I’ve been feeling more and more guilty of late for not working on my writing – not necessarily for not writing on here (I have no delusions about a vast group of people checking their email every day just in case Ashleyne posted something new to read) but just writing in general. I am of the firm belief that if you call yourself a writer, you must write.
And so, earlier today I was contemplating this fact and said to myself, “Self, certainly there are things about which you can write. What’s something that happens consistently in your life that you could document?” I went through several options, and considering I’m fairly certain that none of you care to hear a play-by-play of my CrossFit experience (GO, team WOD Did I Get Myself Into!!) the only other thing I do consistently besides sleep (again, not very interesting, despite how often I actually talk about it) is eat.
So, among the other random things I write about, let’s talk about food.
First of all, anyone who has known me for a while knows that I can be a bit of a blonde in the kitchen. And that I hate recipes. And I’m bad at math. And I tend to forget that I have something in the oven or on the stove or that maybe my then-five-year-old niece shouldn’t be solely in charge of reading all the ingredients in zucchini bread.
But I am a halfway decent cook and I like to experiment, so I figure my track record just keeps things interesting.
Without further ado, today’s culinary adventure:
Something with a big slab of beef
The beef was on sale down at the Kroger, so I bought it. I have no idea what cut it was, and I threw away the package already and I’m not going through our trash, not even for you guys. It looked like something I could put into a crockpot.
Never having made beef bourguignon, I thought I’d try to make an Ashleyne rendition. We are eating mostly paleo at the 6021, which limits my options slightly.
I sliced up the beef (slightly larger than 4cm cubes – in fact, I didn’t measure at all) and sautéed it in olive oil at high heat. I don’t have a huge pan, so it took me three rounds. I didn’t worry about cooking it through, just searing it a nice, crisp brown on both sides.
Then I moved the beef to the crockpot and sautéed an onion in the beef pan. Once that was soft, I added some red cooking wine, a large amount of Dijon mustard (Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?), salt, pepper, garlic,and parsley. Actually, now that I mention it, I’m pretty sure I didn’t put any salt in. Whatever. Then I added roughly 10oz of beef broth, and let that all simmer for a while.
Once I got tired of waiting, I threw all that in the crockpot, and then I dumbed a bag of frozen brussels sprouts into the pan and sautéed them, then added them to the crockpot, at which point I also added a bag of mixed veggies (cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli and carrots, or some such blend) to the crockpot. I threw in 2 bay leaves, stirred it all up, and put it on high for 6 hours.
Total active prep time was about an hour, but I was also writing this blog and eating lunch: Holly’s chicken and noodle soup with turmeric mashed potatoes. If you haven’t yet discovered the magnificence that is adding mashed potatoes to your soup, I’ll reveal that to you another day.
One of my favorite things about crockpot meals is that you can clean up all your dishes after you do the prep and only have one dish to wash after dinner! Of course, a large crockpot is third on the list of worst kitchen items to wash – behind the food processor and the blender but just before the mixer. Still, I take the little victories where I can.
Kim: “It was delicious.” She did state that she was “absolutely famished” before she ate, though, and also admitted to eating a large amount of pretzels dipped in homemade raspberry/lemon icing (I did say mostly paleo) right before she tried it. So who knows.
Liz: “The flavor is good.” This is a common response from Liz when I cook something with beef. She’s not as fond of the consistency as the rest of us are.
Me: I agree with Liz. The flavor was excellent. But I cooked the vegetables way too long. If I tried again, I would try to have mushrooms on hand (no guarantees on these sorts of things) and only add the vegetables to the crockpot an hour or so before it finished. They all turned to mush and became indistinguishable. Personally, I like to know whether I’m eating broccoli or a brussels sprout, even if they end up all tasting like beef broth.
And it needed more wine.
I’d give it a 6 out of 10. I’ll aim for a higher score next time there’s beef on sale.
Here it is:
And, although I’m not in the habit of taking selfies when I’m home alone letting my crazy run rampant, I thought you might appreciate knowing what I looked like when I was cooking this:
Now you know.