September 30th, 2008

Mini Steak Thermometers

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I don’t know about you but when we’re grilling steaks we usually “eye it” to figure out when our steaks are done.

I like mine a bit more well done than my husband does so he takes his off the flame earlier.

Sometimes, our method doesn’t give us the results we want. Imagine that.

Thus, the need for Mini Steak Thermometers. . .

Aren’t they cute? These babies tell you exactly how well done your steak is. In real time!

In retrospect, maybe guessing is not the best cooking technique I’ve ever employed. I’m learning to let the tools be my friends instead.

Try ‘em and let me know what you think!

Photo courtesy of www.smithandhawken.com

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September 26th, 2008

Oh, Taco, You’re So Fine

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You’re so fine you blow my mind. (Who grew up in the ’80s?)

I got a new camera and my favorite subject (besides my kids) is beef.

Is there a support group for this?

Yeah, I know the photo is a bit dark. Cut me some slack. I’ll get better.

I made tacos this week and they were mighty tasty. Here’s what I did . . .

Scrumptious Tacos

1 lb. ground beef with Vidalia onion (check it out here)

1 pkg. “over-the-counter” taco seasoning (that’s code for McCormick taco seasoning packet)

Salt and pepper to taste

Add grated cheddar cheese, lettuce and whatever else floats your boat on your taco

Does anyone else horde the Fire Sauce packages from Taco Bell to use at home when cooking Mexican food? Nothing else in any store comes close to the hot, hot spicy taste. And it flavors my own cooking even better than it does icky Taco Bell.

I don’t actually eat there. My husband brings those packets home to me when he does. He’s a dear.

Enjoy your weekend and send me your own photos of your favorite beef dishes!!

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September 24th, 2008

Steak School

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If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to cuts of beef — have no fear. I’ve found a great reference for cut types, beef grades and cattle types over at thefoodpaper.com.

Study these and you’ll be well on your way to a steak Ph.D!

Beef Cuts 101
A Simple Primer to Understanding Steak

Kobe, Angus or Piedmontese beef? Porterhouse, shell or flatiron steak? These days, going to a steakhouse is much more complicated than in the days when you chose from a New York strip, rib eye or filet mignon.

We’ll leave it to the cattlemen and women to sort out which is the best cut of steak. Meanwhile, we’ll take the bull by the horns and sort out all the terminology.

STEAK CUTS
___________________________

Picture the side of the steer. Starting at the neck and working down the backbone, you have the chuck, then the rib, followed by the short loin and sirloin and ending with the rump. The side section is the flank. Those areas produce the following steaks:

Chateaubriand: A piece of the tenderloin (the pointed end of the short loin), sized to feed two or more people and traditionally roasted.

Delmonico: A boneless cut from the rib section, named after the 19th century New York restaurant that popularized this dish.

Filet mignon: Think French! The name of this cut translates as tenderloin and it is the tapered, fork-tender end of the short loin.

Flank steak: A lean cut of meat taken from the underbelly that grills quickly. This cut often is used for fajitas.

Flatiron steak: Cut from the top blade, so named because it resembles a flatiron.

Hanger steak: Also called the hanging tenderloin, this cut is part of the diaphragm that hangs between the ribs and the loin.

London Broil: A large cut from the flank, often marinated to tenderize it, then broiled and served thinly sliced.

New York strip: A steak by many other names…(such as shell steak, Kansas City strip or sirloin club steak): The marbled, larger end of the short loin.

Porterhouse: Essentially the T-bone’s big brother, combining two steaks in one, the New York and the filet.

Prime rib: The bone-in rib steak, cut from ribs six through twelve, that often contains a bit of gristle but is full of flavor.

Rib-eye: A rib steak without the bone; prized among steak lovers for its marbling and flavor.

Sirloin steak: Sitting between the short loin and the rump steak is the sirloin, less tender than the short loin but still full-flavored.

T-bone: Similar cut as the Porterhouse, only the filet side is usually a bit smaller. Named for the t-shaped bone running down the center of the steak.

Tri-tip: Also known as a culotte steak or triangle steak, the tri-tip is a triangular-shaped portion of top sirloin.

BEEF GRADES
___________________________

The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, separates beef into eight different grades: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. Most restaurants serve Prime or Choice beef and only about two percent of all beef graded by the USDA qualifies for Prime distinction.

Another grading program is Certified Angus Beef®, a designation awarded by Wooster, Ohio-based Certified Angus Beef LLC. The mark applies to approximately eight percent of all USDA-graded beef that derives from Angus stock and meets certain quality criteria.

