Since my darling girl has been working crazy hours at work this week again (12 hour days minimum and I am writing this up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday as I brew her pre-work coffee), I thought it would be nice for her to have a delicious and cozy meal to come home to last night. As I stood in the kitchen, tears pouring down my face as I wielded my Wusthof over the onions, I thought, "You know, very few things are worth this kind of tears, but onions are so worth it!" I also thought of the scene in "Julie & Julia," which I saw with the church movie group last weekend, where Julia Child has been chastized at Le Cordon Bleu for her knife skills (or lack thereof). I know I am certainly way below par on that count myself. So, I could completely sympathize with Julia as she chopped an enormous mound of onions, weeping all the while, in an attempt to get her dicing just right.
Now, my heap was nothing to Julia's heap, but a pound and a half of onions felt like a bit of a big deal to peel and slice as I prepared the evening dinner, beer-braised beef and onions. While I cried over my labors, J watched some of her favorite Friday night crime shows and Pie worked on his D&D prowess. My recipe came from the February 2009 issue of Gourmet and can be found at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beer-Braised-Beef-and-Onions-351440
When I put the roast in, I threw in a few well-scrubbed potatoes as well. I was only doing half the recipe, as my roast was only half the size they recommend, so the potatoes were done perfectly right when the roast was. I also quick-roasted some green beans while I let the meat do its standing thing. Roasted green beans are incredibly simple, but the flavor is out of this world! All you have to do is toss about a pound of green beans with a tablespoon of good olive oil, a tablespoon of water and some salt & pepper. Scatter the whole mess on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 500 degree oven (this is not a typo---I'll say it again: 500 degrees) for 8 minutes. The beans' flavor is pulled out to the forefront and they turn blackish around the edges. Deliciously green and a perfect counterpart to the silky depth of the beef.
For dessert, since the day's holiday was Cookie Day and I knew J was eagerly anticipating a batch of something scrumptious, I got out the familiar yellow Tollhouse bag, followed the recipe on the back and turned out a few dozen warm, gooey cookies. As I put them away last night, I wondered if there would be any left this morning, but the Night-Time Teen Marauder seems to have steered clear of the kitchen. Maybe I'll actually have a few left to take to my young friends down the street.