Monday, May 14, 2007

Welcome to BCD/Happy Mother's Day!

by Xani and Erin

For our first post, it is only appropriate that we begin with a description of one of our Sunday Dinners at home. Every Sunday, our family gets together to cook a (usually) elaborate/ridiculous meal, and this Sunday was Mother's Day, so it was extra special. This week we tried a new recipe but also brought out a few tried and true ones. Here's the menu:

  • Margaritas
  • Bruschetta on the grill
  • Prime rib
  • Frites
  • Ice cream

Xani made the margaritas this time, and our twist is to use lime juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice instead of just lime juice. Then we added triple sec and tequila. We should have used the good tequila but didn't know we had good tequila until it was too late.

For the first course, we tried a new recipe for "Grilled Bruschetta" from License to Grill. It had a lot of steps but was good. First you roast a head of garlic in the oven (note: any recipe that starts with this step is probably good). Then, you puree sun-dried tomatoes with the roasted garlic and more olive oil. Spread that onto a baguette sliced lengthwise (we didn't have baguette so we used this other bread - don't worry, we figured out it was approximately the same surface area as baguette - whew!). Then sprinkle with grated asiago cheese and put on the grill to get crispy and to melt the cheese. This ALONE would have been fantastic, but its not done yet! Meanwhile, you make a topping with tomatoes (we used canned, Italian-flavored ones that we drained), basil, balsamic vinegar, red onion, and olive oil, let that sit for 30 minutes in the fridge, and then spoon it on top of the grilled bread. We thought it would be less messy to have the cold tomato mixture on the side instead of on top, sort of like a dip. It was pretty good - very tomato-y.

The main course of prime rib and fries is an old stand-by of ours - we LOVE prime rib. The recipe is from an ancient cookbook (Entertaining- author unknown) our parents got many years ago. We are unsure of the book's whereabouts but the recipe is burned into our brains. The recipe for the fries is something Xani developed over the years, with a few techniques taken from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook (you must get this book if you are a fan of his - the recipes are wonderful and his writing style is dripping with sarcasm and profanity - good times!).

The prime rib was a 6.5 pound, bone-in rib roast which was aged for 3 weeks or so-- our Dad has begun "wet-aging" most of the beef he and our Mom buy for improved flavor and tenderness. (Wet-aging means you leave vacuum-sealed meat from the store in your fridge for a few weeks. Then you open it up, rinse it off and trim and butcher the meat. Sounds unsafe but its not, as I learned at a butchering workshop at Sotto Sopra. But that's a story for another time!). After removing it from the freezer it was then left to come to room temperature. Well, actually, it was left out for so long we assumed it MUST be room temperature by now, when in reality it was about 45 degrees internal temperature when we inserted the thermometer. Oops.

ANYWAY, before insertion, it was coated with softened butter (why not?? seriously though its part of the recipe!) and salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and cook the meat for 5 minutes per pound (we had a 6.5 lb roast, so that's 32.5 mins, which I know because I am a MATH GENIUS). Then the oven is turned off and the meat stays in the oven for 2 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN! That is key to this recipe as the residual heat in the oven is what cooks the meat the rest of the way. As you can see, it turned out perfectly! Of course we had the added insurance of the instant-read meat thermometer but for many years we did not use a meat thermometer for this recipe, and it was fool-proof every time! (Note: We must warn you however that this formula only works for roasts larger than 4lbs and less than 10lbs. If you have an extrmely large roast (like the 20-pounder we cooked for Passover this year), we recommend cutting it in half and cooking one at a time!

Xani's fries are the best in the land. Okay, okay, the best I have ever had (and I've had a lot of fries mind you). She takes frozen shoestring fries (gasp! but really they turn out GREAT!), a few tablespoons of fat/oil (this time it was duck fat, SOO delicious, but you can easily just use olive oil if you don't happen to have duck fat lying around), and finely chopped fresh rosemary (sometimes she uses thyme). She tosses all ingredients together on a sheet pan. Then she puts them in a HOT oven (about 425 degrees) and bakes them for about half an hour, checking often and tossing them around until they get golden brown and crispy. She uses Bourdain's trick where she puts the fries into a bowl lined with a clean dish towel, and then tosses the fries in the towel to remove the extra fat. Sprinkle with kosher salt. They are FANTASTIC.

We served the meal with a lovely 1996 Bordeaux. Delicious.

Look at this plate! It should be in the dictionary next to "gluttony." But so worth it... especially on a special occasion like Mother's day!

Then we had Haagen Daaz Extra Rich Light ice cream for dessert - sort of ridiculous that we had "light" ice cream after this meal but we did. No pics of the ice cream - you know what that looks like, right?

We hope you have enjoyed our first post! There will be more to come as we cook more and explore more Baltimore restaurants, and of course plan our various summer parties! Looking forward to your comments!

Happy eating,

E & X


  1. Looks awesome...makes me hungry! Good thing I just ate lunch. But Xani - I have never had the fries, next time ok?
    - Hayley

  2. Is that first photo Cafe du Monde?

    I think it is. mmmmmmmm beignets.

    You should do a piece on homade beignets. And then offer the results to colleagues. mmmmmmm.

  3. holy shiz-nit!! That is all I can say.

  4. yum yum yum. I am totally trying that french fry technique.

    You are reminding me I need to put up that post about the bread I made a few weeks ago.

    PS. Hey lurkers! Y'alls need to comment now that we know you were paying attention. See how good it feels to get the comments? Like a little hand squeeze acrost the internets....


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