Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Herbed Buttermilk Dressing

November 25, 2018

As you might imagine, there’s been a fair amount of cooking post-Thanksgiving, but not a ton of time for writing.  A good many vegetarian options the last few days so stay tuned if that’s your thing, or if you’re looking for some ways to counteract the holiday binge.  I’ll work my way backwards from tonight’s dinner.

Once again Melissa Clark has supplied a fantastic, and completely attainable, dinner.  This one has limited dishes; requires limited skill; and comes with buttermilk dressing that you can use for lots of things!  She’s fast becoming my food bestie.  I love this cookbook so much that when my 8 month old puppy chewed up my still new copy of Dinner:  Changing the Game,  I ordered a new one in about 10 minutes without batting an eyelash.  Well, I might have reacted slightly more strongly to the puppy.  Still, no question that I can’t be without this cookbook!

This is as good a dinner as I’ve had in a while.  Even better if you consider the limited work it was for me!  The work is chopping and whisking.  That’s it.  Chop the vegetables and herbs and whisk the dressing.  I think you could use about any combination of winter vegetables, but keep the flavor balance in mind.  The original recipe calls for kale, butternut squash and potatoes.  I didn’t  have any kale, but I did have Brussels Sprouts so I used those instead.  Still a green element and the leaves got crispy.

Do include an orange squash – butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin.  That’s your sweet  and creamy element.  Don’t skip the potatoes.  I know potatoes have gotten a bad rap recently, but they’re the perfect delivery vehicle for this dressing.  They’re puffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.  So yummy.  Do include a hearty green – kale, collard, sprout.  The green, slightly bitter flavor is a wonderful counterpoint to the orange squash.  Use broccoli if you like that best.

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Don’t skimp on the pre-heating of the oven.  The high heat delivers the crispiness. I did the Brussels Sprouts alone first so I could get the loose leaves to crisp.  Then the butternut and potatoes on separate pans, but at the same time.  The length of cooking time depends on the size of the vegetables.  Mine were about an inch square so it took 20-25 minutes for the squash and 5 minutes longer for the potatoes.

I did add some pan seared chicken breast to my bowl for some protein.  I halved it horizontally to speed up the cooking.  If you’re buying your chicken at the grocery store, and most of use are, organic or not, the breasts are huge.  Honestly enough for 4 servings.  Halved horizontally, depending on the thickness you’re left with, you’re looking at 2-4 minutes per side.  Start with a smoking hot pan with a little olive oil in it.  Once you put the chicken in, DON”T MOVE IT!  You’ll tear it if you move it around a lot and that’s how you lose the juices.  When you start to flip it, if your pan was hot enough and you’ve left it long enough, it will flip without sticking to the pan.  It will also have a lovely brown sear to it.  Cook, at the same high heat, for the same amount of time, maybe plus a minute on the flip side.  Let it rest 5-6 minutes before you cut it.  You can assemble the rest of the meal while it’s resting.

While the chicken was resting I returned the sprouts to the oven with the other vegetables.  Oven off, but still hot.

Now, about the dressing.  The recipe is pretty loose.  It’s got buttermilk (1/3 C), yogurt (3 T), garlic (1 clove grated), lemon juice and salt to taste.  Beyond that, use whatever herbs and greens you like.  I used arugula, dill, and parsley.  Chop it fine.  I hate chopping herbs.  It takes me a long time and I inevitably catch a finger or fingernail under the knife in the process.  It’s much better when I use my mandolin.  No, not the instrument or the fancy slicer.  It’s a two-handled chopper with a curved blade.  You can just rock it back and forth over the pile of herbs and greens.  It’s not super sharp so they will bruise some in the process, but it doesn’t matter because you’re going to dump them in the dressing anyway.

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Spoon equal portions of the vegetables into a bowl. Dice the chicken and add 1/4 to the bowl.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing over each bowl.  Without the chicken, this would make a fantastic side for beef or pork.

If you want to keep this vegetarian, but want to add some protein, it would be fantastic with some warm white beans added!

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Busy Week Breakfast Quiche

November 11, 2018

One more week before some much needed vacation!  And as all weeks before vacation are, this one is really busy.  So, I’m trying to set myself up for success by taking care of breakfast (and maybe a lunch or two) ahead of time.  I also had a little spinach, 2/3 box of sliced mushrooms, and some green onions to use up.  Quiches are perfect for using up the vegetable drawer leftovers.

