Thursday, December 13, 2007

French Dip, ooh la la

Whew...it's stormy out there.

I was let out of work early today because of the snow, only to spend an hour driving about 15 miles back home. I'd complain more, but clearly I got home safe and sound and no harm was done. lol

I'm spending tomorrow with the folks because they also have the day off, plus they have an SUV so we can ever so slightly more easily get around town. Nothing against my Mazda, but it's not exactly made for snow. And since Trevor and mine mutual present is in stock at the store we bought it at I'll need my dad's help to pick it up. We talked about it and decided to share the expense of a "big ticket" present in lieu of buying one another small presents. I know it kind of goes against our whole saving-money-for-our-wedding thing, but I'll be excited to have a fancy present.

I'm actually a little sad I have to take time off from work because I've been swamped, but if I don't use my time it'll go away forever. :-P On the bright side I'm almost done with my holiday shopping. On the not so bright side, I treated myself to a cashmere scarf today because almost all the scarves I've been gifted have a tendency to shed all over my clothes and therefore are relegated to the back of my closet. One day I'll have to clean house because I'm sure I have too many things I don't use.

I've been too pooped to cook a lot. I did however make a very easy slow-cooker French Dip. Take a big block of beef. It's better to use a good cut, but I had some bottom round in my freezer for apparently an eternity so I threw that in. I think it was about 3lbs. I rubbed it with french onion soup mix and let it sit overnight. You don't have to, but I always throw on the slow-cooker in the morning before I go to work so it's convenient for me to prep the night before. Throw two cans of beef broth in your crock pot along with one can/bottle of beer, 2 bay leaves. Keep it on low and by the time you get home you'll be greeted with lovely warm smells. I fish out the meat, which by this point is tender and breaks apart very easily, and slice it into smaller more sandwich friendly bits and toss back into the crock pot for it to absorb that natural au jus. Toast up some nice bread with cheese, layer on your meats and ladle out a cup of au jus on the side.

If so motivated you can also take your au jus and turn it into a lovely (and incredibly hearty) French Onion Soup.

I cooked a lot last weekend, but nothing terribly complicated. I made some banana bread muffins, gyoza potsticker dumplings for Trevor and Kahlua cake. Kahlua cake was really good but anything with kahlua will inevitably be tasty. I used the "tres leches cake" approach, which basically means I took a cake mix, baked up a devils food cake and poked holes into it that I then poured my kahlua filled goodness on top of so it absorbed into the cake. I think this is how those fancy pants bakers make such moist cakes. It's best after a day of sitting.

Gyoza wasn't terribly complicated either because I got some pre-fab gyoza wrappers and followed the manufacturer's recipe on the back of it. lol I had to make my own filling, but it was very straightforward and I had all the ingredients on hand. Trevor loves gyoza. I remember when we were in Japan he insisted that was one of the foods we had to have. I love pretty much any food that's individually wrapped and bite sized.