We don’t have a guest menu to kick around today, so we’re going to talk about the tricky relationships between time, temperature, and how these things (in turn) impact taste.
Today with go over simple Magic Number baking and roasting.
Where’s the Beef?
Every few weeks – when they are in stock in the premium meat section at Wally World – we will pick up as many as available of choice prime rib roasts.
For the two of us, something in the six-pound range will get us two grand meals.
Prepping such a roast is easy: Fat side up, the meat lounges around in the kitchen until it’s up to room temperature. Three or four hours if refrigerated seems to work.
After that, the roast is covered with coarse-ground salt, mixed cracked pepper (go heavy, little taste gets through the fat) and then a healthy shake (or four) of herbes provence.
Now comes the calculator: A lot of the temperature decision-making depends on how much Moo Elaine is presently eating. She oscillates between nearly vegan and carnivore.
If in the carnivore mode, the cooking times and temps are worked out so the whole roast is nearly medium all the way through. 135F at the center gives enough pink for me to snag the two center slices (one for each meal) and it gives her two medium/medium-well outer pieces. The temp for this a slower (though longer) cook at around 275F.
Rule: The slower you cook, the more even the finished temp is when the heat comes off and the meat “rests” (cook temps dispersing) internally.
If she is in a more vegan mode, the roast is cooked faster: Say 375F. Even higher (like 400F) depending on odds she will still want a couple of slices.
Done this way, the center temp/heat off goes to 115F before being yanked from the jaws of hell to “rest” up to 130-125F. End slices are still medium to medium-well. Just not as thick as the slower cook.
Meat Temps & Magic Numbers
I’ll usually start a prime rib about 450F for 15-minutes. After which, the temp is set down to the finishing temp. Depending on oven, chef, and local conditions, 15-minutes a pound is a good starting point, but maybe start checking at 12-minutes a pound if you’re new.
Use of a meat thermometer is a must. We keep several around.
You’ll want to keep notes on this as you collect time and temp data. But if you are doing 6-pound roasts, and at 325, finding 120 minutes good you do the math:
325 X 120 minutes = 39,000
Which Means What, Exactly?
Armed with this, you have an idea around where the cook times might be for other temperatures. Depending on the doneness desired over the length of your roast.
For example (39000 / 275F = ) 141.8 minutes. Slow roasting country. Evenly done, all the way through.
At fire extinguisher heat (39000 / 450F) the cooking time might be 86.6 minutes. However, the ends will be well and the middle will be rare since the temperature gradient between cooked and uncooked meat will be greater and held for a shorter time. Thus, the center might come up 5-7 degrees during the “rest” but the ends might get well (and too dry for civilized beefer’s).
Breads Work, Too
The same can be applied to a loaf of bread, too.
If a typical one pound loaf bakes for 25-minutes at an indicated 350F, then our Magic Number might be (25 X 350) 8,750.
If you want a moister center of loaf, then using this number, we can approximate:
Again, you can see the effect of internal heat transmission in how the final loaf turns out.
This central tendency of breads to be in that 300-350 range is because you get a more even “crumb”. But, as an old hard roll lover, hard on the outside and moister in the middle is fine with me.
Lazy Disaster Soup
Although I’d planned to make a supply run Friday, we made the decision that it would be a good time to “eat down” into the inventory a ways more. And lets the hordes of hungry work through the first wave of resupplied shelves. Which ought to leave us with fresher goods to restock with into early next week. Besides, with OJ and Milk and frozen dough and two freezers over half-way full, no need to rush into things.
Soup is one of the best “disaster” foods out there. And the heart of any such is a good head of cabbage and a couple of onions.
With these two basics, you can toss in all kinds of leftovers. Or, whatever needs to be refreshed in the frozen department.
My “old-school Seattle” buddy Gaye (https://strategiclivingblog.com) and I have been fans of our own versions of “cabbage and whatever” soup since the early 1970’s.
Her website has a dandy write-up on it (including the alleged Dolly Parton Diet Soup angle) over here: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Cabbage Soup & a Healthy Diet .
The Texas Outback version is somewhat different, though not much.
Ended up being:
- Chopped up head of cabbage
- Two cans diced tomatoes
- 2 chopped onions
- Can of mushroom slices
- Half a bag of Sam’s Club pre-made uncooked meatballs
- Pound of carrots
- A few leftover celery stalks
- Shakes of Italian seasoning and some white pepper
- Shakes of Worcestershire to taste
- Plus any leftovers:
- Other veggies?
In short, before going shopping, clean out the fridge and you can get a couple of day’s worth of food.
We added to it 3-each of those frozen Parkhouse rolls that were left in ou7r baby loaf pan to thaw and rise. You’ll want to cook these so the meal will plate just as the rolls come out and cool for 5-minutes in a clean towel.
I don’t know why they don’t last, but these tend to dry out (and get yucky) within 30-45 minutes. So eat (and drink!) quickly.
A glass of jug wine (Pisano for us, thanks) and it’s a fine way to end the Great Blizzard of 2021.
For dessert? Completely forgot the half-gallon of rainbow sherbet. Which – in a glass with a little clear ETOH (vodka) makes a good smoothie-like sipper for after.
Rolling Rock Notes
From .mil affairs contributor Warhammer:
Just a head’s up I didn’t want to junk up your column with – I believe I already related the Rock story to you . . .
. . . and that the beer is now owned by multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev and is currently brewed/bottled (actually ‘canned’) in New Jersey. InBev is rumored to be shopping around the Rolling Rock brand if you are interested. IMO InBev killed the ‘it thing’ for Rolling Rock when they moved out of Latrobe in W. PA’s Laurel Highlands in the 2006 time frame. No more Appalachian/Laurel Mountain spring water, just filtered Jersey city sludge.
The Latrobe brewery facility has since been leased in large part to City Brewing, which purchased Pittsburgh Brewing Co., maker of Iron City beer. IC Light is actually a mighty fine summertime beer if you’ve never tried it. It’s among my favorites (4.17% abv versus regular Iron’s 4.8). FYI – I’m not particularly partial to regular Iron. When I drink high test beer, I like hoppy IPAs with a bit more kick to them. E.G. one pint of New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA or Imperial IPA followed by one or two pints of IC light.
City/PBC just announced it will build a new facility back in East Deer/Pittsburgh, meaning the Latrobe brew works will soon have a large vacancy (if you are interested) either for sale or lease. Apparently multiple craft brewers can, have and are using the brewery at the same time. See link here.
Olympia Brewing Company (Tumwater, WA) used to run ads in the 1970’s with the positioning statement “It’s the Water that make it Olympia Beer” which was grand stuff. Water made Coors, too.
New Jersey? I may have to get some hangover meds and do a weekend special on finding the right beer for summer 2021: Reasonably priced, good taste, not too heavy. Not too “ricey” (Asahi, Kirin) and not to “hoppy” but just so. Some of those European mini kegs are good. Just a little much for 1.5 humans for dinner and flats aren’t too appealing.
Open to comments and ideas…
Write when you loose weight,