Sunday, January 23, 2011

-3 Degrees and the Welcome Home Roast

I usually take special requests from Jen when she is due to come back from a long trip. Nothing could be better than returning home from a long trip to just the right meal. This is because I like to think I'm the world's greatest husband.

Jen said that she'd like to return to a nice roast though she was short on details about what said roasted item should be. I looked around for a good thing to roast but instead I found this great-looking bone-in ribeye which was on special. Technically I could roast that in the oven. Jen was on the plane so I couldn't call her to verify this is what she had in mind.

This is because I'm not actually the world's greatest husband.

I did, however, pick up a 6-pack of Shock Top. Every so often I find a beer that I think that Jen will like and I get it for her. Here's my simple formula for narrowing down whether or not Jen is going to like a beer. The more questions you answer "yes" to the more likely she is to like it.

  1. Is it Belgian-style but not actually from Belgium?
  2. Is it, in fact, from a major American beer producer?
  3. Is it often served in bars with a slice of orange?
  4. Does the word "wheat" appear on the label?
  5. Does it have fewer than 20 IBUs?
  6. Does it contain less than 5.5% alcohol?
  7. Does the word "spices" appear anywhere on the label?
I thought this beer would be a slam dunk in that, on the label, it had a picture of an orange with a mohawk made out of stalks of wheat. That seemed like a rather gratuitous bonus on their part. While Jen did enjoy the beer I think she would have preferred a Blue Moon. So it is that I'm going to add the following question to my list:
Is it Blue Moon?
For salad I tossed kale with sliced sunchokes, and salted peanuts. I dressed it with the juice of a Minneola (because there happened to be one on the counter), sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. This is a variation on one of Jen's favorite salads as well. How did I do so far? I think I made up for the upcoming lack of roast.
For myself I got this Blond from Affligem. This beer caught my eye because I noted that the brewery was established in 1074. This was a little bit of a bummer because I prefer my breweries to have been established before the Battle of Hastings. However, I figured if they'd been at this for 937 years that I would give them a try. Ten years ago I'm not so sure I would have trusted them. I picked this beer for myself based on my criteria for whether or not I am going to love a beer. The same rules apply: the more questions I answer "yes" to the more likely I am to like the beer.
  1. Is this beer brewed by monks?
  2. Is the brewery at least 400 years old?
  3. Is their website a terrible Flash-based website at a .BE domain name?
  4. Does their website feature music of chanting monks that causes you to search around for the button to click to turn it off?
  5. Do half the things on their website lead to "Coming Soon" pages or "Content Not Available" messages?
  6. Is it likely that this brewery is far more interested in making good beers than in designing a website that is any way helpful or informative?
  7. Is it a beer I have never heard of before?
  8. Do you have to search around for the English version of their website?
  9. Is the alcohol content somewhere between 6.5 and 9.0%?
  10. Have I likely been mispronouncing the name of the brewery?
In the background you can also note a somewhat failed loaf of bread. I think my yeast had given up the ghost. Or thousands of tiny ghosts. At any rate it didn't rise at all.
I lightly seasoned the ribeye, seared it well on both sides, then roasted it in the oven until it was a perfect medium rare. I don't mean that to imply that I am great at this by any means, it just happened that it came out perfectly. After I took the ribeye out of the oven to let it rest I rendered some bacon in the same pan, threw in some diced onion and then finally tossed in the peas with a little salt and pepper. I served the peas over the ribeye with some mashed potatoes. I realized that I never make mashed potatoes other than on Thanksgiving and that is just wrong. Using skim milk and just a little butter I have a pretty good technique for making them where they aren't the worst thing in the world to consume. They're certainly less dangerous than the heavy cream version with European high-fat butter I learned to make in my restaurant days. This whole meal, beer included, was a great welcome home dinner. Along with some new episodes of Top Gear (new to us anyway) it was the perfect dinner for a night of -3 degrees fahrenheit (-19 celsius).

Tomorrow: Even colder temperatures and my backup roast idea gets put into play!

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