Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Good Roast Beef

With Gravy


With the holidays ‘a coming we all want to do something hearty and protein rich with which to warm friends and family . Unfortunately, with employment opportunities in the dumpster for anyone born after 1980, buying a roast beef can seem like a BIG expense for something you’re only going to enjoy once.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A roast can be a great investment if you’re frugal and willing to learn how to stretch it. With a few clever tricks, you can use a roast for over 3 meals instead of just the big one. I’m ready and willing to show you how.

But first, you need to learn how to make a roast beef.

The trick a moist, tasty roast is patience and a good gravy.


Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium -Easy
Prep  time: 15 Minutes
RoastingTime: 60 to 90 minutes or more depending on the size of your roast

Serves 4 to 12 depending on the size of the roast you get and the number of side dishes you serve with it


Ingredients

1 Rib Roast of Beef - I’m not specifying a size here because I’m going to give guidelines that you can tweak based on how big a roast you get. A three and a half pound beef roast will serve 4 people. Add a half pound for every meat eater you’ll be serving to estimate the size you’ll need. To save even more money, buy when it’s on sale and freeze. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months and you can thaw it out in the fridge three  or four days before you need to cook it.

Salt and Pepper OR Montreal Steak Spice – I prefer the latter as it has more dimension in flavor, but salt and pepper is easier to come by.

Vegetable Oil

GRAVY
Yields about 2 ½ Cups of Gravy

2 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Teaspoon of Worcestshire Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar

½ Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon of Canned Cranberry Sauce (Optional) – It adds wonderful sweetness and depth, but it’s not necessary

Salt – To Taste

1 Tablespoon of Softened Butter Mashed Together with 1 ½ Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour

Equipment

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Whisk

1 Frying Pan

1 Baking Dish

1 Pair of Tongs

1 Small Mixing Bowl

1 Large Cutting Board

Kitchen scale – You can get one of these for as little as 10 bucks.

1 Serrated Knife

ROAST

Weigh your roast as its weight will determine the roasting time.

Preheat the oven to 350 oF.

In the small mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and salt and pepper.

Rub it all over the meat.

Heat your flying pan on high and brown the roast on all sides, turning it once one side is brown using your trusty tongs.

Put the roast in your baking pan and pop it in the oven. Set the frying pan aside but don’t wash it yet. You’ll need it to make your gravy.

For a Rare roast beef, roast it 15 minutes for every pound of meat you have. For Medium Rare, 20 minutes per pound. For Medium, 25 minutes, per pound, and if you like it well done, 30 minutes per pound.

Once your roast is done, take it out of the oven put it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. DO NOT CUT INTO IT! Cutting the meat before it has rested will dry it out!

Instead, use the time to make your gravy.

Dump the beef stock and wine in your baking pan and whisk it, making sure to scrap all the brown bits that came off the meat from the bottom of the pan.

Pour everything into the frying pan you used earlier and put the heat on medium-high.

Add the Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Vinegar, Cranberry Sauce (if using) and Dijon mustard and whisk to break up the cranberry (it’s a bit gelatinous and needs some work) and evenly combine everything.

Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third (about 10 or 15 minutes).

Whisk in the butter and flour mixture, a little at a time until the gravy is thick enough for you.

Salt the gravy to your taste and pour into your desired serving vessel – a coffee mug and a spoon will work fine for this if you don’t have a gravy boat.

When the meat has rested long enough, carve it against the grain of the meat using a serrated knife and serve!

Wrap up the bones and any leftovers  and put them in the fridge. Stay tuned for next time when I’ll show you how to transform them into amazing meals!

 Enjoy!


-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.


















Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach, Garlic, and Bacon



A Slightly Healthier Way to Eat Bacon


Bacon is an ingredient that's all the rage right now and it’s easy to see why. It’s smokey, salty, and fatty and as a result, it tastes of sin. Not only is it forbidden in two of the three Abrahamic religions and vegetarianism and veganism, but as we all know, bacon is chock-full of cholesterol and salt and is therefore a health hazard. However, there is a way to enjoy bacon without putting yourself at risk.

The trick is to use only a little bacon and surround with healthier ingredients. 

