Monday, May 11, 2009


You can now find Foodie and Cooking posts mixed in with our impatient rants and social observations at Country Girl / City Girl.

Y'all come on over!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The beef over noodles thing

Picked up a pack of stew meat, marked down. A big pack. The Big Boy isn't THAT fond of any beef other than tenderloin, but this was on sale and hey, he's only one vote. THIS WAS SO GOOD. I used to have a recipe for something like this, lost it, then kept thinking I needed some special stuff to make this right. WRONG. They all took this to lunch the next day.

Beef Tips Over Pasta (aka Stew Meat & Noodles)
1 pound diced stew meat
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 can beef or chicken broth
1 cup red wine
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven, add the garlic and lightly toast. Add the meat and saute until brown. Add the tomatoes, red wine, broth and bay leaves and bake in a 300 degree oven for three hours. Cook a package of egg noodles according to directions. Pour up the noodles to drain, put half a stick of butter in the pan and let it melt. Return the noodles to the pan and coat with the melted butter. (Scream at your kids here to LEAVE THE NOODLES ALONE. Kids LOVE buttered noodles.) Arrange the noodles on an oval platter and pour the meat down the middle. Bread. A salad. A bottle of red wine. Fruit or cheese for dessert. Life is good.

I am not a wine snob. I like good wine, I like rich wine, I like liquid wine. I do NOT do sweet, but that's just me. There are a couple of "two buck chuck" wines available here...not the real thing but Oak Hill and Five Oaks make $3 wine that cooks just fine. So there. Also, had there been a package of mushrooms in the refrigerator? They'd have been in here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I came in here to post a beef-over-noodle super recipe for people who have kids. They (the kids) don't have a CLUE about the half-bottle of red wine that's in it. But now I have to go take a shower and run to the store because CityGirl has given me a REASON TO LIVE. Or at least, go buy mushrooms.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Leftover Night

Now that I'm cooking three meals a day, seven days a week (3/7?) we have a fridge FULL of leftovers.

And as tomorrow night is date night - and I KNOW Hubster will take me out for date night since he totally blew me off last Friday - this stuff needs to be eaten, post-haste.

So here's the dilemma: How to tie together roast pork, roast chicken, barley salad, biscuits and gravy, and fruit salad.

I guess I'll freeze the gravy and serve the biscuits... OOOO!!!! No! I'll put the pork on the biscuits for breakfast tomorrow with poached eggs...sort off Eggs Benedict, but more like Eggs Dumpster because their primary purpose is to use up leftovers. With the fruit. Brilliant.

So tonight, roast chicken, the barley - I could saute green beans in butter, shallots and thyme - to tie that mess together. Loving this idea.

This is like playing Door Knock Dinners. All by sad.....

Tomorrow afternoon's project: Pierogi assemby. This house has run dangerously low on Polish carbs.

Image Credit:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Filling the Lunch Pail

"Lunch meat is the protein of the devil."
- City Girl

If you follow us at Country Girl/City Girl, you know that instead of one full-time job with a full-time commute, I'm now working two part-time jobs...basically from home.

How wonderful it is to - and this sounds crazy - eat breakfast. Sitting down. At a table, not in the car. Tea and toast (and a fried egg, truth be told) have been elevated to "sit down meal" status!

Hub's only request when I signed on for this new odd work situation was that I put breakfast together for him in the morning and pack him a lunch. I can do that. I used to do that...a decade ago.

Apparently he has finally - thank you, sweet jeebus - reached The McDonald's Tolerance Threshold and is ready to begin eating real food during daylight hours.

So Saturday I scoured cooking websites and magazines (see Food and Wine post below) for cold lunch ideas, but didn't find anything I really liked, so I got ::cue the spooky music:: - creative.

First I roast (roasted?) a loin of pork for sandwiches, because:

I. Hate. Cold Cuts. Except for salami, lunch meat is the protein of the devil. Ugh. Gah. I can't even THINK about what they do to a perfectly good turkey breast to get it shaped like that.

Ahem. Sorry. Then I made a barley salad with toasted walnuts, feta and a vinaigrette - wasn't sure how that'd work out, but it is de-lish, hot or cold. (Recipe to follow if I can remember what I put in it).

Finally, I cut up a pineapple, half a dozen oranges, a quart of strawberries and mixed in a $5 thimble full of blueberries then dished the salad into individual containers.

And then I baked brownies.

Ya gotta balance all that good with something bad.

The result? A pretty kick-ass lunch menu, if I do say so myself. Today I added leftover asparagus and roast carrots to the barley. Vegetables. For lunch. Hubster's system might not be able to take it.

Oh, as for breakfast? Biscuits and gravy. Not exactly healthy, but at least I know what's in it, since I made it.

