Category Archives: beef

Glazed Oxtail Meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl

As with the beans, so with the oxtail…

Who makes anything with oxtail these days? Wizened Italian grandmothers, that’s who. Am I aspiring to be a wizened Italian grandmother?

But again, there’s that yearning to live ‘close to the ground,’ if you know what I mean. If you can’t be in harmony with nature due to your society’s dependence on oil, then at least you can understand better how to be grateful for what you have. Enter the oxtail, sturdy, hearty, hard-to-get-at-unless-you-take-the-time protein.

Simply Recipes (such a great site, btw) put up this recipe for Glazed Oxtails a few weeks ago, coincidentally right after I had taken the leap at the farmers market to purchase some oxtail joints. Ding! That would be the universe calling.

It took a while, edging around other plans, but I finally made it this week, staying amazingly faithful to Elise’s recipe (for me), which included very helpful pictures at all steps along the way.

One of the ways I did depart from her recipe was volume: being a one-person household, I didn’t want to either buy or store the 4 pounds of meat, so I bought one vacuum-packed bundle, coming in at 1.3 lbs. I halved most of the other ingredients, which was fine (except then the boiling-off took forever…).

However, after a time, it too was done. But ya can’t just eat meat.

Then this eye candy from Vanessa Barrington showed up in my Twitter feed, and I had my idea: Glazed Oxtail meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl. Done!

I went the easy way for the rice bowl part, already feeling virtuous from the multi-step, multi-hour process that the oxtail required. Brown rice from Trader Joe’s went into the micro, spring onions (from the farmers market- it IS spring!) got chopped into the pan with a dollop each of lemonaise and tahini. I added a swish of olive oil to coat, then half of the rice until warmed through, then half of the oxtail (which I had prewarmed to deliquify the gelatin).

In went the rest of the rice (for 3 cups total). I topped a serving for my dinner with the greens of the two spring onions and a splinkling of dashi for crunch and salt.

If you’re interested in the proportions, that was ~.75 lbs oxtail to begin, and  3 cups brown rice (for 2 servings, one dinner and one work lunch!). As you can see, it made for a dish that was suffused with good beef flavor and stock without being dominated by the protein itself. Just what I was aiming for at this point in my eating life.

Now if only I can do that for some of the other aims in my working life…

Good Chinese

October 28th.
Friends assembled for a fun foodie night out.
In Rockville, MD.
At A&J.

Much to my surprise, not 1 of our group, but 3 of our 4 knew some Chinese (yes, I was the neanderthal here), which made for some hilarity taking turns asking the waitress things….like: how do you say “to go” ?

It was a rockin’ restaurant, with great variety, great flavor, and the decor was… well, the food was awesome.
To the left we have for appetizers Spicy Cucumbers and a dish with soybeans, greens, and bamboo shoots- a table favorite.
Below we have spicy beef soup on the left and congee on the right (‘jook‘ for Koreans, and my first time tasting either). The Spicy Beef was too spicy for me, even with plenty of congee. The congee helped my mouth calm down, but on its own was plain to the point of paper paste. Not my favorite, but I’m sure it’s best when paired with the right fiery dish (for someone who could handle it, that is!)

Sesame noodles, very tasty, being expertly tossed by Sabina.
We also sampled Ground Pork and Noodle, Potstickers (a different, fat-cigar shape), Thousand-Layer Pancake, Scallion Pancake, and copious amounts of fresh green tea, poured by each other as kind friends do. The Thousand-Layer Pancake lived up to its intriguing taste reputation- not sweet but not just grease, either- and stole my heart.
And there was no chance for dessert, we barely rolled ourselves out of there in time for making it to this pool hall/bar on Connecticut Ave for a scant hour before we were spent. Or at least I was!
So many good memories over Good Chinese.

Scottish Food, and I don’t mean McDonald’s

I’ve got a request for “More Scotland, while it’s still fresh!” but there are a host of other things going on too, which I’ll try to capture in a logical and pleasingly readable fashion.
First, an installment of food-related pictures from the Scotland trip.

Here is the first place in Edinburgh I plunked down for something to eat- it took a lot of thought. I would have been ill-equipped to make the decision had I not spent all morning wandering up and around Calton Hill’s fresh air. It was a quite respectable pub-looking place that turned out to be a cut above: The Conan Doyle. This is their Cullen Skink.
No, it doesn’t involve skunk like it sounds, skink is a word for a style of soup, and this one came from a place called Cullen. Simple enough, right?
Amaaaaazing. Smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions, a creamy soup but not over-heavy like some chowders here in the States can be. Mmmmmm, next time I get my hands on some smoked Finnan haddie (haddock), watch out!

This was the smoked halloumi salad I got to go with, which was unnecessary because 1) I was full and 2) the smoked halloumi cheese was the only worthwhile part. Oh well. Win one, lose one.

 Breakfast setting at the B&B in Edinburgh- pretty glassware can make a big difference. Who knew? (Well, I guess Stewarts are an ancient clan…)

 Breakfast surroundings at the B&B in Edinburgh. That is, I believe, one of the reputed Aga stoves? Or am I completely wrong? It looks like I’m wrong by the Google images, but it did look exactly like the stove in the one-room hovel (a ‘single-end‘) exhibited in the The People’s Palace (in Glasgow).

And just in case we were wondering, this is the state of beef in Scotland:

 Moving on quickly now to safer topics…
this is a Bedfordshire Clanger: meat pasty with 3/4 mincemeat/ savory filling and 1/4 marmelade/ sweet filling. Too good not to give it a go, right? Definitely the most interesting thing on the menu here at The Dogs in Edinburgh, although in practice it was very heavy and I didn’t get half through it. Cool decor, though. This is a huge mural behind the bar just visible in the mirror.

Other updates:
  • I took the recommendation of Heidi of 101 Cookbooks and used the Magic Sauce with scrambled eggs this evening for a light dinner. It didn’t look too hot, but it tasted good.
  • The Lemon Rosemary Zucchini bread? First loaf tasted great, but second had disturbing pockets of what I can only call acridness. A lump of something like sand in texture, but tasting like… well, the word pustule came to mind. Rather than risk other coworkers besides Catherine and me experiencing this, I threw the rest of the second loaf out. If I was a superstitious person, I would be spitting up a storm here to ward away the bad luck. Yeuch.
  • Cooking adventures at home since Scotland, including my own Millionaire Shortbread, a rice FAIL, treats at the work retreat, my first ever, of-any-kind, kugel, and a girls’ night out for a 7-course meal at Thai X-ing in DC, which was absolutely heavenly.
  • Oh yeah, and a solo road trip from Philadelphia through upstate New York to Vermont and back to DC. That was pretty awesome too. :-)
  • All this… and more! Coming soon…