London Pot Broil Roast – beware free meat!

Beware free meat!  Hmmm, no.  Be wary of free meat!  Aaaaaa, no that’s not quite it either. Beware green meat!  Yes, of course but that’s another story.  Be thoughtful of free meat preparation? Yeah, that’s close enough.

No matter who you are, where you’ve come from or where you might end up, at some point you’re going to have to be a creative soul when it comes to meals coupled with a severe lack of income.  So, when your buddy says to you, “Hey Biggles, I have a huge freezer full of meat, do you want some?  I bought a half a beef.” It’s best if you smile, nod and thank them very much for their kind offer. Even though, when deep down inside, you’re shaking in your boots because you have no idea how that cow made it in there, how long it’s been in the freezer and how the gosh did some nitwit seal it up. Sealing meat well for the freezer ain’t no easy feat my good people.

The Meathenge Labs’s freezer ultimately ended up with a little over a hundred pounds of assorted frozen meaty packages, some large and some small.  Mostly beef particles, but a few were labelled with Lamb.  There were two 5 pound beef slabs labelled London Broil, one of which made it in to today’s post.  The previous one I grilled over mesquite and pecan wood, was good enough.  But I accidentally let it run to 135 to 140 degrees, was pretty chewy.  Sure it tasted darned fine, but darned that beef if it isn’t so fussy.  Not like pork!

Honestly, sometimes I really don’t have it in me to fuss over a beef steak and pull when it reaches 125 or so.  It’s far easier for me to braise it for hours in the oven submersed in aromatics, tubers and fungi of some distinction.  Crazy, I know.  But that’s how I roll.  Yo.

As I was standing in front of the open freezer door, 5 pound frozen brick of beefy London Broil in my meat-hook sized fangers, I was wondering.  “Can I pot-roast a London Broil?”

Armed with free meat, 3 days defrosting in the fridge, I was ready to find out.  Floured, salted and browned the meat in a cast iron dutch.  Browned off 16 ounces of quartered mushrooms, then sliced onion, flattened tons of fresh garlic, fresh rosemary and enough beef broth to cover.  Install in to 300 degree oven, rack on bottom for 5 hours.  Lid on for 3 or so hours, remove to reduce as needed or wanted.

Uh, yeah.  Apparently one can use a London Broil for pot roast.  And you know what brother?  Or sister, it was darned tasty.

xo, Biggles

Editor’s Note: I made no effort to do any googlizing to see if anyone else had used a london broil for pot roast.  I have absolutely no interest in what anyone else has done in the past.  For me, every day is a new adventure and I adore reinventing the wheel.

Slow Oven Pork Chops – or, Playing with Food !

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Was pretty much cooking for myself last night, Tiny E’s consumption of food really doesn’t amount to what most of us call a meal. I had time, I had pork chops and if I ruined them it wouldn’t ruin anyone’s evening. I wondered what it’d be like to put the center cut chops in to the oven at 250 degrees until they reach 190 degrees (pully aparty).
I used a glass casserole dish with a chrome rack installed, this would keep the meat up and out with the heat able to get all around. Marinated with kosher salt, preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2 hours later, at 190 degrees internal temperature I had a real piece of shit for dinner. The loin portion of the chop didn’t have enough fat to keep it moist. While I had no temperature spikes, the fat was gone! And, considering the method used, there was no browning, no flavors. It was dry, flat tasting pork that just didn’t deliver.
“But Biggles! I see browning !!!” says you. Heh, just because I ruined dinner doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I grabbed the propane torch and browned it myself!
It looks a heck of a lot better than it was. Don’t do it.
Biggles

Cottage Pie – Meathenge used ingredients to actually cook something!

