Less than three weeks to the wedding! Here is one of the proofs of the engagement pictures. Instead of a guest book, Lesli and Michael are going to have a matted picture or photo collage on an easel for everyone to sign and then they will frame it. I thought this was a lovely photo of the happy couple. Isn't my new daughter-in-law pretty?
This week is comfort food week in our house. Sad and stressed over the destruction in the Gulf states, jittery about wedding details, I have decided to cook basic foods that calm and remind us of meals like our mothers used to make. How about good old pot roast? Usually, I prefer pot roast cooked with potatoes and carrots, celery and onions but the broccoli and cauliflower has been really nice this month. Since it is so good for you, when the price it right, we eat it as often as possible. This is basic pot roast like my mother used to make with veggies on the side. Sometime soon, I will have to make the Italian style pot roast that my mother-in-law taught me, too.
Pot roast is very easy to make and you always end up with the best drippings for gravy, Sometimes I make flour gravy but corn starch gravy is always velvety smooth and easy.
Easy Cornstarch Gravy
Remove cooked roast from the roasting pan and place pan on burner over medium heat. Always let meat set up a bit before you cut it. Letting it sit a while allows the hot juices to settle back into the meat. If you cut beef, pork, fowl, etc. too soon after removing it from the oven, it will become dry. While the meat sets up, you make the gravy.
Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water or broth to drippings in roasting pan. I like to include a little Kitchen Bouquet in that one and a half cups of water or broth to make the gravy rich and. brown. Buy it at the market or make your own by warming a heaping Tablespoon of dark brown sugar in a small pan. Don't burn the sugar but keep stirring it and get it hot and when you can smell heating, before it is ready to caramelize, add a hearty shake or two of Worcestershire sauce (about a TBSP) and about 3 Tablespoons of water. Stir and warm until the brown sugar dissolves and all is smooth. Yes, it is easier to just use store bought Bouquet but you can make this homemade concoction very quickly if needed. If you pour the Kitchen Bouquet or the sauce you just made into a measuring cup first, then just top it off with water and or broth to equal 1 1/2 cups.
Back to the roasting pan -- If there is a lot of fat in the pan, spoon off all but about two Tablespoons, then cook the remaining drippings with the water and bouquet mixture, constantly stirring over medium heat to remove the brown bits in bottom of pan.
Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water in a measuring cup, stirring until smooth. Note! Always mix cornstarch with a cool liquid. Stir into the drippings pan, slowly bring to a boil and boil until thickened (about 1 minute more). Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper if needed. You may strain the gravy as I often do or serve it homestyle with all the good bits from the roast still in the gravy. Making gravy is easy but I had a lot of trouble with it when a newlywed. Practice makes perfect!
While I am thrilled to see all the donations from caring people for the hurricane victims, they still need more help. Click here for some suggestions on how to help those who lost everything due to Hurricane Katrina.