savory dishes: taking the bull by the horns & an open faced roast beef sandwich

savory dishes: taking the bull by the horns with an open faced roast beef sandwich Six weeks ago, Camille and I were both faced with a health scare, like two sisters, we are so connected that we are the epitome of two peas in a pod. After that scare I had with the tummy issue I have flashbacks in my head like a 60’s video reel playing memories of the worst kind: camera down my throat and the choking feeling when I would eat something because my esophagus was dealing with too much acid. I had a slight fever so I just didn't know what caused that choking feeling every time I ate. Did I swallow something bad or was it the way I was eating? What is the bad bento that I had the day before, or was it that I was just eating way too fast. It seemed like a perfect epitome for psychedelic hallucinations. If only it were a hallucination. The problem was, I could feel everything! On the bright side, I have been working on getting ready for the summer. That means toning up, and slimming down, clearly as my doctor obligingly told me, “Well, you are not doing enough. Cut the calories more and work harder.” Like a placid Hitler trying to be acidly sweet while every word was actually scathing! In a very matter of fact way, he also told me to get rid of my muffin top (what, this small thing?) and even went so far as to say, “You got a little bit of overflow on top of your jeans.” What??? This sure puts a gloom over the otherwise sunshiny summer! What joy!... Not! Talk about rubbing salt into the wound. I was already feeling horrible, couldn't eat without feeling like I was choking, and I have to listen to this lecture from my doctor. While I have been prepping for the summer and trying to lose any unwanted weight gained from this past winter, Dr. Hitler further states… tummy fat pushes against my intestines. I'm a pretty fit person (despite the muffin top) but this shows that not only does counting calories matter but also what's in those calories (and it doesn't mean I can't enjoy my favorite comfort foods from time to time, blah blah blah… Hiel Doctor! (I eat a dessert once a week, that's it) (I even calculate the 250 ml of cola, give or take) I just don’t relish the thought of actually feeling myself regurgitate every bit of it. Or worse, see what it looks like after being half-digested inside my body!) Who knows why that happened to me but it was a wake up call. I’ve always been on the go, eating too fast, and never sitting down to really enjoy what I'm eating. Lest I face the wrath of herr doctor, I obligingly stuck to a strict regimen. Dare I say it was out of pride? Or was it fear for what harsh words I might have to hear yet again from ‘you know who’. I was on medication for two weeks, to curb the acid reflux, which took a few days to work but helped. I also went from 1600 calories a day to 1200-1400, and changed my exercise routine from moderate aerobics to an high incline on the treadmill for 45 min at 3.0 (broken into two.) I thought I was doing enough, clearly I needed to watch more of what I ate and increase my work out. This is on top of the other exercises, including the 30 day shred, but the treadmill kicks my butt into shape! Always has, but I never replaced my old machine, finally, I did. Doing the treadmill at a medium to high incline will MAKE YOU SWEAT. Oh, the things we do for our bodies! I am slowly but surely getting back into my skinny jeans. They hug my hips and I can't button them yet. So while it was a slight fever, and probably not what I was eating (bad food) or eating too fast, the muffin top comment from my doctor made me take my workouts and counting calories more seriously. I guess you can say… It wasn’t all for naught! ;) Sometimes, I feel that certain experiences make me feel so helpless. I feel like some people around me, including family, have so much power over me when my mind and body is sacrosanct. Having stared adversity right in the face, I refuse to allow myself to have to go through those adversities again and have decided to take control. I believe that Japan has changed me from being meek and mild, to someone stronger and more centered. The "me" that I was once and had always been, essentially finding “me” again. There are periods in our life when we are confronted with issues that we think might break us, but when we face off with adversity, it is best not to wave the white flag in defeat but to stare at the proverbial bull square in the eye and grab it by the horns. I guess after everything I’ve been through, all I can say is…Heil Me! Here is to “Taking the bull by the horns” with an open face roast beef sandwich.

