Thursday, December 28, 2006

I Even Carved The Roast Beast!

Belated Merry Christmas, dear reader! I had a marvelous holiday, I hope you did too. December is traditionally a dark month for me, but after the Winter Solstice my heart lightened up. whew Which allowed me to prepare one of my favorite meals yet, and I had the good fortune to share it with ten dear, lovely friends! Good food, people I love: there is nothing more I need. But enough with mushy feelings, on to the food!

I made a fantastic roast, ay Dios mio. The secret of roasting big hunks of meat is simple: start with the highest quality ingredients you can find (you do get what you pay for with meat), then don't mess with it too much. I went to my favorite butcher, Marconda's in the farmers market at 3rd & Fairfax... though to be fair, I haven't tried many other butchers in L.A.
Side note: butchers are a flirtatious lot, my goodness. I think it's handling huge chunks of raw meat all day, they can't help but be ribald. And to be honest, I kinda love it. Gloriously marbled meat *and* men who call me beautiful? I'll be a repeat customer.

I salted and peppered my 5 lb. joy, then seared it in a huge dutch oven with olive oil before sprinkling it with my excellent English roasting salt (big fat crystals that pop in your mouth). I slid it into a 250°F oven for an hourish, then raised the heat to 500°F and roasted it for another half hour until it reached an internal temperature of 140°F. I was worried it would be too well-done (it went ten degrees higher than I wanted), but in fact it was perfect. This is what half of it it looked like:

And hey, this photo is compliments of my parents who gave me the shiny digital camera I was hoping for! Thanks Mom and Dad. Prepare yourself dear reader, many more photos on the way!

I sliced up the roast beast, warmed baguettes, made horseradish sauce and assembled the most delicious sandwiches that I topped with peppery arugula. Wowza! Two non-red meat-eaters (they have other fine qualities) even partook. Hah hah~ I love leading peaceful eaters astray. I made a heavenly spinach lasagna (imported Italian tomatoes make it sing) for those able to resist the roast beast, and tossed some green beans in an almond-pink peppercorn vinaigrette. Lovely.
Brendan foolishly showed up first, which means he got pressed into service. He looks evil in this photo, but the green beans turned out great.

Now I'm enjoying my other favorite holiday tradition: inviting friends over for delicious leftovers while I have the luxury of time off.
Does it get any better? Probably not.

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