So, my ninety-three year old father moved in with me last week. Well, technically he moved in on January 2nd. However, he turned around and went to Florida on the 4th. It’s not our first rodeo. We lived in the same house for years when I was a kid. Mom, my brother and sister plus several dogs and a few turtles were in on it too.
More recently, we became roomies in 2012. That’s when all hell broke loose with my family’s Greatest Generation. Dad was in and out of hospitals, had several surgeries and was flat on his back for months. To complicate matters, my mother had Alzheimer’s and he was her caregiver. In a fast game of musical chairs, Mom moved into assisted care and I took care of Dad.
It took him almost two years to recover but, eventually, Dad was as good as new. Or as good as anyone ninety-something can get. Before long he got fed up with me and moved out. Until now. Now he’s back. He flew north on March 8th and was due to leave again on the 14th. Then, on a flight from New York to West Palm Beach, some wingnut got the news that he was COVID-19 positive.
Family and friends banded together to convince Dad to stay out of airplanes. My brother was a particularly enthusiastic campaigner and broke out his secret weapons – the girlies. Within minutes the girls were on the phone to their grandfather cajoling him into he staying put. Okay now, I admit it. While everyone was pushing hard for him to stay … I might have, maybe mentioned that I was kind of, sort of looking forward to having a few more weeks before he actually, truly moved back in. To which my brother shrugged and said, “That’s a first world problem.” Yah, sure, first world problem for him maybe.
Anyway, I’ve discovered a new game on Facebook. It helps you stay sane while working from home. Designed for parents with kids home from school, it also works if you have an old man and dog in the house. Did I mention Dad brought a seventeen year old West Highland Terrier with him? That’s one hundred and nineteen in human years. But back to the game. You post something, anything about your kids (or in my case, my ancient father and dog) but call them your co-workers.
Here’s a sample of some of my coworkers’ recent antics …
While I’m getting caught up with Morning Joe, my co-worker is reading his emails and the news feed on his phone. Yes, out loud. In case you need to know – down in Florida, his golf club has shuttered all services except take-out dining and kids are hanging out on sunny beaches. My co-worker insists I stop what I’m doing (making muffins) and look at his phone to see the hordes of kids ignoring social distancing.
My other co-worker watches the goings-on in the kitchen for a bit and gets bored. Or maybe she realizes that nothing else is going to fall on the floor for her to clean up. She moves to the conference room for a nap. She does that a lot.
My co-worker’s friend calls. I’m almost done with the muffins and still trying to half-watch/listen to the news. Assuming I’d like nothing more than to hear his half of the conversation, my co-worker speaks loudly into the phone. I tell him to take it in the conference room. My other co-worker sleeps through the banter.
Meanwhile, I continue to find peace in the Zen of everyday activities. The muffins are done and I start work on a pot roast for dinner.
In times of stress, we need a bit of humor and some comfort food. Pot roast has always been a family favorite at my house. Enjoy!
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- About 3 1/2 pounds chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
- 4-6 parsnips, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
- 6 celery stalks, sliced about 1 inch thick on the diagonal
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 cups dry red wine
- 1-2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a heavy casserole over medium. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Remove the bacon from the casserole, drain and reserve.
Drain the bacon fat from the pot, leaving just enough to lightly coat. Raise the heat to medium-high. Generously season the beef on all sides with salt and pepper, add the beef and brown each side for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pot and reserve.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, sprinkle with the herbs and spices, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more.
Add the remaining vegetables and the bacon to the casserole and toss to combine. Add 1 cup each wine and chicken broth, the crushed tomatoes, mustard and bay leaf and stir to combine. Place the beef on top of the veggies. The liquid should come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pot roast. If necessary, add more wine and broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer over high heat, cover and transfer to the oven. Turning the roast midway, cook at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
Put the sour cream in a small bowl. A few spoonfuls at time, add about 1 cup hot braising liquid to the sour cream, stirring after each addition. Add the sour cream to the pot and gently stir to combine. Add more wine or chicken broth if needed. Return the casserole to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes or until the pot roast is very tender.
Remove the meat from the casserole, cut across the grain in thick slices and serve with generous spoonfuls of vegetables and sauce.
This dish can be made ahead of time – several hours or a day or two. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove and then transfer to a 350-degree oven to cook until the meat is warmed through.
- One Year Ago – Quinoa Cheddar Cakes
- Two Years Ago – Roasted Carrot Salad
- Three Years Ago – Irish Lamb Stew
- Four Years Ago – Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary
- Five Years Ago – Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French Potato Gratin
- Six Years Ago – Zucchini Pancakes
- Seven Years Ago – Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- Eight Three Years Ago – Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons
- Nine Years Ago – Grilled Strip Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce
- Ten Years Ago – Linguine with Sundried Tomato Pesto & Roasted Eggplant
- Eleven Years Ago – Fettuccine with Classic Bolognese Sauce
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
What are your co-workers up to? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2020