I feel like I recently entered a crazy new phase in my life–and not just because I cooked a roast for the first time on Sunday (which I did. And it was awesome. I’ll tell you about it very soon.)
For many years–even while living in Park City, Burlington, and Chicago–my day-to-day life looked almost identical: some combination of working all day at my computer, walking the dogs morning, afternoon, and evening, and practicing yoga after work. Though it may seem boring to you, I thrived on this routine. But lately, in this crazy new phase in my life, it seems as if every day and every week is completely different.
Some days I jump in to sub yoga classes with only a few hours notice, which can mean sometimes I teach as many as two or three yoga classes in a row (most are in the evenings after I’ve wrapped up work.) I can even feel my work life shifting. Although I still write a lot for magazines (my first love), I have new projects for different outlets going on that are challenging me in completely new ways. And then I’ve had some crazy awesome opportunities in recent weeks. Last week, I did a little photo session at Lululemon on Michigan Ave. and then taught a free class there on Sunday morning (I mean…what?!?!) Monday afternoon I was invited to speak on a panel at Northwestern about freelancing.
I still have Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training on Sundays, which has changed things up. And there’s my love for cooking, which sometimes leads me to chop onions at 7 or 8 a.m., slow-roast fish while still in my sweaty yoga clothes, and peruse cooking magazines and websites pretty much any spare moment I find. And let’s not kid ourselves, I dream about our wedding (and life beyond that) about 85 percent of the time. Okay fine. 90 percent of the time.
How I manage to do all this (and still walk the dogs three times a day) and spend all the QT I can possibly find with my guy, I have no idea. BUT I LOVE IT. I wouldn’t trade any of it for a moment and sometimes I feel like I’m strapped into the seat of a roller coaster with my arms in the air just along for the ride. I’ve never felt this way before in my meticulously planned, routine-loving life.
What all of this has to do with Slow Cooker Asian Beef? Well, I’m not exactly sure besides the fact that it’s totally different from anything I’ve ever made before and I actually felt quite fearless going into it. And with good reason: It’s ridiculously simple. This is the closest I’ve ever come to the toss-ingredients-in-the-slow-cooker-and-leave-it-alone-for-8-hours-without-sauteeing-a-darn-thing-first approach. The only part that took any work–and by work I mean patience — was reducing the sauce. I was determined to reduce it as much as I could to really amp up the flavors. It took about 25-30 minutes, but was worth every painstaking moment of wondering if it had reduced at all (kind of like watching water boil.)
Can I just say something about beef? I’m sorry if this makes my vegetarian friends cringe. Do with this what you may, but there is something so satisfying, so primal about sinking your teeth into meat. There just is. I don’t cook or eat red meat very often, but when I do I appreciate it so much. And when it tastes this good–somewhat sweet (honey!), the tiniest bit spicy (sriracha!), totally umami (soy sauce!)–I can’t think of a better way to enjoy it.
Slow Cooker Asian Shredded Beef
Slightly adapted from Foodie with Family (awesome blog, by the way!)
1 3.25-pound boneless bottom round beef roast
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup plus 3-4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sriracha
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
Place the beef in the slow cooker. Top with garlic cloves and ginger. In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of the honey, soy sauce, and sriracha. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.
When done cooking, use tongs to transfer beef to a large dish (9×13 baking dish worked for me). Pour juices from slow cooker into a small pan on the stove. Add 3-4 Tbsp of honey and stir to combine. Bring liquid to boil over high heat and continue cooking at a boil for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half. While the sauce is boiling shred the beef using two forks.
Once the liquid reduces, pour through a mesh strainer over the beef and toss to combine. (Discard what’s left in the strainer – mostly garlic and ginger pieces.) Serve with brown rice and steamed broccoli.