I’ve made many quiches in the past.  They’re great to make ahead if you have guests coming in.  They freeze well.  They travel well.  They make very good gifts for hostesses, neighbors, and friends.  This is the first quiche I’ve made where you pre-bake the crust.  So, consider that optional I think.  I’m sure Paul Hollywood would disagree.  Maybe this blind bake will keep the crust crispy.

In any case, the base quiche recipe is something to keep in your back pocket, and know you can add pretty much anything to it.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 deep dish pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 C heavy cream

Beyond that I added about 6 ounces of grated extra sharp white cheddar, some sauteed sliced mushrooms, sliced green onions, chopped fresh spinach.

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Prick pie crust with a fork
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden
  • Set aside
  • Reduce heat to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and cream

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  • Mix in cheese and vegetables

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  • Place pie crust on a baking sheet with sides
  • Pour filling into crust

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  • Bake 40-50 minutes until the center is set

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With the holidays coming up, knowing you have a few things done ahead of time is a nice feeling!

Halloumi and Brussels Sprouts – yes, really!

October 30, 2018

It’s Tired Tuesday, y’all.  I managed to do a little meal planning and grocery shopping, but then I was almost too tired to do anything with it.  This is definitely a dish for one of those nights!  Very few ingredients.  Half of them roast in the oven while you deal with the other half.  Good stuff.  A big shout out to my Dinner: Changing the Game cookbook for introducing me to this combination.

Probably this is meant to be a side dish, and it could be.  Clearly I wasn’t going to manage anything else tonight and it did just fine as a main (read only) dish.  I only made one substitution, which is saying something.  My local Kroger didn’t have any Aleppo or Turkish red pepper.  A quick Google told me this is fairly mild red pepper so I didn’t want to use cayenne instead.  Hot Hungarian Paprika seemed like a good choice.

A couple of notes. If you’ve toasted spices, seeds or nuts before you know how quickly they go from toasted to burned.  Stay close to the stove when you’re toasting the cumin seeds.  They’re what make this dish really special.  If they get too dark, they’ll be bitter instead of nutty and fragrant.  If you burn them, toss them and start again.  Trust me on that.  No reason to ruin the whole dish because you don’t want to lose a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

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Also, I patted my halloumi dry before I put it in the oil, but there’s still a lot of water in it.  What does that mean?  It means the oil will sputter and pop so be careful putting the cheese in the pan.  Load the pan from the back and work your way forward to avoid getting burned.  You can also use tongs to put the cheese in, but I never do that.  It’s just faster to put the pieces in by hand.  Do use tongs to turn the cubes.  It doesn’t take long to get a nice brown sear on the halloumi.

Finally, you can go a little easy on the salt on the sprouts.  The halloumi is super salty.  You’re going to want that green flavor from the sprouts to balance it out.

Here’s what you need: (see not much!)

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  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 3/4-1 lb brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 6 oz halloumi, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 t cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 t hot paprika
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 (high heat is important to get that lovely color on the sprouts)
  • Toss the sprouts with 2 T olive oil, salt and black pepper
  • Roast the sprouts in the oven 15-20 minutes, until they’re golden brown
  • When the sprouts have about 5 minutes to go, heat the other 2T of oil in a heavy pan
  • When the oil begins to shimmer, fry the halloumi on two or more sides

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  • Add the cheese cubes to a large bowl with the cumin seeds
  • Add the roasted brussels sprouts to the bowl and toss
  • Stir in the paprika
  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and toss

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When I combined all my ingredients and tossed them I found that the cumin seeds mostly stuck to the side of the bowl.   Be sure you use a spoon to serve this so you can scrape the cumin along with the rest.  The toasted cumin seeds add a really wonderful earthy element to this dish.  Honestly I think it’s the cumin seeds that make this special.  Without them it would lack depth.

To be completely honest, I only made about half as much as the original recipe calls for.  I wasn’t convinced going in that I was going to love this and I didn’t want to throw out a lot of food.  Well, I do love it!  However, I’m still not convinced that this will reheat well so it might be good that I only have 1 full meal left.  It would be best to reheat this in the oven and not the microwave.  We’ll see how inspired I feel about that tomorrow.  The amounts above make probably 4 portions as a side dish and 2 as an only dish.

This is a lovely Fall dish.  If you’re looking for a new side for your Thanksgiving table, I definitely recommend this one!

