I get asked a lot “Your cooking looks really good, why is your blog called Mark Ruins Dinner?” Here’s your answer.
I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. There are barely any words to describe what happened today, let alone pictures. I shall do my best.
We’ve been busy lately. Like, too busy to cook. So Karen’s been going crazy on the weekends to make enough food for us to eat all week. This weekend she asked if I would help her out on Sunday morning while she got caught up at work. I obliged, of course, for who in the world can mess up a pot roast?
Karen even gave me a recipe as a starting point. “This looks really good,” she says. “Just follow the instructions and it will be great!” I admit, it looked like a great meal. A sirloin tip roast braised slowly in the Crock-Pot. Some nice root veggies in there and everything. And Guinness.
I gotta be honest. We’re not beer drinkers. We don’t have any Guinness in the house. We still had a Coors Light in our cupboards from two Thanksgivings ago, when we had company. We still had some Miller Light from last Thanksgiving. Karen had bought a six-pack of Bud this summer to make beer can chicken with. That’s all we had in the house.
The recipe was called Beef and Guinness Stew and it’s from Cooking Light magazine. I think. Karen told me all about it, but I guess I wasn’t listening. She left it on her computer and I glanced at it, but only to look at the list of ingredients. I did look briefly at the instructions, but only to see when to add the beer, and how much. How about I just go through the instructions and tell you what I did instead?
Step 1: Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes. Wow. I never even saw this bit. I ignored it completely, leaving the roast as one big lump of meat.
Step 2: Use 1 bottle of Guinness Draught. As stated before, we didn’t have any. In fact, I even forgot about the Budweiser and used the year-old Miller Light instead.
Step 3: Use 4 cups of beef broth. Really? Where did this come from? I just saw that right now for the first time. Maybe I didn’t look at the ingredients as well as I’d thought.
Step 4: After sautéing the onions, stir in the tomato paste. I knew this was coming, I just plum forgot about it. You ever have one of those days? Yeah, my mind really was somewhere else this morning.
At this point I chopped up some celery, carrots, and potatoes and put everything into the Crock-Pot. I switched it on, blew it a kiss, and went about my day. Later that evening I’m at the store and I get a call from Karen. “Did you reduce the heat on the Crock-Pot to Warm just now?”
No. I hadn’t. I had put everything in the slow cooker and turned the dial one click to the left. Once again, I wasn’t paying attention. Now, from my food handling class all those years ago I am aware that for 8 hours my beef roast had been lovingly kept at just the right temperature to encourage bacteria to grow. I didn’t put dinner in the slow cooker; I put an agar in an incubator. So yeah, after 8 hours it was still raw. Karen told me “I tasted it, so why don’t we wait until tomorrow and see if I get sick before we throw it away?”
The best part is this. It was a pot roast. That’s dinner for three days in our house. So I didn’t just ruin dinner. I ruined dinner for the week.
So, after a lengthy hiatus, it’s good to be back.