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Yeah baby! I cooked something! Even got a few pictures worth posting too. Sure, it’s no Bacon Tamales like Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius just did. But I was so inspired by Jerry of Cooking by the seat of my Pants recpie for Cottage Pie that I couldn’t resist.
I ran across the post a few weeks ago and thought to myself, I could totally cook that. Brown ground beef with goodies, make mashed taters, assemble, bake in hot oven. Yeah, it took me a few weeks before I would attempt such a feat, but I did it. Now I own its soul.
You already know how good they are and how easy it is to prepare, so I won’t go in to the gory details. It came together in a few minutes and I jacked the oven’s temp over Jerry’s version to 450. Z and I ate the entire pie it was so good, so perfect. I’ve always been a fan of the saying, “Less is More.” But now I’ve proven it yet again to myself, it’s true!
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Oh boy, I can still taste it, smell it crisping up in the oven, ungh. Wanna see that again?

POW !!!


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xo, Biggles

Pepper Rub Country Style Pork Perfection of Love

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Doh ! I cooked this about a month ago and it’s been one of the posts waiting in the wings. Yeah, it’s like that and I have more than just a few.
I been so tired of the chile powder, paprika and the likes. I’ve had so much over the years which is why I’ve been using mostly good kosher salt to marinate my meat in lately. A while back Eric the Knife Guy and his lovely wife Janet gifted me some spice blends from Oregon Spiceman. This particular blend is their Pepper Rub. Black pepper, white pepper, sweet basil, garlic powder and salt. Sounds good and smells even better.
I had a good load of fancy pork country style ribs from Ted of Highland Hills, it was time. Brought down the trusty clay cooker, sliced up an onion, too much garlic, rubbed the meat 2 hours before, installed enough chicken broth, and slid it in to a cold oven set to 400 degrees. I probably even soaked the clay cooker a bit, like you’re supposed to.
Pull when pully aparty, pull when broth is rich in flavor and texture. Probably around the near 3 hour mark.
How was it? The fancy pork and its flavors pulled right through, so tender, so juicy in its own perfection. But the clean bite of the pepper delivered to my waiting gullet everything I was looking for. The onions brought to the table a sweetness, the garlic rounded out all the flavors with a husky bellow. The pepper rub was a delight and packed a slight punch, tilted my head with complex flavor thinking. It wasn’t something I could serve the boys with their “tender” (read: undeveloped) palate. But brother, or sister, this juicy delectable is absolutely divine poured over a more than heaping pile of buttery mashed taters, even perfect for a mid July festival.
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Winter is clearly over, time for the fresh bounty of spring!

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Spring is everywhere, Cookiecrumb of I’m Mad and I Eat is in full swing with light soups and green garlic. The farmer’s markets are absolutely over-flowing with everything from the garden. It’s time to take advantage of the season’s bounty, face first. Eh?
Bah. I’m not done with winter yet.
I had a pork shoulder roast in the fridge that really needed to have something loverly done to it. I got it from Ted at Highland Hills Ranch at the Berkeley Farmer’s market, high quality pork!
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And by high quality, I mean he raises his own animals and brings them to market. Heritage breed stuff with nothing added and fed right.
And then? I realized it was Wednesday and I was going to be on the road picking up the boy in an hour, not back for way over an hour and by then it would be nearly 5pm. Whatever it was I had to do, it had to be done now. It’d take this little beauty hours and hours of slow roasting time. Oil, Survival Spice, a sliced white onion and 5 cloves of whole garlic. Installed to a cold oven set to 300 degrees in a water soaked clay oven.
Know what? It ain’t done yet. Why did I bother posting this? The smell coming from the kitchen is an absolute delight! Spring? Bring it on, but I’m dragging my comfort food in one hand and a club in the other this year. Nyah.
Biggles
ps – As Tommy of Tommy’s Kitchen requested, here are the results!
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There was tons of juicy liquid only from the meat & onions. It was exceptionally rich and turned my eyes skyward.
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When the meat reached 200, I pulled it. Both Z and I tore in to this within minutes, sometimes he’s picky about what he eats. Not this time, no sir. It was everything we smelled for a few hours and more.
Biggles

Clay pot cooker pulled pork sammiches!

