It’s a little known fact that one of Joe’s most embarrassing moments with my parents happened before we were married and I was pseudo living in their home. During our first year of dating/engagement (it happened quickly) I attended a graduate school that shall remain nameless, since those egomaniacs don’t need any additional press. Because I was away at school, I lived with my parents on breaks as we were not married yet. Yes, I’m an old-fashioned girl. Have I lost you? Don’t worry, I’m about to swing back to Joe’s embarrassing moment.
Over one of these breaks Joe called me on my parents’ house phone. There was no other kind of phone back then – do you kids know how lucky you are with your cell phones???? – and my mom answered. Joe thought it was me on the line and said “Hi Beef?” Yes, that was his nickname for me at that time. Romantic, wasn’t it? I wasn’t nearly as beefy back then as I am today. I believe that name came from his regular habit of gnawing on my arm like a side of beef. In case you wondered, gnawing on my arm in front of my parents presented other embarrassing moments in those early days, as well. Mom quickly corrected him and called me to the phone. I can only imagine what was going through her mind at the time.
Moving ahead a few years, and Joe and I are still together despite those embarrassing moments, bringing us to last night’s dinner. It was one of those many nights when I attempted to juggle different schedules. Louise had to be at a summer job meeting at 6:30 that wouldn’t bring her home until after 9:00, while Joe had to be at a church committee meeting at 7:30. What could I cook early that would hold throughout these staggered dinnertimes?
At first I was looking for sandwich ideas, but as my search progressed through one magazine after the next, I became increasingly irritated by the “wrongness” of everything. Suddenly a recipe for a beef eye round roast caught my eye and I remembered my mom’s eye round roast recipe that she got from my grandmother Louise, from whom Louisa gets her name.
I had never made the recipe in all of my years of cooking because I was a bit intimidated by the spectre of possible failure. You see, an eye round is a very lean cut of beef and if cooked too long or sliced too thick it could be bad. Plus, this roast is somewhat legendary in the family. It was only made for special occasions since it was a large cut of beef, designed to feed many mouths. In this case, it was best to experiment on my small family and plan on using the leftovers for lunch.
I called mom and asked for the secret recipe which I’ll now share with you. We’re all family here, right?
Take an eye round cut of beef, whatever size fits your group. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper (well, maybe not as liberally as I do!) Place it in a roasting pan and pour red wine vinegar over the roast to cover bottom of pan by about 1/4 inch. Scatter sliced white onions around the beef and cook in a 350 degree oven until done.
Is it really that easy? Yup. Except, maybe, estimating the amount of cooking time required. I thought that my three-pound roast would take at least one and a half hours, or half hour per pound. Luckily I checked it at the hour mark and found that the internal temperature read 150 degrees, perfect for medium. So let’s just say 20 minutes per pound is the right timing. Remove the roast from the oven and let it sit, covered in a warm spot until ready to slice and serve with the pan juices.
It wasn’t as great as the roasts of legend, I think because I used more vinegar than I specified in these directions. The onions never browned, which should have added a caramelized flavor to the pan juices. But, for a first attempt, we all agreed it was very good and tender.
Maybe I’ve finally earned my early nickname.