Back to Basics: Beef and a side

October 20, 2018

This time of year Saturdays are long run days.  Ten miles today.  Long runs make me crave protein, usually beef.  The complicating factor today is that I’ve leaving tomorrow on a business trip.  I’ll be gone for a week so I try not to leave much in the fridge.  I also don’t usually cook on my last night so that I don’t have to clean the kitchen.  Today I had some little summer squash and an onion left.  So I pulled out a steak and decided I could manage two pans and a plate for dishes.

Sometimes all you really need is a protein and some vegetables.  Exactly as they are, or close to it.  A little olive oil, maybe some butter, and some salt.  This is the end of the summer squash for this year so it would be a crime to do anything to mask their sweet summery-ness.  And good beef doesn’t need much either.  I’m not a fan of Bearnaise or other heavy sauces.  Just a Penzeys spice rub and very high heat.

I do not claim to be any sort of steak master.  Many, many people prepare steaks more artfully than I.  But I’ll give you the quick version of my cooking and then direct you to Bobby Flay for better instructions.

Take the meat out of the fridge 30-45 minutes before you cook it.  Rub it with salt and/or a spice rub then to give the salt and spices a chance to penetrate the beef.  I heat a cast iron skillet with just a little olive oil until it smokes.  3 minutes on one side.  Don’t move it, just wait.  This is 3 brushing your teeth minutes, not 3 talking to a friend minutes, so glance at the clock or set a timer.  Flip it.  3 minutes on the other side.  Put the pan, with the steak in a 400 degree oven.  2-3 minutes on each side.  Take it out and remove it from the pan to rest.

Letting meat rest is the hardest part for me.  It’s supposed to rest 7-10 minutes.  The only way I can mange that is that I don’t start the vegetable until I’ve removed the steak from the oven. Then I have to let it rest while I finish the meal.

In a larger cast iron skillet heat 1/2 T olive oil and a pat of butter until they smoke.  Add an onion that you’ve halved and sliced thinly.  Cook until the onion start to soften.  Add a minced clove of garlic.  Cook 1 minute.  Add the sliced squash.  Cook 7-10 minutes.  (See how that works with the meat resting)?  When the squash is softened and a little brown, your ready to eat!

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This is one of the better meals I’ve had lately.  It’s plain food.  Good food.  Just remember that when your preparation is super simple, your ingredients have to be super good.  Get the best meat you can find and reasonably afford.  Buy local and in season vegetables.  Accompanied by a lovely Shiraz.  An improved by the lower price tag for such a meal at home instead of at a steakhouse. Improved even more than that by the fact that I got to eat on my couch with my dogs sleeping nearby.  I won’t get to do that again for more than a week.  A better than even trade for a few dishes.

Tuesday Wow! Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas with Swiss Chard and Cumin

October 16, 2018

Let me start by saying it’s been a down in the dumps kind of day.  Crap at every turn.  I could easily have had wine and cookies for dinner and called it a day.  But cooking always makes me feel better so I pulled up my britches and found my way to the kitchen.  My newest cookbook is Dinner:  Changing the Game by Melissa Clark of the New York Times.  I’ve put a dozen or more shreds of paper in there marking recipes I want to look at again.  This is one of them.

This is a surprisingly elegant dish made of really regular ingredients.  I have most of this stuff in my house all the time.  A simple and rustic vegetarian dinner with amazingly complex flavor.  I only made half a recipe and I’m a little bit sad about that.  I could have eaten the whole bowl, no problem.

Here’s what you need for 2-3 servings: (half the original recipe)

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  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 bunch chard (or collards or turnip greens), stems removed
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • salt
  • crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1 can (2C) cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • hearty bread slices
  • lemon
  • smoked paprika

The original recipe calls for shallots instead of onion, but you work with what you have.

I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it’s really not bad.  I finished the whole thing in 35-40 minutes and I managed to feed the dogs in the middle!

Here’s what you do:

  • Chop greens and stems (separately) into medium sized pieces
  • Heat oil to medium high in a large pot (the greens take up more room than you think)
  • Add garlic, cook until barely golden (1-2 minutes)
    • Note:  If you burn the garlic you’ll have to start over.  It’s super bitter when it’s burned

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  • Add chard stems, cumin seeds, salt, red pepper
  • Cook until stems soften (4-5 minutes)

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  • Add onion, cook 2-3 minutes
  • Add chickpeas, chard leaves, stock.  Mix well.  Cover.

