Monday, November 28, 2011

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Suzanne who has won the Orka silicone oven mitt!  Suzanne, send me an e-mail at staceyballisinfo (at) gmail dot com and I will get you your prize in time for the next batch of holiday cookies.

I hope all my chickens had a great holiday, it was a wonderful weekend here and I was sad to see it end.

But I also tried a new trick that I HAVE to share with you all.

As you know, my dear friend Chef Denise, who owns the extraordinary Flavour Cooking School in Forest Park, IL is often a source of terrific cooking tips and tricks for me.  Recently she had talked about a method of cooking Prime Rib that intrigued me.  She said the best way to get perfect medium rare without well-done edges or that inch of gray around the outside of the slices, was to slow cook the roast at 200 degrees.

So when we knew that two of our favorite people were coming over for a post-Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night, prime rib seemed the perfect antidote to a weekend of turkey.

I bought a 3 rib roast, let it come to room temp, and seasoned it well with kosher salt and ground grains of paradise.  Then I seared it on all sides in a very hot pan with a little canola oil.  And popped it in the oven at 200 degrees.  The time will vary depending on the size of your roast, but mine was about 7 lbs and the roast was finished in about 4 hours.  The best thing to do is to use a leave-in electronic thermometer.  When the roast hits 125 internal degrees, take it out of the oven and tent it with foil.  It will come up to around 130-135 on its own outside of the oven.  You have to let it rest for 30 minutes before carving so that the juices redistribute throughout the meat. 

The roast was tender, juicy, and perfectly pink from edge to edge.  Not to mention delicious.  I will never make a rib roast any other way from now on, thanks Chef D!

If you have a holiday dinner party coming up, I can't recommend this method more.

Anyone else with a new tip or technique to share?

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving with Contest and Recipe

Hello Chickens!  I hope that you are all gearing up for a very happy day of celebration.  If any of you are still in any way panicked about the big day, and in need of assistance, I turn your attention to last year's post which may be helpful...  A Polymath Thanksgiving Primer

This year, instead of a traditional Thanksgiving recipe, I wanted to share one that was inspired by my godmother Susan and Charming Suitor.  She is the queen of chocolate, and the darker the better.  He is the king of all pudding. Susan doesn't want any nuts or fruits or flotsam and jetsam to mar perfect chocolatey goodness, and CS will eschew all manner of cakes, pies, and other baked sweets if he can just have pudding. 

CS and I were having a couple of pals over for Monday night dinner, and I needed a dessert that was quick and easy.  I had spotted a Jean-Georges recipe for a dark chocolate pudding a week or so back, and I thought it would be the perfect thing to play with.  A few little tweaks and we have a very grownup pudding that is dark enough to make Susan smile.  And a handy thing if you need a last minute dessert for your holiday:

Super Dark Chocolate Pudding for Susan and CS
adapted from Jean-Georges Vongrichten
½ c granulated sugar
½ c Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (or the darkest cocoa powder you can find, Ghiradelli works too)
5 T cornstarch
Pinch salt
1 t instant espresso powder
1 qt half and half
3.5 oz dark chocolate, (85-90 % cacao) chopped
1 t vanilla

 Sift all dry ingredients together.  Whisk in the half and half and strain into a large saucepan, just to catch any possible lumps, because you want the smoothest pudding ever.  Cook over medium heat, whisking upretty constantly, until the pudding starts to bubble and thicken, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla.  Whisk until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated.  Pour into a large bowl or into six ramekins and cover with plastic wrap, preferably with the wrap touching the top of the pudding so that a skin does not form.  Chill until set, about 4 hours for a single bowl, 2 hours for individual servings.  Serve with very lightly sweetened whipped cream, and maybe a couple little shortbread cookies on the side.

It's been a while since we had a giveaway, so I thought we would have a small one in honor of the holiday.

Share your best Thanksgiving tip or recipe in the comments section, and I will choose one at random to receive this fabulous Orka 11 inch Silicone Oven Mitt:

Blue OrkaPlus 11" Silicone Oven Mitt with Cotton lining
So, share with the class between now and 11:59PM on Sunday night, and I will announce the winner on Monday.

And seriously?  Make the pudding.  You can thank me later.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday.  Know that I am always thankful for you.

Yours in Gratitude and Good Taste,
The Polymath