August 19, 2009

The closest person...

I have to a sister is Anita. In some ways, she is my soul mate. In every other way, she is my best friend--honest, loyal and caring. Living across the country hasn't put a damper in our friendship. There are times when it's difficult to stay connected and integrated, but bottom line, I know she's always got my back.

I've been bugging her for years to visit me up in New York, so as a belated birthday present (and probably the best birthday present ever), she finally showed face this past week. I am grateful for the time we spent together. There was a lot of glorious eating including: Chennai Garden, Kefi, Yakitori Torys, Dell'anima, and the Redhead. But, the most special meal was preparing a dinner for her.

We see each other maybe a few days out of the year, so I haven't had much chance to cook for her. Fortunately, we hit the green market this past weekend, and I made a meal reminiscent of Texas. To be honest, I haven't tried much Southern food in New York after my disappointing experiences at the infamously terrible Dallas BBQ and Miss Mammie's Spoonbread Too. I didn't grow up cooking Tex-Mex, but I've certainly eaten enough of it to know the flavors. For Anita's dinner, we prepared carne guisada, a hearty beef stew; roasted summer squash; pico de gallo; Mexican corn on the cob, loaded with mayo, butter, cayenne, lime and cotija; and a refreshing buttermilk peach ice cream.

Summer squash from the farmers' market with some herb goat cheese.

Roasted corn...

Carne Guisada

6 pounds chuck, 1 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano peppers, minced
4 tomatoes, diced
1 T curry powder
2 t cayenne pepper
1 T paprika
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups water
18 oz Brooklyn Brown Ale

Season beef. Brown beef in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Reserve. Sweat onion, garlic and pepper. Add tomatoes, curry powder, cayenne, paprika, cilantro, bay leaf, water and beer. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6-7 hours until liquid has reduced and beef falls apart. Serve with tortilla, pico de gallo and sour cream.

Flavoring the stew!

Carne guisada in the process...

Carne guisada about to become a tortilla roll.

Giant cookies from Levain bakery!

Buttermilk peach ice cream with honey and almonds

A few of my diners!

Anita, I wish I could remember one of those lovely quotes from Shantaram, but I'll leave the quoting to you. Thank you for visiting. I love you. Six years and counting!