Monday, November 4, 2013

Definite Comfort Food Success

Meals around here have been stuck in the "one of those days," rut lately.  Too little meat in the freezer, too little forethought to have anything thawed in time, too little maternal energies, ...  I fear, too many excuses, right?  I've been using many, many eggs, and canned elk or venison and bear, since it's quick and easy.

I prefer to have Sunday Dinner in the oven before church on Sunday, especially when we're on the late service schedule.  Sunday school is at 10:00, and church at 11:00.  Since that service is the last of three between which the pastor has to rush on a Sunday morning, whichever church has the late service often starts late.

Yesterday was a late late-service day.  We got out of church closer to 12:30 than 12:00.  Joe had to  run to a quick visit after church.  So I knew dinner would be later still. 

Which actually worked to my advantage since I had not begun work on our family dinner before I left for Sunday School.  I had taken a couple of pounds of ground beef from the freezer before church and set it on a cooling rack to thaw.  But that was the extent of my planning.

I had a few carrots in the fridge at the stage I'll call the beginnings of being slimy.  I had some cauliflower that was getting a little gray at the edges of the florets.  I had an unopened quart of half and half.  And I had some dried garden herbs from a previous year I've been trying to remember to use up.

"Hmmm," thought I, "I can do something with that." 

And what follows is the delicious result.

Creamed Cauliflower and Carrots to serve over meat and starch of your choice
1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into largish bites
1 large onion, sliced or wedged
4-6 medium carrots peeled, and cut into bit sized chunks
fat of choice for sauteing (I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 lard)
1/4 c (small handful) whole dried sage leaves
1/4 c (small handful) dried parsley
1/2 qt half and half (or a little more)
salt and pepper to taste
about 1/3 c corn starch

Variation, ... use fresh cream rather than half and half.  You can probably omit the corn starch thickening if you do this.

In a dutch oven, cook the vegetables and herbs until tender-crips in about 4 tbs fat of your choice.  This takes about 15-20 minutes, on medium to medium-high heat.  If you keep the lid on while they are cooking, they will kind of half-steam half-saute, rather than browning in the oil.  Stir periodically.

While vegetables are cooking, you can prepare the starch and meat you want to serve alongside.  I cooked up some white rice.  Brown rice, potatoes, or pasta would also be good.  Or toast, biscuits, or English muffins.  I browned some ground beef and added the last half of a jar of salsa.  Sliced and cooked chicken breasts, pork chops, or steamed shrimp would go well.  Or bacon and eggs. 

When the vegetables are still a little bit firm, pour half and half over them until vegetables are covered and the amount of liquid is to your liking.  When the liquid returns to simmering, thicken with the cornstarch dissolved in water.

Salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for two minutes more.

Ladle creamed vegetables over your choice of carbs and meat. 


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