armadillas


Once upon a time

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So I know a while ago I said I was back after realizing I could upload posts from my phone. If you haven’t already figured it out, I was not a fan of phone-blogging. Took too much time. But now I have my crappy laptop back for the time being so I might as well cook up a storm while it lasts. Don’t get too excited, though. I’m moving. Again. Because that’s what I do. So once again, I’ll try to cook more often while I can, but things won’t really pick up again until I get into my new place. Hopefully this one will last a little longer.

Anyway, for those of you that don’t know me too well, I am not a fan of pot roast. See, I’ve always been a chicken girl. Then I became a sometimes pork girl. Never have I considered myself a beef girl, though I do enjoy a well made steak. However, the other day I really wanted to sink my teeth into some meat. And when I think meat, I think cow. Chuck it up to the gloomy days we’ve been having, but I decided pot roast was going to be on the menu.

Only, I’d never made a pot roast before. Thanks to Google and several blogs, I came up with a semblance of a recipe to work with. It’s not perfect, and I’m sure once I really develop a taste for pot roast I’ll come up with something better, but it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined. I’d really like to know when I developed such a negative idea about pot roast…

Since this was my first attempt, measurements weren’t really exact. I kinda just threw things into the pot!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 3 lb boneless chuck roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • Red wine

When I started my research, I noticed a trend. People like to sear their meat first. I’m not saying this is a necessary step. Please keep in mind I’m still not quite a pot roast enthusiast yet, but it seemed like a pretty good idea. So I pulled out my big pot, turned the heat on high, drizzled it with a bot of oil, and dropped my chuck in. Careful not to let it splatter. Don’t forget to salt and pepper it first. Liberally.

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Notice the fat. I’m told fat is good for pot roast. Adds mm mm flavor. Make sure to sear all the sides until nice and golden. But we aren’t cooking the meat all the way. That’s not what searing means. We just want to brown the outside. Place on a plate when it’s ready and turn the heat down to medium. Hopefully your kitchen didn’t become as smokey as mine when you seared your roast. Bad ventilation…?

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Now the aromatics! Add a splash more olive oil to the pot then take all those chopped veggies (plus the minced garlic) and toss them in. Oh, just smell it!

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Cook them down for five minutes or so. Add the seared chuck back to the pot.

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Tomato time! Pop the lid and pour them in.

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Ah, next the wine. Red wine. Any red wine you like. I decided to try this one, but pick your favorite!

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I’d go with about two cups. Or more. Just save yourself a glass. also, add some greenery. Rosemary and thyme please.

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Bring to a boil then turn the heat way low. Cover and simmer. And simmer. And simmer. In fact, just forget about it for a good long time. Five hours, eight hours, overnight. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Only, that’s going to be pretty hard. I may not be a pot roast girl, but it sure does smell good. Does it get any better than this? I recommend leaving the house for a while. The temptation is too great!!!

After that good long while, you can check on your roast. Some people turn the heat back up at this point for another 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. I decided to give it a try. I’m not really sure this was a good idea uncovered, but went with it anyway.

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All done! Plate ‘er up! I served mine with mashed taters. That recipe will come along eventually.

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Not bad for my first time, but I didn’t cook mine as long as I would have liked. So make sure to forget about yours!

 

 

 

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I wasn’t permitted to read Dr. Seuss as a child

He brought everything back,

all the food for the feast.

And he, he himself, the Grinch,

carved the roast beast

Oh my goodness! Friday I decided to make dinner for the boyfriend. He’d just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania and I wanted to do something special. Plus a friend was coming over and I figured why not cook up dinner for everyone. But what to make? Well, not so long ago the boyfriend requested pot roast. I have issue with pot roast. It’s just not one of my favorite things to eat. I’m not saying I don’t like it exactly…there are just other forms of beef I’d rather indulge in. I’ve always had these feeling about pot roast. Give me a roast chicken any day! But I agreed to get around to it for him and Friday was just as good a day as any.

