Meat Santa

Last night, Ivon came over with fifteen pounds of meat.  Now, normally, the writer in me would be instantly suspicious of a friend who just happened to show up on my doorstep with a bag full of red meat that needed eating, but in this case Ivon paved the way with a (suspicious?) story about placing an order with a farm that raises organic, grass-fed livestock.  He’d informed me he was scheduled to pick up his order at around 6:00 p.m. and suggested he and his girlfriend, Sarah, could swing by and taste test the meat at my place.

I said “Sure!”, swung by the farmers market and picked up some accompaniments – fresh carrots for Akemi’s honey-roasted carrot dish, fresh sungold tomatoes, lemon cukes, garlic, and basil for a nice end of summer salad, and an assortment of fresh desserts from French Made Baking.

Ivon and Sarah arrived at around 6:30, meat in tow.  We decided to sample four cuts:

New York, Sirloin, Rib, and Tenderloin.

My preferred preparation method involves heavily salting the meat and letting it sit for an hour to break down the tissue, then rinse it off, pat it dry, season with pepper and thyme, then sear in a cast iron pan for two minutes aside before topping it with more thyme, crushed garlic, and butter and popping it into the oven for ten minutes to finish.  Alas, the fact that the steaks were frozen solid put a bit of a crimp in those pans.  And so, instead, I looked up a recipe for searing frozen steaks.  According to the adherents of this method, frozen steaks actually sear better than room temperature steaks.  After searing, the steaks are popped into the oven for thirty minutes to an hour at fairly low heat (250 degrees) and then served to a perfect, buttery medium-rare.

Steaks!

The steaks seared nicely and, as per the instructions, I popped them into the oven at 250 degrees.  After about twenty minutes, we checked the meat.  It was still raw inside.  Patience may be a virtue but hunger trumps everything so we ratcheted up the oven to 350 degrees, waited another fifteen and –

Voila!
Our plate of meat.

The meat was very good, the tenderloin in particular, but I think we did it a disservice by rushing it along.  Some day, I’d like to prepare them, unfrozen, with my salt and sear method.

Steaks compliments of Ivon and Sarah.

Everyone has their version of the perfect steak.  Would love to hear yours.

Since we’re on the topic of perfecting cooking methods, here are a couple of pics of Akemi and my recent attempts at souffle:

Akemi
Me

Inspired by a recent episode of Master Chef (Can I just say how much I hate it when eliminated contestants are given the opportunity to return to the competition?  It gives them an unfair advantage over every chef that is eliminated moving forward, every other chef who DIDN’T luck out with a second chance.  But this is a topic for another blog rant), Akemi and I set out to try our hands at the difficult dish, baking up four versions: Savory Cheese, Blueberry, Cherry, and Chocolate.

Surprisingly, the cheese – while the ugliest – was the tastiest.  The chocolate was first runner up because, while slightly dried out, it turned out better than the undercooked fruit souffles.

Work continues on perfecting our souffle recipes.

We’re also working on perfecting our pork belly recipes.  The other day, we tried a Gordon Ramsay version that involved slow roasting the pork belly, pressed it, refrigerating it overnight, then slicing it up and finishing in the oven to crispy doneness.

Ramsay’s pork

As much as I loved the crispy top, I found the meat too tough, nestled between layers of fat that hadn’t rendered properly.  We still prefer a version Akemi makes (she calls it “Winnie the Pooh Pork”) that sees it braised for several hours in a soy, honey, orange and balsamic vinegar-based sauce.

Sometimes, simple is best.  Like this simple salad comprised of sweet sungolds, fresh basil, burrata cheese, Arbequina olive oil, and sea salt.

And, finally, a taste of Japan.  Akemi’s “happo sai”: nappa cabbage, shitake mushrooms, pork, carrots, and quail eggs in a chicken broth-based stew.

Natsukashii!

Last chance to vote (and most importantly, leave a comment on the poll page to win a signed script) for The Most Heartbreaking Moment in Stargate History:

Our Supermovie of the Week Club resumes tomorrow as this blog’s resident film critic, Cookie Monster, returns to offer his take on Ang Lee’s The Hulk (2003).  Monster has been uncharacteristically generous of late, doling out high cookie praise for movies like X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and Spiderman while demonstrating more typical disdain for recent stinker Daredevil.  How will The Hulk fare?  Tune in to tomorrow’s blog episode to find out.

18 thoughts on “September 2, 2012: YOUR sure-fire recipe for the perfect steak!

