It was a dark and stormy afternoon…. and what better to do than whip up a batch of the best comfort food in the world… Beef Stew. No, make that Vegetable Beef Stew. But I’m not Superwoman and the only fresh produce-type ingredients we have in the house are grapes, bananas, strawberries, apples, and pears. Can’t make a veggie stew out of that. But I’m not Stupidwoman, either: there are always, I mean always, onions in the house. One cannot cook a meal without onions. In this case I lucked out and spied a clove of garlic, in the hanging basket. All is not lost!
Beef stew meat from the freezer, chicken broth and diced tomatoes from the can cabinet, onion, garlic, dried basil, a beef boullion cube, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper…. let’s see, what else? Olive oil is a given. The world would come to an end before I would run out of Olive Oil. Oh, yes, vegetables. Well, now, wouldn’t you know it? Half a ‘family size’ bag of frozen soup vegetables is just waiting for such a moment…. Your Time Has Come, little soup veggies…. Come to Mama!
Then it was Decision Time: Would the starch be cubed potato? No, I don’t have any potatoes. What about rice? Ugh, no! It gets nasty looking when over cooked, and a stew must be better the second day than the first, that’s The Rule. Pasta it is, then. Orzo or Ditalini? I went with Ditalini. Both these hold their shape the second day and look good, too, swimming among the vegetables. Almost there.
Okay, Time to Cook! First, heat up my beloved big red La Creuset pot with a generous amount of Olive Oil to cover the bottom. Next, sharpen the favorite kitchen knife. Chop, chop, chop, those onions. Smush the garlic. Discard all peels, skins and other detrius into the garbage strainer in the sink. (I finally wised up to that ‘garbage bowl’ business. It not only cuts down on trips to the big garbage can just out of my reach, but keeps the sink cleaner.) Aha! The pot is hot, the beef has browned… well, enough of it has, and the onions and garlic have been added, the heat lowered, and the flavors are mingling. The kitchen smells fantastic. His Majesty comes through to ask if the stew is ready. No, it’s not… you go make yourself something for lunch, This is Supper and will be ready at Suppertime.
The onions looked done enough to me. Stir ‘em up, stir ‘em up. Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Rinse out both cans and add water. Add that boullion cube. Did we sprinkle in the dried basil yet? Now’s the time. And now is the time to let it stew. Lower the heat and do something else. His Majesty had fixed himself a chilidog and saurkraut, with grapes for dessert. Dessert is on my mind, too. Almost without thinking about it, I grabbed two bowls, one for wet ingredients and one for dry, preheated the oven and mixed up a batch of brownies. Scrabbling in the freezer, muttering to myself, “Nuts, nuts, I must have nuts…”, I pushed aside the Ginger Root, and the baggie of Slivered Almonds, until not one, but two bags of chopped pecans surfaced. I took the opened one and dumped it into the brownie bowl, gave it one last stir and poured it into my green Pyrex baking dish… the only square baking dish I own. Popped it into the oven and went off for a well-deserved rest.
The timer went off, just when I was at one of the “good parts” of my current romance novel. Time to add some more Ingredients! The soup veggies were thawed out by now, and would not slow down the cooking process, and by that I mean, it wouldn’t stop simmering, so into the pot they went. Shortly thereafter, the pasta went in to make it a full meal: meat, starch, green and yellow and red vegetables, beef flavor, s little basil, and it’s Soup, it’s Stew, it’s Supper! With hearty, flavorful, whole grain bread to sop up the juices!
The Brownies beg for attention. They’ve been out of the oven long enough to cut well, and not tear up. It’s not suppertime yet, and I’ve worked up an appetite. What better way to satisfy it than with a Romance Novel and Brownies?
Um… you can tell some brownies are already missing… sorry ’bout that!