The Long Road through Winter Nights
Now that the holidays are over, we begin the journey of this long road to spring. With the impact of COVID still hanging over us, we are still spending more nights at home. And, man, can they be long.
I’ve been cooking a lot more than I ever have and for someone that loves to cook, even I am getting a little bored. A few weeks ago, I started going through some of my cookbooks and stumbled across “The Best of Taste by Williams Sonoma”. I specifically remember getting this as part of a wedding gift almost 20 years ago. Which is crazy because I am only 29 (insert hysterical laughter here!). As I grazed over the recipes in this book, I suddenly became inspired to try something new this year.
Have you ever seen the movie “Julie & Julia”, which stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams? It’s a delightful movie based on a true story about a writer, named Julie, who decides to spend the next year of her life making recipes by the famed celebrity chef, Julia Childs. Not only do you learn so much about Mrs. Childs but you see how their lives intersect and the life lessons they learn. And, you get to see some fantastic food!
That movie was also inspiration for me to try several recipes from the Williams Sonoma cookbook, which I have never put to good use. It is filled with everything from cocktails to desserts to amazing entrees.
You may be wondering why I am not making every recipe in the cookbook, like in the movie. Well, there are a few things that I have to take into consideration:
My house is full of picky eaters so I have to choose recipes that they are willing to at least try. I will also have my pantry filled with Mac and Cheese for a back up. ;0)
When it comes to cocktails, I am not a huge fan of rum, unless I’m sitting on a tropical beach. Why is this important? Several drinks in the cookbook call for rum. Since I am the only person that will be drinking the cocktails, I have veto power on rum drinks.
Squid. Need I say more? Ok, I will. I am not a chef. I also don’t plan on going on Chopped anytime soon. Last but certainly not least - ewe.
Since we are in the midst of these long winter nights, I have decided that the first recipe I will try is Beef and Onion Stew. This is a recipe that is worth the extra effort of marinating the meat overnight, or for at least six hours. It makes the meat so tender and flavorful.
The recipe is below but I did put a little twist on it for my family. Since this stew mainly consists of beef and onions (hence the name), I needed to include at least one more vegetable. So I added green beans. Just buy a steam-able bag of green beans, but only cook them in the microwave for about three minutes. You want them a little undercooked when you add them to the stew. I also served this stew on top of egg noodles. The flavor of this stew is strong since the base is red wine and red wine vinegar. It needs something a little neutral in flavor for balance. Next time, I am thinking of cutting the red wine vinegar in half, just because I know how my family likes their food seasoned.
For my tastebuds, this recipe gets an A+. Since I have younger kiddos in my household, I would give this a B, but only because the vinegar base can be a little strong. However, that can definitely be adjusted.
I really enjoyed trying another recipe, especially out of a cookbook that I have had for ages. Let me know if you try this or if there is a recipe that you would like me to taste. Perhaps I will feature it here!
Until next time, thanks for crossing the bridge through Winter Nights with me. This bridge is definitely going to be a continued crossing with my handy cookbook.