Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My oven is wrong

The last time I saw my mom make a rib eye roast, she had invited Bobby and I over kind of last minute because she needed an excuse to make the roast she'd picked up.  It had been on sale, but it was too much food for just her and dad.  So Bobby and I just came over and hung out one weekend afternoon.  I watched her look up how long to cook it in this really old cookbook she's had as long as I can remember, Let's Cook it Right.  It's one of those books that looks like your great-grandmother maybe gave it to your grandmother, who gave it to your mother.  It's old.  I think it's also where our banana bread recipe, and our german pancake recipe came from.

Anyway, the book had this chart that listed the kinds of meats, and the temperature at which to cook them and for how long to achieve rare, medium-rare, etc. (those are the only two I find acceptable, so I usually just stop there).  I suddenly wanted the book very badly.  I don't have a lot of experience cooking roasts, and I hate dry, overcooked beef, so I've been reluctant to jump into making them.  This roast was not dry or overcooked - it was perfectly juicy and somewhere between rare and medium-rare.  Practically melted in your mouth.  I wanted that chart.

So I found the book on Amazon and bought it.  There's actually a little narrative in the beginning, where the author rips present day cookbooks (present day being 1947).  She basically says that current methods seem to have been created to strip the flavor and nutrients out of food.  As if other cookbook authors are plotting to destroy humankind with bad food.  (I wonder what she would say about fast food...)  She states that her goal is to provide simple recipes that maximize nutrition and taste while minimizing work for the cook.

Now to test the chart.  Rib Eye roasts were on sale recently - only $4.19/lb., so I bought a roast.  Okay, now what do I do with it?  I hadn't even thought about what to season it with, so I went with the same thing I smother my steaks with before grilling them - olive oil, a little truffle oil, salt, pepper, and lots of crushed garlic.  Okay, according to my chart, 300 degrees, and 20 min/lb. should put me at the high end of rare, or the low end of medium-rare.

But after my requisite hour, I stuck in my instant read thermometer, and it hadn't even reached the low end of rare yet...

Cookies always take longer to bake in my oven than my instructions say they should.  I used to think this was because I always made the dough balls larger than they say to, but maybe the temperature in my oven is just off...

Well, I stuck my roast back in a good 30 minutes longer, before the temp actually read something appropriate.  Mmm... but then after letting it sit a few minutes and then slicing it open - it was perfect.  Rave reviews all around.  I've already made it again - this time setting the oven at 325 degrees, and even then it took longer than expected.

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