Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Java Jive Slow Cooker Pot Roast

December4

There are so many reasons why I decided to make this Pot Roast recipe last evening.

1) My slow cooker was sitting right there on the counter.  I go through cooking spurts with certain appliances.  Right now I am in immersion blender mode: turnips and mashed potatoes last evening.  And anything that I can think of cooking in my brand new slow-cooker.

2) As we move closer to Christmas when we get a bit “turkeyed” out, beef provides a welcome change of tastes.

3) Speaking of turkey though, we already had one roasting in the oven for Sister #3 who puts on a dinner every year for the volunteers of  Winnipeg Havest.  Because the oven was occupied for the day, a slow-cooker recipe was the perfect choice.

Gang at Supper Table

4 ) Last night was Mandatory Sunday Supper at our house and I always try to prepare something particularly economical so that I can afford to package up the left overs and send a couple of meals home with our kids to help out with their busy lives (and their grocery bills).

5) D and I had tried a coffee rubbed steak at a tappas restaurant in the states this summer and I have been searching for a coffee/beef recipe that would equally satisfy.

6) There were roast tweets all afternoon on my twitter feed Friday and I could not stop thinking about the aroma of roasting beef filling my house.

7) I wanted to give my new talking digital meat thermometer a test drive.  Wow-this device takes all of the guess work out of roasting meat.  The gadget was absolutely precise when the beef was at our desired doneness and even spoke to me in a polite voice!

8) I seared the roast early in the morning, threw it into the slow-cooker and then was free to focus on my family and other tasks for the rest of the day (like trimming the Christmas tree).  I didn’t even have to make gravy, as this recipe makes its own!

9) I had the pleasure of working with Sally Vaughan Johnston this week when she was in Winnipeg and wanted to try another recipe from her “Best of Bridge Slowcooker Cookbook”.  So far she is 5 for 5, everything has worked out delicious and effortless.

10) We are going to need the energy that beef provides to get us through the week ahead: another major food-styling job for me and an annual Christmas dinner for a charity that we support that D caters each year.

 

Java Jive Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Coffee is the subtle secret to this great tasting dish. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 8 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bonesless chuck, blade or cross rib roast (3-4 lbs.)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 t canoa oil
  • ¼ c all purpose flour
  • ¼ c packed brown sugar
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 c strong brewed coffee
  • ½ c beef broth
  • ¼ c tomato paste
  • 3 T worchershire sauce
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a 5-6 qt. slow cooker, combine garlic, carrots, celery and onion. Season beef well with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add beef and brown on all sides.
  4. Transfet to slow cooker.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, thyme, 1 t salt, ¼ t pepper, coffee, broth, tomato paste and worcherstershire sauce.
  6. Pour over beef.
  7. Cover and cook onlow for about 8 hours or on high for about 4 hours until beef is tender.
  8. Transfer beef to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil.
  9. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Stir vinegar into sauce and adjust seasonings.

Kath’s Tips: 1) The oven was already pre-heating for our turkey so I browned the roast in the oven instead of as the recipe suggests. Why waste electricity? 2) A meat thermometer means that your meat will cook to exactly the desired temperature. Mine is a Brookstone brand Grill Alert. A little pricier than the grocery store variety but so worth it! It even has a remote feature so that we could take the receiver downstairs with us and hear the signal over top of the sound of the Viking’s game on the big screen.  3) There are so many good recipes and cooking suggestions on the Beef Info site.

Kath’s quote: “In the childhood memories of every good cook, there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.” -Barbara Costikyan

Love-that is all.

 

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Cake

December3

I had the pleasure this week of working with Sally Vaughan Johnston while she was in Winnipeg promoting the Best of Bridge Slowcooker Cookbook.  As a food stylist I prepared the recipe in advance and then assembled the ingredients to take to CITY TV and CTV to be included in Sally’s on camera appearances.  The recipe itself is a breeze and comes out beautifully.

Apple Cranberry Cake Recipe

The batter is spread into the bottom of the slow cooker, then the fruit goes on top with melted butter pored over all.  The lid goes on and you just forget about it. While baking, the aromas of apples, cranberry,  brown sugar and cinammon are as pleasurable as a tri-wicked ented candle from Bed and Bath.


Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
The perfect flldessert. You can nap while it cooks. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ c flour
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 1 t cinammon
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperture
  • ½ c 2% or whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c cranberries. thawed if frozen
  • ¼ c orange marmalade
  • ¼ melted butter
Instructions
  1. Grease the insert of a 3½ - 4 qt. slow cooker.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinammon and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk, vanilla and pour over flour mixture and stir until evenly combined.
  4. Spread batter in prepared slow cooker.
  5. In a bowl, combine apples, canberries and marmalade.
  6. Arrange on top of batter.
  7. Pour butter over top.
  8. Cover and cook on hight for 2 to 2½ hours, until apples are tender and a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Turn off slow cooker, remove lid and let stand for 15 minutes before removing cake.

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Cake

The tartness of the cranberries and orange peel in the marmalade beautifully offset the slight sweetness of the hearty cake.

Kath’s tip: I let the cake cool completely in the crock and then pulled the cake away from the crock with a spatula.  When the time came to plate it, I used a large serving spoon that I had purchased at an Asian food store for serving rice.  Sally indicated that it had come out more neatly than she had seen it previously.

Kath’s quote: Cranberries-“The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicious sauce.” –John Josselyn, 1663

Love-that is all.

 

Shower Them With Love

November30

Most of my readers know that I grew up in a large family and that we all live together in the same city (very rare now a days).  We absolutely love the excuse to celebrate milestones as a family.  We invite extended family members and friends that we have known and loved so long, that they feel like family.  This was the case this past Sunday, when the women of our clan assembled for a bridal shower to celebrate the upcoming marriage of our precious niece.

Our Guest of Honour

Kelsey is such an angel that her halo is often visible.

Plenty of Fruit

We divided the task list up amongst the three sisters and were ably assisted by a 4th Auntie who made a breath-taking fruit tray and lead us in a blessing (the 5th Auntie is vacationing in Hawaii but still contributed Chocolate Cranberry Squares and the 6th Auntie is the Mother of the Bride and provided the wine).

Tableful of Desserts

Tble laden with Desserts

Other desserts were contributed by cousins and friends, Sister #2 made the quiche, decorated and gave the toast; Sister #3 made the salads and was the MC.  There were requests for the Marinated Zucchini Artichoke Salad recipe by Kelsey’s co-workers, so here it is:

Marinated Zucchini Artichoke Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Hearty enough for a meal but also perfect with a light entree. The 3 Sisters have been delighting guests with this salad for years!
Ingredients
  • 3 small zucchini
  • 1 14 oz. can of artichokes, drained & quartered
  • ½ c canola oil
  • ¼ c red wine vinegar
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T grated onion
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • coarsely ground salt & pepper to taste
  • ¾ t sugar t dry mustard
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 head romaine, torn
  • 2-3 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced
Instructions
  1. Leaving skin on, thinly slice zucchini and place in a bowl with the artichokes.
  2. Combine all except last ingredients in a blender for 30 seconds (or shake well).
  3. Pour over veggies and let marinate at least 2 hours (at room temperature).
  4. Add parsley, mushrooms and lettuce to salad bowl.
  5. Just before serving, toss together with the veggies (marinade and all).

 

Kim's Flowers

Kim's Decor

I made the punch and in writing this, it seems like I got away task-free.  That is the beauty of coming from a large family.  I am particularly busy with my work right now and so my efforts were limited, but my time is coming!  Set up was accomplished by the Maid of Honour and Sister of the Bride and everyone pitched in when it was time for dishes (even one of the cousins who is eight months pregnant).  We are a well-oiled machine!

Kath’s Tip: Sister #3 always brings a fancy pen and place cards to events like this to label each dish.  This way food is not wasted because you are aware of all of the ingredients (some might upset a tummy and there are allergies in our family).

Kath’s quote: “My face looks like a wedding cake left out in the rain.”-W.H. Auden

Love-that is all.

Diversity Catering Satisfies

November29

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Winnipeg’s first Blog Conference.  I have been to similar events in Washington DC and Toronto and was really impressed by the job that New Media Manitoba did for the event.  At similar events, I am always thrilled to rub shoulders with blog royalty and in addition to Catherine Connors creator of Her Bad Mother and Editor in Chief of Disney’s Babble, there were many” socialites” in the room.  Some I have met before and others only in cyber-space.  Meeting people in real life brings our on-line friendship alive.  This is often my favourite part of an event like this.

