Search this site:
Archive for the ‘beef’ Category
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
My husband was away for a week on business. This happens regularly, it’s not unusual. My son and I have crazy busy schedules…well, he does…and the week flies by. One thing that is really different though is I cook less for that week. We’ll go out or I’ll make some simple pasta. Nothing that I consider real cooking. By Thursday I was depressed. I didn’t want to do anything. I had lots of things I could do, but I sat online, glassy-eyed, as my twitter feed rolled by. I tried retail therapy: got a really cute skirt on eBay for $10. I went to the thrift store and bought a big bag of things to rip apart and make new, cuter things out of. But still, I was just blah.
Then I realized what I was missing. Cooking! It’s my happy place. It’s what I do well and it makes me feel good about myself–as well as eating well which helps physically. Saturday night my husband got home but my neighbor and I were out seeing Eric Ripert and Tony Bourdain. I was inspired.
I invited the neighbors over for a fancy dinner on Sunday. I pulled out Eric’s A Return to Cooking and started flipping through. His are the only recipes I follow at all. I love them. Of course I still modify and cut some corners ;-)
I picked out Crab Salad with Chilled Gazpacho Sauce, Grilled Rack of Lamb and Cucumber Salad, and Pan-Seared Skirt Steak with Herbed-Butter Frites and Bitter Greens. I hit the store to stock up for the meal and they had no crab. They have had crab every day that I’ve gone in there until Sunday. They even had it when I went in two days ago. I had to go off script and decided to make my Green Curry Ceviche. The fish I bought was weird…possibly with parasites. First time I’ve ever gotten bad fish at my market…they refunded my money, no questions asked. I took that as a sign that I was trying to cook too much food.
I concentrated on the other two dishes. My husband took on dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Liqueur. It was inspired by the coffee infusion that he made about three months ago. We hadn’t tried it yet. It was a pound of Panama Gesha in Hangar One vodka. It better be good (it is!).
I also wanted to play with my Porthole infuser so put some ginger, lime and cardamom pods in there with some Oxley gin and let it sit. The plan was to mix up little drinks to go with the first course. Hubby took over that project when I was up to my elbows in lamb.
I cut the racks of lamb into chops and covered them in herbs and olive oil and set them aside. I put the skirt steak in the soy-based marinade from Eric’s book and set those aside. I sliced the potatoes into thin fry-sizes and put those in cold water. I made salad dressing. I washed the greens…I used regular lettuce, not bitter greens. I had a ton in my fridge from my CSA. I thinly sliced cucumber.
I tapped hubby for the infuser drinks. He muddled some cucumber, added lime juice, simple syrup and the gin and it was really good! The infusion was pretty strong even though it only sat for a couple of hours. The design of the Porthole works really well.
Then I started searing the lamb. I had to do it in two batches, the pan was too small. But that gave the first batch time to rest while I seared the second and the second batch time to rest while I plated the first! I sliced the lamb off the bone, tossed it with the dressing and piled it atop a nice little circle of cucumbers.
I had already par-fried (is that a word?) the fries and set them aside. So I fired up the oil again to bring it to 450° to crisp them up. I seared the skirt steak and set it to rest before slicing. I then sliced up the steak, tossed the salad with dressing and plated them. This was the best skirt steak I’ve ever, ever had. Eric is THE MAN. Yes, I cooked the food but the marinade was not my recipe.
The fries were also amazing, tossed with herbed butter and crispy as can be. I didn’t get a picture of those. I was too busy getting them on the plate and eaten while still crispy to take a photo!
The cake also ended up being rich and so incredibly good. Who needs flour when you have butter and chocolate?!
Needless to say, I was in a much better mood after 5 hours of intense prepping and cooking. Not many people would say that but I’ve always been odd.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Vertigo runs in my family. I’ve always been prone to motion sickness but about six years ago I went on a ferry in Sydney and my head thought it was still on the ferry for about 5 days. I’d be standing in the kitchen pouring a cup of tea and the whole room would spin. Since then I can’t swing on swings, jump on trampolines or, I thought, go on boats. I’d never in my life been on a sail boat. Why would I do such a thing when I’d just spend the whole time heaving over the side?