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Every time I even remotely remember some of the downright stupidity and lack of thought versus research that C.I. magazine spews my mind goes in to a tailspin. One such largish article they put in to print was a review of pork and its many cuts. It was well laid out with pictures and everything. They wanted us to know what was which and how to play with each one. My jaw hit the floor when they said the pork sirloin roast was not recommended.
Not Recommended was all that cut got. It was too hard to slice they said, too uneven. Not Recommended. Wtf, over?
The pork sirloin roast is one of my top favorite cuts! It’s got the rich porky flavors that you’d find in a butt roast, the tenderness of a loin roast, you can cook it to 138 or 190. How could this cut not pass muster? They’re stupid, that’s all there is to that. And? For this recipe I didn’t use a knife at all! Gah.
Last Saturday found Biggles at the meat area, lifting up packages of this and that. I wasn’t inspired until I spied a sirloin roast in the back. Yoink! It was about 3 pounds of inexpensive perfection. I knew right where this sucker was going, in the clay cooker and it was going to be simple.
Jack oven to 400, rack on bottom. Sliced a white onion and laid on the bottom, 7 cloves of whacked garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Kosher salted the roast and brought to room temperature. Put the lid on and toss in the hot oven for 25 minutes, drop to 350 for an hour. Turn temp down to 325 and cook for another 3 or so hours.
Use 2 forks to splay meat and let it sit for a bit to soak up the juices that collected on the bottom. Remove portion of meat to fry pan, add BBQ sauce and gently warm. Slice bun, install meat and enjoy! The pork could have been used in the sammich as it was, so perfect. Toothsome, rich and every bit a winner. It’s porky love at its best. MmMmMmmm, porky love.
Biggles

Clay Pot Cooking, not a crock, yo. word. Shaddap Biggles.

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The flavors are still on my tongue. Am attempting to bring you some word, some phrase or metaphor that can describe what the last 12 some odd hours were like. Please click on the image and just sit with that for a moment while I collect my thoughts.
Over the past month I’ve been monkeying around with this clay chicken cooker thing. The last dish I made was exceptionally proud of, for several reasons. Not only was it a winner in the chicken & rice casserole flavor department, but it cost just under 5 bux total. This is the dish where I learned that an entire, diced onion is too much. How did I find out? Ask the boys as they dove out the car’s windows the following morning, heh. I still got it.
All along, been wanting to do a pork roast of any kind in the thing, duh. Sunday afternoon found me at Joya de Ceren, visiting Omar and seeing what tasty treats I could find in his meat cooler. Pork shoulder baby! 3.5 pounds of a really great looking hunk of meat. I grabbed the ingredients I thought I needed and expected to have that sucker in the oven within an hour or so.
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That didn’t happen. Too much relaxing and one too many naps, the day was gone. There’s always Monday!
Man, I got home Monday and was in no mood. I could tell where this was going, the days would slide and so would the pork. Nope, I had to make it work and it had to be now. All the ideas of making my own Mexicanny dry rub went right out the window. It was just after 4pm and had only just jacked the oven to 300, I had to move.
Wash, dry meat and let the chill come off. Rub with extra virgin and grab Scott’s Survival Spice. This ain’t just some old premade nothin’ blend. Scott put a lot of time and effort in to this rub and it shows. If I don’t have any of mine laying around, or no time to make one, this is the one to grab. And brother, or sister, I’m glad I did.
Sliced a white onion in to rings and laid on the bottom of the roaster. And maybe 8 cloves of garlic, whacked once with a knife, peeled. One thing I’ve noticed about cooking in the clay oven, I’m far more thoughtful about moisture. That is to say, what you put in there, even an onion, will add moisture that doesn’t escape, much. So, just the little amount of onion, garlic and the moisture in the meat was enough to cook this thing for 9 hours.
Here it is in a nutshell, onion, garlic, dry drubbed meat, 300 for 4 hours, down to 250 for 5 hours. Pull, let rest for an hour or so and refrigerate. Total cost is about 8 to 9 dollars, not counting 9 hours of natural gas pouring in to my range. I know I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m putting the flavors, texture, juice factor and pully apartyness at the very top. I would say this roast could very well be the best pork shoulder I’ve ever received from my oven.
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I have spoken.

ps – I didn’t soak my cooker because the inside upper and lower lid are glazed. Not sure soaking it with water would have done anything positive.

