Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Standing Rib Roast, take 3

Medium rare roast, carved off the bone and ready for slicing
You know when you thought you had discussed something with someone previously and made a joint decision? Well I thought that my husband and I had discussed spending a little extra again this year and getting another Standing Rib Roast from my favorite butchers at Sunny Farms. So, I pre-ordered it several days in advance, the amazing butchers even fulfilled my request to cut one from their naturally raised herd in Othello, WA! That herd is very flavorful and has no hormones, which is my preference.

I dry marinate it for 2 days with a combination of dried herbs and spices; rosemary, oregano, thyme, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper. I cut diagonal incisions about a 1/2 inch deep in an "x" pattern across the top portion of the roast, bathed in liberally in Balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard and then massaged the dried mixture into the crevices. The roast was re wrapped in it's butcher paper and placed in a Pyrex baking pan in case it weeped.

So, speaking of weeping. My husband saw the wrapped roast in the refrigerator (with the price written on the wrapper) and was FURIOUS that I had spent about $10/pound on this roast. BUT, he decided (wisely) not to say anything about "my lack of frugality" until AFTER Christmas and Christmas dinner was over. Note to self, ask him what my "budget" is next year before buying the ingredients. So now the pressure was on, I dropped a wad on this roast, and it better be absolutely amazing!! I convection baked it for about 4hours at 375 degrees as I like some pink to the roast still. DELISH!

He enjoyed the Christmas roast but now I had to show some value to this expenditure to save my hide...french dips for leftovers!!!! He LOVES those and I even made my own Au Jus with boiling the bones with onion, garlic and fresh rosemary for several hours.

I added leftover beef gravy to our Au Jus mixture

A few tablespoons of Chipotle juice/sauce gives a smoky kick!

Bones, garlic, fresh rosemary, Chipotle and left over gravy all in the pool

Simmer the Au Jus mixture for an hour minimum but my simmered for hours, filling the house with the fragrance of rosemary, beef and garlic. Yum!  

REMEMBER, I'm still trying to validate my expenditure to my husband and/or myself here!!

Strain the sauce through a fine colander, cheese cloth or sieve. My Au Jus isn't crystal clear, I like some tasty bits left in there.

Then I slice the rolls, the cheese, the beef for the sandwich production line. Onions are a lovely addition if you have a hankering for them.

I like sharp, white or aged cheddar if possible

Broiled beauties

Now THAT'S a sandwich...Just sayin'

Don't forget the Au Jus to dip in!

Round two of the Christmas Rib Roast was a huge hit and was feeling a little redeemed but had to hit it out of the park for round three to bring myself back into a better "standing".  Now third time,  the roast isn't as flavorful as it once was but the texture is still tender and somewhat juicy. How to showcase this wonderful commodity...

We got invited to a small get together on New Year's Eve with two other families and we all like to cook and LOVE to eat good food. Birds of a feather, hang together. What we would serve for dinner was an enthusiastic debate. The resolution was a chili cook-off; the host family would do apps, one family doing a white, chicken chili and help with apps and wine, I would do a red chili, cornbread and dessert. Voila! I would use ground pork sausage, ground beef and the remaining Christmas Rib Roast.

My carnivore chili with fresh cilantro, fried onions and a dollop of sour cream

3 Bean, 3 Meat Chili Recipe

Sauté pan
1 lb. each; ground pork sausage, ground beef and chopped Rib Roast (reserve Roast from sauté pan)
1 large sweet onion chopped medium fine 
2T. Ground Cumin
1t. Ground Cinnamon
1T. Freshly ground pepper
2t. Sea salt
2T. Dried Thyme
2T. Chipotle Adobo sauce
5 cloves Garlic chopped finely
1/4c. Fresh cilantro chopped finely
~Sauté all of the above ingredients in a medium-high in a heavy bottom sauté pan, breaking down the ground meats while cooking. Sauté for about 10 minutes until meats are starting to caramelize and the onion is tender.

Stock pot
(1) 28 oz. Can of mild Enchilada Sauce
(1) 4 oz. Can of mild green chili
(1)  15 oz. Can each; white Cannellini bean, Black bean, red kidney bean. Strained and rinsed.
(1) 28 oz. Can Hominy (also strained and rinsed)
(1) 15 oz. Can Roasted chopped tomato with garlic
1/2c. Smokey BBQ sauce
2c. Salsa Verde (Green Salsa). I used Safeway's which comes in a jar for convenience.
2c. Au Jus sauce or beef broth
~Everyone into the pool on Medium high until gently bubbling, then down to low. The tomato based chili can scorch or burn if too high a heat is used.
~This step can be done while ground meats are cooking, then add sautéed meats AND CHOPPED ROAST to the stockpot.
~The cooking time on this can be minimal if needed but a longer cooking time on low allows tastes to marry and develop. Suggested time frame is 1-3 hours on low. 
~This chili tasted even better the next day when refrigerated overnight and reheated.

My chili up close

White chicken chili

My cornbread muffins with green chills, cilantro and chopped pickle jalapenos

We ate around 8pm New Year's Eve, which was late. Super ravenous, we devoured both chili's, cornbread muffins and some appetizers. Both chills got rave reviews and were different enough to compliment and not compete. Mine was definitely heavier than the white but it was merely an observation, not a declaration of victory. My inner celebration was that I had gotten EVERYTHING out of that Christmas Standing Rib Roast as was humanly possible! Our Dachshunds even got the rib bones to gnaw on for their dessert!

Our Piebald boy

Our Long-haired dappled girl

I felt VICTORIOUS in my use of the roast. I did resolve to buy a smaller rack next year to economize and compromise with my husband. "It's all good!" we like to say at our house.