Well, before we left for this trip, I got transderm scopolamine from my doctor. That’s the little patch that goes behind your ear and sucks all the water out of your inner ear so there’s no sloshing happening. I’m very sloshy. I had no idea if this thing would work or if I’d have side effects or anything. I just stuck it behind my ear, washed my hands really well so I wouldn’t touch my eyes and dry them up, and then headed to the dock. I’ll end the suspense…the patch worked! The water wasn’t smooth by any means, we were up and down and all around but I didn’t feel a single worble. I can go on boats!!! I also wasn’t worbly when I got back on land. Maybe I should wear these patches all the time ;-)
So, we got on this catamaran along with a couple of dozen other people and sailed about 45 minutes out to Stingray City. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve petted the manta rays at the Monterey Bay Aquarium but they’re small, don’t have stingers and half the time are huddled in the pool away from people. Stingray City was a whole other kettle of fish (*groan*). My son and I were the first down the ladder (well, he was first and I followed) and then he was the first to stop and get scared to jump down. The water was choppy and he wasn’t going to be tall enough to touch the bottom. So I passed him and jumped down first, tried to convince him to jump to me and then got doused by a wave and got about a quart of salt water up my nose. That’s a great start. But I recovered, got him down and then we were surrounded by stingrays! It was unsettling at first, and then really, really cool. They feel soft and a little slimy and have spent their whole lives at the sandbar where people come and feed them so they are really friendly…almost too friendly. We all had them swim up to either side and slap our legs looking for squid. It was CRAZY!
We spent about 30 minutes in the water with them then headed back up to the boat for some tequila drinks, lots of water, and a sail to Rum Point for some burgers. Since my husband’s foot is still healing from his accident in September, we always had to search out a place to sit first. We camped out in some beach chairs right next to the water, the margarita stand, and Eric Ripert’s station.
Sweeet. I had to pass on Spike Mendelsohn’s burger because it was lamb and I know how I am about lamb. I love rack of lamb. Let it grow up and it’s too lamby for me (I can’t overthink the baby-eating part of that). So I just wandered on and got one of Eric’s snapper sliders with spicy aioli. I actually got one for myself and my hubby and my son got one without the aioli. Then I went back and got another, and I’m pretty sure another. I scoped out the other burgers and taste-tested a few but always went back to Eric. To quote my son, “How does he make food taste so good?!”
Eric wasn’t overly busy, this was a small event, so I went up to attempt a conversation. I was doing really well! I was asking about the capers and the peppers on the fish from the Barefoot BBQ the night before. He said the capers were brined Spanish capers (they were amazing and unlike any caper I’d ever had) and the peppers were a local island pepper that he didn’t know the name of. I was commenting that I was surprised I liked them because they weren’t hot but they didn’t have the flavor of bell pepper at all which was great. See? Going well right?! Then I spilled champagne down my shirt. *sigh* It wasn’t sexy with me in a bikini, splashing champagne on myself in a hair-flipping, buxom, margarita-fueled craze (I was not in a bikini, nor am I buxom). I basically drooled. Someday I will manage to not look like a fool.
We had to finish up and catch the first catamaran back to get our son to his snorkeling camp before we went to see Eric and Tony Bourdain do their demo and talk. So we waltzed back to the catamaran and had a lovely sail back to the resort.
It’s always fun to listen to Eric and Tony razz each other. They didn’t do the Good vs. Evil routine (they’ll be on tour with that this spring) but they did a basics of cooking demo and Q&A session. They addressed things that people regularly screw up in the kitchen. First up, the omelet. Tony made a simple omelet, Eric acted shocked that Tony could cook. Their kids taste tested it and got the thumbs up :) Eric talked about how Tony has taken up meditation. Tony looked quite shocked and confused by this idea. And then of course Eric throws the punchline out which is a stack of photos he has taken, and I’ve seen him post them on twitter, of Tony sleeping on airplanes. This bromance can get catty!!
Eric then showed how to property tie up a chicken for cooking to keep its shape and juices in. He made scrambled eggs which were to die for! They passed them out in little egg shells. He cooks them through then whips in creme fraiche and chives. I am going to try this technique. Then they started going through the list of things people do not do right in the kitchen. First up, grill a steak. I was happy to hear them go through the list of do’s and don’ts and know that I was doing it all right! Let the steaks come up to room temp, salt them right before putting them on a not-too-hot grill (or you get raw inside, charcoal outside), DON’T touch them. Flip the steaks only once, don’t cut or poke them, leave them the hell alone. Then let them rest for about 8 minutes before serving. Yup, I do all that! For pasta: lots and lots of water, tons and tons of salt and don’t put oil in the water. It does nothing to keep the pasta from sticking. Oil and water don’t mix.
The funniest bit was when Sandra, Eric’s amazingly awesome, beautiful, funny wife, asked what they make when they cook romantic dinners for their wives. Eric replied with, “I’m not married.” Ouch! And then said they go out to eat. Poor girl’s never going to get a romantic home-cooked meal! That’s what you get for marrying a chef.
After it was over I got Tony to sign my Get Jiro! book and then we went and got our son from snorkeling and, yet again, spent the rest of the day in the ocean, on the beach or in the hot tub. It’s hard to be back home now!
