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Sunday, November 23, 2014


Gramma's kine cooking in Hawaii is da best! C'mon, everyone that was fortunate to have that lovable gramma that could cook better than chef A hole had it made come Sunday evening dinners. FOODIES! Gramma Rocks!

In our home Peggy my mom, was gramma foodie. Seriously, her foods were simple, and she was a genius at keeping foods simple. Her theory was, less herbs and spices when cooking, but just enough for aroma and to enhance flavors. In other words, when she stewed meats or chicken, there wasn't a lot of herbs or spices going on, "You have to taste the meat, it's beef stew not rosemary stew." So growing up, we seldom used herbs and spices the way some cooks do in their homes.

Using the cheapest cuts of beef was meant to be in our homes because for one thing we weren't wealthy money wise. The cuts we bought weren't Wagyu, USDA Prime, it was the store bought cuts that didn't look too appealing by Le Cordon Bleu standards. It was the inexpensive chuck steaks, the tough shanks, oxtails, those cuts. And when dad manned the grill, again, it was a huge ass chuck that was sliced into steaks. We had delicious chewy steaks, but we didn't give a shit, it was good to us. As we got older and more educated, we learned about the different cuts of beef, pork, and poultry that were finer. The sirloins, the juicy rib eyes, cuts such as those. We then graduated from the chuck cuts to the New Yorkers or Porters…we got foodie educated. However I would not in a gazzillion years trade in Gramma Peggy's cooking, no way!

Peggy would get 5 lbs. of chuck, cube it, season it with salt and pepper, and sear all the pieces in a large stock pot. She'd add water to cover the meat, then simmer it for like 2 hours. Once it was fork tender, she'd add in tomatoes, carrots, string beans, potatoes, tomato sauce, and some herbs to give it aroma, maybe a couple of sprigs of rosemary, a bay leaf. And cook it more until the potatoes were soft. We would have beef stew with the meat literally so soft, it wasn't cubes any longer, but strands of beef that was incorporated in the sauce. Man my friends would stay for dinner and say, "I wish my mom could cook like this." Well my mom was gramma to all the kids, so she was Gramma Foodie.

When I see chefs acting like they're all that, I gotta go to their restaurant and taste their food, and I tell you what, there's a lot of chefs who are creative, but man, I'm telling you, no chef I've ever met can cook like anyone's gramma that can kick ass in her own kitchen. I guess I'm a simple guy and I said that a gazzillion times in my blogs. Keep it simple, and you'll feed them. And they…will come back for more.


2 1/2 lb.s of chuck roast cubed
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Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for searing
4-6 cups of water
14 fl oz. tomato sauce
1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes, cubed
1 lbs. sliced carrots
1/2 lb. trimmed string beans
2 large tomatoes quartered
2 bay leaves
1 spring rosemary

1. In a medium stock put, put some oil on the bottom over medium high heat, begin to sear all the cubes of meat. If you must do this in batches first. You want to develop a nice brown crust on each piece.

2. Add at least 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer covered for at least 30 minutes. Remove cover, add in all of the other ingredients, and bring up the heat to boil once again, then lower to simmer with cover on.

3. Simmer for about 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Off the heat, and leave it covered. It will continue to cook while it's covered.

Note: If you time this just right, by the time you turn off the stove, and dinner starts in an hour, that stew will be hot enough to serve, or you can heat it up once again. Also if you want, making this dish a day before is even better as all of the flavors become more incorporated, all you need to do is heat it up and serve. Adjust the seasonings, maybe you'll need more salt and pepper.

Other ways to flavor this stew is adding some red wine, or vinegar to give it some unique tastes. As far as veggies, stews go well with heavy root based veggies like potatoes, carrots, and even radish works pretty good.

Experiment with stews, use inexpensive cuts for this, like chuck for beef, butts for pork, and older whole chickens or stewing chickens. Good luck foodies! 

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