Powered by Blogger.

Laurie Colwin's Pot Roast and buying stoves

Our home is heated with wood, and has been since moving here a few years ago. I love wood heat, the flickering flame, crackling sounds and the warmth a fire delivers. The additional work of a wood fire,  has its own charms as well. I don't care to clean out the ashes, but I am very partial to the smell of fresh cut wood each time an arm load is brought into the house. 

Last spring changed all that when we bought two stoves. It must have been stove day at Lowe’s, because really, why else would you buy 2 stoves on the same day!? We purchased a new convection range for the kitchen and a pellet stove for heating the rest of the house. The kitchen stove had a ding in the drawer, but it also had a 50% off clearance tag. The ding is long gone, fixing that was easy, he is real good about stuff like that! The stove and I are fast friends, turning out baked goods, soup, and a pot roast or two.



But the pellet stove has suffered a much different story. It has been waiting for its turn to burn, sitting very quiet and cold in the garage since we brought it home. Today Honey is grouting the tiles installed on the hearth. After the grout dries, the stove can be brought out of the garage, thoroughly dusted off and hooked up. The weather is cooling quickly here in Vancouver and heat will be needed sooner than one knows.  

In order to hook up the pellet stove, we had to remove the old wood stove insert from the fireplace. What an interesting task that turned out to be! How (Honey and me)  two people were able to move that big, heavy, dirty thing out of there, without getting soot on the new carpet, or spraining something, is beyond me! But we did, and I am still in awe.It truly was one of those "meant to be" moments, where what needs to be done, gets done.

After that, the hearth needed some tile repair. Just look at what a couple of hours and a few new tiles look like. Like everything he does, this turned out great. And wouldn’t you know, not one of his worries played out. That list of worries was longer than my weekly grocery list. I reminded him that it was going to be fine, well, yeah more than once actually. Until finally, I said while pointing (maybe jabbing would be a better term for my finger movements!), “Honey even if something is not perfect, no one will notice, there is going to be a stove sitting right there!”. 

Beautiful, what a great job, as always.


Now all we need is cold weather, and the stove can be completed. Firing up instructions indicate, first-time use should be 3 hours in length. 

Right now the house is cool, but not cold. I don't think this house is ever been cold. It is small and very well insulated. We have been without heat since mid-February, by choice. Vancouver had a cold winter, when our firewood ran out, we decided that we would not purchase another cord. A cord of wood would have been more than we needed and unusable once the new stove was installed, so we simply put on a sweater if we got cold. There was a surprising benefit to that decision. I found that having a chill in the air was a wonderful time to understand warmth. 

Warmth is very soothing, to the body as well as the soul. Fortunately, warmth is in ample supply and can be found in just about every area of your life.You can find warmth in the work you do, or in the comfort of your home and surroundings, and with the ones you love or spend the most time with. But finding warmth is a task of happiness, as much as comfort, provided to a cold and tired body.


As it turns out, warmth is also a compliment or a good thought. Friends and family are often described as having a “warm heart”. When something tickles your senses or funny bone it is often described as a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. And of course my personal favorite “cold hands, warm heart” offered as a compliment, when a handshake surprises the one with the warmer hands! I am pretty sure that one is my favorite because I usually have very chilly hands.

Another place I find warmth is in a story or book. When I read, I find myself comfortable and cozy, well wrapped up in the story. There must be a break in the universal clock when I read because time does not tick away, chores do not beckon and sleep will not come. Which is why I do not read in bed, I would never ever get to sleep!

I have just finished reading; HOME COOKING, a writer in the kitchen by Laurie Colwin. It is a bittersweet read, she was so engaged in life and in living her life. Warm is the perfect word to describe her. As I read how she managed life and loved her family, I am touched deeply and wish for more, much more. 

Laurie was also a great cook and eater. I get the impression that everyone was well fed and loved in her New York kitchen. This quote is about her pot roast, she says: "This meal, which takes some time to prepare, must be eaten slowly. Afterward, it is best to stretch out on the sofa, with a cup of coffee balanced on your stomach". I think I agree.
  