This pasta dish does EXACTLY that, smothering the bacon with spinach, garlic, and cherry tomatoes and tossing it with whole wheat noodles for a nice dose of fiber. The bacon is strong enough to hold its own against the other ingredients, and the result is something delicious you don’t have to feel bad about!

(Of course, if you can’t eat bacon, feel free to omit it and use olive oil and butter as your cooking fats. It will taste just fine 😉 )

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium-Easy
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 2 

Ingredients

3 Strips of Low Sodium Bacon, thinly chopped

1 ¼ Cups Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed – about half of a 300g pack

1 Cup of Chopped Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

2 Scallions aka Green Onions, finely chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch of Hot Pepper flakes, Optional

1 Tablespoon of prepared Pesto

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ of a 375g box of Whole Wheat Pasta

Equipment

1 Knife and Cutting Board

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Pot

1 Frying Pan

1 Wooden Spoon

1 Pair of Tongs

1 Strainer

Fill a pot with water and get your pasta started, boiling and stirring occasionally with your tongs until it’s your level of doneness. When it’s ready, drain off most but not all of the water.

While the pasta is boiling, in a pan on medium high heat, dump the bacon and a cup of water.

Stir the bacon occasionally with a wooden spoon until the water has evaporated, the meat has released its wonderful fat, and is crisp around the edges.

Scoop the bacon into a regular bowl and set aside.

Pour off half the fat in the pan and discard or put in an airtight container for future use.

Raise the heat to high and add the spinach, stirring it around until heated slightly.

Add the tomatoes and green onions and stir for another three minutes.

Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes (if using) and stir all together until you smell the cooked garlic.

Add the pesto and stir again.

Add the bacon back into the pan and stir again.

Taste and adjust for salt if needed. Season generously with fresh pepper.

Add the pasta to your pan and toss everything together with your trusty tongs until well combined.

Serve with a little parmesan cheese and enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.




Tuesday, September 12, 2017

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies



No-Bake cookies were all the rage in the 70s as more women freed themselves from the shackles of their domestic prisons and entered the workforce. Tighter schedules meant less time to bake goodies for screaming children, so clever cooks came up with more no bake treats that went beyond the classic rice krispie square.

This recipe is a riff on one I found in a 1970s copy of Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Bars cookbook. The original recipe used butterscotch chips instead of chocolate, but having tried the former, I can tell you the flavor was so artificial and sweet it gave me a bit of a headache. In an attempt to make this work, I did a little tweaking and was so happy with the result that I HAD to share it with you.

Like the original recipe, I use peanut butter and cereal, but I use bittersweet chocolate chips instead of butterscotch and add a hit of sea salt to cut the sugar a bit. The result is something so crunchy and melty-good you’ll have trouble sharing them!

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Prep time: 15 Minutes
Fridge Time: 1 Hour

Yields about 2 dozen cookies, depending on how you big you make them

Ingredients

3 Cups of Frosted Flakes Cereal – Generic brand is just fine – buy what’s on sale.

1 Cup of Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

½ Cup of Smooth Peanut Butter

½ Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Equipment

1 Metal Mixing Bowl

1 Medium Size Pot

1 Wooden Spoon or Rubber Spatula

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Oven Mitts

Parchment Paper – Available in dollar stores and major grocery stores with the plastic wrap and aluminum foil

2 Baking Pans

1 Regular Spoon

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside for now.

Fill your pot 3/4 of the way with hot water and put it on the stove on low heat.

Dump the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the metal mixing bowl and rest it atop the pot of water.

Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, holding the bowl steady with an oven mitted hand until the chips are completely melted and combined with the peanut butter.

Turn off the heat and rest the bowl on a trivet on the counter.

Stir in the sea salt.

Add the cereal and stir until it’s evenly coated with the chocolate and peanut butter mixture.

Using your trusty spoon, drop blobs of the cereal mixture onto the lined baking sheets, smoothing with the back of your spoon to form a round cookie.

Repeat the process, spacing them about half an inch apart. They won’t be perfect, and they don’t have to be.

Make some room in the fridge and put the cookie covered baking sheets in the fridge to set. It will take about an hour.

Once they’re set, you can put them in a plastic container.

They’ll keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks…

But they won’t last that long!

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.