Pot Roast: day two

 

 

Now it’s time to add the vegetables!

After cooking all day I added potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions. This is where the weakness of my cookbook was really apparent. I thought that 45 minutes in a slow cooker wasn’t quite long enough for potatoes – and I was right! Both they and the carrots were hard even though I gave them extra time. Veggie fail! In the future I will pre-cook my vegetables. That’s a tip, kids.

At the very end I added peas and corn. The corn needed to be added because it was going bad; I’d gotten 5 corn for a dollar at the grocery store for that reason. The rest will go into the chili that I want to make in the next few days.

This is what it looked like before I added the gravy:

wpid-IMG_20150828_211932_edit.jpg

Ready to eat

And then, with gravy on my plate and ready to go:

wpid-IMG_20150828_212846.jpg

My first attempt at making meat and potatoes!

Buckwheat Pancakes

image

I’ve been told that buckwheat flour is very hard to find in the US – if that’s true please let me know! I buy it at the local food co-op and then keep it in my freezer for sudden pancake cravings.

It’s strawberry season now. I don’t like to eat out-of-season berries. They’re too sour as they don’t develop their sugars when they’re forced to ripen against their will. Yes, even berries have free will and they don’t want to be eaten out of turn. So that means that when the berries are in season I have to eat as many as possible to make up for the 11 months of the year that I haven’t been eating this particular kind. The yellow is mango because I’m worried that I’m catching a cold. I’ve spent way too many days riding through rainstorms on my bicycle these past few weeks.

So this morning I woke up and walked to the store to buy strawberries, eggs, yoghurt (I use it instead of milk for these pancakes) and milk for my tea. On the way back I stopped along the way to eat mulberries. This was my reward for my productivity 🙂

This recipe makes enough for two people. If you want to try it too it is:

  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Combine these in a small bowl. Start preheating your frying pan (especially if it’s cast iron like mine). In a slightly bigger bowl combine:

  • 6 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 6 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or other savoury spice that you like in your pancakes
  • I added in 2 tbsp of wheat germ because I think that wheat germ is important. This is optional. If you do this add a little bit of extra yoghurt to make up for the dryness.

Make a well in the bowl of ‘dry’. Pour the yoghurt mixture into the well. Using a scoop-stir method combine the wet and the dry. Do not overmix!

Melt some oil (I use coconut) in your frying pan. Using a 1/4-cup measuring scoop (or a very large spoon) dollop out the pancake batter into the pan. The trick with these is that they don’t seem to bubble around the edges the way that normal pancakes do to say “flip me!” so just keep an eye on them every few minutes. While they’re cooking chop your fruit. You will be much happier with fruit on your pancakes.

I keep mine warm in the toaster oven while I wait for the rest of the batch to cook. That way I have warm pancakes when it’s time to eat!

Breaking In The Boots

I bought new steel toed boots recently (I wear them at work, and I prefer them in the winter anyway as I believe that they’re slightly more durable). At work I was talking with a friend about how this brand is the absolute worst to break in of all the boots that we’ve tried (and we’re talking over 20 years of boot breakings-in between the two of us). Apparently they took her a month! Mine took me three days, which is the longest and most difficult that I’ve ever experienced. It seems that I’ve got my methodology down to a fine art, having been working on it since high school’s exclusive Doc Marten days. So, if you’re trying to break in your boots, here’s my (almost!) painless method of doing it.

First we need to know what it is that makes breaking in boots so incredibly painful. For me it’s the fact that my heel rubs and gets blisters, despite my callouses. And what forces my heels to rub? The fact that I can’t bend my foot at the ball. So this is what I do to remedy this situation as fast as possible:

  1. Put on comfy socks. I like thick ones.
  2. Optional step! Take a pain reliever of your choice. Wait about 20 minutes for it to kick in.
  3. Put on your new boots. If they have laces be sure to tie them as tightly as humanly possible, and then some. It’s a bit like putting on your ice skates for the first time that year.
  4. Get up and walk around! The way that you go about this is specific.
  • Go for a walk. Try to bend your knees and lean forward as you walk. It’s like walking in downhill skiing boots. Or, that’s the goal anyway.
  • Try to encourage the ball of your foot to bend as much as possible. I find it helps to have my knees slightly bent and my weight forward.
  • Once you’ve done that for a while (and hopefully softened up where that crease will be) go and find a flight of stairs.
  • Try going up and down the stairs on your toes. Do this until the pain makes it too difficult.
  • Go for a walk. Again, try to walk as naturally as possible despite the pain, and with emphasizing the bend at the ball of your foot.

