Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I normally don’t use a lot of pre-packaged foods, but this combo worked great and reduced the prep time to under 5 minutes. You can throw this together in the morning, and have a delicious meal waiting when you get home hours later.

    Ingredients

3-4 lbs piece of cheap beef
1 carrot
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
1 packet chili seasoning (or mild chili powder)
1 qt jar borscht

    Directions

1. Peel and slice vegetables, add to bottom of crock pot
2. Coat meat on all sides with chili seasoning
3. Add borscht and soup powder, mix to dissolve soup powder into borscht
4. Add meat and then put a clove of garlic on each side, throw in the bay leaf
5. If you will be around, cook with temperature probe until 160F on High, then turn meat and cook on low until 180F, then test for doneness and continue to cook until tender. Also can cook on low for as many hours as you’ll be out

Serve sliced over with egg noodles with the gravy

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Old Fashioned Manhattan?

To be honest, I’m still a bit confused on the difference between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan. I had a delicious one the other day at Meat & Potatoes gastropub in Pittsburgh, but it had weird things in it like black pepper, thyme, and lemon, and whiskey bitters. The cocktail was smooth and strong, well balanced and flavorful, but tasted like none of those things. So instead of attempting to duplicate the recipe, I opted instead to create my own version. The exact proportions could use a bit of tweaking, but overall I was quite pleased with the results.

In a large mixing glass, add the following:
1.5-2 oz bourbon
.75 oz dry vermouth
.75 oz port
.5 oz Cointreau
Several dashes of bitters
Add ice, stir gently to chill
Strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass over 2 large square ice cubes

note: I don’t have the square ice cubes so used 4 normal ones that the freezer makes

Mild Sriracha

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sriracha (unlike http://theoatmeal.com/comics/sriracha) but was intrigued enough to by The Oatmeal’s zeal to attempt a batch, based on the recipe at http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/04/homemade-scriracha-sauce-recipe.html 

But since I’ve largely lost the ability to process spicy foods in my old age, I made a much milder version. I didn’t strain the sauce so it came out rather chunky, more of a spread than a liquid, but I was impressed with the flavour.  Its been delicious on everything from eggs, roast leg of lamb, and boiled chicken.

Ingredients

1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

4 jalapenos, seeded and cut in quarters

4 cloves garlic

1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 TB mirin

1 TB tomato paste concentrate

1/4 cup water

 

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Cook for a few minutes until vegetables wilt and carrot begins to soften
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
  4. Dump into food processor and process until smooth
  5. Spoon into a glass jar and store in refrigerator

Normandy Inspired Chicken & Mushroom Crepe Filling

Ingredients

1 whole chicken breast (2 sides) from 4 lb chicken or equivalent

4 shallots, chopped

1 large Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped

2 TB butter

1 TB oil

4 TB flour

¼ Cup brandy or Calvados

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup milk

 

Directions

  1. Heat oil and melt butter in large skillet.
  2. Cut chicken into small square chunks. Lightly brown chicken in butter.
  3. Add shallot, stir to distribute evenly and wilt.
  4. Add apple pieces, stir to distribute evenly and wilt.
  5. Add mushrooms, cook until they start to give off their juices.
  6. Sprinkle flour over everything, stir well to incorporate and cook 2 minutes.
  7. Deglaze pan with brandy
  8. Slowly add chicken broth while stirring and bring back to boil to reduce.
  9. Add milk (use cream for extra richness) while stirring to incorporate.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Keep warm over low flame until ready to stuff into a crepe.

Les Crêpes

This is the recipe I learned in Switzerland, works every time.  Good for both savory and dessert crepes.

Ingredients

½ litre water

½ litre milk

2 eggs

300-400 grams flour

1 T oil

Directions

  1. Scramble the eggs in a bowl with a whisk
  2. Add milk and water, mix
  3. Add 1 T oil
  4. Add flour, a little at a time, until it just starts to thicken
  5. Leave batter for 2 hrs
  6. Put a very thin layer of batter in the pan, and turn when it starts to turn brown

Notes

Recipe makes a lot, and can be halved

Do not mess with this recipe or your crepes will not work.  Instead, be creative with the fillings.

Crepe Tips

Use a medium sized non-stick pan.

Pre-heat over medium flame, and spray with butter-flavour non-stick spray before each crepe.

Stir batter before making each crepe.

Pour ¼ cup of batter into top of pan and swish around quickly to evenly coat pan

Crepe will curl at edges when almost ready.  At that point, shake pan vigorously to loosen crepe.

Carefully flip crepe and cook on other side until brown spots appear.

For best results, consume immediately

Leftover batter can be stored in refrigerator and used the next day.

Spicy Eggplant Salad

Looking for a Kosher for Passover vegan dish that goes well with Maztah?  Well here it is, good for any time of year, with or without unleavened bread, as either an appetizer or side dish.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Extra-light olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz can Hunt’s salt-free Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or hot paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. silan (date syrup) or honey (optional)
  • 2 TB chopped fresh mint


Directions

  1. Peel eggplant, and slice crosswise into 1 1/2 inch thick pieces.  Sprinkle them with kosher salt and let stand for 15 minutes.  Rinse eggplants under cold water, which removes the bitter taste, rinse, and dry well on a towel.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet and lightly brown eggplant slices over moderate heat.  Remove and allow to cool, then cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Roast whole red pepper directly over gas flame on stovetop, or under broiler, turning frequently to char evenly on all sides.  Remove and allow to cool, then remove seeds and dice.
  4. In a saucepan, sauté chopped garlic and hot pepper in a bit of olive oil.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, then add spices.
  6. Simmer over low heat for a few minutes, long enough to integrate the flavours.  Taste and adjust seasoning, add silan if it needs sweetener.
  7. Add the mint, chopped pepper and eggplant to the sauce, stir and simmer over low heat for a few more minutes, long enough to integrate the flavours.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to use.  The salad can remain in the refrigerator for several days.
  9. Serve cold, or at room temperature, drizzled with EVOO and chopped parsley if you like that sort of thing.

Notes:

I got this recipe from a Canadian on a Listserv in 1997 and made it for the first time today (loosely followed of course).  The original was based on 3 eggplants, didn’t have the bell pepper or garlic, and included a lot more oil and cinnamon, and used dried mint instead of fresh.  This version is a bit closer to a Moroccan-Israeli style Matbucha with the roasted pepper, but still feels exotic with the combination of the cinnamon and the mint.