Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Presto Change-o . . .

Pot roast! Taking a tough cut of meat and turning it into a delightful, melt-in-your-mouth dinner is almost magic. At least, it makes me feel like a magician in the kitchen.

I don't believe that a pot roast is one of those types of food that necessarily requires a recipe, so I'm not giving one. I'll dwell more on the process.

I finely chop several cloves of garlic and add them to about half a cup of olive oil. Then, I add Italian herbs to that mixture. These herbs consist of rosemary, basil, oregano, and you can use anything else that suits your fancy. I massage the olive oil, herb, and garlic mixture onto the meat. I also salt and pepper the meat (I prefer on using garlic salt). I put about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a stock pot and heat it up nice and hot on a high setting. If a sprinkle of water makes the oil pop, I know it's ready. I sear b about both sides of my meat. Then, I pour about 1/2 a bottle of wine into the pot, bring it to a boil, cover it, set it to low, and let it simmer for 2 to 3 hours.

During this long period of cooking, the metamorphosis takes place. The tough steak turns into meats so tender, your fork breaks it apart like softened butter.

After this initial cooking period, I add vegetables. Chopped potatoes, carrots, green beans, whatever you feel like adding will work. Tomatoes would be nice. There are so many possibilities at this point. You can add more liquid. Beef stock or water, maybe more wine, but be sure to add more seasoning. I like using crushed red pepper flakes because of the nice heat that they add to a dish. If you want to thicken your broth, you can mix a little starch and water, then pour that in. Mixing the starch with liquid before putting it in the pot is not necessary, but it will ensure that it won't clump up.

After I've added what I like, I let everything cook covered on low heat for an hour longer. The vegetables become tender and the flavors marry.

I serve the roast in a bowl over white rice. A dash of Louisiana hot sauce works well as a condiment for this dish.

One thing is certain, everyone who eats this dish will love it and feel the love in it. It's magical!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cookie Cake!

So chewy, so melt-in-your-mouth, so perfect . . . so cookie cake! It always merits an exclamation point!

This recipe for cookie cake is positively the best I have found. It has a fantastic flavor (the dough is also one of the tastiest) and a perfect moist and chewy cookie texture. Just don't over bake it!

With this recipe, I only bake it for 20 minutes, then it comes right out of the oven! If it stays in the oven longer than that, it loses it's fabulous texture. You've been warned!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Greased 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add the eggs, beating well after the addition of each.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture, mixing to incorporate, and add the vanilla extract. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread across the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until the edges are golden and the cookie is set but the center is still slightly soft, about 20 minutes. Cool completely before decorating, if desired. Enjoy!