The correct cooking techniques and ingredients rich in umami will take a basic beef stew from simply hearty to deeply flavorful.
"The biggest key for me is browning the meat well," says alanbarnes. "Not just cooking it until it loses its reddish color, but subjecting it to very high heat (skillet, broiler, gas grill, blowtorch, whatever) until it has a really good mahogany-colored crust on the outside."
Seasoning is also vital. "Don't underestimate the role of salt in your stew," advises TorontoJo. "Salt and pepper the meat before browning it. Salt the stew while it's cooking, taste it after the salt has had a chance to blend in, add more salt if you think it needs it. I also like to use soy sauce to add saltiness and an extra boost of umami."
Richly flavored braising liquid helps. Hounds like to use good beef stock, especially in combination with fruity red wine or a stout or ale. "Guinness is a magical ingredient paired with beef," says kattyeyes, while joonjoon likes Chimay in stew.
Beef stew's flavor can be punched up with umami-rich ingredients. Try minced rehydrated dried mushrooms or powdered dried mushrooms, tomato paste, or Worcestershire sauce. "A few minced anchovies sautéed with the onions after browning the meat give a nice added dimension," says King of Northern Blvd.
For a different spin on the dish, Val recommends this recipe for mahogany beef stew with red wine and hoisin sauce, which she says is "utterly awesome with horseradish mashed potatoes." karykat says the hoisin "adds a sweet-sour-spicy note that is good." Both reduce the hoisin a bit to avoid making the dish too sweet.
TV.com has posted this clip of the new show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which starts airing on ABC in March. The premise: Jamie Oliver goes to Huntington, West Virginia, the unhealthiest town in America, to convince residents to change the way they eat. From the looks of the sobbing chef in the clip below, his mission to "start the biggest food revolution this country has ever seen" may have been harder than he expected.
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on Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Eggplant is great as the base for a dip or spread. "Eggplant roasted into submission, minced garlic, mayo, salt, pepper" is the_MU's simple recipe. "That's it," says the_MU. "Serve with warm pita, or eat with spoon." eight_inch_pestle purées roasted eggplant with Parmesan, minced parsley, and garlic, and stirs in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Baba Ghanoush is karianne's favorite, "hands down."
Chowhounds love lentils in a range of dishes representing cuisines from around the world. nomadchowwoman loves lentils with garlic and ginger, and says it is good served hot, room temperature, or cold (which also makes it ideal for picnics). "I always use French green lentils, which hold their shape so well," she says, "and this makes all the difference."
Lentils are frequently used in South Asian cooking. rainey says this red lentil curry is "quick and easy to prepare and extremely tasty." "I'm rather keen on Ottolenghi's spiced red lentils at the moment," says Channa. "It calls for a long list of ingredients, but the dish absolutely bursts with flavour."
"The one critical thing for any lentil recipe," counsels GretchenS, "is some acid—citrus juice, vinegar, what have you. Anytime lentils are sort of meh they can be lifted with a good squirt of lemon or vinegar." Aggressive spicing is often called for as well: CHOW's Red Lentil Pâté relies on smoked paprika for a savory kick.
Gigantic, controversial corporations like McDonald's and Starbucks are forever tweaking themselves to try to appeal to a younger, hipper audience. Usually their attempts are pretty lame. But last Sunday's New York Times mgaazine article about three new Starbucks in Seattle struck uncomfortably close to home.
One of the new Starbucks is all eco-chic with recycled redwood and "a prominent community table (of rough-cut ash) that extends outdoors." Another looks like a cross between two of San Francisco's most popular coffee geek hangs: Four Barrel Coffee, and Ritual (and no doubt a bunch of similarly groovy places in Seattle.) In the Times' photo of the latter, a line of porcelain single-serve drip coffee makers are set on a groovy, industrial-looking rack, with some kind of neo-hippy bird nest art in the background. Apparently this joint doesn't even have a Starbucks sign out front, but rather one that reads "15th Ave. Coffee & Tea" and then in smaller letters, "Inspired by Starbucks." Right.
The funny thing is that this isn't the first time Starbucks tried to go undercover and unStarbucksify itself. Back in the late 1990s, the chain launched a few pilot versions of a kind of coffeehouse lounge thing called Circadia. There was one in San Francisco. It had no mention of Starbucks in any of its signage, had a full bar (?!) and was sort of trying to be a singles meet-up spot for dot-commers in a warehousey part of the Mission that was crawling with them. Check out this hilarious blast-from-the-past article about it from Fortune. (I had to google "Tiazzi Juice" too, WTF?) You ask: What happened to Circadia? Well, word got out immediately that it was actually Starbucks, nobody went there because of that, and then it seemed like in a matter of months it just morphed into a normal Starbucks, which is how it remains today. It's right by my apartment, and I can attest that it's quite popular now. Probably because people know what they're getting with Starbucks. If they want "interesting" or "innovative" or "fashionable" they can walk one more block to the independent Coffee Bar.
The mastermind of these new Starbucks, according to the Times, is president of global development Arthur Rubinfeld, who was at the helm on the Circadia project too. I wonder what he learned? Obviously not that you can't fake real style or a cultural movement from the bowels of the boardroom. People can smell that as sure as a freshly-ground cup of Yirgacheffe.