Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mooooving In

Of course there were the issues of how (and whether) to comingle the CDs and who tends the yard and all the other discussions that have to be had when joining households.

And one day my beloved told me, in the nicest and gentlest way, that if he had one more piece of chicken he was going to grow a beak himself.

To cut to the chase, I cook beef now. I haven't eaten any since I spent 6 months running around West Africa in 1989, but I took our differing diets as a great opportunity to expand my cooking repertoire.

There are some pretty easy ways to accommodate everyone. When I make tacos I have one skillet with ground beef or ground bison and another skillet with ground turkey. I split the seasonings between the two skillets and everything else is the same - tortillas, sour cream, tomatoes, etc. Same thing for spaghetti with meat sauce - one small saucepan for beef sauce and another small saucepan for sauce with ground turkey. Hamburgers on the grill, turkey burgers on the grill. The extra work is really minimal and it's absolutely worth it to have both of us at the dinner table, happy to be there.

So when you love someone, you adapt and you grow and you learn. And one of the things I do for my sweetie is make pot roast. I haven't had it myself but I hear it's quite good.

One thing I have finally figured out - with pork tenderloin, with pot roast, with other large pieces of meat - is that I can cut them in half before they're cooked and freeze the other half. Otherwise it's just too much for a small household and we really start to dread the third day of the same dinner! I think one of the things Sweetie enjoys so much about the pot roast is opening the door and being greeted with a warm, savory smell of slow-cooked beef and carmelized onions. By freezing half the roast raw, he gets that experience twice from the same cut.

This morning it's a crisp 60 degrees in Atlanta, to the great shock of all my flowers except the mums. And that means it's time to welcome back some roasts and stews and - can I get an amen?? - apple desserts.

No big surprise here; this week's Learn To Cook/No-Fuss recipe is Savory Pot Roast. It freezes exceptionally well. If you're going to freeze it I recommend adding some extra broth and not freezing the vegetables. Instead, as you re-heat the pot roast with the extra broth, add some fresh potatoes and carrots and let them cook. It's a little more work but the vegetables will taste fabulous!

You'll need:

One boneless beef chuck pot roast, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds (there's a lot of leeway here - if you see a beautiful 3.2 pound roast and that's what you want, get it)
Cooking oil
Dry wine, tomato sauce, or V-8 - depending on how savory and how thick you want the gravy. I use a combination of tomato sauce (the small 8-ounce can) and a splash of red wine.
Horseradish (optional)
Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 can of beef broth
Dried basil
3/4 pound tiny new potatoes OR 8 - 10 fingerling potatoes OR 2 medium potatoes. If you like parsnips, toss 'em in
8 small carrots
2 small onions or one large. Shallots should not be substituted.
2 stalks celery (optional - I never use it)

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