Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seriously, though. Pot Roast.

It can't really be that Thanksgiving's in one week, right? Nono, I'm sure that it's still at least a month away. Labor Day was just yesterday, right? Right?!

Naw, we actually are pretty well into the holiday season, whether or not any of us want to acknowledge it. They do seem to creep up earlier every year, and I don't actually mean in the sense of vapid "you don't really love someone if you don't get them a Mercedes for Christmas" ads which already seem to have been running since the last Phillies home game.

The upshot is that it's the time of year for serious indoor cooking. But not serious cooking in terms of stretching the boundaries of our respective culinary skill--what I mean is that the holidays are when we all get down to making comfort staples really, really well. All of which is a roundabout way of humblebragging that I made pot roast this weekend for friends:

And it was GOOD. Oh man. So good. Totally one of those dishes that's not really that complicated as long you make sure to hit a couple of fundamental steps. (As in: brown the beef HARD on all sides and, when everything's put together and at the right simmer and all, make sure someone drags you away from the stove for a couple of hours lest you keep futzing with it unnecessarily.) And the carrots. The carrots! 

I don't get to cook much at my own place, so when I do get a chance to make a meal I try really hard to do something that's going to be great, though for sure there have been some mixed results lately. At the official last cook-out of the year, I took a stab at grilled chicken thighs. It turned into one of those times when cooking with unfamiliar equipment can yield less than perfect results--the coals were ferociously hot and I burned off all the awesome sauce I'd made. The thighs were still pretty tasty (generally pretty hard to go wildly wrong with meat cooked over charcoal), and the rapidity with which they disappeared into the crowd's slavering maw leaves me thinking that people were eating them with something more than just dutiful civility. 

And now it's turkey time. People obsess over Thanksgiving! I've cooked the whole meal for a sizable crowd more than once and it's left me thinking that it's not THAT hard. Certainly it takes a fair bit of game-planning and a kitchen of a certain size, but I think it's the pressure of having to cook such a traditionally fraught meal for in-laws and guests and who-all is what stresses everyone out. So...don't stress! Plan. Have a strategy and a drink, make a nephew peel the requisite pounds and pounds and pounds of potatoes, and everything'll be fine. 

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