Venturing into unknown territory: Zucchini bread and PICKLES!

29 06 2010

Saturday, after gathering more than 15 lbs of fresh, local veggies and fruit from the market and co-op and realizing that we would only be in town through Thursday due to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon in the kitchen. My goal: to tackle two new-to-me projects – pickles and zucchini bread.

I’m not sure if I mentioned in a previous post about my recent purchase of home canning equipment (the Ball Canning Discovery Kit), but I bought this at-home kit so I could start canning vegetables. Within a few hours of purchasing the kit, I made salsa. Did you know that homemade salsa, when first canned, is pink? It doesn’t turn red until the jars are properly preserved. But anyway – I decided to make my own pickles this week. Based on some things I’d seen on Food Network and several recipes, I decided to use a hot-pack technique by boiling various spices in vinegar, inserting fresh herbs, onions and garlic into the jar like a bed for the cucumbers, tightly packing the cucumbers and then pouring the hot liquid over the contents and sealing the jars. I didn’t follow any one recipe – just got ideas from the Ball Blue Book and other recipes found online. Now, we have to wait four to six weeks to try them! I’m calling them my sweet and spicy dill pickles.

Zucchini Bread photoLater Sunday evening, I pulled out a 14-inch long zucchini (which was also about 4″ diameter) and started grating it in preparation to make two loaves of zucchini bread. I decided to base my recipe on Paula Deen’s Zucchini Bread. Note – it is not low-fat, low-cholesterol, or low-sugar, but it is perfectly moist and yummy! It’s loaded with fresh zucchini (about one cup per loaf), cinnamon and nutmeg. It would be easy to make it slightly healthier by replacing some of the eggs/sugar with banana and some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Honestly, with a little cream cheese frosting – this batter would make great zucchini cupcakes!

ZUCCHINI BREAD (modified from Paula Deen’s recipe)

2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 c. water
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon zest
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon zest
1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts (almost like a fine dust)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, spices, baking soda, salt and flour until well combined. In another bowl, mix together zucchini, water, beaten eggs, oil, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix together until all dry ingredients are well-moistened. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

DILL PICKLES (from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving – I’m not sharing my recipe until I know it’s successful!)Pickles photo

8 lbs. pickling cucumbers, sliced into spears
4 c. white vinegar
4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. canning salt
3 T. mixed pickling spices
Green or dry dill (1 head per jar)
1 Vidalia onion, sliced (my addition)
1 clove of garlic per jar (my addition)
1 bay leaf per jar (my addition)

Wash cucumbers and drain. Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Tie spices in a spice bag or place in a tea strainer; add spice bag to vinegar mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Pack cucumbers, onion slices, garlic and dill into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

For Kosher-style pickles, add one bay leaf, one clove garlic, one piece hot red pepper and 1/2 t. mustard seed to each jar. Process as recommended.





Abstract, grilled pizza – Margherita and Grilled Veggie

15 06 2010

I always get excited when I get a new issue of Everyday Food in the mail – and usually for good reason. For the July/August issue, EDF featured grilled pizza, which is something I’ve always wanted to make and have always been hesitant to try. I’m very familiar with grilling nearly any kind of meat (except fish, since I don’t really eat fish) and vegetables, but dough? Really?

Anyhow, I decided to take the plunge on Sunday (but really made the pizzas on Monday). How did that work, you ask? Well, I finished reading EDF on Sunday and, after taking a two-hour nap on Sunday and guzzling down a McDonald’s UNSWEET iced tea during a movie, I wasn’t tired. This being my first attempt at grilled pizza, I decided to follow the recipes to a “t.” I started making the dough around 9:30 p.m. and started the sauce while the dough was completing the first rise. The dough was just as easy as any pizza dough (and if you’ve never made pizza dough, it’s very easy) and rose according to the recipe directions. The sauce, made with canned, whole peeled tomatoes, was quick and easy – and delicious. After letting the sauce cool and putting the dough in the fridge after the second rise, I went to bed.

