December 21st, 2009

The 12 Meats of Christmas

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Sometimes holiday classic tunes need a little updating.  And what better way to spend the 12 Days of Christmas than with the ones you love?

The foods you love, that is.

So here it goes . . . cue the carolers!

“The 12 Meats of Christmas”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, KC Steaks shipped to me:

Twelve roasts a-roasting,

Eleven pork chops sizzling,

Ten seasonings seasoning,

Nine strip steaks smoking,

Eight ribs a-braising,

Seven filets mignon-ing,

Six ribeyes marbling,

Five ste-ak-burgers, (pause, pause, pause)

Four T-bones,

Three prime ribs,

Two tenderloin,

And a hickory smoked tur-r-r-r-key!!!

Whew!  I’m tired.  And hungry.

Wanna send your own 12 Meats of Christmas?  Start here!

Photo courtesy of KansasCitySteaks.com.


December 17th, 2009

What a Difference a Steak Makes

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Er, I mean, what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, I was preparing to go on a road trip to Florida where we spent a week with family celebrating the holidays.

You can read about our adventures here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

I’m telling ya, there was lots of good food to be had. Like this . . .

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Beef tenderloin tips. Good stuff.

But this year, there will be no road trip. There’s a little thing called a recession going on. I don’t know if you’ve heard about it.

But after saving up for a very long time for last year’s beachside holiday adventure, it seemed out of the question this year. And indeed it is.

We had our food shipped to our door in Florida last year. And what a treat it was to have good, quality food right there at our fingertips. We KNEW the meat would be fabulous. And it was.

I hate playing a guessing game with the meat at the local supermarket in a town I’m not too familiar with. Heck, I don’t like it in towns I AM familiar with. So, we ordered what we wanted and it all came to us when we needed it. Like magic.

The good thing is, I can get that same quality anywhere I am in the country. So now that I’m home for the holidays this year, I’m having it delivered to my house. Um, which is not beachside in Florida. Boo.

We’re going to have a turkey, ham and all the trimmings on Christmas Day — and steaks! on Christmas Eve. And I will not be standing in line at the supermarket with the rest of humanity for it all.

Merry Christmas to me!!!

And happy holidays to you. The countdown at our house has begun . . .


October 2nd, 2009

Steak With Raspberries, Figs and Blue Cheese

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raspberry

This one sounds different.

I can honestly say I’ve never eaten raspberries and figs on my steak before. I just never thought about it.

But why not?

I love raspberries and figs give good flavor. Plus, blue cheese does wonders for steak. Why not combine them all?

You try it, too, and let me know what you think!

Steak with Raspberries, Figs and Blue Cheese 

1 cup red raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 large or 16 small figs, quartered
2 ounces ham, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 boneless ribeye or beef tenderloin steak, about 2 1/2 pounds total
Salt
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on high, or preheat a broiler. Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan. 
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the raspberries, sugar and vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Set aside. 
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the figs, ham, rosemary, garam masala, and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the figs are very soft. Set aside and keep warm. 
Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the steaks for 12 minutes, turning once, or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 145 degrees F for medium-rare.
Place each steak on a plate. Top with an equal amount cheese and cover with some of the fig mixture. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the raspberry sauce over all. Serve the remaining fig mixture on the side. 

Recipe courtesy of newsobserver.com.

Photo courtesy of greenopia.com.


September 16th, 2009

Mustard Beef Tenderloin

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Mmmm. It’s getting a slight bit cooler outside and that makes me crave rich, red meat.

Come on, I know I’m not the only one.

tenderloin

This amazing recipe for Mustard Beef Tenderloin looks like just the ticket.  See what YOU think!

Mustard Beef Tenderloin

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 beef tenderloin filets
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

Mix together mustard, vinegar, olive oil, pineapple juice, tarragon and pepper. Simmer in a saucepan until evenly heated. Keep warm. Preheat grill. Lightly pound filets with kitchen mallet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Remove from grill. Place about 2 tablespoons of mustard mixture on a plate and place filet onto the sauce.

Recipe courtesy of bbq.about.com.

Photo courtesy of KansasCitySteaks.com.


September 3rd, 2009

Chef Sandy’s Steak Primer

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School is back  in session so what better time to brush up on a lesson that is near and dear to my heart?  Yes, class, it’s time for a lesson on steak.

