Monday, September 19, 2011

Sometimes you wake up early

So, the day before yesterday, I woke up early. Like, three hours early. This bento was the result.

I tried to deep fry the pot stickers (having a left over pan of oil from making karaage) but it proved too hazardous. I ended up, gasp! microwaving them to completion. To be honest, the combination produced a hard and chewy shell over what was already a mediocre filling (mass produced freezer gyoza). I think I will stick with the pan frying method in the future.

The shrimp with broccoli in chili sauce is... exactly that.

The "yellow plate" as I thought of it, was sliced takuwan (pickled daikon) with tamagoyaki and peach (dipped in water laced with lemon juice to preserve color). The middle is a ball of miso which I dissolved into hot water at lunch.

Completed with white rice, this was one of the most satisfying lunches I have ever eaten.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Redemption in a Roll

Recently I failed at making a pizza dough. We won't get into it, but excessive amounts of salt and guests being present were involved. To repair my baking reputation somewhat, I decided to bake some rolls.

After consulting this recipe, I tried my hand. It was rather cool in my apartment that day; an impetus for baking no doubt. I decided to put one of those terracotta, warming discs that you place under a basket of baked rolls under the bowl of my raising dough. This cut my rising time in half.

The dough was nicely plastic; not too sticky at all. I did not manage to cut the strips perfectly even, nor to get them to stack neatly. This is why my rolls looked a bit like a hybrid between butter flake rolls and monkey bread. Even so, I consider my baking skills redeemed from the previous fiasco.

In the end, the important part is to keep getting back on the proverbial horse and keep baking. And if they're really your friends, they'll eat that salty pizza crust anyway.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A summer day with you

My friend Lilian and I got together and drove around a bit. We went to the Yakima Fruit Stand (the one not actually in Yakima), we poked around a bit at a farmers' market inside of a set of delightful little stores catering to Americana. We finished off by going to a grocery store, picking up little cheeses, cream (for tea) and a fresh loaf of bread.

Returning to my house, we had open face sandwiches with olive oil, tiny tomatoes (from Lilian's parents' garden), thinly sliced cucumber and the aforementioned cheeses. We ate that while drinking Pakistani tea (sent from Spain by my friend Kishpike during his travels abroad) with cream and rock sugar.

If there is a moral to this story (which there may not be) it's that I can occasionally eat some very tasty things.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

As You Like It

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) has the kanji for "like" and "heat through" (grill, fry, fire up; that kind of thing). It is as to a pancake as an omelet is to a fritata. You make a better, have cut things small, and fry it up. This dish has about a billion recipes online.

I used a cheater method and used *gasp* an instant dough mix. I just didn't know where or how to find the "mountain potato" used to make the dough have the right consistency. Perhaps it's easily found in Japanese markets, but I don't have any locally. Despite being from instant, the resulting fritter was very delicious.

I used previously sauteed onions, katsuo (flaked fish used in lots of Japanese cooking), tenkasu (little bits of deep fried batter), finely shredded cabbage and bacon.

The method is drawing a disc of batter onto something hot and slick (I used my favorite cast iron) and to layer your ingredients with the meat on top and covering with a lid to let it steam cook the top while frying the bottom. The two video tutorials suggested brushing the batter on top of the bacon, but this seemed bothersome ( only have one food brush). Instead, I scooted the okonomiyaki over, drew another disc of batter, and flipped it into the new batter disc. This worked well. While it's still on the griddle, you brush okonomiyaki sauce on top.

I don't have specific okonomiyaki sauce, so I used "Bull Dog" brand "fruit and vegetable sauce, medium sweetness". It's kind of like a Japanese barbeque sauce. Once I plated it, I tried to make an attractive pattern with squeezes of mayonnaise and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

I wouldn't say that I'm up to "Okonomiyaki no Ucchan"'s standards, but I make a mean okonomiyaki.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Queen of Hearts

probably didn't use salmon berries to make her tarts. More's the pity.

My friend Lilian, my new friend Irene and her mother (whose name escapes me) were kind enough to let me tag along with their berry picking expedition. We were after huckleberries, but we found a lot more salmon berries.

