Guinness Beef Stew


Saint Patrick's Day is only a few short days away, and while I know corned beef and cabbage is going to be on many an Irish dinner table that evening, I think this year we are going to shake things up just a bit and have beef stew.  But not just any beef stew...beef stew that has been cooked slowly and lovingly all afternoon in a simmering bath of Guinness draught.  Tender beef with lots of veggies and a sauce that will bring you right back to the old country, even if you have never been there. Read More & Get the Recipe

Stifado, Otherwise Known as Greek Beef Stew


Approximately one million years ago when the Southern husband and I were young and foolish, we had a lot less, well, stuff than we have now.  We had one television, one car, one teeny antique house and no hound dog.  We didn't have Iphones or digital cameras or laptops.  (Neither did anyone else...we are talking the Dark Ages here.  We are talking pre-Internet.  We are talking phones with curly cords. ) One thing that we DID have, however, was a very fine cast iron cooking pot, which has somehow escaped over the years.  We loved that pot, and among other things we made this wonderful Greek stew over and over and over in it, so whenever I make it these days it zaps me back to those olden days. Read More & Get the Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala


I've been dying to make chicken tikka masala for ages...not only because it is so, so, so delicious, but because it is also fun to say.  Tikka's up there with Zucchini Carpaccio in terms of things you can say you are making for dinner and sound super-exotic.  So in order to do this, I needed two things.  One was garam masala, which is a special spice blend.  If you don't have any and neither does your supermarket, you can get some by clicking here.  Or you can do what I do, which is ask my mom if she has any. Of course she did. The next thing you need is an absolutely totally reliable recipe, because while the end result is wonderful, I'm not gonna lie to you.  You are going to be spending some quality time with your kitchen (so plan this one for a lazy Sunday afternoon.)  I went where I always go for totally reliable, which is Cooks Illustrated.  And sure enough, there it was, and now that I had Garam Masala I was ready to rock. First you make a lovely, aromatic Read More & Get the Recipe

Slow Low Oven Ribs


When you live with a Southern man, there are certain words you can say that are pretty much guaranteed to make him light up like a Christmas tree.  Grits.  Fried okra.  Fried peach pies from The Varsity in Atlanta.  (This last one is a pure tease, since we live about 15 hours from the Varsity.)  And if all else fails...ribs.  He does love 'em.  And while you can always go the grill route with ribs, as with my dad's famous Coca-Cola Ribs, my other favorite, less complicated and fool-proof way is to cook them low and slow right in the oven. This recipe is from the delightful cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook, and if you have a long lazy day that you'd like to have end with some tender, juicy ribs, here's your recipe.  You make a quick and simple sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, maple syrup, soy sauce and red pepper, and then pour half of it over some country style pork ribs.  Cover the pan with foil and pop it in the oven for about three Read More & Get the Recipe

Shredded Short Ribs with Pappardelle


A little while ago, a box arrived in my mailbox that was filled with these. Yes, bags of pappardelle from the Al Dente pasta company in Michigan.  They had emailed to me ask if I might be interested in trying out some of their pasta, and I am a girl who can't say no to pasta.  So I said yes please, and it happened to coincide with a Jamie Oliver recipe I had been dying to try for slow-cooked meat over, yes, pappardelle,  so the whole thing seemed like fate. First the recipe.  It called for slow-cooking meat in a mixture of red wine, chopped carrots and celery and red onions and herbs, with some plum tomatoes and barley thrown in for good measure.  The interesting part of this was that the recipe gave you COMPLETELY free rein over whatever kind of meat you chose.   It suggested everything from venison to wild boar to squab to rabbit to beef. I can't cook venison.  Venison cavorts through my yard on a regular basis.  On one occasion, we had a baby that couldn't jump the stone Read More & Get the Recipe

Butter Chicken


There is comfort food, and there is Extreme Comfort Food.  Comfort food includes things like pastina, and eggs with soldiers, and macaroni and cheese in any form.  Extreme comfort food is what you make when times call for desperate measures.  I'm talking shredded chicken.  I'm talking buttered cream sauce.  I'm talking pouring all of that over mashed potatoes and surrounding it with peas. Extreme Comfort Food is what is called for when your teenager...the baby you birthed for hours on end, the toddler who called you Mama and held your hand when you crossed the street, the grade-schooler whose hair you fixed in pigtails and whose Pokeman lunchbox you filled with millions of pb&j sandwiches, the teenager who goes with you to get your nails done and who tells you when you are singing the wrong words to Single Ladies...when she gets The Envelope. The envelope that basically says, in several short months she is going to pack her Harry Potter books and her green nail polish and Read More & Get the Recipe