14 December 2007
That's MY child!
Yesterday, in a burst of semi-good health (read, "my back wasn't killing me 24/7") I cooked dinner - roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes (okay, THOSE were Schwan's but if you want a really good semi-instant mashed potato actually MADE with real potatoes, cream and butter - call your Schwan's man/woman and get some of these...but I digress), spaghetti squash and grilled rolls. It was very delicious if I do say so (especially that gravy - will share marinade recipe at end) and Ben really relished the meal. He said several times with great solemnity, "This is a VERY good dinner!" I had also prepared a salad of fresh blackberries, very sweet fresh blueberries and some gorgeous Forelle red pears (if you've never bought them - seek them out! Sweet, delicious, great in salads, for snacking, for DISPLAYING with their gorgeous red color and elongated shape...but I digress...) and realized as we were finishing up dinner that I had never brought it out from the fridge. Jenny said, "Oh well, we can have them for dessert". Well, that got Mr. Ben's ears up as he announced loudly, "I'm ready for dessert".
Pleased that my 3 year old grandson had not only enjoyed a dinner meal (one meal for which he is a notoriously picky eater), he was excited about FRUIT! So I get out the salad and dish it into ramekins and serve it.
Ben looks at it.
Ben looks puzzled.
Ben picks up a piece and sets it down.
"Aren't you going to eat your dessert?" I ask. He picks up a blackberry and frowns and says, get this, "THAT's not dessert! That's FRUIT!"
Jennifer laughed and said, "Mom, that's YOUR child!"
He is. :)
We got out the gingerbread cookies.
Now to the marinade for the best ever roast beef - got this from my Grandma Cottingham (with a few additions of my own)
Get out a measuring cup and slosh the following into it:
about 1/4 cup of soy sauce - Kikkoman is the best for this recipe in my illustrious opine
couple squirts of bottled lemon juice
several dashes of paprika
several dashes of ginger
several dashed of dried mustard - actually, more like a teaspoon
1 teaspoon of sugar (yes, sugar)
a splosh of good balsamic vinegar if you have it
a drink of dry cream Sherry (or white wine if no sherry)
Garlic powder (without salt - I like the kind that is dried and in a grinder)
Fresh cracked pepper
Don't be tempted to add salt - the soy sauce has tons and if you add, you'll be sorry and then drink tea all night and then have to go to the bathroom all night...don't go there....
I use a boneless roast - about 3 lbs or so, the leaner the better. It will still be tender. In a large dutch oven, bring a little olive oil up to heat and braise your roast for a few minutes. Pour the marinade over all and then sprinkle the top of the roast with fresh cracked pepper. Cover and put in preheated oven at 375F for about 2 hours or until the middle of the roast registers around 150-160F. Remove the meat and place in shallow dish, spoon about 1/4 cup of pan juices over all (to keep moist) and cover with foil to keep warm.
In a saucepan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil (don't let it smoke) and add in about 1/4 cup GRADUALLY of white flour, using a whisk to stir into the oil and thicken. Start adding the cooked marinade left in your roasting pan little by little, stirring all the while until all the juices are used. You should have a gravy that is fluid, coats a spoon well and is deliciously rich and flavorful.
Slice your roast and drain any juices left in your warming pan onto the meat. Put gravy in a pitcher and serve. Leftovers make a GREAT shepherd's pie - if you want, I can tell you how to do that as well.
If you really want to go "whole hog", make yourself some popovers with strawberry butter to go with your roast, potatoes and gravy.
Also, if you are a veggie-cooked-with-meet person, arrange potatoes, onions and carrots in roast pan before cooking. Cook gravy the same way after removing said veg and meat.
May you enjoy your cold winter evenings with good food, family love and the joy of the holiday season!!