I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

Your Three Words

I'm sure that you are aware of the noticeable absence from my blog these past couple of months. Some of my readers already know the reasons for my spotty and nonexistent posts, but for those of you who don't, let me just say that a few months ago the earth tilted on its axis and wreaked havoc on my personal life. In an effort to reposition the world as I know it, I'm returning to the blog world. After all, my main reasons for starting this blog in the first place were to help find my seemingly lost inspirations. Inspiration is a funny day it's here and the next day it can't be found anywhere so I do appreciate your dedication in hanging with Someone's In The Kitchen during these dust-gathering months.

Earlier this week, I was listening to my favorite radio talk show hosts, Bob and Sheri, when they started talking about this compelling video that aired on ABC's Good Morning America where people summarize their lives in three words.

Bob and Sheri started taking calls from listeners who wanted to summarize their lives in three words and it got me to thinking...what would my three words be? I thought about it long and hard over the next couple of days and came up with several different choices, each one reflecting the various moods I've seemed to experience this week. When all was said and done this week, the three words that I would use to summarize my life as it stands now would be....."I Won't Settle."

But some of us are prone to change our mind as often as the wind blows, and so this morning I decided that I should change my summation to "Cooking Is Life." Why? Just think about it..... There I stood staring into the crowded abyss that is my refrigerator and I realized that each morning I wake up wondering, "What's the plan for the day?" much like I stood there wondering what was on the menu for dinner. A quick glance of the fridge contents revealed left overs from last week's meals nestled beside new additions from this week's grocery shopping. Subconsciously, I was thinking about how cleaning out the fridge is like cleaning up your life. You salvage what you can of the old and combine it with the new and cook up something fresh and exciting.

I pulled out an almost forgotten piece of left over roast and commenced to turning it into Tarragon Beef Stew with Vermouth, a recipe that I snagged from Allrecipes earlier today. When cooking, as in life, you have to roll with the flow, use that you've got on hand, and spice things up with a few additions that weren't expected. Even though I followed the suggestions of other reviewers and decreased the amount of liquid called for in the original recipe, it turned out more like soup than stew, albeit a good soup. I have a feeling it will be better tomorrow after the flavors have a chance to meld. I had dry vermouth on hand instead of sweet, dried tarragon instead of fresh, and regular potatoes were substituted for new potatoes. Click here for the original recipe or try my version below. After you've put your stew on to simmer, I'd love to hear how you'd summarize your life in three words.....Enjoy!

Alison's Version of Tarragon Beef Stew with Vermouth

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 pound beef stew meat
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dry vermouth
2 cups potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 large carrots, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Melt butter In a large dutch over medium-high heat. Combine meat and flour in a large ziplock bag and shake until meat is coated with flour. Add the meat to the dutch oven, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until evenly browned on the outside. (Since my roast had already been cooked, I completely skipped this step.) Pour the chicken broth and vermouth into the stock pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, and garlic. Season with tarragon, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook 2 1/2 hours to blend the flavors.

Remove cover and continue cooking 20 minutes, or long enough to evaporate enough liquid to reach your desired thickness. If stew does not thicken to your likening, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and bring stew to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and continue cooking until desired thickness is achieved. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

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Kristen said...

What a great timely for me right now!
I'm glad to see you back. I hope your life is sunny side up now :)