  1. Some nice cuts there. Every once in a while I hear of someone “buying” a cow, and manage to get in on the deal. Alas, with dad gone, I no longer have access to the big freezers. But the local Sam’s club sells some very nice tenderloin at a decent price, so I can cut my own fillets and freeze them.
    If Im cooking in the oven, I will sear the meat in the pan first. If going on the grill, then I bypass the sear to allow the flames to do their job. Seasoning wise, a bit of black pepper, salt, a bit of garlic powder. Sometimes I try a little ginger, thyme, sage, or basil, but I have yet to find the perfect combo. But I enjoy the trying. I’ve refreshed my stock of herbs and spices, and am planning to base some menus around them.(I’ve tried saffron a few times, but haven’t really done the spice justice yet). would go on, but the pooch is pinning me on the lounge chair in order to get a nice back and belly rub. got to quit leaving the tv on pro wrestling when I leave her alone…. hope you are enjoying the weekend and waving my snow monkey banner for the start of the season later this week…

  2. Consumer Reports asked it’s readers how we dote on dogs and cats. Here is the percent of what readers did:

    Fed the pet human food
    dog 63% cat 41%

    Taught it tricks
    dog 57% cat 14%

    Let it sleep with you
    dog 55% cat 75%

    Gave it holiday gifts
    dog 55% cat 43%

    Took it on vacation
    dog 45% cat 7%

    Signed a card with it’s name or photo
    dog 40% cat 29%

    Put photos of it on social media sites
    dog 32% cat 23%

    Dressed it in outfits
    dog 18% cat 5%

    35% of pets are adopted from shelters or rescue groups. Many cat owners also took in strays.

  3. Your Souffle looks pretty much perfect there Joe, could be wrong but that’s how they’re meant to be right?

  4. Massive meat purchases are becoming increasingly common over here in the U.S.A. I don’t know what it’s like in Canada, but here in the land of the free, regulations make it hard to purchase meat raised to certain standards at a retail place. Our loophole for that is that the government has to jump through more legal hoops to tell us what to do with our personal stashes, so we buy shares of a cow, chickens, etc. We’ll be getting at least a quarter cow as soon as we get a more efficient freezer.

  5. For a good steak, I go to a steakhouse. Sometimes I just don’t want to risk screwing up an expensive cut, especially right now when we don’t get it often and I’m out of practice. The risk is gone at a steakhouse because they’ll replace it if they screw it up and we’re going to eat out here and there as entertainment anyway. Or my husband cooks it.

  6. @ Janet – My sports obsessions went from hockey (in my teens), to Aussie Rules (in my 20s), to rugby (late 30s until now). While I really like Aussie Rules (we need to get narelle into this discussion 😉 @ ‘relle), rugby wins out simply because I’m fascinated by men who fall down over and over and still get right back up. If I feel down I think I’d stay flat on my back for a good ten minutes before I could even move, let alone get up. 😛

    @ Joe – My pefect steak recipe? Order one at a good restaurant. 😛 Because I like my meat on the well-done side, I have yet been able to cook a decent steak (save for filet, which is pretty hard to kill no matter how well done it is).

    And the souffles look wonderful!

    @ Ponytail – Interesting stats. Thanks for posting!

    das

  7. Joe wrote:

    My preferred preparation method involves heavily salting the meat and letting it sit for an hour to break down the tissue, then rinse it off, pat it dry, season with pepper and thyme, then sear in a cast iron pan for two minutes aside before topping it with more thyme, crushed garlic, and butter and popping it into the oven for ten minutes to finish.

    At what temperature? My sister will want to know.

    As to steak, I really never liked it much. I think it was the texture. My dad had to have everything served well-done. To him it wasn’t finished unless cutting the meat tore the teeth off a serrated knife. 🙂

    My ex-brother-in-law once worked in the meat department. One day, he brought home a marked down piece of filet mignon. He couldn’t stand the texture, but I loved it. Maybe I just have expensive taste? 😉

    Not that it would interest the chefs here, but I loved my mom’s Swiss Steak. It was made with an inexpensive cut of meat which she cut to pieces. She used a store-bought mix of spices that came with a bag (McCormick’s). She put the meat in the bag, added tomato sauce with diced tomatoes, and a little flour. She put the bag into the oven in a cakepan or into the crockpot and cooked it for the stated amount of time. (That bag made cleanup easy!) It was so simple, I was able to make it when I got my own apartment. I served it to my parents a few times and to a couple of friends.

