Mike’s Pot Roast

Mike’s Pot Roast

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb boneless chuck roast,  well marbled
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 large Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 lb Porcini mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/2 C Sweet Marsala wine
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 2-3 T organic tomato paste
  • 1 C low sodium beef broth
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Use a cast iron enamel covered pot  large enough to hold roast and vegetables. Heat 2 T of oil and 1 T butter on medium high heat.  Sprinkle and rub roast with salt and  pepper. Brown roast in pot, several minutes on each side.
  2. When roast is browned, remove from the pot and set on a plate.  Drain all but 1 T of the fat from the pot.  Add the onions, diced carrots, and celery to the pot and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown.  Add the garlic, Porcini mushrooms and a pinch of thyme, and saute for another minute.  Add the Marsala wine and continue to saute until the alcohol evaporates.   Add tomato paste, beef broth and mix thoroughly.   Create a “well” in the center by pushing all of the vegetables to the sides of the pot.
  3. Place  the roast in the well you’ve created. (It’s OK if a few veggies are underneath the roast)  Sprinkle another pinch of thyme over the roast. Add extra broth if required to bring the liquid level up to the top of the roast.  Cover and adjust the heat down to a low simmer.
  4. Cook for 2 hours, or longer.
  5. Approximately 45 minutes before serving, remove the roast from the pot and set on a plate.  Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  6. Increase heat to medium high and  reduce the gravy to one half its volume.  Add 1 T butter and the carrot chunks.  Reduce heat back to low.
  7. Trim all visible fat and gristle from the roast.  Slice the roast against the grain and return to the pot.  Stir to coat the roast slices thoroughly.
  8. Simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes.

Yield: Serves 4-5.

I have no memories of pot roast from my childhood.  I’m pretty certain we never had pot roast growing up.  Dad did all of the cooking for the family and if you ever tasted my Mom’s cooking you would understand why.  So for me pot roast was  and still is a special dish to be savored.  And this past week, I’ve been thinking about pot roast a lot.  It’s not a hard dish to make and everyone makes it differently.  I kind of made this recipe up and thankfully it worked.

I say thankfully because we were serving this pot roast to friends.  As things turned out, the pot roast turned out.  Mike had seconds.  Mike also won at cards.  So I’ve named this pot roast after Mike.

Tips – Find a nice chuck roast that has a lot of marbling.  This adds tremendous flavor and remember, you’ll be trimming the fat off before serving.  Remember the gravy makes this dish.  I found the addition of Porcini mushrooms to be quite a difference maker. MASHED POTATOES.  You need mashed potatoes, period.  Since we’ve added extra carrots, try a green salad on the side.  And bread.  Some good bread to sop up the gravy is also essential.  One of these times when I have leftover pot roast, I’ll post my Next Day Pot Roast Sandwich.  Sorry, no picture…we ate it all.

More Tips – I have also used a cut of beef called Cross Rib Roast and the results were superb.  Don’t confuse this cut with prime rib or rib roast.  The two are different.  The Cross Rib Roast is basically a different chuck cut.  It is leaner than a chuck roast and possesses a rich, deep beefy flavor.  I also started the dish on the stove top then put the enamel pot covered into a 250 degree oven for three hours.  The roast was fork tender, no knifes needed.

Even More Tips – One day I could not find a decent looking piece of chuck for pot roast.  Every roast I saw didn’t have enough marbling.  I did find some well marbled top blade steaks.top blade steaks.  If you’ve ever been out and had a flat iron steak, you have eaten this cut.  But since I bought top blade and not the flat iron cut, it was perfect for this recipe.

Tips Ten Years After This Recipe was Posted

The Ten Year Tip is Tri-tip.  A few weeks ago the local grocery store had a ton of tri-tips on sale for $3.99/pound.  I bought a few packages pre-cut into “steaks” and one entire roast which I cut into pot roast pieces.  Tri-tip is an excellent cut for pot roast.

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Trouble in Paradise (it’s Weight Gain Season)

“Competition puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear.” 

OKC Thunder coach Mark Daigneault

Life puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear. Like Thanksgiving. TGTIO (Thank God Thanksgiving is Over). We were out of town for only three days. I gained three pounds. I’m not good at math but I think this equates to one pound per day. YIKES. There’s 35 days until the first day of the New Year. At this pace I’ll weigh 208 pounds…

But I am not alone. This chart is attributed to the New England Journal of Medicine but I could never find the original source article.

As the years pass I get better at understanding why I put the pounds on. This was our dessert board on Turkey Day.

I can’t get Tex-Mex in Oklahoma. So when in Texas I need Tex-Mex. At one of my favorite Tex-Mex stops I discovered a new favorite, the #10.

The numbers above are calories, fat calories, and fat in grams. 2950 mg of sodium too (the original chart has more nutrition information).