We were too full for OUR human desserts after our chili gorge session! THAT is a rare happening for me...too full for dessert. So they waited until New Year's Day to be eaten. 

I had made Macaroons and Almond "Joy to the world" cookies for my friend Kait and her Dad, one of our hosts. The big difference is that the chocolate/almond version is baked for 5 minutes, taken out of the oven, a dimple is made with your finger and a whole almond or 2 are dipped in raw egg yolk and placed in the divet. Back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes until their toasty golden exterior is at your preferred hue. They are cooled completely before bottoms are dipped and tops are drizzled with melted chocolate. I like dark chocolate that I get from Trader Joe's. The chocolate "sets" best when the freshly embellished macaroons are popped into a freezer for about 10-15 minutes to harden off.

Alice's recipes are tried, true and scrumptious

The Macaroon recipe is from one of Alice Medrich's cookbooks, shown above.  I was lucky enough to assist her when she taught at the Kirkland WA's Sur La Table cooking school. Bakers are an interesting mix of chemist and artists. Alice was a passionate baker and teacher to work with who was most gracious. Having her sign my cookbook just made the whole opportunity of working with her a now shared experience. After you try her recipes you will also say "Thank you Alice!"!

Coconut Macaroons and Almond "Joy to the world" cookies
So what does one do with the remaining egg yolks after you make a batch or two of macaroons? Make a curd of course!! Since we were doing Mexican for dinner, I decided on Lime Curd and a Lime Curd Cheesecake.

A good lime juice concentrate option

This recipe was morphed from the Cooking Light's online Lemon Swirled Cheesecake online recipe. The curd was switched from Lemon to Lime and I added 1T. Vanilla Extract, the zest of 1 lime to the mixture before cooking. I also used the concentrated lime juice from Santa Cruz brand. 

The main thing I like about this recipe is that it cooks directly in a heavy bottom sauce pan instead of a double boiler, which makes it easier to whisk and not worry about getting steam into the curd or burning yourself with the steam while whisking. The online recipe is true. The trick I learned in while working as sous chef at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, WA is to place the finished curd in a clean dry bowl and place a heavy plastic wrap DIRECTLY on the surface of the curd before chilling. The direct wrap will protect the  curd from forming a tough skin which is to me, unusable. Chill for 2 hours or more in the refrigerator or stash in the freezer for 1/2 hour for a rapid chill.

Making the Pistachio Graham cracker crust Recipe is next while the curd is chilling. Again, super easy.

Into the food processor go;
1 cup of shelled, salted pistachio nuts (I bought at Costco)
1 package of Graham crackers from Trader Joe's. Their graham crackers were UBER-fresh! I've never had such a remarkable tasting graham cracker EVER! These will now be our "go-to" graham crackers whenever possible!
4T. Brown Sugar
1/2t. Ground Cinnamon
~Run processor until crumbs are fine and no large pieces visible.
~Slowly add chilled butter pats until the mixture starts to clump significantly but isn't mushy
6T. Chilled Unsalted Butter cut into several small sections

Ground up and smelling FANTASTIC!

The chilled butter pats were added while "on"

Ready for the Spring form pan

Empty contents in a 9-12 inch Spring form pan. I prefer a thinner crust, so I used my larger 12 inch pan. Spread the mixture roughly even across pan and press the mixture down firmly, rounding slightly up the edges of the sides of the pan. 

Toasty goodness

This firm surface will bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes until slight toasty at the edge. This initial baking will prevent the crust from absorbing the cream cheese layer and getting soggy. Don't cook the crust too long initially though, as we will bake the crust again when the cheesecake layer is added on top.
This "cheesecake" layer is also easy and somewhat unconventional as we aren't use a water bath to bake in. We're baking directly in the crust and the whole thing in the oven.

The glossy creamy mixture is ready for the pan

"Cheesecake" Recipe

Into the food processor goes;
2 cups of cream cheese
1 whole egg
3T. sugar
1T. vanilla extract
2T. Lime juice concentrate or juice of 1 lime
~Blend until smooth and glossy, scrape down sides with rubber spatula and blend/pulse to fully incorporate.
~Transfer mixture to Spring form and place directly on still warm crust and bake for about 15-20 minutes on 375 degrees until "cheesecake" is firm to touch but not browned or cracked. The goal here is to cook until firm but still retaining the moisture.
~Chill completely for 2 hours in refrigerator or 1/2 hour quick chill in freezer.

Smooth out batter evenly

Firm, no cracks, only slightly toasted at the edge of Spring form pan

After the "cheesecake" is chilled completely, spread the tangy Lime Curd over the top. I used about 2 cups of the curd on mine to make an equitable amount of creamy and tangy to the sweet, salty and nutty crust.
~Chill for another 2 hours minimum in refrigerator or 1/2 hour quick chill on freezer.
~Unmold the ring of the Spring form pan when ready to serve. 
~Place dessert on a serving plate for a more refined presentation or simply cut on the Spring form bottom using a sharp knife. **I prefer a serrated knife as they the crust without shattering it as some butcher knives or cake knives are prone to do.

Lime Curd Cheesecake with Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust

I had a BLAST on New Year's Eve Day cooking and baking, thinking of my family and good friends sharing this meal together. Like in the book and movie Like Water For Chocolate, I like to believe that food prepared with love not only taste better, but those who share this food, can taste the love put into it.
Maybe it's the Bartender's Cadillac Margarita my husband made me that night, but I savored the 2 different chili styles and felt the love in the room. "It's all good!"!

Me and my "boys" sated and smiling after our chili dinner
Here's to 2012 and to cooking with love, possibly more frugality, definitely creatively, and forever savoring  meals with family and friends whenever possible!

Many thanks for all your interest and support in 2011. YOU inspired me to share more of my experiences and I'm forever grateful!

Chow for now my friends.

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