Monday, April 29, 2013

Pot Roast!

View of the beach through the palm trees
Whew, just back from a lovely vacation in Laguna Beach, CA.  I needed that!

Well, back to the topic at hand!  This week we have a nice recipe for Pot Roast.


2-3 lb. marbled London Broil
2 med. onions (I used yellow onions)
3 lg. potatoes (I used russets)
4 med. carrots
5 cloves garlic
1 qt. beef or vegetable stock
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, green herbs to taste
Olive oil


Preheat oven to 325F.

Start by patting the meat dry with a paper towel.  Rub it with the kosher salt, pepper and green herbs.  I used about 1 Tbsp of salt, 2 tsp of pepper (coarsely ground), and 2 Tbsp of a blend of Italian herbs including thyme and oregano.  I also added some sage to the mix.

Now peel and chop the onions and garlic.  Wash, trim and chop the potatoes and carrots.

Next, add 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven and heat it on high until the oil is thin, then swish the oil around to coat the whole bottom of the pot.  Do be careful not to burn the oil.  Now add the rubbed meat to the pot and turn the heat down to a steady medium or medium-high.

Let the meat sear on one side for 3-4 minutes until it is nicely browned, then turn the meat over and do the same for the other side.

Now add the chopped garlic and the stock.  Add water so the pot is nearly full and the meat is covered.

Place the covered pot into the preheated oven and come back in about 2 hours.  Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and let it cook for another hour or so, until the vegetables are done.

Pot roasts can take tougher cuts of meat, but they need a long cooking time in order for the meat to tenderize and the flavors to develop.

This turned out very tasty!

We made a quick spinach salad with washed baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado chunks and chopped red bell peppers.  It also was delicious and set off the pot roast nicely.

Well, until next time,


Monday, April 15, 2013


Strawberry-pomegranate smoothie/slushie
This weekend we made two different, and very delicious, smoothies.

Strawberry-Pomegranate Smoothie

12 strawberries
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
20 ice cubes


Place ice cutes in a blender.  Trim strawberries, removing leaves and any green tips, and place them in the blender.  Pour the pomegranate juice over the ice and strawberries, cover, and blend until the strawberries are pureed and the ice is evenly mashed into very small pieces.

Pour and enjoy!

Tip:  The quantities can be varied, just use enough ice to give it a slushie texture and enough strawberries and pomegranate juice to give it plenty of flavor.

Banana-Strawbery Smoothie
Strawberry-banana smoothie


4 small bananas
5  strawberries
3/4 cup almond milk
1-1/2 Tbsp. wheat germ
1/2 Tbsp. wheat bran
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. yogurt
1 Tbsp. agave nectar


Peel and trim bananas, break into pieces and place in blender.  Trim leaves and any green spots from strawberries and place in blender.  Place the remaining ingredients in the blender, cover, and blend until smooth.

Pour and enjoy!

Tip:  You can use regular milk, soy milk, etc. in place of almond milk; substitute 1 tsp. vanilla for the cinnamon; and any flavor of yogurt or unflavored, as you wish -- I used peach flavored Greek style yogurt in this one.  You may omit the agave nectar for a slightly less sweet flavor.

The strawberry-pomegranate smoothie might more accurately be called a slushie.  Both the strawberries and the pomegranate juice came from our local farmer's market.  With only 3 ingredients and no sweetener, it is extremely easy to make, and very healthy and refreshing.  It makes enough for 2 large servings.

The banana-strawberry smoothie is a variant of the banana smoothies that I often make for breakfast.  Usually I make a single serving, and use 1 regular size banana and no strawberries.  But this weekend we had the small, sweet bananas obtained from our local Asian market, and strawberries from the farmer's market, so it seemed like a good idea to branch out.  This made 2 servings and we had it for lunch.

Well, until next time,



Monday, April 8, 2013

The Farmer's Market

Main aisle of the Farmer's Market at Richmar Plaza

Well Sunday we went to the local Farmer's Market.  Las Vegas has several active Farmer's Markets; this one is at the Richmar Plaza every Saturday and Sunday, in the Silverado Ranch area.

Farmer's Markets are  a great way to get  wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits, not to mention other goodies, and to support the people who offer organic and artisan foods and other handmade goods..

Our first stop was the Murray Family Farms booth.  Their farm is just outside of Bakersfield, CA, and their booth had a great array of citrus fruits, including blood oranges and different grapefruit varieties:

Blood Oranges

We also availed ourselves of some fresh pomegranate juice and lovely asparagus:

Pomegranate juice booth
Asparagus etc

I did not get the balsamic vinegar today because we still have some, but I will say that the 12-year aged balsamic from Bistro Blends of Napa Valley is some of the best I've had.

