Saturday, March 28, 2009

Living Room Photo Studio

I'm working on new photos for my Web site. They should be revealed soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beef Stew with Olives and Onions

The first day of spring was a week ago. Yet when I look outside, despite the blossoms on my cherry tree, it looks like it's still winter. Just a bit too rainy and dreary for my taste (and I usually really enjoy the rain).

I thought a nice stew might be just the ticket. There is just something I find quite soul-satisfying about a big bowl of stew.

I've got a few ingredients left over from my brisket testing (beef stock, red wine and sun-dried tomatoes). I took a look in my freezer, fridge and pantry and found a few ingredients to build the rest of my stew.

Here's the ingredients

1 pound stew meat
1/2 cup flour seasoned with 1 Tbls minced fresh rosemary, salt and pepper

4 clove garlic, minced

2 cup red wine
2 cup beef stock
1 can diced tomatoes

1 Tbls fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed

3/4 cup kalamata olives

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

2 Tbls capers
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

I started by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. In a Ziploc bag I combined my flour with the seasonings, then added my stew meat, giving it a good shake to coat the meat completely.

I heated some olive oil in my fancy new dutch oven, then added the flour-coated stew beef. I cooked this, stirring occasionally until the beef was browned on all sides.

I added the minced garlic and let it saute for a few seconds before adding the rest of my ingredients (except for the parsley). I did not add any salt at this point because the stew contains a lot of really salty ingredients and I wasn't sure how much the broth would reduce (you can always add salt, but you can't take it away). I brought the liquid to a simmer, put the lid on the dutch oven and popped the pan into the oven to braise. After two hours I took the pan out of the oven.

Then I stirred in the fresh parsley and dished it up.

To accompany the stew I made a salad that features one of the quintessential spring ingredients, strawberries. Which is kind of ironic since my stew is a "why won't spring get here meal". I created this salad for a client last week and it looked very tasty. I wanted to add nuts to her salad but one of the family members has a nut allergy (but I don't, so let's get nuts).

Here's the ingredients

2 Tbls pear-infused vinegar (I made this at Christmas time, sherry vinegar would be a good replacement)
2 Tbls olive oil

salt and pepper

sugar or honey to taste

strawberries, quartered or sliced

3 Tbls pecans, toasted

2 ounce goat cheese

I whisked together the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Tasted it for seasoning and added a pinch of sugar. I added the mache and tossed it to coat. I put this on the plate and topped it with the strawberries, pecans and goat cheese.

Pretty, no?

Alongside, I toasted up some sourdough bread which had been seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

The stew didn't thicken up quite as much as I expected it to. I should have added a bit of flour when I added the garlic to the pan. However, the flavors were really nice. The strawberry salad was wonderful. Really good. Plus, the strawberries in the salad helped to remind me that spring weather will get here ... eventually.

Lunch Math

roll + mayonnaise + leftover brisket = awesome

awesome + pear + salt & vinegar chips = lunch

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brisket with Thyme and Garlic Smashed Potatoes

When we last left, I had made really good brisket as a test for an event at my church.

Before I started my recipe testing, I had done some reading about brisket cooking methods. One method that seemed to be widely shared was to cook the brisket one day then cool it and stick it in the fridge for a night or two. Then, while it was cold, it can be more easily de-fatted, then sliced and put back in the gravy to be reheated. The theory here is A) roast is better when it sits for a day or two B) it's easier to slice when it is cold and C) in theory you can't over cook it while reheating because the beef is already cooked to well-done.

So, after eating some of the brisket on Monday, tonight I reheated it using the method above.

Here's the roast straight out of the fridge.

Here it is with the fat removed

I took the beef out of the pan, sliced it and then put it back in the pan, spooning most of the onion mixture on top of the beef. It didn't seem like there was quite enough gravy in the pan, so I mixed together 1/3 cup each of beef stock and red wine and then added this to the pan. I put the lid on the dutch oven and then popped it into a 350 degree oven for an hour.

While this was cooking I started on my side dishes.

