So because of my cold and the cold weather, I made comfort food for dinner -- a fantastic beef stew. The recipe is called "The Best Beef Stew," and is from page 9 of the current issue (January-February 2010) of Cook's Illustrated. They aren't exaggerating, either -- this IS the best beef stew I've ever had. It's a little labor intensive, and takes about 3 hours to make, including preparation, but it's worth it. There are deep layers of flavor, and it hits all the right notes.
If you make this stew, please follow the recipe exactly, at least the first time you make it. This is a rule you should follow the first time you make any recipe, otherwise you might say, "That was TERRIBLE," when the changes you made to it made it terrible. If, after you make it the first time, you want to make substitutions, then you have a basis from which to work, and you can let your creativity have free rein.
As my culinary hero Julia Child used to say, bon appetit!