Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beouf Bourguignon

I'm amazed how long I haven't updated my blog. Not that I haven't cooked anything for that long, but I mainly made just pasta or Chinese and didn't really use any of Julia's recipes.
Finally I came around all the school work and occasional social events back to my regular cooking on the weekend. As a result of over eating in Shenandoah National Park last weekend, I have restrained myself to a vegetarian diet this week, and decided if I could make it through I would make beouf bourguignon on the weekend. Okay, I don't think I lost a substantial amount of weight, but I did get back in shape somewhat. So it's time to spoil myself a little. Actually, the spoiling started on Friday when I had this sudden urge to bake and made shortbread. A sinful food because you can't stop eating it! Anyway, I made my beouf bourguignon.

I followed Julia's suggestion to dry the beef before brown them and I did not crowd them in the pan. Unfortunately I had used too much mushroom in my chicken meuniere yesterday so I didn't have enough mushroom for today, and I also didn't use small onions as a whole but instead chopped up big onions into big chunks. I think all worked well nonetheless.

I believe the most important secret to the success is the total use of wine and broth instead of water. I did not add a single drop of water in it but used entirely red cooking wine and chicken broth, with of course, the natural juice from the food and beef fat. I am sure it'll turn out to be even better if I had used authentic burgundy wine and beef broth. But I had to deal with what I had, and it was not bad.

Like always, whenever I was in the kitchen with my cookbook, I could feel Julia Child was with me.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

chicken meunière

Chicken sautéd in butter, with creamy mushroom and asparagus sauce. I feel much warmer after eating. The sudden drop of temperature almost made me believe that winer's here. A warm kitchen turns everything so much better.

The only sadness in the kitchen today is that my cucumber went bad. I had forgotten about it. I don't really like cucumber, I bought it for the possibility of pasta salad, which I had changed into mashed potatoes for the dinner party. It gave up on me after three days! I still can't believe it!

Anyway, the chicken turned out to be fantastic. Julia's recipe recommended creamy mushroom sauce. I added asparagus because I realized that I bought some. A note to remember in the future: do not buy too much produce at once!

I also made fried green beans with red chili pepper and a bit of ground beef; a popular Chinese dish. Brown rice went well with the two dishes, and I have plenty left-overs for lunches during the week.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dinner party

Last night's dinner party was so successful that I almost fell in love with myself.
Julia's cabbage role is so fantastic that I just want to make more of them again! Great I still have a big part of the cabbage left. Although next time I will remember to boil the cabbage leaves longer because they are not as tender as cabbages in China.
The chocolate brownie turned from a failed mousse worked out really well. The girls loved it!
The mashed potatoes look yellow because I used both potatoes and yams, with salt and pepper, and of course, old bay!
Kung-pao chicken was a bit different from the first time I made them, but probably because I used scallion instead of leek this time.
Now I really think I can cook. I really can cook. I do. I'm falling in love with my kitchen.