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just plain powerfully good - Ambar
February 20th, 2002
09:14 pm

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just plain powerfully good
Look. If you ever cook at all, sit up straight, take a deep breath, and take notes. Make this for dinner tonight. You'll thank me.

1/4lb pancetta (Italian bacon) or salt pork, in one piece
2lbs boneless beef roast (Hazan suggests brisket; I used chuck and was not the least bit disappointed)
5 cloves
4 medium onions, sliced thin (I just run them through the old Cuisinart)
salt & fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Cut the pancetta or salt pork in 1/4" wide strips. Lard the beef with half the strips (poke them into the beef with a chopstick, following the grain of the beef). Insert the cloves randomly into 5 of the places where you put the pork.

In a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pan, put all the onions, then arrange the remaining strips of pork over that, then put the meat on that. Apply salt and pepper liberally, cover tightly (use aluminum foil if the lid is loose) and cook for about 3.5 hours, turning every half-hour. It's done when the meat is very tender and the onions are a lovely brown. (I'm sure it'd work just fine in a slow-cooker -- I was out of the house for most of the cooking time & didn't turn it except near the end.)

"Fork-tender" is probably too faint praise -- the meat very nearly fell apart, the onions did the same, and the whole tasted insanely delicious. Add a glass of a good Italian sangiovese, and prepare to swoon. And don't say I never gave you anything.

Today, the rest of: alternating between cleaning the cattery, ironing, starting my taxes (sigh), and just noodling in front of the computer. The important stuff got done (which is to say, the litterboxes, most of the ironing, none of the taxes).

A friend was supposed to come over for dinner, but she called and begged off because she was exhausted too. Dora-cat was not looking her usual opinionated self this morning, so she went into the vet, and is there on fluids now (but looking much better when I visited this evening. Nothing like a bag of Ringers to make her feel like a whole new cat).

My call with Molly for the week left me not feeling my usual opinionated self. I have voluntarily signed up to have my emotions stirred with a stick on a regular basis. Yes, I think there is a higher good in this, but it's like... the emotional equivalent of tamago's Rolfing. I trust it's good for me, but right now I'm not enjoying the process. This week's homework: take fifty risks. (I squawked. A lot. But I agreed. Fifty?!!?)

I am so not getting up at 4am to make the train tomorrow. Given my weekend plans, I won't be home for a week once I leave, so I am sleeping a whole entire sleep (however long that turns out to be), and then driving in, equipped with a week's worth of clothes, four pounds of duck confit, and other delights.

Can't wait. Must fall over now. Just as soon as I stash the rest of this fabulous roast somewhere...

(Yes, I know this is horribly disjointed. Put the blue pencil down. Thank you.)

Current Mood: tired, pleased, and well-fed

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From:elflet
Date:February 20th, 2002 10:49 pm (UTC)
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You're remiding me I didn't take notes off the last coaching session (OK, i was in a state over the Ph.D. program application), and now i have this sense of having forgotten something.

On the other hand, i'm just simply "in a state"...nothing feels right at the moment. OK, first step...sleep.

love you, dear.
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From:lothie
Date:February 21st, 2002 09:49 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the recipe -- will try it when I get my crockpot!
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