Laurie Colwin's Pot Roast
Adapted from:  HOME COOKING a writer in the kitchen
300-degree oven                 

5-pound chuck roast
paprika
olive oil
3 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
6 cloves garlic
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 glass red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Tie a string around the outside of the roast to keep it stable. Sprinkle well with paprika.


In a large skillet, sear the meat, turning to brown all sides. Place the roast into a Dutch oven.

In the same skillet, add the peppers and saute in olive oil. Spoon over meat in the dutch oven.

My little corner market was out of red peppers, I picked out the ripest of the green peppers. I also decided to saute all the vegetables including the garlic.

Add the wine and tomato sauce to the skillet, and simmer to cook down slightly, pour over roast.



Season with salt and pepper to preference, then cover.  Cook 3 – 5 hours. When the meat is tender, carefully remove from dutch oven and place on a platter, covered loosely with foil or a clean tea towel.

 This is the color of the rich pan stock, this will be reduced and served over slices of the roast.

Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon,  push through a sieve or food mill. Do Not Use a Blender. The end result is to remove any fibers and seeds from the puree.


Add the pureed vegetables to the meat broth and simmer to reduce and thicken slightly.

I choose to thicken the sauce with a bit of golden browned flour I keep in the refrigerator. It was just the right touch to thicken and give the consistency we prefer for serving over mashed potatoes.

Slice meat and spoon some of the gravy over, serve remaining in a gravy boat to pass at the table.


This is simply delicious! I hope you enjoy this roast as much as we did.


Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!

This post is also shared through Hearth & Soul Blog Hop.  
 And by request at Tuesday Supper Club
20

Alabama Split Pea Soup

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

We all make food goals. Sometimes the goal is to reduce waste, or offer more variety, or even to save money on the foods served. I also made a goal to cook a pot of beans weekly. Beans are a great way to save money, offer variety and reduce waste, all in one goal. I don't always cook a pot of beans weekly because our little family gets several meals from each pot of beans. But I make them often enough that we are always well stocked in the freezer, just like money in the bank.

I have found by cooking up a pot of beans, with no particular plan in place, I have a great spur of the moment meal and a second meal or two in the freezer for those, what are we going to have for dinner? days. Today I am cooking up Alabama Split Pea soup. I have found it is a good idea to have different recipes of each type of soup in the freezer. After all, variety is the spice of life!

This soup is brought to you by way of Alabama, through the lovely blog of my friend Rocquie@Sage Trifle. She has been a great source of information and is wonderful to bounce ideas off! Thank you Rocquie for sharing this great recipe.

Alabama Split Pea soup w/ celery
Adapted from: Sage Trifle
makes approximately 3 quarts

1 pound split peas
2 ham hocks or shank ends
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bay leaf
2 quarts fresh water
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven, simmer 2 - 3 hours. Remove shanks, let cool slightly. Remove meat, dice and return meat to the soup.















Ladle into bowls and pass condiments so each person may dress their soup according to preference,

soy sauce
hot sauce
balsamic vinegar
olive oil.


Enjoy!

Serve with some crusty bread, a glass of wine and you have a great meal to enjoy on your own.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for 
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

This post will be shared with Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollam.
5

Granola and the red apron

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

I have told this story before, in June of 2008 actually. I wanted to run it again (with a bit of editing, I think I write a wee bit better now!) because it touches my heart, also because my daughter makes wonderful granola and today I am making granola. Then again, possibly no one read it in 2008, so it is just like a new story!

The Red Apron-  
I have always been a "get in and get it done" sort of person. If my clothes get dirty along the way, and they usually do, so be it. When done with what ever job I might be doing, I will put on a clean pair of jeans and a fresh shirt. Run a comb through my hair,  and away we go.

Aprons always seemed like a good idea, but I never remembered to put one on. After a few years (like 30 or so) I no longer had aprons. I gave them all away. Then last Christmas, my daughter made me a beautiful red apron. It was a wonderful gift, red just like my kitchen, and from her.


It now had a permanent home, folded neatly next to the big  standing mixer. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked me if I used the apron. I had to confess, no I did not. She remarked that no one, she had made aprons for at Christmas, used their gift.

At the time, I did not feel bad about not using the apron, because I knew why. But I did feel sadden by her disappointment. I had not even used the apron, I had folded it neatly and placed it in the kitchen, just like a decoration. You see.............

