Friday, December 31, 2004

Mousse on the Loose and Other Kitchen Adventures

It's taken a while for me to regret it, but now I'm really sorry I deleted my first blog instead of just putting it on hold. (I felt too guilty because I couldn't keep up with it every day.) It discussed food and cooking and even carried some recipes. Maybe I'll recreate that part sometime.

Our New Year's dinner will be half fancy-schmancy and half simple, and the result ought to be very nice indeed. I asked Greg what he wanted for dinner, and he asked for another beef roast, like the one we had on Christmas Eve. For the fancy-schmancy dessert portion of the meal, I decided to make Frozen Pumpkin Mousse with Walnut-Toffee Crunch from the Epicurious Web site.

It serves me right for blindly following a recipe (note to self: Add this to a list of New Year's un-resolutions... more on that later). I stuck the lovely walnut-toffee crunch in the oven at the exact time and temperature listed in the recipe, and 15 minutes later I ended up with nasty, burned, unusable crunch... plus I ran out of walnuts and couldn't make more.

After loudly describing the predicament in words unsuited to a family blog :-), I decided to wing it and just use the remaining Heath toffee bits in the bag instead of walnuts, and I didn't bake them. I just added them directly to the mousse. Since the freezer is too full to accommodate very many goblets filled with mousse, I froze only two servings and kept the rest in the fridge. Turns out that most of the other people who made this recipe preferred Heath bits to nuts and the fridge to the freezer, so we do still have something to look forward to when dinner's ready. The kitchen test crew sampled the mousse and pronounced it To Die For, so things are looking up.

Greg and Charlie romped in the swamp this afternoon, and Greg's been banging out gorgeous thunderclaps of Brahms ever since. (Speaking of Brahms, it looks as though the chorus will reprise at least some sections of Brahms' Requiem at next week's concert for the tsunami victims. Not sure whether we're singing in English or German, though -- we've done both versions this year.)

Dirt-Simple Slow Cooker Pot Roast

This is the only recipe my mom ever taught me, but I still swear by it on those long-commute days. Greg likes this so much that he probably wouldn't complain if it were the only recipe I knew.

Beef chuck or bottom round pot roast, 2-3 pounds (0.9 - 1.4 kg)
1 envelope of instant onion soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
4-6 small potatoes, washed
5-6 carrots, parsnips, or a combination of the two, ends cut off and cut in two

Place the potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the carrots and parsnips, and place the beef roast on top. Empty the soups on top of the roast, cover, and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

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