Thank you to all the hounds who chimed in with advice about slow roasting a sirloin roast. It turned out fantastically and was probably the most favored dish of the night.
I didn't follow instructions precisely, but here's what I did:
-cut my 10 lb. roast in half and froze one half.
-dried the other half with paper towels
-salted and peppered liberally, covered with plastic wrap, and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours (probably should have done even a little longer)
-let the roast rest in a cool room for several hours before roasting. When I put it in the oven, the internal temperature was about 60.
-before putting in the oven, I pounded the center of the roast to flatten it a bit, hoping for a more uniformly thick piece of meat. It worked pretty well, and beating up a piece of meat is always fun.
-started the roast at 200 degrees for about two hours, realized my guests were going to be late and turned it down to about 150 for about another hour and a half, and then brought the heat back up to 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat reached 125 degrees. I think the idea is to keep your oven between 150 and 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat is no higher than 130.
-let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
Unfortunately, the meat was so delicious a lot of it disappeared before I could get a clear shot with a camera. The slice on this plate was from the very end of the roast, but notice how it's still reasonably pink.
Another easy, delicious, albeit somewhat time consuming recipe under the belt. Thanks, hounds!
For those who are still reading, our summery dinner party also included:
-rosemary roasted chicken
-smoked salmon and capers
-feta herb spread
-a simple bowl of diced tomatoes and chopped basil
-brie and smoked gouda cheese plate
-chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting
-sliced balsamic strawberries with lavendar garnish
And an observation that hounds will appreciate: a lot of our friends are young busy people who have "better things to do" than think about food all day long. They drink Diet Coke and eat at McDonald's to save their precious time, claiming that it's all just food. And yet, I noticed that they were very picky at dinner about what they did and didn't eat. Subconsciously or consciously, all the most expensive, labor-intensive, seasonal, delicious items disappeared and were raved about. The things that didn't go over as well were things I knew I shouldn't have made (tomatoes and basil, since tomatoes aren't great yet), but did anyway because you always see them at parties. I got bland tomatoes and went for it anyway because it's an easy dish to make, but most of it was untouched. I have a feeling if it were the height of tomato season, that bowl of tomatoes would have vanished.
Hm. So much for "it's just food." In the presence of great vs. medium great food, your body always tells you what it wants.