Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipes and Rain (and a bit of a Rant)

It is Wednesday and has been raining since before sunup (can't see the sun, but I know it's there somewhere). I thought today might be a good day to share some recipes I've tried and enjoyed. Of course, I can't do that until I've chatted a bit, so I hope you don't mind.

Yesterday, I spent all day (literally) helping Tom get his homework together and, supposedly, study for his exam at school. Getting him to do his homework was pretty much like trying to put a collar on a jelly fish. Now, you need to understand - this is NOT a child I'm talking about. This is a 36-yr old man who already has a Master's Degree from Villanova...someone who can rattle off political facts and analyses like an encyclopedia....a man who is one of the least stupid people I know. But, this is also a very spoiled man who has always managed to find someone else to do whatever it is he doesn't want to do. That's where I come in.

Honestly, I don't mind doing some of the work. I enjoy working on the computer and I enjoy learning the software he's studying (Microsoft Office and WordPerfect). (Quite frankly, tuition-free learning is the way to go.) In the long run, it helps me as well as him. My problem is (hopefully was) that he thought he could just look at the chapter a few times before class and know how to do the work. He thought that as long as he turned in homework and showed up, he'd pass. He didn't think he needed to actually apply what he was supposedly learning by practicing. That's where we parted ways yesterday.

He learned that he was failing the course. He planned to appeal that, which is fine if everyone in the class is failing. It shows a distinct lacking on the part of the instructor. But, even though this instructor has nothing but negative reviews from her students, I also felt that HE was mostly responsible for his lack of learning. The man refuses to take notes. He loves playing dumb in class and having all the girls help him. He thought the game would work with his teacher as well as his tutor. He was wrong.

He's attending school under the Trade Act for job losses due to jobs being sent overseas. The company for whom he'd worked 12.5 years let almost everyone go after sending all of their accounting, publisher contact and most of the customer service jobs to Singapore and Sri Lanka. He spent most of his last year with them in Singapore training their replacements. Now he's being retrained for future employment (he had no computer skills at all and wasn't particularly marketable with a Political Science degree). He's in the Paralegal program which I think is a good fit for him considering his ability to understand the abstract. But, he MUST learn the software. I don't care HOW much he hates computers (I feel the same way about typewriters, which is why I avoided secretarial courses passionately in high school), they are what is being used and they are what is being used EXTENSIVELY in law offices. He can learn everything he wants about law and legal writing, but he'd damned well better know how to put it into a computer since that's what a Paralegal will be doing!!

At any rate, I set out an assignment for him to do. A short one. An easy one. All he had to do was manipulate WordPerfect to change whatever it asked to change. It was pre-written!! It took him almost two hours to finish what should have taken 20 minutes at most. He got up and down, went outside to smoke, decided he needed to shave because his face itched, complained about computers, turned on the news, went to various websites that weren't work related (some of them political, but others were less than savory), complained that he was hungry, and so on. He just wouldn't get started. When he finally realized I wasn't going to step up and rescue him, he sat down and got it done. AAGGHHH!!!

So, now he's changed his two computer classes to "audit", plans to take one this summer and has gotten his counselor's approval to not take the other one (Word Perfect) if he takes and passes MS Word. I guess I can now relax as well, but someone who hates computers should have NEVER taken TWO computer courses during the same semester. Period!!

OK, so that's out of my system. Let's move on to rain. The forecast I received by email says we can expect snow today and tomorrow following the rain earlier in the day. SNOW!! On March 23!! I knew they were having snow farther north, but didn't think it would drop down to visit us here. And, it might not since it's mid-afternoon and still no sign of the white stuff. I love rain and I like snow, but I don't like that slushy stuff that's best had in glasses with a variety of flavored syrups and a straw. It's messy, it gets dirty, there's nothing at all soothing about it. Rain puts me to sleep and snow quiets the noisy world around us. Slush is mush - there is nothing at all poetic about it. So, if it's gonna snow, LET IT SNOW!! Or stay gone!!

Ready for those recipes I promised? Assuming you haven't simply scrolled down to find them? LOL

I made this one when I found an opened can of beer in the fridge (I don't drink beer, but my kids do). I found a recipe that sounded just right and this was the result. This and other recipes are posted on my GroupRecipes page under the name chatombreux.

German Beer Braised Pot Roast

  • Ingredients

    ·         1 1/2 -2 lb. beef rump roast (I used a bottom round about the same size)
    ·         1 T. oil
    ·         2 pieces of bacon
    ·         1/4 tsp. salt
    ·         1 medium onion, chopped
    ·         2 carrots, cubed
    ·         1 bay leaf
    ·         3 whole cloves
    ·         1 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed
    ·         12 oz. beer or brown ale
    ·         1 c. beef broth or bouillon to make 1 cup
    ·         2 tsp. molasses or dark beet syrup (Ruebensirup in Germany)
    ·         1 T. vinegar
    ·         1 T. flour
    ·         1 T. butter (I left this out - enough fat in the liquid from the meat & bacon)

    How to make it
    ·         Heat oil in Dutch oven. Brown roast sharply on all sides and remove. Lay the bacon on the bottom of the Dutch oven, place the browned roast on it and sprinkle with salt.
    ·         Place onions, carrots and spices around the sides of the roast. Pour the beer and the broth over the roast, then mix the vinegar with the molasses and add to the liquids. Liquids should be 1 to 2 inches deep. Place lid on pan and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
    ·         Remove roast and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain and reserve the broth. Melt the butter in the pan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of reserved broth, a little at a time and stirring the sauce smooth after each addition. Add pepper, salt, vinegar or sugar to taste.
    ·         Serve sauce (gravy) over roast. This roast is good with braised cabbage or mixed vegetables and potatoes to soak up the gravy.

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