Here's the ingredients for the Thyme and Garlic Smashed Potatoes

1 pound new potatoes (these are ruby crescent potatoes which are a beautiful shade of pink when they are done)
1-2 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls fresh thyme, chopped
4 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

I placed my potatoes in a large sauce pan, covered them with water and brought the pan to a boil. I let the potatoes boil until they were fork tender then drained them. I put the pan back on the stove over medium heat, added the olive oil, then the garlic, thyme and salt and let this cook for about 30 seconds. Then I tossed the potatoes back into the pan and gave them a good smash with my flat-bottom whisk (I don't own a potato masher, multi-taskers only in my kitchen). I added some pepper, gave it a good stir and it was ready to go.

The buerre blanc sauce was so good with the snap peas on Monday that I decided to make it again.

Here the ingredients.

10 cute carrots
1 Tbls white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbls butter
1 Tbls lemon zest
a couple of pinches of kosher salt

I started by steaming my carrots until they were almost cooked. While they were cooking I started the buerre blanc.

Now, people seem to think that buerre blanc is had to make, but really, it's easy, it just needs a little attention. I started my buerre blanc with vinegar (because I want the tang) but any liquid (even water) can be used. And no matter how much sauce you want to make (whether it is two tablespoons of butter or two pounds), you only need to start with about a teaspoon of liquid (I'm using more because of the aforementioned tang).

I started by bringing the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan.

Then I whisked in my butter one tablespoon at a time (that's important) waiting until each addition melts before adding another.

Once all my butter melted I added my lemon zest and salt to taste. Then I poured this over my steamed carrots.

So now, everything is done and/or warmed. So I plated it up.

So now, which dish will reign supreme?

While the flavor of the brisket improved (and it was easier to slice while cold), both the husband and I thought it was a bit drier rewarmed. The husband said that he actually likde the texture better, but I didn't think that the improved flavor was worth the dryness (because it was really good the first day).

The potatoes were really good, but both the husband and I thought that the flavor of the brisket completely overwhelmed the potatoes. The corn pudding was a better match in both flavor and texture.

The carrots and the snap peas both had the same sauce. The husband and I were split on which was better, he liked the carrots while I liked the snap peas. Since I'm the chef, my vote wins.

So the meals for the Seder meal will be:
Mediterranean Brisket
Savory Corn Bread Pudding
Snap Peas with White Balsamic Vinegar and Lemon Buerre Blanc

I still need to figure out dessert. But that is a project for future Jennifer.

Meanwhile I've got a lemon with no zest, which means I need to use that lemon right away. Cocktail time.

I was thinking lemon drop (because I've got a lemon, duh). But I wanted to give it a little twist, so here is what I came up with.

This Drink Needs a Name (Suggestions Welcome)

juice of one lemon
4 teaspoons sugar (plus additional for rim)
4 ounces gin

I ran the lemon around the rim of the glass and then dipped it in a shallow plate of sugar. Then I put it all the drink ingredients in the shaker with a couple of cubes and gave it a good shake. This makes enough for two drinks (or one really big one!).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brisket with Savory Corn Bread Pudding

I have been asked by my church to create a Seder meal to be enjoyed by 80 or so congregation members the week before Easter. The good things about being Lutheran at Easter time are A) I don't have to give up anything for Lent and B) I don't have to keep the meal kosher (which provides many more options).

Last year I made braised lamb with couscous for the meal. Braises are great for a group because once you get them started you can just pop the pan in the oven to cook for a few hours while you work on the rest of the meal. Plus, they are really hard to ruin. And couscous is the easiest thing on the planet to cook (pour couscous in pan, add seasonings if desired, add boiling water to just above the couscous, cover for five minutes, fluff).

I obviously can't make the same things two years in a row but I think I've got a plan for a fairly low stress, really tasty meal.

I definitely want to stick with a braise (see above for my reasons) so I decided to do a brisket. I asked some friends if they had any great brisket recipes and this was my first response. It sounded really good so I decided to give it a test. I'd like to give credit to the author of the recipe but my friend said that she got it from her mom who probably got it from a magazine, or a Web site, so the origins of the recipe are unknown.

The original recipe calls for an 8-10 pound brisket. However, since this is just for husband and myself I halved the recipe for testing purposes. I know I will still have tons of leftovers, but I am not mad about that.

