July 3rd, 2010

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Cooking by Instinct (with a dash of experience)

I don't have a name for many of the things I make, because I make them up as I go along, and usually don't write them down.  When I was younger, I just called them "concoctions" and that may still be an OK name.

Here's one from this past week....Leftover Concoction.  Ingredients given in the order found and decided on...

Lean ground (range-feed) beef,  < a pound (left from 2 pound package from which hamburgers had been made probably about 1/3 pound)
1 onion, diced  (oops, no garlic in the house!  How did that happen???) 
beef stock (approximately two cups, not measured.)
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilis
3 smallish Yukon Gold potatoes from a 5 pound sack, needed to be used (just a wee bit softish), cut into cubes (or cuboids.)
1 can red beans
last of a bottle of olive salad (chopped green olives & pimentoes--at a guess about a tablespoon or so.)
large dollop of ordinary yellow mustard from jar, mixed with a little of the pot juice in a bowl so it wouldn't "fleck"  "Dollop" is as much as one of our tableware spoons will hold, piled high.
1 can yellow kernel corn
last of a bottle of barbecue sauce (several tablespoons)

It worked in this order...sauteed the onions lightly in the bottom of the pot, looked for garlic, didn't find; pushed onions to one side and started browning the ground beef.   Was defrosting a quart of homemade beef stock in small saucepan.  In considering a starch to add, discovered potatoes needed to be cooked, so pulled them out, scrubbed them, cut them up.  Added the tomatoes & green chilis to the beef as soon as it wasn't red.  Poured in the part of the beef stock that had melted.  Cut up and added the potato pieces.  Looked like not enough.  Hmmm...beans always a good stretcher.    Hesitated over which (I always have red, black, and white canned beans in the pantry, but decided red would look good with potatoes.  Drained and rinsed the beans (can liquid for beans is icky) and tossed them in.  Poured in more of the defrosting beef stock.   A recent discovery this year has been the use of olives in things I never thought of putting olives in, so when I thought of adding mustard, and looked in the fridge, there was that nearly-empty jar of olive salad.  Tossed in the olives, put mustard in a cereal bowl and added small amounts of pot broth (stirring madly) until smooth, then put that in the pot.   Added some coarse-ground pepper.  Looking and smelling better now but...would look better for a dash of another color...and there was the yellow corn in the canned-stuff shelf, waving its little canny arms and pleading "Pick me!  Pick me!"   With corn in the pot, the concoction acquired a decidedly southwestern look: corn, beans, tomatoes--and that suggested that the nearly empty bottle of barbecue sauce might enhance it.  Sniff-sniff-sniff (were the scents compatible?)  Yes.  In went the last of the barbecue sauce and I rinsed the bottle and put in the rinsing.  And enough of the defrosting beef stock to cover the potato pieces.   Then put the top on and left it alone until the potatoes were done.   Between a soup and a stew, colorful, and tasty.  Better the next day, too.
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