Taking it easy usually involves cooking, my therapeutic activity. On wet winter days I go for comfort food, the kind that warms you with deep flavor and aromas. Braising is one of my favorite cooking methods and there is nothing better than putting a big pot full of goodness in the oven for a 5-hour braise, to be served that evening with a good glass of wine. Today I went for a chili, big chunks of beef chuck are braised in a dark beef stock enriched with chili powders and vegetables. It is a two-stage process, first I brown the beef, cook some onions and carrots, add the spices and stock before putting it all in the oven for a long braise. At the end I add poblano peppers, chunks of carrot and black beans, simmer it for another half hour or so, resulting in a deep, rich chili full of crunchy vegetables. This is pretty much the ultimate winter comfort food if you ask me.
I will also spend some time playing video games, I think I need a break from Skyrim, I have been playing Might and Magic Heroes VI, a fairly obscure turn-based strategy game that is great to run while other things are going on because it is turn based. It is definitely a bit hard-core and you have to be a fan of the genre but I certainly enjoy it. I usually also have an Xbox game on the go, I played the brilliant Batman Arkham City over the holidays and am wondering what will be next. There are plenty of games to choose from, I still want to at least finish the main quest in Skyrim though before moving on.
Connie and Kai were supposed to go up Grouse for Kai's snowboarding lessons but they were canceled at the 11th hour (I literally had to run downstairs and stop the car after getting a phone call) so my original plan of watching Hobo with a Shotgun has been scuppered. This is the kind of movie I can only watch when I am by myself since it is rather outrageous. So I'll postpone that and see what we'll do for the day. I definitely want to go and grab some coffee soon, maybe a visit to 49th parallel is in order.
Right then, time to go take it easy some more...pics of the cooking below, courtesy of Connie who after her recent photography class has much stronger opinions of how to take pictures. She was completely right though so I will let her do the picture taking if she is around.
|onion: the usual flavor base|
|chunks of beef chuck|
|browning the meat = flavor!|
|a blend of New Mexico and Ancho chili powders|
|secret ingredient: deglaze with a splash of brandy|
|stage one complete, about to go in the oven!|