No Need to Be Cheeky
Here’s a thing I will never understand about children. Why is it that having an extra two children in the house to play feels really more like twelve? Yesterday, the boys had two little friends over to play and it sounded more like the whole troop of boys from Peter Pan running around the house than just four boys playing star wars and spies. This, I understand is mostly due to the nature of boys. When we have girls in the house, it is much quieter. This must be why men need us. We are a calming influence.
There is also a kind of weird conservation of energy thing that happens when we have friends over to play. The more energy they seem to expend or have, the less I have. This is why, even though they were very well-behaved and required little supervision (meaning, no blood was shed and nothing was broken), I was a shell of a person when they left. The bread dough I had tried to make while they were here had no salt in it and I had to knead it in by hand in the bowl because the counter was strewn with stuff from our cookie decorating activity (which only my boys wanted to do. Strange. I thought all kids would love to slather icing on cookies or at least each other, but not these boys. Apparently, they have been taught that too much sugar was bad for them. Um, wow. I must have a little chat with my mom friend). Also, I had a migraine and I had to go lie down.
All this is to say that I did not manage to make this week’s FFwD recipe in time for dinner last night as I had planned. Instead, we had ramen. However, later in the evening, after some drugs and rest, I dragged the husband into the kitchen to help me make the Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni.
Honestly, the real reason why I get as much stuff done as I do is my wonderful husband. He does most of the meat fabrication here. I prefer to stick with packages of already cut up chicken or precut stew meat. He likes to get whole chickens and big pieces of meat and cut them up to our specs. Mostly, it’s because it is cheaper this way, but also I think he likes to get out the cleaver and cut things.
Anyway, back to the meat. This recipe is actually one of the first I made after I got the book a couple of years ago. Back then, we had just bought our first half steer from a friend who raises them and when I called the butcher to place our cutting order, I asked for the beef cheeks. Do you know what I was told? The head had already been cut off and disposed of. Humph. So, no beef cheeks for us. Well, thankfully chuck roast is pretty good as well, but I will always wonder what beef cheeks would be like in this recipe. I guess I’ll have to go to France to find out.
As per usual when I make stewy or soupy things, I doubled the recipe. Also, I had no beef broth, so I used chicken broth, and I added 4 cloves of garlic to the veggies before I added the flour. The wine I used was not a particularly good one (I was not the one who went to the liquor store), but it still turned out ok.
This is not a particularly attractive dish, so I added some frozen peas at the last minute for some color. Also, I was in a bit of a rush, so instead of chopping up some chocolate, I just spooned in some fancy dark hot chocolate mix that I had on hand. The husband said it was more delicious than the last time I made it. The silky sauce coats the macaroni and just makes you want to keep eating it. The boys both liked it; I think the chocolate certainly helped. This might become my favorite beef stew recipe. It was a perfect meal to have after an afternoon at the Christmas tree farm.