But because I of my food fascination, I wondered how the organizers would ” love us up” with culinary offerings.  They did not fail to impress.  Friday evening was a mixer at the News Cafe where there were a bevvy of little bites delivered round.  I especially enjoyed the seared scallops and mini grilled cheese sandwiches ( a wedge of panini with a goat cheese blend).  The casual opportunity to mingle with the conference participants was a nice way to kick start the weekend.

We awoke on Saturday morning to blowing snow but the breakfast provided by Diversity Catering, made getting out of bed worth it.  Pots and pots of steaming hot coffee, Balkan-style yogurt with a hearty granola to top it and a beautiful array of fresh fruit slices.  This is the breakfast that I select every morning when vacationing in Mexico and I was able to transport myself away from the blustery start of a Winnipeg winter for just a little while.  The bonus was the crispy edged cinnamon buns and the chocolate chip studded banana bread!

Mediteranean Chicken

When lunch was being set out, the aromas told us that we were in for a savoury treat.  Chicken was roasted Mediterranean style and served with parslied and buttered, wide egg noodles and an amazing salad.  Buffet service is no easy fete at an event like this.  Just keeping the food hot can be a challenge but Diversity Foods obviously knows what they are doing where feeding large groups is concerened and every noodle tasted as if it had just been tossed in butter before our eyes.  There was some controversy as to whether our dessert was a trifle or a shmoo torte: it was rich and creamy and I didn’t really care what it was dubbed.

The afternoon was equally edifying and by the time we departed from U of W’s beautifully restored Convocation Hall, the sun was shining on the glistening snow.

Kath’s quote: “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”-Hippocrates

Love-that is all.

A Foodie’s Serendipitous Life

November27

The last 24 hours have been a long, winding strand of spaghetti.

The first time I ever ate a fresh oyster was when a friend and co-worker (actually my boss at that time) taught me the fine art on a Saturday afternoon at the Norwood Hotel here in Winnipeg. Now this was some 30 years ago so imagine my surprize when I went to create the link to the hotel above to see that Seafood Saturdays are still going on (from September to June) at the hotel dining room.

My instructor that afternoon was an oyster aficionado, showing me how to douse it with various sauces (my favourite being lemon and Worcestershire), how to cup the shell in your hand, how to tip it into your mouth but first tilting your head back slightly, so as to open the back of your throat.  I have enjoyed many an oyster, ever since.  My oyster mentor was Doug Stephen creator of Wow! Hospitality and many wonderful Winnipeg restaurant institutions.

Last evening, he greeted us at the door of Terrace in the Park in his robust manner.  Together with Chef Simon, the story unfolded that WOW! believes that the city needs a fish and seafood house and that the beautiful atrium which holds the restaurant formerly called Terrace 55, is just the place.  When the room was filled with invited guests who are friends and suppliers of WOW!, sipping on fine wines and sampling little tastes from the new menu, the room was literally vibrating with warmth and enthusiasm.  If last night was any indication, the concept will be a resounding success.

I limited myself to a single glass of wine because I knew that I had to get up very early this morning to work as a food stylist for The Best of Bridge Slowcooker Cookbook tour.  The publicist is a fellow that I have know even long than WOW!’s Doug, having met Rorie over 35 years ago when we both worked in the book department at Eaton’s.  Ron Robinson (of McNally Robinson fame), another “bookie”, worked there as well.  Years later when I was full time at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, Rorie and his bride Sally asked The Keg to cater their wedding reception (not something they were asked very often) as they had sentimentally enjoyed many favourites from the appetizer menu together.  (Gord Howard, the owner of the Winnipeg Kegs was at the reception last evening too).

Sally Vaughan Johnston, who is the cookbook author, has been touring Canada to promote the book and when she and Rorie were chatting (as I put together the food set) they found that Sally’s stylist in Regina was a Chef by the name of CJ Katz who I will be food styling for next week when she starts her tour for the cookbook entitled Taste-Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table.  If she were to include Edmonton on that tour, Sally would style for her!

Shortly, I will head out the door to meet Sally and Rorie again, this time at the Prairie Ink Restaurant at McNally Robinson Booksellers (there, it is happening again!)  I have had a long and lovely career in the restaurant and food business and in the last 24 hours I can see so clearly how it is all woven together into a never-ending loop.  I love my work and my life as a foodie.

Kath’s quote: “Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”
Charles Pierre Monselet

Love-that is all.

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