Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beef! It's What's for Dinner!

My three favorite things in the food world are sugar, bacon, and beef. When I am not trying to calm my sweet tooth or satisfying a porky craving, nothing beats a really good cut of beef prepared just so. Well, MJ and I were in our local Harris Teeter when I saw two things out of the corner of my eye. One was a small beef rib roast (a real winner in my book). It had been marked down from nearly $40 to $18. Yes, it was from the clearance bin. My plan was to take it home to Tiny, my 1951 freezer, so don't screw your face up thinking I got bad meat. The second item was an Angus beef boneless round roast all tied up nice and pretty. It had been marked down from $25 to $9. How could I say no? MJ didn't say no either. So, off I went.

I knew was I'd do with the rib roast. Stuff it with garlic, rub it with peppe, kosher salt and other spices and roast it gently. But the Angus beef was a tougher call. I never cook beef round. So, I did what any intred 21st century cook would do. I hit the internet. I googled the meat and what I had on hand. Things started to take shape when I found recipes for Italian beef. The easiest one was three ingredients. Unfortunately, MJ discovered the main ingredient was expired in our cupboard. Back the drawing board!

Now, I was like a dog with a bone. I'd decided what I wanted and knew I must have it. So, this intrepid cook tapped into her inner chef. What flavors did I need? I wanted it to be a little spicy (green chiles-don't knock 'em-it's what I had), tangy (red wine & balsamic vinegar), well seasoned (Italian spice blend & beef broth) and to round it out a touch of sweetness (brown sugar). TY, my sous chef, combined all of these items in our crockpot along with some dried onions and set the timer for 7.5 hours.

MJ and I walked into the house to an amazing aroma. The beef smelled fabulous. I needed to taste it. So, I snuck in the kitchen, lifted the lid and stole one. It was good. It wasn't like the Italian Beef I knew from La Prima, but it would do to kill the craving. We served ourselves on crusty sub rolls w/cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. TY added BBQ sauce in lieu of mayo.

What do you do when you find your culinary spoils have spoiled esp. when inspiration has struck? Do you give in to defeat? Or do you channel your inner chef? What challenges does your pantry provide? I've got a box of couscous calling my name. Maybe that will be the inspiration for my next adventure.

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