flit: (lunch)
I acquired the ingredients but Brad cooked this according to my mumbled instructions from bed, as I was too crashy to do it myself. He did a great job regardless of my vagueness!

What I wanted was a beef stew that wasn't too heavy. Using lighter vegetables helped there. I omit carrots from my recipes because I'm allergic; there's no reason not to put them in if you like them.

We gave this a very low, long, cooking time because we used grass-fed beef in it. This beef is very lean and has a different fat profile than feedlot beef, and it can get tough quickly if cooked on high heat. We use a dutch oven for slow braises and it would be very suitable to a crockpot, especially if you have the kind that lets you brown foods on the stovetop first.

Ingredients:

* 2lbs beef stew meat (any tough, reasonably lean, cut of meat is good)
* favorite cooking oil (we use grapeseed for high temperature)
* 2 onions, 1/2" diced
* 2-4 cloves garlic to taste, minced
* one-half to one small can tomato paste
* 2 fennel bulbs, 1/2" diced (use some greens if you want a pronounced anise flavor; omit if you want it more subtle)
* 3 small kohlrabi, 3/4" diced (use 2 turnips, 1 daikon, or 1 lg. rutabega if you can't find kohlrabi)
* 3 ronde de nice squash, 3/4" diced (or crookneck, patty pan, or small zucchini)
* 4-5 small red potatoes, quartered
* one normal-sized can fire roasted tomatoes, sliced (or normal canned tomatoes if you can't find that, or 4 1/2" diced fresh roma tomatoes)
* fresh thyme, four sprigs worth of leaves, or 3-4 pinches dry thyme
* bay leaf
* salt and pepper to taste
* red wine and vegetable broth, equal parts to cover

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.

In a dutch oven, brown stew meat on all sides, then set aside.

Add 1Tbsp oil, onions, and some salt and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute or so until the tomato paste darkens somewhat.

Put beef (and juices) back in and add remaining ingredients. Add equal parts red wine and vegetable broth until everything is barely covered with liquid. Bring to a simmer.

Cover, place in oven, and cook at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender; you can test it at 2 hours or just leave it for 3; it holds up well to extra cooking time.

If you don't have an oven-safe vessel, you can cook it on the stovetop at a low simmer, covered, for probably 1.5-2 hours.
flit: (Default)
I have two Dreamwidth invite codes to hand out semi-arbitrarily.

If you want one, send email to flit @ livejournal and I'll send them out tomorrow.
flit: (Default)
I've removed a few people from my reading page because they post through to LiveJournal. Until they get reading filters up and running on dreamwidth I'll continue using that method. I'll continue posting everything through to LiveJournal myself, so you don't miss anything by not reading me on Dreamwidth. While I may end up doing a global import, for now I'm only posting Dreamwidth-specific and recipe posts there. I'm not reading there as frequently yet, but there's a nice food community which is incentive to read more often.

So far my impressions are generally positive. I think they really do have their heart in the right place, and it feels like old school LiveJournal. My only two quibbles are the erroneous use of the .org TLD (though I guess as the non-business owner of a .com domain I have no legs to stand on) and the lack of ongoing sale of seed accounts. They still seem worth supporting, if only as an alternative as LiveJournal goes off and becomes its own thing, and I very much hope they succeed. That's not incompatible with hoping that LiveJournal doesn't degrade; I want them to last as well. But as a host that specifically welcomes diversity, which LJ has a poor track record on, Dreamwidth is a very good thing.
flit: (lunch)
This is almost not a recipe at all, since it's so simple. However it's very nice to have some simple methods in the repertoire for days when complexity is overwhelming.

Given all of the recent attention to the flu, this recipe is even thematic, because it's possible to be cooked by a flu sufferer as long as they're not too confused and reasonably ambulatory. How do I know this? I made it while having a flareup. Safety tip: I do not recommend messing around with hot stoves if you *are* confused and feverish. But it would keep for a few days in the fridge, so you could make it up in advance and microwave portions.

This isn't really congee in that it doesn't have a long cooking time, doesn't use whole rice, and it plays fast and loose with the proportions. But it is close enough that it will fill the same niche (a simple and highly digestible gruel, excellent for sick people to eat) and can be made in under five minutes out of long-keeping ingredients that are easy to have on hand.

