Sorry for the flat lighting on a beautiful piece of meat – this getting dark at 5pm – oy.
I’m home from Christmas in November – one of the highlights of my year, it’s like grown-up camp with gorgeous cabins and cocktails. I get to hang out with friends I see every Christmas in November, and celebrity chefs like Michael Smith and Michael and Anna Olson, decorators like Karl Lohnes, mixologists like Micah Dew – this year Jody, the brewing manager from Big Rock was there doing beer tastings, and Sandhill hosted wine tastings and kept everyone happy at dinner. It’s a crazy fun time and I get completely spoiled in the food and drink department, love the total lack of commuting and traffic – as long as you don’t count herds of elk while walking from the pool to the playroom to the lounge and back to your cabin – and become hopelessly hooked on Bing Crosby and never having to do a dish or make a bed.
If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. Heading back through the snowy rockies on highway 93 (a gorgeous drive if you’ve never done it) I’m now completely Christmassified and ready to pull out the movies and decorations and start in on the fruitcake as soon as I walk in the door.
I always learn something new at CIN… this year I learned how to flip bottles, Cocktail-style (but not how to always catch them), how to make a Christmas tree out of Play-doh and how to light a chunk of orange peel and use it to rim a drink. I got great baking tips from Anna – and a sock bun tutorial too (we have the same hair), and at Chef Michael Smith’s session, I learned how to cook prime rib.
It’s not something I cook often, but I might bring back roast beef for Sunday night supper after learning how to time it perfectly, with no need for prodding or meat thermometers. It takes the fear out of cooking a $50 piece of meat. Here’s what you do: rub the surface of a room-temperature 2-4 bone prime rib with flour, salt and pepper while you crank the heat up to 500F. Put your roast in for 30 min (2 bone), 45 min (3 bone) or 60 min (4 bone) at that high heat, then turn the oven off and leave it inside – without peeking – for exactly 2 hours.
I made this one at 4:30 am for the morning show on Tuesday – so the after photos I took are too blurry to accurately portray the roast’s crispy exterior and bits. But I will say it was less effort to make this prime rib than to make the boys’ lunches. There’s a great video on Michael’s website if you want him to give you the walk-through.
At lunch one day, Anna told me about Michael (Olson) making a horseradish hollandaise – totally unrelated to the prime rib, but I figured it would be a perfect pairing. I was right. I stuck with about a teaspoon of horseradish, which made it subtle – feel free to crank it up. It was wonderful mellowed by the rich hollandaise. It’s easy to make in the blender. For real.
Chef Michael Smith’s Perfect Prime Rib
adapted from Fast Flavours, by Chef Michael Smith
one 2 – 4 bone standing prime rib roast
flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring the meat to room temperature – Chef Michael recommends leaving it at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Preheat your oven to 500?F and season some flour with plenty of salt and pepper, then rub it all over the meat. (This will create a crisper crust – omit the flour if you like. Seasoning the flour first will help the salt and pepper to stick – if you flour the meat, there will be nothing for the salt and pepper to stick to.)
Put the roast fat side up (bones down) in a roasting pan and roast at 500?F for 30 minutes for a 2 bone, 45 for a 3 bone, or 1 hour for a 4 bone. Turn the oven off – leave it closed! – and let the roast cook for exactly 2 hours longer. No peeking! After 2 hours it will be perfectly cooked and rested, so you can carve it immediately when it comes out of the oven.
3 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-3 tsp. horseradish
1/2 cup butter
Put the yolks, mustard, lemon juice, horseradish and salt into a blender; cover and pulse until blended.
Melt the butter on the stovetop or in the microwave until melted and hot; with the blender on high speed, slowly pour the butter through the hole in the top. It should start to thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise. Once all the butter has been added, scrape the hollandaise out into a bowl and keep warm until serving time. Serves 8.