1.24.2016

There Will Be Blood


Like most across the eastern seaboard, we have seen a fair amount of the white stuff this past week. Prior to leaving the office and driving home from Salisbury on Wednesday evening, I enthusiastically shouted, "it's pouring snow". A native told me smiling, "that's nothing, you just wait until Friday". I have lived in the Carolinas long enough to appreciate my neighbors love of snow and the fact that the city shuts down when it rears its beautiful head. I worked from home on Thursday and in the evening, made the perfunctory grocery run. Touch wood, we arrived just before the bedlam began. The aisles were crowded as people were stocking up on far more than just milk and bread (it should be noted that I purchased neither). Beer and wine seemed to be hot ticket items. Upon our departure, there was a line of people waiting for carts. For once, folks weren't annoyed. At all. There was banter, smiling, lively laughter and most important, hopeful anticipation. We all shared in the same energetic enthusiasm. A storm by the name of Jonas was headed our way.

On Thursday evening, I roasted a chicken. We do this weekly, usually on a Sunday. It is my Matthew's favorite meal. Economical to get the goodies and easy to prepare, we can actually now pull this together with our eyes closed. My husband takes ownership of cutting open the bird, cleaning it and removing its entrails. He pats it dry, stuffs its cavity with garlic (his favorite), a halved lemon and a bunch of thyme. Then, he drizzles olive oil on its exterior, followed by a generous pinch of salt, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. He stands back and smiles. When the oven clicks, in it goes for an hour. After an hour, we remove the bird, which has begun to render lovely liquid fat, perfect for roasting vegetables. In goes whatever we have on hand for the day. Sometimes carrots and mushrooms or on this evening, quartered fennel and diced sweet potatoes. Another hour in the oven and the end result is a simple, healthy, wholesome comfort meal. We enjoyed our dinner in front of the television, glued to the weather channel. Not ideal, I know but it was a looming snow day after all. Sometime around 10 we went to bed as neither of us were sure if our meteorologists due diligence would ring true.

Friday morning, we were up around 6.00. Matthew called into his office to learn that it was closed. Please work from home crowed the message. Owing to our governor's declaration of a state of a emergency, newscasters pleaded with the citizens of our great city to stay home. We decided that it would not be prudent for me to navigate 85 north and so I fired up my computer. When working from home, I always set up my office on our dining room table. I position myself to look out of our big sliding glass doors overlooking our porch and expansive back yard. On this morning, no birds were chirping and my view was a vision of white. At the end of the day, we had a tad case of cabin fever and were successful in our attempt to venture out. We watched one of our neighbors fishtail across our street and promptly return to her driveway. As such, we called an Uber to a local watering hole for wings and the likes. Upon walking through the door, we spotted one of our best friends and a close family friend. Everyone had the same idea. Snow calls for bee stings and cold pints. The room was toasty and the crowd lively. Hoorah for Snow Days!

In the evening, we both took naps and kicked off a Netflix marathon. Paired with a bag of Cape Cod barbecue chips, we tackled three films. One independent, one Oscar nominated documentary and my favorite, Notting Hill. Over the next two days, we crammed in more. I recommend Overnight (Jason Schwartzman is brilliant) and The Little Death (an entertaining Australian number). Yesterday morning, we had an even more serious case of "we should go out" than the day prior. Matthew turned on his car and over twenty minutes, scraped ice from his windows and prepared the chariot for an adventure. Once again, the streets were a mess and back to Uber we resorted. We ventured to our favorite spot down the road for fried eggs, hash browns, pancakes and a pork chop for my resident carnivore. There were a couple of other brave couples sitting around us. We heard echoes of "cabin fever" and "we just had to get out". I haven't had pancakes in nearly a decade. In fact, the last time I enjoyed them was in Amsterdam. My stars were they delicious. I smiled as my folks are in New York City. What with the two feet of forecast precipitation, they are truly snowed in. My mother took photographs of our roof deck. Her images were reminiscent of ski slopes. I remember the beauty of snow in NYC but the pain in the A scenarios it created. As per social media, I see that all our favorite haunts and watering holes are open. In fact, Mission Chinese posted a video this morning of folks dancing on a roof top in the snow.

The last time we had a snow weekend, we pigged out. Pork carnitas, nachos, homemade Tollhouse cookies. We tried to keep it in a bit better check this go around. We are so boring. For dinner, I loaded up the slow cooker. I have a new one many thanks to my bridal registry. See details below. This could not be simpler to prepare. My best friend just had her second child and spoke to wanting more slow cooker recipes. Gryffindor, please find below. You want to procure a cut of meat with marbling (this means fat and it renders nicely with the lot). And as always, buy organic too. I jammed the rest full of splendid vegetables that also do well with braising. This is perfectly Paleo as well as Whole30. The end result was scrumptious. Matthew just had his second bowl for brunch. Well, enough about my nonsense. I am off to mix a mimosa and watch the sports coverage for our beloved Panthers, who take on the Cardinals tonight. #keeppounding

Perfectly Clean Roast Beef

Ingredients

3 lb roast beef or chuck - you want to look for marbling
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion - peeled and quartered
5 carrots - chopped in half
5 stalks of celery - chopped in half
1 sweet potato - chopped
I fennel bulb - quartered
2 portobello mushrooms - roughly chopped
Bunch of fresh thyme
3 cups of organic, low sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

How to Flourish

1. Let your meat stand out on the counter for a half hour. You don't want an ice cold cut of meat hitting a hot pan. Generously salt and pepper your piece of meat. Coat a pan with extra virgin olive oil and bring to high heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the beef. You will need to eyeball it but you want the beef to achieve a golden crust on the exterior - on both sides please.

2. While the meat sizzles, throw your chopped goodies into a slow cooker. I just picked up the new All-Clad 7 quart deluxe slow cooker and am in love. Highly recommend and it is on sale at the moment so carpe diem. Once the meat is nicely browned, throw it on top and nestle the vegetables around. Pour your broth in. You want three cups of liquid. You can use broth, water, wine - a mixture of two or all three. I just stuck with the beef broth.

3. Throw the bunch of thyme on the top and close the vessel. Set for high heat and let the baby cook for five hours. Once finished, strain your vegetables and arrange on a tray. Bring your meat out and let it sit for ten minutes. This ensures that the splendid juices are sealed inside. Bring out a tray and cut the meat against the grain. You can hold onto the lovely broth and use it as gravy, soup, liquid for boiling whatever wets your whistle.

Serve, enjoy and bon appetit!











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