And I blew myself away! I’m not sure if what I made could be classified as pot roast or braised beef (aren’t they rather the same thing?), but I kept calling all kinds of names (roast beef, pot roast, the beast in my pot) so I suppose it doesn’t really matter. All I know is that it was pretty dang tasty and I shall definitely be filing it away for future use. The best part? The dish ended up making two meals! But I’ll get to that later.

Let’s talk about my method real quick. As mentioned, I’m not a fan of traditional pot roast so I decided to give it an Italian twist. Whenever in doubt, always employ Italian twists. In my opinion, it’s extremely hard to go wrong with Italian. Besides, the boyfriend’s Nana sent him back with all kinds of canned goodies-tomatoes, peppers, beets, peaches- and I decided the tomatoes and peppers would serve my purpose superbly. Dump everything into the dutch oven, add some good herbs, and let the whole thing go for a few hours! I love one pot meals.

Once again, sorry for no pictures. I’ll get around to replacing/upgrading my phone eventually. Then I’ll just have to remake all these delicious dishes again for you. Sounds like a deal to me!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs chuck roast (I used boneless but by all means keep the bone!)
  • 2 jars canned tomatoes (or get a couple cans of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 jar canned/pickled peppers (I’d bet money that a jar of pepperoncinis or roasted red peppers would work)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (feel free to use beef stock. I don’t like strong beef flavors)
  • 1 can spaghetti/marinara sauce (for added depth)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced (because everyone is getting sick- no thank you!)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil

Okay, let’s get to it! The first thing we want to do is sear our meat. Heat  a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a dutch oven on high heat. Medium-high if you hate how the oil tries to jump up on you from the pan. Quickly season your meat generously with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, using tongs place the chuck into the pan. Sear all sides until brown then remove from pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium-low.

Now, my pantry is a little empty right now so I didn’t include extra vegetables, but if you have onions and carrots on hand then add them in! Chop those babies up and toss them into the remaining oil and let them cook down a little bit. But if you’ve neglected to go grocery shopping skip all that and use about half  the chicken stock to deglaze the yummy bits left from the chuck in the bottom of your dutch oven. I also added my garlic in during this step and let it simmer in the liquid. After a few minutes, add the remaining stock. Once again, feel free to use beef stock if you prefer or even water with bouillon cubes.

Everything is downhill from here. Empty both jars of tomatoes into your pot. Dump in the peppers. I added all the peppers, but only half the juice. If I were using pepperoncinis or roasted red peppers, I’d use all the tasty liquid to my advantage. Next, pop open your can of tomato sauce and add that in too.

My jars of canned tomatoes were just plain old tomatoes, so I spiced things up a bit with the oregano, basil, and parsley. You can do this to taste. I probably used between 1/2 a tablespoon to a whole tablespoon of herbs. Sprinkle in some sugar, as well. To counteract all the acid. Also, I like things hot so I added copious amounts of crushed red pepper flakes.

Is that everything? Place the chuck roast smack dab in the middle of all the red goodness and bring to a quick boil. Turn the heat down to low, top the pot with a lid, and leave it alone for 3-4 hours depending on your patience. The longer it cooks, the more tender the meat will be. I took mine out after only 3 hours, but we were all starving and I started cooking later then I had intended. But you’ll be on top of your game, I’m sure.

After the prescribed time, you have two choices. You can either shred your meat and serve it in the red soup that has been created inside your dutch oven. Or you can remove the meat, slice it, and serve it on a platter. I chose the latter route. Mmm mmm mmm. So yummy for something so usually not yummy. Everyone loved it, myself included. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and Italian sauteed green beans. It was a wonderful meal.

You wanna know what else was great about my roasted beast? All those tomatoes and peppers and chicken stocked turned themselves into a lovely, spicy soup that I saved and served for dinner the next night. Can I get a big CHA-CHING?!

