Merry Christmas to me!

December 27, 2010

Splurge. I wanted this, I knew I'd use the hell out of it, and I bought it.

 Now, this? This a pretty thing.

The braised beef chuck ain’t half bad, either.

I was browsing some of the after-Christmas sales today (scored a skirt and a sweater and some socks with my gift card), and thought I’d check on TJ Maxx and see what they had in the way of kitchen goodies.

They had lots. Including this gorgeous cast-iron Dutch oven, in a lovely shade of University of Tennessee orange (or orinch, as Child C used to say). This is not a Le Creuset. It is a Cuisinart. Because the LeC was $150, and the Cuisinart was $50. And all being equal, I’d rather spend $50. I don’t think my cooking chops are finely honed enough to determine whether I’m cooking in one or t’other.

The finished product. Keep you warm on a cold winter's night, it will.

So I had to break it in tonight with a chuck roast, braised in red wine with winter vegetables — carrots, parsnips and rutabaga. Over garlic mashed potatos.

Yes, we’re back to crappy cell phone photos, until I get the Olympus back. Those damn cameras just roam, that’s all.Pretty damn good. I perhaps over-garlicked the mashed potatos, but not according to NS. The roast, flavored with oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion and a couple of bay leaves, was pretty damn fine. I believe it’ll make a most excellent vegetable soup later on this week.

I’m enjoying it with a glass of Menage a’ Trois red, a blend of which I have become unconscionably fond. And it’s $10.99 a bottle. I used a cheaper wine (Jacob’s Creek shiraz) to braise the meat, which seemed to work just fine, never mind Julia saying you ought not use a wine to cook with that wasn’t one you’d like to drink.

Also tried my hand at a pasta e lenticche dish for the current Food 52 contest. I didn’t think it was all that great. NS loved it, and contended he would eat leftovers later this week. Going to try lentils one more time before the contest goes out; they’re cheap, and no matter if I screw ’em up. I’m thinking I’ll flavor them with miso, mirin and ginger, and put them over noodles.
Elsewhere in my tiny little mind for cooking this week and over the long upcoming weekend: I still want to try sweet potato ravioli. Got the sweet potatos baked and the pulp in the fridge. Maybe tomorrow. Going to roast a pork loin for New Year’s, to go with black eyed peas and cabbage. Bought assorted cheese today to have with ham and olives and pickles. May try my hand at making gougeres. WILL make cheddar cheese biscuits this weekend, to have with bacon jam. Am also of the notion I want to make some yeast bread, maybe rolls, maybe a loaf, maybe one of each. And some cinnamon rolls.
What I really DON’T want to do is go back to work tomorrow. I’d much prefer to stay home and cook all week.
You and y’mama ‘n ’em go ‘head on and get your designated drivers lined up for this weekend. I believe I’ll stick to the house. Happy New Year.
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