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  • Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 10-15 minutes

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  • Puree part of the mixture
    • Use an immersion blender if you have one.  Takes about three squeezes.  That’s what I used.
    • Put 1/3-1/2 in a regular blender if you have that instead.  Don’t blend long.  Just enough to break down the chickpeas
    • Mash the chickpeas with the back of a fork to save yourself cleaning up one more thing.
  • Return the mixture to the pot and stir in

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  • Rub the bread slices with garlic
  • Toast the bread slices
  • Place bread in the bottom of a bowl and ladle stew over it
  • Squeeze lemon and sprinkle with paprika

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How’d it turn out?

I might have licked the bowl.  The garlic, cumin, pepper, lemon and paprika layer themselves throughout the dish.  It’s warm and earthy and bright and smoky.  The texture is creamy without being mushy.  The olive oil is rich and wonderful.  It’s wonderful over crusty bread, but I’d happily eat it over rice as well.  Or by itself, maybe as a side dish for chicken or fish or lamb.

This is a keeper.  I would serve this to guests except then I’d have to share it.  I can only imagine that the leftovers will be unimaginably good.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

September 30, 2018

I recently got a new cookbook – Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark.  I’ve been through it a couple of times and there are more than a dozen little paper markers in the pages of recipes I want to try.  I hadn’t gotten around to any of them until today.  I can’t really claim that I’ve made this salad, more like a slapdash variation, so we’ll call it “inspired by” Melissa Clark’s recipe.

It’s the very beginning of Fall so still plenty warm out.  Too warm to feel like heating up the kitchen much on a Sunday evening.  What I love about this recipe is you need a small oven, a good toaster oven would do for the roasting, and a blender.  That’s it.  I had some cauliflower and brussels sprouts left in the fridge so I stuck them on a sheet pan to roast.  I ate a bunch of the sprouts while I was making the dressing for this salad.

This is the second recipe I have that combines chickpeas and cauliflower.  I really like the pairing.  The other one is a red curry dish.  See the recipe here.  And as in the other dish, it’s the sauce that makes it.

Here’s what you need for the dressing:

  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 1 T orange juice
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 t rice vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 t crushed red or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  • Put everything in a blender and turn it on.
  • Stream in the olive oil

That’s it!

For the rest mix the warm roasted cauliflower with a drained can of chickpeas and some light greens. The recipe calls for watercress, but I didn’t have any cress so I used roughly chopped spinach instead.  Mix in the dressing and serve at room temperature.

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It’s light without feeling too summery.  It’s filling, but not heavy.  It’s quick and easy.  You can serve it as a main dish or a side. It’s good.  Hard to complain about that!

P.S.  This is super good the next day heated in the microwave!

 

Wednesday Chicken (aka I Got Home Late Chicken)

September 26, 2018

This is what happens when you’re one person and you try to save some money by buying a bulk package of chicken breasts.  Yes, I could have frozen some, but I didn’t, so here we are on take 3 of chicken for this week.  See here and here for versions from earlier in the week.  This has a hundred variations.  Always halved horizontally.  Always pan seared in a smoking hot cast iron skillet.  Then topped with whatever you have handy:  olives and tomatoes; or salsa; or caramelized onions; or, like tonight, served with garlic spinach and feta.  If I’d had good fresh tomatoes I would have added those too.

Feta

It was after 7 when I got home from my volunteer gig at the SPCA and 7:20 by the time the dogs were fed and let out.  All of that translates into needing something quick that wouldn’t produce a lot of dirty dishes.  But I still wanted something that felt like real food and I still have a fridge full of farmers’ market vegetables.

This whole thing takes 15 minutes.  Really.  There’s nothing spectacular about it, but it is real food.  It feels like you “made dinner.”  So, if that’s a thing for you, and sometimes it is for me, this is a better than fair solution.

Heat a heavy skillet until it smokes and add the chicken.  Don’t move it while it cooks.  Let it cook about 3 minutes on one side then flip it and give it 3 minutes on the other side.  While it’s cooking on the second side, top it with whatever you’ve chosen, feta in this case.  Lay a piece of foil over the pan to help keep some heat in.  When it’s done, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

While the chicken rests, saute the spinach and heat whatever sides you’re having – leftover potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.  If you remove the chicken to a plate to rest you can use that pan to cook the greens.  Fewer dishes is good.  I also had a big pile of succotash because I love it.  Turns out it goes really well with the feta chicken and spinach.  It’s earthy, creamy, sweet and has just a touch of smoky flavor to me.  Perfect.

That’s it.  Real food. Dinner done.  The last of the chicken cooked.  Looking forward to moving on to something else, but I’ve enjoyed my choices this week.

