Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Lunch

I like the Sunday Lunch traditional made popular by the English. Well I am certain that many cultures take to a Sunday Lunch rather than the North American Sunday dinner we enjoy; but lunch on a Sunday frees up the rest of the day or evening for families to have some rejuvination time before the work week takes over. Last week I invited my hubby's family over for Sunday Lunch and I served the most delicious Crusted Prime Rib Roast Sandwhiches. Originally it was suggested that I throw some hotdogs on the grill because my mother-in-law likes hotdogs...but to tell you the God's honest truth...I just couldn't sign my name to that. It's not like I've anything against a good hotdog - I enjoyed exactly 2 and a half this summer which I'll write about in a moment. However, adults are not children and even our children are tired of being served tubesteaks at every possible turn. Back to lunch. It was a delicious lunch that I served with a new appetizer and my famous cauliflower soup. Bon Appetite!!!

Prime Rib Roast Sandwhiches - Always have a thermometer to cook your roast. Set the oven to 450 degrees. I have also read to put your roast in the oven at when the meat itself is room temperature. My roast came straight from the refrigerator because I had to hurry and get it in as we were having company at noon. First off make a paste to rub all over the roast:

Tara's Prime Rib Paste: in a bowl mix, one cut up small onion, 2 tbsp. of creamy horseradish, 2 tbsp. of fresh oregano (use dried if you like), 1 tbsp. of fresh bottled garlic, 1 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, 1/4 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of flour, and 1/4 cup of red wine. Stir all together until creamy and mixed well. Now saturate the roast in the paste PUT IN YOUR MEAT THERMOMETER then put the roast into the 450 degree oven for 20 minutes on the middle rack. Check it over the next 20 minutes to make sure that the crust doesn't burn. Everyone's oven is different. Put on lowest rack if you prefer.

This should make the paste on your roast into a nice crust. Then lower the temperature to 300 degrees. Babysit your roast and check the thermometer from time to time to see how you would like to serve your roast. We served ours just before it hit medium as I was making sandwhiches and didn't want the bread to look like a crime scene. Once again it is your personal choice - don't let anyone argue with you about it! My roast was in for about 2 hours. It's nice then to let the roast rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Make a little tin foil tent over it while still in the pan.

While Your Prime Rib is cooking.....

Here is a quaint little crostini appetizer I made partially the night before. Save the baguette part of it for the morning just before company arrives. Let it be the last thing you do.

Gorgonzola and Grape Crostini: Put the following into a container overnight to save on time in the morning and to allow the flavors of the mixture to mingle and develop. 1/4 cup of carmelized onions, 1 cup of sliced green or red or both grapes, 2 tbsp. of fresh oregano leaves, 1/4 cup of white or red wine, 2 tbsp. of sugar, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper. In the morning slice up baguette into 1 inch slices and toast at a low temperature until just slightly brown. Flip all of the baguette slices over and do the same on the other side. Allow to cool so that when you add the cheese, it won't melt. Once cool, add a generous tsp. of gorgonzola cheese per baguette slice, then top with the grape mixture. Be careful to drain the juices before topping it on the bread. You don't want it to get soggy. You can garnish with a little more oregano and serve. My mother in law who is very picky loved this. P.S. The carmelized onions added a lovely buttery taste to the crostini.

My Famous Cauliflower Soup: When making this soup, just keep tasting it until you like it. This is a soup with measurements, but I am always adding a little more pepper, or nutmeg, or salt, or whatever it needs. Boil one head of cauliflower until tender. Cool. Then put the cauliflower and about three cups of the water you boiled it in, into a blender. Liquify until blended and creamy. Then add one package of Boursin Cheese - which you can find in the deli section of an urban grocery store (there is also a recipe for mock Boursin cheese which you can search for on the internet that you make with cream cheese) and continue blending. Pour back into the pot and bring to a light boil, then turn the soup down to low. I simmered my soup for a couple of hours. It got pretty thick so I added a cup of cream to the pot. I also added a couple of pinches of nutmeg, salt, and pepper until it was just right for me. I also added a little artificial sweetener to it to bring the flavor up; perhaps just a tsp. of it, feel free to add a little sugar instead. Because I didn't have enough soup bowls for this rather large group, I served the soup in dainty tea cups passed on to my husband and I from his late Grandfather. They looked good and it was just enough soup, the perfect serving - not too much and not too little.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ribs - To Boil or Not to Boil That is the Question...

