frozen meals vs. good old home-cooking

Tonight I ate a frozen burrito for dinner.  It’s true.  The fact of the matter is that during the week I eat like a total bachelor most nights, heating up something from my freezer or piecing together a meal out of whatever I can scrape together from the fridge and pantry which usually means hard-boiled eggs on toast or crackers and smoked salmon spread.  Lately I’ve been juicing a lot of produce up and calling that dinner, but tonight I had no fresh fruit or juice-worthy vegetables (the thought of juiced Brussels sprouts is just not even remotely appetizing…) so that is where the frozen burrito came in.  At least it was of the spinach and tofu variety so I managed to get vegetables into my day somehow.

On the weekends, however, I eat like a queen.  (Most of the time.)  A few weeks ago I made a lovely pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions.  The rub for the roast consisted of cumin, coriander, ginger, fresh black pepper, salt and a hint of cayenne.  That paired with thinly sliced garlic inserted into the roast made for a mighty tasty hunk of meat.  And you gotta love the way the meat flavors the vegetables when you cook them all together in one big pan…

The memory of it almost makes up for tonight’s microwaved meal… almost.

Roast Beef with Root Vegetables (from “Bon Appetit: Keep it Simple, Easy Techniques for Great Home Cooking”)

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ¾ salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  3- to 3 ¼-pound beef eye of round roast
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place first 3 ingredients in heavy small plastic bag.  Using meat mallet or rolling pin, crush spices.  Transfer crushed spices to small bowl; mix in salt, ginger and cayenne.

Toss potatoes, carrots and 3 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange vegetables in single layer in large roasting pan.  Roast about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, using tip of knife, make several slits in roast; insert garlic slices into slits.  Brush roast with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Rub spice mixture over roast.

Push vegetables sides of pan, leaving space in center.  Place roast in center of pan.  Cook until meat thermometer inserted into
center of roast registers 125 degrees for medium-rare, about 1 hour.  Transfer roast to platter.  Foil to keep warm.  Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Spread vegetables in pan; continue roasting until vegetables are tender and brown, about 10 minutes.

Surround roast with vegetables.  Cut roast into thin slices and serve.

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