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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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It's winter so fatten up

Because itís been cold, and because Iíve been feeling dizzy and possibly a might anemic, we made boeuf bourguignon for dinner last night. It was rich and savory, just the thing to get my iron up.

Boeuf bourguignon takes about 45 minutes to prep, and about 2.5 to 3 hours to cook. Itís a good idea to eat a snack before you begin or the smell of the stew cooking will drive you completely mad with hunger. I ate a little piece of onion tart as we were chopping and browning, but an hour later when the perfume of rosemary and wine and onions seeped out of the oven, I narrowly staved off insanity by nibbling on some bread.

The recipe we followed has a good balance between sharp and mellow flavors, and I think the 1 tbsp of red currant jelly added at the end really does add another layer of depth. I have a friend who is a great cook, but who certainly would have balked at the jelly. She balks at a lot of things in the ingredients list.

Friend: The Silver Palate cookbook is annoying. They always want you to add nutmeg or dill. Every recipe has either nutmeg or dill in it! Iím sorry, but Iím not putting nutmeg in my mac and cheese!

Me: But nutmeg is a vital ingredient in the bechamel. It adds a hint of nuttiness! You donít even add that much!

Friend: Adding nutmeg is nutty itself!

I made a vegetarian black bean chili from the Silver Palate cookbook, and the recipe called for chopped dill. At first, I thought ďhmm, dill. Thatís weirdĒ but I added it anyway thinking that those Silver Palate ladies know their shit. Up to that moment in time I had never made anything from their cookbook that wasnít a hit, so I added the dill and crossed my fingers. And you know what? The dill was great! It added a note that played beautifully off the oregano, chili powder, and cumin. I told my friend my personal dill story, and she was unimpressed.

Friend: I never follow recipes exactly. If something sounds weird to me, Iíll omit it or substitute.

Me: (thinking to myself) Then why even bother with a recipe in the first place if you already know everything??

I canít do that. Itís part of my OCD that I must follow recipes exactly as they are written, especially if Iíve never followed the recipe before. That way if the dish is good or bad, I know what to do in the future (follow the recipe to the letter again, or omit/substitute to improve). What I like about recipes is that they allow you to achieve consistent results over and over again. There is beauty in repeatable results.

The other thing thatís beautiful? Marshmallow gelato. I love that some genius at Ciao Bella came up with that white-trash-meets-highfalutiní flavor.

4:50 p.m. - 2006-02-20

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