August 21st, 2008

Wassup With Catsup?

I’ve briefly mentioned my puzzlement at this issue before when I showed you this picture of the soft play area at our local mall.

See that little dollop of ketchup/catsup? I don’t get it.

Who puts ketchup on their steak? I wondered.

Well, I had a little chat with a neighbor down the street who I’ll call “Joanne.”

Now I know.

Joanne’s ENTIRE FAMILY puts ketchup on their steaks.

I had so many questions for her I didn’t know where to begin.

Me:  Why?

Joanne:  Why not?

Me:  Well . . .

Joanne:  Look, it brings out the flavor of the steak. And we like our steaks well done so without the ketchup it’s too dry.

Me:  My kids put ketchup on everything so I can understand the kids doing that. . . but you and Hector?

Joanne:  Are you implying that the ketchup is not good enough for the steak?

Me:  Uh, ah, um . . .

Joanne:  Well, missy, what do you put on your steaks?  A-1?  Huh?  How’s that better?

Me:  Well, I don’t, but my husband . . .

Joanne:  Yeah, I thought so.  Your kind makes me sick.  You’re all judgemental with your fancy sauces and such.

Me:  But, Joanne, I just want to understand . . .

Joanne:  Understand??!!  Understand??!!  Until you’ve lived in my house and walked in my shoes you will never UNDERSTAND why we do what we do.

Me:  Uh. . .

Joanne:  So why don’t you go back to your little sheltered, closed-minded kitchen and whip you up something that’s “acceptable by society,” okay? 

(She used actual air quotes here.  Then she stomped off.)

I really wasn’t sure what happened out there on the street. But I had a feeling it had nothing to do with ketchup. Someone has a chip on her shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore.

And I was not any closer to understanding the ketchup-smeared-all-over-steak thing.

So I did go back to my little kitchen, got out my Teriyaki sauce and took a big swig — right out of the bottle.

Stay classy, Joanne, I thought. Stay classy.

August 20th, 2008

Macho Steak

Who knew steak could be macho or undeniably feminine?

Well, um, I guess I did cuz in previous posts I’ve mentioned how the filet seems to be a girlie selection while T-bones and Porterhouses are the choice for the man who likes being a man.

But . . . perhaps it’s not the cut of meat that makes a steak macho. Perhaps it’s what you put on it. Or in it.

This recipe calls for KC Strips — a respectable cut for either of the sexes. But you gotta check out some of the ingredients. Jalapeños, garlic, beef broth.

What’s that sound Tim Allen used to make on “Home Improvement?”

Yeah, that one.

That’s the sound that comes to mind when I see this recipe. It makes me feel like a macho man — even though I assure you I am not.

Check it out.

Macho Steak
This recipe is adapted from Mmmiami – Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere to be published by Henry Holt, Fall 1998.

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 8-ounce, 1″-thick KC strip steaks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Stir the jalapeños, garlic and cumin together in a small bowl and set aside. Set the wine, broth, tomato and a large platter nearby, too; leave the cut butter in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels to ensure even browning; season with salt and pepper.

Put 2 steaks in the skillet and cook to the desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep them warm. Cook the remaining steaks in the same way.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings and reduce heat to low. Add the jalapeños, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high, stir in the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Boil, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons.

Add the broth, return it to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in tomato and simmer 1 minute. Pour in any juices that have accumulated around the steaks and simmer 1 minute more. Add the butter, 2 pieces at a time, swirling the pan until it melts.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in the cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the steaks to dinner plates and spoon on the sauce. Serves 4.


You can see this recipe and others like it here.

August 19th, 2008

Steak — Hawaiian Style

We had a trip planned for April to visit Hawaii. I’ve never been, but my husband has. We wanted to see it together to celebrate our 10th anniversary.

Then, life happened. My youngest had a hospital stay and our lives were turned upside down.

Hawaii is again in the distant future for me. And that’s okay. My little guy needs me.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the goodness and flavors of the island while I wait to get there.

Check out this recipe from using pineapple and soy sauce. It doesn’t get much Hawaiian-er than that.

(Yeah, I know that’s not a real word.)

Plus, I just like the word “bits.” It makes it sound really cute.

Waianae Steak Bits
These are so good; marinated steak bits in a pineapple and soy sauce marinade.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
2 pounds beef steak, cut into bite sized chunks

1 cup ketchup

1 one standard can of pineapple bits with the juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 small carrot, sliced

salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients except steak in a bowl or dish. Add steak. Allow to marinate overnight, then drain off the marinade and save it. Cook in a pan until the meat is done, then add the reserved marinade plus one cup water with a tablespoon of cornstarch added. Cook until the sauce is thick. Serve with rice.

For a picnic version, don’t add the veggies and serve with tooth picks. I’ve made 10 pounds for a picnic and not had one bit left to take home!

Here’s a link to the recipe. Enjoy!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Dena P., and I love steak. In fact, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect steak for a few years now.

I love experimenting with food and I like to get my family, friends and neighbors involved. They add a lot to my cooking experience by helping me perfect techniques and sharing recipes.

Read More About Me »

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