To boil ribs or not to boil ribs prior to eating them is a moot point. Really - it all boils down (no pun intended) to what you like - to what brings you joy - to what helps you to sleep well at night. I grew up as a child in the 1970's and all the rage was to boil your ribs and then simmer for a couple of hours so that the meat would literally fall off the bone. My mom used to then whip up a little homemade BBQ sauce, brush the ribs, and put them in the oven for about 15 minutes until the sauce set in. I love ribs boiled prior to eating them. My uncle tells me that the taste of the ribs gets boiled out of them so he prefers to bake them. There is no argument. Both my hubby and I agree and that is really all that matters. My children simply like their ribs boiled and baked with a little salt. My hubby likes his ribs boiled then enjoys a little Bulls Eye Sauce with them. I talked to an apparent "rib king" father the other evening at soccer practice who combines a little baking and then BBQing. I think it is all in the love. If you are enjoying what you are cooking, that love will come through. If you are bitter while cooking that will also come through. Different strokes for different folks.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lobster Never Disappoints....

Tonight I enjoyed a meal that one can barely write a recipe for. Simple, succulent, perfect, unrivaled. My family is out this evening so I prepared a dinner for one. Two prawn skewers, and one lobster tail. I merely baked all morsels in a pan at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Then I melted 2 tbsp. of butter with 1/2 tsp. of fresh garlic and I was saved! A girly movie, a few trashy magazines and seafood extraordinaire. Lobster never disappoints....and I like hanging out with myself!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm In The Mood For Love.....

It is quite amazing really at how on even a very busy evening of trying desperately to co-ordinate dinner with soccer schedules and so forth that one can easily whip up a soul satisfying simple symphony of something delicious that will actually slow down the heart rate to....a civilized rhythem and leave the bearer of such a meal feeling joyful and amorous. (can you say run on sentence).

This is the moment when you create something so simple and fragrant that you realize in the most organic way that NO MICROWAVE will be required. Sigh. You also realize in this surreal moment that creating a simple dish with the most basic ingredients on hand that "Long and Slow is the Way to Go".

Tonight was such an evening - and it reminded me of how the French and the Italians know how to cook triumphantly using the freshest and most basic of ingredients. I am also reminded at how the human soul needs ritual and romance at every possible chance. Though our North American culture may pressure us sweet souls into a submissive lifestyle that begs us to heed to stress, I am here to scream - DON'T DO IT!

Though our lives will always include the unexpected and yes of course stress at times, please my friends remember it is just so essential to our Joie de Vivre to take the time to incorporate the beauty of life and love into our daily routine.

Here is what I am feeling after my dinner this evening: joyful, romantic, happy, peaceful. Yet I actually had quite a hell of a stressful day. So many things went wrong. The clincher however was the Costco sized water cooler bottle that cracked in the back of my van and poured out of my doors like a water fall..... My soul however was redeemed by a simple meditation at my stove that included poached sole. That's it. Here is the recipe that sent even my hard working husband out the door in a happy mood to coach my son's soccer practice (I promise I did not drug his dinner).

A Culinary Tonic for Two Weary Adults...will put you in the mood for love! Four frozen or fresh sole fillets. I also added 8 prawns with their tails on - it is so much sexier to eat prawns with your fingers and their tails on! In a pan add 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of garlic and cook over a low medium heat for a few minutes; then 2 cups of beef broth (this is what I had in the refrigerator though I did have chicken broth in the cupboard but was too lazy to retrieve it). Add one chopped onion, and 4 cups of organic greens (you know the salad you buy at Costo - I was just using mine up), or add 4 cups of spinach. I liked the organic lettuce because some of the bitter leaves in this mix really added to the dish. Then add 10 whole mushrooms "a la paris" to the entire pan with 1 cup of red or white wine - and pour one for yourself. I used red, but only because I didn't have white. And then, fresh oregano. Have you smelt fresh oregano? Nirvana. I put at least 1/2 cup of fresh oregano in this bath of seafood heaven. Improvise if need be! Then simmer your seafood concoction for about 20 minutes on low heat. I learned from my good friend Billy Moroz that it is best to undercook fish than to overcook. Make sure the fish is really moist, flaky and flexible then remove the sole and the veggies from the pan and set aside (cover in foil to keep warm or reheat briefly in the microwave to warm before serving). Reduce the pan juice by cranking the element heat up to high for just a few minutes. Once it looks as though it has simmered down a little add two tbsp. of sour cream and blend well. Then spoon this sauce over the fish casserole and dine joyfully!