A couple of nights ago was “Monk’s” birthday dinner. Because we just recently had “Jazzy” and the effort and pain associated with childbirth are still fresh in her mind, “Monk” chose to honour her Mom on this particular day. “Monk’s Mom” didn’t want to go out to eat, instead she wanted to have prime rib at home, so that was my mission, if I so chose to accept it.
“Monk’s Mom” had a 3″ bone in rib steak that was perfect in size for the three of us. “Godfather” left his blowtorch at my house the other day, so I quickly torched the prime rib, seasoned it generously with Montreal Steak Spice and I put it into a 225 degree oven. At that point I scoured the fridge for things to use up. One of my pet peeves is having a cluttered fridge and freezer, so a lot of times when I cook at home, it’s about utilization. In a perfect world, I’d love to shop daily for fresh ingredients and only buy what we need for the day. The reality is, particularly with a newborn in the house, “Monk” shops for a few days at a time and freezes things as she sees fit.
On this particular search and destroy fridge clean up mission, I found half a zucchini, a Japanese eggplant, half a cucumber, half an onion, a red pepper, a melange of herbs, some balsamic vinaigrette, enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms and a few other odds and ends. In the freezer, we found some deer steaks, dried mixed mushrooms and veal stock. “Monk” really wanted me to cook this mystery deer meat, so I quickly marinated it with some garlic, thyme, soy and Worcestershire sauce and planned on pan searing them when the prime rib was ready. I also decided to make a mushroom jus for the deer steak and used up all the dried and fresh mushrooms we had in the house. The sauce was super simple, a little red wine, some aromatics and a little truffle essence at the end.
All the left over veggies were screaming ratatouille to me. They were yelling; “Save us… make us into something delicious and special. We don’t want to die slowly in your perfectly organized fridge.” I quickly diced all the vegetable, prepped some garlic and onions and then realized I had no tomatoes. You can’t have ratatouille without tomato. I did find some Old El Paso salsa in the pantry and decided to use that as my tomato component to bind all the veggies together. I must say, when it was all done, the ratatouille tasted pretty good and you never would have guessed there was store-bought salsa in it.
“Monk’s Mom” also really likes baked potatoes, so I baked a few off (I cheated, I actually used the microwave, I had the oven low for the prime rib). We topped them with lots of sour cream, scallions, Maldon sea salt and fake bacon bits. I know, I know, I know. Talk to “Monk”, it wasn’t my idea. I actually had three packs of bacon in my freezer, but she wanted the soy product, pseudo, bacon food stuff. Apparently, it’s all about the texture. Listen, I’m no snob, I sprinkled my fair share of “facon bits” on my potato.
When the rib hit 130 degrees, I pulled it out, rested it for about twenty minutes and then carved it up. The meat was perfect, completely pink throughout. Slow cooking your beef is definitely the way to go. We had some Colston Basset Stilton left over from the previous evening’s festivities, so “Monk” requested some melted blue cheese on her meat. You got to love a girl who likes blue cheese with her beef. I also quickly seared the deer steaks that were marinating and they turned out surprisingly tender and tasty.
All and all, not a “fancy schmancy” meal by any means, but “Monk” was happy, “Monk’s Mom” was happy, “Jazzy” was happy, so therefore I was happy. That’s my job, making people happy.