Baby I knead you...
I love making food for my friends - it gives me a chance to make food I wouldn't normally have time to make PLUS I rest comfortably knowing that my bachelor friends got at least one good meal that week.
I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I game with a group of guys every other Friday.
"Game? Game? Game isn't a verb!" I can hear the peanut gallery now...
Oh but it is...to those of us who are geekie enough to own tons of war games, card games and board games. We are very active - especially when we are whippin' ass and takin' names. And none of that Monopoly crap either! I've got a Ticket to Ride baby!!
I had a chunk of beef in the freezer - A huge piece of cow leg - about 11 pounds worth. What the heck was I gonna do? Why the hell did I buy it? Sure it was a good deal. At $1.29/pound, how could I leave that cryopaked beast unwanted in the meat cooler? It would make one hell of a pot roast...maybe I should grind it up for some lean beef...
Then it hit me - Beef!!!
Chicago-style Italian Beef
For those of you who haven't had one of these awesome sandwiches - tough luck. It is kind of like a french dip - but not really. The beef is roasted in a small amount of liquid until medium rare, then cooled and sliced paper thin. When ready to serve, put the meat back into the broth and warm. Pile high on a good crusty bread and garnished with giardiniera . If you like, you can then drown you sandwich in the juice and slurp away.
We will occasionally head up to Wholly Joe's to partake of Beefs here in town. According to Debbie, who has family in Chicago, Joe's does a pretty decent job on the beefs and Chicago dogs. I had never dared to try Beef at home, but what the hell!
So here it is - my half assed attempt at Italian Beef
11 pounds beef roast (It was a boned out steamship round - but any nice piece of roast will do)
2 packages of onion soup mix
Enough oregano to coat the outside of the roast
6 or 7 peeled cloves of garlic, slivered
Pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
A couple shot of Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups water, approx
Trim any fat and connective tissue from the outside of the roast. Poke little holes all over the meat and insert slivered garlic. Put the roast in a roasting pan and coat with the pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with the onion soup mix and then add water until it is about 1/3 of the way up the side of the roast. Seal the pan with foil and bake in a 300 degree oven until "Medium Rare" - an internal temperature of 130 to 140 degrees. Take the roast out of the oven, let cool to room temp and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the roast from the juice and slice thinly - the thinner the better. If you have an electric deli slicer - go for it. I had a hubby with some free time and a really sharp knife. Reheat the juice and add the sliced meat back to the liquid. I held mine in a crock pot on warm for several hours while serving and it worked out great.
Now, here is the crux of the matter. I could not find good rolls. Either the breads were like hot dog buns or too much like dinner rolls. I decided that my friends deserved the best dammit - and if I put them into a serious food coma I had a passing chance of beating them at boardgames that night...
So I pulled out one of my all time favorite books - Bread in Half the Time by Linda West Eckhardt, Diana Collingwood Butts. This book is all about cheating - it allows you to use your microwave and food processor to make bread quickly. (It also won cookbook of the year back in 1991.) I used their hard roll recipe - it calls for a pizza stone and a spray bottle. If you don't have either - go get them now!
If you are a baking purist - avert your eyes now.
For those of you who are not that virginal, feast your eyes on this!
Yup - real rolls - with real crust. Best thing is - I parbaked them on Monday and then wrapped and frozen them. Friday morning, I took them out, let them thaw and then refreshed them on my pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for a few minutes.
Bingo! Food comas all around!
Take that, you damn male gamers....