©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

For the Love of . . .

Every now and then you find an author who speaks your language, who understands your sass, and who knows where you live in a way that no one else has ever done before. Jen Hatmaker has done this for me. For the Love is such a book that understands me even though Jen and I have never met in person. She read my beads and told me what I needed to know.

This book is for every woman who needs a touch of grace in her life, who needs permission to wear her yoga pants all day long, who irons her clothes in the dryer, (and for me) who washes non-dishes in the dishwasher because it's a good way to get things clean.

The most important thing (among many important things) that Jen said in this book is about claiming God's promises. There are times when we see that God promises something we dearly want, and we have to ask ourselves, "Is this true for that single mom in Haiti?" Is God going to gift that single mom in Haiti with monetary prosperity when there is no money to be had in Haiti? Or is He going to give her a prosperity of soul and fill her spirit with the Comforter? It's a no-brainer.

One treat that Jen included in her book is a fail-proof recipe for Beef Bourguignon. I will post it here.

Beef Bourguignon Serves 6-8
To begin, you’ll need:
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. bacon, diced
2 1/ 2 lbs. chuck beef cut into one-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. carrots, sliced diagonally into one-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 bottle dry red wine (like a Pinot Noir)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 T. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/ 2 teaspoon dried)
4 T. unsalted butter at room temperature
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced

For serving, you’ll need:
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/ 2 cup chopped fresh parsley

First of all, don’t panic at the ingredient list. Look at it: butter and flour and such. You have almost all of this. Don’t let the fancy name fool you: This is basically stew. A one pot meal, sisters. So get your Dutch oven because you are about to make magic.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add bacon (baaaaacooooon!) and cook over medium about ten minutes, stirring a bit until it is brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large plate (but leave that baaaaacooooon grease in the pot, for the love of deliciousness).
Dry the beef cubes with a paper towel and give them a hefty douse of salt and pepper. In single layer batches, sear the beef cubes on all four sides in the hot-oil-slash-bacon-grease (about three to five minutes). Remove the cubes to the plate with the bacon and keep this up until all of the beef is browned. (Don’t skip this step! Sure, it adds a few minutes to the recipe but it will turn that cheap cut of meat into a superstar later. Stop rushing. What else do you need to do? Go cure cancer?)
Into all that good juice and drippings, toss in the carrots, onions, a tablespoon of salt and two teaspoons of pepper for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. (At this point, the aroma gets ridiculous.)
Put the meat and bacon back in the pot. Add the bottle of wine (you read that right . . . the entire bottle, you lushes!) plus enough beef broth to cover the meat.
Add the tomato paste and thyme.
Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and slide in the oven for about two hours until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender.
Pray someone knocks on your door to witness how good your house smells.
Back on the stovetop, combine two tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork. Stir the product into the stew (this will thicken it and add creaminess).
Saute the mushrooms in two more tablespoons of butter until lightly browned, and add to the stew. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes. Season to taste.

This book is worth every single star I'm giving it--all five, two thumbs up, and a day in yoga pants.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.

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