Roast that Beast

Black and blue.It’s not just for bruises, it’s also the term for ultra-rare steak—quickly seared on the outside, and practically raw on the inside.

And this is how my caveman Kid orders it.

Children can have unreasonable fears installed by the words and actions of adults.  Myself, it’s pressure cookers.  When my mother used one, she acted like she had a thermonuclear device in a pot on the stove.  There’d be lots of, “Get back!”, “Don’t touch it!”, “It’s gonna blow!”.

Breakfast is canceled at Tiffany’s.

To this day, even though I’m pretty sure that pressure cookers can probably be safe, I’ve never owned one, and am uncomfortable around them.  It’s the potentially lethal combo of heat and pressure, with the added hazard of food shrapnel.

My mom is the same way about undercooked meat.

Pork?  OMG.  She’s convinced that if there is any juice left at all in the pork all diners will be dead before morning.  And beef cooked anything less than tanned hide also caused fear and revulsion in my mom.But, I developed a taste for severely rare beef, which I passed on to The Kid.

My mom’s recipe for roast beef was an eye of round roast that she would cook all day in a crockpot with an envelope of onion soup mix and a little water.  Consequently, it was taupe and tough.  I just assumed that this was the best an eye of round could hope to be.But then I saw online and on TV that this cut could make a nice roast beef.  But because it’s a pretty lean piece of beef, it could only be cooked until it reached 125-130 degrees, max.  Every extra second in the oven makes it tougher and drier.

So, I started researching recipes.  And found technique was the important factor in a nice roast beef.  And even better, it’s a relatively cheap cut.

Eye Roast Beefroast eye of round1-3 pound eye of round roast, frozen solid

4 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)

2 teaspoons dried Thyme

1 tablespoon ground dried mushrooms (optional)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Horseradish Cream

horseradish cream

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon horseradish

Salt and Pepper to taste

Three days before cooking, Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt all over the entire surface of the meat.  Place into zip-top bag and let thaw in fridge.

Cooking Day: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix the rest of the salt with pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and mushroom powder.  Dry off beef with paper towels, then coat with salt herb mixture.  Heat a heavy skillet on stove and add butter and oil until melted and foamy.  Place beef in skillet and sear on all sides.Place probe thermometer into the center of the meat set to 123 degrees.  Place skillet with beef fat side up into oven and cook until temp is reached.  Take out of skillet and place on a cooling rack over a shallow sided pan. 

Leave thermometer in while resting, so juices don’t run out of the hole.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes (the internal temp will continue to rise about 5 more degrees while it rests).Slice very thinly and serve hot with horseradish cream.  Serves four.  Leftovers make killer sandwiches.  Stir remaining horseradish cream into some mayo for the perfect sandwich dressing.In addition to a beautiful, inexpensive roast beef, I leave you with this advice.  Try very hard not to infect children with your own fears and prejudices, in the kitchen or out.

The only major fear I know for sure I preinstalled into The Kid?Overcooked steak.

Thanks for your time.

Tempest of Taste

In the end, we were lucky; we didn’t lose power.But two weeks ago it was a distinct possibility.  It only takes a little ice on the wrong line or tree limb and we would’ve been in the dark and the cold.

So, last Friday, we went by Harris Teeter to pick up a few items that might keep us from starvation and the ensuing cannibalism should we lose electricity.

And of course, the store was a study in madness.We got some chips and then headed to the deli counter.  Petey chose ham, I picked corned beef, and in case The Kid came over, I bought some roast beef.

So, we went home with enough supplies to keep us alive even if we were eating in the dark.

Like I said, the electricity stayed on.  And, The Kid never came over.

But there was no way that I was going to waste expensive lunch meat.  So, Saturday night, even though it was literally freezing cold, we had sandwiches.  Sunday we had hot food, but Monday we ate more sandwiches because we had more meat, and the roast beef needed to be eaten.

About thirty years ago or so, Petey and I rented a cottage in Nags Head.This was before I had interest or skill in cooking, so we bought copious amounts of sandwich ingredients.  One of them was roast beef.  And there on the outer banks, I invented a new sandwich.

I spread a very, very thick layer of mayo on one side.  On the other side I put about an inch and a half of cream cheese.  I then added a healthy stack of roast beef, a couple slices of ripe summer tomatoes and plenty of crispy bacon.

When years later I ordered it from a sandwich shop, the nice lady who made it said it was one weirdo of a sandwich.  The name stuck, and my creation became “The Weirdo”.marmalade-mayoOn that frozen Monday I planned on a simple roast beef and horseradish mayo on sourdough.  But when I opened the fridge to retrieve the mayonnaise, I spied some homemade onion marmalade.  Into the mayo it went.  I also seasoned it with some coffee salt I had just made (the recipe’s in Salting the Salt Away Daily Dispatch-7/6/2016).

It was at this point I made the decision to make for myself a new version of a  Wierdo.

But I was three decades older, and fifty pounds lighter.  I wanted the flavors, but in a package that wasn’t so cardiac-crushingly rich, heavy, and caloric.

On one slice of bread I spread the horseradish mayo.  But instead of half a pound of full fat cream cheese, I’d make a lighter spread.

Smoked sun-dried tomato cream cheesesmoked-sun-dried-cr-cheese

½ cup whipped light cream cheese

2-3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes in oil, rinsed, patted dry, and diced

5 or 6 drops liquid smoke

Pinch of thyme

Salt and pepper

Throw everything except salt & pepper into a small food chopper and mix until it’s fully mixed and a pale orange in color.  Taste and season.

Makes enough for 2 or 3 sandwiches.

To this updated sandwich I added shaved red onion to counterbalance the sweet caramelized onion and a handful of pea shoots for crispy freshness.

You can use my cream cheese spread on all kinds of food—I think it would be earth shaking on a burger or a BLT.

But if you like the occasional roast beef sandwich, I hope you’ll try my Weirdo 2.0.Thanks for your time.