In this wacky weather year, April has given us mild and mostly dry days, good for extreme weeding in the emerging herb garden, with evenings still cool enough for a fire in the hearth and a hot meal on the dinner table. Though I made this espresso-rubbed pot roast in the slow cooker, you can braise it on the stove or in the oven, too. I'd call this a pot roast for grown-ups; the instant espresso, cocoa and smoked paprika create an assertive, earthy rub that mellows with long cooking. When I prepare the meat, I trim all visible fat, which often means cutting the roast into large chunks along the natural separations. The chunks, easier to brown, fit comfortably into the slow cooker or Dutch oven, and leave very little fat in the sauce at the end.