Recipes from My Kitchen

Meat and Fruit. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.


All of my cooking magazines that I get have decided to go “light” for January, for all you resolutioners out there. Which, sometimes I find the recipes are less-than-appealing, but this year they were very fruit-heavy, lots of citrus. And I *love* citrus fruit. As I made my grocery list for the week, I tried to think about ingredients I already had on hand, as I scoured my recipe archives. It’s also a good time to try new recipes (I have a queue), and the citrus fruits of the colorful pages were calling me. And I had a grapefruit. It was $1. You can’t beat that, not even with a stick.

So I started off with Meat. I have a Greek book (I think I’ve told you about these cheap-o books before, I got them at Barnes & Noble in the discount table section for $2 and $3, they’re slightly British, but they have really good recipes), and it had a beef and onion casserole. Truth be told it was a roast, with some pearl onions, and a red wine/vinegar sauce. The hard part was smelling the deliciousness while it cooked…for over an hour. But, worth it in the end.

I’m not listing ingredients for this one because I’m trying to remember what I put in the dish (egads, my book is at home!!). That’s the beauty of cooking vs. baking: baking is an exact art, cooking is not. You’d think with a chemistry/lab background I’d have this baking thing down pat… even though I enjoy making baked goods for people, I think I would rather stab myself with a fork, I’m just not very exact (I’m more of a “pinch,” “dash,” and “have a swig” kind of girl).

Anyway, onto the dish… Take a beef roast (or whatever you have handy – the roasts at the store were either way too pricey or just not what I wanted, so I went with a gigantic steak; you really just need a good, thick cut of meat). Cut the meat into 1-inch chunks and brown in some hot oil, both sides; remove from pan and set aside (you might need more than one round of searing, if you have a lot of meat). When it’s all cooked, throw the meat (and juices!) back into the pan. Add a stick of cinnamon, some diced up garlic cloves and cook for just a minute. Throw on some cumin (I think? Just a dash…) and then add in 2/3 C red wine, and 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar. Mix 2 Tbsp of tomato paste with some hot water to dissolve (the recipe called for a lot, I used a little – about 2 cups, add as you see fit). Toss in a couple crunched up bay leaves, and simmer for about an hour.

In the meantime, cut up some pearl onions. I didn’t have a ton on hand (and they make me cry, they are strong suckers!), so I just peeled the few I had and halved them – worked perfectly. When the hour of simmering the meat is up, add in the onions, cover with a few pinches of sugar, then do not disturb. Cook for about 30 more minutes. You can salt and pepper to your liking, but you probably won’t need much. The tomato paste turns the juices into this great, thick sauce. The onions soften, the meat (if it’s a roast) just falls apart. I served mine with (instant, ha ha) mashed potatoes. If you wanted to, you could probably toss in some diced/sliced mushrooms about 5-10 minutes before you remove from the heat, just for a little something extra.

Now to the highlight of my meal. This was really delicious. Sometimes Rachael Ray has the best foods, and sometimes her magazine just promotes make-up. Today was a recipe-keeper (I have another recipe for a Kale and Grapefruit salad…stay tuned, I’ll try to make it this week). This “salad” is so simple, the ingredients aren’t difficult (I had almost everything on hand) and it’s a great counter to the richness of the meat casserole.

Since it was just for me, I only used half a grapefruit (which was plenty) and will use the other half later for something else. Cut the fruit in half, then try to peel it like an orange. Don’t be discouraged if your slices fall apart, it’ll make it easier to fork up later. Spread the fruit over a plate. Mix 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar with 2 Tbsp of olive oil (or however much you think you’ll need, just make them equal ratios). Thinly, thinly slice up a purple onion – you don’t need more than a few sliced rings, a handful or so. Sprinkle that, and some fresh (or jarred, either way) tarragon over the fruit. Top with some almost slivers (trust me, you’ll want the crunch), and then pour the vinegar/oil dressing over it. With all this cold weather, it’s a great summer-time reminder.

Here is a link to the grapefruit salad, if you want to see a second picture…

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