This Week in Susie’s Kitchen

I Received My Copy Of The Paleo Cookbook Joshua Weissman Published At Age 17 And It Looks Amazing!

The cookbook arrived almost a week ago and I’ve already read through most of the recipes, deciding which ones to try first. The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook is clearly a nod to the famous Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julie Rosso first published in 1982. It’s just a guess but Weissman’s sophisticated palate even as a teenager suggests that his mother (whom he mentions repeatedly in the book) most likely used Lukins and Rosso’s cookbooks to teach him to cook. I will start cooking with this book in the coming week.

In the meantime, I had already pulled out my old recipe box and was prepping to make Country Beef Stew this week. I’ve had this recipe for decades but hadn’t made it in forever, so why not prepare a one-dish pot of stew for the last cold days of March? This is a relatively simple stew that I got from a housewife in Pennsylvania. She was married to a prominent doctor and frequently entertained on the weekends for parties of 8-12. The vegetables came out of her garden and she always kept plenty of fresh ingredients on hand in the event of surprise guests.

I’m sorry I have forgotten the recipe author’s name. Her love of great cooking and pride in entertaining and keeping a beautiful home impressed me deeply. This woman didn’t resent cooking for hours every week or planning a variety of great meals far in advance. She loved it and elevated it into an art form way before Martha Stewart got famous. She made and canned her own sauces and had pans of homemade lasagna, casseroles, homemade desserts and par-baked breads frozen and ready for those last minute, impromptu dinners.

My mom, who was never fond of cooking, did share one trait in common with her. That is to be prepared for company. The last thing you want to do is be tied up in the kitchen when your guests arrive. So if you have an extra freezer and/or a root cellar where you can store homemade foods, there’s no time like the present to buy in bulk and prepare in advance. My stepmom liked to maximize her time by making what she called “planned-overs” – cooking in excess of what you need and storing/the rest for a future meal.

Assemble these ingredients before beginning (mise en place) and please forgive my sloppy handwriting🌻
I usually don’t add the potatoes, carrots and peas until the last 45 minutes of cooking and I also usually thicken the sauce with about a quarter cup of cornstarch or flour slurry. Salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is as good as I remembered. However since it makes quite a large amount I cut the recipe in half and still had way too much left over. One way to avoid having too much leftover is to plan to freeze some stew for a quick and delicious homemade one-pot meal.

If you want to freeze planned-overs: extract the amount of stew you plan to freeze Before adding the potatoes, carrots, peas and thickening agent as these do not freeze well. This can be kept in the freezer for up to three months. These days we have to get food smart. The less we waste the cheaper the cost of food.

This is great on a cold night with a small crisp green salad, fresh hot homemade bread and a fruity dessert.

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