I started again during lunch on Monday, when I made the garlic herb oil. I varied the recipe slightly by adding some fresh thyme to the simmering oil in addition to the garlic and fresh rosemary (I’ve had a bumper crop of herbs this year on my deck – I need to use them somehow!). I left the oil to cool for the remainder of the afternoon so assembly was the last thing to do on Monday.

Monday evening, I stretched my dough (into three abstract shapes, of course) and coated it with some of the garlic herb oil. I chopped up some fresh zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, onion and red bell pepper and prepped the grill and grill basket. While preheating the grill, I tossed the veggies in some prepared pesto to add some extra flavor. Before Kelsey and Emerson arrived (our dinner guests for the evening), I had the veggies started on the grill and was getting ready to flop the first disc of dough on the grill. Yes, I said flop. That’s what I had to do to get it on the grill. Flop it from a cookie sheet to the grill. : )

Alright, enough about my “secret” techniques and on to the fun stuff – the toppings. I topped all three pizzas with the homemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. Then, the margherita pizza was topped with a few fresh basil leaves from my herb garden, the second pizza was topped with some of the grilled veggies (and more basil – bumper crop, folks), and the third pizza was topped half and half – margherita and grilled veggie.

Looking back, I’d split the dough in half instead of into thirds, and I’d flour my cookie sheets before stretching the dough. Pam spray didn’t help in getting the dough off the cookie sheets and on the grill grates.

Grilled pizza picture

Grilled Margherita Pizza


Grilled veggie picture


Grilled Veggie Pizza

RECIPES

PIZZA CRUST DOUGH (for two approximately 10″ pizzas) – “Basic Grilled Pizza Dough,” Everyday Food, July/August 2010, p. 96

1 c. warm water
1 t. sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 t. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
1 t. coarse salt
Ground pepper
2 1/4 c. bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (you may need more if it’s a very humid day)

NOTE: I use my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer for this recipe, but you don’t need one to make this dough. This recipe refers to the mixer.

Pour warm water into the mixing bowl of your mixer, add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Using dough hook, mix oil, 1 t. salt and some freshly ground pepper into yeast mixture. Add flour and mix until liquid is incorporated. Knead on medium speed for about two minutes. If dough appears sticky or shiny, add a little more flour until the dough looks dry and elastic. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and brush the top of dough lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to rise until dough doubles in bulk, 30-45 minutes. Punch down and let rise again for 30 minutes.

Turn out dough unto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. To store, refrigerate dough pieces, covered, up to two days or freeze up to one month. Let rest 15 minutes before using.

GRILLED VEGETABLES FOR GRILLED PIZZA

1/2 large zucchini, cut into 1/8″ slices and quartered
1/2 large yellow squash, cut into 1/8″ slices and quartered
1/4 large Vidalia onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
5 button mushrooms (or more), sliced thin
1/3 c. prepared pesto (I use Classico brand)

Combine your veggies into a bowl and toss with pesto until coated. Preheat grill and grill basket to medium-high heat. Add veggies to grill basket and grill for approximately 15 minutes or until veggies are softened, tossing often to avoid burning.
GARLIC HERB OIL

1/2 c. olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
2 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 t. fresh thyme, rolled between fingers to release oil

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for approximately three minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. To store, cover and refrigerate.

DELICIOUS TOMATO SAUCE – “Simple Tomato Sauce,” Everyday Food, July/August 2010, p. 97

3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
1/4 T. red pepper flakes
1, 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 t. fresh oregano leaves, minced (or 1/2 t. dry oregano)

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes as you go (I used my Pampered Chef Mix n’ Chop). Season witH coarse salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook, stirring often until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in oregano. To store, refrigerate up to four days or freeze up to one month.
ASSEMBLING AND GRILLING YOUR PIZZAS

Preheat grill to high heat. Stretch dough to desired size and shape and brush herb oil on top side (this will become the bottom of your pizza). Flop onto heated grill, reduce heat to medium. Coat backside of dough (facing you now) with herb oil. Using a spatula or tongs, flip dough once underside is lightly charred and bubbles form on top, 1-3 minutes. Add toppings and cook for another 1-3 minutes. If cheese is not yet melted, move pizza away from direct heat to top rack of grill and close the grill for a minute until cheese is melted.

