I'm approaching a big number birthday this year. And I'm pretty okay with it. I remember when Thatboy hit this number and started fretting about all the things he hadn't accomplished. But I figure that I still have a whole life ahead of me, and no magic number is the key to when it should be done.
Thatboy is a fan of instant gratification. He wants it and he wants it now. As for me? I can wait. I know that not everything comes at once, and I'm willing to put in the time and effort for something I really want. He ran out and bought a new (to him) car the day he got his first "grown up" job. Me? I'm still driving the car that gets me from A to B and my dream car becomes a more and more distant prospect. But I'm okay with that.
Perhaps my readiness to wait for the good stuff comes from cooking. I mean, you don't eat the batter out of the bowl, even though it would be quicker. (And yes, I'm well aware that many of you probably do eat the batter out of the bowl, but you get my point.) Cooking things low and slow is the best way to tenderize tough cuts of meat. And so many of my favorite foods require a ton of labor and time before they're put on the table to enjoy.
Take Sauerbraten for instance. If you want to make sauerbraten, you have to decide days in advance. It marinates for two days. And then, the day you're ready to serve it? Well start making it in the early afternoon, because it's going to cook for a couple hours. But the thing is, it's completely and totally worth every minute. The marinade makes even a rough cut of meat tender. And red wine does serve as my favorite marinade base. It has complex flavors that could be described as biting back. It's a fantastic use of those pickling spices you bought months ago to make pickles and now have no idea what to do with.
Sauerbraten (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 lb top or bottom round roast
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 tsp salt
5 peppercorns, crushed
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp pickling spices
1 1/2 Tbsp shortening
1/4 cup gingersnaps, crushed
1/4 cup sour cream
1. In a saucepan, mix the wine, salt, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, pickling spices, and 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Let cool.
2. Put beef in a deep bowl and pour the marinade over. Cover the bowl with foil and marinade 2 days, turning twice a day.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Melt the shortening in a covered casserole. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry.
4. Brown the meat on all sides. Strain the marinade and pour it over the meat. Cover and cook 2 hours.
5. Remove the meat from the casserole and place the casserole on a burner. Add the gingersnap crumbs, stirring until the gravy is smooth and thickened.
6. Stir in the sour cream, letting it get hot but not allowing it to boil.
7. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy.