There’s little to recommend a restaurant--any restaurant–on Valentine’s Day. There are exceptions, but often the specials are lackluster, the kitchen is slammed, the servers are exhausted by 7, the other diners are trying to pack a year’s worth of romance into one night (doesn’t work), and the prices are jacked up like the red roses at the florist. Instead, cook at home that night. And, while you’re at it, think about an IOU for the roses when they’re not $75 a dozen. Some quiet unknown evening in April or May, just pop in with them and call that good sense.Continue reading
Of course the first thing was to figure out how to pronounce the name of the dish. Here’s my best try:
Then there was making it sound as if it were something to eat and not me yelling to get TONY to come in for dinner or take out the garbage. Hmph. A tiny of furrow of the brows and then a barely-there right shoulder only shrug as I said this luscious word…. and I nearly sounded Italian. Well, to me, anyway. Continue reading
My friend Helen came over last week for an Instant Pot (IP) demonstration and to share a quick lunch we would make together. Well, actually I prepped; SHE cooked! Helen thought she wanted an Instant Pot–or similar–but needed to see it up close and personal before she made a final decision. While she enjoyed the Cream of Pea Soup with Scallions, Mint, and Sharp Cheddar we made, she was interested in meat main dishes–thinking she’d like to skip using the stove once in a while. It’s a wonderful idea, especially come summer, but not something I’ve done a lot of. I tested chicken recipes for America’s Test Chicken last year (see their new book!) and the rest of my electric pressure cooking has been vegetarian or oh-so-close. Just working my way through the process, I’d guess, but it was definitely time to branch out. By the way, she went home and ordered her IP! YAY!
By this time of the year, pot roast (boneless beef chuck roast, in this case) has lost the patina or excitement it so raptly held last fall. It’s been cold awhile and we’ve been eating “comfort food” for months. While the price hasn’t dropped much over all, there was a twofer sale at our local grocery and of course I still stocked up. The list for meat in the big garage freezer boasts way too many possibilities, but 4 pot roasts was still scratched onto its bottom. What to do with the first one for a special weekend meal? (Stay tuned about what fate awaits the rest of them.)
You may not share my approach to living. I’m most happy and feel terribly rich when there’s a big pot of something luscious bubbling on the stove–especially on a snowy day.
Enough to feed 12 is about right. And maybe there’s a bottle of wine airing on the table with glasses perched just within reach. A fresh baguette wafting its bouquet throughout the kitchen. Salted butter, of course. Paris Café music on the Bose, as we’re just back from France:
Despite devoting the lion’s share of my time to cooking, even I sometimes just have to throw something in the slow cooker, pray for success, and run. A couple of fairly recent keepers in that category are:
Give me a cold day. Any cold day. Let me have time and peace to stir together something that incubates in my oven gently easing its teasing, come-hither aromas throughout the house and drawing near all who enter. Add an entrancing, captivating book waiting for me during that 3-hour parole and I am a happy girl. Ok, include a balanced, but lofty bottle of wine and the deal is sealed.
For Election Day 2016, I’m spending my time making my streamlined Beef Burgundy. It’ll take my mind off what’s going on, keep me from checking my phone or computer too often, and give Dave, the dogs, and me something great to smell.
Even my streamlined Beef Burgundy takes a good bit of time (I started yesterday) and should be shared. Who needs friends more than on election night? We invited a couple of really close ones for the meal and for the duration–whichever comes first. Continue reading
If you wanted a slow cooker pot roast recipe, I doubt you’d look here. (I don’t do a lot of slow cooker.) Maybe you wouldn’t look anywhere; you’d just put your meat and vegetables together into the pot with your wine, broth, or herbs and turn it on. That’s what I do on the occasions I make this meal. I decided to blog it, though, because I had such good luck getting a big frozen piece of meat cooked and on the table quickly using a slow cooker. No more excuses if you’ve forgotten to unthaw your meat and the morning has disappeared; you can still make a great no-watch meal in a short afternoon. The rest of the time is yours to take a bath, watch the dogs sleep, read the paper, garden, call your daughter, or binge-watch Downton. So put this one in your back pocket for when you need it…
(Below: Right after the Super Bowl. All worn out.
FROZEN POT ROAST SLOW COOKER DINNER with horseradish, carrots, and onions IN 4.5 HOURS
I cooked Monday for Inter-Faith Hospitality network (IHN) families; it’s something I’ve done for years at more than one church. It’s a way of living life that makes a lot of sense to me; I like to cook and there are people who need dinner. Here in Colorado Springs at First Congregational Church, we bring already cooked or nearly finished complete meals to a church kitchen where families without physical homes gather, eat dinner with us, and then spend the night. A group of churches and temples work together and the homeless people spend a week at one place and then move to another while awaiting jobs and/or permanent housing. It gives all of the congregations a chance to participate without burdening any one financially or otherwise with the full-time housing of the ever-changing group.
Typically, but not always, a dinner coordinator makes contact a couple of months ahead and asks what I’d like to make; for other churches there’s a set menu for each week. The families aren’t the same, so it doesn’t matter if there’s meat loaf on Monday and chicken with rice on Tuesdays, etc. every time. That gives the dinner coordinator a repeating group of tasks that the volunteers become used to. For instance, if I’m a shopping volunteer, I might know that every two months I’ll make a run to Costco for fresh milk, ground beef, chicken pieces, broccoli, spinach, etc. Once a year, I might need to buy paper napkins and cocoa mix. If I’m a cooking volunteer and I’m scheduled for Wednesday, I know I’ll be making baked potatoes with toppings. I find I like both options, though the latter gives me time to spend with other volunteers cooking in the kitchen rather than fixing food on my own at home.