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.

Scallion Fried Rice (add Rotisserie Chicken for #5 in the Series One Rotisserie Chicken – 50 Meals)

Scallion Fried Rice

4-6 fresh scallions (green onions)
2 eggs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 T canola cooking oil
3 cups cooked rice (leftover and cold American Basmati)
2 tsp sesame oil

  1. Slice and separate white and green parts of scallions.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a nonstick wok over heat.  Coat pan with the hot oil by twirling.
  3. Add white parts of the scallions and saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add rice and stir-fry while breaking up the clumps until rice is heated through.  Add more canola oil to prevent sticking, if needed.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-high.  Push the rice to the sides of the wok, creating a well in the center.  Crack in the eggs and stir constantly while not allowing the egg to completely set up.  Gradually incorporate the rice until the egg is blended in well with the rice.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add sesame oil. Garnish with the remaining green tops of the scallions.

 

There have to be as many versions of Fried Rice as there are cooks.  Everyone has their favorite recipe and somewhere along the Path I started making this simple fried rice.  This rice makes an excellent side dish and can be made ahead of time and gently reheated.  The original versions I remember from my childhood had bits of dried Chinese sausage or char siu in the dish.  I’ve also encountered versions made with tiny bits of ham or bacon.  Here I present the ovo-lacto veggie version.

Tips – The rice needs to be cold, preferably leftover from the previous day.  Make fried rice with hot or warm rice and you will make a Giant Clump Fried Rice Ball.  Any white rice will do fine; we prefer the taste of American Basmati.  Better yet, use Texmati American Basmati.  I’ve tried other rices and it’s just not the same.  Now if you want to make a meal out of this fried rice, add some diced Rotisserie Chicken and you have Chicken Fried Rice.

That was easy.

Update 08.23.14

Two eggs, not one.  I’ve also changed the Tips to reflect the type of rice I use.

How The Internet Is Killing The Family Recipe – Big Think

Nearly half of Americans believe that in the next 15 years, more people will learn to cook from instructional videos online rather than from their parents. That’s according to a new survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Allrecipes, one of the first major recipe websites.

via How The Internet Is Killing The Family Recipe | Think Tank | Big Think.

I respectfully disagree.� Besides, a sample size of 1000 carries no statistical significance.

via How The Internet Is Killing The Family Recipe – Big Think.

Maple Soy Roasted Salmon

Maple Soy Roasted Salmon

Honey Soy and/or Maple Marinade

Chilean Salmon, one piece per serving.

  1. If frozen, defrost salmon pieces in a tub of cool water.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Prepare marinade in a plastic zip lock bag.
  3. Rinse salmon pieces under fresh running water.  Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Marinate at least 30 minutes with 45 to 60 minutes preferable.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Line a shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  7. Drizzle some olive oil on the sheet.  Remove salmon pieces and place on the pan or cookie sheet.  Drizzle some more olive over the salmon pieces.
  8. Roast for 17 minutes.

 

I love salmon.  But if you live in Oklahoma as I do, you tend to shy away from so-called “fresh” fish in the markets.  I’ve been disappointed too many times so I stick with frozen fish.  The quality of farm raised Chilean salmon is excellent.  And before you crucify me for my salmon preferences, please follow the link and read a good article on the current state of affairs in the world of Chilean aquaculture.   Chilean Salmon Farming’s Comeback | Wild Fish Conservation | Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

TIPS – The salmon pieces I buy are roughly one inch thick at the thickest part of the filet.  If your salmon pieces are not as thick, adjust your roasting time downward accordingly.  Rice or potatoes and a nice vegetable round out the meal.  Salad works too.  Maybe a nice freshly baked loaf of bread (purchased, of course).  Prepare to be complimented.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large ripe bananas (or 3 small) smashed

1/4 C plain yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat some more.
  3. Add smashed bananas. Stir to mix.
  4. Add flours. Sprinkle baking soda and salt evenly.  Stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Do not over-mix.
  5. Place baking cup papers into a 12 cup muffin pan.
  6. Fill each cup 3/4 full.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes.

 

This morning I got a little lightheaded after a walk.  After a quick glance at the clock (it was 9:30 am) I realized I had not eaten any breakfast.  I’ve come to realize this symptom as low blood sugar.  I needed to eat something STAT!

Whole wheat banana muffin, banana, and milk.  I felt better immediately.

This recipe is adapted from Jean Hewitt’s Natural Foods Cookbook.  I’ve changed only a few things.  For example, the original recipe was for banana bread.  Well, that took too long to bake and I ended up having to slice and wrap individual pieces to freeze.  So I started making muffins instead.  The muffins freeze well and thus, instant homemade breakfast.  Since I always buy too many bananas I always end up making muffins.