Salmon berries, for those of you thinking of extremely gross things right now, are simply called "salmon" berries because they are approximately the same color and are in season the same time as the fish. Worry not, gentle readers, my tarts are vegetarian.

I cheated and used a store bought pie dough that had been lying in my freezer. I lined tart pans and blind baked them until they were more or less done. Then I prepared a simple custard of six egg yolks and six tsp sugar (2 TB for the measure savvy) with a pint of whole milk with a split vanilla bean. I initially used the double boiler method, but I just couldn't get the custard to stand firm. So I settled for baking it in the cups like a Hong Kong tart. I scattered the salmon berries over the surface before baking (with extra sugar and a little bit of salt).

All in all I was pleased by the result. The slight ...well tartness of the berries with the creamy sweetness of the custard paired extremely well. I'll have to make some black tea to go with them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Ume are in season now. Ume are called Japanese plums, though I've heard that they are more closely related to apricots than actual plums.

In any case, these plums were meant for preserving, so that's just what I'll do.

Of course, the easiest way to preserve something is to submerge it in high proof alcohol and leave it there.

Umeshuu (plum liquor) is traditionally made with shouchuu, but I live in an area with a dense Korean population and thought that soju would make a poor substitute. I opted instead to use some vodka that was lying around my house.

The recipe I had called for a two to one ratio of plums to rock sugar (I used German rock sugar because it was what was handy). Then you fill your container enough just to cover the plums, making sure to leave half the bottle space empty. Why? Because the plums give up their liquid and will eventually explode a fully filled bottle.

Leave this in a DCP (dark, cool place) for three months, take out the plums (which I hear are a real treat) and return to its DCP for one to three years.

Now for the tricky part. If you have any interest in Japan at all (which you might not) then you are at least familiar with the sight, if not the name umeboshi. Umeboshi is that red, sour ball in your rice ball. It is the quintessential Japanese pickle.

You see, I am one of those people who is bad at waiting. Instant gratification more often than not is the biggest factor in my decisions.

So pickling? Better damn well be worth it. This is a project that will take roughly three months for the first stage, and up to three years for second.

I carefully hand selected the unblemished plums (the blemished ones went into the vodka) and carefully used a tooth pick to... pick out the stems. Then I washed them in several changes of water, making sure not to bruise them. I left them soaking over night to remove some of the bitterness, then dunked them in more vodka (I'm serious running out guys) and prepared a ceramic container by wiping it down with, you guessed it, vodka. I then weighed out around fifteen percent of the weight of the plums in course salt and layered it with the plums into my sterilized container. I put a weight (a duck taped plastic container full of water into a plastic sandwich bag) and will now wait for two weeks for the umesuu (plum vinegar) to ooze out.

As soon as my akashiso is big, I'm supposed to tear it into little bits and add it to the mix as well.

Wish me luck because I think I'm going to need it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Is it really June already?

It's a week into June, and still I wear my coat to work.

The rain today was more of a constant, downward mist. It coated everything without the release of a shower.

I suppose I should be grateful. Stuck in the oven of my work, do I need sun unloaded heat?

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!

A week later and my spinach is sprouting and my "micro tom" cherry tomato plant is filling out nicely with blooms.

I nearly missed the sprout, but I discovered it while picking pine needles out of my potting soil.

As my other plants do interesting things, I will do my best to report it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How does my garden grow?

I suppose we'll find out together.

I've planted alpine strawberries, aka shiso, kale, Chinese mustard greens, lavender, two kinds of cherry tomatoes, spinach and poppies (just for fun). Sky Nursery was a very fun place to shop for plants.

The Boyfriend suggests we get a little table to add height to the plants and get them more sun. I agree, but this is all right for right now.

This is my first garden (technically I had another one as a child, but I basically put seeds in the ground and forgot about them), so I'm excited to see how everything turns out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I had to set up another entire blog just to be able to access this one. That was really a bother.

Monday, May 23, 2011

sakana nabe

I made nabe for dinner the other night. It was salmon, daikon, carrots, green onion, and beech mushrooms. The broth was a standard dashi. I cut the carrots and daikon into stars and maple leaves using tiny cookie cutters. The left over cut outs can be further cut up and used in stir fry.

