Well... it's time for my first ever recipe. I'm no Katie Oblinger, but I think the pictures are ok, and the food is amazing... so you might want to take a gander.
I have been feeling a little sad lately. My grandmother (mom's mom) is in a nursing home very near our lake house. She has been there for a few years and it's been good for her. She has Alzheimer's, and they take great care of her. I try to go once every other month or so to visit her. I have been incredibly busy recently, and I actually havent seen her since June. I went this past weekend and was astounded by the change in her. Usually she is so happy and smiling. Even if she doesn't know me she lights up when I walk in the room and she holds my hand and says she's "feeling a little bit better today." When I went this weekend she wasn't talking or smiling. She just looked at me and squeezed my hand. It was so sad I just started crying. She has been such an important person in my life. She is honestly the sweetest and most motherly person I've ever met. Another one of her best traits is her cooking ability. She maks the most amazing beef stew. My brother Ben and I liked it so much we would always request it when we went to visit. She actually nicknamed it "Ben's Stew" we liked it so much. My whole life, every time I saw her, she would make this.
She's been on my mind a lot this week. Last night I was leaving work, and it was really rainy and cold in Atlanta... I just thought, "tonight would be a great night for "Ben's Stew." I called up my cousin/bff Kristin and went over the details and then headed over to Publix to grab the supplies. When I was thinking of a side, I immediately thought of my step mother's (Missy) brussel sprouts.
Missy is such a great cook!!! You walk into her house and it always smells like home cooking. She started making these brussel sprouts a few years ago, and we all just love them. According to Missy, and I agree 100%, these are the best leftovers in the world... put them in the fridge and a few hours take one out and eat it cold... life changing.
This meal is such a wonderful combination of two very important women in my life who I love very much. I hope you like it! Jimmy certainly did (keep reading).
Side note: Before you adjust the color on you monitor, I have lime green countertops. My house was built in the 50s, and they have never been updated. Some may say outdated... I say charming (no I don't... I say I don't have the money to change them).
Here's what you need:
"Beef for Stew" or "Stew Beef." You can find it at the grocery... it's exactly what it sounds like... (You can either wash or not... I think arguments can be made for doing it both ways. I did not wash mine first.)
What Rachel Ray calles EVOO.
Fingerlings... at least this is what I picked. You can also just use Irish if you like. (Wash them)
Bag of carrots... I like these baby cut ones, but you can also get the stalks and cut them up #morework #prewashed
Bag of Brussels. Wash them.
Beer. This is not to use in the cooking.... it's to drink while you cook. DUH. flockboston.com - visit the website.
You also need: beef broth, chicken broth, corn starch, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, Lawry's seasoning, and cayenne pepper.
Lets get this party started. (beef stew first)
Heat up some oil (how much? I don't know... about that much) in a pan.
Throw in the "Stew Beef" and brown it. (add salt and pepper... like a dash of each)
Get out your garlic....
Throw about that much in the pan... like a kitchen spoon full.
Dice up your onion. This photo was taken mid-dice....
Throw your diced onions in with the beef and garlic.
Get your fingerlings and cut them in half. You don't have to cut them in half, but I like to because they sort of mush up better, which adds to the stew-iness of it. Yea, like that makes sense.
Throw them in the pot.
Add your carrots, and put in a can of beef broth.
Cover and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
Get out a new pan... a small one.
Take a spoon full of about that much butter...
Melt it in a pan...
Throw in some corn starch.... maybe 2 tablespoons? That's a guess.
Pour in some chicken broth.... maybe 1/2 of a cup? Until it looks like that.... it should actually be a little bit more watery... I added more chicken stock after I took the picture.
Pour this mixture into the big pan of beef stew. It helps thicken it up and turn it into a stew. You can also add a little more salt and pepper, a dash of Lawry's and 2 shakes of cayenne pepper, if you like a little spice.
It starts to look more like this... it gets thicker as it cooks down. Cook it for about 10 more minutes with the top on and you're finished! Yum!
Now let's do the brussel sprouts. It goes without saying that I did these at the same time, but it's easier to understand if you explain them separately.
Preheat your oven to 350...
Take your washed brussels and put them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle some EVOO (that phrase really annoys me) on top and sprinkle with sea salt. Shake the cookie sheet so the brussels all get coated with the oil/salt mixture. Put them in the oven.
In 15 minutes open the oven and shake the tray again...
15 minutes later do it again...
15 minutes later they should look like this. Take 'um out!
Then.... Take two plates and serve it up!
Make sure you have a boyfriend who's willing to try it even if he's skeptical.
"Sure Blayne... of course I'm willing to try your cooking and have you photograph it for your blog..." Something else interesting about this picture... I had finished my beer (duh) and was drinking some iced tea out of the sweet new cup I got at Striplings this weekend. Don't know what Striplings is? Read yesterday's post.
First bite! This is right after he said, "you know Blayne, I don't really like brussel sprouts." You may notice I only gave him three. Go back to the picture above and look at how many I got.
"No Sister! You can't have any of my dinner! I ate it all!" Jimmy ate all the brussels on his plate and then half of mine... See... they are THAT GOOD!
This was such a fun meal to make, and I felt much better afterwards. I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful family. Everyone brings so much to the table (see what I did there?). I love you all so much.
*As I was writing this post my mom came in to tell me that my grandmother is not doing well today. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She really is amazing.