Monday, December 27, 2010

Prime Rib, Kitchen Update and Christmas Snow

Christmas had a couple of surprises for us:

First we had a white Christmas, even though the show didn't show up until late in the evening on Christmas day. We got 4 tenths of an inch. It snowed all Christmas night and we ended up with 6 inches, Considering North Carolina only gets between 6 and 7 inches annually this is considered a major storm.

Second the kitchen remodel is almost complete. I got to make our Christmas dinner in the new kitchen. We need one more box of flooring and a few drawer pulls for the job to be complete. If it wasn't for Christmas and the snow the kitchen would already be complete. Click here for a sneak preview.

While I was able to get in the kitchen and make an occasional meal I wasn't able to do any real cooking. So my Christmas dinner was the first real meal I made in the new kitchen. I decided to make prime rib, hassleback potatoes and asparagus. The prime rib recipe was based on a Tyler Florence recipe I found on the Food Network website.

Prime Rib With Horseradish Crust

1 bone in prime rib beef roast, 3 ribs, about 6 pounds
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup grated fresh or prepared horseradish
Leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups canned chicken or beef broth

I made a couple of changes to this. I only used a 1/4 cup of salt and it made a good paste (described below) and I still thought that some bites seemed very salty. I started with 1 tbs of flour and the gravy was very soupy so I added one additional tbs and ended up with a thin gravy. This was ok as the leftover gravy can now be used for aus jus. The recipe took every bit of the 2 hours, if it wasn't for my children wanting to leave to get home before the snow, I would have cooked it a little longer. It was still very good and the gravy was excellent.

Here are Tyler's instructions with my comments in brackets [ ].

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the beef in a large roasting pan with the bone side down. (The ribs act as a natural roasting rack.) In a small bowl mash together the garlic, horseradish, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil to make a paste [I used a mortar and pestle to get everything finely mashed]. Massage the paste generously over the entire roast [I had enough paste to cover top and sides but not the under side where the bones are]. Put the pan in the oven and roast the beef until the internal temperature of the meat registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer (medium-rare), 1 1/2 to 2 hours [See my comment above]. Remove the beef to a carving board and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Pour off some of the pan drippings and place pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. [I saved 1 tbs of drippings to go with the original 1 tbs of flour. I wished I would have saved more since I ended up adding more flour to thicken it. I would save 2 to 3 tbs if you want thicker gravy.]

Add the white wine and bring to a simmer, scraping the bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half. Whisk in the flour, then add the broth and continue to cook, whisking until sauce thickens into a gravy, about 10 minutes. [I would use low sodium broth if use Tyler's 1/2 cup of salt. It took longer than 10 minutes to get thicker gravy, but I had to go back and add additional flour to thicken it.]

My wife, Annette, took this picture of the pond behind my house.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remodel Days 4 & 5

Day 4
The kitchen started to look like a kitchen again, but a really messy one. Today they installed the new cabinets, the pantry and the desk. The new cabinets are the exact same ones they installed when the house was built. After 10 years the old cabinets have aged and the color is a little darker, you can see this in the picture of the pantry. They also did some of the electrical work.

Day 5
Today was one of those days where you can't see where much was done. The cabinets installation was finished. They added the shelving, leveled the cabinets and made sure they shut right. The guys who install the countertops came and made templates of the cabinets. They do this so they can cut the granite to the right size. The electrician moved and installed a couple more outlets and some light switches.

Tomorrow we should see a big change, but I am going to make you wait to see what it is in case they don't stay on plan.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No Christmas Cookies This Year

Twas 17 days before Christmas and all through the house
Not a chef was stirring not even the mousse
The plastic was hung by the island and chairs
In hopes that the new kitchen would soon be there

At the beginning of the year my wife and I decided to replace the flooring and countertops in our kitchen. They were both original to the house and needed replacing. This of course got us talking about what we could do to improve the design of our kitchen to improve it. After talking to 6 or 7 seven contractors over the course of the year, we found one that we really liked. The new floors and countertops now include doubling the size of our island, adding a pantry and cupboards, a new backsplash and adding a desk. We also replaced our old appliances, they were installed before the remodel so the br=efore pictures show the old but the during show the new ones. We are three working days into the project. The contractor says we will be done before Christmas.

Here are before pictures.

Day 1
The existing island was ripped out, the old flooring removed and they began removing the backsplash. The backsplash became and issue as it wouldn't come down without taking chunks of the sheetrock with it.

Day 2
The backsplash was removed and new sheetrock was installed where the backsplash used to be. Then the counters were ripped out, except where the sink was. No electricity except to the appliances.

Day 3
The new cabinets were supposed to be installed, but not all of them were sent. So the painter came and primed the walls and the plumber came to fit the sink. The sink we ordered was discontinued so they sent a larger one, the plumber had to make sure that it would fit before we installed the countertops. No more water in the kitchen until we get countertops and a sink.