Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Heart is Full

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone.  How was yours? No matter which way yours was celebrated I hope it was something heartfelt.  

Ours was nothing over the top.  Just an exchange of thoughtfully written cards and lots of hugs and kisses in between.  And that's good enough for me.  I am not really the pink/red heart shaped balloon and chocolate  kind of girl.  And a fancy dinner is nice (heck, I love to eat!) but I wouldn't bat an eye on a prix fixe dinner that is overpriced for the day and where I would have to battle traffic to get to it.  I prefer a simple dinner at home and a rather less fraught celebration of romance.  It just feels more romantic for me like that.

Don't get me wrong.  If you are into Valentine's day and you went all out, that is a good thing.  What matters really is that at the end of the day your heart is full.  Mine just takes less effort to fill than those of others I suppose. On Valentine's day its the equivalent of a written-from-the-heart card.  My husband is good at that.  I like that he always choose cards that are almost blank and he writes his own words on it.  The message always make my heart melt.  They are so much more beautiful and touching than those cheesy wordings Hallmark make.

The idea of a special day for lovers is nice, but any day really is a good day to celebrate love.  Actually,   celebrate it everyday.  Don't pigeon-hole all that romance in one day.  In all 365 days (well, 366 days in 2012) do something heartfelt - a random hug, a kiss in the middle of doing chores, a note written on a whim, a "thinking of you" text message when you are apart, lots of I-love-yous (trust me, the feeling does not diminish even if you say it often), flowers for no reason, and many more.
P.S.  If you are jealous of the Louis Vuitton your friend got from her husband it does not mean anything other than that they have more money.   For some, Valentine's day is like a competition of who can be the most  romantic.  Get over it.  That is so high school.  

Now brace yourselves.  The forecast is that it is going to rain today.   It is dark outside as I write this post.  

This is my very first beef barley soup.  I never cooked barley before.  I never had celery root before.  I was a bit nervous of the outcome but something made me confident that this concoction was going to be good.  

And it was.

Make this soup today if you can.  It's perfect for the weather.  Then get the couch, the bed or anything comfy ready and sink in food coma with the one you love.

Beef Barley Stew with Mushrooms and Celery Root

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 pounds beef (chuck or tri tip), cut into chunks
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 14oz can beef broth or chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed very well
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaf
1 cup roughly chopped carrot
2 celery roots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt or kosher salt
Sour cream

In a Dutch oven heat olive oil in medium heat.  Add butter and melt.  Sprinkle salt over beef.

When butter stops bubbling add enough pieces of beef  and brown on all sides.  Do not crowd the pan.  Set aside browned pieces.

After browning the beef, remove all but 1 tablespoon oil being careful not to discard the browned pieces at the bottom.  Add the onions to the pan and cook about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Cook the mushrooms until they release their juices, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Lower heat and add wine  Scrape the bottom of the pan making sure to get all the browned bits at the bottom.  Add the beef back to the pot, then the marjoram, thyme, bay leaves, broth and water.  Bring to a boil then lower heat.  Cover pot and simmer in low heat for 1 hour. 

Stir in rinsed barley, celery root, carrots, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the tomatoes with its juices.  Stir well to combine and increase heat  to bring to a boil.  Then cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Add corn in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...