Monday, December 24, 2007

Surprisingly Easy

I did my Christmas shopping for Patrick this morning (I was waiting for the promised funds to reappear in my checking account by, alas, they haven't yet...I sense another string of phone calls is in my future on Wednesday).  I'm not buying him much since we're taking our trip together, but I got the usual: a shirt, a couple of DVDs, paper (he's the King of Lists), and scotch tape.  I went around 10:00 this morning and made it in and out of both Wal-Mart (clothes and paper) and Best Buy in just over an hour.

The last thing Patrick really needs is more shirts, but it's a Routine, and one he'd be very upset if I didn't stick with.  I began buying him an outfit for Christmas and his birthday when he hit 12 or 13 and our mom was still buying him little boy clothes.  I believe that kids with disabilities have enough disadvantages in making good impressions with people, and that one thing I can do to help smooth the road is ensure his clothes are nice and stylish.

As he got older, as most people do, Patrick developed his own style.  He loves Hawaiian shirts -- the brighter and bolder, the better -- as well as button-down shirts and 80s style polo shirts.  So what did I find for him today?

Well, I can't find a picture online, but it's a dark purple fake-silk button down short sleeved shirt with a bold, bright swirly pattern of lighter purple and other complimentary colors on it.  It's loud and bold and perfect for Patrick.

Meanwhile, I'm taking advantage of the lull in activity to make one of my favorite meals for a long, slow, non-school day: Alton Brown's pot roast.

With, of course, minor variations.

Alton suggests using bone-in chuck -- 7 blade steaks, as I recall -- but I prefer brisket.  I've made it with chuck and just didn't like the texture of the meat.  Brisket is a bit more expensive, but it's worth it.

I use a bit more tomato juice in the braising liquid than he suggests, as well.  (Be aware that the acid in both the tomato juice and balsamic vinegar is strong when you're reducing the braising liquid -- you'll tear up as much as you do when you chop onions...or, at least, I do.)

Finally, this time, I added some torn sage leaves to the braising liquid, as well as a chiffonade of three more sage leaves.  When I rubbed the meat, I added some paprika and dried sage to the cumin.

Yum.  :-)

Also -- if you make a roux (mix together equal parts butter and flour) and then pour the liquid (only the liquid) left over after cooking, and bring it to a boil, you'll have a yummy sauce.  It's even better if you add just a little whole milk to cut the acidity.

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