Creamy Chicken & Rice & Poblano Casserole (clay pot)

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Where have I been? Off having a good time doing other things, tee hee.
Well, I had a hankerin’ for a good ol’ American casserole a while back. Something rich with juicy flavors that satisfies down to your toes. Hip to that? Had planned on the standard chicken, rice, creamy condensed soup with a few additions recipe. It’s easy and would satisfy.
Wanna come see what I came up with instead?

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Roast Chicken Chile Verde – Biggles gets an idea

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A few weeks ago Liteluvr of Liteluvr’s Kitchen and Stuff dedicated a chile verde dish to Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius. See, Chile loves chile, especially the green stuff. He searches far & wide, high & low for the best of the best. Liteluvr was inspired enough to do up his own version. I been thinking about it. I have a super badass recipe here, somewhere. I wanted to do something different though, a little off the beaten path.
Last week I was in Joya de Ceren, perusing to see what was new, different or interesting. I walked past the poblanos and thought to myself, “Hay!” Dead ahead are the whole chickens in the meat display case. That, coupled with my recent rediscovery of roasting chickens in a clay pot and it all came together. Roast Chicken Chile Verde.
Wanna come see?

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Flashcard – MIA, or is it?

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No it ain’t! Last week my main flashcard went MIA, missing in action. Sure I have a few more, but there were a few posts on there and wasn’t able to do my job here in The Lab. I found it! So, hopefully within a few days I’ll get that together with some words and share my Pot of White Beans simmered with Pork Ribs. But until then, thought I would share this high-roast chicken I made the other day. Salt and a 450 degree oven, ain’t that somethin’? But Biggles, breast meat is always dry and tasteless. Not this time pally boy, it was moist and full of more chickenny flavor than I had expected.
I bought the chicken last week from Omar at Joya de Ceren here in Richmond. I didn’t ask where he got it, but it is surely not from grower you’d find at your local mega mart. Check out that leg and wing meat, it’s lean. This bird was able to get about, flapping an’ runnin’. And you know what? Raw it smells different, has a smell, rich and gamey. Even the fancy Rosie or Rocky Jr.’s don’t have this. And after it’s cooked, far more chickenny flavors. And at a $1.39 a pound for entero pollo? Count me in. Thank you Omar!
Okay, so you have a pot of beans recipe comin’. Guess what’s in the oven? Just now? Am working on a Roast Chicken Chile Verde, all dedicated to Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius. We’ll see how that turns out, I used no recipe. Since it’s cooked in a clay cooker along with a whole chicken, the liquid proportions are WAY down. In fact, I used less than a cup and am thinking maybe no broth could be the way to go. Plus, I cut up everything in a small dice and whizzed the tomatillos. Everything must be cut small to cook in the allotted hour or so that it takes to cook the chicken. I put a foil lined cookie tray on the bottom of the oven, just in case. I think it’s going to spew some liquid, it’s amazing how much liquid using a clay pot retains.
That’s it for now, roger dodge and over and under.
xo, Biggles
Joya de Ceren
12545 San Pablo Ave
Richmond California
(510) 235-5315