Warning: Do not confuse Prime beef with the prime rib—the prime rib refers to the location from where the meat is cut, not the graded quality of the beef. The grades refer primarily to the amount of fat marbling in the muscle; Prime beef must contain no less than 8 percent intramuscular fat. And you wondered why it tasted so good?

CATTLE TYPES
___________________________

Gelbvieh, Piedmontese and Wagyu

Angu—Of Scottish origin, Angus cattle are prized worldwide for their well-marbled, meat-heavy carcasses.
Beefalo—A cross between a buffalo and any breed of cattle.
Brahman—A native of India, this breed has a distinctive back hump and can handle hot weather.
Braunvieh—A Swiss breed—how now, Brown Cow? Braunvieh means “brown cattle.”
Charolais—A French breed from Charolles, grown for meat, not dairy.
Chianina—A product of central Italy.
Gelbvieh—Originated in Bavaria, in southern Germany in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
Hereford—Natives of England, this is a common breed in the U.S., Argentina and Australian for meat production.
Wagyu—The famed cattle that produce Japan’s prized Kobe beef, named for the city that launched the breed.
Piedmontese—A crossbreed from Italy’s Piedmont region; their breeders promote their meat as being naturally low in fat but still tender and flavorful.
Santa Gertrudis—A cross between a Brahman and a shorthorn, this breed is believed to be the first created in the U.S.
Senepol—A breed developed in the Caribbean, this one is heat-tolerant and meaty.
Simmental—A Swiss breed grown for both dairy and meat production.
Shorthorn—Originally from England, shorthorns are a popular American breed because they grow rapidly.

Image source: beef cut diagram from www.certifiedangusbeef.com; For more information, see also www.wagyu.org and www.kobe-beef.com.

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September 22nd, 2008

The View From Here

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So I’m visiting some friends just outside of Boston. It’s gorgeous this time of year (and actually any time of year). They have just celebrated the grand opening of their new, larger restaurant with an expanded menu and lots more space.

You can check them out here if you’re ever in the area.

I am very proud of them. They ARE the American dream. Hard workers, diligent, caring, committed. I want to be them when I grow up.

Here’s their philosophy of life summed up on a wall in their restaurant . . .

See why I like them so much?

So I go up to the top deck at their house to relax for a moment and just take in the beauty that is Massachusetts. And this is what I see . . .

Yes, folks, that’s a river AND an ocean. But it gets even better. It was around lunchtime and wafting up onto that deck was the most delicious smell of steaks grilling. I sat looking out onto the water and soaked in the sights and smells. It was surely one of the last outdoor weekends they will have in those parts for a while.

I got so hungry I could hardly stand it. So that night I got my fill of steak skewers. I think I ate my weight in meat.

Oh, but it was so worth it. The water, kind friends, great steak and time to relax.

It’s the simple things that make life so great.

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September 19th, 2008

Steak of Life

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This is a new one on me. But my philosophy is, hey, whatever floats your boat.

Some football fans in Kansas City have a ritual involving steak, football greats and a mean forward pass. You can try this on Sunday, but don’t blame me if you have to eat steak with little bits of asphalt in it. Here’s the skinny from tailgating.com . . .

STEAK OF LIFE
From Brian D. a KC Chiefs Tailgater

This is an Arrowhead tradition since 1999 and can be found at every Chiefs’ home game.

The act of tossing meat amongst friends is rumored to bring eternal life. To date hundreds have eaten the Steak of Life but not one has passed away.

Ingredients-
1 single 1.5 lbs inexpensive steak

Marinade-
1 black and white printed photo of either Jan Stenerud or Christian Okoye
Red wine vinegar to taste
Worcestershire to taste
Cheap red wine to taste
Cheap bourbon (preferable Ten High) to taste

Preparation/Cooking-
Combine liquid ingredients in Tupperware with steak. Add photo of KC Chief Legend. Allow at least 4 hours to marinade to allow the Ghosts of Chiefs’ Past to fully penetrate the meat. Once at Arrowhead (preferably lot C7), light the charcoals and allow them to heat up. Very important, do not use a gas grill. Cook the steak for approximately 4 minutes a side.