Here's the ingredients for the brisket

4-pound brisket
salt and pepper

1 Tbls oil from sun-dried tomatoes (see below)

2 onions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced (oil reserved)
2 bay leaves
8 sprig fresh thyme (the recipe called for dried thyme but I had the fresh in the herb garden so I used it instead)

1 cup beef stock
1 cup dry red wine

Plus my brand-spanking new dutch oven (it was on clearance at the grocery store for $34.99, I had to buy it)

The brisket was pretty big so I cut it in half so that I could brown it in the dutch oven (plus I have a plan to try a method of reheating the brisket in a couple of days and I wanted to be able to split it evenly). I seasoned it really well with salt and pepper and then browned both pieces on both sides one at a time (I didn't want to crowd the pan because that leads to boiling not browning). I took the meat out of the pan then deglazed the pan with a little bit of the beef stock.

I added half the onions, half the sun-dried tomatoes, a couple of sprigs of thyme, the garlic and the tomatoes. Then I added the brisket and topped it with the remaining onions, sun-dried tomatoes and a couple more sprigs of thyme. I poured the rest of the beef stock and the wine over the top and then pushed the bay leaves down into the liquid.

I brought this up to a simmer, covered the pan with foil, added the lid and popped it all in a 350 degree oven for 4 hours.

While this was in the oven I started on the Corn Bread Pudding. I had some leftover corn bread in the fridge and this seemed like a very good use of it.

Here's the ingredients for the Savory Corn Bread Pudding

1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped

6" x 9" square of cornbread, cut into large cubes

3 eggs

1 cup milk

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

I started by sauteing the onion and red bell pepper. Once they were done I combined them with the cornbread in a large bowl then poured this into a 9" x 9" dish. I whisked together the eggs with the milk and poured this over the cornbread. I then arranged the halved tomatoes over the top then popped this into the fridge for a couple of hours. When there was about an hour left in the cooking time of the brisket I drizzled a bit of olive oil over the dish, seasoned it with salt and pepper, then added the dish of corn bread pudding to the oven.

Smellovision would be good here because the smells coming out of the kitchen were so good. The brisket was falling apart and the onions and sun-dried tomatoes had kind of melted together into a tasty gravy.

The corn bread pudding was a really good accompaniment (and I think it would be really easy to prepare for the group).

The pudding had a nice crispy top which was good texturally with the brisket. My leftover cornbread happened to have corn and chipotle peppers in it. I think I will probably keep the corn but I will get rid of (or at least reduce) the chipotles (a lot of people really don't like spicy food).

The vegetable on the plate is steamed snap peas with a champagne vinegar and lemon buerre blanc sauce.

Tonights dinner was really good. On Wednesday I'm going to experiment with a method of reheating the brisket and a couple of different side dishes (so I can compare and contrast). I can hardly wait.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken and Garbanzos over Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

A lot of the time I walk into the kitchen with no idea what I plan to make for dinner. This was one of those time. I basically just started pulling things out of the fridge (looking especially for things that were about to go wrong) trying to find items that would go nicely together.

I settled on a dish that took advantage of the one chicken breast and the half can of garbanzo beans that I had left over from earlier in the week. I also got some chard in my CSA box this week that I was ready to use and I had some cherry tomatoes that were starting to get wrinkly. For good measure I also decided to add a few sprigs of asparagus.

For the Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

1 bunch rainbow chard, stems separated, leaves and stems chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp red pepper flakes

For the Chicken and Garbanzos

4 slice center-cut bacon, diced
2 small shallots, sliced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
8 or so marinated artichokes
1/2 can garbanzo beans
2 Tbls fresh parsley, minced

For the Sauteed Asparagus

12 sprigs Asparagus
olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Now, I wanted all of this to finish up cooking at the same time, so that meant a bunch of pans and a bit of attention to timing.

In the chicken pan I sauteed the diced bacon, then removed it from the pan. Next I added the chicken and shallots to the pan and started them cooking. Meanwhile in the chard pan, I heated some olive oil then added my chard stems, tomatoes and red onion. Then, I heated olive oil in a third pan and tossed in the asparagus which I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Just as the chicken was finish cooking through I added the garlic, then I turned the pan down and added the artichokes and garbanzo beans to heat through. In the chard pan, I added a clove a garlic and the red pepper flakes let that saute for a few seconds and then added my chard leaves and the lemon juice. I let this saute until the greens were cooked through. While doing all this, I was tossing my asparagus occasionally so that it cooked evenly.

