One of my most under-utilized kitchen appliances is my slow cooker. It’s an unbelievably easy way to have supper ready when Lindsay and I get home from a long day and neither of us feel like doing anything more than throwing in a frozen pizza. I think the problem lies in that I need to get it prepped the night before and throw it together before I head out to work. I’ve got my mornings timed to the last minute so I can sleep as late as possible. I know the obvious solution would be to go to bed earlier, but that never seems appealing to me. Around a month ago, a friend was coming over to dinner after work and I needed to have something ready to eat basically when I got home. Fortunately, I had swiped a roast from my folks over Christmas so I had a very easy out with the crock pot. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but Mom and Dad have a dairy farm up by St. Cloud and every year they save a steer for butchering. It’s a much cheaper alternative to buying meat all the time at the grocery store. Also, in my ever so humble opinion, it is a much tastier option as well as healthier, both because I know where the meat comes from and what the steer gets fed. (For reference, it is probably closest to organic beef, or as my little sis labels them when she sells the calves, all natural, because she hasn’t gotten the certification).
I was looking for a beef roast recipe that works in a slow cooker. Specifically I was looking for how long it needed to cook on which setting. As a starting point, I referred to mini-cookbook that came with it. And to my surprise, I found a recipe that sounded really good. Naturally, I tweaked it to suite my tastes, but it was mainly the ratios that I adjusted and added some ginger since I had it in the fridge.
- 3 lb Roast
- 2 tsp ground peppercorns
- 1/2 bulb Garlic, minced
- 3.5 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 C Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tsp Mustard Powder
- 2 thumb sized pieces of Ginger, minced
- choice of Vegetables, cut large (I used baby cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions)
Place the roast in the center of the slow cooker and arrange the vegetables around it. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the roast. Cook on High for 4-5 hours, or on Low for 8-10 hours.
I checked the roast when I got home (total cooking time of 9 hours) and the roast was amazingly tender. All of the intramuscular fat and sinew had completely dissolved and the meat was literally falling apart as I took it out of the crock pot. One thing that I would change is to add the veggies later on in the cooking process because after nine hours, they were a little bit mushy. I guess turning them into a puree or mash would be an option too. I’m not sure what to do about the dark tint all of the veggies took on because of the cooking liquid. I guess either accept it as is or cook them separately. The one thing the I did change when writing down the ingredients above is that I corrected a mistake that I made when I was reading the recipe initially. I put in a full tablespoon of ground pepper instead of getting a tablespoon of peppercorns then grinding. It tasted great, it just was on the peppery side.
. . . So I guess I’ll catch up a little on my posts that I’ve been neglecting. I’m going to do the less involved ones, so don’t pretend there is any actual chronological order here. It’s just what’s convenient for me, and that’s what’s important right?
We ate out a couple of times at places that are worthy of posting. The first one is Mac’s Fish and Chips located on the corner of Hamline and Larpenteur in St. Paul. I cannot speak with any authority about any dishes beyond the cod and chips basket, clam and chips basket, deep fried cheese curds, and salt-water taffy. I’ve never been able to convince myself to order anything else because this subset of their menu is just that good. This is a place that I cannot possible recommend enough. BTW, chips = french fries in the British parlance for those not in the know. Oh, I should note that Mac’s wraps the baskets in newspaper like they do back in England. It’s a nice touch.
The other place of note that we ate at was Muffuletta on Como Ave. I had never eaten there before so I was interested in going to an alumni dinner that Lindz’s school was throwing. Ok, I was interested in going for a reason beyond just free food. Maybe Narren was right, I am just a food whore. But I think that is a topic for another post. Anyway, Muffuletta is a bistro style place with a globally inspired menu. Since the school took over the whole restaurant, there was a limited menu. I got the salmon wellington and Lindz got the mushroom risotto. Hers was very tasty but nothing I haven’t eaten / made before. I have to admit that curiosity drove my decision to have the salmon. Ever since we honeymooned in Jamaica where I had the most amazing beef wellington, again a topic for another post, I’ve been fascinated with the dish. The salmon dish was over some roast veggies and some kind of cream sausce that I can’t remember the specifics on. On the whole, the dish was good and put together well. My only complaint about it was that the salmon was over cooked. I don’t know of a solution to the problem, so while it is a critique, it is not a judgmental one. It is just something I would have liked differently. If that makes any sense at all.
