Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cranberry Beef Stew, Um... Potatoes, and Beef Hearts

Caveman had suggested beef stew for dinner, so I made that.

We had a beef bone left over from our St. Patrick's Day Not-Corned Beef (that's what we get for not planning ahead!), so I tossed that, along with a soup bone and some water, into the crock pot on low overnight. In the morning, I chopped up some beef (probably 3ish lbs), browned it in the skillet with some bacon grease and spices (black pepper, cumin, and garlic powder I think), and tossed that in the crock-pot, too, along with some chopped up celery and root vegetables - 2 carrots and half a rutabaga (if I'm not mistaken). I chopped up and fried an onion and some garlic in the same pan I'd used for the beef, and tossed that in as well. At some point I added some more black pepper, cumin, hot sauce, a dash of basalmic vinegar, and worchestire sauce.

I kept feeling that it needed something more, and eventually, I hit on the bag of cranberries that was sitting in the freezer. Googling the idea to ensure I wasn't totally crazy, I found that other people had, in fact, had the same inspiration (this should not be a surprise. Not much is unique on the internet. I found, for example, that I'm not the only person who has literally dreamed up a recipe for Avocado Pie). So I tossed in the cranberries. Caveman wasn't be crazy about that addition, but I told him to pick out the meat bits. The stew was already full of root veggies since I wanted it to be more than chunks of beef in broth, so he'd have to do that anyways.

* B said it was good.
* Autistic Girl ate it without comment or complaint.
* Boy ate a bit, but didn't like it.
* I think Caveman liked the meaty bits ok.
* Medium Girl was very happy eating the carrots and the pieces of meat with fat on them. She loves the fatty bits, and is always asking for more fat, which makes me cringe a little from a standard Western medicine point of view. But she's a child whose brain is still growing, so I try not to get too worked up about it. She asked for another piece with fat as a treat before bed.
* Me... eh. It was good-ish, but I'd imagined the cranberries as providing nice little plump bursts of tartness, when they actually provided little mushy bits of sour. They may not have been the best quality cranberries, and I probably would have gotten results more in line with my imagination if I'd used dried cranberries. I also should have removed some of the broth from the pot in the morning and saved it for something else before adding the ingredients. Without any paleo-appropriate thickener (most stew recipes use flour and/or cornstarch), it was way too brothy for a stew.

Baby tried out her new high chair for the first time, and I was able to actually eat dinner with both hands free until she got too fussy and had to be held. Very unusual these days, that.

Um... Potatoes. That's our new name for parsnips around these parts. Medium Girl adores potatoes, but they have a noticable effect on her behavior, so we don't do them anymore. But she'll happily accept cooked parsnips as potatoes. So we call them Um... Potatoes. Then send Boy to his room if he tries to insist that "Actually, they're Bunicula'd carrots".

Last night's recipe was an organ meat curry that, unfortunately, is really not worth writing about. Definitely not as good as the chili. Even the beef heart was a disappointment. I got it out all ready to totally do Anatomy Lesson with Boy before chopping it up for curry, and discovered that the heart was actually a half a heart, and not cut along a particularly useful plane. Someone else got most of the valves.

I did get to stick my finger through the hole between the right atrium and inferior vena cava, though. That was kind of cool.

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