I added the cooked bacon and parsley to the chicken then checked everything for seasoning and plated it up. I started with a bed of Lemony Chard and Tomatoes, topped this with the Chicken and Garbanzos, then finished up with a few sprigs of asparagus and a sprinkle of parsley. I also made a bit of toast (buttered and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper) to accompany the meal.

The meal took on a definite Mediterranean feel. While I love bacon, in this dish it kind of vanished among all the other flavors, so I probably would leave this out and save the calories next time. I loved the flavors of this dish. The chard had a bit of warmth from the chile flakes and a great tang from the lemon which contrasted nicely with the creaminess or the garbanzo beans. The husband said it was really good, but that it would have been "better without the leafy green stuff". Fair enough, but I like the leafy green stuff and it's good for us, so that's what he is going to get. It pays to be the chef.

What the Husband Likes to Eat

At least he has pretty good presentation skills.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Snack Time

It's Friday afternoon and I have had a hard week. My washing machine broke, I was told that I need six weeks of physical therapy for my ankle (now considered a chronic sprained ankle), and then my hard drive died.

I decided a lovely afternoon snack (and a cocktail) was in order.

The strawberries in my CSA box this week looked so good (and the husband can not stand strawberries) so I decided to make them a little indulgent by adding sour cream and brown sugar to dip them in. If you have never tried this you should. So good, tangy and sweet and fresh.

To accompany my strawberries I decided a Rose Martini would be lovely. I first had this martini at Daniel in New York and I loved it so much I had to ask what was in it. They gave me ingredients but not measurements so I, of course, had to make a few to get it just right. After many tries this is what I came up with.

2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Sence Rose Nectar (I like the low sugar version)

a splash of Rose Syrup

I pour this all in a cocktail shaker with some ice, give it a healthy shake and then pour it over a fancy ice cube that I have frozen a rose petal into (while this isn't necessary it sure does make it pretty).

Delicious. Perfect with the strawberries. Happy.

What in the Box?

1.25 pounds Red Thumb Fingerling Potatoes
.5 pound Shallots

.5 pound Snap Peas

1 Red Bell Peppers

1 bunch Carrots

1 Leek

1 bunch Rainbow Chard

1 pound Sunchokes

2 Hass Avocados
1 pint Strawberries

1 Mangos

4 Navel Oranges

4 D'anjou Pears

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2:30 a.m. Rant

It's 2:30 a.m. and I can't sleep.

I was told by my Orthopedist today that I now have a chronic sprained ankle. I didn't even know such a diagnosis existed. I thought you sprain your ankle, it hurts for 3-4 weeks, it gets better, you go about your business. But it turns out you can do everything that the doctor tells you to do, your ankle still hurts six weeks later and you get told that you have six more weeks of pain and inconvenience to look forward to.

So, I was laying in bed, trying to get back to sleep, ankle throbbing away, and wishing there was someone to blame for my current state of affairs.

Sure, I could blame myself, but I was just trying to make my dogs happy and after it happened I followed all the doctors instructions, so I don't really think it's my fault.

I can't blame the dog. Sure, ultimately he caused this whole situation. But he was just doing what retrievers do, fetching a ball. Plus. he needed medication for a few days after our run in too (after all he is 10 years old, he gets achy when it's too cold outside much less when runs into an almost stationary object). Plus he's just too adorable to blame.

I can't blame the husband. Sure, he could have said that he didn't want to go to the dog park. But he likes to make me happy and at the time a trip to the dog park seemed like a swell idea. Plus he sure took good care of me while I was in really bad shape, fetching me a never-ending list of things I needed while I sat on the couch icing and elevating. Plus he's just too adorable to blame.

I could blame the weather. With all of the crazy weather we've had this year, why is there a beautiful sunny day on the last day of January. Why couldn't we have had snow that day. Yeah, maybe the weather is to blame.