Read about Thursday and Friday!
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
I was torn between two dishes for dinner. I wanted soba noodle soup but I had all these wonderful CSA veggies to use. So I decided to try introducing two recipes to one another. Turns out they should definitely be friends! I have some of the greens-beef mixture left over today which I’m going to have over rice for lunch. I didn’t, however, take a picture of any of this…it smelled so good I just devoured it!
When I make it again, I’ll try to remember to take one and add it here.
Recipe: Beef saute with soba in dashi
- 4 chopped spring onions
- 2 T minced ginger
- 3 small chilis, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 c. bok choy (or other asian green)
- 3/4 c. minced cilantro
- 1 T fish sauce
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1/4 c. water (if needed)
- 8 oz. thinly sliced rib eye (or other fave cut)
- Green onions
- Before you start anything else, get your water going for soba noodles and your dashi simmering.
- Saute spring onions, ginger, chilis, garlic, soy sauce and fish sauce until onions start to soften. Add bok choy and cilantro. Add water if soy or fish sauce is getting too sticky in the pan. When everything is desired consistency, add beef and cook until just under your preferred doneness (you will be putting hot broth on this so it will cook a little more).
- Remove greens and meat from pan, leaving liquid to reduce.
- Put soba noodles in a bowl, add a heaping pile of beef-green concoction, spoon some of the reduction on top to add even more flavor, top with chopped green onions and pour dashi over all that.
Try not to drool in the bowl–especially if you’re serving others.
Number of servings (yield): 3
Meal type: dinner
Microformatting by hRecipe.
Thursday, April 7th, 2011
One night I opened the fridge to find a wilted (but not rotten) 1/2 bunch of cilantro, some ginger and not much else. I had a rib-eye in the freezer. I always have garlic, shallots, onions in the drawer and chiles from my dad’s garden in the freezer. I threw what I had in the food processor and made this dish that turned out FREAKING amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what I did.
That’s why I have this site, if I didn’t post my recipes, I could never reproduce anything I cook! So, I tried to remember what I did. And I elaborated on it with the extra items in my fridge (greens and mushrooms). It, once again, was so delish. And I took notes. Having totally improvised this though, I left it open to interpretation with the recipe title.
Recipe: Asian Beef with Stuff
- 2T soy sauce
- 2T fish sauce
- 3T canola oil
- Handful of cilantro (stems and all)
- 2t peppercorns
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1T brown sugar
- 2 inches ginger (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 2-3 small chiles
- ~1lb of your favorite cut of beef (I usually use rib eye)
- Big pile of saute greens
- 1 c. chopped shiitakes
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- Put all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender. Zap until it’s a soupy paste. Pour that over your steak(s). Let that sit for as long as you have. In the fridge if you have a long time. If I have an hour or less, I let it sit on the counter, covered.
- Once you’re ready to cook, shake some of the marinade off the steak(s) and cook them on the stovetop until it’s the desired doneness. I like mine still mooing. Remove the steak and let it rest on a cutting board.
- Add shiitakes and greens to the pan with a little water, if needed, to loosen the crusty steak-bits. Cook for a couple of minutes then pour in the remaining marinade. Toss once in a while until mushrooms and greens are cooked.
- Remove mushrooms and greens from the pan, squeezing them with tongs or slotted spoon to remove as much of the liquid/sauce as you can. Set aside.
- Add sliced shallots to pan and reduce the remaining sauce.
- When it’s the sauce syrupy and, well, saucy, thinly slice your steak and toss it back into the sauce.
- To serve, put a mound of rice, a scoop of greens/mushrooms and top with the beef.
I can’t decide if the shiitakes worked or not. Try it both ways and let me know!
Number of servings (yield): 2
Meal type: dinner
Microformatting by hRecipe.
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
First things first…this was totally cool and fun!! We actually started discussing putting some sort of exhaust fan over our dining room table so we could do this at the table rather than in the kitchen. Next time we’ll do it outside instead so everyone can participate and cook their own food on the block. This time was an experiment (a successful one!) and I manned the salt block “grill” in the kitchen.
I slowly heated the salt according to the instructions from The Meadow. While it was heating, I prepared the rest of the meal.
I made baked fries…another thing I’ve never made before, oddly. Super easy. Peeled and cut russet potatoes into fry sizes (I like skinnier, crispier fries so I cut them pretty skinny). Toss with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes at 400°, flip them over and bake 25 more minutes or so until they are as crispy as desired.
I tossed the fries with Flor de Sal de Manzanilla and Nanami Togaroshi. The kicker for the fries though was the aioli. Since this was a Japanese-style dinner, I basically was making Japanese steak-frites, I made wasabi aioli (and it was good!):
1T wasabi paste
2 large cloves garlic
1″ peeled ginger
–Put in food processor and mince all the up together.
