Monday, January 19, 2009

The Magical Mystery Meat.

It’s a three-day weekend, which means lots of pajamas. We’ve spent a large part of the weekend in our home doing lazy things like writing, reading, watching movies, and cooking. Mr. Husband returned to the kitchen to claim his apron, but, yet, we continue to forget the apron every time. He even has his own apron that he got for Birthannukah last year along with his new grill. His apron has “The Terminator” written on it with a big flame. We love all things Terminator. Mr. Husband likes to think he’s part metal when it comes to cooking. Let the machine save dinner. Look out frying pan! Here comes the Jeffinator! Bring him his spatula! Maybe that’s what’s going wrong: no apron.

Mr. Husband is making a valiant effort in the kitchen. He is attacking the meal preparation with vigor and a noble right to rule the kitchen when it’s his night to cook. He is enthusiastic and supported by me in all things. I am his cheerleader always. I’ve found that the very idea of cooking with beer provides 23% more excitement in the kitchen for Mr. Husband. So when he suggested on Saturday that we cook the roast in beer, I agreed wholeheartedly. Great plan! We had one bottle of Harp in the fridge. We put that remaining little bottle to work. We didn’t follow a recipe—we typically do not in our house. We made it up as we went along. Beer, garlic, pepper, salt and a crock pot. That’s all you need. It will be amazing. It has to be.

See, we bought the roast earlier in the week when we visited Bruno’s, our grocery store within walking distance, where the Bruno’s folks had a sample table set up in the meat department. I love Bruno’s. While the prices might not lead to the best bargains in town, they frequently have food samples and wine samples. Yes. They feed me wine. It is the one time all week when suddenly it is ok to drink wine from a plastic cup. Be gone, ye Riedels, give me my splash of grocery store wine. It goes to my head immediately. Suddenly, every dang sample the Bruno’s folks put under our noses finds its way into our grocery cart. This past week, they served pot roast on tortilla chips. Mr. Husband was at once wild for the idea. The two of us quickly realized that this may be a dish perfect for Mr. Husband’s newly learned skill. The kitchen ninja came out of hiding and plugged in the crock pot.

As a rule, I’m not a fan of crock pot cooking. I think it’s lazy. Where’s the effort? Also, I simply may not understand the crock pot and its potential. It very well may be me. It’s not you, crock pot … it’s me. We’ve used the crock pot twice, and both times it wasn’t impressive enough for me to pledge allegiance to the crock pot. The meal was lackluster and was devoid of super flavor. Super flavor is what we get when we use the All-Clad pans. In my opinion, there is no contest. In a death match between the Smart Pot crock pot and the All-Clad braiser pan, the braiser pan pins the crock pot in three seconds flat. The crock pot doesn’t even have a chance to get its plug in the wall. She’s down and begging for mercy and apologizing for cooking all the flavor out of her meat. Anyhow, the crock pot choice was made when we picked out the roast and considered our lazy cat-pajama-video-game-book Saturday ahead of us. While not a hero, the crock pot was the sensible choice.

Mr. Husband prepped the roast by browning both sides on the stove (in a All-Clad frying pan). He did a damn fine job, too. He peppered her up and coaxed her to turn color and be a good roast for us. Then he placed the roast into the crock pot and covered her with Harp beer. Next, he added garlic (hand-chopped by me), some olive oil, and a cup of water. Onions and potatoes completed the meal. The lid was carefully placed upon the crock pot and then we repaired to our own corners for the next five and a half hours. Cook, dear roast, cook.

Around 6:00, the two of us eagerly extracted the happily cooked little roast from the crock pot. We noticed that the beer had gotten very hoppy. We could smell the cooked beer. Interesting. It wasn’t a good smell, but it also wasn’t a necessarily bad smell. We were fence-sitting that one. Mr. Husband attacked the roast with a Henckel and sliced her up into pieces fit for a taco shell. The taco shells were Mr. Husband’s brain explosion. It’ll be like the tortilla chips at Bruno’s. Anything to take us back to that magical night in the meat aisle.

And how was the roast? The roast was a wonderful attempt. She tried, we think. She simply had no flavor. Nothing. Not even the garlic made an appearance on our pallet. Pepper ran and hid while the onion must have gotten drunk. Mr. Husband’s second attempt in two weeks failed to have any flavor at all. Nada. No deal. He shook his head in defeat and I offered comment after comment about the beauty of the roast. She was lovely to look at, but she lacked personality.

Is the beer to blame? Or was the crock pot to blame? Or is Mr. Husband doing something behind my back that strips his meals of flavor? No. I will not believe that. And so we will try again. I am bound and determined to see my Mr. Husband satisfied with his culinary accomplishments. The next round will see full flavor delivered. It must. He’s such a good man to try so hard. He deserves a flavor-filled meal that springs from his hands.

Right now, I’m eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that Mr. Husband just whipped up for lunch. The man makes a mean pb&J. No person or crock pot can take that away from him.


Elena McB said...

Haha! Here is a foolproof roastish recipe for the crockpot. Get a hunk-o-beef. Put in crockpot. Add one large jar pepperoncinis (juice and all). Toss in a cube or two of beef bouillion. Add enough water to cover meat (plus an inch or so). Cover and cook for 4-6 hrs on low or 2-3 hrs on high. Serve on yummy crusty rolls with a couple cold beers. Easy peasy. :)
And I am so jealous of your allclad. just wanted to let you know.

Cari said...

Where's a picture of the new bug?? Convertible??