Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Early (or Last Minute) Thanksgiving Dinner

It's the night before Thanksgiving. If you haven't bought a turkey yet, or haven't started thawing the one you do have ... well, you're screwed. No main course for you.

Thankfully (see what I did there?), you don't really have to do the tired turkey thing for Thanksgiving. You know the pilgrims would have rather had a nice, thick cut of steak ... especially if the grocery store was all sold out of Butterballs.

The girlfriend and I are going to be apart this holiday, so we celebrated last week with a dinner for two. Since we'll each be having turkey at our respective destinations, we opted for a beef rib roast -- no thawing, basting, brining, or other time-intensive steps necessary. Use my recipe for any special dinner.

A note on the meat: I avoid the supermarket at all costs; their meat is terrible. I'd have gone to Costco, which has great meat at good prices, but for two people that's too much food. So I hit up Whole Foods' butcher counter. They cut me a single rib, which weighed in at just under 2 1/2 pounds and rang in at an obscene $31. It was great meat, absolutely. However, on a subsequent trip to Costco I discovered a whole rib roast (four or five ribs) could be had for the same price! Next time I'll buy big and just freeze the rest.

Herb-Crusted Rib Roast for Two:


  • Meat
  • 2-2 1/2 pound cut of rib roast

  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • Cracked pepper to taste

  • Veggies
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped

  • 1-2 pounds fingerling potatoes and small or baby carrots (I used pretty colored ones from the Santa Monica farmers market, because if you're going to build a time machine, why not do it with a little style?)

  • 3 kisses from girlfriend (you have to find a good supplier for this ingredient)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Mix chopped herbs in a small bowl or cup with oil. Rub mixture over all surfaces of the meat. Set aside.

  3. Arrange the root vegetables in a cast iron skillet (if you want to look cool) or a roasting pan and hand mix with remaining rosemary, salt, garlic, and oil. Add kisses to taste.

  4. Place seasoned meat over veggies, and place pan in oven. Roast for 10 minutes, then drop oven temperature to 350, and cook for another 40 minutes. A meat thermometer should read the internal temp of the roast at 110-115 degrees F for a gorgeous, tender, medium-rare pink interior.

  5. Take the roast out of the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes (I went closer to 20). It'll still be hot, but will get more tender this way and stay juicy. The vegetables benefit from the dripping meat juices during the cooking process (because why shouldn't a potato taste like a cow?).

Serve this up with roast butternut squash, mashed parsnips and carrots, sauteed baby bok choy, a bottle of Marquis Philips Shiraz (actually, I'm not sure I'd go with that one again -- something bigger next time), and a hot apple crisp for dessert.

Farmers market's best

Look at that perfect marbling -- it takes the sting off the meat's price tag (a little)

The meaty, juicy payoff

The apple crisp is my girlfriend's secret recipe. If you want it, you'll have to date her yourself.

Sweet, (way) buttery, crumbly top puts the crisp in apple crisp

Thanksgiving on the coffee table -- this is our bohemian life

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