2T rice vinegar
2 super-fresh, organic, you can trust to eat them raw, egg yolks
Salt to taste
–Now turn on the food processor and add canola oil until it’s the right consistency…Probably about a cup of oil, I didn’t measure.
(Make ahead of time and refrigerate)
I knew this would be a rich meal so I made a crunchy, refreshing salad:
3 c. Julienned daikon
2 oz pea shoots
3 T soy sauce
2 t sugar
2 t mirin
1 tablespoon water
1 t toasted sesame oil
Dress the salad right before serving so it remains crunchy.
Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for. Thinly slice ribeye (or whatever cut of meat you want to use). I just sliced a steak as thinly as I could. When the salt is hot, put it on there! Cook for about a minute per side…if that. The first batch I think I left on too long. By the last batch I was getting the hang of it. The fattier the meat, the better. If the meat is too lean, it will draw too much liquid out of the meat and make it too salty. The ribeye was borderline…we are saltaholics so it wasn’t a problem for us! I really wanted to cook Wagyu for it’s fat content but nowhere around here sells it.
To serve, squeeze a little lemon juice on the meat and eat!
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA 94111
I had a few errands to run in San Francisco. All food-related so it was worth the drive up. My first stop was Omnivore Books on Food to pick up my signed Alice Waters book that I wasn’t able to get signed in person. Love that shop! Didn’t buy any other cookbooks because, well, I have soooo many and I exercised self-control.
I stayed and talked to Samantha at the book store for quite awhile and it was lunch time all of a sudden! Since I had to go to the Ferry Building anyway (I was out of Recchiuti Toffee!!), I decided to eat there to save time and parking woes. I ended up at Slanted Door because, well, it’s awesome!
Slanted Door always has a wait for a table but since I was by myself I easily snagged a seat at the first-come-first-serve bar. I was excited. I hadn’t been there in, wow, about 3 years! I over-ordered…somewhat on purpose. I wanted to get a good overview of proteins (fish, shellfish, pork, beef) and didn’t have anyone with me to share so I had to go it alone. I was determined to conquer the dishes!
First up was the Japanese Yellowtail with Crispy Shallots and Thai Basil. I really tried to savor this. I wanted to taste every little shallot and the wonderful sourness of the lemon juice (or yuzu? not sure) drizzled over the top. I wanted these thin slices of heaven to last. Alas, I scarfed it down in about 30 seconds. I couldn’t help myself! This was incredible. So simple but so unbelievably good. I would have been happy to have only this for 4 courses.
The Wood Oven Roasted Manila Clams with Thai Basil, Crispy Pork Belly and Fresh Chilies came and I got over the loss of the yellowtail. Salty, porky, clammy, a little spicy but only slightly so all the other flavors still came through. The only problem with this dish is you really need some bread to sop up all that broth at the end. I did my best to just drink it! Maybe next time I’ll stop at Acme bread on the way so I have a secret little stash to use for mopping up!
Typically, I would have been fine with those two courses for my lunch. I was on a food-quest today though. I still had the Flank Steak with Fresh Ginger over Rice Noodles with Roasted Peanuts coming. I’m running out of adjectives to describe YUM! My waiter seemed to be getting a kick out of my voraciousness. I worked my way through the intensely flavorful beef and saucy, perfect noodles…very slowly towards the bottom of the bowl. I stared at that last bite for a while, not sure I could do it but I managed. I really didn’t want to leave any of that behind! I think I left a couple of noodles and a few strips of lettuce, the waiter asked, “What, you can’t finish?” Har har ;-)
So, I was so full I could barely breathe…Dessert menu please! What was I thinking?!?!? Initially, I thought I’d just get some sorbet. Unfortunately it was coconut (blech) so that was right out. All the other desserts were rich. I asked the waiter what I’d have a better chance of finishing: the pot de creme or the creme caramel? He laughed at me…then suggested the chocolate. So up came the Milk Chocolate Pot de Creme with Toasted Rice Crunch. I think I would have finished this if it was dark chocolate…even though that makes it richer, the milk chocolate made it taste fattier and heavier. Still, I made a good-sized dent in it but couldn’t eat it all. The waiter said I couldn’t leave until I ate my rice crispy treat…I said I wasn’t going to get to leave then! I was destroyed!!
I didn’t eat dinner that night. That NEVER happens. I’m always hungry at meal times. The last time I was that full was when Kim Boekbinder and I had raviolis for dessert and then still had the pot de creme….I sense a theme.
So, not like this is a secret, but go to the Slanted Door! You won’t be disappointed…well, at least with the dishes I ordered…I’ll have to go back to taste the rest of the menu!