Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Something to Warm Up to

Some things take time.

For example, it took me years to warm up to the idea of getting a dog. It slowly grew on me over the years. Now it is all I can think about: a greyhound named Stella. I may have mentioned this already because it is also all I can seem to talk about. The day of the dog will be coming soon, but I will tell you a little story about me and pets in the meantime:

Meet Pat. Pat was my Betta Fish freshman year in college. I named it Pat since I was not sure what the sex of the fish was. After simple research online recently (which I was clearly not resourceful enough to do in college), I am now able to determine the fish was male. Male Bettas are almost always the gender sold in stores because they are more colorful and have longer flowing fins. Anyway, Pat lived in his glass bowl on the common room table of our dorm room suite. While it may sounds fancy, by "suite" I mean tiny smelly room that connected the two bedrooms that each slept two people, four of us altogether. I was not all too bad at changing the water and keeping up with Pat's basic fishy needs. When it came time for the winter holiday break, Pat made the trip home with me in his bowl that I strapped in the front seat sloshing about the entire time (bad planning on my part). He sat by during all the holiday festivities until it was time to make the trip back to school. I had a better plan for this trip. I poked a bunch of holes into the top of a cheap tupperware lid so I could put Pat in a semi-sealed, smaller container for the way back. I prepared everything over the kitchen sink beforehand, the bowl on one side, the plastic container on the opposite. I used my little fish scooper net to transfer Pat from the bowl to the plastic container right over the sink so that I would not drip water all over the counter. As my hand was about halfway between the bowl and the small container, Pat jumped. He jumped for the first time in his short life. It was unexpected, so unexpected I had not thought to cover the drain for the sink. Pat almost skillfully hopped out of the net scooper down into the kitchen sink drain without even touching the edges. He just went straight down and disappeared forever.

This story may give you the impression that I am not ready or responsible enough for a dog. The truth is, I wasn't even close to ready at the time of the "Great Pat Disaster." I have come a long way since then. I guess it is not so much that I have warmed up to the idea of getting a dog; the idea of getting a dog has warmed up to me.

This winter pot roast can warm you up to anything really. I made it about a month ago when the weather was too cold for me to bear. While by "too cold for me to bear" I mean about 45 degrees F, I am sure this recipe would serve to keep even the most high-tolerance-for cold-weather people warm when the weather becomes unpleasantly chilly. It is full of flavor and very satisfying:

Warm Up to Pot Roast

(serves 6 - recipe from Better Recipes - adapted due to sloppiness and convenience)

1 medium red onion, sliced in chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
1.5 cups burgundy (I used Pinot Noir)
1 28 oz can peeled, crushed tomatoes
10 oz button mushrooms
2 lb small red potatoes, halved or in thirds
3 lb chuck roast or top round
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper

Spice blend (this is where I get sloppy/creative):
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried basil (I left this out..oops)
1 tbsp ground red pepper (do a few red pepper flakes count?)
1 tbsp cajun seasoning (I didn't have this so I substituted a pinch of cayenne pepper and chili powder)

Place all the vegetables into a slow cooker. Add 1 tsp of each: salt, pepper and spice blend.
Add rosemary and thyme sprigs to the mix.
Mix in broth, crushed tomatoes, honey and garlic. Sprinkle the flour over the top, and start mixing.
Season the beef with 1 tsp each: salt, pepper and spice blend all over.
Place beef on top of vegetable mixture in the slow cooker
Pour wine over beef (be careful not to run spices off)
Cover and cook on high for 8 hours
Remove thyme and rosemary sprigs before serving.

1 comment:

The Boston Lady said...

RIP, Pat. (A moment of respectful silence). Yahoo, Stella!!! (Jump up and down)

Oh, and the Pot Roast recipe looks like one I can handle. I better try it before the weather starts acting like Florida again.

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