There’s nothing like a 45 degree windy day on the shore to remind us of the time of year. And to think that I was going to go to the park in a pair of shorts and flip flops.
As my neck has been paining me since I awoke, I hadn’t gone outside until the afternoon, and as such I had no flipping idea that it had turned so cold.
Had my intuition to change not been actuated, the shivering would probably have thrown a few extra vertebrae out of whack, so three cheers for intuition, or as reality would have it, common sense.
As I stood at the park watching the kids play, thoughts of the evening’s dinner were warming my body and mind. Imagination is a wonderful thing. With a sirloin roast in the oven and vegetables already blanched and ready to fire, I knew that a warm, home cooked meal awaited us.
Served with fresh semolina bread smothered in butter, there was no need to order out or to even consider a quick stop at the sub shop. No, tonight we needed what was in the oven. It was perfect.
So I guess that this means two weeks in a row of comfort foods. I’m on a roll, and this is the type of food that I love to serve my family. When the plates were cleared from the table, we reflected on the great conversation around the table, with the added guests of one of my kid’s friends and my mother, and the food was almost gone.
The telltale sign that the chef is hitting the mark is seen in the dish room. If the plates are filled with food, then it’s time to reacquaint yourself with standard techniques. If the plates are wiped clean, then you are doing a good job. Or, the kids are giving the plates to the dog behind your back.
One of the age old techniques that I employed in this dinner is in the basting glaze on the roast. I always start with a good quality stock, be it veal or chicken, and I reduce it by a third. I begin my basting with this and as the water in the basting liquid evaporates and it becomes progressively thicker and stickier, the baste turns to a glaze.
This adds an amazing flavor to the meat and seals it, keeping moisture in. Then, as the roast is completed, the sauce is strained, adjusted and poured over the meat as a finished sauce. If you want to make it even more outrageously mouth-watering, mount the sauce with small pats of butter prior to service. I personally find this to be superfluous, but have at it if you like the fat.
The carrots are garden variety, and that’s literal as they are the last of our garden crop for the season, and they are cooked in the classical way; sugar and water cooked to syrup and then seasoned. If you want to spruce these up, add some lemon zest.
And as the sun goes down, disturbingly early as winter approaches, our bellies are full, allowing us to slumber well, tucked into our warm blankets wondering what weather awaits us in the following days.
As for me, I’m not packing my shorts and flip flops yet.
fire roasted sirloin
1 ½ lb. sirloin roast, defatted
Salt & Pepper
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
EV Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 c. Veal or chicken stock
1. Roll the sirloin roast in the first four ingredients, and wrap it tightly in a roll of plastic wrap
2. let it sit in the refrigerator for four to six hours
3. Reduce the stock by one third and set aside until ready to roast
4. Unwrap the roast and pat dry if necessary. Brush down with the olive oil and butter
5. Heat your best grill and sear the outside until it is brown on all sides
6. Place the roast in a 400F oven and pour the stock over it
7. Baste the roast constantly and continue to cook until the temperature is to your liking
8. Let the roast rest for ten to fifteen minutes to allow it to relax a touch, and then slice thinly
9. Strain the sauce and reduce to a glaze and pour onto the sliced roast
sautéed brussels sprouts
18 ea. Brussels Sprouts
1. Blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water for four to five minutes
2. Refresh in ice water until ready for service if you are not cooking them immediately
3. When ready to serve, heat some olive oil in a pan and sautee the sprouts until they are just barely turning golden
4. Season and serve
3 ea. Medium carrots, peeled and sliced
water to cover
sugar to taste
1. Place the carrots in a small frypan so that they are spread out in about three layers at most
2. cover with water and add some sugar
3. reduce the water on a medium heat, and when the water and sugar are reduced, the carrots should be done. Check the carrots occasionally. If they are overcooking, simply remove and reduce the water. Add the carrots back and season to taste.