Saturday, April 2, 2011

take out a mortgage

The butchers at WesternBEEF are good guys. They enjoy their work in that very cold room and they really do try to please. And their prices are insanely low, too. 

$.29 a pound, gotta love it.

So awhile back I decided to order a classic standing rib roast, a roast of beef with the rib bones intact. An old German butcher on the UpperEastSide named Dieter had been spoiling me for years at UpperEastSide prices, so I was interested to see how well the WesternBeef guys could do. 
This roast from Dieter a couple years ago was about 12-13 pounds and over $20.00 per pound. $250 for a piece of meat is insane, I know. It was for a Christmas party. 

But it was superb, see the rich marbling of fat within the meat? And the fatty layer left on top? It’s a beautiful thing, and it roasted to a T.

So how did the WesternBEEF boys do?

Well, first, the good news. This roast was about 7 pounds and only one fourth the per-pound price of Dieter’s roast, so barely $40.00 total. It had good color, decent marbling within the meat and was tied as expertly as I’ve ever seen it. All good.

But at that price it couldn’t be the same quality so to add flavor I rubbed it with a Moroccan dry rub I threw together in the spice grinder; some cardamom and cumin, a bit of ginger and black pepper, paprika and cloves, allspice and garlic and salt.
That’s whole cardamom in the grinder. But there was a problem, the butcher removed the fat layer and that’s unusual. Fat is flavor and typically you set the roast on the bones fat side up, so it naturally bastes itself while it roasts. Without the fat layer, this roast will turn out dry.
So I decided to bard it with raw bacon. What is “bard”? 

Not this guy. says:
“When meat is wrapped in strips of fat while it cooks, the practice is called barding. Barding helps to keep meat moist while it cooks, and also imparts flavor…….. the result is a rich, flavorful cut of meat which is also moist and tender. Bacon... (is)... commonly used as barding.”

See the roasted bacon? I pulled it out at an internal temperature of 130°F, indicated as “rare” on this meat thermometer. Now here’s the less-than-great news.

As suspected, quality counts; this roast was only so-so. My guests were kind and choked it down but we were in general agreement it was a large, rather flavorless and uninspiring piece of meat. The other things helped out.

Later I cubed the leftover roast, browned the cut edges...

...added stock and wine and onions and made a nice beef stew. Waste not want not.

But if you need a first rate prime rib for a dinner party, it looks like you might wanna take out a mortgage and get your roast on the UES. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beemer dreamer

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Give this time.

One week ago today I posted about the growing disparity between the wealthiest few and then the rest of America, predicting trouble in the long run if this is not addressed.

Not immediately, of course. It will be another generation before minorities become majorities, elected officials reflect this shift and then laws begin to flirt with the forced redistribution of our wealth. Then we’ll see a mass exodus of that wealth to a neutral country, taking the jobs with it and before long...see where this is going?

But in the meantime, reality TV star from MTV's The Real World, now hapless Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin made a plea to his constituents this week that he was “struggling to get by on only $174,000 a year” while he voted to limit middle class benefits for everyone else.

Now, $174K is a far cry from wealthy but perhaps he forgot they were likely trying to live a respectable life and educate their children on something much closer to the national average of about $Forty eight thousand dollars. 
So what will his voters do for him? They are holding a “food and clothes drive” asking for “canned bourguignon.”

“Top hats & Monocles” lol And “Used Cashmere.”
It’s early yet. 

There goes the ClockTower swim party

Ol’ man rivuhhh, dat ol’ man rivuhhhh
He mus know sumpthin’
But don’ say nuthinnn’
He jus keps rollinn’
He keeps on rollin’’ ah-long.
Ah gets weary, an’ sick of tryin’
Ah’m tired of livin…
And scared of dyinnnnnnn...
He juss keeps rollin' ahhhhhhhh-long.
From the American musical SHOWBOAT, 1927,
with apologies to Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein (lyrics).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Astrud Gilberto

Iconic Brazilian jazz, samba and bossa nova singer, 
born March 30, 1940.

Here with her musical collaborator and later, her lover, 
the incomparable Stan Getz.

Green apples

That’s all.

Monday, March 28, 2011

the end of the line

Know what I discovered?

When you take the northbound 6 train all the way up to Pelham Bay at the end of the line, somewhere around WestChester Square it empties and becomes a kind of private limo. 

with hard, plastic seats.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hold your calls, we’ve got a winner!

No. Everyone knows devils are red.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Hm. Both?