Monday, September 27, 2010

Buying stoves and Laurie Colwin's Pot Roast

Our home is heated with wood, and has been since moving here a few years ago. I love wood heat, the flickering flame, crackling sounds and the warmth a fire delivers. The additional work of a wood fire,  has its own charms as well. I don't care to clean out the ashes, but I am very partial to the smell of fresh cut wood each time an arm load is brought into the house. 

Last spring changed all that when we bought two stoves. It must have been stove day at Lowe’s, because really, why else would you buy 2 stoves on the same day!? We purchased a new convection range for the kitchen and a pellet stove for heating the rest of the house. The kitchen stove had a ding in the drawer, but it also had a 50% off clearance tag. The ding is long gone, fixing that was an easy fix for Honey, he is real good about stuff like that! The stove and I are fast friends, turning out baked goods, soup and a pot roast or two.



But the pellet stove has suffered a much different story. It has been waiting for its turn to burn, sitting very quiet and cold in the garage since we brought it home. Today Honey is grouting the tiles installed on the hearth. After the grout dries, the stove can be brought out of the garage, thoroughly dusted off and hooked up. The weather is cooling quickly here in Vancouver and heat will be needed sooner than one knows.  

In order to hook up the pellet stove, we had to remove the old wood stove insert from the fireplace. What an interesting task that turned out to be! How (Honey and me)  two people were able to move that big, heavy, dirty thing out of there, without getting soot on the new carpet, or spraining something, is beyond me! But we did, and I am still in awe.It truly was one of those "meant to be" moments, where what needs done, gets done.

After that, the hearth needed some tile repair. Just look at what a couple of hours and a few new tiles look like. Like everything he does, this turned out great. And wouldn’t you know, not one of his worries played out. That list of worries was longer than my weekly grocery list. I reminded him that it was going to be fine, well, yeah more than once actually. Until finally I said while pointing (maybe jabbing would be a better term for my finger movements!), “Honey even if something is not perfect, no one will notice, there is going to be a stove sitting right there!”. 

Beautiful, what a great job, as always.


Now all we need is cold weather, and the stove can be completed. Firing up instructions indicate, first time use should be 3 hours in length. 

Right now the house is cool, but not cold. I don't think this house is ever been cold. It is small and very well insulated. We have been without heat since mid February, by choice. Vancouver had a cold winter, when our firewood ran out, we decided that we would not purchase another cord. A cord of wood, would of been more than we needed and unusable once the new stove was installed, so we simply put on a sweater if we got cold. There was a surprising benefit to that decision. I found that having a chill in the air, was a wonderful time to understand warmth. 

Warmth is very soothing, to the body as well as the soul. Fortunately, warmth is in ample supply and can be found in just about every area of your life.You can find warmth in the work you do, or in the comfort of your home and surroundings, and with the ones you love or spend the most time with. But finding warmth is a task of happiness, as much as comfort, provided to a cold and tired body.


As it turns out, warmth is also a complement or a good thought. Friends and family are often described as having a “warm heart”. When something tickles your senses or funny bone it is often described as a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. And of course my personal favorite “cold hands, warm heart” offered as a compliment, when a handshake surprises the one with the warmer hands! I am pretty sure that one is my favorite, because I usually have very chilly hands.

Another place I find warmth is in a story or book. When I read, I find myself comfortable and cozy, well wrapped up in the story. There must be a break in the universal clock when I read, because time does not tick away, chores do not beckon and sleep will not come. Which is why I do not read in bed, I would never ever get to sleep!

I have just finished reading; HOME COOKING, a writer in the kitchen by Laurie Colwin. It is a bittersweet read, she was so engaged in life and in living her life. Warm is the perfect word to describe her. As I read how she managed life, and loved her family, I am touched deeply and wish for more, much more. 

Laurie was also a great cook and eater. I get the impression that everyone was well fed and loved in her New York kitchen. This quote is about her pot roast, she says: "This meal, which takes some time to prepare, must be eaten slowly. Afterwards it is best to stretch out on the sofa, with a cup of coffee balanced on your stomach". You know, I think friends share those thoughts and talk to each other like that, don't you?
  
Laurie Colwin's Pot Roast
Adapted from:  HOME COOKING a writer in the kitchen
300 degree oven                 

5 pound chuck roast
paprika
olive oil
3 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick
6 cloves garlic
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 glass red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Tie a string around the outside of the roast to keep it stable. Sprinkle well with paprika.


In a large skillet, sear the meat, turning to brown all sides. Place the roast into a Dutch oven.

In the same skillet, add the peppers and saute in olive oil. Spoon over meat in the dutch oven.

My little corner market was out of red peppers, I picked out the ripest of the green peppers. I also decided to saute all the vegetables including the garlic.

Add the wine and tomato sauce to the skillet, and simmer to cook down slightly, pour over roast.



Season with salt and pepper to preference, then cover.  Cook 3 – 5 hours. When the meat is tender, carefully remove from dutch oven and place on platter, covered loosely with foil or a clean tea towel.