Sunday Rib Roast

Adapted From 2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved Show: Barefoot ContessaEpisode: A Barefoot Contessa Holiday


  • 1 (3-rib) standing rib roast (7 to 8 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Mustard Horseradish Sauce, recipe follows (we used pomegranate sauce)


  1. Two hours before roasting, remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (see note).
  3. Place the oven rack on the second lowest position.
  4. Place the roast in a pan large enough to hold it comfortably, bone-side down, and spread the top thickly with the salt and pepper.
  5. Roast the meat for 45 minutes. Without removing the meat from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for another 30 minutes.
  6. Finally, increase the temperature to 450 degrees F and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meat is 125 degrees F. (Be sure the thermometer is exactly in the center of the roast.) The total cooking time will be between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 hours.
  7.  Meanwhile, make the sauce.
  8. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the sauce.
Note: Be sure your oven is very clean before setting it at 500 degrees F.

Mustard Horseradish Sauce

(optional) We used a reduction of Pomegranate sauce.
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustards, horseradish, sour cream, and salt in a small bowl.
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  • June 7, 2012 at 10:29 am //

    that looks amazing! shame about living in hong kong university dorms is the lack of an oven or else i’d definitely make this :P

  • June 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm //

    That sandwich photo is beautiful. I never think to make sandwiches for dinner cause well they are sandwiches but really you can do some delicious things to a sandwich. Lovely!

  • June 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm //

    That roast beef looks perfect!

  • June 8, 2012 at 1:47 am //

    What a beautiful image of a perfect slice of roast beef that is. I have lost my will power many many years ago and if faced with a rib roast will lose all sense of what’s right, what’s enough and when to stop. I truly admire your determination. I hope you feel better soon.

  • June 8, 2012 at 2:23 am //

    That beef looks so rare and crazy good! The composition and colours of this dish are just so fantastic… would make this for lunch in a heartbeat!

  • June 8, 2012 at 5:32 am //

    I’m so sorry to hear about your health scare–and resulting physician lecture. It totally sucks. But this sandwich looks perfectly delicious–that meat is exactly how I like mine done.

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:56 am //

    I’d like to take the bull by the horns and drop a pound or two as well. The start of summer inspires me every year. Hope you’re feeling better now with no more flashbacks!

    • June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm //

      Feeling so much better, but still eating slowly and watching what I eat, boiled potatoes have become a nice snack in-between my calorie bars!

  • June 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm //

    I like this recipe! I can just make a big pot on the weekens and make variations out of it. Saving so much cooking work during weekdays!

  • June 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm //

    Hope you are feeling well!!
    This sandwich looks incredible. That photo is just mouthwatering!!

  • June 9, 2012 at 1:40 am //

    What a timely post! I commend your dedication! I really need to get back into my regular swimming routine….sigh. On a brighter note, I adore Ina’s recipes. I haven’t tried one that was not successful. Her recipes are well written, and without any extra time consuming steps.

    • June 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm //

      Yes, we love her recipes, all the recipes we’ve ever tried have always been spot on. Working out…Keeping this dedication up with 72% humidity is so difficult, we usually don’t kick on the AC until July, I’m still bruised about the muffin-top comment from the ER Dr, but it also made me work harder, I guess in my mind, I thought, meh, it’s okay, you can’t really see it unless I wear tight jeans, and I’ll have time before the summer (this was me convincing myself). But I didn’t realize that any extra poundage puts pressure on your intestines, tight pants, pushing, etc… (gross topic on food site, sorry). I’m a 12 (ish) with a muffin top, determined to get back to an 8!!!

  • June 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm //

    Oh I hate the lectures! It’s not like I don’t know already, but .. they are doing their job I suppose and have to repeat it many times to unwilling patients.

    Health scares are the worst – feel better soon.

    Your sandwich looks divine!

