As the holidays wind down, and the fact that the oldest will be leaving and returning to school, I am quite literally, keeping the home fires burning. Yesterday was the day I made all the fleeting requests the boys had made over break into reality. The oven, in response, ran all day, at a steady 275 degrees while the corned beef, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and bones (for bone broth) all braised and roasted together. It became a little game really – since I knew the oven would be running all day, I found myself trying to think or more ways to use all of that heat – like I was in survival mode.
Here’s a rundown of what was in the oven and why:
- I have always boiled corned beef — but I was encouraged by this recipe to try to bake the corned beef. The result? We will never boil corned beef again. Baking, long and slow, is the way to get truly tender, falling-off-the-fork corned beef. The comments section must be read — as you will gain many tips from here, including soaking the corned beef in water to get rid of some of the saltiness.
- Just before Christmas, I was out shopping at the American Cancer Society Thrift store, the one that had the Christmas Story leg lamp in the window, when I found these tiny little oven-safe ramekins. Ten of them for $10. I felt as if I had hit the lottery. The day I got them I made individual pot pies for everyone — including a few vegetarian ones for the non-carnivore. However, the pot pies were not a hit. Sadly. So yesterday I put those ramekins to use to make an oatmeal-based crust and added toppings: Four were peaches (thickened with tapioca pearls), four had lemon curd, and two had strawberries. Out of the ten, four are left. The strawberry wasn’t touched, and there are two lemons left. Peach was definitely the most sought-after pie.
- The tomatoes — I can’t resist buying up those little plastic boxes of cherry tomatoes, and roasting them in salt and a dash of oil until they become prunes. You will swear they have sugar on them, but they don’t. I add them to my eggs in the morning. I simply took advantage of the already warm oven and roasted these, and then put them in the fridge for later.
- Bones: I am running low on bone broth, so I stopped by the butcher counter and bought some beef bones, and added some chicken wings (supposedly a good source for broth), and roasted them, before adding them to the crock pot.
- Cabbage: I am a fan of anything cabbage, raw, roasted or braised, and this recipe from PW, with the balsamic glaze reduction looked very appealing. It was delicious — but not loved by everyone. But they ate it anyway, because it’s just what you eat when you have corned beef. And now I have some leftover sauce to use on my tomatoes.
- As a bonus, I had leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from Sunday’s dinner, so I simply wrapped these in foil and warmed in the oven.
- That was it for the oven — I disregarded PW’s cooking times and temperatures and just let the cabbage roast at low temperatures. Everything fit into the oven, with some finagling, with the exception of the pies, which needed to be cooked at 350 degrees anyway.
- So imagine my distress, when two kids had been to the orthodontist that day and had very sore mouths, and simply wanted real mac and cheese. Something soft, comforting. So, in distress of already spending an entire day cooking and washing pans — I was also making mac and cheese. Which, eventually, did the job of turning sore mouths into smiles.
Today, we will be feeding off the leftovers…