To Serve-
One Chiefs fan takes the steak off the grill and yells “Steak of Life!” followed by one large bite. The first Chiefs fan then throws the steak in the air into a large group of frenzied Chiefs fans. The steak is caught, or picked up off the ground/vehicle, another bite is taken and the steak is again thrown into the air. This routine continues until the steak is finished. One popular method of catching the steak is with the mouth. However, this requires tremendous focus. Clean up with baby wipes.

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September 18th, 2008

I Don’t Know, Man

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This is a photo of a 72-oz. steak that’s *FREE — if you can eat it all in one sitting. You can find it at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.

I love steak. But I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean I have to eat so much of it it’s coming out of my pores.

You can check out some interesting facts about the 72-ouncer here. One little tidbit that caught my attention:  the youngest person to finish the steak in the allotted time was ELEVEN YEARS OLD.

Child Protective Services, anyone?

Photo courtesy of BigTexan.com.

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September 17th, 2008

I *Heart* Steak

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Clothes with food on them crack me up.

I’m not sure if it’s the concept of wearing food that makes me giggle or the thought of advertising your taste preferences on your chest.

Either way, it’s just plain funny to me. Case in point . . .

I think what’s funniest to me is trying to come up with a scenario where this attire is acceptable.

PTA meeting? Nah.

Business lunch? Nope.

Playdate with the neighbors? Don’t think so.

Weekly “Comic Book Fans of the U.S.A.  — Southwest Branch” meeting? Bingo.

Find the right audience and steak on a shirt is absolutely appropriate.

Photo courtesy of chefwear.com.

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September 16th, 2008

Old-Fashioned Steak Fries

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I love the thought of “old-fashioned” anything because it brings back a time in my mind when people didn’t worry about fat grams or carbs or any of that stuff.

The question simply was, “Does it taste good?”

Try these with your next steak or steakburger meal and let me know the answer!

old-fashioned steak fries
an original recipe by rachelle

4 baking potatoes, scrubbed well
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

preheat oven to 450 degrees. halve potatoes lengthwise and then cut into steak fry sized slices. leave those skins on! if you’ve got mahusive potatoes, you may halve them again. but i like the idea of a mahusive fry. toss the potatoes in a ziptop bag and dump in the oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. smoosh it all together and dump out on a cookie sheet. roast for 25 minutes: roast ten minutes, turn over the fries and bake about fifteen minutes more.

Recipe and photo courtesy of foodbuzz.com

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September 15th, 2008

Try This One, Old Chap!

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All right, that was my attempt at sounding British.

Successful?

Perhaps not.

At any rate, try this recipe for prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and your whole family might be saying things like,

“This meal is spot on!”

“I’d fancy some milk with this, Mum!”

“Darling, this is so brilliant I’m tickled down to me knickers!”

Traditional Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus w/ Yorkshire Pudding

(serves six to eight)

1 5 lb. Prime Rib Roast

2 Tablespoons neutral Oil such as Canola or Safflower

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Cup Beef Stock

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

½ white Onion, minced

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Milk

4 Eggs

1 tsp. Salt

Salt and Pepper

Cover the prime rib liberally with salt, pepper, onion and garlic and sear in a hot pan with the oil over high heat. Transfer the pan to a 250 degree oven and continue cooking for about two and a half to three hours, about 30 minutes per pound, or until an internal read thermometer reads 130 degrees. Towards the end of the roasting time, combine milk, flour, eggs and salt. Whip with a whisk or hand mixer to incorporate air and set aside. Remove pan from oven and place the prime rib on a platter to rest for 20 minutes. Bring oven temperature up to 450 degrees. Drain off liquid from roasting pan and reserve. Return pan to high heat and add wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape all of the drippings up. Reduce wine by half and add beef stock and reduce by half. Separate the fat and the liquid from reserved drippings. Add liquid to the Au Jus and whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire and set aside. In a muffin tin, add equal portions of the reserved fat into the bottom of each muffin tin. Add the flour mixture to each tin and fill half way. Place into a 450 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Be careful not to open the oven while the pudding is baking or it could fall. Remove and serve.

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September 12th, 2008

Dreams About Steak

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I have dreams about steak and I’ve often wondered whether it’s just me . . . or are there other freaks out there?

I think you know the answer.

Here’s a dream journal from maybedreams.wordpress.com. Perhaps it will enlighten us all . . .

pwny:
in this dream, i’m eating chicken fried steak with Jazz from the transformers. and i am overwhelmed with the fact that this is the single greatest moment in my life up to that point. i was making sandwiches out of the the CFS, mashed potatoes, and biscuits. a common practice on CFS day.

inspiration: i was 7, and it was the night before chicken fried steak day at school… so i might have been biased.

