January (by John Updike)

  • “The days are short,
  • The sun a spark,
  • Hung thin between
  • The dark and dark.
  • “Fat snowy footsteps
  • Track the floor. 
  • Milk bottles burst
  • Outside the door.
  • “The river is
  • A frozen place
  • Held still beneath
  • The trees of lace.
  • “The sky is low. 
  • The wind is gray. 
  • The radiator
  • Purrs all day.”

It is a brittle, brilliantly sunlit Sunday; the last of January.  Did you, as I, hope and pray that 2021 would be more calm, peaceful, and less calamitous?  Were you disappointed?  I was, and am, saddened by the continuing vitriol.  Can we not have peace in our world, our country, our cities and towns?   Can we find peace in our families?  If we start with our own little corner, can we slowly start an ever-widening ripple effect of peaceful and civil discourse amongst ourselves?

While I know God is in control, I can’t help but wonder if we, as Christians, are here to usher in God’s kingdom, how can that happen if even we are not following His Word and seeking His will; if even we are not striving daily to more closely follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  We used to sing “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love” in youth group as teens.  Is our love of Christ and Christ’s love in us evident in our lives? Our families? Our communities? 

Elizabeth Elliot said: “Lord, break the chains that hold me to myself; free me to be your happy slave,–that is, to be the happy foot-washer of anyone today who needs his feet washed, his supper cooked, his faults overlooked, his work commended, his failure forgiven, his griefs consoled, or his button sewed on. Let me not imagine that my love for You is great if I am unwilling to do for a human being something very small.”  This was certainly convicting for me.  How about you?  Is there room at your table?  Is there room in your heart?  Is there room in your life? Just a few thoughts before heading into the kitchen on this slow food Sunday.

 

Hubby and I enjoyed a fabulous seafood Saturday dinner of oyster fritters, cheesy cauliflower mousse, and a huge salad of mixed greens with homemade green goddess dressing.  I’ve just gotta say, those goddesses sure know their dressings!  Last week it was a harvest-y pumpkin goddess and this week it was an early summery green goddess filled with fresh herbs, some anchovy paste, and a splash of fresh lemon juice.  I think I might have to try a chestnut goddess.  😉 

I’m excited about this week’s menu plan; it’s been years since I’ve made asado negro.  After dining at a Venezuelan restaurant when we lived in the big city where we enjoyed this incredible dish, I just had to duplicate it.  Though I’m not Venezuelan, I do like to think that I got pretty close on this dish!  You’ll find the recipe at the end of the post. 

SATURDAYOYSTER FRITTERS W/CAULIFLOWER MOUSSE & MIXED GREEN SALAD W/HOMEMADE GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
SUNDAYSEASONED, MARINATED CHICKEN LEGS & THIGHS W/BASMATI RICE & SPINACH, BERRY & FETA SALAD
MONDAYBLACK BEAN BURGERS, AVOCADO & CHILI MAYO ON HOMEMADE BRIOCHE ROLLS W/OVEN-ROASTED POTATOES
TUESDAYASADO NEGRO W/HOMEMADE EGG NOODLES & PURPLE CABBAGE W/APPLES
WEDNESDAYSEAFOOD CHOWDER W/GREEN SALAD & HOMEMADE BISCUITS
THURSDAYRED LENTIL SOUP W/SPINACH & EGG SALAD AND HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING
FRIDAYNO-COOK FRIDAY 😊

ASADO NEGRO:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lb. beef tenderloin (I had this leftover from a whole tenderloin; normally I would use an eye of round roast)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon (or 1 bouillon cube)
  • 1 cup hearty red wine (like cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1 cup Marsala
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use olive oil, but corn or canola oil will work)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, cut up into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Prepare the beef the day before you want to cook it by cutting off any fat and membrane.
  • Place the beef in a reclosable bag and add salt and pepper to taste (I use 1 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of a rainbow pepper blend), garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Seal and smoosh around.  Place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
  • When ready to cook remove meat from marinade, and discard the marinade.
  • Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan on high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the granulated sugar in the center of the pan.  Do not stir.  Carefully place the beef in the pan and brown it on all sides to achieve a nice sear. 
  • Transfer the beef to your slow cooker.
  • Pulse your onion, carrots, green pepper, oregano in your food processor until finely minced, and then add the minced veggies, bay leaves, beef stock, beef bouillon, and wines to your slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours (you can also cook it on high for 4 hours). 
  • Remove the beef from your slow cooker. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the beef to rest for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cutting board and carve into 1/2-inch slices.  Set the sliced beef aside and cover to keep warm.
  • Carefully transfer the liquid and vegetables to a blender and purée them until smooth.  Pour the sauce into a large saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, and simmer and stir until the sauce reduces, darkens, and thickens into a gravy-like consistency.  This can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) if you think it needs it, then add the sliced meat and simmer for 12 – 15 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with mashed potatoes or some good egg noodles.  YUM!

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”  Matthew 25:34-36

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