It's Wednesday. Traditionally I'm not too worked up over the middle of the week. This week the proverbial hump seemed like a mountain for a good chunk of the day.
I'm finishing up edits and revisions for a potential writing gig. I'd forgotten just how much I dislike revisions. I'd also forgotten just how valuable revisions can be. Never fall too far in love with your own prose. It's a good way to end up in a dead end alley somewhere. It's taken me many hours to get these pieces to a place where I'm not saying that I suck as a writer. Now most writers are never satisfied with what they put up. It's just part of the joy of writing. But I know what good work verses my crap work is. This stuff was crap.
Finally after an infusion of caffeine products, artisan chocolate from CocoaPura, Indigo Girls and Amy Winehouse, I got the pieces beaten into submission. I think I may have 'Rehab' stuck in my head for the next week.
On the food front, this morning was roast day. I picked up a 2 pound grass fed beef chuck roast over the weekend. I finally had time to toss it in the oven. Since it's been a good bit of time since I roasted anything, I wandered over to Food Network and dug up Alton Brown's directions for roasting large chunks of bovine. I love Alton. Clear, concise directions designed for the cooking novice. Instructions were simple. Start the oven at 450, stick in bovine for 20 minutes, then drop it down to 325 and go slow the rest of the way.
I unwrap my culinary delight and get my first hrmm moment. Said bovine has a bone in it. Now I'm your typical American. I go to the grocery store and get boneless cuts. Why? Cause it looks easier. Never mind the bone provides interesting things like flavor. Who cares. I want easy. Yet, my roast has a bone in it. It's not like I'm going to take it back. So I wander back to the computer, check to make sure there's not a special bone cooking dance I need to do (there wasn't), and return to the kitchen. Bovine onto a baking rack, rack onto a baking dish. (See mom, I did pay attention when you were cooking things. Kind of.) Next up, the thermal monitoring device goes into the roast. Straight in. (You in the back stop snickering. Yes, yes, I remember that episode of Good Eats. You're telegraphing my punch line, now shush!). Roast and thermal monitoring device go into the oven. I set the alert to go off at 135 degrees, wander back to the computer and start cursing at my revisions.
Twenty minutes later, my iPhone alarm goes off and I head to the oven to turn the heat down. As I approach, the thermal monitoring device (okay fine, the thermometer) starts wailing like the red alert siren on a Star Trek episode. The display panel is flashing back and forth. My first thought is, crap I burned through the wire. I open up the oven, allowing precious heat to escape while I determine that I haven't got melted wires in my roast. With that confirmed, I notice that said thermometer is sticking straight up. DOH! Forgot that I was supposed to stick that sucker in at an angle. Plus it was next to the bone. No wonder it was upset. Poor thing thought I'd dropped it on the surface of Mercury.
Now an experienced cook would likely have removed the roast from the oven, closed the door, reset the thermometer, then opened the oven and stuck it back in. Which is the intelligent thing to do.
You know what's coming.
I decide to start fidding with it inside the 325 degree oven. The gas oven mind you, which means there's live flames going down in the bottom of that sucker. The food gods watch over children, fools, and personal trainers who don't know how to cook. I manage to get the thermometer in at the right angle. In the process I shove the roast off the rack and into the back of the oven. Thankfully there was another rack below it and it wasn't a drippy roast! Clara Flambee was really not on the menu today.
Roast safely returned to the rack and baking dish without generating third degree burns for the win!
I return to my edits, let the roast cruise up to 135, drop the heat a smidge more, and let it finish up at 145. Roast successfully removed without incident.
I even remembered to let it rest for 20 minutes before cutting! Which of course brings us to cutting. Remember that nice bone? Yeah, I thought you would.
Carving is not on the list of life skills I've acquired. I pulled out my largest knife and studied my foe. After pondering angle of attack, I just shrugged and started hacking. No fingers were lost in the carnage which followed. I learned that cutting around large flat bones is not as easy as it looks. I also learned that an inexperienced carver of bovine will leave a goodly portion of cow on that bone. In short, I need practice.
But I did end up with a pile of meat chunks in reasonable sizes. Tasty meat chunks too!
The bone and meat bits has been exiled to the freezer while I identify a likely dog to gift it too.
So passed the roast adventure on this Wednesday. No injuries were sustained by your fearless heroine, excepting her ego which can use a little deflating anyway. I now have about two weeks worth of cow parts to work into meal plans. Given how much work it was to get the meat into an edible format, I'm highly inclined to use it sparingly as an accompaniment to my meals, not the feature. Funny enough, that's one of the suggested Food Rules.
Nice how that worked out.