Simple Summer Garden Salsa

It was a sad day around here when we finished up the last jar of homemade salsa, a good four or five months before the next batch of garden tomatoes would be a reality.  This year we are going to have to manage the supply a little closer, so some of you that received salsa … Continue reading

Blizzard-Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yes, it is April 14 and blizzarding in Eastern Montana.  I will stand by what I have said before about loving where we live, but I admit I am ready for spring!  As my Dad always says, this kind of weather is what “keeps the riff-raff out.”  There is always a silver lining. Olive Oil … Continue reading

Sledding and Homemade Marshmallows

Good friends, good food, crock pot hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows – what a great way to ring in the new year! I also made a (gasp) chicken in the crock pot using the winter BBQ recipe from my new Southern Cooking recipe book, another Christmas gift I love (my kids think it’s weird that I sit in the living room and read a cookbook). For me, butchering a whole chicken is like Riley’s theory of tomatoes and ketchup – it’s like revenge on chickens. It was a local farm-raised bird, and I will admit it wasn’t bad slathered in spices and sauce. Unlike good beef, which of course has an excellent flavor all on its own.

The highlight of the day were the homemade marshmallows, a recipe I finally got brave enough to try this year. It is actually quite simple and is one I will definitely make again.  I used the one from Taste of Home (big fan).  It did not take me 15 minutes for them to whip up; it took about 7-8 with the KitchenAid mixer.  This is a lot like making White Mountain frosting; you’r just using gelatin instead of egg whites.  Like the meat thermometer for a good prime rib, the candy thermometer is not optional unless you enjoy throwing away large batches of ingredients.  These were so much fun to decorate – there is really no limit to the many coatings and toppings you can use.  I just filled several small dishes with sprinkles, colored sugars, cocoa, and crushed candies and let the kids decorate to their heart’s content.  The ones covered in crushed candy cane were a big hit.  I also had some blue tinted white chocolate candy coating left over from a cake pops project that we drizzled on a few and then topped with sprinkles.

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These were very tasty floating in a hot cup of crock pot hot cocoa – pour a can of sweetened condensed milk (heaven in a can) into a 3 quart slow cooker, add 7 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup of dry baking cocoa, and 1 1/2 tsps good vanilla, stir, and set on low for 4 hours or until a bunch of short people covered in snow rush your front door. For the big people, a nice snort of peppermint schnapps is the perfect finishing touch.

Wishing you lots of hot cocoa and gooey marshmallows in 2013!

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Prime Rib

We are having our New Year’s Eve supper tonight – prime rib. Wish you could smell my house right now. This is another example of a beef recipe that is so simple it’s not even really a recipe. I like to use a standing rib roast, as the bones act as a rack and give the meat great flavor. You can also use a rib roast without the bone. Make sure you know what your roast weighs so you know how long to cook it. Use a kitchen scale or check the label on your roast if you bought it retail. For a bone-in roast, we figure about a pound of raw roast per person. Remember how much beef we eat, however – you may be able to get by with less especially if you are serving several sides.

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As you may have guessed, this is a homegrown rib roast. Look at the awesome color of the meat and the great marbling. And by the way, this particular roast is not from some 1400 pound steer from a feedlot. It is from a heifer calf that didn’t want to grow like the rest, so we kept her for ourselves and had most of it made into sausage, jerky, etc. I also made my first ever tenderloin medallions from this animal, which I must say were flippin’ awesome. I forgot to to take pictures that day, I guess I was too busy eating.

Thaw the roast, and take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you put it in the oven. Cold meat will seize up when placed in a hot oven. Place your roast fat-side up so that the yummy goodness can seep into the entire roast as it melts.

There are many ways you can season a prime rib, but I like to keep it simple. You will see that theme again later when we talk about steaks. No reason to marinate good meat and ruin the meat-tacular flavor. Coat the roast with kosher salt and a simple dry rub – any prime rib or beef rub you find at the store or a dry rub you make yourself will be just fine. Use enough salt so it can form a crust – it will seem like a lot of salt, but remember you are seasoning several pounds of meat. Meat thermometers are not optional when making the perfect prime rib. Get an oven-safe thermometer and stick it in the middle of the raw roast, making sure it is not touching the bone. Do NOT add water or other liquids.

Pop it in a 350 degree preheated oven uncovered in a shallow roasting pan, and relax while the aroma begins to permeate your entire home. For a bone-in roast like this one, you want the thermometer to hit 135 degrees. This should take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of your roast, your oven, and other factors. Check the temp every 20 minutes or so after the first hour. You can do 150 if you are one of those squeamish well-done people, but don’t blame me when your prime rib is dry. Seriously, 135, and then make sure to let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven. It will continue to cook and you will even see the thermometer continue to rise after it is out of the oven. Resting also allows all the juices to redistribute throughout the roast so every bite is moist and flavorful. Resist the temptation to gnaw on it right out of the oven. You should hear this thing sizzling in the oven right now. So good, and so easy. Try it yourself on the 31st, and let me know how it goes!

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The finished product!  And some Yorkshire Pudding to go with it.  One cup flour, one cup milk, and two eggs – mix together and pour into the pan drippings from the roast, bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.  Yes, it tasted as good as it looks.  Four of us (two who are under the age of 9) ate it down to what you see in the last photo.  I have to give Roy credit for most of that effort.  It’s that good.

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Manhattan girl with a love for travel and food

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