Simple Beef Pot Roast à la Omi

IMG_1344Whenever I am fortunate enough to visit with my grandmother Omi, she is usually either in her store selling screws, nails and door-knobs or at the stove. Either way, the conversation will always steer towards her lunch plans and more often than not, she has a pot-roast braising in the kitchen. This isn’t necessarily a warm-weather-type of meal, unless you live in the Dolomites where it is generally always on the cooler side, but it is great, fast and delicious and I wanted to share it as my Omi’s quintessential meal. Come and cook with us!

We love any recipe that doesn’t take too much active involvement, so this simple pot roast is ideal when you want a real meal and have the time to prepare it a few hours in advance. You don’t have to stay there and nurse it the whole time, although checking on the liquid level is a good idea. Alternatively, you can transfer the whole affair into a slow-cooker and you’re golden. As with many meat dishes, browning the seasoned roast on all side is key to get that delicious umami flavor: it’s called the Maillard reaction. This doesn’t really “seal in the juices”, although that sounds like a great strategy. Instead, it creates those complex flavor compounds that make browned meat taste so delicious.

The type of cut that is used for this dish is not high end, so think chuck, round or brisket with lots of connective tissue that will tenderize the meat and make it succulent. If at all possible, buy the organic grass-fed variety, thereby opting for quality vs. quantity, which is always a good strategy when it comes to food.

A pot-roast is a beautiful thing and I hope you will find the opportunity to give this dish a try. Come and cook with us!

Beef Post Roast

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Cooking or Exercising? Ideally Both!

IMG_5056The conundrum on how we best spend our time continues. A recent meta data analysis determined that exercise is less important than diet if our goal is to lose weight. And as we at Come and Cook with Us aren’t really focused on eating to slim the waist, we want to point out that while regular exercise is really really good for our muscles, joints, heart, lungs, and mental wellbeing, we aren’t told often enough that making time for a home-cooked meal is just as important, if not more. We know it’s hard to fit it all in, but a little can go a long way so this summer we invite you all to try a few new habits. Come and cook with us!

Maybe there isn’t anyone getting rich by telling us this simple truth. Or maybe we are told, but with little impact given the competing multi-million dollar marketing budgets focused on getting us into the gym, dressed in our best athletic outfits and enticing us to follow each and every move with digital wearables like fitbit. Our public service announcement is pretty simple: Let’s try to find a healthy lifestyle that incorporates both exercise and nutritious food. Here are a few suggestions on how to implement it:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Start with one meal, like breakfast, if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Make it a family effort giving kids a role in choosing, shopping for and preparing the meal.
  • Always add a salad.
  • Switch out the ice cream for water melon, peaches, apricots, cherries and more fresh fruits that are in season right now.
  • Reach for the water and skip the soda.
  • Remember what your ideal plate looks like: 1/2 plate fresh produce, 1/4 whole grain and 1/4 protein.
  • Visit the farmers market and talk to the farmers.
  • Make it social by asking your friends for their go-to-recipes. You’ll have a wide repertoire of new ideas when fall comes around.

Regular exercise is indeed an excellent way to boost your mood and get in great shape. And so is cooking. This summer, spend a little less time letting other people tell you what will make you happy, healthy and wise, and instead listen to what your own body is telling you. Here’s to a good summer! Below are links to some of our favorite summer dishes that are easy to make and delicious to eat. Come and cook with us!

Greek Salad
Bircher Muesli and Refrigerated Oatmeal
Oven Baguette
Mediterranean Poached Chicken Salad
Lone Pine Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Fennel, Avocado and Orange Salad
Salad Dressings

Make Space for Quinoa Pizza Crusts

_DSC0619It usually happens in one of two ways. Either, a recipe jumps at me out of a cook book or magazine and I go home with the urge to immediately experiment with it, or it grows on me over time until I finally try it. Quinoa pizza falls into this latter category. I’ve heard of it, I’ve seen it, I meant to try it, but when my friend Karyn praised it, I just had to see what the hype was all about. And boy, do I understand it now. And if you give this quinoa pizza crust a try, so will you. Come and cook with us!

The recipe seems easy enough if a little time consuming as the quinoa needs to soak for about 8 hours. So we prepare it in the morning if we want pizza for dinner. After the soak, the quinoa gets blended with water, spices and herbs until it forms a pancake batter. Pour it, bake it, top it and you have yourself a delicious gluten free pizza that surprisingly doesn’t really taste like quinoa at all.

Next up will be cauliflower pizza crusts. In the meantime, let me know what you think of the quinoa option. We love it. Come and cook with us!

Quinoa Pizza Crust

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Cheering for Cherries

_DSC0546I can hardly believe that we’re already in June. That means the school year is coming to an end, June gloom is dictating the temperatures in SF and, of course, it’s cherry season! The farmer’s market stands are crowded with all kinds of stone fruits including peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, apricots and cherries. Get your filling while it lasts. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t have enough cherries. The best way to eat these little juicy gems is probably right off the tree or at least by popping them into your mouth and letting the sweetness run down your chin. However, if you want to eat cherries in a more mannered way, and without messing up your clothes, we suggest you try this estival quinoa salad. Who says you can’t dress a fruit salad. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

From Drought to Table

7ad060f8bde111e2924b22000aaa05e0_7When it comes to food shopping – and meal choices – we have learned to base our decision on seasonal, local produce in all the colors of the rainbow. Well guess what, right now that might just not be good enough. If you live in California, or anywhere else in the United States, for that matter, we have to consider the impact that the current drought has on agriculture that currently consumes 80% of all the water used in the State. You’d be surprised how much water it takes to grow a slice of avocado, three tangerines or a bunch of grapes. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

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