Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dan points out that I have been extremely delinquent about posting, and that he can't write about more recent Cow over Four developments until I write about the roast I made a couple of weekends ago.

There's really not a whole lot to say about it. The recipe, Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast, is extremely simple and can be found here. Although this time I made it on a Sunday, it's a great weeknight meal. Just brown the roast the night before and turn the crockpot on before you leave for work in the morning.

Some other things we've eaten with cow parts:

* Pan burgers, again, using the technique Dan described in a previous entry. This time I had blue cheese on mine. Earth-shattering, I know.
* Pizza topped with ground beef, again, with spinach this time instead of peas. Can't remember if Dan mentioned this before, but our go-to pizza crust is Vicolo's premade cornmeal crust, which you can learn more about here. This is really more "assembling" than "cooking," but the results are always tasty.
* Tacos. Just basic ground beef tacos. Not much else to say.
* Ribeye steaks. This was a weeknight meal and we didn't have ingredients for pan sauce, but with a steak this good you don't really need it.

All right, I'm caught up! Which means Dan is free to post his exciting Cow over Four news.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Pan Prepared Pepper-Pebbled Pound

Okay look, I admit it. We cooked some Quartus and I forgot to update. I'm fixing it now, all right? Maybe we can just move past this.

Back in the day, we used to love ourselves some steak au poivre. It was one of our favorite dishes to make, and is wicked easy since it comes from this Better Homes and Garden recipe book I got after I graduated from college. But we hadn't made it in a while, so I busted out that book and cooked us up a NY Strip.

Turns out? Au poivre more like ghettau poivre, amirite?

Now, this looks tasty. And that ramekin you see there is full of the au poivre sauce. The problem is, it was just... meh. It wasn't bad, but what happened was that we started making Alton Brown's recipe, and he has a side of bleu cheese pan sauce that is absolutely to die for. So it's one of those "we could make this, but it turns out we'd pretty much rather have that other thing every time" cases.

Also, the au poivre sauce was a little ghetto. I mean I had to make it with beef bullion... The meat, though, was splendid. Best NY strip I've had in a long while.

Those potatoes you see there, though, are most tasty. We had them at a restaurant somewhere where they were called "bistro potatoes". This seems like a highly dubious name to me, but they are in fact pretty tasty:
  • Take a potato. Slice it thin. Yukon Golds work best.
  • Spread on some olive oil.
  • Salt, oregano, savory, garlic powder, pepper. Maybe a little chili powder if you swing that way.
  • Broil 'em til they're done.
Back in '10, these things won the American Culinary Lovers' Association Award for Best Use of a Toaster Oven. True story.

So that's it! That's our most recent Quartus meal.

Well... okay, look. It's true that technically we had another meal that I suppose you could say I overlooked, if you want to be pedantic. But is that really how we want this relationship to go? Accusations and hatred? I didn't think so.

It was this:

Man I need to work on my photography. Because this photo does not begin to accurately reflect how much I loved this burger. A while ago I asked my homepersons on G+ for burger recipes, but ultimately I figured since I loved his steak recipe so much, I might as well try Alton's burger recipe.

After I tried his steak recipe, I pretty much won't order steak at a restaurant anymore. What's the point? I can make a better one at home now. It turns out the same is true of his burger recipe.

I refer, of course, to the Burger of the Gods:

So that's it! That's all our Quartus adventures since our last update.

Except for the tacos we just ate tonight. But, you know... tacos. I figure you've seen tacos.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Short ribs!

