1. I realized this morning that unless I do more careful planning that I had this weekend, when it's my turn to host family dinner, I can't go to Coeur d'Alene for church. I'm glad I figured this out. My hope is that when my turn comes up again on February 24th, I will do some things on Saturday the 23rd to get dinner ready and get the house spruced up for hosting.
So, to my dismay, I didn't go to St. Luke's this morning. Instead, I did some reading about how to prepare a cross rib roast. The cross rib is a shoulder cut. Sinews go through it, meaning that it's best roasted slowly at a low heat in a moist environment. I decided to prepare it in the crock pot. I don't think I'd ever prepared a family dinner using the crock pot before.
2. I cut up onion, carrots, celery, and cauliflower and put them in the bottom of the crock pot. In a bowl, I combined sea salt, thyme, oregano, and some Montreal seasoning and rubbed it into the roast. I cut some slits in the roast and inserted crescents of garlic. I didn't have any beef stock or beef bouillon on hand to pour over the roast, but I had plenty of pork stock and figured it would work fine. (It did.) The roast needed anywhere from 6-8 hours to cook with the crock pot set on low. I put the roast in at 10 o'clock. Bingo!
I don't like the vegetables to get soggy. Every so often through the day I checked them and around 3 o'clock I removed them from the crock pot, put them in a pot with a lid on it. I returned them to the crock pot at about 5:15 or 5:30 to warm up, hoping they wouldn't cook much more.
Early in the afternoon, I made a batch of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal Muffins and gave them plenty of time to cool before dinner. I also made the Ginger Carrot soup I had tried earlier in the week. In making the soup, the first step is to saute chopped onions in butter and then add carrots, ginger, and chicken broth, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer until the carrots get tender enough to be pureed in the blender. I had leftover cauliflower -- not every floret of the head I had on hand went into the crock pot -- and so I added cauliflower to the mix. I also didn't have quite as much chicken broth on hand as the recipe called for, but I had a cup or so of pork stock left over and figured it would work fine. (It did.) When I made this soup for myself, I used whole milk, but today I followed the recipe and used whipping cream and the soup was even richer than before.
3. Everett didn't feel well this evening and stayed home, but, at 6 o'clock, Christy, Carol, and Paul arrived. Maybe for the first time since we began doing family dinners, I had the table set and the food prepared when everyone arrived. Carol and Paul had given me a bottle of 14 Hands Rose wine for my birthday, so I had it chilled, open, and ready to pour before dinner as everyone sat down in the living room.
We had plenty to talk about tonight, with topics ranging from books to Briggs Meyer to food and recipes to Kellogg Wildcat basketball to all kinds of other things. Christy kept us posted on the Chiefs/Patriots score. Our entire evening was accompanied by a recording of Tommy Emmanuel masterfully playing guitar. As I was clearing the table, Christy noticed that I had a bottle of Amaretto on a kitchen counter and wondered if I'd serve it as a nightcap. I hadn't thought that anyone would want straight Amaretto, but Christy, Carol, and Paul all did and I served them a nightcap on the rocks. I heated up some water and enjoyed a cup of dark rum with boiling water -- a hot buttered rum without the butter! For several years now, in the winter, I've enjoyed drinking either brandy or rum with boiling water and it hit the spot again tonight.