> Toppings for Margherita pizza: Delicious tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil
> Toppings for grilled veggie pizza: Delicious tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, grilled veggies, fresh basil





Fresh from the market

16 05 2010

This year, we joined a local farmer co-op program from Sausser Farms which provides us with five pounds of produce each week for one low price. Saturday was our first week receiving produce from the co-op, so we headed to the Lynchburg Community Market at about 10:30 to pick up our share. We came home with yellow squash, green peppers and carrots in hand from the co-op, local raw honey from a Nelson County apiary, local strawberries and zucchini and sweet potatoes from another gardener.

With fresh produce in hand, I made a quick dinner on Friday which included chicken burgers (Buffalo and BBQ), sweet potato fries and grilled zucchini. The burgers were great and the sweet potato fries were excellent! We finished our meal with homemade strawberry shortcakes with fresh vanilla whipped cream.

Roasted Vegetable and Whole Wheat CouscousFast-forward to Sunday afternoon. I made the decision to make a light, vegetarian meal for dinner after we enjoyed a meat-laden lunch at Firehouse Subs. As I searched through a few recipes, I decided to do my own take on a vegetable and couscous salad. I used a variety of fresh vegetables (all from the market, with the exception of a 1/2 onion) and made a lemon pepper dressing. It was bursting with fresh flavor and color — we didn’t miss the meat! The recipe for my Roasted Vegetable and Whole Wheat Couscous Salad is included below along with the recipe for the sweet potato fries.

ROASTED VEGETABLE AND WHOLE WHEAT COUSCOUS SALAD

For the vegetables

1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
1 medium yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into 3/4″ thick pieces
1 large carrot (or two medium carrots), sliced into 1/4″ thick pieces
About 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
2 T. olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss all vegetables together with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet or until vegetables are softened.

Whole wheat couscous

1 c. water
1 t. olive oil
Salt
1 c. whole wheat couscous

Mix together water, olive oil and salt and bring to a boil. Follow package directions to complete the cooking process. (I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Couscous)

Lemon Pepper Dressing

2 T. olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Freshly ground pepper (probably about 1/4 t.)
Dash of coarse salt
Small pinch of granulated sugar

Whisk all ingredients together.

TO FINISH THE SALAD: Put cooked couscous into a large bowl, top with vegetables and dressing and toss together. Serve warm.

SWEET POTATO “FRIES”

3 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 T. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices, then slice again vertically into 1/2 inch slices. Toss in olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and spread into one layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until tender and starting to brown.





“Jim ______ would be proud.”

2 05 2010

It’s amazing, sometimes, how spending a little time in the kitchen can just melt the stress away.

This morning, Dustin woke me up to go to the Lynchburg Community Market, where our produce co-op was supposed to begin today.  We joined the co-op in March, but the co-op didn’t start until May, and goes through October. But before we went to the market, I checked my Everyday Food app on my iPhone to see the recipe of the day – Skirt Steak with Crispy Garlic Potatoes – and got inspired to make steak.

We arrived at the market with Max, our loveable pup, and I began working my way around the various vendors. I found our farm co-op, but saw they were only selling plants this week (I found out later that produce will be picked starting next week), and moved inside to the Lorraine Bakery. Having heard excellent reviews from friends, I stood in the line to purchase a handmade croissant for myself (breakfast!), cinnamon-sugar pretzel for Dustin and a gorgeous baguette. The croissant instantly reverted my mind to last June when I enjoyed an authentic croissant at a boulangerie in Paris. The baguette lies in wait until tomorrow, when I may wake up to make stuffed French toast.