What a long, strange trip it’s been – Country Style Rib Roast

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Unbeknownst to me, I wound up with the same cut of pork twice in the same week. One ended up more like a steak, the other a roast (got this one from Omar). He couldn’t tell me what it was in English and it looked like an odd globule of meat to me, at the time. It wasn’t until I got home and started playing with it that I realized what it was and how I should go about preparing the beast, it was about 4.5 pounds of the Country Style Pork Ribs, all connected.
As you know, this piggy cut is full of meat, fat & bones and lends itself well to long and slow cooking. Dutch Oven or French Oven or Danish Oven cooking coming!
To be honest, I wasn’t very well prepared. I thought I had everything I needed to get the job done, but I didn’t. What I ended up with was missing maybe 2 dimensions of flavors. It was fricken great pork and juicy juice, but I know what I’m capable of and I missed a few things.
Preheat oven to 325 on bottom rack.
What I had:
4.5 Pork Roast
4 El Salvadorean chorizo links
4 glugs of good red wine
Carrots, onions, garlic & celery
Survival Spice
3 Balinese Long Peppercorns (tee hee, I just noticed a quote by me on their web site!)
And maybe a few other things I can’t remember.
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Roughly cut up the roots & veggies, add to dutch along with the whole sausages. Wash, dry meat (really well), rub with extra virgin.
Liberally rub roast with Survival Spice, add liberal amounts of the spice over the bed of non-meat products.
4 glugs of wine to bottom of pan, do not glug over the meat.
But Biggles? What happened, this actually sounds really good? Well, when putting this together I wasn’t feeling herby, I didn’t have the fresh herbs I thought I needed. I went through some dried ones and decided to opt out. Dumbass. And, as it turns out the onion I had was too small and the head of garlic turned out to be the size of half a golf ball. I thought for damned sure I had at least 1 large head left. So, between the lack of the herb action, lack of garlic, onion & chicken broth, the sauce just didn’t have any dark, rich spark to it. See, I should have left the wine go by itself, it would have been just a tad better, but I decided to add 3/4 cup of water. I knew better, but I see chefs and read recipes where they’re adding water all the time. I neglected to use The Force.
Listen up folks, water is for ice cubes to put in glasses full of booze. Water keeps you hydrated when you’re at work or ghod forbid, when you’re exercising. Water has no place in slow roasted meat gifts, no sir. No ma’am! Heck, even those wacky vegetarians know to roast their veggies to make vegetable stock.
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Here’s the roast just before I installed the glass lid and gently slipped it in to the oven.
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Here’s the same pot 3.5 hours later. Not bad for a Tuesday evening, eh? The rich porky smells mixed with the wine and veggies were absolutely to die for. But, due to my Tuesday ineptness, it fell short of my expectations. In the immortal words of Big D, “NEXT !!!”
Biggles

Old Clay Chicky – works just fine!

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Saturday was fun. Chilebrown & Ms. Goofy showed up at my door before 8 am for a trip to the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco. We took separate cars, I followed. Man, it was cold, windy and cold. Even so, we met up with a gaggle of local food bloggers, was nice. The best part though was giving Taylor of Fatted Calf 2 hugs! I don’t get over to SF that often, once every 2 years or so. It was special. On the way back, decided to hit up the Berkeley Farmer’s Market and knabbed me a large pork steak from Ted of Highland Hills, talked with Eric the knife guy and chatted with another pair of food bloggers. A great morning indeed.
On the way back home stopped by the old family stronghold, where Grampa, Gramma & Uncle Ralph live. I had some mail to pick up, truck registration & a few food mags. Gramma asked Gramps is they should give the clay chicken cooker to me. They asked and I said, “sure”. I already have a clay cooker, but what the hell.
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I had no idea it was the 30+ year old fambly cooker from eons ago. No idea. When I saw it a chill ran down my spine and couldn’t believe it. I mean, my sister and I grew up with that damned thing.
As you can see it’s pretty well used, oh yes. It’s got a glaze on the inside, top & bottom. It’s thick too, not some cheapass rig, plus it’s got a lip to help seal it tight. Nicely done!
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Was considering doing a pork roast, the pork steak or a chicken. Turns out the chicken was the most doable for dinner. I don’t normally do veggies in the bottom, too much moisture for an open roasting situation and the bottom of the meat gets all gray and not caramelly. But this clay roaster is all about the moisture.
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In the bottom went a few little carrots, half an onion and about 9 cloves of Big D’s home-grown garlic, 3 chugs of Zin and the last bit of chicken broth. I shouldn’t have done the chicken broth, I’d forgotten how much liquid shows up in the final product, oh well. These are the things I have to learn to suffer through. Salt the chicken, I used dried basil, but who cares. It’s all good. And of course you gotta add the butter!
I felt like setting the oven to 375 and after a half hour, installed the covered chicky.
See?
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How’d it taste? No, better than that, much better. The red wine, garlic, and rich chicken flavors were absolutely amazing. Amazing with a capital A.
To finish it up, I pulled the chicken out, put the juices in a fry pan and reduced it. Then hit it with an immersion blender to make a rustic “sauce”. Chicken never tasted so good!
Biggles