 

Mustard-Citrus Chicken and Maple Squash Rings

September 23, 2018

I’m back from traveling and finally made it to the farmers’ market and the grocery store.  Food in the house!

It’s a drizzly, dreary, finally feels like Fall day in central Virginia.  It’s been one of those days where I’ve had my apron on all day.  I’ve made lemon-garlic chicken stock, chicken salad, baked chicken for the dogs, stemmed a giant container of spinach, and made succotash.  It’s going to be a chicken kind of week here.

I rarely eat chicken.  I almost never order it when I’m out because I always think, “I could make that at home for about $4.”  But when I’m home chicken always seems boring so I don’t make it.  Last week I bought a rotisserie chicken, so today it became chicken salad, dog chicken and the carcass became stock.  Yesterday I bought a large package of chicken breasts.  I baked half of those for the dogs and you’ll be seeing the rest of them throughout the week.

What’s the other problem with chicken?  How do you cook it enough that you don’t die (or wish that you had), but not so much that it’s dry as dust.  The best way I’ve found to deal with that if you’re just cooking chicken with some kind of sauce or topping is to cut the breast in half horizontally.  That way you get 2 portions out of each breast and you cut the cooking time to 6-7 minutes!  Magic.

This recipe is based on one from a new cookbook called Dinner.  The original recipe calls for mustard, thyme, and tangerines.  I don’t keep tangerines in the house so I used orange juice.  And I don’t like thyme so I left it out.  The key piece of advice in this recipe is that the chicken won’t brown, but it will cook through.

So, this is  my version of a meat and three.  In a diner it would be chicken fried steak or meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and mac and cheese.  This is a little lighter and more modern. But it’s not hard.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 T grainy mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 1/3 C orange juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced horizontally

Here’s what you do:

  • Mix mustard through pepper in a small bowl
  • Pour marinade over chicken
  • Marinate for 1-2 hours
  • Bake at 350 degrees on the highest rack in the oven
  • Bake 3 minutes on each side

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This produced a nice, mildly flavored chicken.  Next time I’d probably use dijon mustard to get a little more punch.

On to the squash rings.  About a year ago someone introduced me to delicata squash.  Brilliant.  It’s a winter squash that’s easy to cut!  Who knew?!  The skin is thin enough that you can eat it.  Not like you can eat it and you won’t die, but like you can eat it and it’s lovely.  So I sliced it into rings and roasted them with maple syrup.  SO good!  And easy finger food.  Your kids might even eat them with a little extra syrup for dipping.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 T maple syrup

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Slice the squash into rings 1/2-1″ thick

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  • Use a spoon to clean the seeds and stringy bits out of the middle
  • Place on a baking sheet coated with 1 T olive oil
  • Brush the top of the rings with the remaining olive oil
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Bake 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven and turn the rings over
  • Brush each ring with maple syrup
  • Return to the oven and bake another 6-7 minutes

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I know what you’re thinking.  That’s meat and one.  I picked up some butter beans and a couple of ears of the last of the summer corn yesterday and made succotash.  That’s two.  Some spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil makes 3.  What a pretty plate!

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Christening the Dutch Oven Pot Roast

August 27, 2018

Last week I celebrated my birthday.  I’ve been saving my pennies for some time now to get a Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  I gave away 2 largish such pots earlier this year because the enamel was scratched or cracked.  I use my big dutch oven a lot in the Fall and Winter, thus the need to replace it tout suite.  I did a ton of online comparing of Le Creuset and Staub and Lodge.  I landed on the 7 quart Le Creuset in Flame.  Happy birthday to me!

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Let me start by saying that I planned to get the 9 quart pot until I saw them in person.  I barely know enough people to need a pot that big and I certainly don’t feed that many people hardly ever.  And, more to the point, after I had to lift this 7 quart pot, full of pot roast, vegetables and liquid, out of the oven, I was awfully glad it wasn’t any bigger or heavier.  I might have needed assistance to use the other pot.

All that to say that I christened my pot today with a beautiful pot roast.  Normally I’d only do something like this on a weekend because it takes forever to cook.  Today, I had leftovers so I used my lunch time to peel and chop vegetables and get this in the oven.  It’s perfectly happy to sit a while so it’s fine that it was finished by 3:30.

Not much is easier than a pot roast.  And if you stick to pretty basic seasonings, you can do a lot with it.  If you don’t get around to that, it freezes well too.