Alright, moving on from the bakery…I ended up purchasing eggs and Virginia-grown strawberries from Yoder’s Farm and yellow squash and green beans from Rock Hill Orchard and Farm. The strawberries were irresistable, even at $4.75 a container. The fragrance was unbelievably sweet and fresh.  And thus, I began to think about dinner.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Kroger, where Dustin had an interview for a second job. I’m traveling for work quite often now, so he is looking at getting a second job to 1) provide some additional income so we can pay off debt, faster and 2) have something to do in his spare time. While he was being interviewed (and offered the job pending a drug test, which shouldn’t be a problem), I slowly made my way around the store to put together the rest of tonight’s meal.

Once we got home, I started putting things together in my head. I couldn’t find skirt steak at the store (and failed to remember any other terms for it), so I purchased a 1.25-lb flat iron steak and started searching for recipes. Knowing already that I would make the crispy garlic potatoes from the Everyday Food app, that I would split my strawberries between a baby greens salad and dessert and that I wanted grilled yellow squash, I searched for a recipe that would work with all of those dishes. Did you know that Taste of Home had only two recipes in the search results for “flat iron steak” and Food Network has a lot of recipes with less than 3 stars for flat iron steak?

After finding some inspiration through Recipezaar, I put together a quick marinade for the steak, let it sit for about an hour and a half in the fridge, and then started the rest of dinner. My plan of attack was:

1. Marinate the steak
2. Make a shortbread-based “crust” for my dessert, bake it.
3. Macerate the strawberries for dessert and cut up about a cup for the salad.
4. Take the steak out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
5. Cut and season the squash.
6. Cut and season the potatoes, then start roasting in the oven.
7. Grill the steak and squash.
8. Take the squash off the grill when cooked and remove the potatoes from the oven when done.
9. Let the steak rest.
10. Make the filling for the tart and assemble the tart.
11. Eat!

Yummy mealOur final menu tonight included:

  • Grilled flat iron steak, marinated in red wine and fresh herbs
  • Crispy garlic potatoes (recipe from Everyday Food)
  • Grilled yellow squash with lemon and pepper
  • Baby greens salad with fresh strawberries, feta and homemade honey-balsamic vinaigrette
  • Strawberry cheesecake tart

The meal was delicious – the steak was perfectly cooked to medium, the squash was excellent, the salad was fresh and delicious and the tart was to-die-for. The only thing that could use a little extra work was the potatoes – I definitely prefer the glorious taste of butter to olive oil! And the crowning glory of the “spread” was Dustin’s review: “Jim (last name omitted) would be proud.” (Jim is my dad)

RECIPES:

GRILLED FLAT IRON STEAK, MARINATED IN RED WINE AND FRESH HERBS

1, 1 – 1.25 lb. flat iron steak
1/4 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir – good for summer weather!)
2 T. olive oil
About 1 t. dijon mustard
About 1 t. chopped fresh Italian parsley
About 1 t. chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, pressed in a garlic press or minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together all ingredients for the marinade and place in 1-gallon plastic bag. Put steak in bag and ensure marinade coats steak. Marinate for at least one hour in the fridge, then let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling. Heat grill to high heat and sear bottom side of steak, then turn heat to medium-high and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning once. Meat temperature should be at least 145 degrees F before removing from grill; remove from grill when done and let rest for at least five minutes before serving.

CRISPY GARLIC POTATOES

2 garlic cloves, pressed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. new red potatoes, sliced 1 inch thick

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Mix together garlic, thyme and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss sliced potatoes in oil mixture and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 475 for about 30 minutes (but check at 25 minutes). Potatoes are done when fork can be easily pierced into them and bottoms are browned.

GRILLED YELLOW SQUASH

5 yellow squash, sliced 1/4″ thick, lengthwise
1 T. canola oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 – 1 t. Lemon Pepper seasoning (I used Weber’s grilling seasoning – Zesty Lemon Pepper)

Toss squash in oil, salt, pepper and seasoning and grill on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side.

