Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beef Daube Provencale

Another slow cooker recipe, as promised.

Unfortunately, I have now discovered yet another limitation to Picky Spouse's list of Do Not Makes (you know, soups, cream sauces, fish, etc.?) Yup, can't cook with wine, apparently, either. He walked in the door and wanted to know what smelled like feet. This was not an auspicious beginning to the entire meal.

The conversation went:
"It's a version of French beef stew in the crock pot.
"Did you put feet in it?"
"No, there are carrots, onions, olives, and some red wine in there, though."
"That's it - why did you cook something with wine? Have you done that before?"
"Yes, we ate Julia Child's recipe for Beef Bourginon and you loved it. Remember?"
"Well, the house smelled pretty good then but right now it smells like feet."

So, The Spouse is refusing to try this meal at all and is planning on making hot dogs for his supper. I think he'd be perfectly content to live on hot dogs, pancakes, and tacos for the rest of his life because those are really the only things he likes.

The pickiness makes me want to bang my head against the wall. I miss eating things like fish, too. The Daughter has suggested that we start a Good Food Club of just her and I, and we let The Spouse fend for himself for dinners at this point. She, too, misses seafood. And soups.

I will now rate the recipe for the beef with my usual commentary. The Daughter and I both ate it over long grain rice rather than the noodles the recipe recommends.

Link to the recipe is here. Please also note that my stew came out just like the picture. Hooray.


The Good: Prep time not too bad, ingredients not hard to find, not too expensive, and it cooked within the allotted time and (I thought) smelled wonderful. Don't you just love coming home and having the whole living area smell like stew, especially when it's raining and kind of icky outside (like it was today)? The Daughter and I both enjoyed it - the meat was tender and flavorful, and the veggies were yummy, too.

The Bad: I had to buy cheesecloth in which to put the herbs in the crock pot and of course my regular grocery store didn't carry that, so I had to go to a specialty cooking store to get it (which is a pain in the hind quarters in Southern California as there aren't many of those around. Most people here go out to eat.) The stew also had a very acidic taste to it - like a tang, which you may not be used to if you always eat classic American-type beef stews. I enjoyed it, but people with a taste bud profile like Le Spouse will probably not care too much for it.

The Ugly: See the conversation I had with the Spouse, above. I cannot get the man to try anything new and different lately without an almighty struggle.

I should have known better, considering that the first time I ever took him out for Chinese food, he refused to eat it as he said the plate resembled snot. Green snot, if I recall correctly. I should learn and keep the gourmet experimentation cooking for me and The Daughter, because at least we are willing to try new things.

First time in a Japanese restaurant in California, the Daughter (8 years old) plunged right in and ordered Unagi. And ate it. And enjoyed it. Once I told Le Spouse it was eel, he freaked right out. Not that he'd ever try to eat anything that swims, so it's a moot point.

Anyway, this recipe rates a solid 4 out of 5 stars for me. Easy to prep, easy to eat, and great for a rainy day. It meets the "Will I make this again?" test with a resounding 'Yes'.

I apologize for turning this into the Complaint About What the Spouse Will Not Eat blog, but it's frustrating for me - I will be the first one to admit that I love being a great cook, and hearing people praise my food. Now, I don't say this lightly or with arrogance - I have a lot of experience and I'm pretty good at cooking. I have my failures, like everyone else - but I really love to cook, and it's a labor of love for me. It's like I'm giving the love to the people I feed when I create meals for them. And when The Spouse gets all cranky and toddler-like, I can't give him the love on a plate and I don't receive any love back. Cooking is my love language. Does that make sense?

Well, in any case - that's all for today - may your culinary adventures be tasty ones! Tomorrow, I'll blog about lasagne.

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