The Way to The Man’s Heart…

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February 16, 2012 by Amie M

Is truly through his stomach, especially if it involves meat, potatoes, garlic or chocolate. On Valentine’s Day, he got all four.

Gather your main ingredients, cause we’re making stew, darling!


Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, onions, stewing beef, mushrooms and flour. Also needed, and not pictured here, are rosemary, herbs de provence, sea salt, butter, olive oil and water.

All good things start with butter. Butter browning in garlic infused olive oil makes everything all that much better. Including getting ominous emails from thesis advisors. Melt 1 T butter in 1 T olive oil in your favourite dutch oven. Get it brown, but not burnt.

While the butter is melting, mix a 3/4 c flour with 1 T cracked black pepper and 2 t sea salt. I used a gluten free flour mix, because I ran out of flour the night before. Silly cookies.

Take the stewing beef chunks and dunk them in the flour. This trick I got from Kate, and her amazingness at soups and stews. This makes a nice, even gravy, with no lumps.

Toss all the beef into the now brownish butter, stir around on medium low heat. You want things to cook low and slow so the beef is tender.

While the beef cooks, stir it every once in awhile, and chop up your tubers, veggies, garlic onions and fungus. I got a bit enthusiastic and over chopped. Peeling is a lifestyle choice. I choose not to because I hear my Home Ec. teacher in my ear exclaiming how all the good stuff is in the skin. That and I’m lazy, and I like the earthy taste of potato skins, and carrots skins. I only used half of these, the other half I tossed in a container and used with a roast chicken the next night.

When your beef looks like this (just a hint of pink),

Smash three garlic cloves with the side of your knife and toss them in, skins and all. We are Jamie Olivering these bad boys. Make sure to stir things around so that the garlic hits the bottom of the pan.

Chop up two medium sized onions, colour of your choice. I went with white, because I wanted the herbs to stand out more in the gravy than the sweetness of the onions. Toss these in, and make sure they hit the butter and floury bits at the bottom.

Now for the gravy flavouring. I used rosemary and herbs de provence. I wanted a lighter gravy, softer gravy, so I chose these two.

Toss them in, and you guessed it, make sure it hits the butter and floury bits at the bottom. You want the heat to hit the herbs right away, so that they open and start flavouring sooner.

Now add your favourite stock. Again to keep the gravy lighter, I used mushroom cubes with 1 c. water, not the two I should have added, because I anticipated more water from the vegetables seeping out.

Let the water dissolve the cubes, if you are using cubes, and simmer on med low for a couple minutes. Then throw in the vegetables by the armful.

Cover, then toss in the oven at 300 F for 45 minutes. Low and slow, baby, slow and low.

While waiting for the stew to do it’s awesome thing, I had Paul set the table. Since Paul doesn’t like wine, and we didn’t have any in the house for me, we split a can of Cranberry Ginger Ale. It went nicely with our little gold, pink and white theme. For dessert Paul picked up some sweets on the way home at With the Grain. Red Velvet Cupcake and a Smoochin’ Smores kit, complete with homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and dark chocolate bark were calling our names. We saved the cupcakes for during our movie watching, but roasted those marshmallows up even before I was finished my plate.

It’s fun playing with fire, and watching Paul’s worried face when I really burn my marshmallow.

Did anybody get up to anything good on Valentine’s Day? Or Happy Tuesday? We try to not get caught up in the hype of the day, and treat it like any other night in, just with better food and more cuddling. I’d take a fancy date on a random day, over Valentine’s Day, any day.


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