I know, I’ve been terrible at keeping up with the posting lately. Been having issues with connecting my phone to the computer (linux & android currently don’t like each other). But I’ve figured out a way around it and can transfer files. (Should just get the #$^*&^ digital camera we’ve been planing on. Besides, I’ll get better quality photos.) Anyway, I haven’t forgotten about this project. Here’s a couple of photos from posts that I’ve got in the works. I just have to sit down and commit to writing them.
Computer is fixed. Break in work. So back to posting!
I love to watch America’s Test Kitchen. In my ever so humble opinion, it is the only real cooking show on TV these days (I’m not counting reruns of anything Julia Child). Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch Food Network, it’s just that they tend to be more song and dance than substance. One of my favorites is a prime example of this, Guy Fieri with Triple D and Guy’s Big Bite. Both very entertaining and interesting shows, but not too big on the whole learning experience.
I saw this a little while ago and I thought it sounded really good.
The recipe calls for a cut of beef called a Châteaubriand which is basically the center third of a whole tenderloin. Since I’m basically flat broke and cannot afford such a cut, I substituted a top round roast that I stole from my parents. I rolled it up and tied it off with some kitchen string so that it had the right shape. I also tweaked some of spices because I didn’t have what they called for. Namely, I used dried herbs instead of fresh ones. I will post the recipe as I made it. If you want the original recipe it can be found on p. 636-7 in The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2011. (See future post)
- 2 lb Top Round Roast trimmed of fat and silver skin, rolled and tied into a log
- Kosher Salt
- 3 Tbs Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
- 1 C plus 2 tsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tbs Onion minced
- 6 Garlic Cloves, pressed through a garlic press
- 1/4 C prepared Horseradish, well drained
- 2 Tbs Italian Seasoning (mix of parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc)
- 1 small Russet Potato (about 6 oz) peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 1/2 tsp Mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp Yellow Mustard
- 1/2 tsp powdered Gelatin (can substitute an egg white wash)
Sprinkle the roast with 1 Tbs salt, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. This is season the meat and draw out a bit of the moisture.
Toss the bread crumbs with 2 tsp of oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a 10″ skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown. About 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cookie sheet and cool to room temperature. Wipe out the skillet. Once cool, toss the bread crumbs with the onion, garlic, 2 Tbs of horseradish, and the Italian Seasoning.
Rinse the grated potato under cold water, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Transfer the potatoes and remaining cup of oil to the skillet. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown and crisp. About 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt. Let cool for 5 minutes. Reserve 1 Tbs of oil and discard the rest. Once the potatoes are cool, crush until coarsely ground. Transfer the potatoes to the cookie sheet and combine.
Pat the exterior of the roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with the remaining tsp of pepper. Heat the reserved Tbs of oil in the skillet on medium-high until the oil is just smoking. Sear the roast on all sides until it is well browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the roast to a wire rack over a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Combine the remaining 2 Tbs of horseradish, mayo, and mustard in a small bowl. Just before coating the roast, add the gelatin and stir to combine. Spread the horseradish paste on the top and sides of the roast, leaving the bottom and ends bare. Roll the coated sides of the roast in the bread-crumb mixture. Press gently so the crumbs adhere in an even layer that just covers the horseradish paste. Pat off any excess.
Return the roast to an oven-proof skillet and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center reads (approximately) 135 degrees for medium. About 40 minutes.
Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Carefully cut the meat crosswise in 1/2″ slices and serve. Note: I did have some difficulty removing the strings from under the crust coating. A different possibility to try would be to use toothpicks to hold the roast in the proper shape.
I ended up only using about half of bread-crumb mixture. I just pan fried the rest for a couple of minutes on medium heat and used it as a topping.
I oven roasted some potatoes, broccoli, carrots, garlic, and white onion as the side. Just toss the veggies lightly with some olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. In this case I roasted them with the meat at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. I pulled them out when the potatoes were fork tender.
Supper was served and everyone enjoyed. Ok, it was only me and Lindz, but it still was very tasty.