3/5/2008 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

The past two weeks I’ve tried to entertain you with my gustatory exploits in Omaha, Neb. during my big annual five-day vacation. The last supper meal we had there we decided to eat at the home of my brother Jim and his wife Sue because their children and grandchildren would be present. Some of the younger grandchildren were too active to take to a restaurant.

So we settled on shrimp for appetizers, salad, prime rib, hash browns, baked beans and fruit for dessert. There were 13 of us present and doggie plates were taken to three husbands who were working that evening. Some of the younger grandchildren preferred Jack’s pizza. I like pizza, too, but I wouldn’t choose it over prime rib.

I found a bargain boneless ribeye at Sam’s Club for $5.37 per pound.

Although that’s pretty expensive, it’s very cheap for that cut of meat. I chose a 14 lb. slab of the meat which came to a little over $75. Ya, that’s a lot of moolah, but if we were to take 13 of us to a restaurant, the bill would have been a lot stiffer than that.

Besides, we were on a once-a-year vacation and we’re entitled to splurge occasionally.

There’s a minor difference between prime rib and ribeye, but in researching this on the Internet, I couldn’t pin it down, so I use the terms interchangeably. I think rib eye is usually eaten as steak and is fried. Prime rib is roasted. But it’s apparently the same cut of meat.

Last week I promised to reveal the recipe and I’m about to deliver on that promise. But first, to roast a quality cut of meat like this, a meat thermometer is essential. Your best bet is a digital thermometer with a probe on a wire connected to the thermometer. The probe goes into the meat and the thermometer sits on top of the stove. You can read the temperature without opening the oven. These cost about $13.

Secondly, a prime cut of meat like this should be eaten rare or at most medium rare. If you demand well-done meat, don’t waste money on a good cut of beef like prime rib or ribeye. Buy round steak or sirloin and burn the devil out of it. Roasting prime rib to well-done really is a criminal act.

Thirdly, in my opinion prime rib does not have to be hot. I think it tastes best at room temperature. If you want it hot, it can be microwaved.

Now that we’ve got the preliminaries out of the way, here’s the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. If you want to rub the meat with spices, do it before you insert the probe and put the roast in the oven. I usually don’t bother with spices. Roast until the probe registers an internal temperature of 110 degrees. Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees and roast until the internal temperature of the meat reaches exactly 130 degrees. Remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes. Half an hour is better. The entire process takes about three hours. This gives you prime rib that’s succulent, tender, juicy and more flavorful than any other method.

Everybody thought the baked beans were better than store-bought baked beans. In a previous column I called the beans "homemade." My wife gave me a terrific scolding, saying that the beans should be called "doctored," not "homemade" because I didn’t start with hard, dry beans. Instead I "doctored" canned beans. I’m not going to argue that point. Here’s the recipe:

Doctored Baked Beans

1 can red beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can butter beans

1 can black beans

1 can wax beans

1/2 lb. bacon

3 medium onions

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup catsup

1/3 cup barbecue sauce

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1-6 oz. can tomato paste

1 Tbsp. ground mustard

2 tsp. smoke flavor

Drain the liquid from three cans of the beans into a container. Set aside the liquid. Put all six cans of beans plus liquid from three of the cans into a kettle suitable for oven use. In a pan, fry the bacon and crumble it into the beans. Chop the onion into small pieces and saute in the bacon grease. Pour the cooked onions and bacon grease into the beans. Combine the brown sugar, catsup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard and smoke flavor in a bowl and stir together. Then pour this mixture into the beans and stir them well. Bake 90 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees. If the beans appear dried out during the cooking process, add some of the reserved liquid from the beans.

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Last week we ran a photo of the tree stump which grew up around a walking plow. The stump was cleaned and lacquered and was placed on display in the North Central Soil Conservation District office in Leeds during the Leeds 75th jubilee in 1961. We wondered where the stump and plow were today. Dennette Buckmier of Maddock provided the answer.

When the North Central Soil Conservation service office was moved to Minnewaukan in 1980, descendants of Phillip Rangen, the original owner, donated it to the Maddock Museum, where it is on display to this day.


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