    • June 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm //

      UGH, I know, I felt like saying…well at least I’m wearing a decent sized jean/pants, but well… a muffin top is a muffin top. I was half kicking myself for wearing tight jeans, which my top covered, but as I lifted to put my purse up on the door handle, my top started ridding up, showing all. It was a good thing, I’m generally a very drama-queen-anxious person, I was thinking the worst, OMG it’s tummy cancer, I have a parasite in my intestines. But that scare, the first one in 12 years, really opened my eyes to how fleeting our surroundings can be, it made me push myself to a level I never knew was there, I might not be wearing a string bikini by summer, but I want to feel confident by showing some tummy this summer. It was a scare that made me look around and smell the roses, and not take anything for granted, including blue skies. I do feel so much better, but I’m still anxious about eating, how fast, and what I put into my body = )

  • June 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm //

    That is one beautiful sandwich – yum!! :)

  • June 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm //

    Wow, this sandwich is a work of art and looks absolutely delicious. The mustard horseradish sauce sounds great too.

  • June 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm //

    Ugh, I hate those lectures!! They always make me feel so crappy! Know that you are not alone!!

    This sandwich looks amazing!! Love roast beef!

    • June 11, 2012 at 8:51 am //

      That scare made me take my routine more seriously and lit a fire under my BUTT! They doctor seem to think it was the combination of the 10lbs of extra fat muffin top and bending over for eight hours doing yard work pushing my intestines, but I had a slight fever, which suggest it was something viral, but then again it was “that time” when women’s temp goes up a point or two = )

      I went back to eating as clean as possible, and realized that it’s not only the calories but what’s in them, if I have to have refined (SO unavoidable in Japan = RICE) I try to sub mine with two small backed potatoes or just have one portion a day, Snack on yogurt, all day, but try to stay under 1400, 12oo if I have the power. I think I burn about 400 during my work out, so it shouldn’t take me long to get to my goal by this summer, (end of summer) wearing bathing suit bikini with confidence, not trying to hide my thunder thighs with a sarong! lol

      • June 11, 2012 at 8:52 am //

        lol I meant baked potato… gesh!

  • June 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm //

    I’m so sorry about your health scare. Acid reflux if that’s what it is responds to cutting out refined starches like flour and sugar. One can also get a choking feeling from thyroiditis. Have you had your thyroid TSH test done?

    Hope you feel tons better soon.

    • June 11, 2012 at 8:43 am //

      Hi Jennifer, never had the test done, but after the first week of taking anti-acid, and eating clean, the symptoms kept subsiding, day by day, took about two weeks to recover. My interpretation of a healthy regime was just counting calories but realizing it’s also what’s in them. I don’t know if it was something I ate, since I had a slight fever or something viral. I have one portion or two of refined (white rice) 200gm, approximately. Although I tried to replace that with an unrefined carb, I love baked potatoes. On the weekend I treat myself to a hamburger (minus the cheese) and one dessert. I now snack off of yogurt more, everyday. I stop when I feel almost full. I eat red meat once a week, twice at most. If I have to have refined, if we are out, and there aren’t many options, it’s a small portion. The doctor thinks the spillage over my jeans (thighs jeans) and bending over for 8 hours doing yard work was pushing on my tummy lol I didn’t surprise me because my ears, and my shoulders had all this pressure, I really over did it, but I was determined to get it done by the weekend.

      I think once I get to my 15lb loss (goal), and get rid of the muffin top, I will have my favorite foods in moderation, since I’ve been eating clean (steamed potatoes, teaspoon of butter) etc I get full very fast. We cook everything now, steam veggies or stir fried with olive oil. I think I’ll start carrying a soy bar or something of that nature with me, I workout hard and this weekend I was out, it was near 2 pm and I was starving (missed launch) the cafe, etc was so crowded, I had to grab something at the bakery, so I went with a brown rice (while flour mix) nut and fruit bread lol

      I still cook my favorites, like homemade Gnocchi, but I watch the portion, and try and substitute refined cheese with a tablespoon of cream. I try to stay between 1200-1400 calories a day give or take a 100. That scare was enough for me to take a deeper look into my routine, and put a lot of things in perspective. Once I get to my goal, I can enjoy French Toast, but it will have to be in moderation, plus wearing a bikini this summer with CONFIDENCE tastes much better.

