Monthly Archives: December 2009

Snow days

Boeuf BourguignonIt’s snowing in Washington, DC today. Of course, you are aware that, even though this is the Capital of the Free world, Washington is still a Sleepy Southern City. Which means, when snow is predicted, your presence is required at the grocery store! This storm was supposed to have only a one loaf rating, according to the best predictions of  one of our local weathermen, Topper Shutt. He has a very clever graphic as his Storm Meter which is loaves of bread. Unfortunately, snow storms did what snow storms tend to do and this one started 8 hours earlier than expected. Nothing, not even a filibuster, gets people riled in Washington like a storm which refuses to obey the schedule! This one managed to meet up with a tad bit more moisture than expected. So now, with a Snow Emergency in Montgomery County, the one loafer might be more like a two loafer. Haven’t seen a snow plow in the neighborhood yet, although we do have them here, unlike my home state of  Oklahoma, and it is supposed to snow all night!

Mr. Lane volunteered for grocery store duty, but not for the classic, Milk, Orange Juice, Bread and Toilet Paper, but for pearl onions and mushrooms, for though the lights are blinking, not the Christmas lights,  but the house lights, and  the power is threatening to go off again, it has gone off once already today, we are forging ahead and making http://knopfdoubleday.com/marketing/cooking/BoeufBourguignon.pdf”>Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner. Knopf has the recipe on their site. So I will simply direct you to it, rather than reproduce it here.  It is important to dry the beef as much as possible so that it browns nicely. I forgot that the mushrooms were to be quartered, so I when Mr. Lane went to the store for  mushrooms, I told him that sliced mushrooms would be fine.

Now you know, Mrs. Lane prefers sitting by the fire, rather than standing over one. I’ll pretend that the fireplace is crackling with good Cedar or Pecan  logs, not a flip of the switch of the gas, as it really is. Of course, this means that I take shortcuts, I would never  admit to use catsup instead of  tomato paste, okay, rarely, Okay! Okay!  Not as a sauce base. Also, As you can see in the picture, my sauce usually cooks down to a very thick level, meaning I don’t drain off the broth, basically, skipping the last step.
There are two additional recipes to be made while the beef cooks. Onions and mushrooms. We’ve talked about not crowding mushrooms, but there is another consideration, mushrooms absorb liquid, if they sit in it. This means that the butter and pan must be ready and sufficiently hot so that the mushrooms brown rather than stew.
You know if I’d rather sit by a fire than babysit brownin meat, I just adore peeling pearl onions, not! There is a little trick that won’t make your thumbs cry out in pain: cut off the ends of the onion, cut a slit through one layer lengthwise and unroll this layer from the onion. Very easy.

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