Roast Beef [Photograph: Quentin Bacon]

Anyone familiar with Mile End Deli knows that they take their smoked meat seriously. Noah and Rae Bernamoff offer detailed directions for re-creating their specialty in The Mile End Cookbook, but as a city-dweller who lacks a proper smoking set-up, I wanted to explore another one of their deli meats. Their Roast Beef is just as versatile as the smoked version, and the recipe couldn't be easier: season the roast, stick it in a hot, hot oven for 30 minutes or so, and then turn off the heat and let the meat cook through in the slowly cooling oven. To take the roast beef to the next level (and to satisfy any DIY urges felt after cooking such a simple dish), try your hand at their Pickled Horseradish. The homemade version is far fresher and spicier than the bottled stuff, and is pretty killer spread on sandwich bread underneath the beef.

Why I picked this recipe: You can't cook from a deli cookbook without making some type of sandwich meat.

What worked: Everything from the hot-to-cold roasting technique to the serving suggestions was pretty much perfect. The directions to soak the horseradish in vinegar overnight before pureeing it mellowed the spice just enough to make for a well-balanced and bright condiment.

What didn't: Nothing; this was smooth sailing.

Suggested Tweaks: I served the roast beef, warm, as an entree with pickled horseradish for the first go-around, and have been eating it on sandwiches and salads in the days since. I'd recommend all of the above.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Mile End Cookbook to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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