As a child I had been taught that something "too pretty to use everyday" was saved. The red apron, is certainly that, too pretty to use everyday. And so I did what I had always done, I put it up and saved it!

But saved for what I still do not know, and "it" was never ever explained to me when I was a kid growing up.

Certainly not saved for a rainy day, we have hundreds of them here in Vancouver. Certainly not for a dinner party, I really don't have dinner parties. I do have "company" and when company comes, it is my pleasure to make them feel comfortable. I just never found an apron is required for that.

This morning I threw a pan of rolls into the oven, and before I began the dough, I reached for the apron. I slipped it over my head and began working. It felt comfortable, much like time with my daughter. I completed the pan of dough and placed it into the oven to bake, knowing what I would blog about this morning, wearing my red apron.

My daughter is a fighter. A quiet, but strong fighter. She is tall and beautiful and dedicated. She is fearless. She is accomplished, because she is  always willing to try. She makes me proud. I say all this, without taking credit, because many of the skills she has, were learned on her own.

She will be 30 on her next birthday. I had a long labor with her, 30 hours actually. Our running joke has been she "owed" me a year for each hour of labor. She knows it is a joke, but still I have gotten many a cup of coffee delivered to me, using that as a ploy! But you see, I owe her and  my Son, for it is they who have taught me, how to grow love............
.

Today I still do not wear the apron when I cook, that is just me and how I roll! The apron however has a new residence, it is folded neatly over the handle of the stove. A very handy spot actually, and when the lovely Jess comes to help in the kitchen, it is right there for her to use.


And now let's make granola. I had asked my daughter for her recipe and she said simply, "it is just granola mom, I like to bake it longer." And that is, the way it is! I loved the flavor of her granola, bold and baked to a deep golden brown, yet wanted to keep the softer crunch of using textured oats.

So what are textured oats? Oats that have had a whirl in your food processor or blender. Having a variety of texture in your granola will give a softer crunch, if you like a super crunchy granola, leave the entire measure of oats whole and proceed with the rest of the steps. I have set up the information on this recipe to be used as a master recipe, which really means, use what you already have in your kitchen or pantry.

Granola, (but not Jessica's recipe!)
by the seat of my pants!
325 degree oven

The base:
2 c regular oats
2 c regular oats - pulsed in the food processor
1/2 c regular oats - ground into oat flour
1/4 c flax seeds - ground

You can see the 3 different textures of the oats: straight out of the box, pulsed until about 1/2 regular size, and coarse oat flour.

Creative interpretation or using what is available:
1/2 c seeds - pumpkin, sunflower, sesame or ?
1 c nut pieces - walnuts, pecans, almonds or ?
1 c something else (or more nut pieces) coconut, millers bran or ?

Place the oats and textured oats into a large bowl, add the seeds and nuts mixing well.

3 T oil
water
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 - 1 t sweet spice if desire - cinnamon, nutmeg or ?  


Add the oil to a measuring cup, add water to make a total 1/2 c fluid. Combine the water mixture and the sugar, heat to boiling  stir to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla, salt and sweet spice if using. Stir again. Evenly pour over oat mixture, folding over and over until everything is evenly dampened.



Prepare a jelly roll pan, I have been using coconut oil for this, it works wonderful and the oils is good for you.


Evenly spread on a jelly roll pan.

This granola contain slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds along with cinnamon. The total measure of the nuts and seeds equaled 2 1/2 cups. This is what I had and equals the nuts, seeds and something else.
 Granola is a great way to be frugal and use up those little bits of nuts, seeds and dry fruit. 

Bake 20 minutes, stir corners into center and bottom to top. Smooth into an even layer.

 The change in toasted appearance is subtle, but the house sure smells delicious!

Bake 10 - 20 minutes more, again stir as directed at each 10 minute mark.

Turn oven off, let sit in oven 20 minutes to finish cooking and dry completely.

Sprinkle over the top of the finished granola:
1 c dried fruit - raisins, diced apricots, or cranberries. You could also use some chopped chocolate.

Stir to combine, and let mixture come to room temperature before packaging up.

Makes about 10 cups.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 


You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!

This post is being linked to Hearth & Soul blog hop.

