I Had a Bad Day, So I Decided to Roast Something


Day 1 of my Ina Garten Cookbook Journey.  I am using Ina’s “foolproof” book (it’s purple if that helps).  Today was a record-breaking, freezing-cold day and I was in the mood for something warm and filling.  This afternoon was a little rough, so I was definitely in the mood to ROAST something.


The recipe of the day ended up being “slow-roasted filet of beef with basil Parmesan mayonnaise.”


1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 ½ pounds)

3 tablespoons good olive oil

4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon

Basil Parmesan mayonnaise (see below)


Now, I don’t think I have ever followed a recipe (as written) in my life and I definitely started off this cooking journey that way.

To begin, I switched out the cut of meat Ina asked for… (Bad, Becky!)

Living in a city and having smaller grocery stores, sometimes you can’t always get the ingredients you want—even if they seem really basic.  The store did not have beef tenderloin yesterday (I know, right?) so I got a bottom round roast (2.73 lbs).  I knew the basil Parmesan sauce would still pair well with round roast (beef is still beef!).


Alas, the store was also blanking on tarragon branches. The stock boy looked at me like I was crazy when I asked about them.  Why do you want to tie branches to your meat, lady?  I had to settle for tarragon flakes (and even those were hard to find!).


If you are following my recipe, the adjustments are as follows:

1 bottom round roast (around 3 lbs)

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2.5 teaspoons kosher salt

1.5 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

2-3 teaspoons tarragon flakes


I set the oven to bake at 425 degrees.  While I was waiting, I brushed the round roast with olive oil and rubbed it with the salt and pepper.  I topped it off with a healthy sprinkling of tarragon.


I started the roast at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 300 and continued to roast for 30-40 minutes.

Ten minutes before the roast was set to be done, I started the sauce…


Ina calls for the following ingredients to be blended in a food processor (fitted with a steel blade):

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature

½ cup good olive oil, at room temperature (the oils and egg yolks will make your homemade mayo)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon minced garlic

kosher salt and ground pepper to taste



I won’t lie, I was a little scared about using raw egg yolks in the sauce (and I couldn’t locate a yolk separator) so I skipped making my own mayo and used pre-made, light mayo instead.  I also used regular mustard in the sauce (my Dijon magically disappeared…).

After 40 minutes, I pulled the roast out. The meat thermometer read 135 degrees—which was a little more than “rare.”  Perfect.  I covered the meat in some foil and let it sit for 15 minutes.

I sliced off some pieces, added the sauce, and enjoyed my roast. Divine.

Not a bad ending to such a bad day.



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