Chef Sandy goes through the ins and outs of cuts for us here. And if you pay attention you might just get an extra recess.

I often get the question, “What kind of steak should I buy?”

Well, that kind of depends on a few factors…

            -What do you want to spend?

            -What sort of texture do you want?

            -What is the doneness level that you prefer?

            -What kind of fat percentage do you want?

            -What cooking method are you planning to use?

Here is a brief overview:

Many of the cuts of beef that are used for steaks are cut from the loin portion of the beef.

Most of us are well aware that filet or beef tenderloin (and Chateaubriand) are all part of the same very expensive cut of beef.  There is very little waste, very little work for the cook (little trimming is necessary) and it is appropriate for anything and anyone who likes steak, even at the fanciest meal.  The texture of tenderloin is very tender, and some say that the flavor is not assertively beefy enough, but that is really a matter of choice. 

Many times this cut of meat will be served with a sauce or an equally luxurious topping like a bleu cheese topping or it will be wrapped in bacon, all of which will enhance the flavor. This is the priciest cut of steak, but again, there is no waste, and not too much shrinkage, so what you buy (and pay for) is what you get to eat.

But what is the difference between a T-bone and a Porterhouse?  How about a KC Strip and NY Strip?

A Porterhouse is a steak with a T-bone in the middle, and a large portion of both tenderloin and strip loin.  A T-bone is the same steak, but the tenderloin portion is usually smaller than a silver dollar, or even non-existent.  The bone-in nature of this steak usually yields great flavor, and oftentimes at the grocery store the T-bones actually have a large filet portion (and should therefore be labeled as the more expensive Porterhouse — shh, we won’t tell). 

The difference between a KC Strip and a NY Strip is basically a marketing difference.  Depends on where you are from.  Either could come with a bone, but often not, and both are a generally oblong shaped steak, with not much visible marbling, but fat around the outside (non-bone side) of the meat.  Depending on where you shop, and what part of the country you are from, these steaks are often in the high-middle of the price range for quick cooking steaks.

A ribeye or Delmonico steak is well marbled with fat, and because of its high fat content, can be cooked more well done and still remain juicy.  This kind of steak will flame up on the grill, so it should definitely be watched carefully.  One trick I have used is to first grill the steak on the grate to get grill marks (and flavor) and then put heavy duty foil on the grill and put the steaks on top to finish cooking them without incinerating them.

Sirloin steaks on the other hand, may need marinating to become juicy.  They should not usually be cooked to more than medium doneness and oftentimes are sliced thinly against the grain for presentation to help ensure a tender dining experience.  Flank steak and skirt steak (fajitas) are also cuts of meat which should be marinated, cooked quickly to a med-rare or medium doneness and sliced across the grain for tenderness.

Round steaks are usually too tough to use a direct cooking method, and are better suited to another preparation method like braising — think Swiss steak.  Brown, then cook the steak until tender in flavor liquid (gravy) for a few hours.  Many different cultures have variations on this theme, and a thin round steak can also be used as a wrapper for flavorful ingredients, with the whole bundle braised in flavorful liquid for a delicious meal.  Italians call it Braciole (may also be made with flank steak) Germans have Rouladen.  Long story short, braise it for great taste and tenderness.

If you are making Chicken Fried Steak, the traditional choice is a tenderized round steak.  This is a piece of meat which has been put through a process which mechanically pounds the steak and breaks up the tissues with thousands of little blades.  This is the only way to use this steak in a quick cooking manner, otherwise you would end up with shoeleather.  I have seen Chicken Fried Ribeye and Chicken Fried Filet on some fancier menus here in Texas, and since these are more tender pieces of meat, no mechanical tenderizing is necessary. Tasty, and about as decadent as you can get…

If you have any questions about a piece of meat you are considering buying, just ask.  At many grocery stores or even Web site, sometimes they have flip guides to cuts of meat and preferred cooking method, and sometimes even stickers on the actual meat packages which say “Great for the Grill” or “Best for Braising” or some similar catchy tips.  Or better yet, try some new choices next time you go to your favorite steak restaurant, and make a note to yourself about what you like and the preparation methods you enjoy.

Then you can try them out at home!

Photo courtesy of acjc.edu.


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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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