Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bananas Foster Waffles

When serving bananas foster waffles or another fancy dessert disguised as breakfast, the point is always to impress the living crud out of people. This is accomplished by 1.) making the dish in the first place, 2.) using the word "flambe" (I don't know how to make that little French symbol on the keyboard), and 3.) announcing the dish casually, as if you are serving up a plate of Eggos with microwaved bananas (don't worry, the moment everyone sees them it will be quite obvious that you're not).

Bananas Foster Waffles

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 bananas, sliced2 tsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. cinnamon2 tbs. rum (spiced or flavored rum is fine if the flavor is a complementary one) 
1 cup vanilla ice cream (optional)
whipped cream for topping (optional)
4 prepared waffles

Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in heavy cream and cinnamon (mixture will look vaguely like caramel sauce). Pour rum over the top and use a long match or long fireplace lighter to ignite. Due to the small amount of rum the recipe calls for, the flame should die down after one minute or less. Cook and stir for one more minute. Remove from heat. Top waffles with bananas foster mixture and garnish with a small scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.

Bananas foster waffles - actually, bananas foster period - can be made quickly and easily, and it goes a long way in the impression category.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homemade Beef Stew

Making beef stew from scratch is easier than it looks, and it tastes a heck of a lot better than anything that comes in a cup with a peel-off lid and/or anything that rhymes with Schminty Door. Here's a recipe for a homemade beef stew that has so many nutrients, you may actually think it's too healthy.

Homemade Vegetable Beef Stew

2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt /1 tsp. black pepper or seasoned salt to taste
1 lb. stew-cut beef
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup beef stock or beef broth 
2 cups vegetable juice
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 potatoes, cut into wedges (no peeling necessary)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1 cup fresh corn, removed from the cob - do not discard cob
1-2 cups vegetables of your choice (suggestions: frozen spinach thawed, cut zucchini/yellow squash, or trimmed and cut green beans)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 8 oz. can stewed tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf

Heat olive oil in a soup pot or stock pot over medium heat. Season beef with salt/pepper mixture or seasoned salt. Place beef in plastic freezer bag and add flour, shaking to coat thoroughly. Add flour-dredged beef to heated oil; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until browned. Add beef stock to deglaze, stir. Add vegetable juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Cover and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 3 minutes to encourage thickening. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, corn, spinach/zucchini/green beans, peas and tomatoes. Return pot to a boil. Place corn cob directly in center of pot (this will act as a thickening agent and add flavor). Add bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer with lid tilted for 2 hours or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Remove corn cob and bay leaf.

Then, enjoy the vitamin-packed goodness of your homemade vegetable beef stew.