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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Kitchen Update and Blade Roast with Mushrooms

No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth. As you know we are renovating our kitchen and as with all renovations things seldom go one hundred percent according to plan. The focus of the renovation is the cabinet doors and the countertop. All the doors are in very good condition except for about five. The problem stems from neglect by the previous owner but the solution is not as easy as it first appeared. The cabinets are stained to match the wood ceiling and wainscotting both of which carry on into the family room. Replacing the cabinets is not an option without affecting the ceiling of both rooms so onto plan B. I ordered a finish restorer mid February that still isn't in so this weekend I picked up another product to try. However, after much discussion later as to how refinishing likely will not give the desired results we have now decided to replace all the doors and refinish only the cabinet frames. The new sink has not arrived either. On the bright side, the tile for the countertop along with the thin set, grout and tools are all sitting in the kitchen waiting to be installed as soon as the frames are refinished and sink arrives. Basically we are keeping the counters as bare as possible while we work. Drawings of alterations and new locations decorate the old countertop. The down side is the frames have to wait until after this weekend because we have two large get togethers here so I don't want the doors off the cabinets just yet. At the same time we are finishing up one accent wall on the upper level and prepping what was the good livingroom for painting on the upper level.

I'm not doing a lot of cooking at the moment aside of basic meals although I did make a large batch of spaghetti sauce and canned half of that last week. The canners will be out of commission for a couple of weeks. Cooking will continue as normal as possible around the renovation work. The weather has warmed a bit so the grill will be called into action as well.

Blade Roast

The cut of meat determines the cooking method. While any cut of meat can be cooked using any method, certain cooking methods give better results with certain cuts of meat. A blade roast is a cut of beef from the shoulder (part of the chuck) with lots of connective tissue so it is a cheaper cut. However it is also a flavourful, juicy and tender roast when cooked at lower temperatures. It is a perfect cut for a pot roast.

I put a blade roast (about 3 lb) into the HamiltonBeach® countertop roaster, seasoned it with Montreal Steak seasoning and sliced onions then poured about 1½ cup of water into the roaster. The roaster was set at 200ºF. I added small whole and halved larger fresh mushrooms when the roast had cooked for an hour and a half and allowed the roast to continue cooking at 200ºF for a half hour then turned the temperature to 350ºF. Then I stirred in a slurry of cornstarch, water and ¼ tsp browning to thicken the juices.

The roast was melt in your mouth tender and juicy with a wonderful flavour. The mushroom gravy was nice an rich just perfect for ladling over baked potatoes or the meat. I rounded out the meal with sweet peas, a side salad and dinner rolls.

The nice thing about this meal prep was the roast was cooked in the roaster outside of the main kitchen. We were doing a lot of measuring and pulling a few things apart so the stove was covered. When my oven is on there is an automatic power venting. Covering would interfere with the venting. The countertop roaster made it possible to use an oven without using the main oven or the gas grill. I really must admit to being rather impressed with the performance of the countertop roaster.

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