Saturday, March 14, 2009

Prime Rib Roast 101

I heard many times from family and friends that cooking a roast specially a Prime Rib Roast is not an easy "operation" to do and they prefer to cook a steak instead of a roast.

Preparing a roast is very simple, I am going to walk you through the preparation step by step , also what to look for when you shop for a prime rib, to preparing and marinating the roast and cooking it.

when you are shopping for a roast look for a nice marbling all around and nice red color. Marbling doesn't mean a thick layer of fat more than an 12/inch or so (you are going to trim it and you are paying for it) Depend on how many serving but for a generous serving count 2 persons per a rib.

If the roast has extra fat , trim the excess and leave the thin layer of fat which protect the meat, and baste it and gives the flavour.
Make sure that the meat is at room temperature when you proceed with cooking, if your roast is frozen, make sure to defrost it in the fridge over night, and take it out 2 hours before cooking.

(If you don't let the roast come to room temperature, it will take longer to cook your roast. Your roast won't cook evenly, and you'll end up with well-done slices on the end and raw meat in the center ( It Happened to me the first time I did a roast, there were no cooking blogs !!!!)
I wash the meat and dry it with paper towel completely before I cook it.

to cook the roast the recommended temperature is to start in a preheated oven at 450F for 15 minutes then lower the oven to 325F and continue cooking, also depend on your oven and the temperature and if you are using gas oven or electric .

I recommend that you use a meat thermometer to make sure you reach the right temperature .

for rare roast with bright red centre the temperature must read between 120F to 125 F
for med rare with pink centre and brown around the exterior the temp must read 130F to 135F
for medium roast with light pink center and outer portion is brown the temp must read 140F to 145F
medium well roast the center is cooked the temp will read 150F to 155F
well done steak is uniformly (dry) temp will read 160F and above

In Lebanon and Europe when we cook the roast we prefer to flavour the stock and add it to the roast and not vise verse.

1- prepare the meat and dry it with paper towel

2-melt 2 tsp of butter or ghee + 2 tsp of olive oil in a deep thick bottom pot to avoid any splashes of fat.

3- fry the meat on all sides to brown and caramelize

4- prepare a wet rub if you like (I use Dijon mustard + grain mustard, black pepper, garlic and salt) you can use only sea salt and black pepper. When the meat is brown on all side rub with the seasoning.

5- after you brown the meat get rid of the fat left in the pot (I empty them on a paper towel)

6- all the bits left in the pot are flavours, I add to it home made Demi Glace sauce or beef stock and couple spoons of cognac or sherry and cook the stock for 10 minutes or so to get all the flavours mix.

7- I don't know if I mention before but I love cooking with clay pot since I was a little girl this was something unique watching my mom's family in Baalback using clay pot on direct fire to prepare the food. for that I prepare a rack to sit my roast on, and my rack is a combination of vegetables (onion, garlic, celery and carrots)

8-if you don't have a clay pot a roasting pan is just perfect.

9- I also like to serve Roasted potatoes with the roast, I used russet potatoes and put the head of potato in a large serving spoon and made slices - the big spoon doesn't let the knife go all the way down , and you keep the potato as a whole. Drizzle with oil and chopped garlic salt and pepper and bake in the oven start with the lower heat same like the roast , then after you take the roast out to rest you can raise the oven to 425F and continue roasting the potatoes.

Michel likes little juice on his meat.

I prefer lots of juice and veggiesPlease Join us....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Walnut Sauce for Pasta

Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 fatty acids - the good fats) that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.

More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). CRP was recently recognized as an independent marker and predictor of heart disease.

for all the above and more here is a very simple, yet elegant full of flavour , also can be as a vegetarian meal , and takes less than 15 minutes.

2 1/2 cups freshly shelled walnuts
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups whipping cream - half and half - full fat milk or even Soya Milk
(I use half and half, also tried this with regular milk to see the difference)
2 tbsp rosemary leaves chopped (I didn't have fresh I used dried)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
one pound tube pasta, or linguine
fresh black pepper and salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F . Scatter walnuts on a baking sheet and place them in the oven . Roast for couple of minutes until fragnant and lightly browned, allow to cool then chop coarsley. You can roast them in a non stick frying pan keeping an eye on them.

In a frying pan, on very low heat melt the butter and cook garlic until lightly golden, add the chopped nuts cream and rosemary cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
meanwhile bring a large port of water to a boil. add salt and pasta and cook until al dente, drain and toss with sauce. add the parmesan cheese , season and serve.