We ate Tex-Mex Wednesday and Friday, the perfect bookends to Thanksgiving.

I had #10 twice.

Take Home Lesson

Salt, sugar, fat and excess calories. Taking and/or keeping the weight off is simple when you reduce intake of these four items.

Restaurant meals will kill you. Literally.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with every now and then so long as it’s every now and then.

My skinny jeans fit fine. I’ll get back to my usual routine and diet and the three pounds should come off and I’m good until the next hurdle. Until then I’ll wear my black t-shirts because dark colors make you look thinner.

Simple Cornbread Dressing (or Stuffing if you stuff your bird)

One of the pleasures of writing this blog is documenting how recipes change over time. I’ve already gotten a Cracker Correction for Squash Casserole – The Final Update 2022. Here are links to ALL of the family’s Thanksgiving Dressing recipes claimed as “we’ve always made it this way”. Comments and corrections as always are welcome.

Your Grandmother’s Dressing (this is the real deal)

Aunt Charlene’s Cornbread Dressing

(Not) Your Grandmother’s Thanksgiving Dressing

(Not) Your Grandmother’s Dressing – the day after at 10pm

Note the recipe that everyone has eaten when I make dressing is made with Texas Corn Bread.

I win.

Eat More Protein at Breakfast

A year-long study of the dietary habits of 9,341 Australians has backed growing evidence that highly processed and refined foods are the leading contributor of rising obesity rates in the Western world.

The new study, in the latest issue of the journal Obesity conducted by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), was based on a national nutrition and physical activity survey undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and further backs the ‘Protein Leverage Hypothesis’. 

Participants with a lower proportion of protein than recommended at the first meal consumed more discretionary foods – energy-dense foods high in saturated fats, sugars, salt, or alcohol – throughout the day, and less of the recommended five food groups (grains; vegetables/legumes; fruit; dairy and meats). Consequently, they had an overall poorer diet at each mealtime, with their percentage of protein energy decreasing even as their discretionary food intake rose – an effect the scientists call ‘protein dilution’. 

“The results support an integrated ecological and mechanistic explanation for obesity, in which low-protein, highly processed foods lead to higher energy intake in response to a nutrient imbalance driven by a dominant appetite for protein,” said Professor Raubenheimer. “It supports a central role for protein in the obesity epidemic, with significant implications for global health.”

Study confirms that processed foods key to rising obesity — https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2022/11/08/processed-foods-key-to-rising-obesity-study-finds-.html

Beans for breakfast anyone? Eggs?

Link to the original study Macronutrient (im)balance drives energy intake in an obesogenic food environment: An ecological analysis – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.23578

Earlier posts on the obesogenic food environment:

More on the Obesogenic Environment

Obesogenic food environment

Tofu and Fish Heads

The trips to Manhattan became grew more infrequent as my Dad got older. He got tired of the drive, the traffic, and all of the frustrations of driving to the big city for stuff he couldn’t find elsewhere. When I was little the trips to Chinatown seemed to be every other week. Dad needed specific ingredients and Chinatown was the source for everything he needed. I didn’t mind the trips much at all. He would toss me a few bucks so I could go to the arcade and play Skee Ball while he shopped. Real Skee Ball with the old heavy wood balls, not the cheap plastic balls used in the arcade game nowadays.

Lunch was at one of Dad’s favorite places, the type of Chinatown restaurant that White People never ate at. I never liked authentic Chinese food. So while I didn’t mind the car trips I knew my lunch would be challenging. I also knew the house would smell bad when we got home and Dad started cooking authentic. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of eating (or attempting to eat) authentic Chinese food you know exactly what I mean.

There’s a giant Vietnamese grocery store in OKC called Super Cao Nguyen. The place is huge and was opened in 1979 by refugees from the war. They claim to be OKC’s oldest ethnic supermarket and I believe them. Over the years the store has gotten bigger and clearly has become more of an international grocery store rather than just Vietnamese. I bring this up only because of the way the store smells. The store smells like my childhood. The smells inside this store are not pleasant but they remind me of the trips I made to Manhattan as a kid. Of course it’s not the same but when you live in Oklahoma you can’t be too picky. I don’t shop at Super Cao often, but every now and then I need some decent soy sauce. I think the smells keep me away.

Dad was one hell of a good cook. Way back in my twenties I shared an apartment with a coworker and friend. Joe and I had the ultimate bachelor pad and I did a lot of the cooking. One day Joe paid me the highest compliment a home cook could get.

“You’re the best everyday cook I know.”

