January 24, 2012

New Home.....Comforting Aroma's!

How do you make a new "house".......a "home?" There is always a turning point, when you move into a new home, that you suddenly feel......We're home! It takes a while. Ordinarily, you are so busy unpacking, unloading, unwrapping, moving things from place to place, hanging pictures, cleaning and scrubbing, and making a little pathway through the new kitchen, that you feel somewhat displaced and unbalanced. At least that is how I feel, until.........there is some order to the rooms, especially the kitchen. Then, the  moment comes when you can invite the family over and welcome them to your new home with some of the best southern comfort food! Do you know what is one of the first things I make in a new kitchen? Pot roast and biscuits!

A Maine House Mosaic

I think because it reminds me so much of Mother. I am fortunate enough to even have grandmother's old biscuit cutter, which I simply treasure! Mother made the best pot roast and somehow all my problems would seem less because there was the comfort of home that eased my mind. Everything was going to be alright. Funny how smells can take you back to special moments in life....I guess that's why they call it "comfort food!" I hope my children will feel the same.........

Estelle's Best Southern Biscuits
2 cups flour (Estelle's uses White Lily)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs.  Make a well in the center and pour in the cold buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes. I brush a little heavy cream on top before baking!

Estelle's Italian Pot Roast
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced
1 (3- to 4-lb.) boneless chuck roast
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1-oz.) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (14-oz.) can beef broth
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons cornstarch

 Place mushrooms and onion in a lightly greased 5-to 6-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle roast with pepper. Cook roast in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
Place roast on top of mushrooms and onion in slow cooker. Sprinkle onion soup mix over roast; pour beef broth and tomato sauce over roast. Cover and cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Transfer roast to a cutting board; cut into large chunks, removing any large pieces of fat. Keep roast warm. Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; stir in tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Stir together cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until smooth; add to juices in slow cooker, stirring until blended. Increase slow cooker heat to HIGH. Cover and cook 40 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in roast.

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