Here we are, well into November! The month where, if we’re lucky, Texas residents can join the rest of the nation in the glories of fall. Sweaters, cute boots, pumpkin spice everything… well, one can dream. It’s actually the best of both worlds, right? Sweater in the morning with a need to change into t-shirt and shorts by afternoon. I kid you not– it’s a crazy place. Regardless of how often our a/c has clicked on… in freakin’ November!… I’m embracing at least one aspect of fall: the crockpot. Love it to death, and it’s like a new toy every year because I somehow forget how to use it during the summer. It’s just so cozy and comforting to smell a stew or a big cut of meat or a zingy chicken dish cook low and slow all day long.
Crockpots = comfort foods. And what better comfort food on a chilly day than pot roast? It’s no secret that Lorelai is a fan of pot roast. Skipping ahead, one of my favorite lines in the whole series comes in S2E1: Rory: Oh! You should walk down the aisle to Frank Sinatra with a huge bouquet of something that smells really good. Lorelai: Mmmm, pot roast. The question is, can the comfort factor of pot roast rise to the occasion of a chilly Friday Night Dinner?
It appears not. Rory has begged out of FND to instead celebrate her three-month anniversary with Dean. (Ah, young love!) Emily, always the opportunist, invites an eligible bachelor to dinner, to the surprise of both Lorelai and Richard. You know how some pot roasts turn out dry? Probably because they weren’t cooked long enough, and this guy is definitely half-baked. Dry as an actuary talking about his work… oh, wait. I was under the impression that Richard would find that of interest, but if possible, he is even more peeved and bored by this guy than Lorelai is. It’s only as an afterthought that we find out that they are eating one of the young Gilmores’ favorite meals: roast (with very tiny carrots, as Lorelai points out). Sadly, there are things that even pot roast can’t conquer. It must have redeemed the evening somewhat, because Lorelai did finish the meal before sneaking out through the window. The second questions is, can the comfort factor of pot roast rise to the occasion of a toddler’s finicky palate?
It appears not. After hours of the most heavenly smells permeating our home, I plate up an appetizing dish for the little minion. Some of his favorites… potatoes and carrots, along with the pot roast of course, shredded finely for small mouths. He approved of the smell, “Mmmmm!” Then it was one bite and no more. Maybe it was the texture of the meat? Who knows. I’m thinking that if there is such as a thing as a childhood food psychologist, it must be the most frustrating job on earth. Unfortunately, the carrots and potatoes have roughly the same taste as the roast, so they, too were promptly vetoed. He does refuse to eat with a very polite, “No,” along with a gentle headshake and raised hand, I’ll give him that. The next day, my husband was eating some as leftovers. It is a law of nature that if you are eating anything, anywhere, the toddler will find you and want to “share.” Matt simply said, “It’s roast.” “Oh,” Chompers replied, and walked away. Rejected! I’ve learned some complacency over the past year about food strikes. So, you’d rather eat a banana and sweet potatoes for dinner again? No problem, more for me! That’s pretty much what the experts say. Cook for yourself, a variety of healthy foods, and your kids will eat what they eat. In the long run, they’ll have a varied palate. Don’t sweat it.
For this pot roast, I used a recipe a friend sent me a few years ago. Pretty foolproof, I’d think, and certainly yummy. Here ya go: Sear the roast of your choosing on all sides and place in crockpot. Cover with approx 1 cup red wine and 12 oz V-8 juice. Add a packet of powdered gravy mix and one each of the following vegetables (unpeeled, just for flavor): carrot, potato, celery. Throw in an onion and a few garlic cloves. Cook on low for at least 6 hours, until tender. Place meat on serving platter and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Strain some of the remaining liquid and reduce over high heat until thickened for gravy. Serve with the sides and veggies of your choice. (Okay, I’ll fess up– I added extra potatoes and carrots in the crockpot and mashed them up together, cause that’s how I roll.)
I’m having yummy flashbacks as I write this, because there’s an Irish lamb stew simmering on the stove right this very minute. Tis the season! Good thing I’ve already got a man to share this with… and he’s not going to try to pinpoint the day of my death with a few simple questions!