Sitting on my deck I can see the ramp parking lot across the lake filling up due to the holiday boaters. It’s an iffy one weather wise this year, with clouds lingering overhead and a slight chill in the air. As with most lakeside communities, holidays are a big draw and local businesses have geared up for the added customers and additional revenue flowing into their tills. I sent my other half to the market yesterday and had to send out the dogs after about two hours as I understand it was bumper to bumper shopping carts and long lines.
In anticipation of the holiday, I have been cooking during the week. Yesterday the prime rib was thrown into service to make dinner a bit of a celebration. This holiday, in particular, it seems inappropriate somehow to say “Happy Memorial Day”, because by the name itself it is a day to celebrate heroism, loss, and service. A time to remember those we knew, were related to, married to, or simply strangers who faced what most of us will never have to even imagine so that we wouldn’t have to. It always seems that the families should be honored as well for holidays celebrated without husbands, sons, daughters, wives, fathers and mothers seated at the dinner table. The constant fear that must be ever present in their day-to-day lives associated with having a member of their family in harm’s way, or the dread of someday seeing unidentified military personnel pull up in front of their house with unthinkable news. I know when my son enlisted during the Gulf War, every time I spoke to him I worried that he’d be deployed. In our case his unit came up just after his enlistment was over and by then he was safe at home.
My dad died at twenty-five, and was buried in a full military ceremony in his R.C.A.F. uniform in Ottawa, Canada. Once when I was sixteen my uncle, his oldest brother, took me to the grave site. Everywhere you looked the pristine green hills of the cemetery were interrupted with what appeared to the eye to be a sea of never ending white crosses. It was an odd sensation, standing there looking down at the small white cross bearing my father’s name. I never knew him, not really, as I was just past a year and still finding my footing when he passed away. I think of him always, wonder what the world would have looked like with him in it, and I’m thankful he was around long enough to usher me into it. In the end, I have carried a piece of him along with me in my round hazel eyes and the shape of my face, so similar to those of the man riding bare-chested on the Palomino in the picture on my dresser.
From what I understand, women in the U.S. will now be allowed to fight alongside the men, or I believe that’s what I heard. Certainly in other parts of the world this would not be a new concept, Israel for example, but for us, it will be a step in a new direction.
My mother and I share a dear friend, Doc, who was in the navy during WWII. Doc found himself in the middle of the action manning the transports that ferried the men onto the beach where the fighting was in full force. Over the years he’s told me many stories of incredible bravery and sadness around his experiences overseas, that left me with the deepest respect for these men. I think we all question what we would do if faced with that situation. Run, hide, fight, charge? It’s something, I would guess, you never really know about yourself until faced with the actual decision.
So, I won’t say Happy Memorial Day, more have a safe, fun holiday hopefully shared with friends and family. For me, I’m missing our boat. When we had it we never had time to use it because we owned the restaurant. Now we have the time, and no boat. Life’s weird, eh? When I owned a boat before, we kept it at our cabin during the summer and stored it during the winter as we had no dock at home. Then I moved to a house on the Sacramento Delta with a beautiful dock and direct access to the water and I had sold the boat. One of these days I’m going to get my act together and choreograph this dance so both partners are doing the same step.
A fox walked by the window a minute ago. Beautiful little animal, grey with a burnt orange underbelly and a duster of a tail. As soon as I got over the phenomenon of seeing him ambling along in the bright light of midday his/her partner (or I would assume it to be – how many foxes are there running willy nilly through the area) came trotting along not far behind disappearing into the same copse of trees next to the house. In June they will come to hew the tall grass growing on the vacant lots in the area down to the ground to create fire breaks. With the late rains this season the grasses have grown extremely tall and Mouse the Crazy loves to hide among the blades with only a black and white ear or a hint of tail leaking her position. What a lovely place to be.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I’m always searching for the perfect prime rib and this was pretty close. The rub was amazing. My other half is always dipping bread into the au jus and this one got an A+ from him.
Crusty Prime Rib of Beef with Au Jus
1 3 rib prime rib beef roast
Rub (recipe below)
Au jus (recipe below)
1 Tbsp. herbs de provence*
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. Montreal Steak seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
Two hours prior to cooking, remove prime rib from refrigerator. Pat dry. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature.
Prepare rub mix by combining all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook for 20 mins. at 450 degrees to sear roast, then turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs., about 20 mins. per lb. for medium-rare. Internal temperature should be 125 degrees for med. rare.
Rare: remove at 110 degrees F. (final temp about 120)
Medium-Rare: remove at 120 degrees F. (final temp about 130)
Medium: remove at 130 degrees F. (final temp about 140)
Tent on bread board for 20 mins. before cutting. Be aware the internal temperature will rise another 10 degrees while “resting”.
Serve with prepared horseradish and au jus.
I made horseradish cheese bread which was a big hit on the side. Butter artisan bread generously, sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Place horseradish cheese on top. Place under broiler until bubbly and browned. Yum.
2 Tbsp. pan drippings
2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups beef broth (homemade is optimum)
Salt and pepper to taste
While the prime rib is resting, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan reserving pan bits. Place place on the stove top over med. heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp. of flour and cook, stirring, for 5 mins. until a roux forms. Add broth slowly whisking constantly. Scrape all the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
Turn heat to high and cook the sauce for 10 mins. reducing and thickening slightly. Adjust seasoning, strain and serve alongside the prime rib.
* Note: Herbs de Provence can be made at home if you don’t find any in the cupboard. Usually made with lavender, I make it without.
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp summer savory
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano