Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 030113

Monday: Bravo Burger's on a coworker
Tuesday: Pot Roast
Wednesday: BJ's on the boss
Thursday: Pot Roast
Friday: Deemer's on a coworker

Total for the year: $297.84

Monday, February 25, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 4

I was going to ramble on about this latest take on cheesecake. But shit, this is boring me and I made the damn thing! In a nutshell I didn't fix the problems found in the previous trials. However, I did find that draining the pumpkin worked very well to yield a nice pumpkin swirl with minimal cracking.

Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Take 4
recipe from Cooking Club of America
Take 3
Take 2 and the follow-up
First try

Baked the crust and found it greasy so used three paper towels to "degrease" it by patting.

The batter was prepared, the layers poured and swirled before baking.

After baking, the foil was removed and lots of water was observed.

Even after sitting on a towel for 12 hours, more water leaked out.

I cut a slice and ate it anyway.

And a day later, after sitting uncovered in the fridge there's lots of moisture/grease in the crust. Blech.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pot Roast with Winter Root Vegetables

Yonetta talked up a pot roast she made and I thought back to when the last time was I made a pot roast. It's been a long time! Conveniently, Bruce Aidells has a pot roast recipe. Admittedly, it didn't look like it'd be a major wow, but it's Aidells so what do you do? I roll with it.

Instead of a celery root, I opted for a turnip. I don't think I picked a good one, but it didn't deter me from chowing through the beef and vegetables like nobody's business.

Pot Roast with Winter Root Vegetables
from Epicurious
click to print

1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp (packed) golden brown sugar

1 4-lb boneless beef chuck roast, tied
6 oz slab bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then into 1x1/2-inch rectangles
2 c dry red wine
1/2 c chicken stock
2 large onions, thinly sliced
12 small shallots, peeled
12 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
4 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium parsnips (about 12 ounces), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 turnip, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl.

Rub spice blend all over beef.

Cook bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat until browned and lightly crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a dish to drain.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes total.

Transfer beef to plate. Add red wine to pot; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.

Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bacon.

Place beef atop bacon. Scatter onions, shallots, garlic, and bay leaves around beef.

Cover pot, transfer to oven, and roast 1 hour. Turn beef over; stir onions.

Cover and roast 1 hour longer, adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Transfer beef to plate.

Add carrots, parsnips, and celery to pot; stir to coat. Place beef atop vegetables, cover, and roast until beef and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer.

Transfer beef to platter.

Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Spoon off fat from surface of sauce.

Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over vegetables. Serve alongside beef, drizzling sauce over beef.

Oh yeah, pot roast! So freaking good! I cannot get over how delicious this is. Everything is just perfect. The beef, carrots, parsnips and turnips are all tender but without being mushy. Did you catch that? Equally tender, not mushy. Beef and vegetables. Carrots taste like carrots, parsnips like parsnips and even the turnip tastes like turnip. In this case my turnip idea, or the selection of particular turnip, wasn't such a good thing.

But the greatest aspect is just how the seasonings and flavors are sublime. Bruce Aidells, once again, nails it. Wine adds such deliciousness to food, I still marvel. It wasn't that long ago that I'd started complying with that recommendation in recipes and it really makes just a tremendous impact. If you aren't doing it, you really should.

TOTAL: $23.28 or about $2.91 for each of 8 servings.

Choice Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, Tied

Looking at store ads I found that Ralph's was having a big sale on their choice beef. I went and got one.

The recipe I chose called for a tied roast. I thought having tied a whole boneless chicken would give me a leg up on this, that it would be easy. But the roast wasn't even of even thickness and for some reason I got hung up on trying to keep the strings perfectly parallel.

It took me 20 minutes to do this.

I tried doing it with one long piece, but that wasn't working. The tear in the butcher paper above is because I kept wrestling with that roast. The end result: two pieces of twine, each tied around the roast. You know when you tie your shoes? The first thing you do is loop one lace over and under the other? For my roast I did that twice, then a double knot, for each string. It should not come loose. I just hope the strands don't slip off the skinny end.

Choice Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, $2.99 /lb (on sale, half-price!).

Celestino's Bacon Strip

To my knowledge, Celestino's is the only place in town where one can get slab bacon.

This time I asked for a thick slice - and look how thick it is!

It's perfect to make the strips I need for the next pot roast.

$2.43/0.30 lbs.