Friday, April 9, 2010

Meg's Easter Dinner

Roast Beef (Prime Rib)
Pork Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Potatoes
Melange of Roasted Veggies
Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Sweet Red Peppers
Roasted Asparagus
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cheese Sauce
Beef Gravy
Pork Gravy
Apple Sauce

Plain Cheesecake
Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
Icebox Cake

If any of you are gasping trying to figure out how I managed to cook all this stuff, I have 2 stoves, 2 fridges, and a BBQ.

My dearest co - blogger suggested that I offer you cooking tips. I'm not sure what tips I can offer. We had a crowd for Easter dinner, which wasn't out of the ordinary. Being rather bored with the usual roasted turkey and ham, we decided to make something totally different. We weren't sure what to make when The Super Store had prime rib for sale really cheap. We trotted over and I asked for an uncut rib roast having forgotten just how huge they are. Taking possession of it I felt like Wilma Flintstone. Big as it was we decided to get a pork roast as well. This is when I found out that the "Butcher" in the store doesn't butcher. Everything comes pre-cut. Bummer!

I ended up choosing one largish one and one smaller. Into the already packed freezer they all went.

TIP #1. Keep a Cook's Journal. Write out your intentions. The process, recipes, ingredients, timings of things and general timings. You can also write yourself notes for the next time you may attempt the same recipe;

I am a list maker. I make lists of everything. Spiral notebooks are the best for me. A cooks journal is a great tool. It will remember what you did and how when you have long forgotten.

TIP #2 Is to plan out when all the stuff has to be done.

Page #1 - I do a menu and guest list.
Page #2 - Is for what needs to be bought
Page #3 - lists what to do and when to do it.

If your "Do" is on say, on Sunday, you shop on Friday and make sure your "Mise on Place" is done on Saturday. This means have everything done and ready to use ahead of time. So have your potatoes in a pot of water, your Veggies cut up, your dessert made, and anythings else that can be done so that all you need to do on Sunday is cook and serve.
First thing on Sunday morning, check page #3 of your cook's journal to make sure your schedule is well timed. Remember that the roast will need 15 - 20 minutes per pound for an internal temperature of 110 degrees. The roast will need to sit tented with tin foil to "settle" the juices before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests so 110 will rise to medium after resting.

TIP # 3. Get yourself an Instant Read thermometer. They are an indispensable tool for all oven and BBQ cooking. You can get them quite cheaply at any hardware store. If you do a lot of roasting you might want a unit with a probe. It goes into the meat and connects to a programmable monitor that sits on the counter and will tell you when your temperature has been reached.

In my case, I started cooking the beef roast around 11 am. My target time was 4:00pm leaving time for it ti rest. The pork roast went in at 2:30pm. The roast potatoes went in with the roast beef then. The Veggies went into the BBQ for their indirect heat roasting. Lid Down. They'll need to be gently turned every 20ish minutes. They'll be done when stuck with a knife. Mashed potatoes are a very personal thing and I wouldn't dream of putting mine above anyone else's. Gravy too is personal. I use the "roux" method. You can use cornstarch, arrowroot, Wondra Flour, or flour and water to name a few. Like I said, gravy is personal. Cheese sauce is also personal. Again I use a roux. I also use old cheddar. (white preferable) I use low sodium chicken broth (boxed or home-made) for the liquid portion of the sauce. I sometimes use a splash of cream for balance.
I'll save the desserts for another time.

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