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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A good disaster?

Alas, the life of a baker may not be in my future. It’s the dough, I tell ya, the dough. We are not fast friends. No ma’am! Okay, okay. It’s me, not the dough. I don’t have enough patience and haven’t taken the time to master my technique with frequent practice. I want all the homemade flavor without all the homemade work. Well as someone once told me, you can’t always have your cake.

Remember the other day when we made those cheese and onion pasties? Today, I decided to give the beef ones a try. You know, for authenticity’s sake. Oh, but how these pasties have turned me into a raging bull. I’m bout ready to rip my stove out of the kitchen and throw it into the backyard. Maybe I’ll toss the counter out while I’m at it. Relieve some stress!

When I sit back and think about it, it’s rather a miracle that my last attempt to make a pasty turned out at all. At the time, I thought my dough was too delicate. Wrong! This go around my dough was so soft, it kept tearing before I could begin to roll it out. I even stuck it in the fridge for awhile.  Wrapping the meat mixture in it was down right impossible and instead of having a cute little half moon…I ended up with some strange ball with pieces of potato and carrot peeking through.

The only good thing about the whole thing is I turned the rest of the filling into a lovely beef stew. And discovered that I like rutabaga. And, of course, it was a humbling experience. You aren’t born a chef. You gotta earn your skill, learn it and master it. No worries! One day I will learn to work with dough. Just give me time.

And the lover really liked the stew. Points to me! Needless to say, I have no real recipe for you today and my pictures are limited. But hopefully you’ll be inspired to cook something up anyway. We all have our off days.

But if you like, you can whip up a stew/soup quite easily. Chop up some veggies- onion, potato, carrots, rutabaga, garlic.

 

Whoa! What’s that giant thing…? It’s a rutabaga! Yummy yummy turnip. Now mix your chopped up veggies with your stewing beef

Drizzle some olive oil in a stock pot and dump your mixture in. When the beef turns slightly brown, add your stock of choice. I used a little more than a cup of chicken stock with just over a cup of water and added in a bouillon cube for a boost of flavor. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and ground mustard. Once everything boils together, turn heat real low and let simmer until your ready to eat. I had to mourn my lost pasty. It took some time.

Actually, I got two Cornish pasties made before I gave up and started on the stew. They weren’t bad, per se. The crust was just super crumbly and refused to hold together. It was more like eating a casserole than a hand pie. But at least the flavor was there. We will try, try again!