Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chad's Easy PRIME RIB Cooking Instructions

1. Get your meat at Leon's (it is the best, trust me)!
2. 24 hours before cooking season liberally with MISTY'S.
3. Take out 2hrs before cooking and allow to raise to room temp.
4. Cook uncovered at 325 degrees for 16-18 minutes per LB on a meat rack.
5. Using a meat thermometer, cook until 130-135 degrees.
6. Tent roast in foil and let rest for 20-25 mintues.

-dinner starts when the MEAT is ready, start heading to the table when you take it out and pass around the sides first...when the meat has rested, cut it and serve it immediately.
-I like to tie my prime rib even if it is boneless, our butchers think I am crazy, but it holds it's shape better and looks more like it looks in a restaurant if you do.
-I have tried cutting the roast with many knives including electric, but if you want it to look like the restaurant then use a very sharp roast beef knife.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prime Rib Time!

Every year around dinner time on Christmas Eve, I reflect about the families all over Lincoln that will be gracing their dinner table with a piece of meat purchased from Leon’s.

It really fills me with pride to imagine them saying, “This is a LEON’S prime rib or Tenderloin!” For fun, I then insert the name of some other big box store and imagine it again…but the effect just isn’t the same!

At Leon’s we are committed to quality. All our meat is aged a minimum of 21 days. During that time the meat becomes more tender and the flavor is allowed to develop more fully. Around Christmas, we age it just a little longer, but shhhh we don’t want everyone to know our secret!

I cook a Christmas prime rib every year for my own family. If I could give any advice I would say, relax it is hard to screw up this piece of meat !

Season it with your favorite seasoning(I use Misty's LIBERALLY) and then simply watch your internal temperature (I take mine out at 130-135). I then let is rest for 20 minutes.

I saw an episode of the test kitchen where they cut a piece of meat that was taken right out of the roasting pan , and the juice ran out all over the counter. Then they let a piece of meat rest before they cut it and the juice had redistributed itself throughout the meat. So when they cut it, the juice stayed in the meat where it belongs!

This extra resting time will also continue cooking your roast if you tent it (and I do). It will leave you with more well done edges and then nice pink center pieces so that everyone gets to choose the doneness they prefer.

Merry Christmas! If you are cooking a Leon’s piece of meat, I will be thinking about you on Christmas Eve…and I know that your meal will be delicious!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Most often when it comes to spaghetti squash, I find that there are two camps: those who love it and those who wonder why it is called that?! In my case, I had always had a passing interest in learning more about it, but just had never taken the time until last fall after I purchased a cookbook called "A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash" in a markdown bin at Williams and Sonoma.

I love this recipe for several reasons. First, because when you take out the pasta and replace it with spaghetti squash, you are taking a ton of calories out and replacing it with something really healthy and in-season.

Second, this recipe gives you a great basic spaghetti squash primer course. Once you see how really easy it is to prepare, you will find yourself coming up with ways to insert it into some of your other "go to" pasta sauce recipes.

Finally and most importantly, the flavor of this dish is just totally unique with the inclusion of the pickling spices. It is also really has a seasonal flavor. Once you make the sauce, the squash is really easy to prepare and both hold up well as left overs.

A couple of cooking notes:
-Why it is called SPICY in the title I have no idea! It is not remotely spicy. You can tell that by just looking at the ingredient list. Really a bad name for this dish!
-When we cook it, we first halved the butter(it originally called for 4 T) and now we eliminate it all together. The flavor of the sauce overpowers the small boost of flavor the butter gives the squash anyways.
-I always go with the leanest ground beef when there are this many dominant flavors in a dish. I suggest ground sirloin just to eliminate more unnecessary calories.

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Meat Sauce (pg 57)
Greek Meat Sauce:
2 T olive oil
1 onion
1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 C water
9oz tomato paste
2 T red wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp whole mixed pickling spice (this is the secret me!)
1/2 stick cinnamon

1 large spaghetti squash (about 3lbs)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 T unsalted butter (or none!)
1 avocado, diced
12 cherry tomatoes (red and yellow) halved
1/2 C fresh Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese shavings
2 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

To make the Greek Meat Sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the 1 T of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to a plate leaving the oil in the pan. Brown the meat in the reserved oil over medium-high heat, stirring to break it up into even crumbles. Return the onion to the pan. Add the water, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, slat and pepper. Tie the pickling spice and cinnamon in a small piece of cheesecloth and add to the stew. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding additional water if it threatens to scorch. Discard the cheesecloth.

Preheat the over to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on the prepared pan. Bake until the flesh can be easily scraped into strands with a fork, 50-70 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Using a fork, scoop out all the flesh into a bowl and fluff the spaghetti like strands. Toss in the salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it turns a light brown. Pour over the squash strands and toss with a fork to blend. Top the squash with the hot meat sauce. Scatter the avocado and tomatoes over it and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley.

Serves 8

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I have always thought that one of the best things about living in Lincoln is that we have four different seasons. Each new season brings along with it obvious changes in scenery, but there are also some more subtle differences like the feeling of the air outside or the type of sun we are getting. The Foodies at Leon’s think that the foods we eat should change with the seasons too.

Seasons form the natural backdrop for eating. How delicious is that first juicy hamburger cooked on the grill or the first homegrown tomato off the vine during the summer months? When you eat food “in season” it means that you are adjusting your diet to obtain the freshest ingredients available for the time of year.

We feel so strongly about eating food in season that we joined an organization called BUY FRESH, BUY LOCAL. The organization is committed to helping people discover farm fresh, locally grown food. Being a member of BFBL enables us to develop direct contacts with the same producers that you see on the weekends at the farmers markets around town.

These contacts will allow Leon’s to source fruits and vegetables that were grown here and probably in the ground or on the vine less than 48 hours earlier. We will be buying only foods that were naturally grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

The foods you eat should change with the seasons…it keeps things exciting and fresh at the dinner table. It can also keep you safe. In fact, with the recent food borne illnesses in the news there has never been a better time to Buy Fresh or Buy Local!

Feeling overwhelmed or confused about what you should do to protect the environment? There are things you can do each and every day to lesson your impact.

How often does a typical family shop each month? If you kept reusable bags in your car for those grocery store and other stops, you would make a huge difference in the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills, all of which will still be around when your great-grandchildren are alive.

Leon’s now sells an attractive reusable grocery bag for $0.99. Every time you use one for your groceries, Leon’s will give you a .05 discount off your bill for each bag used. In fact, you could fill the bag with old newpapers in between shopping trips and then drop them off right outside at the recycling center before you stop in to do your shopping.

The BRATWURST that we sell in our famous meat department are “made from scratch” right here at Leon’s? In fact, the recipes that we use have been developed over the past two years in a joint effort involving both our meat department staff and the chefs in our deli.

Our brats are made using only the highest quality and leanest pork available, shoulder and loin meat. The result is a brat with at least 20% less fat than leading bratwurst brands. When combined with the finest fresh ingredients the result is the highest quality specialty gourmet bratwurst around.

This Friday and Saturday Aug 8& 9 11-6, we will be cooking out in front of Leon’s featuring all four flavor of our brats for you to try! Enjoy, and as always…Bon Appetit!