I didn't really like the green onion this way. I guess it just isn't a vegetable to be boiled.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another lunch

That was a lunch comprised of left over gyuudon (home made of course), edamame shumai (store bought of course) and rice balls. The two white ones were stuffed with more gyuudon and the colorful one was empty but rolled in a seasoning mix called furikake.

That gyuudon was made with onions, thinly sliced beef, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and vanilla rum. It was a very rich sauce.

I believe the monkey face is full of hot mustard.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The thing about hobbies

is that they take a back seat when your life gets busy.

This is a maguro-don that I made... two weeks ago?

You see, I've developed a weakness for raw fish. When cooking up some salmon for dinner I'll "trim" a small piece off, dip it in a little wasabi and eat it while I fry up the rest. I generally buy fish from the Korean market (because it's cheaper) and it's usually labeled "sushi/sashimi" grade.

"Maguro" means fatty tuna and "-don" means "on or in a bowl of hot rice" (roughly). So I cut up some raw tuna, added some shredded nori, some rice vinegar, some wasabi and some mentsuyu sauce. I gently mixed it up and then gobbled it down. It's for those of us who lack the knife skills of a sushi chef (which is most of us) and can't afford to get full at a sushi restaurant (which is most of us).

Two things.

One: sushi is generally supposed to be this "high", aesthetic experience where you eat one or two pieces and are very satisfied because they were so skillfully prepared. I have eaten that kind once (on my rich friend's dad's dime). Cheaper sushi is still delicious, but it's less of an experience and more of a "let's get an expensive dinner" kind of thing.

Two: Mentsuyu sauce is a soy, mirin, dashi mix that is generally used for eating somen. It is handy to keep around and add to savory things. I especially like it on pan fried broccoli.

In conclusion, raw fish is delicious and you shouldn't let your wallet or your knife skills prevent you from eating it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hair and Such

This is a hair style inspired by one of a Regency style. Of course I did it to myself (not having any hand maidens or the like) so it's a bit messy. However, I think that the messiness adds a bit of charm.

The Boyfriend was my willing photographer.

And to satisfy those who read my blog for the food, here was a lunch that was very satisfying. It was a tuna fish sandwich (laced heavily with wasabi for safety's and taste's sake). There was celery sticks and apple slices (since everything was in baggies it didn't make much sense to take the effort to cut them into bunnies). In the glass jar was potato and leek soup. I heated it up in the microwave at work. It was a very filling and tasty lunch.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Day, Another Bento

This was rice mixed with hot mustard and left over salmon bits. Gyoza with a fish bottle full of soy sauce. The quick miso pickle. Some more of the ubiquitous apple bunnies. I tucked a little more of the left over saury in the corner, but it's a dark fish in a dark container, so it's a little hard to see.

It was pretty tasty. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hisashiburi da ne obento san!

It's been a while since I've packed a lunch for work. I think I will start doing it for various reasons, not the least of which is nutritional.

There's a potato salad that I made from the fried veggies that were part of a pot pie. I scooped them out of the pan (plucking out the chicken bites and putting them back in the pan). I let it cool down and dressed it quickly with some mayo and apple cider vinegar.

The green salad next to it is actually a quick miso pickle. You thinly slice some veggies (grated carrot and sliced cucumber), rub them with salt, let them weep for a while, let them sit in some miso for a while, and rinse the whole thing off. I poured a little rice vinegar over it. The white bits are rice from the organic white miso (it's a strange brand I won't buy again). Next time I think I'll leave the carrot shreds to the last. They don't really need to be salted or anything.

You can't tell from the picture, but the slices of apple are cute to resemble rabbits. There are various tutorials about the internet.

I also added half a saury which I cooked simply in a pseudo teriyaki sauce (sake, soy sauce, sugar). I took the bones out prior to packing to make for neater eating.

That thing in the plastic is a miso ball. You scooped some miso into a plastic bag, (adding some goodies if you like) and add a little hot water to make a thin, but enjoyable miso soup. It's a technique I picked up from Just Hungry which is a valuable Japanese cooking site.

The plan is to keep packing my lunch. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu

(Black Bean Katsu, picture from the internet)

Yesterday was my day off, and so I dragged The Boyfriend with me to the mall. It was a nice day, so we walked.

