Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week 10- and a late Sunday Dinner

Made it to week 10...whew! It's been crazy at my house, but don't think for a second that I've been neglecting you all! I've just been doing, rather than writing- but it's all good. There are tutorials coming up PDQ, a whole bunch of them! And the end products (you know, all the sparkly bits) are going to be showing up on my friend Cheri's Indigogo page, as one-time offerings for Uniting a Family. You can read more about that here. We'd also appreciate it greatly if you could spread the word- The Big Guy would dearly love to meet his birth family!

I'm still waiting to hear from Evelo, regarding the 30-Day Electric Bike Challenge...some of the participants have been announced, but not all. I'm still hoping. Regardless, I finally decided to get those goggles- Idaho summers are dusty, and by golly, the less of it I have to get in my eyes, the better! Even without 'em, though, I'm really enjoying the bike commuting, more than ever. Without my sense of smell being impeded by smoking, I'm noticing what plants and trees are in bloom, sometimes as much as a block away- by scent alone. I've also spotted a few kestrels, blue herons, an eagle, and an osprey on my's wonderful, not being constrained by a car. You can see, feel, and smell so much more, when you're not in a box on wheels.

Anyway. While I have no pictures today for you, I would like to share an easy recipe for you- I missed doing Sunday Dinner this week. (Sorry about that!) We had a beef roast, which is incredibly rare- how the heck does anyone afford beef these days?! But Winco had a heckuva deal on bottom round- and we didn't make a pot roast out of it. Here's how to make just about any boneless beef roast into an exquisite dinner offering worthy of even the fussiest guest:

Best Beef Roast Evah! And Deep, Dark Gravy

1 boneless beef roast, 3-4 lbs.
a couple of T. of Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce
4-5 cloves fresh garlic
1-3 T. good quality extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper, optional

For the gravy:
2-3 T. butter
1/4 - 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2-3 c. beef broth
the stuff burned onto your skillet, and the roasting pan

The day before you plan to serve your roast, place the meat into a gallon ziplock bag. Dump in the browning sauce, making sure that the entire roast is coated. Crush or mince the garlic, and add it to the bag, and then add the olive oil, and black pepper, if using. Seal the bag, and squish stuff around until all of the ingredients are more or less evenly distributed on the roast. Refrigerate, and when you think of it, turn the bag over occasionally, to evenly marinate the roast. (You can prep this up to 3 days before cooking- no pressure! As a side note, this marinade works brilliantly on steaks, too- just grill them when they've had a good soaking.)

The day that you plan to serve your roast, take the bag out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before cooking, to get the roast close to room temperature. To cook, heat a large iron skillet or Dutch oven on high, and preheat your oven to 325F. Brown the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes each side. If making gravy, DO NOT wash your skillet- it'll come into play later. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, and put in the oven for about 2 hours. For a rare roast, you're shooting for an internal temperature of about 135F- you may have to adjust your oven to a higher or lower roasting temperature to achieve this. (In our case, we roasted at 325 for the first hour, and swapped over to 350 for the second hour, because we were on a schedule). When the roast hits the desired temperature, remove it from the oven, remove from the roasting pan, cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. 

If you're making the gravy, pour some water into your roasting pan and whisk the bottom, to deglaze your pan, lifting all of the goodies at the bottom into the liquid. At this point, add the butter to your skillet, start heating it, and add the flour. Stir the flour around to make a paste, and allow it to brown a little bit- you're making a roux. When the flour has tanned a bit, add the liquid from your roasting pan, plus your beef broth, and whisk vigorously, to loosen the burn stuff from the bottom of the skillet, until it comes to a boil. Et viola- you have the darkest, richest gravy in Christendom! 

Slice the beef thinly (VERY thinly, if you're using a tougher cut), and serve with the gravy. Cooked rare-to-medium, even tougher cuts will come out like a restaurant's roast. (In fact, this IS how we cooked Baron of Beef, a pretty tough cut, in a restaurant I once cooked for!) Note: if you like a good French dip sandwich, you can thin the leftover gravy with more beef broth, the next day, for a heavenly au jus- serve the beef on French rolls, and a little cup of the au jus on the side. Soooo gooooood....

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods- there will be more good stuff to come, in the weeks ahead! 

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