The last items we got today were strawberries -- don't those look good! -- and the handcrafted sausages:


Handcrafted sausages

We chose the jalapeno and cheese sausages and had them for dinner, fried up with some portobella mushrooms and onions.  It was a very simple and satisfying meal.

We also got some flavored popcorn (non-GMO), an avocado, and a bag of fresh sugar snap peas.

There were food booths too, and the sound of live music wafted over the whole area:

Live music at the Farmer's Market
 All in all it was a very enjoyable outing, and it always feels good to support the small businesses who work so hard to supply us with the very best foods, whether fresh fruits and vegetables or prepared items.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Dinner


So we had a small pork roast in the freezer and I decided this would be a good time to make use of it.  In fact, the whole meal was made up of things we had on hand.  No special trips to the store for once, hooray!

Here's what was on the menu:
  • Pork roast with dry rub, apple & onion, and gravy 
  • Red potatoes au gratin
  • Steamed artichokes with lemon butter dip
  • Blood oranges and red seedless grapes in lime & honey syrup
It was very nice and we had leftovers too.  The next day we sliced the pork and made sandwiches with some of the apple and onion to add moisture.  It worked really well.

I prepared and cooked the potatoes first since they needed to cook for 1-1/2 hours, then put the roast in for 1 hour.  Then prepared the artichokes to steam for 30 minutes, and somewhere in there we got the blood oranges and grapes chilling in the lime and honey syrup so they'd be nice and cold when it was time for dessert.


Potatoes Au Gratin:
  • 4 red potatoes
  • 2/3 c. sourdough bread crumbs
  • 3/4 c. half & half
  • 3/4 c. grated cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. green herbs
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pork Roast:
  • 2 lb. pork roast
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. green herbs
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 apple
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • Salt, pepper & green herbs to taste   
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter and juice of 1 lemon for dipping sauce
Blood Orange and Red Grapes in Syrup:
  • 4 blood oranges
  • 2 large bunches red seedless grapes
  • 4 cups water
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3/4 c. honey


Wash potatoes and slice thinly (1/8" or so), placing slices in water with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.  When they are all sliced, drain and pat dry.  Grease a 9"x9" baking pan and sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs around the bottom and sides.  Add green herbs, salt & pepper, and nutmeg to the half & half.  Now make 4 layers, first potatoes, then some bread crumbs, and some grated cheese, and some of the half & half.  Finish the top layer with bread crumbs for texture.  Cover and place in 350F oven.  Remove cover after 1 hour and bake for another 30 minutes.

Potatoes ready to cover and bake
Pork Roast:

Make sure the roast is completely thawed.  Unwrap and pat dry.  Mix the kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, sage and green herbs together to make a rub (you can use whatever herbs you like; I used a Soup and Stock herb blend from a local farmer's market).  Rub it all over the roast and place the roast in a small roasting pan that has been oiled with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Now chop the apple and onion into small pieces and place them around the roast.  Cover the roast and place in 350F oven.  It will take 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.  You may uncover the roast for the last 20-30 minutes.

Rubbed pork roast with apple and onion, ready to cover and pop in the oven


Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and whisk until thoroughly blended.  Allow to head on medium until it just starts to brown but not burn.  This is the roux.  Meanwhile heat the chicken stock to scalding (almost boiling)Leaving the roux on the heat, pour the chicken stock in all at once while whisking.  Add the seasonings and allow it to thicken over the heat, then turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the stove to keep it warm.

Steamed Artichokes:

Prepare artichokes by trimming the stem very close to the bottom.  Cut off the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes and rub with 1/2 lemon to prevent browning (you can use one of the half lemons you will place in the steaming liquid).  Cut the tops off the outer leaves so there are no sharp points to deal with when eating.  Place salt, water (or you can use chicken broth) and lemons (cut in half) into a large pot.  Bring it to a boil and turn on low, then place the trimmed artichokes into the pot and cover and steam for 30 minutes.

Trimmed artichokes ready to steam
Blood Oranges and Red Grapes in Lime and Honey Syrup:

Peel the blood oranges, section them and remove all of the white part.  Remove grapes from stems.  In the meantime, place the water, lime juice and honey in a saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil.  Place the orange sections and grapes into a large heatproof container and pour the hot syrup over them.  Allow them to cool in the syrup, then cover and place in the refrigerator to chill.  Serve in individual ramekins.

Well that's it.  Until next time,