Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beef Roast with Parsley Tomato Sauce

Giada is my hero - gorgeous, and boy can she cook.  I bought a beef roast at a local market by our house and stared at it when I got home.  I had never cooked a beef roast, and didn't even know where to start in making this meat into something the hubby would eat.  I knew where to turn when Giada popped into my head.  I came across this Beef Roast with Parsley Tomato Sauce recipe, and I gave it a go.  I also had potatos and carrots in the fridge, so i used those as a side.  I saw Jamie Oliver (is everyone that cooks adorable?) teaching how to roast the perfect potato, so I used his tricks and they turned out divine.  He boils the potatoes and carrots for 10 minutes, removes the carrots, and then fluffs the potatoes in the colander prior to roasting.  You then get a slightly crispy outside of the potato.  So good!!

Beef Roast with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce
1 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) sirloin tip or chuck roast
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, hlaved lengthwise
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence (I didnt' have this so I just threw a couple other herbs on there)
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy roasting pan or dutch oven over high heat.  Sear the beef on all sides until browned.  Place the seasoned tomatoes around the seared beef and place the pan in the oven.

3. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees for medium, which is about 30 to 40 minutes.  Tent the roast loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  The internal temperature of the meat will rise 5 degrees F more and the juices will redistribute into the roast.
4. While the meat rests, place the parsley and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped.  Add the red pepper flakes, salt, red wine vinegar, and the roasted tomatoes and process until pureed.  With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream.  To serve, slice the roast and arrange on a serving platter.  Drizzle a little sauce over the meat.  Serve the remaining sauce in a bowl alongside.

That dinner was fabulous!!!  And I even made some amazing peanut butter cookies for dessert!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grasshoppers Galore

When I was watching Bug's Life when I was little, I always wondered about some of the bugs.  Back in Vegas and California, we didn't encounter very many bugs.  If you did, they were your run of the mill spiders or cockroaches.  Until I moved to Minnesota, I didn't understand why people complained about bugs.  Normally if you were clean and sprayed your house a couple times during the year, you didn't get very many bugs in your house.  Well, once we moved to Minnesota my bug tolerance was thrown out the window.  There are a lot of bugs here.  I was eaten alive by mosquitoes when we first got here until I made my own bug repellent, and couldn't believe the amount of spider webs around our house.  We cleaned them, then the next day they were all there again.  Those spiders work overtime in the Midwest to make sure you are stuck admiring their webs day in and day out.  We have gotten the spider webs under control, but I am continually amazed at all of the new bugs I get to see for the first time.

Our younger golden retriever, Lola, was staring at the same bush for at least 10 minutes and I couldn't wait to check out her new obsession.  I smiled when I saw this large bug lifting itself onto the top of this flower as our golden nudged it with her noise to make sure it kept moving.  I saw my first grasshopper!   They are huge, and they jump and scare the crap out of you every time you walk in the grass.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Minnesota Colors of Fall

It is so amazingly beautiful here in Fall.  Autumn brings out colors I have never seen before, and I cannot believe how warm the weather has been this year.  I guess it is rare out here to be 80 in October, so I am sucking up all of the sun and warm weather I can get.  I took a walk through Haas Lake Park with Lola today and captured some of these awesome pics of the leaves changing on the trees behind our house.  My photos will never do the colors justice, but you can get the idea.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Canning Salsa

I have always wanted to learn how to can vegetables, fruits and fillings.  I eat salsa a ton, and started making it for myself so I could make it healthy and the way I want it.  (This seems to be a reoccurring theme lately).  Canning is always a little intimidating since you don't want to eat food that has gone bad, which is my biggest fear.  I decided to dive in head first.

4 cups of tomatoes (I recommend roma tomatoes as they are not as liquid)
2 peppers (or more if you want it really spicy)
1 cup of chopped onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro
1/2 tablespoon of cumin
Lime Juice
A sprinkle of sugar

1. Prepare  your canning jars by washing them in hot, soapy water.  I always keep the jars warm so they don't break.  Fill your stockpot with enough water to cover the jars with at least one inch of water and heat to a simmer.
2. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixed.
3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.  I recommend about 10 minutes or so.
4. Ladle the salsa into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove the air bubbles by running a plastic knife along the sides, and remeasure headspace.  Wipe the rim, and center lid on jar.  Screw the band until it is fingertip-tight, but now really tight.
5. Process the filled jars in boiling water for 20 minutes.  Remove the stockpot lid.  Wait for 5 minutes, then remove jars.  Cool the jars and store for up to one year.

Update - There will be standing liquid towards the bottom, which is normal.  You should shake up the salsa prior to using.  Roma tomatoes eliminates the excessive liquid seem in these pictures, which I found out the second time around.