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L.A. O'Neil : On a Lighter Note . . . Cooking is How I Relax

On a Lighter Note . . . Cooking is How I Relax

Prime Ribbing

By L.A. O'Neil

Well, if you've been following my writing on, then you know my past articles are a 'little dark.' I think that's putting it mildly! Each article reflects real life, though, but now I'm ready to tackle something a little more lighthearted — food, food and more food!

This may sound a little crazy, but I look forward to the weekends because there is a possibility that I will have time to cook. Granted, it won't be a lot of time, but at least it will give me a break from writing and teaching. Cooking is how I relax — and, most of the time, it yields some tasty results.

This past weekend? Not so much.

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I'm reluctantly giving you a peek into my kitchen. I live in a house that's about forty years old, so the kitchen isn't 'updated.' I always chuckle when I watch TV shows such as House Hunters or Design on a Dime — who needs an 'updated' kitchen? As long as it has a stove, an oven that works, a sink and some counter space, I'm in fine shape. I don't need stainless steel, or the latest and greatest icebox ('scuse me — refrigerator'). As long as I can cook on it, I'm golden. I have my cast iron skillet at the ready and I start cooking mid-morning . . .

Alright. Here goes. Tell anybody and I'll have to . . .

During the holidays, I always try to snag some of the best deals at the store — sales on turkey, pork and prime rib. Especially the prime rib. It's usually out of my price range and, unfortunately, it's one of my faves. When the 'value pack' deals hit the meat department, I'm there in a heartbeat. Sometimes, I wipe out the entire display, just so I can cram my freezer to the brim. Prime rib is a little different, however, because I don't have millions to spend — so, I go for one or two value packs.

When I get my prizes home, it's my husband's job to cut the primes into about two-inch slabs. As we get older, we find that our appetites have waned somewhat, and one 'slab' of prime will easily feed both of us. After the trip to the store, we always keep one out of the freezer to have that evening.

Saturday. 5:00 P.M.

The prime is on a plate, seasoned and ready to go. The oven is preheated, ready to go. My cast iron skillet is on the big burner on the stove, medium heat, almost ready to receive the prime . . . ready for the splash of olive oil that will put a beautiful crust on the meat.

I'm salivating. Even now . . .

When I gently placed the prime in the hot skillet, it sizzled and smoked (if you're going to try this, just know that the meat will cause the skillet to smoke when it hits the hot oil), and within seconds my nose was telling me it was almost time to eat.

I let the prime form a crust in the skillet (about five minutes), turned it over and put the whole skillet in the oven (at 400°) to continue cooking for seven minutes. The plan was to take it out after seven minutes and let it rest for five minutes — the resting period allows the meat to redistribute the juices, so when you cut into it, the juices won't run all over the counter.

Then I decided to check my email.

When my kitchen filled with smoke, I came to — I diverted my attention from my emails to the acrid smell of burning meat, and the smoke was leeching into the living room. The smoke alarm jarred me from my 'writing reverie' and, as I bolted from the couch, I tripped over the dog. Richter scale movement.

The rest is up to your imagination — reality wasn't pretty. Herein lies a testament to the fact that seasoned cooks can screw things up, too . . .


We ate peanut butter sandwiches. Dang!

© 2011 L.A. O'Neil. All rights reserved.

Article written by L.A. O'Neill for April Jones, who first discovered green smoothies at the recommendation of a close friend and it has developed into a fun hobby teaching others how to get started. More »