BABY GREENS SALAD WITH STRAWBERRIES, FETA AND HONEY-BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

Baby spring mix
1 c. sliced fresh strawberries
3-4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. honey-balsamic vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients together and serve.

HONEY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. dijon mustard
3 T. honey
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and honey. Whisk oil in gradually until dressing emulsifies. Add salt and pepper to taste.

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE TART

Shortbread crust
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream together butter, salt, sugar and almond extract until combined. Add flour gradually and mix together until crumbly. Press dough into tart pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until beginning to brown around the edges. If not using a springform tart pan (and perhaps using a Pampered Chef tart pan like me), let the tart dough cool for at least 10 minutes before carefully turning the dough out to your serving platter.

“CHEESECAKE” TART FILLING
1 bar of cream cheese (I think it’s 8 oz.), softened
4 oz. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. lemon zest

Mix together all ingredients until well-blended, then spread into tart shell.

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
Sliced fresh strawberries (probably about 3 cups)
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice

Mix together ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until juicy. Use slotted spoon to put on top of tart filling.

Enjoy!





“It’s not delivery, it’s my wife!”

1 05 2010

First off, I know it’s been quite some time since I posted anything. I apologize – it’s been a hectic few weeks at work and we’ve eaten out a little more than we should have. As a working woman who just assumed new responsibilities at her job (new AND more responsibilities), it’s been difficult to be the wife I should be in my off-time. Whoever decided that work-life balance was a possibility obviously didn’t have much ambition.

Today is Friday. I haven’t cooked at home since Monday, when I made another successful lasagna, garlic bread and zucchini meal. Tuesday, I picked up Little Caesar’s after Bible study (it’s hard to come home and cook when you’ve been gone from 8:30 in the morning to 8:30 in the evening); Wednesday, we ate leftovers. Thursday, I introduced Dustin and Thomas to the Cavalier – the best burger and fries in Lynchburg (though my husband, who constantly dances to the beat of a different drummer, insisted on ordering the clam strips). Tonight, I finally made BBQ chicken pizza using the best homemade pizza dough.

Though I ate alone this evening, this pizza was AWESOME. Last time I made pizza with the best homemade pizza dough recipe, I froze half, so I was prepared for tonight. The frozen dough takes about two days to thaw. I made this dinner as easy as possible by shredding a rotisserie chicken and using pre-made barbecue sauce (KC Masterpiece was on-hand). The hardest parts were cutting the red onion and stretching the dough into a circle (slightly asymmetrical, of course).

And even though I ate alone, the men in the house eventually followed their noses to my kitchen and gave two great reviews.

Thomas’s review: “Two thumbs and two big toes up.”

Dustin’s review: “It’s not delivery, it’s my wife!”





“Don’t tell anyone, but this is better than my mom’s”

4 03 2010

Pot roastThe first rule of talking to a blogger (actually, a reporter) is to never imply that something is off the record. Implying that something is off the record includes prefacing a statement with, “Don’t tell anyone, but…” Now, I won’t name any names, but one of the males in my house (one of the two that can talk and have opposable thumbs) actually said at the dinner table tonight, “Don’t tell anyone, but this is better than my mom’s.” That statement is one of the highest compliments a young home cook can receive.

Wednesday nights in our house are rather hectic, as all three of us have different responsibilities after our regular day. I go to choir practice, Dustin goes to guitar lessons and Thomas goes to basketball. Generally, there are two different options for us each Wednesday: toss something in the Crock-Pot or pick up Little Caesar’s or Chick-fil-a. This week, I planned for the former and took a 3.16-lb. pot roast out of the freezer on Sunday to thaw.

Last year, I attempted to make a pot roast for the first time and failed miserably. It was dry and flavorless. Learning from past mistakes (as I often do), I researched a few different recipes and began to prep the ingredients Tuesday night for Wednesday’s meal. I chopped the carrots into 3-inch chunks instead of coins, the onions into large chunks, celery into 1-inch chunks and set aside two garlic cloves to be sliced in the morning, then prepped the broth by combining crushed beef bouillon, water, Worcestershire sauce and dried basil.