Playing with meat

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Am I terribly busy? Yes. Am I cooking much? No, duh!
Sunday at noon on a fancy, bright, crisp November day found Biggles racing through the store so he could spend some quality time in the meat section. The powers that be tossed some money out and decided to remodel our local largish grocery store. Ya know, it’s funny where the money goes. You’d think they’d hire some people with brains in their heads, nope.
… oh no. I feel a rant coming on and it wasn’t planned. I started off with me in the meat department and just about flew in to a rage about the new doors. OH sure, they’re new and quiet and fast. But, you see, before, you could have 1 person leaving and 1 person arriving. The new door allows only 1 at a time through it. Oh, ghod and the flood of prepared foods! Holy crap! …
Gah, didn’t mean to do that. What I meant to say was that I’d finally, at last, found myself in the meat department. Was looking for some pork spares or loin ribs on sale, gotta pinch that penny baby. Nope, still 15 dollars for a rack of anything. But, for a 1.67 a pound the pork shoulder roasts were selling briskly. Mr. Butcher man said he’d refilled the bin 3 times already and it was only noon!
Yoink. Just like that, for the fun of it.
Raced home, kosher salted it and left it resting on the counter for an hour. Preheat oven to 300, bottom rack. Cast iron skillet with a trivet in the bottom. I think it was nearly 3 hours later when the roast got to 190 and I pulled the sucker.
The textures and flavors were excellent, very porky. It’s a good solid performer, that salt stuff. However, without the smoker, I was missing a dimension of something I wanted. This could easily be taken care of … with … oh something, GRAVY !!! Minced onion in the fat, add flour & stir, add chicken broth and simmer.
Toot toot, here comes the Beaver Valley Express, next stop? Gravy Town.
xo, Biggles

Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law – When cooking is more art than anything else.

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I can remember days when I just this high, I Iook back and they were pretty darned fine. All except for … art. This could be music, drawing, painting and/or dancing. I have 4 internal metronomes all going at once, all at a different rate. When I play the drums or a stringed instrument, both hands do the same thing. If I attempt to split the strummins? My brain splits in half, fall over and I curl up in to a little ball. As I got older, I got smarter and started using rulers to draw, anything. I still have some of those in the garage somewheres. Drawing trees with a ruler is dumb, just in case you wanted to know. By the time I was in high school I’d pretty much given up on this whole art thing, done and over with says me.
Towards the end of high school I discovered cooking and photography, That is to say, I’d been doing those things for years, but realized that as I got older and better, my food and photography didn’t suck as much as it used to.
For today’s entry, there is no recipe, no procedure you can follow. It’s pure art, feel it, study, listen, poke & prod. You have to become one with your beef roast, zen that s.o.b. until you own its soul. MmmMMm, beef soul.
When you’ve spent many years studying your chosen form of art, you know the rules and your ways as second nature. The best part though? Is when you can break those rules, and have a masterpiece presented. This, my good people is just that. I broke one of the all-time huge rules of cooking roasts, don’t put a frozen hunk of meat in the oven.

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