Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, ya’ll!

I’m forgoing a food related costume, although a piece of nigiri was a super cool idea.

For a spook-tacular recipe, check out these realistic witch’s lady fingers. They are really creative!

I have great memories of Halloween. Mainly fat sacks of candy after a night running around in crazy costumes, and by golly we loved the houses with the good candy. You know the good stuff – Butter Fingers, Snickers, 100 Grand… The Joe Blow bubble gums and their ilk were cast off to the side. I think I overloaded my candy sensors, as I don’t normally crave sugary sweets now.

Last year Albany John and I loaded up on tons of the ‘good stuff’ and had a few takers, but a ton of leftovers. This was very dangerous, as a bag of Butter Finger Wafers seemed to be my un-doing. Darn you, wafers!

Albany Jane does Pot Roast

It started getting a bit chilly over the weekend, and I had a craving I haven’t had in… well, ever.

Pot Roast

I never crave pot roast. I ate it on a weekly basis (plus leftovers for then next few days) in high school, and I just haven’t ever really wanted to eat it again. To clarify, this pot roast of my younger years was mainly meat, a few potatoes, carrots, and on occasion, diced daikon as well. Yes, Daikon. Not roasted, no nothing, just peeled and diced in there. These daikon pot roasts were the most scarring, palate-wise. I mean, can you imagine thinking you’re getting a spoonful of broth and potato, and then… BAM – daikon hits your tastebuds with a vengeance? It is not pleasant. So pot roast and I have a shaky history.

However, for some reason, I’ve been wanting a nice brothy, beefy, fork tender pot roast with tons of veggies.
I went over to Cardona’s Market and got a top round roast ($3.69/lb at the moment) that was just under two pounds. They didn’t have any top round roast out and the butcher brought out a huge slab of beef and actually cut it out! It was so cool to watch, especially since I usually just point to something already in the display case and ask for that. They are so sweet! My roast cost about $11.50. It’s not the cheapest roast in the world, but the prices are fair, plus I think the meats at Cardona’s Market have so much more flavor than regular grocery store meats. I grabbed a bottle of olive oil and some stuffed olives (which are sooo salty and pungent – mmm) and checked out.

When I got home I sat around and tried to analytically decide how to attack this pot roast. (My sweet, sweet boo Albany John normally cooks, while I stick to baking carby things) I mean, do I just chuck it in the crock pot? Do I sear the sides? Does searing a pot roast make the meat tough? *Brain Overload* Then, I realized it’s a POT ROAST. You cook the sucker for half of an eternity, so searing isn’t going to hurt it.

I put a pan on the stove, and revved the burner on to high. About 10 minutes later I had some serious sear going on. Yay flavors! While the meat was searing, I cut some onions into chunky wedges and diced up potatoes and a few carrots. All of these veggies are from our Community Shared Agriculture with Fox Creek Farms, btw. And I was really glad to have a big pot to throw a lot of the week’s bounty into before receiving next week’s bounty, if you get my drift.

Once the searing was finished, I put the pot roast into the crock pot, threw in the veggies and a few cloves of garlic, and then added in about ¾ c of apple cider vinegar to use as an acid to further break down those beefy tendons and whatnot in the roast. I put in half a carton of chicken stock then filled the rest up with water.

The next day, Albany John was circling the crock pot like a hawk. It was like a meaty man potpourri wafting through our house. We tucked into it around dinnertime. It wasn’t too shabby!

I think I may have used a bit too much cider, but I liked the tangy flavor it added, too. It kept the broth light, which I like. I think next time I will just use water and not use any stock at all. The potatoes were soft, but not falling apart. The onions…oh, the onions were almost fork tender. The carrots were soft. The garlic was melt in your mouth soft. I am adding at least a head or two of cloves the next time I make this, not just three or four. The beef fell apart when you touched it.
Over all, this was great, especially since I used a crock pot. I will definitely make this again, only with less beef, as I really love the broth… Maybe just some bones and a pound or two of beef. I will also double up on the veggies. There just weren’t enough! We ate this for about 4 days straight for lunch and dinner. And this is from the girl who hates leftovers.

Sort of Recipe:
Beef for pot roast
3 onions
4 cloves garlic
2 carrots
5 potatoes
Water/Stock

Sear all sides beef in a pan on the stove.
Cut up veggies while searing beef.
Stick them all in the crock pot.
Pour water/stock into pan to remove all the flavorful crusty bits stuck to the pan.
Pour that into the crock pot.
Fill up to the top with water.
Set crock pot to high for 2-3 hours, then put on low. Realize after 2 hours that you forgot to put any seasonings in it, and in a nod to your English heritage, just chuck in some salt and pepper.
Eat in about 15-20 hours, or once all the veggies are cooked through and tender.

Saso’s is for SALE!

Since I’m addicted to everyone’s blogs, I click on my faves at least once a day.
I was checking out Steve Barnes’ blog, Table Hopping

And, OMG, Saso’s is up for sale.

If I only had enough cash. I would totally invest in purchasing Saso’s. If you are looking for a new business venture, may I suggest Saso’s (and keeping everyone where they are)? It’d be a pretty sweet deal – you don’t have to handle the staffing if you didn’t want to – just the books if you wanted!

So keep Saso’s up and running with Chef Saso at the helm. (Lordy, I will cry if the doors to Saso’s close)

Cape Cod – o – Rama

We went to Cape Cod for Albany John’s grandmother’s 90th birthday!
She loves the Cape and we went to a buncha places to celebrate.
We went to a restaurant on the water for a traditional New England dinner.
I’d been reading about whole belly clams on the blog-o-sphere all summer, so I’d been DYING to try them. They were on the menu, so I got some of those fried babies, a potato and coleslaw.
I gotta say, they weren’t all that different from clam strips. Sure, they were softer in some places because of the bellies, but for the most part, they tasted clammy, had pretty much the same texture and were fried. They were really well cooked and fried, so of course they get my seal of approval. I think I was just expecting there to be some big briney burst in my mouth when I ate them. Either way, you can’t go wrong with fried anything. The coleslaw was watery and the potato really mushy, but hey, the main stars were those fried babies.
We also went out to Sundancers. It looks like it’s a club from the website, but it was right on the bay and had a good menu.
I got the whole lobster for lunch, and Albany John’s entire family was amazed at my capacity for melted butter. Actually, they were more amazed that the utensils were optional in my book, and that my lobster bib was more of a decoration than anything else. All lobstery bits will enter my mouf! Which, hey, is pretty impressive when you’re digging your fingers into a green lobster body and goo could go flinging in any direction at any given moment.
I’m actually glad they didn’t run away or have a little ‘discussion’ with Albany John about his fiancé not being all too lady-like when seafood is in the picture. Oh, and the butter… his Dad even gave me some of his butter to use. (But seriously, how do you only give someone 2 melted tablespoons of butter with a lobster and cup of it – no joke- with a dozen steamers?) When melted butter is around lobster… oh, I cannot resist such a perfect combination. I’m just glad I didn’t get anywhere close to polishing off his butter remnants.

I was really glad to meet Albany John’s family. I love how they eat. They’ll order whatever they feel like eating, and there’s no rush or any pressure. They’ll snack when hungry. They made me feel like one of the family even though I’d just met them. Hell, I felt more like family with them than my own family sometimes! They were just wonderful to meet, and I’m so happy they made me feel just like one of their own.

They also have no qualms about ordering a margarita or frozen strawberry daiquri with lunch. : )