After considerable walking to the mall, and inside the mall, we (or rather, I) got hungry. The problem is that the food court is rather... lacking. We decided to head across the street to another food court, one located inside H Mart.

Kobe Wellbeing Kotatsu, despite having a Japanese name and serving Japanese food, has a menu covered in Korean with a little English here or there. always find this ironic, but the quality of food is very good.

I tried the sweet potato stuffed tonkatsu. I believe they cook the sweet potato, grind it into a paste, and sandwich it inbetween two thin layers of pork before breading and deep frying. A word of warning, even if the meat seems cool enough, the potato will still be molten lava.

It was very delicious, but super filling (even more than regular katsu). It also came with miso, a green salad, rice and pickled daikon two ways (yellow pickled, and kimchi pickled). They always put a spoon in the miso, which I understood should be slurped- excuse me, sipped from the bowl while using your chop sticks to push the goodies (tofu, green onion) from the bowl into your mouth.

The Boyfriend ordered a katsu burger with a side of fries. The fries were thick cut, and didn't deflate in thirty seconds, but over all were just fries. The sandwich came on a bun with lettuce and tomato and katsu sauce. I imagine it would have been better if they had served it with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce.

All in all, it's moderately priced, fun and good for when you want some fast food Japanese. It's a place we'll habit.

Friday, March 11, 2011


As I'm sure all of you are aware, I have a certain fondness for Japanese items. Today I purchased a cast iron tea pot (not kettle!) from Teavana. It was on clearance and I've had my eye on a cast iron tea pot ever since the Good Eats episode "Trew Brew II".

I purchased four cast iron cups to go along, but instead of the wave pattern I decided to go with the hob nail pattern. I felt that the hob nail pattern would add a little... shall we call it friction? I wanted it to contrast ever so slightly against the pot to add visual and textual interest.

I brewed some sencha which I also purchased at that same store. It wasn't fantastic, but it made a good pot. I will probably look other green loose leaf teas or look at more matcha. To be honest, I'm not sure if matcha is supposed to be brewed in a pot or mixed in directly to the cup, which is going far more into chado than I feel I can do alone.

In any event, I had added another cast iron creation to my kitchen collection. Isn't it pretty?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lesson Learned

Don't slice onions with your super sharp knife while talking to your sister over the phone about extremely distressing family news in the middle of the night.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Marsala: Take Two

I made chicken Marsala back for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately made it a creamy version that, on top of whole grain pasta looked entirely too beige and therefore unworthy of Valentine's Day, much less a blog post.

In any event, this was very much a "let's do this from memory!" rendition.

I had half a bag of dried porcini mushrooms which I quickly rehydrated in my cast iron skillet with a little water and a pat of butter. When they looked thoroughly soaked, I added half a sweet onion in thin slices and a crushed garlic clove. I let the onions get about half way to absolutely caramelized, then I added two whole chicken thighs to the skillet. I let them develop a crust, then flipped them. After the second crust I gave a generous glug or two of wine (don't you love my precision?) to the skillet and put a lid over it. The chicken essentially wine steamed to done, the raw wine flavor melted away and the onions were super sweet. I "mounted the sauce" by melting another pat of butter to the skillet and served it, once again, over whole grain pasta.

I tell you, though my photography skills are lacking, it was very attractive. The Boyfriend made appreciative noises when he looked at his bowl.

I thought it was super tasty and visually pleasing, so I will be making this again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Remember me?

That picture above is from the Samurai Noodle website.

Yesterday (Friday) I went to the Emerald City Comic Con. It was loads of fun, especially listening to James Marsters talk about his career and such. Even as an American brunette, he's still swoon worthy.

But you've come here for food related news!

Yesterday, I just had a bowel of cereal before making the drive to the convention center and then walked around for hours in the very noisy dealers' room having lost The Boyfriend. By the time I caught up to him again, I was pretty hungry so we decided to head out to Samurai Noodle.

Samurai Noodle is a shop that was recommended to me years ago by Minori, my Japanese exchange student friend. I had forgotten my camera and haven't had any real luck with my cell phone camera, but I did order the tonkotsu ramen shown above. The noodles were nice and chewy, and the broth was super thick. It must be all that "beauty enhancing" collagen.

