NIBBLES: ‘Mad Men’ era was stylish, but the roast beef was often overcooked

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    I came of age during the time of the great gray Sunday roasts.

    Meat in the Mad Men era was well-done, as in virtually pink-less and fairly dry, at least in my house. I was in college before I realized it was safe to eat medium-rare beef and pork. My dad the doctor had a mortal fear of meat-borne diseases like trichonosis and a cultural aversion to onions and garlic.

    Mom did make pan gravy for the meat, pan-roasted potatoes and sweet shriveled carrots, but the best thing was a special hard-boiled egg sauce. We’re not sure whether the sauce recipe came from the Austrian or Sicilian side of the family or maybe just Good Housekeeping. It was basically a blend of finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, mustard, a little sugar, wine vinegar, salt and pepper that was perfect on warm or cold roast beef or ham.

    I was thinking about that sauce as I stood contemplating the great wall o’ meat at my supermarket last week. I rejected the pork tenderloin and was unmoved by the lean ground beef before my eyes spied the beef roasts.

    Over the past decade or more, I’ve rarely bought a roast beef, maybe once a year. Part of my avoidance was a dietary concern and cost, plus I usually only cook for two and roasting a beef seemed like a hassle.

    But this time a chuck roast sounded, well, yummy. I took it home, put it in a glass pie plate, and sprinkled the top with soy sauce, red wine, green peppercorns and chopped garlic. Around it I placed baby carrots, chopped celery and yellow bell pepper, and grape tomatoes. When it emerged fragrantly from the oven my son grinned ear-to-ear. “Wow, an actual roast beef!” he said.

    The juicy beef was a treat with the savory pan sauce and veggies atop buttery smashed white potatoes and broccoli spears with a little roasted sesame oil.

    This morning I made roast beef  and Swiss sandwiches that truly sang. However, the beef turned out more well-done than medium rare. Apparently, I am my mother’s son.

    Next time I’ll use a meat thermometer. Now I just need to figure out how to make hat hard-boiled egg sauce.

    EATERY UPDATE
    Boulder’s Pizzeria Locale, recently named Best Pizza in the metro area by Westword, picked up another honor recently. The pizza joint’s sommelier, Matthew Mather, was named one of top wine guys in the country for 2012. … The food blog Foodista has named the french fries at Denver’s Jonesy’s Eatbar as among the best in the U.S. … Dry Dock Brewing is pouring its spring seasonal, Apricot Blonde, in its Aurora taproom. A bottled version will soon be selling in local liquor stores.

    CULINARY CALENDAR
    Need to add excitement to your graduation party in May? Plan a private meat class as entertainment courtesy of Denver’s artisan salumeria, Il Mondo Vecchio. Owner Mark Michael DeNittis offers a colorful hands-on class in making fresh sausage, dry salumi or whole animal demonstrations. Information: ilmondovecchiosalumi.com. …  The “Edible?” show showing until June 17 at Boulder’s Museum of Contemporary Art includes food art in its many guises. The works of Viviane Le Courtois includes “Cheetovore,” a huge Cheeto made of Cheetos. Information: bmoca.org. … The Boulder County Farmers Markets are open for the season from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at 13th Street and Canyon Boulevard and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in Longmont. Information: boulderfarmers.org. … Plan ahead: The second annual Denver Lemonade Day takes place June 3. The program in 31 cities teaches kids how to start and operate their own business. For participation information, visit  denver.lemonadeday.org.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT
    “Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.” – Cartoonist Walt Kelly

    Send your questions and quibbles to: [email protected] Be sure to  like the Nibbles Facebook page. Radio Nibbles airs at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU, 88.5 FM, 1390 AM, and  streaming on kgnu.org.

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