Friday, September 19, 2014

Apéritif Friday - Cabernet Franc, HIDS Rib Roast, Steamed Broccoli and Smashed Potato Casserole


If you ever try anything I've ever cooked, this is the one.

Start with an apéritif. The one I sipped on this gorgeous fall Sunday afternoon alongside a tasty Greek appetizer will be highlighted soon on the Yummie Nation website. Sorry to be such a'll have to check back. But after my cocktail, I switched over to my latest garnet colored fascination.
A beautiful, earthy Cabernet Franc. A bit lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon, but slightly heaver than a Pinot Noir. And the most unbelievable part? This wine hails from New York. Funky! And delicious. I promise.

The hydrangea in my garden is about done, and some blooms were spending too much time lying on the ground. So since we were spending the majority of Sunday Funday Football day outside on the patio, I finally cut them and plopped them into a vase. And we've been enjoying them on the dining room table all week. Just a little Martha sidebar for ya.

Is it just me, or is football taking over EVERYTHING? Seriously. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I used to love it, especially when the pros were relegated to just two days a week. Back in the olden days. But now? Mr. Musky sings, "Are you ready?" and I cringe. Every time. He relishes the sheer terror on my face, until I realize that it's Tuesday or Wednesday and he's just messing with me.

But rather than pout and complain, I decided to embrace it. And amp up the tailgate factor last weekend. I asked the butcher for a prime rib...on account of the Bears taking on the 49ers and all. 
The butcher chuckled and said to not hold my breath. He wished me well...and said he hoped the dinner would help me overcome the impending loss. What a man of little faith. But I forgive him. Because the prime rib he cut me was positively superb.
Before I showcase the star of the tailgate, allow me to talk a tic about the sides. All the recipes for this feast are at the end of the post, if you'd like to skip the blathering.

Well hello, colors of Italy.
I steamed some broccoli from the CSA and added roasted red peppers and shaved parmesan. A squeeze of lemon and it's zest added a zip of freshness. It tasted as great as it looks. this is a treat in our house.
We don't eat potatoes all that often, but they've been in our CSA basket for the past several weeks, so we now feast on them weekly. Smashed Potato Casserole - Jake's favorite way to snarf these suckers down. I have to yell at him to leave a spoonful for his sister if she's not home for dinner. I think I even saw him licking the empty dish once.

Just kidding. But they are seriously tasty. Creamy, cheesy, chivey, classic goodness in a side dish.

Whew. I've done blown my alliteration quota for the day.

Oh...and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership is something I'll be back talking about next week. There I go, teasing you all over again. I guess I continue to live up to the very prestigious "Biggest Flirt" award I so humbly accepted back in high school. we go. Brace yourselves...

Over the summer our friends Michelle and Chuck and their sweet pooch Daisy visited us at the cabin for a quick weekend, and they brought a rib roast. Extremely grateful, we plopped it on low heat on the Traeger and let it do it's thing while we romped around the woods. I chuckle, because Chuck calls his home base barbecue center HIDS.

Which is short for Hope It Doesn't Suck.

Well let me tell you...his roast oozed with flavor, juiciness and absolutely melted in our mouths. It was so good, we had to get the recipe from him.

Are you ready for this?
Cut back the fat cap, but don't slice it off. Spike the roast with slivers of garlic. Pour rub all over it, replace the fat cap, and pour rub over the fat. Place it in a plastic container or wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge. Wait three days, then smoke it at a low heat. The fat will slowly melt and ooze into the roast, keeping it moist and juicy.
Seriously, that's all there is to it.
I'm telling you...this hunk o' meat is to die for! And I'll let you in on a little secret. You don't need to spend the extra moolah on prime. Just ask your butcher for a choice rib roast with the bones removed.

This is so good that I sent one with Mr. Musky up North today for his fishing week with the guys. You're welcome, Mr. Moby and Mr. Boy Scout.
This, my friends, is a feast worthy of a win. Which they did! Yay Bears! I'm hearing, "Super Bears, Super Bowl!" all around my house again. Take that, lovely butcher man!

Steamed Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers
2 small heads of broccoli, cleaned and cut into smaller pieces
2T butter
Dash of garlic powder and onion powder
Salt and pepper
One roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Shaved Parmesan

Steam the broccoli for 7-10 minutes, until it reaches your desired doneness (I like mine with a little "bite" to it). Combine the broccoli with the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder as desired. Can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Smashed Potato Casserole
1lb red potatoes
4T butter
1/4 cup half and half
1t garlic salt
1t onion powder
1/4t fresh grated nutmeg (use a microplane)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 scallion
2 oz white cheddar cheese, diced
1/4 cup aged yellow cheddar, shredded
1-2T chopped chives

Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water, cooking until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and place the pot back over low heat to dehydrate them of any remaining water. Using a hand held masher, smash the potatoes into smaller pieces, skins and all. Add the remaining ingredients except the shredded cheese and gently stir to mix. Pour the concoction into an oven proof casserole and top with the shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then broil to brown the top. Be careful not to burn! Top with chopped chives.

HIDS Rib Roast
3-5 lb rib roast, bones removed (ours in the above pictures was 3.3 pounds)
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered into smaller pieces
A sugar free, garlic based rib rub. Chuck used a brand called Ultimate Steak and Roast Rub, which we couldn't find in Chicagoland, but I picked up a jar when recently visiting my folks near the Iowa border. Basically, any rub blend including garlic, salt, pepper, onion, etc. would work. Montreal Steak Seasoning would work as well.

Cut the fat cap back on the top of the roast, careful not to slice it all the way off. With a sharp paring knife, cut small holes into the roast and push slivers of garlic into the meat. Generously shake the rub all over the meat, massaging it into the meat to ensure it sticks. Replace the fat cap and sprinkle the rub over the fat as well. Place in a plastic container or wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for three days. Heat your grill or smoker to 275 degrees and cook the roast on a rack over an aluminum pan until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Then increase the heat to 350 degrees to finish cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. (Mr. Musky has a really hard time with this step, but he's finally realizing that letting the meat rest is key to redistribution of juices. Just pour yourself another glass of Cabernet Franc.) Slice and serve. Don't be shy - lick the plate. :)



  1. HIDS makes the map! WooHoo! While this rib roast is absolutely fabulous and can stand on it's own, pairing it with great friends is the icing on the cake....and isn't that really all the sugar we need? :)