Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cooking For Comfort

After our nearly 6-hour session with the guardian ad litem in this third round of custody, and our nearly-as-long drive home with a subsequent 5 hours of sleep, J developed a migraine on Tuesday. Her first in months, it knocked her off her feet. Emotionally drained & in physical pain, she requested comfort food. I rubbed an organic roaster chicken with butter, sea salt and herbes de Provence. I roasted the chicken to a tender juiciness and served it with buttery smooth whipped potatoes, chicken gravy and golden corn. We ate on trays in bed.

Last night, with moods improved and migraine vanished, we ate on the couch. However, we still ate comfort food. By the time J got home from work, the air was redolent with the smells of the Southwest, squash and peppers, cumin and chiles. I made a spicy tomato-based beef stew with beer bread and baby spinach with vinaigrette (light raspberry for me, balsamic for J).

Southwest Beef Stew
2 tbsp. oil
2 lb. stew beef, in 1" cubes
2 onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 zucchini, sliced
1 red pepper, in thin strips
16 oz. frozen corn (I used canned, well-drained)
1 c. parsley, chopped
1/2 c. salsa (I used Newman's Own, medium)
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt

In large Dutch oven or stew pot, heat oil. Add beef & onions & cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the other ingredients,bring to boil, cover and simmer on low 2 hours. Remove lid and simmer 1/2 hour longer. To make a vegetarian version, throw in some beans in place of the beef.

Beer Bread
3 c. self-rising flour
2 tbsp. sugar
12 oz. beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together. Put in a greased loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes.

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