Friday, January 26, 2007

Oh, How Pathetic

I’ve just violated one of the cardinal rules of food-blogging: I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Yes, yes, it’s inexcusable. And yes, I am aware that I have an obligation to my legion of readers to provide thorough documentation of the preparation and consumption of pies, tarts, and pastries. The Queen begs your forgiveness.

And now that I’ve stepped into the confessional, I’ll add that I’m in violation of other food-blogging conventions, too. I have not, for instance, incorporated a sexy design into this blog (although I intend to remedy this eventually). Also I fear that I may be guilty of describing the equivalent of the cheese sandwich I ate for dinner last night, which I didn’t realize was a problem until I read this.

Forgive me, Readers, for I have sinned.

In my photo defense, I’ll explain that I got all swept up in getting dinner on the table – or in this case, the cute little trays we use on those special Family Nights when we sup together while watching a movie. It’s a rare moment indeed these days when the stars align for this to happen since somehow, teenagers find family time about as appealing as being drawn and quartered. But it was Sunday night, the Netflix envelope beckoned, the “children” were both at home, and we only had to pay them a small sum to hang out with us.

I’d not heard much about the movie Osama, although I’d recently finished the book, The Swallows of Kabul (which was so much better than that dreadful Kite Runner, a book that every other person in the western world seems to adore) and I suppose I was on the equivalent of an Afghan binge. A movie about Afghanistan. Well, that would be good for the family, I imagine. Let the royal offspring count their blessings and learn a bit more about life on the other side of the world.

Well, it certainly fulfilled the blessings component. Suddenly, emptying the dishwasher and taking out the trash didn’t seem like such a heavy price for the Princes to pay for their relatively luxurious existence. But I’d probably not recommend this movie as a complement to dinner. The family gamely watched all 82 minutes of it (not that anyone was, er, counting), although frankly, there was an uncomfortable sort of irony in eating a hearty dinner when the characters in the movie were desperate to get ahold of even a melon.

Anyway, I think my brain was looking for an excuse not to focus on the film because about halfway into it, I realized that I’d neglected the photo session. It actually occurred to me that I could probably have just replicated the photos from the chicken pot pie I featured a few months back, but you’ll be pleased to know that your Queen does maintain some standards of journalistic integrity.

Which is why you should take my word and make this dish. I can promise you both a savory and hearty repast for a cold winter night and a lovely reward to your taste buds, too. The pot pie is actually a sort of stew with a crust; its flavor is rich and what I guess you’d call zesty – enhanced with a lot of red wine and oddly enough, red wine vinegar. There are vegetables (carrots, potatoes, green beans) enough to call it a meal in itself, although it’s good served with homemade applesauce and a glass of robust wine.

Just be careful what you watch while you eat it.


Beef Pot Pie

Adapted From The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 c. sliced carrots (1/2 inch thick)
5 small red potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 c. dry red wine
1 c. beef broth
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. dried thyme
2 T. dark brown sugar
8 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
pastry for a single crust pie

Preheat oven to 350. Heat butter and oil in large skillet. Brown the beef on all sides, a few pieces at a time. Remove to medium-size casserole. Saute onion and garlic in the same skillet for 2 minutes. Add to the casserole. Mix together flour salt and pepper and sprinkle over the beef and onions. Toss to coat thoroughly. Add the carrots, potatoes, mustard, wine, broth, vinegar, thyme, and brown sugar to the beef and stir. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Cover and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Cook green beans in boiling water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Remove beef stew from oven. Increase the heat to 425. Stir beans into stew.

Pour the beef stew into a clean deep 2-quart casserole or souffle dish. Roll out the pastry and place on the top of the dish. Trim the pastry. Brush with milk and cut a steam vent in the center.

Bake until crust is golden, about 25 minutes.


At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are forgiven.

Sometimes you get to clean up before company comes. Sometimes, they just show up on your doorstep and after the first flush of panic subsides, you invite them in to see how you *really* live.

Hey, we've all seen pot pies, right? Like from the outside. Perfect, fresh from the oven. Where's the interest in that???

This time, we got to see the inside. The lived-in look. The real human aspect of a pot pie. After all, the inside is where the love is.

[sotto voce]pssst... speaking of human, do I detect a few typos in this week's offering?[/sotto voce]

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous elmin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a problem....this time. Ha! The Pot Pie looks like a great recipe. I will have to try this one next time, instead of my chicken. Thanks!

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Pebbles said...

I am with ya on the picture taking....its hard sometimes! And, since I use a camera phone, I swear it's going to get dropped into batter one day. I love the idea of a Beef Pot Pie....Hmmm...I will be putting this one in my mental filing cabinet! Thanks!

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Fruit Seasons said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you fixed one of the typos.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger The Queen of Tarts said...

Anonymous, Okay, I give up. Where's the other typo?

Anonymous 2, Enjoy!

Pebbles, I seem to remember Julia Child dropped a few things, too. I bet the batter would be bad for your phone, though. . .

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be mistaken, but shouldn't that say "beef chuck"?

At 7:45 AM, Blogger The Queen of Tarts said...

Anonymous, You're right! I'm shocked and horrified (well, sort of). Your fine copy-editing skills are to be commended and Your Queen will make a correction pronto.

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