CityGirl's Half-Cheater Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

1 Box of Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (I used the Target store brand)
+ The Eggs, Water, Oil, etc. called for on the box

Random Butter

2 8 oz. Blocks of Cream Cheese, at room temp
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 tsps. Lemon Juice (fresh, pleaseandthankyou)
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 Tblsps. All-purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Raspberry Jam

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish.

Preheat oven according to brownie box instructions.

Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on box for "cake-like" brownies, not "chewy" brownies. Spread brownie batter in prepared dish.

(This dessert, she is easy, no?)

Combine cream cheese and sugar - it would probably be best to use a mixer, but I just use a wooden spoon - add eggs and combine. Add vanilla and lemon - combine. Finally, add salt and flour - combine.

Spread cream cheese mixture on top of brownie batter in pan.

There is no benefit to being neat here, as a matter of fact, it is better if you let the two batters mix it up a bit.

Think Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Lastly, dollop teaspoonfuls of jam in 1" increments on top of cheesecake/brownie goodness. It will melt and spread a bit when baked.

Throw the whole thing into the preheated oven and bake according to - what? - that's right: brownie box instructions plus 10 minutes. Check when the timer goes off.

If the middle of the mix jiggles when you shake it, pop it back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Check every 5-10 minutes after that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Eggs - They're What's for Dinner

Usually when I'm thinking "eggs for dinner" I go for the old Neapolitan-American classic, Uova in Purgatorio.

But in this month's issue of Food and Wine - which I look forward to getting in the mail like a crack whore looks forward to getting her monthly government check...that is to say, anxiously - I found an article for Sherried Mushrooms with Fried Eggs on Toast.

So I made it last night, and it was goo-ood.

Slight CityGirl modification to the recipe: Used pre-sliced baby bellas and threw a handful of fresh-out-of-the-garden thyme into the mushroom mixture.

Made the eggs sunnyside-up rather than over medium, and the presentation was really lovely.

Hubster loves him some eggs, and really liked this dish. His only request was fewer mushrooms next time. (This does serve four, but I divided it between two. *I* can never get too many mushrooms).

PS - My apologies to Food & Wine for referencing your fine publication in context with crack whores...but it really is an accurate analogy!

Image Credit: Tina Rupp

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moroccan Night

The Hubster and I were invited, a few years ago, to join a newly-organized Supper Club. It's just us, three other couples and occasionally a "wild-card" couple.

Every month we rotate hosting and when you host, your reward for spending three days super deep-cleaning your house for inspection by your friends is that you get to pick...The Theme.

Damn, but I love a theme.

So yesterday the party came to our house and The Theme was Moroccan.

Why Moroccan? Why not? I have two great Moroccan stew recipes that appear in the regular rotation at Chez City and every time I prepare one for Hub I think, "Damn, this would make a good Supper Club" entree. (One is chicken-based, one is vegetarian).

It is the perfect Company Dish: One pot, minimum investment, highly flavorful and served with couscous. I'd cook camel hump if the recipe called for it to be plated on a bed of couscous.

Everyone took the Moroccan theme to heart - it was amazing. The Appetizer Couple brought a whole pineapple studded with shrimp - the presentation was spectacular. Accompanying the fruit-and-prawn sculpture were three African-themed dipping sauces.

Salad Couple brought a carrot dish they found at Marrakesh, a restaurant in Philadelphia.

Dessert Couple were the stars of the night - rose petal ice cream. OMG. It was exotic, beautiful, the texture of frozen silk and so sweet and subtly flavored. Heaven.

All-in-all, an amazing meal.

I don't remember where I originally found this recipe, but I've tweaked it enough over the years that I feel pretty confident in calling it my own.

Moroccan Chicken Stew Serves 4-6, depending on the size of the thighs

12 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs - Rinsed and Patted Dry
1 Large Eggplant, Cubed
Kosher Salt
1 14 oz. Can Chickpeas, Rinsed
2 Large Onions, Sliced or Frenched
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tbsp. Sweet Paprika
1 Tbsp. Hot Paprika
2 tsps. Turmeric
2 tsps. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Ginger
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, Toasted
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
2 tsps. Marjoram
1/4 Cup Fresh Minced Parsley
1 28 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes in Sauce
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Olive Oil, Preferably Spanish
1/2 Cup Blanched, Slivered Almonds - Toasted
Half of 1 Lemon

Cooked Couscous

Preheat Oven to 400, coat rimmed baking sheet with oil, toss eggplant with additional oil, spread eggplant on sheet and lightly salt. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, bake for an additional 15 minutes.

In your largest saute pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, add onion and garlic, cover and cook until soft and translucent - about 15 minutes.

Add paprikas, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, ginger and salt and pepper. Cook until aromatic, 1-2 minutes.

Add undrained tomatoes, water and lemon juice, cover and bring to simmer.

Add chicken in one layer and cool on medium-low for 10 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add baked eggplant, chickpeas, marjoram and parsley. Simmer for final 15 minutes.

Serve over couscous, top with almonds.