Thursday, June 11, 2015

Getting into the Summer Groove - Boneless Rump Roast and CSA #1

     Last Friday afternoon, I was as excited as a child at Christmas.  My CSA pickup time was between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  I pulled up to the designated location, hopped out and practically skipped into the building.  There was no one in the entry way but I knew from my instructions what I needed to do.  Check my name off the list on the clipboard, open one of the large boxes marked "Full Share", take the bag out, break down the box and stack it with the others and finally take one item out of the small cooler bag.  That being accomplished, I headed back to my car to open my bag of goodies.   It really was like Christmas.  A Vegetable Christmas...for someone who isn't crazy about Vegetables.  Oh well, it was something to open.
Here is what we were given for our first CSA delivery:

  1.  One very large bok choi
  2. About 15 sticks of rhubarb
  3. Swiss Chard
  4. 1 head of Red Lollo Lettuce
  5. 1 head of Green Butterhead Lettuce
  6. 3 zucchinis
  7. A bunch of lambs quarter - WHAT IS THAT?
  8. A jar of chopped tomatoes
  9. A block of mild cheddar cheese from a local dairy

     Here is what went through my mind:  "Lots of lettuce, which was fine with me."  "Zucchini, well, I could make zucchini bread."  "What is lambs quarter?" "Rhubarb...I do not want to make a dessert with it."  "I can always deal with more tomatoes and a block of cheese."  So overall, it was not a bad first haul.  But wait....the Swiss Chard.  Ugh!

     When I was young and my father was in graduate school in Mississippi, I remember my parents had a fairly large vegetable garden one summer.  I have very little recollection of what they grew except for two items:  Swiss Chard and Cauliflower.  Now, my father will read this and will probably set my memory straight...reminding me of vine ripened tomatoes, plump cucumbers or sweet corn.  Who knows?  All I remember is Swiss Chard and Cauliflower and to this day...those along with canned peas do not pass through these lips.

     I did not want to put anything to waste but I am not ready yet to delve into Swiss Chard.  Luckily, shortly after picking up my order, I was on my way to my in-laws.  I offered her the Swiss Chard and she was more than happy.  "I know what to do with this!  It is so pretty!"  Chard, pretty?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The next day, she emailed Dear Husband indicating that she had located a new recipe for the horrid leafy vegetable and was planning to make it soon.  The Chard had found a good home.

    Now, what did I do with the rest of the bounty... this bounty that had to be eaten fully by today as we are leaving on a trip (and I miss CSA #2).  Not needing a dessert, I boiled down the rhubarb in some honey and water and pressed out the liquid.  I have been using it as a flavor for my sparkling water and it is actually not bad.  Mix it with some vodka, lime and seltzer and it is a nice cocktail.  Best of all, I hear that it helps increase your metabolism...something I desperately need at the moment.

     Red Lollo Lettuce was the easiest.  A baked goat cheese salad over a bed of lettuce with a dijon vinaigrette made a very nice first course for our Rump Roast on Sunday.  Monday night was Asian night and Dear Daughter participated in making Stir Fry Chicken with Bok Choi served over brown rice (found in the NY Times).  Green Butterhead Lettuce was the base of our lunch salads for the week.  Chopped tomatoes are in the fridge for our return.  The cheese was a great addition to our Saturday night cheese course, which included unpasteurized cows milk aged gruyere, an herb flavored goat cheese, truffle cheese from Italy, a small wedge of Rochefort and local honey.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Red Lollo Lettuce

     I bet; however, you are still wondering what I did with the Lambs Quarter or what this even is.  Well, my trusty CSA sent along a description followed by a blog posting which indicates that Lambs Quarter is actually an edible weed!  While it doesn't look like spinach, it is very close in flavor in spinach.  Remembering that I had to eat most of these items rather quickly and was also trying to lose a few pounds before the trip, I figured that the best recipe would be to have Crockpot Italian Surprise,(recipe on this site, August 2013), which calls for both grated zucchini and spinach.  Whew, I did it!

Lambs Quarter - New Discovery

     While summer has started, there is no sleeping late in our household.  The end of school marked the  beginning of summer swim club practices.  Each morning, Dear Daughter wakes up at 6:15, scarfs down a quick banana and then we head off to the local outdoor pool for a 90-minute practice.  By the time she sits down to breakfast around 9:00 am, she is ravenous.  After breakfast, she puts in about 90 minutes of enrichment schoolwork (not her choice, btw).  By noon each day, we feel as though we have been going for hours.   And we have.

     My challenge last week was to come up with ideas for all of the different cuts of meat that we currently have.  Last Sunday, we had boneless rump roast.  I have never cooked this nor do I think I have ever had this.  I am not a big roast and gravy sort of person.  I searched the Internet and found a very simple recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes.  Regardless of the odd cooking method, the roast came out perfectly cooked and very tasty.  The only downside was my complete inability to make a pan gravy.

     So no food challenges for next week.  I will tell you that our trip, while work related for Dear Husband, is more food and shopping related for the rest of us.  Late tomorrow afternoon, we will be finishing up a lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant.  Next Monday includes an evening food tour (on bicycle).   Lunch on Wednesday will be at the 52nd Best Restaurant in the World.   Google that and you will know where we will be.  BTW, I find that having lunch at these places is much more economical than having dinner and just as good an experience.  

    Enjoy the recipe and enjoy the week.

Boneless Rump Roast
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 3 to 3 1/2 pound boneless rump roast
8 to 10 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

It is best to have a rump roast that has a small layer of fat on the top.  Mine did not and it still turned out very tasty.

Take the beef out of the refrigerator at least one hour and preferably two hours before cooking.  Salt the roast and then fold it back into its packaging.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.     Pat the roast with paper towels to dry;,.  Make small incisions all around the roast and insert the cloves of garlic.  In some cases, the garlic was quite large so I halved them lengthwise and pushed them in to the meat.  Rub the entire roast with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  

Place the roast directly on the grate in your oven.  Yes, do it.  But make sure to put a pan under the grate to catch the pan drippings.  

Roast at this temperature for 30 minutes to brown the meat.  Then, lower the temp to 225 and cook for another 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size and shape of your meat.  This is really important.  You need to periodically check the meat.  I had a meat probe inserted and once the temp registered 135F, I took it out of the oven.  Most of the meat was medium - but I like medium rare, so I could have taken it out a little earlier.  Let the meat rest for 15 to 30 minutes.  You can use the pan drippings collected on the pan to make a gravy.  Google how to make gravy and best of luck to you.  It never works for me but it isn't an issue as I would just rather have some mustard or horseradish standing by as a condiment as needed.  


  1. Hey guys, I get hungry reading this. While reading it my evening dinner was delivered at the front door. Veggie dimsums and tepanyaki with beef and noodles. And meanwhile I know where you are going (Frauke told me). And I will be in the same place a week later than you. What a coïncidence; too bad the dates don't match. I could bring the candy I haven't sent yet. Enjoy your trip.

  2. I've never done a roast on the oven rack before, but will have to try it when the temperature drops below 100*. I might have a little bit of thermometer envy...