Update 10.05.14

For the first time I had to go out and buy a ripe banana to make these muffins.  There were two aging pieces of fruit on the counter when The Boss said,

“Why don’t you make banana muffins?”

So with banana muffins on my mind, so too came some cooking tips.  I always use paper muffin cups rather than greasing and filling the muffin tins.  Of course, there are two schools of thought here.  I prefer less fat and muffins that fly out of the cups when you turn the muffin tin upside down.  You can add nuts or chopped fruit to this recipe.  Then you’ll have a new recipe like Banana Nut Muffins with Raisins or something similar.  A chopped fresh apple works well too.  Feel free to use real butter instead of margarine.  Real butter makes a more moist richer muffin.

And for my non-family member readers this recipe is Daughter-in-Law Approved.

It’s that good.

Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

I was at the grocery store this past weekend and found sweet Italian Sausage and Aged Angus Ground Beef both on sale for $3 a pound.

I’ll have a pound of each please.

When I got home I started thinking about what to make with a pound of Italian sausage and a pound of ground beef.  Meatballs!
Toss these into some Tomato Sauce 2.  You really didn’t want a vegetarian meal anyway.

Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

1 lb ground beef (80/20)

1 lb sweet mild Italian sausage, bulk

Leftover Italian or French bread, coarsely chopped

Milk

1 egg

1 cup Parmesan cheese

White wine

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the coarsely chopped Italian bread with just enough milk to moisten.  Beat in the egg, add a pinch of oregano or basil (optional) and incorporate the Parmesan cheese.
  2. Mix in the meats and blend well.  Chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Form 1.5 – 2 inch meatballs and spread evenly in a roasting pan large enough so that the meatballs don’t touch one another.
  5. Add a little white wine and water to the bottom of the roasting pan and bake the meatballs for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool and drain the meatballs on paper towels to absorb as much grease as possible.
  7. Toss into Tomato Sauce 2 and simmer for two hours.
  8. Serve over pasta or make into sandwiches.

 

Tips – note the basil and oregano are optional.  Go light on the herbs and spices because any Italian sausage you buy will already be seasoned well, and perhaps salted fairly well also.  When using sausage in meatballs, you won’t need a lot of additional spices.  When I was younger, I fried my meatballs.  Nowadays I prefer roasting my meatballs in the oven with a little wine.

Tomato Sauce 2

Tomato Sauce 2

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil
1 28 oz can tomatoes, puree
1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Brown sugar

  1. Heat olive oil in an 8 quart stock pot.
  2. Saute the carrot, onion, and celery until limp.
  3. Add garlic, mushrooms, basil, and oregano.  Saute for another minute.
  4. Add both cans of tomatoes, simmer for 30-45 minutes.

 

This sauce recipe is a rough adaptation from the cookbook Cooking From an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen.  The cookbook contains Italian vegetarian recipes (long story here).  I’ve served this sauce on pasta and it’s OK.  But rather than use this sauce as is, I’ve always used it as the base for my version of Sunday Gravy.  My family never really cared for giant chunks of animal protein in their sauce.  So Tomato Sauce 2 became my base for meatballs and sausage.

Tips – salt and pepper to taste.  Use sugar only if the tomatoes are overly acidic.  You’ll be glad you used an 8 quart pot once you toss in the meatballs.  Italian Sausage and Beef Meatballs

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice Recipe : Ingrid Hoffmann : Recipes : Food Network.

Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 7-ounce) tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 cups jarred or homemade tomato salsa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Combine the rice and chicken broth in a pot
    over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and
    cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about
    20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, oil,
    2 tablespoons of the cilantro, the garlic, and sugar; season with salt
    and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets to the marinade, turning to coat.
    Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, pineapple, and remaining 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a 2 or 3-quart baking dish. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, reserve the marinade, and lay the fish fillets
    over the rice mixture, overlapping if necessary. Pour the reserved
    marinade over the fish. Shingle the lime slices over the fish. Bake
    until the fish flakes easily, is opaque, and cooked through, 25 to 30
    minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

via Baked Costa Rican-Style Tilapia with Pineapples, Black Beans and Rice.

Our friends who favor red wine surprised us with a fine selection of white wine.  “What’s up?” I asked.

“We’re having tilapia.”

When we sat down to dinner and I tasted my first bite of this wonderfully flavorful dish I had to agree white wine is a better choice.  This dish is light with bright flavors, a highly suitable supper when it’s 113 degrees outside.  We all agreed the recipe was a keeper.

Our friends got the recipe from one of their kids who got it on the Internet.  The recipe is presented here unaltered (copied) with the Guy Fieri Copyright reprinted as proof I’m not stealing but merely sharing.

Tips – no tips or suggestions at this time, since I’ve not had the time to play with this recipe.  I’m already thinking of adding some red bell pepper, maybe trying basa instead of tilapia.