I love that first weekend after the winter holidays are over. No expectations, just a chance to really relax after a month and a half of dread. I’ve always been uncomfortable around people and that’s all the holidays signify for me, being around people, many of whom I don’t like to begin with and trying to pick out presents for people.
This weekend, it was again good food, good drink, music and the requisite schlocky movie. I had a craving for beef in wine sauce aka boeuf Bourguignon. A quick internet search and I got basically Julia Child’s recipe from Macheesmo’s website. So off to the supermarket and liquor store we go. Found a cheap flat of beef chuck mock tender steaks. These are from the chuck (shoulder) of the cow. They are not particularly tender, so I’m assuming that the name is from them looking a bit like a tenderloin, aka filet mignon. They have a band of silverskin (connective tissue) around them and this needs to be removed entirely. It will never soften. Got the carrots and onions, etc. Didn’t feel like getting the pearl onions and I have yet to be able to taste the difference between shallots and regular ol’ yellow onions, so that’s what I used.
Then to the liquor store. Thanks to my husband now being employed again, we have a bit more cash to play around with. I got a bottle of my stand-by brandy, E&J VS, which does me fine for drinking and for this recipe. My husband picked up a bottle of Crown Royal Maple, which is very good. CR is a bit of a sweet whisky to start with, and I thought the maple would be cloying but it’s not. A very smooth drink and mixes nicely with egg nog. My husband calls it “breakfast whisky”. He also has a weakness for the bags that CR comes in. Blame a lifetime playing Dungeons & Dragons. Where else are you going to put your dice? 😀
We also picked up two bottles of pinot noir, one to cook with and one to drink. We decided to use the Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir to cook with. That may have been a mistake. This wine, though good, isn’t terribly complex or strong in its flavor. I did very much like its “green” cork and it’d be nice to see more bottles using this type of closure. The second bottle, Gnarly Head’s Pinot Noir, was far more complex and assertive. Since I like the wine flavor in my beef burgundy to be obvious, I think it would have been the better choice. The Gnarly Head was three dollars more than the Pepperwood.
The beef does take a while to make as Macheesmo’s website indicates. We had it over egg noodles and I made bread. I used my usual “artisan bread in 5 minutes a day” recipe. I was in a hurry so I didn’t let the dough chill. You really should do that. My dough was an insane tar-baby, latching onto anything it could in the kitchen but I finally wrestled it into submission. And then proceeded to clean the dough off the sink, the flour sack, the mixer, a cat ……..
Dinner was accompanied by listening to some of our favorite music like Blackmore’s Night, Tempest, Within Temptation, our own mix CD of a lot of Jim Steinman’s music (the fellow who did most of Meatloaf’s music and a lot of power ballads from the 80s), etc.
Next day, busy again. More puff pastry for cherry turnovers. Very puffed, though the cherry goo squirted out everywhere. Need to work on that. Savory toasted cheese, aka cheesy goo, was made per husban’s request to go with the leftover bread. A couple of Gennys, and watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000’s episode with “The Beast of Yucca Flats” rounded out the weekend (arguably worse than “Plan 9 From Outer Space” and you can actually watch it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRhGW53eoxY )
Tasty and relaxing. Hope you had a good weekend too!