Last night I made four pounds of short ribs using a recipe I found in Bon Appetit a while ago:

I love short ribs, and how can you go wrong when the recipe calls for an entire bottle of red wine? This is a good weekend recipe because, though it's not difficult, it takes a while -- you simmer the ribs in wine on the stove for about half an hour (pictured below), and then they go in the oven for 2-2.5 hours

I'd made this recipe once before, using some short ribs I picked up at Whole Foods. It was really good, but the ribs were extremely fatty and there ended up being not all that much meat. Happy to report that the fat-to-meat ratio was not an issue this time around. We ate the ribs over mashed potatoes, but I think I'm going to try them over polenta next time. Also, getting the excess fat out of the sauce would be way easier if I had a gravy separator. If you do as the recipe instructs and "spoon fat from the surface of the sauce," you will be hovering over the sauce with a spoon for a really long time. Trust me on this one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beef & Barley Stew

I love beef stew. The only thing I love more than beef stew is beef & barley stew. It will therefore not surprise you, dear reader, to learn that our second Quartus dish was the aforementioned comestible.

I picked up the base for this recipe on the Intertubes somewhere, but I was unhappy with it. I've refined it to suit my (and, through a convenient congruity, Aimee's) tastes. I like my stews to be umami bombs, relatively thick, and hearty enough for a Dragonborn (fus ro dah!) This recipe does not disappoint, and is extraordinarily toothsome, and very satisfying.

We don't generally intend to attribute Cow Over Four recipes to me or Aimee, but for this one I make an exception. This recipe is mine. All mine! BWAHAHAHAHA! Tonight, Aimee referred to me as her "stewfriend" on the merits of this dish.

So, with that unambiguous endorsement, here's the recipe. Fear not, once you cut everything up, this is the easiest shit in the world to make.
  • 1.5 pounds (or as much as you dare!) stew beef, cubed
  • some olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2 cups minced shiitake mushrooms (pro-tip: throw them into a small food processor & mince)
  • 3 cloves (or as much as you dare!) garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock (or, in a pinch, beef bullion)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • thyme to taste
  • oregano to taste
  • savory to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
(Note: "to taste" should be read as "as much as you can stand, what are you some kind of wuss?")
  1. Mince the garlic, and start it over medium-high heat in the olive oil, in a dutch oven
  2. Add the beef and brown in the dutch oven
  3. Add the sliced veggies, and saute for 5 - 10 minutes
  4. Add the liquids and spices, reduce heat to low/med-low, and simmer covered for 60 minutes
  5. Add the pearl barley and simmer covered for 45 more minutes, or until barley is tender. Add water as necessary to get the barley good and cooked.
The core ingredients (gods, I love the Mountain View farmers market):

Browning the Full of Life Farm stew beef:

Once you add the veggies, boy howdy does this start to look like something tasty. At this point, the umami was actually creeping into the smell, I swear to gods:

....and the finished product, replete with perfectly-cooked barley:

This stew is so awesome, it doesn't even matter that my photography sucks.

It's worth noting that this recipe isn't going to work terribly well without a decent dutch oven. By the way, this cast-iron dutch oven was my second best cooking buy ever; the first was of course my straight up cast iron frying pan (which has never tasted soap, or even water.) But I digress.

One more, for the road:

Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And lest you think I invented the name Quartus...

...I will have you know that it is an old family name on my father's side. Meet my great-great-grandfather, Quartus Morgan:

First Myoglobin

We made our first dish with Quartus! (This is our name for Cow Over Four.)

I won't pretend this is more than it is. It's a pizza, made with ground chuck.

Look, it's Thursday, it's been a long week, and we're tired, cut us some slack.

We got sauce and a crust from Whole Foods (their cornmeal crusts are pretty tasty), browned the beef with pizza seasoning, and buried it with some peas under mozarella and 3-cheese mix.

This is actually one of our favorite dishes, though. We figured we'd start things off right.


So, we bought a cow.

Actually, we bought one fourth of a cow. It came disassembled.

We don't quite know what this blog will be for, but we figured it would be interesting to keep a record of the things we made with our fourth of a cow. Expect pictures, menus, recipes, and reports. And, frankly, probably some photos of cats.

This was a 100% pasture-raised cow from Full of Life Farm. They are, in a word, awesome.

We'll see how this goes. If all goes well, this blog might achieve a meaty-oric rise. If not, we'll surely get our cow-muppance.

Those will be the only puns in this blog. I promise.