole deal with the acids in the wine and the texture of the meat and flavor nuances blah blah blah... so I manned up, went down the street to the liquor store, picked a red wine at random and carried it home in a brown paper sack like a wino.Hey google says! RESPECT THE GOOGLE!
My troubles however did not stop there. Remember that lovely snow we've all been having, well maybe not so lovely for some because it traveled down to where all the juicy tomatoes are and pooped it's icy death all over them so there's nothing but freaky hard overpriced flavorless tomatoes at the store, (which really shame on me anyway since it's totally not tomato season. Where's Al Gore to give me a lecture) So I had to use canned which were pretty annoying to seed and peel, but hey it's my own fault.
Anyway wine bought, tomatoes seeded, I taste the stew that's been simmering a while and realize that somewhere down the line I apparently WAY over salted the meat and had to dig around the depths of my pantry for a life raft so I can attempt the potato trick (all I had was sweet potatoes but it worked okay).
Full of the nervous energy you get when you realize a dish is now completely in the hands of fate, I decided to busy myself by whipping up some biscuits to go with the stew (which had only 15 minutes left to go). After a bit of searching I found a recipe on Joy's page that could use up that stubborn little bit of cream I still had left in the fridge (I skipped the paprika and swapped Parmesan for cheddar) mixed up the batter, baked them up then I discovered the stew still had an HOUR left to simmer. UGH!
The biscuits were perfect, we ate them all before the day was out. But the stew to me was still too salty when it was done, and it seemed something was a little weird about the flavor that I couldn't quite put my finger on (my boyfriend said it tasted fine, but then he went and ordered a pizza. So...?). The meat in it was perfect though, so sooo tender. The next day I cooked some rice to eat the stew with (hey it was expensive! You know I'm not going to just throw it out) and it turned out pretty tasty. 100 times better even.
My final thoughts, if a more meat savvy person attempted this recipe they probably wouldn't have the problems I did. Salt issues aside though, I don't think I'd make this particular recipe again, it was pretty involved and pretty expensive for what's more or less supposed to be comfort food. We'll see what I think about it when I get to be a better cook. With all this trouble I'm having with meat, I really just want to cry uncle and go vegan. Wait, no, my dutch just burst into tears.
IT'S OKAY BABY, I DIDN'T MEAN IT! WE'LL TRY AGAIN NEXT WEEK OKAY?
Okay. Sigh. Try again next week.