Yesterday I finally successfully cooked something out of one of the Bitchin’ Kitchen cookbooks. ”Rockin’ Roast Beef”. Since it would be kind of crappy to post the whole recipe, I’ll walk you through how the whole planning and execution went.
Two Weeks Ago:
I invite friends over indicating that they have cooked for me often, and I would like to repay in kind……in two weeks. Upon making this announcement, I am immediately stricken with the thought that I might not be able to pull it off. Thinking quickly, I squash this thought in case it might turn out to be true – not giving myself any room to say, “I told you so” after the fact.
A week ago:
Realizing that I need to start buying ingredients, I start putting a list together and planning on what things I need to buy last minute (meat and probably vegetables). All other (unique) items I start hunting immediately. There was a lot of driving over the week, looking for some of the oddly specialized ingredients. I went to Kroger, Tom Thumb (Safeway), Sprouts, Whole Foods, and finally Central Market. The offending items that took the longest? Honeycup Mustard (found at Central Market) and prepared purple horseradish (never found). I guess we’re just big on creamed horseradish here in the South. Plenty of that everywhere. So, heading into the week, even more stressful was the realization that I need to ALSO clean my house in prep for visitors. Not that it’s ever truly horrible, but it stands to be cleaned with definitely more effort than I normally put into it.
Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. One of those cleaning situations where you clean something, then out of the corner of your eye you spy something else that needs to be cleaned. Then as you’re cleaning that, you spy something else…. yeah. So a lot of over the week cleaning done.
So I’ve gotten all the ingredients that I need (exception being the purple horseradish) and I’m ready to pick the meat up tomorrow and get all the vegetables. Checked the liquor stash and realized I have no “entertaining” vodka and I’m dangerously low on Cognac. Lunchtime at work I headed for the liquor store, one of the smaller ones near-ish the office. (Don’t get me started on “dry” counties OR the “blue law“). I was somewhat disappointed that their vodka selection wasn’t huge – since I’m always on the lookout for some weird bottle shapes. In terms of taste, most vodkas are the same for me, so buying goofy looking bottles is fun. I did buy some Conjure cognac. Oops, didn’t realize this was a rapper-endorsed brand. Oh well, it’s got a nice bottle and tastes good.
Head to Whole Foods and pick up some boneless beef rump and a pint of Voodoo beer. Start preparations around 1pm for a 5-6pm dinner.
Step 1. Open the beer. Pour a glass. Realize this beer is the equivalent of chicory coffee to regular coffee. Drink.
Step 2. Google what I’m supposed to do with pearl onions. (Do I just wash them? Throw them in the pan?) A: Boil them for three minutes then ice them. Cut off the end at the bulb and then just squeeze them out of their skins.
Step 3. Wash potatoes.
Step 4. Rinse Mushrooms.
Step 5. Pour another glass of beer. Realize that you haven’t eaten much today. Good times.
Step 5.5 – put the honeycup and salt/pepper on beef to marinate. (2:00pm)
At this point, my stress level is low, but slowly rising. The beer is helping as a topical anesthetic…so far.
Step 6. Combine most of the ingredients for the Teriyaki sauce. Realize that buying two huge hunks of ginger was probably a waste. Slice ginger into a lot of tiny slivers. Get halfway through that, realize that this is actually a lot of work. Simultaneously realize that my knife skills have a long way to go. Keep going. Combine ginger and garlic into the other ingredients and start to boil.
Step 7. Start making the chipotle mayo. Realized I was buzzing a little when the teriyaki sauce started to boil and I rushed getting the mayo into the processor and spilled a little. Oops.
Step 8. Drop the heat on the teriaki sauce, finish getting mayo INTO the processor and add the salt/pepper and chipotle peppers. Blend. Taste. Realize that’s pretty spicy. But tastes good. Scoop it into a bowl and put in the refrigerator. I think it was about 3:30 by this point.
Step 9. Get a coffee filter and strain the teriyaki sauce – don’t want all the chunks of ginger and garlic.
Step 10. Pour the last of the beer into the glass.
At this point, I’m done with the mayo, the vegetables are prepped, the teriyaki sauce is straining.
NOW, NOW is when I started getting paranoid about cook time. The googling I had done indicated that the vegetables didn’t cook as fast as the meat. As I’d consumed a whole pint of hardcore stout beer, I really started second guessing when I was going to put the meat in the oven. I had about an hour of “known” cook time, then add vegetables and cook until the meat reaches a certain temp. Then I had to think, “I don’t want them walking through the door and have to sit down immediately!”
My original start cook time of 4:00pm I let slide until about 4:45pm. Played some Zynga poker to kill time while occasionally glancing into the kitchen realizing that I might actually pull it off. Played until about 4:45 and panicked – “I need to get this in the oven!” Put it in the oven, realized I have no beer. Make myself a vieux carre. Get mellow and play some more poker.
So around, 5:45pm, I add the vegetables. I get a call from the friends that they’re running late. I start to really stress out, and lower the temp on the oven as the meat thermometer is creeping toward the expected temp.
They arrive around 6:30 or so, and I immediately talk them into a vieux carre – which will blunt any expectation of “fine dining”.
Well, sure enough, the meat was ready to be pulled, the onions and mushrooms were fine. I did have to put the potatoes in the microwave, but I got stellar raves for the meat. I blame/give credit to the Honeycup Mustard for that.
I didn’t bother taking a picture of the final product since my blog has long since been past the point of documenting EVERYTHING visually. The meat gets put on a cutting board and surrounded by the mushrooms, onions, and potatoes. The teriyaki and chipotle mayo, and some cranberry horseradish sauce that I found as a substitute on the side. Dig in.
All in all, very successful. I don’t have any closing thoughts. Gold star to you if you made it this far though.