I woke up this morning and rushed to the kitchen to put the ingredients together in the Crock-Pot. First, I cut red potatoes into quarters and placed the potatoes in the bottom of the pot. Then, I added the onions, carrots and celery and peeled and sliced the garlic cloves. I sprinkled one of the garlic cloves over the vegetables, then opened the pot roast and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I laid the pot roast gently over the vegetables, poured the broth over it and set the Crock-Pot on low for 10 hours.

When we all finally arrived home (I was the last in the door), I removed the roast and vegetables from the Crock-Pot to make a quick gravy with the juices and some flour. We ate together at about 8:30, and then the comment was made. “Don’t tell anyone, but this is better than my mom’s.” I have to admit, this is one of the most flavorful, most tender pot roasts I’ve eaten, and my own mother used to make pot roast pretty often. I accidentally dropped a shred of beef on the floor while eating and Max, the other male (four-legged, though), rushed into the kitchen on clean-up duty. And, after licking up as much as he could, he promptly sat to beg for more – a compliment even from the dog.

This will become one of my healthy and hearty standbys, as it’s easy to prep ahead of time and put on in the morning to cook all day.

LAUREN’S CROCK-POT POT ROAST

One, 3-4 lb. pot roast, trimmed of excess fat
8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into three-inch long pieces
2 onions, each cut into 8 wedges
3 celery stalks, chopped on the bias into one-inch long pieces
3-4 large red potatoes, cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 c. water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. dried basil, crushed

Season the top of the pot roast with coarse salt and ground pepper. Set aside. Mix together the water, crushed bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and basil until bouillon is dissolved. Set aside.

Prep vegetables and place into bottom of slow cooker with one clove of sliced garlic. Set the pot roast on top of the vegetables and arrange the slices of the second garlic clove on top. Pour the broth over the top of the pot roast and cover.

Cook in Crock-Pot on low for about 10 hours (depending on weight of the roast). Do not open the Crock-Pot while it’s cooking – just let it go!

After the roast is done, remove the roast and vegetables from the Crock-Pot, leaving the juices in the bottom. Add about 1/4 c. flour to the juices and whisk until dissolved and thickened. You may need to add some cornstarch and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.





And the tables turned…

3 03 2010

Dustin's cabbage and potatoesTuesday nights are generally my Bible study night at church – unless there’s snow. At about 4 p.m. today, I received word that Bible study tonight was cancelled, which meant I’d be home for the evening.

We purchased a head of red cabbage, fingerling potatoes and bacon last week at Walmart as my wonderful husband, Dustin, decided (while wandering the produce department) to make “fried cabbage” sometime during the next two weeks. It so happened that Dustin had asked if he could cook dinner this week, so I gave him the choice of Tuesday (Bible study night) or Wednesday (choir night). He chose Tuesday (tonight). And, when I returned to the homestead after work today, the smell of herb-roasted potatoes was filling the air. I was looking forward to relaxing while he made dinner, but…then he asked if I’d help cook the bacon. Being the good wife I try to be, I tied on my apron and got to work.

While I cooked the bacon, Dustin prepped the cabbage. I have to admit, I was impressed that he remembered to discard the outermost leaves of the cabbage AND he remembered to core the cabbage before chopping it. Dustin’s “fried cabbage” consisted of cabbage, bacon drippings, water, sugar, salt and pepper, and after cooking down, was tossed with pieces of bacon. I don’t think I’ve ever had a vegetable prepared with that much fat, but it was pretty good.

Dustin served the warm cabbage with his herb-roasted potatoes – a secret recipe he brought with him from his old job (several years ago) at Jazz Street Grill. Thomas gave it two thumbs up; I smile at his potential to begin cooking more often at home : ).

By the way, I decided today to start a potted herb garden for this summer. I’ll share more about those adventures soon, and I promise, it will be an adventure. (I’ve never grown anything successfully other than an amaryllis, which anyone can handle).








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