I haven’t been shy about my love for the crock pot. The slow cooker is one of many highly used tools in my kitchen arsenal that I find an absolute pleasure to use. There’s something about slow cooking that appeals to me. Our society places way too much priority on work, money, careers, social media, any media, that we often put food on the back burner. Many cultures celebrate food daily and center their culture, families, and social interactions around food. American culture views food as a means of sustainment and rarely anything more than that, save for around the holidays.
Which is why I love Slow Food. Slow Food is a movement that was started in Italy and has made its way over to the US. As a whole, slow food celebrates the process of bringing food from the farm to the kitchen to the table. It’s a bit of a grass roots movement to get people involved in their food and close the gap that people have when associating the food they eat with actual ingredients. For me, though, Slow Food is more about a cooking process that involves putting time and love in so one appreciates the flavors as much as they appreciate the effort they put into their food.
But slow food doesn’t necessarily need to be arduous and time consuming, which brings me to my next point; good food can be cooked by single soldiers living in the barracks, with the right tools and a little bit of effort!
I’ve been in the barracks here at Castle Greyskull and I’ve seen soldiers’ rooms. They consist of four cemented walls with a few windows and come with a refrigerator and microwave. Most of them don’t have their own bathrooms, so soldiers have to use a community restroom/showers for all their personal hygiene needs. These barracks that soldiers from my unit are living in are barely better than the barracks from AIT. Other soldiers, over in Schofield Barracks, get rooms that two soldiers share, but each room has a common area including a full kitchen, a bathroom, and they get their own private bedroom. It’s not really fair for the soldiers in my unit.
Did I mention they only have a microwave? How is anybody supposed to eat healthily without a means to cook? I’ve taken some of these guys grocery shopping before, and their grocery bill consists of microwave meals, hot pockets, pizza rolls, and pop tarts. When they aren’t eating in the barracks, they go out to eat, which isn’t really any healthier and can be very expensive here in Hawaii.
Fortunately, it was recently approved for these soldiers to keep small kitchen appliances in their rooms, such as George Foreman grills and slow cookers. I know a few of them like to read my blog, now and then, since I like to spam myself on facebook, so I’d like to start doing them a favor and give them the methods to make pretty darn good meals in their rooms that are healthier than frozen meals and cost way less.
Laura helped me come up with this particular meal. She had seen her chef at work put together a curry and coconut beef braise at work for their family meal (which is a meal that kitchen staff cook specifically for themselves and the front of the house staff.) If curry scares you, have no fear! I’m not really a big fan of yellow curry, myself, but I find this dish to have a fairly subtle curry flavor, with the meatiness of the chuck meat being prominent. Although the meat requires a good 18-24 hours of marinating for the flavors to meld, this recipe really takes a minimal amount of time.
chuck roast is very underrated
braises are one of my favorite slow foods
isn’t this frickin easy?
Again, if you’re not a big fan of yellow curry, don’t let its inclusion steer you away from this recipe. There’s only a teaspoon for a full pound of meat, and it really lends a subtle nuance to the meal. In fact, the lemon from the zest is more prominent in flavor.
Oh, and here’s Jack!
This is to be a first in a series of Barrack’s Cooking recipes that I will feature at least bi-weekly. Let me know what you guys think!