Eventually, as you repeat the stairs and the walks, your foot will start to be able to bend naturally again. As that happens your boots will become more comfortable! You may want to not wear them for a few days so that your feet can heal before going for new boots: day two! That said, you will quickly reap the benefits of the dedicated time. Rather than being crippled by your boots for a month, it’s a matter of hours to days. That’s pretty sweet, eh!?

Dessert and Sunday Night Breakfast

Today after work I went to my mother’s dessert party. I finished the trifle (as I mentioned the other day) that I started yesterday. Her neighbour made the chocolate bundt cake behind it. This is the best chocolate cake that I’ve ever had. It’s an old recipe, too.

Dessert!

Roasted pear and raspberry trifle. The slivered almonds on top are hard to see!

The trifle was so popular that I was requested to make another one for Thanksgiving (which is in two weeks). I don’t want to make the same one. Perhaps pumpkin? The same neighbour who made the chocolate bundt cake always hosts Thanksgiving, and she requested it. How could I turn her down, when she can bribe me with chocolate cake!?

It was popular!

It was popular!

Once I got home I had to make my breakfast for the week. This week my fridge has lots of raspberries, and I have some bosc pears as well (leftovers from making a pear-raspberry trifle!). So I decided to make slow cooker oatmeal. I haven’t had it for a while, and I have some early mornings and long days coming up. Plus it’s a perfect autumn food (well, really, it’s also perfect in the winter and spring). It reminds me a lot of rice pudding (which I love!), although the grain is different. Here it is waiting for a final stir:

Raw oats floating in their cooking liquid inside of a crockpot, shown with a wooden spoon for stirring them in

Slow cooker oatmeal, pre-cooking.

How do I make my slow cooker oatmeal? Like this!

  • Grease the crockpot, otherwise the final product will stick to it pretty badly! I like using coconut oil because it tastes good. Any other oil or fat would work just as well, like as not.
  • Pour in your liquid. Steel cut oats use a grain:liquid ration of 1:4. So 2 cups steel cut oats requires 8 cups of liquid. I use 6 cups of water and 2 cups of a milk substitute. This is math!
  • You’ll also want to add a bit of sugar (1/4 cup) and stir it in until it’s dissolved. This is unless you prefer to add it to individual portions, of course. I like adding it to the cooking because then I can tell Fuzzy that it’s pre-sweetened and he gets less sugar than he would if he free-handed it.
  • I always forget to integrate my spices properly. I use 1 tsp of vanilla and cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, and either 1/2 tsp either nutmeg or cardamom depending on what I feel like at the time. Which might be why it reminds me so much of rice pudding! If you want to integrate your spices properly (apparently I don’t want to because I always forget to do this) put them (dry) in a cup. Add a spoonful of your water/milk liquid and stir well. You’ll get a form of spice paste. Put that into your 8 cups of liquid and stir it around again.
  • Now add your 2 cups of steel cut oats that I mentioned earlier.
  • Then I cook it on low for 8-9 hours. I’m told not to cook it for longer than 9 hours because it’ll dry out. So usually I make it and then wake up ten minutes early to turn it off and let it cool while I go about my morning routine.
  • I’m not sure how well it freezes, but I put it into containers and put it in my fridge. There! Breakfast for the week!
Breakfast

Breakfast

Success and Backtracking

Today I made this roasted pear trifle for my mum. The custard didn’t set very well (perhaps because I added an extra egg) although my expectations may have been high. Is custard supposed to have the consistency of jam, or closer to yoghurt? This one was more akin to buttermilk. It still works for my purposes. It’s more for the flavour, anyway. I’ll finish the trifle tomorrow, because that’s when it’ll be served; whipped cream doesn’t tend to enjoy being left overnight.

I frogged some of my knitting today while I was waiting for my custard. Here’s a tip: read your pattern and then don’t assume that you know it. The key is to keep re-reading your pattern. Apparently I was supposed to set aside 16 stitches, rather than knit them for another five inches. This makes sense when I think about it. But did I do that? No, of course not. So out came those three extra inches.

I’ve almost finished a scarf that I promised a friend of Fuzzy’s. Pictures to come!