All images © Dina Avila 2013
One of the (not always) fun things about the building we live in is that there’s a table near the mailboxes where folks leave stuff they don’t want anymore. Not really an offering to their neighbors, but more of a “I don’t feel like schlepping this stuff to the Goodwill 3 blocks away”. Sometimes it’s great. Most of the time is crap that someone will undoubtably take. I recently spied a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland and quickly swooped it up. Not to be confused with The Newlywed’s Kitchen by Lorna Yee. Because that is exactly what I did when I picked it up. I’m not sure how Sarah’s book compares with Lorna’s, but finding it for free was a score. The pages are peppered with personal stories and simplish meals for two. As I was flipping the pages later that evening, two recipes jumped out at me. I’ve been craving beef stew lately, despite the warm weather we were having, and thought her pot roast would be a great alternative and a way to welcome back fall. Read: Cold and wet outside. It’s a time-consuming recipe but worth it. The key with the roast is to let it come to room temperature before seasoning it. Then letting it rest for another half hour before cooking. Genius.
Oh, and the other recipe that caught my eye is a chocolate tart with smoked sea salt. Nuf said :)
PS I’m back on Instagram, after a long absence, and have been posting my adventures in the kitchen and elsewhere. Some of those photos may end up on LS, but…if you’re curious and would like to follow me: http://instagram.com/dinaravila :)
Three Hour Pot Roast with Basil Mint Sauce
Adapted from The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland
1 – 3 lb chuck roast
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 shallots, peeled and halved or quartered depending on size
Splash of apple cider vinegar
3-4 cups of water
One bunch parsley stems
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of carrots, cut into chunks
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, sliced and cut into chunks
About 15 small red potatoes, halve or quarter the larger ones
Pinch of crushed celery seeds
Unwrap the meat and leave it on the counter for about an hour to come to room temp.
Season the meat with generous amounts of salt and pepper on all sides and let rest for another 30 minutes.
Warm your oven to 325.
Warm the oil in your largest Dutch oven or other oven proof pot over medium-high heat.
Brown meat on all sides until a dark brown crust forms. About 15 minutes.
Add the onions and brown.
Add the apple cider vinegar and use a spatula to scrap the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
Turn off the heat and add the water until it comes half way up the meat.
Using kitchen twine, tie the parsley stems and bay leaves together. Tuck in to the side of the pot.
Cover the pot and place in the oven for an hour.
After an hour stir in the carrots, fennel and potatoes and dust the veggies with the crushed celery seeds.
Cover and cook for another hour and a half.
Remove the pot from the oven and place meat on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pour the gravy into a bowl and serve alongside the basil mint sauce with the meat and veggies.
Basil Mint Sauce:
Half a bunch of basil, finely chopped
Half a bunch of mint, finely chopped
About a cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Place all of the ingredients in a mason jar. Tighten the lid and give a it a good shake.
Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt
For the crust:
1/2 cup, 1 stick, butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of sea salt
7 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate.
1 egg, beaten
Smoked Sea Salt
Warm your oven to 350
Whisk together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the flour and stir until well combined.
Butter a 9″ springform pan, or tart pan if you’ve got one, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Press the dough evenly into the pan ensuring the crust comes up the side at least an inch.
Using a fork, prick the crust all over and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Place the chilled crust in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
For the filling:
Bring the cream, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer over low heat.
Remove from heat and add chocolate. Do not stir. Let sit for about 2 minutes.
Whisk the chocolate until it’s melted and creamy. Whisk in the beaten egg.
Pour the chocolate into the hot crust and bake at 300 for about 15 minutes until the chocolate is set.
Let the tart cool on a rack completely. Just before the tart is cooled dust with the sea salt.
Serve the tart with creme fraiche.