Or maybe I should blame Chris Rusnak. He just had to send out a link to his blog with fantastic pictures of other dogs playing at the park. He just had to make me think "Oh, a trip to the dog park would be fun. We've never taken Rupert to the dog park and Jones hasn't been there in years. And the weather is just lovely out. Yes, today would be a good day to do that". Yes, he just had to do that.

So, I blame you Chris Rusnak! You and your dog photos. Curses to you!

And, to the weather!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mexican Sweet Potato and Beef Salad (and Quesadilla)

Many years ago, before my second career as a chef started, I was helping to direct a photo shoot for my employer. The photo studio was in downtown Seattle and as it was an all day photo shoot, the studio decided to bring in lunch for us.

The inspiration for my meal came from that experience years ago. I never found out the name of the restaurant, but I remember eating this sweet potato
quesadilla type thing that blew my mind. So good.

I'm sure that what I made wasn't even close to the original (it was over 10 years ago after all). But it was along the same lines and it was pretty tasty.

For the Sweet Potato and Meat Mixture

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
cayenne pepper (to taste)
2ish tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
1 lime, juiced

I started by heating a large pan over high heat. I added my sweet potato with about 1/2 cup water and let it simmer for a while until the sweet potato started to get soft. I added the rest of the ingredients (except for the adobo and lime juice) along with some salt and pepper and cooked it until the beef was nicely browned. I added the adobo and lime juice and checked my seasonings then turned down the heat while I worked on the rest of the ingredients.

For the salad

1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
cheddar cheese
sour cream
cherry tomatoes
chopped chives

On the plates I layered lettuce, some of the sweet potato and beef mixture, corn, cheddar cheese and tomatoes. I topped this with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of salsa and some chopped chives. I served it with a couple of corn tortillas that I warmed in the toaster oven.

My only complaint was that I should have dressed the greens in just a touch of vinaigrette, or at the very least, squeezed a little more lime juice over the whole thing before serving. But, alas, I only had the one lime. It also may have been better served with a few corn chips instead of the tortillas.

Now, while the salad was pretty good, lunch today was even better. I used the leftover
sweet potato and beef mixture (to which I added a bit of corn) along with some cheddar cheese and corn tortillas to make Quesadillas. I served it with a little green salad and some sour cream and salsa on the side.

Yum. Maybe not mind-blowing good, but definitely one the better lunches I've had in a while.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lemony Lentil Soup

I was kind of tired tonight, and my sprained ankle is still bothering me, so I was looking for a lazy meal. Whenever I'm feeling lazy I turn to soup.

Soup is also a great way to empty out the crisper.

Here is what I found in the crisper (and the pantry).

1/2 leek, chopped
8 tiny yellow and orange carrots, peeled and chopped
4 really tiny russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cup chicken broth (veggie broth could be used)
2 cup water
1 cup french green lentils, rinsed
1 bunch of chard, leaves and stems chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large pot I combined my leek, carrots, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, broth, water, lentils and the chard stems. As this simmered I added the juice of half a lemon, the sumac and some salt and pepper. I let this simmer for about 40 minutes then added the zucchini and chard leaves. I let this simmer about 10 minutes longer.

While the soup was cooking, I combined the lemon zest and minced parsley with a bit of salt and pepper. I combined half of this mixture with the sour cream and then set them both aside.

I tested the soup for seasoning and decided to add the juice from the other half of the lemon and a bit more salt. To serve, I ladled my soup into a bowl and topped it with a dollop of the sour cream mixture and a sprinkle of the lemon zest-parsley mixture and sumac. I served the soup with a slice of toasty sourdough bread that I had sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

While his was very tasty I think I may have liked it better without the potatoes, however the husband strongly disagreed. The soup was good on it's own (very fresh tasting with the lemon), but the addition of the sour cream made it wonderful. The toasty bread was a very yummy accompaniment (way better than crackers).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Savory Bread Pudding

I had no ideas for dinner last night, none at all. I took a look at what was left in the crisper drawer and was not inspired at all. Luckily I happened to peruse one of my favorite Web sites, Serious Eats where I found my inspiration, a link to an article titled "What to do with Leftover Bread". Without even reading the article I had my inspiration.

Bread pudding is a versatile dish that can be made sweet or savory and with just about ant ingredients you like.