The best everyday cook I’ve known in my life was my Dad (when not making authentic mainland smelly dishes). To repeat, I’m not a big fan of authentic Chinese cuisine. But Dad made two dishes that I remain quite fond of. One dish was steamed sea bass with a soy dipping sauce. The fish was always fresh, flavorful and satisfying. When the family finished one side of the fish Dad would take his chopsticks and flip the fish over where a second substantial portion was waiting. As is the custom in many cultures Dad would let the family pick away at the best parts of the fish while eating less, allowing the rest of us to get our fill. There was always plenty of fish for everyone but Dad had this peculiar habit that the family all knew was coming but dreaded nonetheless. He would look around the table and then ask if we all had enough.

“Yeah Dad, I’m full.”

Then he did what he always did.

“Does anyone want the eyes?”

“Uh…no.”

First the eyes were popped out of their sockets and eaten. Then he did what he always did after eating the eyes:

“Does anyone want the head?”

“Uh, no Dad. You can have the head.”

The fish head was then deftly severed from the rest of the skeleton. And with a quick flip of the chopsticks Dad placed the fish head in his mouth with the fish mouth facing all of us and began to suck out the fish brains. I’m somewhat surprised I still eat sea bass. I only wish we had cellphones back then so I could have taken a picture for posterity.

The other dish Dad made that I willingly ate was tofu. This is a food that sends shivers up most people’s spines. Most people don’t care for the texture which is somewhere between sponge and soft rubber. Others don’t care for the taste which baffles me because tofu has no taste. You have to fry it, dry it, press it, smother it in sauce and/or mix it up with a lot of vegetables and you’ll be fine. I love tofu.

According to my two offspring I have made only two dishes that were absolute inedible disasters. One was mustard chicken. The other was tofu tacos. I admit both dishes were bad and I never made them again. Unfortunately the bad memories persist and on occasion I would be reminded of my culinary mishaps.

Most tofu now comes packaged in small plastic tubs and water. In Chinatown the tofu squares of my youth were floating in a large wooden barrel. Somehow Dad turned these floating tofu boats into Fried Tofu with Broccoli. At least with this dish I didn’t have to watch anyone put an entire fish head in his mouth and suck out the brains.

If anyone ever wondered why I can’t eat crawfish in the traditional manner, now you know.

More on the Obesogenic Environment

In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans).

Boston University School of Medicine. “Finding the solution to obesity: Culinary medicine, emerging evidence-based field, ID’d as early intervention.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221102115527.htm (accessed November 3, 2022)

Diseases related to obesity correlate with both the extent and duration of obesity. This suggests that diseases related to obesity will also increase more rapidly owing to the younger onset and more severe forms of the disease.

Barbara E. Corkey, Caroline M. Apovian. “En attendant Godot”: Waiting for the answer to obesity and longevity. Obesity, 2022; 30 (11): 2105 DOI: 10.1002/oby.23462

I have a growing sense of urgency to finish writing my future best seller.

I just have to figure out how to describe what I know in language simple enough for everyone to understand.

30 Recipes with a Can of Chickpeas

The link – https://feelgoodfoodie.net/chickpeas-recipes/

Another electronic sticky note. I am always on the hunt for new recipes to try AND a method to remember where the hell I filed those recipes. Hence, the electronic sticky note series of blog posts. I also use https://getpocket.com/en/ to save webpages for reading later or to save source material for my posts.

Beans on the shelf in my pantry.

Although I prefer to use dried beans for my dishes I can’t ignore the ease of opening a few cans and having a meal on the table in less than an hour.

Are Canned Beans as Healthy as Home-Cooked dried beans? Yes, but watch the sodium content. https://nutritionfacts.org/2014/09/25/are-canned-beans-as-healthy-as-home-cooked/

42 Vegetarian Butternut Squash – Vegetarian Times

The linkhttps://www.vegetariantimes.com/vegan-vegetarian-recipes/best-butternut-squash-recipes/

Here is another post/link in my periodic electronic sticky note series. I may have one or two butternut squash recipes I return to every year. And when one of those recipes is oven roasted butternut squash and the other is Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole it’s time to find some new recipes.

Photo by Justus Menke on Pexels.com

Wait. I found another butternut squash recipe in my vast (3) collection of favorite butternut squash recipes, the classic Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne.

Classic.

Hummus – The Update

2 garlic cloves
1 15 oz can organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed
Salt to taste
1/2 cup organic tahini (sesame paste)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 
 
Directions
 
  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, drop the garlic cloves and process until minced.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the hummus is smoothly pureed. 
  3. Serve with fresh whole wheat pita bread wedges or pita chips.
 
2018 Update
 
Two cloves of garlic and the juice from 1.5 lemons.
 
2022 Update
 
The original post for my Hummus was in 2013.  Five years after that I updated the recipe.  Well, time for another five year update.  The changes?  More tahini and more lemon juice.
 
That’s it.
 
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I’ve checked the original cookbook version.

I’m gradually moving into the three lemon version.