So there you have it! Chicken fried steak and Jazz from the Transformers. A bit frightening. And tasty all at the same time.

Your friend and mine — Jazz

What does it mean?

Who cares? It’s about steak. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

Now, go have a great weekend and dream your own dreams about steak . . . and let me know what they are. That way I won’t have to pay for therapy.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

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September 11th, 2008

Are You Ready For Some Steak With a Football On It?

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No?

Well, I think you’re missing out. Check it out . . .

Yes, siree. Our friends at SteakBrands.com have found a way to get our favorite cuts of meat in on the pigskin action.

Freaked out a little? Wait ’til you see the NASCAR brands. And the one that says “Road Kill.”

Nice.

Go here to see all your branding choices for your next cookout.

Photo courtesy of SteakBrands.com

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September 10th, 2008

This One’s Just Peachy!

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Say you’re looking to serve something other than potatoes with your juicy, tender steak tonight. Then, say you’re up for something quite different than your ordinary fare.

This just might be what you’re looking for. It’s fresh. It’s peachy. It’s cheesy.

Try it!

Italian Grilled Peaches
Serves 4

2/3 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
3 T sugar
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 large peaches, unpeeled, halved and pitted
2 to 3 oz Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
2 T mascarpone cheese, for garnish

In a small, non-reactive saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar, sugar and pepper, and simmer until reduced by half and thick enough to use as a glaze.  Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat grill to medium-high, 350º to 400º.  Place peach halves on the grill, cut side down, and grill 5 minutes, or until flesh is slightly charred. Brush the rounded tops of the peaches with the glaze, and cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Flip peaches, brush the cut sides with glaze and grill an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer peaches to 4 individual serving dishes, and spoon any remaining glaze over the tops. Sprinkle each serving with an equal amount of Gorgonzola and place a small dollop of mascarpone on the side.

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September 9th, 2008

Steak + Football = Success!

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This weekend we went to visit some friends and, once again, tried to enjoy our alma mater’s attempt at football.

Lo and behold – we won!

We think this had something to do with it . . .

(taken on my husband’s camera phone — seriously, they weren’t really purple)

Or, the fact that we were not the hosts.

Either way, we’ve become very superstitious and we’ve decided that we must now camp out in our friends’ living room for the rest of football season . . . wearing the same clothes.

And, of course, we’ll expect the same meal of filets and ribeyes to be served as well.

We’re taking one for the team.

Just go with it.

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September 8th, 2008

Mmmm . . . With Cherries On Top

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Good Monday to you! Here’s a great way to start your week off right . . . a recipe for a sumptuous prime rib with cherry glaze.

Can’t you just see the colors in the cherries and smell the aroma of the garlic and prime rib?

Oh, it’s making me hungry.

Try this one and your family will rave for days.

Mt. Morency Cherry Glazed Prime Rib
(serves six to eight)

1 5 lb. Prime Rib Roast
3 cups Beef Stock
3 Cups Dry Sherry
1 Cup Dried Mt. Morency Cherries
1 Shallot Minced
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 Cup Honey
2 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp. neutral oil, like canola
Salt and Pepper

Sweat the shallot and garlic in the oil and add two cups of the sherry and the cherries.  Reduce by half and add two cups of the beef stock and reduce by half.  Strain out the cherries, shallot and garlic and discard.  Bring the liquid back to a boil and add the honey and vinegar and reduce by half.  Season to taste, it should be both salty and sweet.  Using a pastry brush or basting brush, apply the glaze liberally over the roast and cook in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 250 and continue cooking until an internal read thermometer reads 130 degrees, about two hours.  Remove the roast from the oven and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.  Degrease the pan, reserving the liquid and deglaze the pan over high heat with the remaining sherry and beef stock.  Reduce by half and add reserved drippings.

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September 5th, 2008

And Now For Your Dining Pleasure . . .

By

. . . a side salad that is the perfect complement to a prime rib roast, steaks — or just about any dish.

Enjoy!! And have a great weekend! Eat outside while you still can . . .

Greens and Berry Salad
Serves 4-6

1  (8 oz) pkg. mixed greens (about 8 cups)
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2   ¼” thick slices red onion, separated into rings
1 cup fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries
1  (2 oz) pkg slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard

In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, blue cheese, onion, raspberries and almonds.  In a small bowl, whisk together the salad dressing and mustard. Pour dressing over the salad and toss well.

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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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