This post is being shared at: Potluck Sundays@Mommy's Kitchen.
16

Split Pea Soup, a slow cooker recipe

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

The summer season has officially ended here in Vancouver, not only has school started, but we are having our first rain shower. Not a drizzle, or a mist, rain, real rain. Now don't laugh, it is nice, and I kind of like rain.  Tonight I am making Split Pea Soup. It just seemed like the right kind of thing to make for the new season.

I don't know about you, but many of the soups I make are more of a process than a hard and fast recipe. They are based upon what might or might not be available. This soup tonight is no exception. We were out of celery, so none was added. If I have celery I do add a couple of ribs, diced small, along with the carrots. But this is important, use bone broth instead of just plain water.

Split Pea Soup, more a process than a recipe.
Split Pea Soup, more a process than a recipe.
Split Peas Soup Process

1 tray of smoked hocks or similar type of meat
1 pound of split peas
1 large onion
1 pint home canned tomatoes or organic diced.
2 ribs celery diced small
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
1 or 2 cloves garlic minced
2 bay leaves
1 t salt
2 qt bone based broth, I am using chicken which is delicious with the hocks

Place hocks and split peas in bottom of a large slow cooker. Add diced vegetables and spices.

I like to dice my vegetable small for a soup like this. That way a spoon full of soup will not be a large slice of carrot and not much else!

Add the bone broth, to cover. If a bit short top off with water.


Cook overnight on low. The next morning, remove hocks, let cool, remove and dice meat, return to soup.

Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

That is it, refrigerate until serving time.

Serve with a small scoop of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl or with some delicious corn bread.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

This post will be shared on Simple Lives Thursday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday and Prairie Story Recipe Swap.
7

Grandma's Apple Pie, a true story

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

My Grandmother is on the right...

Sunday, September 12, 2010, was Grandparents Day. This is a relatively new holiday, not one I celebrated officially when I was a kid. However, I had a wonderful Grandmother and time with her was always a celebration. Our grandmother Carter was one in a million. She was always happy, made the best of any situation and could make you feel like a million bucks when you were in her company. I got to spend time with her only infrequently, as we moved or she was on the move.

She was a sharp dresser and a lover of hats. The picture I share is from my memories book, a beautiful gift from my sister. It has copies of all the important pictures. You know the ones, where you are just a family, doing what families do. When our Mother wanted to "stage" a photograph, she would say, "OK you kids, stand close together" and if we had had a particularly hectic day, she would add "and act like you care about each other".

My grandmother Carter was born in 1900, she came across the prairie in a covered wagon when she was a young girl to California. She went to work in the lumber camps in Northern California at the age of 13. She was the camp cook for a group of hungry loggers that cut through the trees with hand drawn saws. They would be ravenous at meal time. One day she had a bit of extra time and a few apples, so she made an apple pie. Well, that did it.....

Her duties were expanded to include making one pie a day, for each logger. Needless to say, she needed some help. A cooks helper was brought in so she could accomplish it all. Imagine here was this 13 year old young woman, with her own helper, working as head cook, in the camp.
But you know , she never stopped cooking her whole life. Grandmother went on to marry and raise a family, later she would work out of the home, then semi-retire and cook as a hobby and raise a little cash when she got bored. Then finally retire to travel a bit, but she never, ever stopped cooking.




This was grandmother's cookbook she used when she started cooking again after raising a family. Her cooking took her many places. But she always came back home to see her family. The book was full, so Grandmother did the frugal and the sensible, she added some pages for the handwritten treasures.




I have so many great memories of my grandmother. And of course, she was not only mine, I got to share her with a lot of other siblings and cousins. But the memories that I adore are mine, and in my heart, she was my grandmother. I can only hope that my siblings and cousins feel the same way, about her.


My family.

As I recall, this is supposed to be about pie. I should get back on track, and start talking pie, apple pie.

Real old fashioned apple pie
Apple Pie, made with love!

Grandmother was the best pie baker, she always put a lot of love into her cooking, and by sheer volume of food cooked through the years, a lot of skill also. In my family, we all love pie. Which is why I declare that you can never love pie too much!
Because of that love, we also are good pie bakers. There is nothing as delicious as homemade pie. I have stopped ordering pie in a cafe or restaurant because it is always just a bit disappointing. Probably because the secret ingredient, is missing.