 This is the color of the rich pan stock, this will be reduced and served over slices of the roast.

Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon,  push through a sieve or food mill. Do Not Use a Blender. The end result is to remove any fibers and seeds from the puree.


Add the pureed vegetables to the meat broth and simmer to reduce and thicken slightly.

I choose to thicken the sauce with a bit of golden browned flour I keep in the refrigerator. It was just the right touch to thicken and give the consistency needed for serving over mashed potatoes.

Slice meat and spoon some of the gravy over, serve remaining in a gravy boat to pass at the table.


This is simply delicious! I hope you enjoy this roast as much as we did, and if you should need anything, you will find me on the couch, practicing with my coffee cup.


Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks so very much for stopping for a visit.
I appreciate your visits more than you know!

This post is also shared through Hearth & Soul Blog Hop.  
 And by request at Tuesday Supper Club

20 comments:

Dan said...

That is one serious pot roast. The gravy looks fantastic. I didn't realize that making the veggies into a puree would ruin it and you need to filter out the fibre. Great tip!

girlichef said...

Wow! You've put the hearth (literally) into the hearth and soul hop this week! It's very warming and cozy and I love it! Plus, delicious looking pot roast =) Thanks so much for sharing it!

Christy said...

this roast looks amazing...i have a link up called tuesday night supper club..i would love it if you would consider joining up with this recipe.
http://fudgeripple.blogspot.com/2010/09/tuesday-night-supper-club-link-up-no-9.html
it is hard for me to read about all your stoves with it being 111 here today...i long for a cold day!

a moderate life said...

Melly baby, sending you huge hugs! Your insight is phenomenal and I secretly look forward to reading your posts each week! Thanks so much for sharing your hearth with us and its recent overhaul, plus this great pot roast, another favorite of mine, and truth be told, is what started me food blogging, on the hearth and soul hop this week! You wicked ROCK! Alex@amoderatelife

City Share said...

Lovely post. I think I already mentioned before, but I love Laurie Colwin's writing. I feel like I'm enjoying a cup of tea with her. Loved your insight on the wood stoves and the pot roast. Thanks!

Christy said...

Your hearth looks beautiful - your husband did an awesome job! I loved reading about the warmth and coziness of a firewood stove (I am sure the pellet will be much more efficient). I adore pot roasts and make them almost weekly in the winter - I will be back to try this recipe! Thanks for linking to the hearth and soul hop!

Sage Trifle said...

I love warmth in every sense of the word, and this post filled me with it. Your roast looks scrumptious. How did that stomach balancing of a cup of coffee go?

Arnold said...

This is a mean roast. It really looks great. I never realized chuck could be used in such a way.

Miz Helen said...

Your Pot Roast is amazing! The pepper combination is very good. It looks so good.
Thank You...

Alea said...

The pot roast looks scrumptious!

My dad put a wood burning stove in our old country home when I was a kid. One of my favorite memories was how my mom made the wood stove do double the work. She often had a tea kettle on it or a pot of beans that were soaking.

Unfortunately their are ordanances in place that prevent us from having a fire place or wood stove even though we have sub zero winters. If you ever visit the Reno Tahoe area and observe our clear skies you will know that they are provided by a lot of cold citizens! : )

Butterpoweredbike said...

My neighbor has a pellet stove, and every time she cranks that thing up, the resulting smoke makes me think that my own house is on fire :)

You've got great insights into what makes a house a home, it so much more than the physical space, isn't it.

Thanks for submitting another memorable post to the Hearth and Soul hop this week.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Great post and beautiful looking, heart-warming pot roast.
Sue :-)

Tiffanee said...

YUM!! That roast looks so delicious! I love all the pictures. The hearth looks great!!

Pam said...

What a lovely post! I really want that celebrate everything little sign!

Mary said...

You really have charmed me. I found your blog by chance and had planned only a quick visit. I, instead, spent far more time here than I had intended. I love your insights and the food and recipes you prepare. I'll be back often. The hearth will shortly be warm and inviting and I'm sure the the pot roast is delicious. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

redmenace said...

Your pellet stove looks wonderful and color me jealous regarding the convection oven. I want one! The pot roast looks wonderful too. My hubby just hinted about one last week....

heather said...

okay, that HAD to be amazing. we made Provencal beef daube the other night, and since then, i'm craving more roasted cuts of beef. might have to try this!

cheers,

*heather*

Martha (MM) said...

What a beautiful job and a beautiful meal to go with it! Wonderful! :-)

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

I am interested to hear about the pellet stove. We have one gas heater in our house and do love our wood fire, but don't have an insert, so it gets smokey (allergies) and is inefficient. We have been looking for a good deal on a wood burning insert, but maybe pellet is the way to go? I remember when you got the new kitchen stove. We are both lucky to have handy partners!
Nicola

Cook of the House said...

That roast looks amazing - warm, comfort food. And the book looks like something I would like to check out for sure.