Here's what I used

10 or so slices of stale sourdough bread, cubed
1 zucchini, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 leek, chopped

1 handful arugula, chopped
4ish ounces Parmesan cheese, divided

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 Tablespoons pesto (not pictured because I added it at the last minute)

Once I chopped all my ingredients I tossed together my bread, zucchini, red bell pepper, leek, arugula and half of the Parmesan as well as some salt and pepper and a few red pepper flakes.

I put all this into an 8" x 8" dish that I had sprayed with cooking spray.

Next I combined my eggs, milk and ricotta cheese. While I was working I kept thinking that the dish could use some herbage. I thought about tarragon or thyme (because that is what I happened to have) but realized that what I really wanted was basil. So, I busted out a couple of cubes of my homemade pesto out of the freezer, thawed them in the microwave and added it to the egg mixture (along with a touch of salt and pepper). I then poured the egg mixture over the bread mixture.

The great thing about bread pudding is that it needs to sit for awhile (it's often better if it sits overnight) so if you want to make something for, say, breakfast, you can prep it the day ahead and then just pop it in the oven in the morning. However, since I decided to make this at about 2 p.m. I needed to speed up the bread/egg soaking process so I covered the pan with cling wrap and weighted it with my grill pan to make sure all the bread stayed submerged.

I popped this in the fridge for about 2 hours. When I started getting hungry, I heated up my oven to 350 degrees and I took the dish out of the fridge. Once the oven was warm I put my dish in, uncovered, to bake for an hour adding my remaining Parmesan at the 30 minute mark.

While the bread pudding cooked I threw together a little salad with a few things I had on hand. I combined a clementine, a few cherry tomatoes and a bit of fresh thyme and tossed them with a touch of olive oil and a splash of Spanish Golden Vinegar (apple cider vinegar that I infused with basil, thyme, chives, oregano, garlic and hot peppers).

The bread pudding came out nicely crisp on the top and was filling and delicious, especially on a cold, snowy night (by the way, it's March and I am done with snow, enough already). The pesto was a very welcome addition so I'm glad it occurred to me to add it to the dish. The Orange-Tomato Salad had a nice tang that contrasted well with the richness of the bread pudding. The husband also liked it very much, even helping himself to seconds (a surprising outcome knowing his feelings about both zucchini and arugula).

This is a dish that can be made in hundreds of different combinations with whatever veggies, cheeses and meats you happen to have on hand. If you come up with a great combination pass it along, I always like to have new ideas.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables

This week I received a plethora of root vegetables in my CSA box. My first thought was to roast them, but then I noticed that chuck roast was 2-for-1 at the grocery store so I bought 2, stuck one in the deep freeze for later and made pot roast with the other.

I didn't officially measure anything, instead I used "that looks about right" measurements.

I peeled and chopped my parsnips, carrots and onions (I used a red onion and a half a leftover yellow onion that I had in the fridge) and chopped my potatoes (I used multicolor fingerlings but any potatoes would work).

I tossed everything but the onions into the crock pot and added a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary and 15 or so whole cloves of garlic (don't be afraid, when they are cooked whole they just get kind of creamy and mellow).

I browned my roast in a bit of oil in a large pan on the stove top. I made sure to brown it well on both sides and the edges. Then I added this to the crock pot.

I deglazed the pan with a cup or so of chicken broth then added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and about a tablespoon each of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. I let this simmer for a couple of minutes while I added my onion and a few crimini mushrooms around the roast.

I poured the sauce over the roast and set the crock pot to high.

Six hours later.

I removed the roast and the veggies from the crock pot (discarding the thyme and rosemary sprigs) and poured all the juices into a cup. On the stove top I melted a tablespoon of butter and added a tablespoon of flour to make a roux. I whisked in the sauce and juices from the crock pot to make a gravy.

Here it is, sliced roast, yummy veggies and gravy. Yeah, the meal is basically all brown (a little parsley would have helped), and my gravy was lumpy, but it was soooo good.

I love pot roast, and tonight for dinner, I'm going to take all my leftovers and make yummy hash (if I'm really lucky the husband will make it, it's one of the few things he cooks really well). I can hardly wait.