Monday, 20 June 2011

Succulent Roast Beef and Potatoes

So I'm sitting in my chair one day, taking intervals between watching the Food Network and reading a book, as usual, and a thought occurs to me that it has been a really long time since having a nice roast beef. I've had roast beef, but usually it was either too dry or too tough to chew. And then I got an idea to get a nice roast (making sure it had bones and some marbling, both of which are important for having a nice piece of meat) and to slow roast it over several hours so that it's tender and juicy. I wasn't expecting to do it for a while, when I finally get a job and therefore some money to go out and get a good quality roast, but on Saturday as I was looking through the deepfreeze to find something else I discovered that my mom had already bought a roast with all the criteria that I had wanted! So I asked her if I could cook it the next day and she said yes!

I remember growing up in Newfoundland most people had cooked dinner (what we call a chicken or roast beef dinner) almost every Sunday, and if you didn't cook it yourself you would go to an aunt's or uncle's house where they would have it done. Since moving to Alberta, that tradition has kind of ended for us as the culture up here is more a "go out and eat" kind of culture. I kind of miss going to church and coming home good and hungry ready for a homemade cooked dinner, and it was nice to be able to do it myself for the first time. So I got up at 7am and got the roast ready. I put in the roaster, put salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides and put it in the oven on 350 F.

I didn't end up going to church after, so around ten thirty I took the roast out of the oven in put the potatoes in around the meat to roast themselves. While shopping the day before I found a bag of mini potatoes that not only had red and yellow potatoes, but purple ones as well! I was especially excited about that, as I had never had one before. I didn't add olive oil or anything, I just plopped them into the dripping from the roast and added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. I also added more of these spices to the roast.

I kept the heat on for another 45 minutes then turned the heat off and just left the roast in the oven until my dad came home. Here is the end result!!

It was amazingly tender and moist. I tried to capture that in the pictures but I don't think I did it justice. It probably looks more disgusting than it actually was :P

I also tried to take a good picture of the potatoes, but didn't do them justice, either. They were pretty good. As excited as I was for the purple potatoes, I actually liked the red ones better. They were more tender and seemed to hold more of the flavour than the yellow and purples ones, but I'm glad I tried it.

Obviously, this was not a lean meal, so I never ate a lot of it, just took a proper serving of each and tried to eat it slowly, savouring each bite. It was a nice Father's Day meal, and today my dad got to take his favourite for lunch at work: a roast beef sandwhich on fresh homemade bread :)

Homemade Bread

The other day I randomly got this idea to try and bake my own bread, me being a big advocate for having as much homemade as possible, so I went looking for a recipe and came across this one ( The website has recipes for all types of bread but I chose this one mainly because it calls for olive oil, and I am a HUGE fan of olive oil. I try to incorporate it into everything I possibly can because I know it is extremely good for you, inside and out (not only do I eat it, I cleanse, shave, and moisturize my skin with it, both straight and mixed with other creams). I also thought it would give the bread a nice texture.

I always had this notion that baking bread at home from scratch was hard and that's why most people don't really do it anymore, at least most of the people I know, aside from both of my grandmothers who always baked their own bread. But I was so wrong! It is probably one of the easiest things I have ever made - even easier than pie! Yes, easier than PIE! From now on when something is easy I am going to say "easy as bread". Anyways, the recipe calls for white flour but I used whole wheat instead, sifting it so as to try and prevent it getting lumpy, because I really wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. It actually turned out great, and I was very impressed with myself (although I probably shouldn't be, as it was really easy). Here are some close ups:

It didn't call for sesame seeds to be put on top, but I like seedy bread and thought I would add a little touch. NOTE TO SELF: If you ever desire to put sesame seeds on top of bread again, put some egg wash on first, or else when you cut the bread the seeds WILL fall off... true story :(

I was very happy with the recipe. In fact, yesterday evening I baked two more loaves. This time however I decided to just make it with regular white flour in the typical breadpans.

Aren't they beautiful? I was ecstatic the whole time I was handling the dough. It was so smooth and bouncy. Words just cannot explain, it was just so much fun! Also, my mom taught me a trick. She said that if you want soft crust instead of hard, all you have to do is rub some butter over the top just as they come out of the oven, so that's what we did. You can see that the top of the bread has a little shine to it :)

Perfect, soft, warm, white bread. I will definately continue making my own bread from now on. I might even try spelt or kamut flour sometime as well. I can't help but think that it is just so much better for you, because there are no additives, perservatives, unnecessary sugar, or anything like that, and it tastes so much better. As they say, "Quality over quantity" :)

The Best Granola Recipe Ever!! (If I do say so myself)

I have always wanted to try my hand at making my own granola bars, because they make a good snack but the ones you buy at the grocery stores (with the exception of perhaps Kashi) have way too much sugar and seem more like cookies. Instead of making bars, however, I decided to just make simple granola that I could sprinkle over yogurt. I tried to look up a recipe but nothing I saw suited my fancy, so, instead of being discouraged and giving up, I decided to make up my own recipe! Afterall, how hard could it be to bake some oats?

Not hard at all! I threw some things together that I thought would work and was very pleasantly surprised in the end. Here is my recipe:

1 cup oats
¼ cup loosely packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pumpkin seeds
¼ cup dried coconut
¼ cup melted butter
 ½ tsp. of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
 Mix melted butter in last
Put on a lightly greased baker’s sheet and spread around.
Bake for 15 minutes on 375 or until it reaches desired crunchiness

Of course, you can add or subtract as much or as little of anything as you wish. One good thing about making your own granola is that you can control the sugar amount and the crunchiness. I find sometimes that storebought granola is so crunchy I feel like my teeth are breaking. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the making progress, but I did get to take some pictures of my new favourite breakfast that stars the granola.

Here's what I do:

 - slice a banana and lay it at the bottom of the bowl
 - lay some blueberries on top (I only have frozen blueberries right now so I put some in a dish the night before to defrost in the fridge)
 - spoon as much yogurt as you want over the fruit. I like to use plain Greek yogurt, but first I mix a little bit of honey in just to take the tarty edge away.
- sprinkle some granola on top, and voila!

It is the most delicious breakfast; healthy yet indulgent and satisfying! It keeps me going until lunch. Here are some close ups