The basic ingredients:

* water (or chicken broth/stock, or other broth/stock of your choice)
* rice cereal; I use Arrowhead Mills brown rice cereal
* pinch salt if you're using water (optional)

Make this up but use only half to two thirds of the cereal directed on the package, depending on how thick you want it. This has microwave instructions and times given, but I have never made it in the microwave without covering the inside of the microwave with a layer of rice, so I make it on the stove. If you want it to be smoother you can cook it for longer, but this will be quite eatable in two minutes of simmering. You will end up with a thin gruel.

This is pretty bland, which might be exactly what you want if you're feeling sick. But you can add a lot of different things to it to make it less bland. The most obvious is to use some sort of broth for cooking it. Chicken broth is a mild anti-inflammatory and will probably make you feel better. Other anti-inflammatories that are also tasty flavorings include:

* a quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
* a dash of ginger juice or a pinch of powdered ginger (or minced fresh if you have the energy)
* small clove of garlic, minced or crushed, or garlic powder
* some hot pepper sauce
* a sliced green onion
* minced parsley or cilantro

Most of these are very easy additions requiring minimal work with a knife. You can add any or all to taste. I don't usually like garlic or ginger powder as much as the fresh ingredient, but they're nice to fall back on when chopping seems too difficult.

If you have a rice cooker with a porridge setting, you can also make rice porridge in that. It will take longer but be very easy.
flit: (Default)
I realized that I am unlikely to do much in the way of structured writing this summer. So I'll use my dreamwidth journal for posting about either Dreamwidth itself, or recipe and cooking posts, since I probably will write some of those even during the sleepy months.

It's tempting to import everything over here so I can have a live backup, but I'm going to continue to keep it separate. The forked comments are still problematic because they divide communities.

One feature I'm really looking forward to is filtered reading lists; I'd like to be able to filter out the people who reflect onto livejournal so I can get the dreamwidth-only content here. If it's a while in coming, a stopgap would be to stop reading those journals here but still grant them access here. I do really like the split between reading and access.

Dreamwidth

May. 1st, 2009 02:49 am
flit: (Default)
I just received a code for Dreamwidth's Open Beta and I've started an account, also named flit.

As I said before, I'm not planning on jumping ship from LiveJournal unless LiveJournal has some far more serious problems than it's had already. While I'm not sanguine with all of the choices LiveJournal has made, it's still a functional site and it's been my journal home since I started keeping an online journal. I have a lot of friends and a permanent account on LiveJournal (which has actually been worth every penny) and so I am in for the long haul.

That said, the crossposting feature on Dreamwidth rocks. In a scenario where I did switch to Dreamwidth while LiveJournal was actually still up and running (i.e. for policy reasons rather than functionality reasons), it would be quite transparent to LiveJournal users -- except for the bifurcation of comments. Comments are a major part of LiveJournal for me, though, so it's one of the major reasons not to switch.

If I *am* going to switch, though, Dreamwidth seems like an excellent safe harbor. I love their commitment to remaining ad-free. I love their commitment to diversity. I admit that I have no interest in a lot of those other communities, but I feel that they have a right to exist. LiveJournal got too cautious and monetized and these things fell by the wayside. Dreamwidth feels like LiveJournal before it got sold, really. Hence my motivation to kick the tires and build a little nest away from home here.

One of the things I've seen a lot of with LiveJournal, for good or bad, is a tendency to spawn off special-purpose, focused, blogs, and then crosspost those to LiveJournal. I actually like that a lot about LiveJournal; I like seeing people's "serious business" crossposts along with their less structured posts, including one-liners, memes, and yes, even twitter posts. It lets people give out their blog address to interested people without necessarily giving their LiveJournal account out, letting them keep the hair-down, casual feel of LiveJournal. LiveJournal is the t-shirts and sweat pants we laze around in on weekends and evenings, and those blogs are the button down shirts and suit jackets.

I've been thinking of at least tagging my longer and more meaty posts (there are a few!) so it's possible to read only "the good parts". So that might be one use for my Dreamwidth account, which would allow me to participate fully in the beta without actually moving. I could treat it as one of those special purpose blogs and write my longer posts here, then have them crossposted to LiveJournal. Let's see how that goes.

You special-purpose bloggers, any insights into this?

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flit

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