Slow Cooker Mediterranean Beef Stew

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been awhile since I posted a recipe, but I’m back today with another good one. This stew was very different but very delicious. It’s a nice blend of both sweet and spicy tastes, and was just as fantastic left over the next day. I’m definitely making it again!

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Mediterranean Beef Stew

Adapted from: Good Housekeeping

Mediterean Beef Stew

Ingredients:

Approximately 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 (about 4 pounds) beef bottom round roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup dry white or red wine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 medium onions, sliced

1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth

1/2 cups dried apricots, sliced

1 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 teaspoons ground coriander

1 lemon

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons

1 1/2 cup(s) pitted green olives (optional)

Cooked curly egg noodles, for serving

Salt (optional)

Black pepper

Instructions:

In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high.

Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In batches, brown beef on two sides, adding remaining oil as needed. Do not clean skillet!

Transfer beef to 6- to 8-quart slow cooker bowl.

In medium bowl, stir together wine and flour.

In same skillet, cook onions on medium 1 minute, stirring. Add wine mixture. Simmer 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring. Add this mixture to beef in slow cooker.

Stir in carrots, broth, apricots, red pepper, and coriander. With peeler, remove 4 large strips peel from lemon and add strips to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high 5 hours or on low 8 hours or until beef is tender. Discard peel.

Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from the lemon. Stir into stew with zucchini, olives, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Serve over noodles. Garnish with lemon curls.

Notes:

I used about a tablespoon of granulated lemon peel instead of the fresh (although I’m sure that would have been delicious). Correspondingly, I used 100% fresh squeezed lemon juice in place of the fresh lemon juice.

I also omitted the salt (since there was chicken broth) and the olives.

Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 35.0: April Recap

O.k. 2014, you need to slow down already!!! Has it really been a month since I last posted???? It’s so hard for me to believe it’s really been that long but I guess it has. April was REALLY crazy with work, beginning to TA a class again, and a short trip to San Fransisco. Overall, it was a good month, but a very, very busy month.

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[1]

Yesterday was my two year blogoversary!!!! I wanted to do a special post like I did last year, but yesterday was just too crazy (and I was too wiped by the end of the day) so it didn’t get done. Regardless, here are some stats:

Total number of posts: 124 (50 posts in year 2)

Total number of site views: 6,496 (3,259 views in year 2)

Total number of comments: 595 (307 comments in year 2)

All in all I’d say year 2 was pretty great! I wasn’t able to spend as much time blogging in year 2, which is reflected in the reduced number of posts from year 1 (74 posts). However, I am glad I’ve stuck with it, even when it’s hard to get in more than one post a month. I’m going to keep at it for year 3, and hopefully I’ll be able to increase the posting frequency!

I also want to take this time to thank all of you for reading and following my blog for the past two years. I really appreciate all the support and comments, especially lately since I’ve been such a flaky blogger! I’m really very grateful that you take time out of your busy life to read my blog.

[2]

I read 3 books in March. I’m pretty happy with this considering how busy April was (and how long Dangerous Women was).

Books read:

1. The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

3. Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois

Bookish side note: I would usually post a link to the Goodreads entry for each book, but since the website is down (and I don’t want to wait until it comes back up to publish this) I’m using Amazon links instead. This is a good reminder of why I keep a separate offline spreadsheet of books that I’ve read. If the website/app I was using to keep track of my books goes down or out of business, I’d lose the list forever! 😦 It’s kind of a pain to do both, but ultimately is worth it in the end.

[3]

Welllllll I didn’t hit the 105 miles I said I needed to last month, but I did improve in April so I think I’ll consider this a victory. My busy schedule and vacation did not make it easy to get miles in, so I think the fact that I managed 84 is pretty miraculous actually. Hopefully I can continue the trend and get even more miles in May!

April

[4]

Fun things I did in April (or at least the things I have pictures for):

1) Celebrated my good friend Kayla’s birthday:

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2) Settled another bet in the continuing “Heather and Sauza bet on trival things” series. For those of you keeping score at home, the tally is currently 1-1:

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3) Went on a short vacation to San Fransisco (K had to go to SF for a conference and I just tagged along):

For dinner the first night we went to First Crush. The food, wine, and service were excellent! Added bonus: it was SUPER close to our hotel, which was really nice for these weary travelers:

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The next day we walked from our hotel to Pier 33 for the Alcatraz Island tour. We stopped and got sandwiches on the way, which took longer than expected. Then, we had a nice walk to the Pier until we realized we had 10 minutes to catch the ferry and a long way left to walk. We made it (but there was some running involved) and were the last people to board the ferry. Luckily, we had a bit of time on the ferry to catch our breath before the tour started:

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Breezy, but very nice views of the skyline!

 

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I honestly didn’t know much about the island or its history before I took the tour, but I quickly found it very interesting. The cost of the ticket also comes with an audio tour which was REALLY well done. It was narrated by both former inmates and prison guards.

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Don’t put me in solitary!

I definitely recommend taking the tour if you are in the area and have the time. In addition to being a really interesting historical site, you also get to see great views of the city!

After making our escape from Alcatraz, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at La Folie. Again we plotted out the journey from the hotel to the restaurant and decided to walk. Google maps told us it was only 1.5 miles away, no big deal right? Wrong. The walking directions in Google maps don’t give any information on the topography of the route (you should really get on that Google), and these two silly Midwesterners blithely set out for an easy late afternoon walk that quickly turned into a full fledged hike. So. Many. Hills. Seriously, if I lived in San Fransisco I would be in much better shape just from those dang hills. ANYWAY, by the time we arrived at the restaurant we were frazzled and a bit winded. Not exactly the first appearance I’d like to make at a restaurant of that caliber, but that’s life I guess. Regardless, we still clean up pretty good:

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The meal was fabulous, probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten. I was so busy enjoying the food that I forgot to take pictures. I did remember for the dessert course though:

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Baked Alaska!

Overall, great food, great atmosphere, and great service!

The rest of the trip was much more relaxing, which was wonderful. I don’t have any pictures, but trust me it was nice. We checked out Chinatown with one of K’s best friends, had great sushi and Indian food, and met up with a labmate for a burger. It was a great trip, and a much needed break from the daily grind.

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Wine Riot is tomorrow, so I know it will be a great weekend! I hope you have a great weekend too!