Monday, February 15, 2010

Oxtail Soup

Contrary to what I'd heard, oxtails are not cheap! $5.99 a pound at the butcher! The recipe I wanted to make called for 4 pounds! So I bought one pound and decided to make the soup anyway. I made the full recipe with the exception of the one pound of oxtails and it made a nice thin but tasty soup that would be lovely with a loaf of crusty french bread and some butter.

The original recipe is from The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook by Rick Rodgers. I left out some of the ingredients in order to stick within the budget.

Jamaican Oxtail Soup Sans Argent

1 pound oxtails
fresh ground black pepper
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 fresh hot green chile pepper (such as jalapeno), seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
5 cups water
1 bay leaf

1. Broil oxtails, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the oxtails to a plate and season with fresh pepper.

2. In a 5-quart slow cooker, layer the potatoes, onion, carrots, chile pepper, and garlic, in that order. Sprinkle with oregano, allspice and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Arrange the oxtails on top of the vegetables. Pour in the water and add the bay leaf.

3. Cover and slow-cook until the oxtails are very tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. The meat will be falling off the bone and the broth is fatty but very tasty and filling.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grocery Report

For this week I bought:

Produce Stand:
5 limes
1 head of garlic
1 bag of carrots
2 zucchini

2 lbs of raw dried chickpeas
1 litre of Spanish olive oil

Damascus Bakery:
1 package of 6 small sesame pita loaves

Trader Joes:
1 quart of milk
1 dozen eggs

Met Foods (my local):
2 24 oz jars of Classico spaghetti sauce

Fort Greene Farmer's Market:
7 apples

About that Classico spaghetti sauce. I was so tired and frustrated on Friday night, and as I wondering what I could make for dinner all I could think of was penne rigate with Classico spaghetti sauce, one of my former favorite quick comfort foods. I do have a can of tomatoes, and I thought I should make an arrabiata sauce that's relatively quick and easy. When I got home I realized that my cats needed new litter STAT, so I went off to Met. Wouldn't you know they were having a sale on Classico 2/$5? It put me $5 over budget but I was an easy mark.

This should last me a couple of months, but I've been so busy lately I may use up in the next couple of weeks.

At least it will ease me back into cooking more.

Anyway it was probably a good thing I didn't attempt to cook anything real because I absent mindedly put the penne in the cold water to boil...

Monday, September 7, 2009


In my little cooking article I mentioned that I used to feel lonely and bored in my kitchen, but this afternoon as I was looking around, thinking it was looking a bit disheveled, I realized that I'm now feeling very relaxed in there, perhaps because of the memories from the past year of the cooking and creating that's gone on there.

Last month saw a lot of waste. Having learned the fallacy of sunk costs I cleaned out the refrigerator and threw away some food that was well past its prime, even though I've otherwise been making myself eat a lot of things I would have thrown out in earlier times. La Bonne Cuisine does not make people sick.

And now that fall is coming I can turn my thoughts to things other than flavored ice and water!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back Again

August was crazy and I hope that things get back to normal a little bit for me.

I went shopping today and here's what I got:

Produce Stand:
5 limes
8 nectarines
a bag of carrots
2 zucchini
1 cucumber
1 head of lettuce

1lb of Italian Roast Coffee, ground
1 lb of brown rice

Damascus Bakery:
1 pkg of 6 sesame pita loaves

Trader Joes:
16 oz container of Greek style yogurt
2 1lb packages of Trader Joes penne rigate

The craziness of August produced a lot of waste. It might take the month of September to get back to normal!

My favorite discovery in August had to do, perhaps not surprisingly, with cucumbers and mint. At an afternoon tea for my mother's 75th birthday in Tucson, Arizona, there were pitchers of water with cucumber slices and sprigs of mint. It was so refreshing, especially since I'd spent the morning walking around in 108 degree weather, admittedly in the shade and water mists of La Encantada outdoor mall, but still in need of something cool, simple and not loaded with caffeine and corn syrup.

It takes a long time to get from NYC to Tucson. There are no direct flights in the summer. And the airlines charge for food now, and it's as expensive and bad as in the airports. However, in DFW airport I discovered Dickey's Barbecue. A barbecue meat sandwich with a side of cole slaw set me back $7, but at that point I hadn't eaten all day and I was starving, and it was fantastic. Really good cole slaw, too, not overdressed! All other air travel food should hide their heads in shame. I want all my connecting flights to be in DFW from now on.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grocery Day

It was not as bad as I thought:

1 litre of olive oil
1 lb of brown rice

Produce Stand:
7 limes
1 bag of carrots
1 pint of blueberries
4 peaches
1 head of curly lettuce (frisee?)

I had enough leftover for 2 cucumbers and a green pepper at the Farmer's Market.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grocery Day

So much going on in the last week and I didn't get a chance to post last week's groceries, and it was a challenging week because I went a little over budget. I needed coffee and it threw me off my game. I have to say though that nothing can beat Sahadi's Italian Roast for $4.75/lb, I think it has to be the biggest bargain in NYC, especially considering that I used to spring for Illy at $12 for 10oz.

This week will be even more challenging, because I need to buy olive oil. They were having a tasting at Sahadi's last week, so I know what I'll be getting - I love a spicy super-tasty olive oil, but it's going to put a serious strain on my budget and creativity.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Check it

Check out my post on about learning to cook