The Boyfriend ordered the shouyu ramen. I snuck a spoonful of his broth which was also very good and a little refreshing after the heaviness of my broth.

We also shared an order of pork shumai which was served with shouyu, hot mustard and mayonnaise. I, sheltered being that I am, hadn't really had dumplings served with mayonnaise before, and it was pretty delicious. One of those things I know I shouldn't do, but will start doing at home. I suspect it will really only work with Kewpie style mayonnaise though.

I guess in summary, I liked the food at Samurai Noodle and will probably go back.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pot Pie is like Chicken Noodle Soup, right?

My readers, I am not a well woman. I seem to have caught some sort of head cold. Luckily, today and tomorrow are my days off.

After watching this video, I really wanted to eat chicken pot pie. I weakly called out to The Boyfriend "Will you buy me some chicken and a pie crust?" which he charitably did.

While he was out, I chopped and boiled carrots, potatoes, onion, and celery. Then I made a bachamel sauce and waited for the other two essential ingredients to show up. After frying the chicken and combining it with the sauce and vegetables, I ladled it into two oven proof bowls and lidded it all with the pie crust.

It was super delicious.

The reason why you don't have any pictures of the finished product is that my camera batteries died. That is a picture of left over fillings.

This, as I am sure you are aware, are flowers. The Boyfriend bought them to cheer me up. Even after trimming a good three inches off the bottom, they're still very tall. They're sitting in my rice jar.

I am sure that the pot pie and flowers will speed my recovery.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Knife titles are hard

So, it's really hard to come up with a humorous title for a post about buying a knife. "If you like cutting" or "Knife head!" or "I like sharp things" just really seem inappropriate.

Anyway, I do like sharp things. That's why I splurged on a 7" santoku blade by Shun. They're on sale for a hefty sum, so I figured it was now or never. I also had to wait for my paycheck, and I was unsure if the sale would last into February or not. In any event, I bought the knife and the straightening steel (because we must take care of our investments).

For those who don't know, santoku (三徳)is kind of the Japanese cousin of the standard chef knife. According to Wikipedia it's so named for its "three virtues" of slicing, dicing and mincing. It's a bit thinner and I've heard rumors that it's less virtuous in the slicing of meat, but I've yet to determine that for myself.

It did, indeed, (with a slight tugging) cut through a tomato just by the power of its own weight. The Boyfriend seemed apprehensive that I might waste his tomato, so I didn't do the upside trick.

I really should have bought some carrots, because those are my personal judge for knives, but it went with shocking ease through a potato and diced an onion with style.

I guess the only other experience I can really relate this to is the one I had in college. I am the proud owner of a $75 viola I bought on Ebay. This is the equivalent to a Good Will knife. I was in college to study music. One day, my very patient professor (who was constantly encouraging me to upgrade) allowed me to try my passage on his extremely expensive viola (if I remember correctly it was made by the same violin maker who made a viola for ...Beethoven?). Using the same skills but having an immediate jump in quality is an experience. It's something felt in the fingers and arms and is hard to translate to words.

All in all, though I hate to spend large sums of money, I feel that this is a solid purchase and will probably buy the pairing knife with my next pay check.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Metropolis and Potato Salad

So, I accidentally bought more red potatoes than what we really need in our pantry (the results of grocery shopping from memory). There could only be one solution: potato salad.

Hitting the recipe books, I stumbled across Cold-Fashioned Potato Salad.

The recipe calls for letting the potatoes marinate in the apple cider vinegar over night, but I really wanted to eat it the same night, so I went onto Netflix streaming (another Christmas present) and watched the almost fully restored version of Metropolis. That movie is long. The score is fantastic, and the protagonist, Freder, looks a little bit like Johnny Depp when he was younger (read "less like a sexy hobo").

When The Boyfriend came back from classes, I had the salad on the table with two sausages (Italian sausages, but I figured you couldn't go wrong with a potato / sausage combination). He took a bite of the salad and said "I love you just a little bit more now."

I was going to take another picture, a close up to show you that it is actually a pretty colorful salad (dark green pickles, red onion, light green celery, black pepper), but two things happened. For one, my camera ran out of batteries so I had to start charging them. For two, we ate all the salad.