      • June 11, 2012 at 8:44 am //

        opps.. I meant Tight Jeans, not Thigh Jeans lol

  • June 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm //

    This is a sandwich that would make my day!!

  • June 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm //

    Bummer both about your health problems and having to lose weight! As we get older we just need to use less energy, but it’s easy to keep eating as if our energy needs are the same. Hence, the gradual weight gain. But sounds like you’re tackling this in a rational, deliberate manner. And certainly no rational person would turn down the terrific roast beef sandwich you prepared! Super job – love the horseradish – and super pictures. Thanks.

    • June 12, 2012 at 7:38 am //

      I am counting my lucky stars and thanking god it was nothing more than a temporary acid reflux. When the doctor was asking when it started, and as I was going on and on about scrubbing walls to the exterior house and doing yard work, bending over for hours and hours.. he started knotting pointing and literally pinched my muffin top over my jeans saying “that there, bending over pushes on your intestines” I had all sorts of curse words going through my mind at the time, directed at him. Ad he didn’t give me antibiotics because my fever was 99.6 slight.

      But said if the symptoms didn’t subside in two weeks, I would have to take a camera down my throat again, but this time for my tummy. The first specialist I saw put a camera up through my nose, and down my throat to my esophagus, but nothing there, glands were not swollen, etc. Still, that was the most horrifying feeling…. belch, the spray to num the throat which was also shot up there was gross, I soon became 10 years old getting stitches for the first time, I reacted and tried to push his hands away. lol I was so anxious my BP shot up to 143.

      That scare that turned out to be relatively minor in comparison to the thoughts racing through my head, made me take what I was already doing, more seriously, not just casually, and put life into perspective, I didn’t like what I experienced but I’m glad it happened, because I now stop to smell the roses, and never take anything for granted, birds chirping in the am, blue skies =)

      • June 12, 2012 at 7:40 am //

        opps I meant in comparison to.

  • June 12, 2012 at 1:49 am //

    Wow, this sandwich is not like my ordinary boring sandwich! I hope I can make my sandwich this delicious. You totally inspired me with exercise. It’s a great idea to divide into two times. I’d do that. I don’t have a treadmill but I ride an exercise bike for 30 minutes. I’m going to try two times so my butt won’t hurt by sitting too long. :-)

    • June 12, 2012 at 7:28 am //

      Hi Nami, I’m so so happy it was only Acid Refulx and not something more, I count my lucky stars and thank god for that. Bike Riding is really good for you, I like both, biking and the Treadmill, it’s hard to do 45 minute on the treadmill at once since I have a high incline, I power walk, and in 20 min, I am a sweat bucket, no AC. lol It feels great to workout. I have noticed that the higher incline seems to be the trick for the inner thighs and bum, and your tummy, ad your are trying to keep up with the machine, at a high incline, you use your tummy muscles. What I realized was that the incline makes a bigger difference.

  • June 13, 2012 at 5:49 am //

    Oh this looks delicious! As soon as the sun comes out I tend to forget about beef – but this is inspirational and great for picnics and salads etc. Also great for lighter eating to assist the health kick :)

    • June 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm //

      Thank you Rachel, me too, it’s all summery like foods, I’m all for sans the cooking in the summer if possible too =)

  • June 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm //

    I think we are all trying to tone up for summer….but food blogging can make it a bit tricky! I love the horsradish mustard for this, it sounds devine!

    • June 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm //

      It sure does Alyssa, when we test our recipes, personally, I just do a taste test if it’s something heavy on the fat and sugar =) that is, until I get to my goal, then I’ll enjoy what I like in moderation. I do have a somewhat cheat day, once a week, or or less one dessert per week. I have an ice cream cone, three scoops!