Grandmother baked a pie, by touch. I am not that good, I do not bake simply by touch, I follow a recipe I tailored through the years, of watching my Grandmother bake. I remember her saying, " work the flour and fat together, with your hands" , "don't add to much water, you only want it to cling together", and of course " treat it gentle, for a tender crust".
As a young girl, I would listen intently and in awe, right there by her elbow as she worked and I stood at the edge of the table. Then before I knew it, a beautiful pie would come out of her oven. This pie is from my Grandmother's oven and my own memories, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Grandmother's Handmade Apple Pie, seasoned with love (the secret ingredient)
by the seat of my pants
Makes 1 large pie

Start with the apples:
7 large apples - peeled and sliced thin
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T flour
1 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

Peel apples, quarter and core, the apple quarters will measure approximately 8 cups.


Rinse, slice into a large bowl.


Combine remaining ingredients and stir into apples to coat well.

Prepare apples correctly for a full of fruit pie.
Season your apples and let them sit while you make the pie crust dough. That is the secret to a pie that is full of fruit after baking. 
Let apples sit and "juice" while you make the pastry. The "juicing" process will shrink the apples slightly. This shrinking will happen before baking, not during the baking, your pie will be full of fruit, with less of an air pocket right under the top crust.

Pastry:

400-degree oven to start, reduce to 350 for remainder of baking time

ice water - place 2 0r 3 ice cubes into measuring cup, add 1 c water, set in the freezer

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
3/4 c chilled butter, lard or coconut oil, cut into small dice

additional flour for rolling out dough
minute tapioca, to sprinkle in bottom crust

Prepare ice water.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl, cut the fat in with a pastry cutter (my preference) or work the fat into the flour with your hands.


When fat is cut into flour and there is an even looking mixture of flour and fat, begin working in the water. Only use a T measuring spoon to add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Important:  Do Not Use More Than 8 T of Water - Total. The dough will come together with some assistance, gently use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball.

On a floured surface, roll dough in flour to coat. Cut into 2 pieces.


Using one-half of the dough, roll evenly into a 10inch circle. The easiest way to do this is stand at the corner of your work area, roll the rolling pin North and South gently a couple of times, then East and West a couple of times. Continue rolling in this manner evenly until dough is the correct size for your pie pan.

Use the rolling pin to roll the dough onto, lift the dough onto the top of the pie pan and unroll the pie crust dough over the pie pan. Use your hands to "fit" the dough down into the pan and shift it if necessarily to fit the pan evenly, in order to seal the edge when the top crust goes on.













Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with the minute tapioca.

Add the apples, using your hands to "fit" and arrange the apple slices in the crust.  Roll out the top crust, and again, use the rolling pin to support the dough and bring it over the apples, and unroll.

Don't over stretch the dough to keep the crust tender.
Always treat the crust dough with careful handling to keep it tender.

Adjust the top crust, and seal the edges. Make one small hole in top crust, and put in a vent so that you do not loose the good juices onto the bottom of the oven floor. I prefer a small stainless steel funnel. Having the vent allows the juices to boil in the crust, and cook the pie completely, without a lot of mess. There are also ceramic pie birds that work well, they are much cuter, but I am partial to my funnel, it comes out clean when the baking is over.


Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees, reduce heat to 350 and bake 45 - 55 minutes more or until fruit is cooked and pie is done, in your oven.
Remove and let cool before slicing and serving.

My grandmother inspired me to have the Sunday dinners that are the namesake or theme for this blog. Sunday dinner was an important meal in my childhood home as well. Today when I cook my own Sunday dinners each month, there are usually 4 generations in my kitchen, my Grandmother (always present in my heart),  myself, my own children, and now grandchildren.




Thank you, ladies, one and all for being a part of Our Sunday Cafe. I could not do it without you, nor would I want to!

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

This post will also be shared with :
Prairie Story Recipe Swap.
Hearth and Soul Tuesday Blog HopTempt my Tummy.
Eat at Home, Ingredient Spotlight Apples. 
12 days of Bloggie-mas on the first day @ a moderate life
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally
27
Back to Top