Pot Roast

Posted: July 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Red Meat | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The finished product

I know, I know, it’s the middle of summer. Who wants pot roast in July? This foggy San Franciscan does! A few days ago I had a sudden craving for pot roast. I think it’s because I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian lately and I needed to make up for it. My mom had given me a recipe for pot roast that she’s been making, so I decided to give it a shot. Large chunks of meat are generally not my area of expertise so I was excited to try something new.

Pot Roast

Adapted from Relish’s Classic Pot Roast


2.5 to 3 lbs chuck roast, about 2″ thick
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 stalks celery, diced
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 lbs small red potatoes, whole
1 pound mushrooms (crimini/portabello or shiitake), sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups beef or chicken broth
8 ounces canned tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups red wine (merlot is good)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves

Potatoes, mushrooms, beef, wine


  1. Take the beef out of the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature.
  2. Set up your mise en place: Chop all vegetables. Put onions, carrots, celery in one bowl. Put mushrooms, garlic, chili powder in another bowl. Mix together wine, bay leaves, thyme, tomato sauce, broth in a third bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat a large, enameled dutch oven (or other non-reactive, oven-safe pot) on the stovetop on high.
  4. Sprinkle beef liberally with kosher salt and ground pepper on both sides; rub in. Heat oil (a few tablespoons or so) in dutch oven, then carefully add the beef. Let it brown on one side for five minutes without disturbing it. (Disturbing it will affect its ability to form a good brown crust.) Turn the meat over and brown the other side for five minutes. Remove beef from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add a bit more oil to the pan and then saute onion, carrot and celery until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, mushrooms, and chili powder to the pan. Cook 3 minutes.
  7. Return beef to the pan, trying to get it underneath the vegetables. Add broth, tomato sauce, red wine, thyme, and bay leaves. Add potatoes and make sure they’re submerged in the liquid. Bring to a boil.
  8. Place in oven and cook covered for 3 hours. Remove cover and cook another 1/2 hour, until beef is fork-tender. There will be lots of liquid, which is delicious sopped up with bread.
  9. Enjoy with a glass of red wine!
  10. The finished product

Olallieberry Jam

Posted: July 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | No Comments »

Baskets of berries

A few weeks ago, my friend Rich alerted me that olallieberry season was upon us. We’d previously talked about how much fun it would be to go berry picking, especially for the elusive olallieberry, a hybrid available almost exclusively in Central/Northern California and almost never in the grocery store. So on a sunny Sunday in late June, a bunch of us piled into the car and headed south to Swanton Berry Farms’ Coastways Ranch to pick some berries. We had a great time in the sun, picking strawberries and olallieberries with a central coast ocean breeze whipping our hair about and keeping us cool.

Mella is pleased
Mella, proud of her haul.

For more photos, please visit my Flickr set.

After a day of picking, we headed back to the Mooflyfood, Inc. kitchens in San Francisco. Rich started on a couple of olallieberry-strawberry pies, while I began the process of making jam. The reason I began canning again in 2008 was because I wanted to make olallieberry jam, but unfortunately I kept missing the season by a couple of weeks. I was excited to finally be making the jam I’d been waiting literally years to make. I cobbled together the recipe from a few different sources on the internet, modifying them extensively to suit my low-sugar preferences. This is what I did.

Olallieberry Jam

This should work fine with blackberries if you don’t have olallieberries in your area.

1 1.75 oz. package Sure-Jell no-sugar pectin (powder)
8 cups olallieberries (about 2.5 lbs)
4 cups sugar

In a large pot, crush berries with a potato masher. Stir in pectin and mix well. Heat mixture on high until it reaches a full boil. Add sugar all at once and mix well. Continue cooking on high heat till it reaches a full boil again, stirring constantly. Cook at a full boil for one more minute, skimming foam. Remove from heat. Ladle into sterilized jars and process. For a reminder on how to sterilize jars and process jam, please click here for my tutorial.

Yield: About 6 half-pint jars, maybe a little more.

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