Ah well, I suppose I'll get have to make this salad again so I can take more pictures. I'm sure that'll be the only reason.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brioche (or as I call it "Butter Bread")

For a birthday or a Christmas or the like my dear friend Kishpike gifted me I'm Just Here For More Food by Alton Brown. I've been very lazy in my baking, so I've only now really taken this book to heart. As the book itself will tell you, it's not so much a collection of recipes as a home learning course on why things happen in baking.

The chapter on "The Straight Dough Method" deals with the transformation of the pizza dough recipe into a brioche recipe. I'll be honest, I've never had brioche before and embarrassed myself in front of my barista by pronouncing it "bree o ch" instead of "breeosh". In my defense, I didn't know if it was Italian or French.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that there are two sticks of butter in two loaves of bread. I've also learned that I require a better bench proofing stage (I need a warmer than room temperature space for my dough to rise in the pan and the "warm" setting on my oven is too warm) and that I have to remember that my oven runs hot.

The thing about brioche is that you have to integrate plastic but unmelted butter into a fully developed dough. Betsy (my stand mixer) worried me a time or two as the very thick dough threatened to stall my bread hook and cause my work bowl to jump out of its nest. After a little of the butter worked its way into the dough things got less exciting.

I made some soup to go with the bread (I think originally it was supposed to be in the opposite order of importance) and it made a sound meal. The soup was my usual chicken sausage, potato, kale mess.

All in all, I'd say that my technique is still lacking, but I'm learning, and at this point that's the important part.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A muffin fiend

Safeway had blue berries on "way too good" sale (it was a Friday so I assume that they're off sale again). I bought them on impulse, and later decided to make muffins. Of course I went to my number one (Alton Brown) for a reliable muffin recipe.

What I had failed to remember was that I am a muffin fiend. I tried to find a youtube clip from the show Dexter's Laboratory, but copy wright has prevailed yet again.

The muffins were nicely dense, with the flavor of the yogurt subtly present.
The only problem is that the recipe only makes twelve muffins. Clearly not enough.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

To eat your cake and blog it too

The above picture is what happens when you take baking directions from a dog. Another "Cooking with Dog" recipe, this one for Christmas cake. There wasn't as much direction as was needed. Theirs turned out looking fantastic of course, where as mine, literally, fell flat. It tasted like an overly sweet, floury omelet. Not delicious.

After watching a much longer and much more in depth "Cooking with the Stars" (hosted by Julia Childs) Lilian and I decided to make a genoise chiffon cake instead. See, the thing that is similar is that you beat four whole eggs until they look like whip cream, then you carefully fold a small amount of flour (and things like sugar and coacoa and stuff, but not baking powder or soda) into the eggs and bake it, then you cut it into sections and stuff it with whipped cream and berries.

One trick is to beat the eggs over low heat to get them to remain puffy. Cooking with dog kind of touched on this, but it wasn't clearly explained. I used the work bowl from Betty (my stand mixer) over my portable gas burner and just barely turned the heat on. I think this helped to keep the cake more stable during the folding and baking steps.

This cake was fantastic. I will make this again.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh the adventures I have had

Another Christmas present is something that I've had on my wish list for quite some time. An enameled cast iron dutch oven.

I made Beef Burgundy using the Cooks' Illustrated recipe. Essentially you put all the ingredients you would use to make a stock (onions, carrots, so forth) and you bundle them in cheese cloth. Then, after you've browned your beef and made a roux, you pour in a bottle of red (preferably a Burgundy) and some chicken stock. Then you stick the bag into the broth and stick the whole thing in the oven for hours. Finally you fry some mushrooms and pearl onions and add them in just before serving.

The pictures don't do the stew justice. I swear the broth matched the color of the enamel before it went in the oven.

They suggested serving it on mashed potatoes or buttered noodles, but I chose some buttered rice. The other swerving was that I only added half the beef called for in the recipe, as the grocery bill was starting to reach new heights.

The other nice thing about this is that I have plenty of left overs. One recipe makes a lot of portions, especially if you're serving it over some carb. I think it might be nice with a little cheese grated over the top, but that might be getting excessive.

My opinion on the recipe as a whole is just as The Boyfriend put it. "This is real good stew".