January 2nd- you sucked, so I ate meat pie

January 2nd is the Miley Cyrus of calendar dates. Nobody likes it, but er’ybody has to deal with it.

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There is nothing good that happens on January 2nd. Unless, of course, it is your birthday. Nevermind, I take that back. January 2nd would be the worst birthday. I’m really trying to find a positive here but there doesn’t seem to be any scenarios where January 2nd would come out on top. Let’s face it, January 2nd is a lazy bitch who likes it on the bottom and there are four key elements of shit that make this shitty day shitty:

1) It is the day that most people realize their new year’s resolutions are unrealistic- Oh come on,  like you REALLY thought you could resist eating candy bars for a whole year? Not his year, fatty.

2) If you are not eating a box of candy bars then it is most likely because you had to return to work, which is an instant reminder of why life won’t be better in the New Year.

3) You will write the wrong year on every important document. An error that will undoubtedly haunt you for the month of January.

4) It marks the end of the holiday season- Goodbye, Cheer and happiness. See you next year!

"January 2nd" Greeting Card

Yesterday was January 2nd and it really held up to it’s reputation. I interviewed at a hospital with rave reviews, my favorite being, ” If I had to choose between dying or being brought to this shithole, I would die…”, there was a blizzard that iced the sidewalks for my morning commute to work at a coin show (long story), AND I destroyed my new year’s resolution of not eating a whole bowl of Doritos by eating a whole bowl of Doritos. So, needless to say, I needed to make a meat pie. Meat pie is the only thing that could make me feel better on such a shitty day, and I made the best damn meat pie I could muster.

Of course, I had no idea how to make a meat pie. My mother didn’t make meat pies. She made meat balls and meat loaves, but not meat pies. Luckily, My Mother-in-law had given me The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook for Christmas, and it taught me everything I needed to know.

Beef and Stout Pie
Summarized recipe from the Complete Irish Pub Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Chuck Steak, cut into 1″ pieces- Mine was another purchase from K & T Quality Meats!
  • 3 TBSP All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 5 TBSP Oil, Divided
  • 1 1/4 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 8 oz. Sliced Cremini Mushrooms (AKA Button)
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Cup Stout
  • Puff Pastry (I used cresent rolls)
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Toss the steak cubes with the flour mixture until each piece is evenly coated.
  2. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Cook the beef until browned on all sides. Work in batches and transfer the beef to a 3 qt. pot/dutch oven/large skillet (Anything that will get the job done!). When all the beef has been browned add 1/4 cup of the beef broth or stock to deglaze the pan. Pour this liquid into the pot with the browned beef.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet that you used to brown the beef. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook  until light brown. Add to the pot with beef.
  4. Add the tomato paste, thyme, stout, and remaining beef broth to pot. Heat over high heat until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently with the lid slightly askew for 1 1/2 hours (I only gave it 45 minutes and it was fine). Check seasoning, and adjust as needed.
  5. Strain mixture, reserving the liquid. Let cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. You can bake your pie in any round dish you’d like (I used a 9″ deep pie dish), just make sure your pastry will cover the top of the pie.
  8. Dampen the rim of the baking dish and top with pastry dough. Press down gently so that the pastry sticks to the dish.
  9. Place the prepared pie on a baking sheet. Brush the top with beaten egg yolk and slash the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape while baking.
  10. Place the baking sheet with the prepared pie in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 5 minutes (<I never reduced the heat).

if you have been following my blogs, and shame on you if you have not, then you know that I never do anything correctly the first time and I have no patience. For me, error is inevitable and I embrace every glitch with self depricating humor.

Everything was going really well at first. I had my beefy chunks covered in the seasoned flour.

meat chunks

…and fried in the oil

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Then, I realized that my beefy chunks were way to big.

Big beefy chunks? No Problem! I cut the partially cooked chunks like a champ and forged on with the rest of the mission.

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Now, here’s where my impatience plays a part. The recipe calls for the mixture to simmer partially covered for an hour and a half. Who has time for that? Its like watching the freakin’ grass grow. I let it simmer for 45 minutes and thought it still turned out delicious. Maybe the exra 45 minutes would have made a difference but I, for one, will never know.

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The last thing I did is not in the recipe. There will be left over liquid that will not fit in the pie. I whisked together cornstarch and cold water to make a thickener and slowly added it to the left over liquid while it was simmering on the stove top. This made a nice gravy that we used to smother some mashed potatoes. Yum. Yum. Hope you enjoy!

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Burger Heaven: NYC

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Burger Heaven is truly a little piece of heaven on the corner of Lexington and 62nd street. Here, you can get an omelet with toast and potatoes for $7.95! Usually this type of deal comes with a warning from the board of health, but this place is clean, the food is great, and they offer two floors of dining to avoid overcrowding. A rare find in Manhattan.

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Burger Heaven is a loner’s paradise. Right now,  as I write, I am sitting alone in Burger Heaven and I feel totally comfortable! No one is rushing me out and the booths are a nice small size. In other words, if you choose to eat in a booth alone then you will not be the ass hole preventing the family of four with the crying baby from sitting.

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Please know that even Burger Heaven cannot keep out the pompous, brownstone owners, nor can they prevent them from talking once they’re inside. In that regards it is more of a purgatory than a heaven, but such is NYC.

Chili for the Chilly and the Unemployed

I recently quit my job because I was so miserable there (I guess this ties into the early mid life crisis theme). Although I am pounding the pavement trying to find a new job, my husband thinks it is very funny to e-mail me videos that express the value of a good housewife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTLK9Q4sWT0

While I could never live up to these 1950 standards I do understand the importance of cheap meats. Now that I’m unemployed we might have to start eating roadkill, which is why it is a good thing that I started a personal collection of frozen cheap meats before losing my paycheck! Yeah!

Last night, this collection finally paid off. While sifting through the frozen goods I spotted a beautiful pile of ground beef that I took in my hands, held up to the light and said, “tonight, we feast like kings”. At this very moment I put on my good housewife panties and created a chili out of the cheapest ingredients available.

Chili for the Chilly and the Unemployed 

1 PD Ground Beef

1 Red Onion

1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

2 10 oz Cans Condensed Tomato Soup

1 14.5 oz  Can Crushed Tomatoes

1 14.5 oz Can Corn

1 14.5 oz Can Black Beans

2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes

1 Tablespoon Cumin

3 Tablespoons Chili Powder

Black Pepper (To taste)

Salt (To Taste)

Cayenne Pepper (To Taste)

Scallions (For Garnish)

Brown the beef. Drain some fat, not all. Throw in the chopped onion and cook until they are tender.

Add half of cumin and all of the red pepper flakes. Mix around so that everything has a little spice. 

Pour in the tomato soups. Then fill each soup can with water and add those along with the 2 bullion cubes.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.

At the 30 minute mark add the corn, black beans, remaining cumin and as much cayenne pepper as your tongue can take! Let the chili simmer for another 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!! 

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