Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day!

I've got a few recipes to share today.  Can I say how much I love long weekends!?

First, yesterday I decided to make some lunch with ingredients we already had in the house.  I knew this was going to be a tough sell: it's a soup made out of spinach.  I love spinach, but my mother hates it, and I figured Rachael, who was the only other peson home at the time, wouldn't be a fan either.  But nevertheless, we had baby spinach, and lots of it, that I didn't want to waste, and we happened to have everything else I would need for this, so: witches' brew it was!  I realize this was a "Halloween" recipe since it makes a bright green soup, but hey, I'm only a couple weeks late!  And it's spinach and gruyere, so honestly, it couldn't be bad.

And me say this: I adore this soup.  It kind of tastes like spinach and artichoke dip, minus the artichokes.  But the cheese and the spinach made for the most delicious blast of flavor, not to mention the garlic, onion and potato.  The whole thing gets blended together - I got to use my immersion blender!  -so you end up with a creamy and amazing bright green soup that is quite filling.  Of course, as I expected, it didn't go over well.  Mom absolutely hated it, and Rachael said she felt like it would be  better as a dip (she hated the consistency).  And I am fine with this.  More for me!  I ate it for lunch yesterday and today and may or may not have licked my bowl.  If you like the taste of spinach and gruyere, and don't get freaked out if you are eating a bright green liquid, then please try this soup.

I went grocery shopping last night at 10.  Yeah, you know you're cool when you hit up Price Chopper at 10:00 on a Saturday night... after your book club meeting.  It was actually quite a pleasant experience.  The 24-hour grocery store is a fantastic invention.  Anyway I wanted to go last night because I had found a recipe on a blog that I follow that I wanted to try out, even though it is a meat dish.  Yuck, I know, but it was beef ragout, which I love to order when I go to Via (short rib ragout, but close enough).  I figured it would be pretty easy since it does not involve too much touching of the meat; the recipe uses the slow cooker.  I did have to take a gross roast out of the styrofoam container, and sear it in a pan, and I tried to hack off some fat, which was pretty upsetting.  Then the roast just cooks for 8 hours on low, with a mixture of tomato sauce, onion, garlic, broth, bay leaves, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks.  Really part of the reason I wanted to try this recipe was that I was intrigued about tossing cloves and cinnamon sticks in with meat!  And I will say that the house smelled really good all day.  I served it on top of egg noodles, and with a side of salad, since there are really no vegetables in the ragout (who have I become!?) As for the final result... Mom loved it and said it took her a few bites to get acclimated to the mixture of tastes, but then she had seconds.  Kenzie really liked it too.  Rachael called it "cinnameat" and didn't like it because it was sweet.  I would have to say that it's not sweet, since it only had one cinnamon stick in there and nothing else "sweet," but I did not really love this either.  I thought the flavor was really good, but the texture of the meat wasn't what I wanted.  I don't really know what I expected - I guess I just wanted my braised short rib ragout from Via!  I thought it wasn't soft enough, or tender enough....I don't really know how to describe it except to just say, why the hell did I roast a beast and think I would enjoy it!?  No pictures of this one... just imagine shredded meat in a brown sauce over egg noodles.  Not the most photogenic of meals!

Then for dessert, I caved and made baked Alaska yet again.  Mom has been begging.  I still don't get the allure of this dessert, since it's mostly just ice cream with meringue on top, but my family goes nuts for it.   Mom claims that even though she doesn't love pistachio or cherry ice cream, that combination makes the best baked Alaska.  As always, it got rave reviews.  I did warn my family that I am getting a bit sick of making it every weekend, and perhaps they could like something with less parts, or something that's not one bowl of ice cream that I can't even partake of, but I don't see that happening too soon!

witches' brew, or cheesy spinach soup
slowcooker Greek beef ragout
baked Alaska

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