This beautiful roast is from my friends at Greenway Beef.  I visit them at my farmers’ market nearly every Saturday.  I just love the Clarks.  They’re all so nice!  When I’ve come up short on funds at their stand, they’ve always let me take my beef and bacon and whatever else home and get the money to them later.  Good people they are.  Anyway, they also know a lot about beef.  A few generations of cattle farming will do that for you.  This is hormone-free, grass grazing beef from here in Virginia.  Mike Clark is the one who told me that grass fed beef needs less cooking time than grain fed beef.  That one piece of information has saved me a lot of disappointment and money in ruined dinners!  (If you’re in Central Virginia, note that Greenway also has a regular storefront in Midlothian)!

There’s not much that’s easier to make than pot roast.  Do it in the crock pot if that works better for you.  You need a beef roast (chuck, shoulder, rump, bottom round), some chunky root vegetables and some stock.  Throw in some wine if it makes you happy.  That’s really it along with salt and pepper.  And time.  You need a lot of time – for waiting, not for doing stuff.  These cuts of meat are on the tougher side so you have to cook them a long time.

There are a million ways to do this.  This is what I did today.  Tomorrow might have been a completely different story.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 1/2-4lb roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 1-2 T tomato paste
  • 1 C  dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 C beef stock (increase by 1 C if not using wine)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 5-6 small white potatoes, quartered

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Here’s what you do:

  • Rub salt on all sides of the roast
  • In a cast iron, or other oven suitable pot, heat the oil
  • Brown the roast on all sides, remove from the pot

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  • Add the onions and garlic, saute 2-3 minutes
  • Add tomato paste

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  • Add the wine, stir until liquid is reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the pot

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  • Add the stock
  • Return the roast to the pot
  • Add the vegetables

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  • Bring the liquid to a boil
  • Cover the pot and place in the oven
  • Cook 2 1/2 – 3 hours

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Remove the meat and shred with a fork.  Remove the vegetables.  Leave about half the liquid in the pot and cook down for gravy.  If it needs to thicken, whisk in 1 T of flour and bring to a boil.  Use the rest of the liquid to cover any leftover meat.

You can use the leftover pot roast for sandwiches or tacos or pot pie.  So good.

For the veggies, I don’t actually like these soft vegetables a ton.  You know what I do like?  Mashed potatoes.  So mashed root veggies will work just as well!  I’m just as happy to throw all of these in a bowl with some of the cooking liquid, a little milk, and a little butter.  Voila!  Except, no.  There’s a reason you’ve never seen such a thing on a restaurant menu.

Let’s start with the fact that carrots and turnips have a lot of water in them so they don’t actually whip up like potatoes.  Then there’s the fact that they’re all a murky brown color already.  So, you end up with something that mostly looks like lumpy dog food.  It’s really unappetizing to look at.  It tastes pretty good, but it’s very hard to get past the look of it.  I ate them tonight, but the rest went in the trash.

Just leave the vegetables be.  Serve them alongside the pot roast like a regular person.

Breakfast All Week Quiche

August 26, 2018

I’ve got a bunch of work to do in this week coming up so I want to make the cooking as easy as possible.  I’m a hot breakfast every day girl.  Quiche makes that super easy.  It keeps well and reheats well.  You can do individual ones in muffin tins if you need to take them on the go or want to freeze them in portions to use later.  I’ll be eating this every day next week so I did a big one.

You can make any kind of quiche you want.  This is another great way to clean out the odds and ends.  Have a little ham or bacon left?  Chop it up and throw it in.  Half an onion or pepper?  Same.  Use a store bought crust if the thought of making one stresses you out.

This is a spinach, onion and feta quiche because I had leftover spinach.

All you have to do is whisk 1/2 C of half and half into 4 eggs.  Add in your meat, veggies and cheese.  If you’re using onions or peppers, it’s nice to saute them until they’re soft before you add them.  If you forget, don’t worry about it.  This quiche is going to cook 40-45 minutes so everything will cook through anyway.  I do make sure I use meat that’s already cooked though.

Pour your egg mixture into an unbaked deep dish pie shell.  Put it in a 375 degree oven until the middle doesn’t jiggle much when you gently shake the oven rack – about 40-45 minutes.  It will probably puff up as it cooks.  It will settle back down as it cools.

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One tip, I put my quiche pan on a baking sheet.  It makes it a lot easier to get the full, liquidy dish into the oven without spilling.  And if it spills over when it’s cooking, it doesn’t go all over the oven.

And now I have hot breakfast the rest of the week just seconds away in the microwave!

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