Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

End of the Day

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It’s 7:40pm and the end of the day here in beautiful Los Gatos CA. I’ve been making homemade pizza and tonight had a hot steaming piece with some fresh arugula and an avocado out on my swing watching my birds. What a nice end to the day…💗💗💗💗💗.

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Shelley’s Rich & Flavorful Chuck Roast

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I made this last week and it was amazing. The taste was rich, and the meat was incredibly tender.  I need to disclose that I used meat that was grass fed in Vermont, so the quality was exquisite. But either way, I’m sure it will still taste wonderful.  This was the full dinner with a simple, deconstructed side salad.

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When I cook, I figure out what I’m going to make, review multiple recipes and then combine the ingredients that I like. I’m not someone who’s exact and will taste as I move along, adding spices as I go.  I always figure that if you’re using good ingredients you can’t go wrong. The recipe below is a guide to use and I know you’ll have great results.  Put on some music, pour a glass of Merlot and let’s get started! (You could get everything ready the night before and power up the slow cooker in the morning)

Ingredients

1 bone-in (5 lbs) or boneless (3-4 lbs) chuck roast

Used to brown the meat

  • 5 teaspoons course salt (My favorite is Maldon)
  • 5 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons Ghee clarified butter (You can find at any grocery store. It has a high burn rate so perfect for browning meat.  Ordinary butter can burn)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (grape seed or avocado as examples)
  • ¼ cup chardonnay to deglaze the pan plus another glass for you…

Aioli sauce to coat the meat in the slow cooker (adjust to your taste)

  • 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Bragg apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, optional
  • 1 package of Knorr classic brown gravy mix (or a packaged gravy mix you like)
  • 2 teaspoon “Better than Bouillon” beef flavor
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken seasoning (I use the chicken vs. the beef because it’s not so strong in flavor but you could use either. Add more if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons of butter (optional to deglaze)

Vegetables

 Stay in the cooker the entire time

  • 1 -2 large shallots sliced
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion sliced

Add ½ way through

  • Carrots sliced in chunks (I used 6 and added one extra)
  • Yukon potatoes slides in chunks (I used around 5)

Cook separately and serve with the meat

  • Mushrooms – I love to mix them, shiitake, portobello, brown button, etc to get a more complex flavor. Slice thin and sauté in Ghee (1 tablespoon) and grape seed or avocado oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Shelley’s world-famous Jalapenos – These are optional but are wonderful with the meat if you like spice. To make these, cut open, cut out the seeds, toss in grape seed oil, add course salt and bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes or until tender. Serve on the side.
  • Chopped up Italian parsley to use as garnish

Side Dishes

  • Egg noodles: Cook the noodles in heavily salted water (this is what flavors the noodles, otherwise they will be bland). To bring the water to a boil more quickly, cover the pot. When you drain do not rinse with water. If you do, you’ll lose the flavor. Toss with some grape seed or avocado oil to keep the noodles from sticking.  Serve immediately.
  • Fresh green salad

Steps – This looks like a lot but it goes fast!

  1.  Brown the Meat
  • Dry the meat before you start. This is really important to get a nice sear.
  • Liberally salt, pepper and flour each side of the meat. I realize I noted # of teaspoons above but I take a few pinches of salt and grinds of pepper for each side. This does note need to be exact.
  • Heat the Ghee and oil in a pan. Add more if needed.
  • Sear the meat on each side for about 4-5 minutes each until golden brown.
  • Use a “splatter cover” to help keep your stove top clean.

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     2.  Layer the Slow Cooker

  • Place the sliced onion and shallot on the bottom of the slow cooker. In the photo below  you’ll see some potatoes under the meat. I learned the hard way and put them in first. They were cooked about 4 hours in and I had to fish them out. Just add the shallots and onions now and wait on the rest of the vegetables.
  • Carefully move the meat from the pan that you used to sear it to the slow cooker.
  • Deglaze the pan you cooked the meat in with the chardonnay and drizzle it over the meat. I use chardonnay vs. red wine because it adds a milder flavor. I also added a little butter. To deglaze a pan simple pour the wine into the pan and take a spatula or wooden spoon and scrape / stir the browned bits from the pan over a moderate-high heat to melt all the cooking residues into the liquid.

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     3.  Create and Add Your Aioli

  • Mix all ingredients together as noted above and blend well using a fork or whisk
  • Evenly spoon the mixture over the meat so it covers the entire surface

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     4.  Cook on low in a slow cooker for 7-8 hours or until the meat breaks apart

  • With about 3 hours to go add the vegetables on top of the meat and cover the cooker.

    5. Tips for serving

  • Before your guests arrive take the meat and vegetables out of the slow cooker.
  • Cut away any fat and the bone and discard.
  • Break the meat into pieces. The meat should be tender so this should be easy to do. If it’s not tender and you’re getting close to serving time then put it back in and kick the heat to high.  That should tenderize the meat faster.
  • Pour the juice that’s in the slow cooker into a separator and separate out the fat. Discard the fat and return the juice to the slow cooker.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, pull 1 cup of the juice out and add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to it and whisk until you remove any lumps. Stir back into the slow cooker and cook on high for 15 minutes or until the juice thickens. Repeat to create a thicker sauce.
  • Put the meat and vegetables in a serving dish and either pour the gravy over everything or serve the gravy on the side.
  • Sprinkle the mushrooms and cut up Italian parsley over the top.
  • Serve with egg noodles

That’s it! Serve with a nice light salad and the drink of your choice. Let me know in the comments section if you try this and if you have any tips.  And of course, what your drink of choice is.  XO and Cheers!!!! Photogirl 

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Nantucket Island,the Gray Lady

The car rattled over the old cobble stone road and I made my way into the historic town of Nantucket. Tourists stroll along the sidewalks dripping with dense flowers in window boxes. I’m fresh off the red eye from San Jose to JFK and then JFK to Nantucket so feeling a little tired. The smell in the air is a mixture of fresh roasted coffee and the ocean.  I’m in love.  I find my way to Union Street and into a tight parking place on the Union Street Inn property and sigh, I finally feel like I’m on vacation. The hotel is a mid 18th century B&B and it’s lovely.  One of my favorite parts of the town are the cobblestone roads and the brick laid cross walks. It’s like stepping back in time. Here are a few photos from my first day on the island…

 

I’ll write more on the hotel in a separate post. But now I want to take you through the town with my photos. I wish I could send you the smell of fresh cut grass and sea roses. Here are some photos from my first day 💗💗💗