Sunday, December 4, 2011

Spamtastic Entertaining - Range Style

When you are cooking for special guests, there are normally three schools of thought on what to do.

(1). Make something intensively elaborate to impress.

For example, a truly elaborate meal might be to uncork a bottle of 2005 Rosenblum Cellars Petite Sirah and serve alongside a Crown Roast of Lamb.

The paper (or foil) keeps the end of the bones from getting burnt, and the dish is usually the centerpiece of the table.

All the work involved notwithstanding, have you PRICED a Crown Roast of Lamb? Depending on whether you are shopping Safeway or a special butcher shop, you're going to spend $30 to $80 dollars. Yikes. I don't mind dropping a few dollars on some nice steaks, but $80? That's like 250 rounds of Federal .223 55 gr FMJ!

So there is the second school of thought in cooking for guests.

(2) Use a cheaper substitution and hope they don't notice.

Paired with a nicely chilled bottle of Chateau des Moines, you could serve Redneck Crown Roast of Spam.

Even with a really cool Gerber knife to carve it, I think someone would notice. Now perhaps there's a fellow that would be impressed with that, but he would not be someone I would want to see over espresso in the early morning.

So that leaves us with the third school of cooking for guests.

(3) Simple ingredients, real food, freshly prepared.

Steak with Espresso-Chili Rub. It's dry rubbed with a mixture that includes ancho chili, cinnamon, white pepper, garlic, onion and espresso powder, seared in a cast iron skillet and then finished in the oven until it's as tender as butter. Serve with a salad or some steamed broccoli and a warm loaf of Potato Oatmeal Bread to sop up the juices.

You won't spend your evening trying to prepare something complicated, you won't empty your wallet completely and I think any guest will be duly happy.