Two meals in one!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did

Tijuana


Sweetgrass

Today was such a fun day! I got to go to a pow wow! Do you know what a pow wow is? Well, I guess I’ll just have to tell you! A pow wow, sometimes pau wau or powwaw, is basically a gathering of native peoples from all over the country to dance and sing. It’s an event shared with the public to educate and celebrate Native American culture. Most of the pow wows that I’ve attended have been weekend-long events in which vendors set up tents selling handmade jewelry and crafts, skins, books, blankets, clothing, etc. Of course, there’s some pretty darn good food as well.

These here are Indian Tacos. They’re made with fry bread topped with buffalo chili,  lettuce, cheese, and salsa

These tacos were slightly different from the one’s I usually chow down on at the Chickahominy Fall Festival (the pow wow I generally travel to each September). Instead of plain ol’ shredded lettuce and cheese, they were topped with a salad mix and nacho cheese. The fry bread wasn’t quite as puffed up as I’m used to either, but boy were they good. And HUGE, too. I could only finish half of mine (though the heat might have been the culprit there). Man, I love me some Indian tacos! In the past, I’ve found that people are a little hesitant to try these when they learn buffalo is involved instead of beef. Big mistake! Buffalo is awesome. It’s delicious. Anyone who says beef is better is just downright bizarre. I promise, if you like eating cow, you will love eating buffalo. Plus, it’s so much healthier for you. Did you know that buffalo (or bison if you prefer) is way leaner, less greasy, and contains more protein and iron?  It also has fewer calories. The only downfall is the price is normally higher. Ya win some, you lose some…

Currently, I do not have a recipe for this great summer treat, but if you’re interested, I’ll share a mock recipe at the end of this entry (sans photos, sorry!) to satisfy your cravings while I work on a true recipe.

Now, back to the pow wow! Whenever I go to a pow wow, my skin tingles with pride. I may not have any tribal affiliation. I may not have grown up in the culture, but my heart sings when I hear those drums start their beat and watch the lead dancers step into that sacred arena. My grandmother started taking me to pow wows when I was a child, and to stand there in the midst of everyone dressed to the nines in regalia (not costumes!) is an amazing experience that I have always cherished. I thank my grandmother wholeheartedly for sharing my heritage with me in this small way. If you’ve never been to a pow wow, native blood or not, I sincerely encourage you to go at least once. Go enjoy yourself. Go experience the culture. Join in on a dance if you’re up to it. And don’t forget to grab a taco, by golly!

(I have a serious goal of buying a real camera!!!!!!)

My favorite dance is the jingle dance. Maybe this is because I’m attracted to shiny things and each jingle dress is covered with hundreds of little tins . Or perhaps I just love the jingle jingle sound the dresses make as the dancers move. I wish I knew how to jingle dance. If I were a dancer, that definitely would be my cup of tea. Fancy Shawl dancing, another dance performed by women, is pretty cool too, though I prefer Men’s Fancy dancing. Those guys are great athletes! Another favorite men’s dance of mine is the duck and dive dance, as well as  the grass dance. I have an idea! Rather than describe all these dances to you in boring detail…you should youtube some of them so you can see what I’m talking about.

Not Quite Right Indian Tacos

Ingredients*:

  • 1 lb ground bison (or beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A few gloves of minced garlic depending on your taste preference
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp crush red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Small/medium size tortillas
  • Toppings (lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lime juice, etc)
*Note: Feel more than free to use any taco seasoning of your choice!

1. Brown meat, onion, and garlic. Drain grease then return to pan

2. Mix all seasonings together and stir into cooked meat. Add water and cook on low heat until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, heat generous amount of vegetable oil in a deep pan or skillet. Individually fry tortillas in hot oil until golden brown and puffed up. You can either keep the tortillas flat (like an Indian taco) or, using tongs, carefully shape them into shells while they are frying.

4. Assemble! Place meat on/in taco and then serve with your favorite toppings.

Not quite an Indian taco, but most assuredly a fun twist on your everyday taco. Enjoy!

Tijuana