Friday, February 1, 2008

The House Beautiful Recipe Experiment

Due to severe technical difficulties this week, I do not have access to all of my great design pictures on my laptop. So, I am doing a different kind of a post.

My favorite magazine at the moment is House Beautiful. I love the the style of the magazine, the homes that they feature, the monthly features on designers favorite paint colors, furniture, and fabrics. I also enjoy skimming through the articles by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa and Penelope, the cookbook/recipe reviewer. However, I have never made any of these recipes.

From 1080 Recipes by Simone and Inés Ortega, published by Phaidon Press, 2007, phaidon.com. Illustrations by Javier Mariscal. Photography by Jason Lowe.

In the February 2008 House Beautiful, a recipe caught my eye, and this week I decided to conduct the House Beautiful recipe experiment: I made the Beef with Tomatoes and Olives., from the cookbook 1080 Recipes by Simone and Inés Ortega. Here is the recipe:

Serves 6
1 cup sunflower oil (I used 1/2 cup olive oil instead)
3 1/4 pounds stewing beef, such as chuck, flank, rump, or brisket, cut into chunks
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound 2 ounces very ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used 28 oz can whole tomatoes instead)
Scant 1 cup chopped Serrano ham or prosciutto
3/4 cup white wine
Pinch of mixed dried herbs or 1 bouquet garni (1 sprig fresh parsley, 1 clove garlic, and 1 bay leaf tied in cheesecloth)
Scant 1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain off most of the oil, leaving about 4 tablespoons to cover the base of the pan, and reheat. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until beginning to brown. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking it up with the side of the spoon, for 5 minutes more. Return the beef to the pan, add the ham, and pour in the wine. Season with salt, add the dried herbs or bouquet garni, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in water to cover, cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for about 2 hours, until tender. Meanwhile, put the olives in a pan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for 1 minute. Drain well and set aside. Uncover the stew, stir in the olives, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. Remove and discard the bouquet garni, if used. Serve in a warm deep dish. I served this over rice.

The result:

Overall impressions: I thought this was a very good winter stew. I served it over brown rice, with crusty bread on the side. It wasn't difficult to make, but it was time consuming as there were a lot of different steps, and the stew needs to simmer for two hours or so.

Conclusion from the experiment: Although this was very good, the amount of time that it takes decreases my interest in making it again any time soon.

So, have you ever made a recipe from a design magazine? How did it turn out?


  1. We're thinking alike! I just published my favourite stew recipe. I've cooked recipes found in fashion magazines -- but as they are men's fashion mags, they are usually easy to prepare (read: not screw up.) This sounds very good though, and I loved your photos.

  2. Looks delicious. This time last year, I was making all sorts of winter-soups. This year, blogging is taking up all of my after-school energy. Maybe I will give this a try this weekend.

  3. I liked the fact that it had olives in it!

    Thank you for supporting my first recipe post. I actually cook quite a bit, and I should have noted that cooking experience was helpful in this recipe because it did not go into detail.

    Also, I got to use my new Le Creuset pot, which was fun.

  4. Ok, call me when its ready and I'll be right over! Looks delicious!


  5. Jealous of your Le Creuset pot! In agreement about House Beautiful being my most favorite shelter magazine too! If it takes more than a 1/2 hour to prepare I've lost interest.... not a disciplined cook. :)

  6. best magazine - I agree! can't say I've made any recipe's out of it, nope!

  7. Looks great--I really like dishes with olives. I haven't tried any recipes from design magazines, but it sounds like fun.

  8. Looks delish! The two hours would get to me too though. But I have made many a recipe from magazines, as well as the Williams Sonoma catalog. Ina Garten is a pro at making wonderful food that is fresh interesting and very easy. She is my food guru! (I have all of her books).

  9. Dear Things - I haven't been over for ages and look what I've missed out on!!

    Firstly - great new header I like it!

    Love your silver and gold post too - that Hayon restaurant picture is one of my all time favorites

    And don't you HATE computers when they do things like this (ie be unobliging)

    hugs bug and hope all is back in working order soon :-)

  10. I love that magazine too. That recipe looks yummy!

  11. Thank you for the comments, everyone!

    It is a CRAZY week, I am trying to do a little post but I seem to have no time!

  12. Thank you for the comments, everyone!

    It is a CRAZY week, I am trying to do a little post but I seem to have no time!

  13. That looks SO good. You don't see too many stews with olives...I'll bet it was the perfect winter meal! But I know exactly what you mean...More than once I have made a recipe out of a magazine (design or otherwise) and enjoyed it, but not enough to make it worth spending a few hours on again. I am all about simple meals using fresh ingredients at our house. and leave the gourmet/complicated dishes to the pros. I don't eat out often, but when I do, I'm willing to spend for quality.

  14. My favorite recipes from a somewhat design magazine are those from Southern Living. If there are more than 10 ingrediants or steps, then I quickly move on.


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