    Anne Teldy

  8. Joe- I like soaking my steak in a good Italian dressing overnight, then grilling it on a charcoal grill (the charcoal’s important).

  9. G’day Joe

    @Das – Yes I am the same, takes me a good 10-15 minutes to get back up when I fall down. I admire those footy players, getting straight back up time and time again after hard knocks.

    As for the steaks, I am not fussy, just chuck it on the grill and cook it…till wait for it…medium. I like a bit of pink but no blood and not burnt like hubby.

  10. She put the meat in the bag, added tomato sauce with diced tomatoes, and a little flour.

    😳 Ack! Of course, she added the seasoning packet, too. Sorry!

    I forgot to say, even though I dislike the texture and taste of most steaks (they’re too strong), I absolutely love liver. Baby beef liver is my preference, but I eat pork liver just fine. 🙂 Daddy always said I was a weird child. 👿

    Anne Teldy

  11. My favorite steak is served by The Pine Club. I order a filet mignon, bumped up from standard size by 2 oz., medium-rare.

    If the rest of my table isn’t bumping up their size, I go with standard, too. It’s important for the whole table to order the same size steak, not as much for The Pine Club since they’re masters of the steak, but it’s a good standard practice for ordering steak.

    Or, if I’m feeling too claustrophobic for that, I order the same thing from The Paragon. They have ties to the mastery that goes into The Pine Club’s steaks.

    My brother-in-law has traveled widely. He’s eaten at places in Japan even you might not have heard of. He agrees that The Pine Club is the best for steak. But then again, he thinks Dr. E. is the best dentist and I know that not to be true.

  12. Thanks for all the thoughts regarding Bilo. He currently is on some pain meds and is quite happily watching my hubbie strip…..paint off the deck. I contacting a vet pathologist colleague and there may be a very very small glimmer of hope for a bit more quality time with my pal–fingers triple crossed.

    As for steak, the best is to take a decent cut (Alberta beef, of course) to my brother’s house and let him BBQ it. Yummy.

  13. Had to vote for Farewell to Carson Beckett. I’m not really an emotional person to be honest, just that I thought it was a bad decision to get rid of his character (even if he did return in a recurring roll, and his replacement, Jewel Strait, is a beauty).

  14. Moffat ruined the Moffatiness of the most recent episode of Doctor Who with

    D
    O
    C
    T
    O
    R

    W
    H
    O

    S
    P
    O
    I
    L
    E
    R

    too many souffle hints.

  15. hey Joe-
    You know, the movie reviews from Cookie, your (well-organised) meanderings on Stargate and the dogs+ice-cream blogs are all well and good, but really, for me your best blogs talk about food.

    It was even more exciting than normal to read your food blog from yesterday as Ivon’s meat Santa gig coincided nicely with a meat drop off by my two very good friends, Florian and Stefanie, from the Big Bear Ranch in Horsefly. Great people, great meat and I love the way that BBR is managed – organic, grass-fed meat where the animals are raised in a natural environment with any artificial schedules or feed. The best steak I’ve ever had though, was reindeer filet at A Hereford Beefstouw in Nuuk. It was seared, cooked to a MR, then served on a sizzly hot cast iron plate with just a dollop os garlic butter. Simple, juicy, and very flavourful. Simple is the best – stop adding so many spices, people! How can you taste the meat when you cover it with so much stuff! Argh!

    Pork belly though, that’s a different story. The porschetta from Meat and Bread remains my fatty favourite (sorry Fat Dragon, your Szechuan-peppercorn style just didn’t cut it). Akemi’s ‘Winnie the Pooh Pork’ sounds intriguing. Recipe?

    Unfortunately football and I don’t have that same close knit relationship as BBR ranch, porschetta and I do (it’s a bizarre love triangle, but it works). My dad and brother used to play, my two sisters play but for me.. bah. The only time it interested me was when the Lions were up against the Riders in a playoff’s game. Living in SK at the time meant it was important to show my support for the Lions but showing up at a bar dressed in orange and brown where everyone else was in green jerseys probably wasn’t such a good idea. Um, nor was it a good idea to let out a whoop of joy as the Lions’ kicked ass that night. Thankfully I managed to escape the bar without an ass kicking, but not without many evil glares.

    Love the soufflé photos. Now to attempt one myself. Could one follow up a pork belly meal with a chocolate soufflé? Is that acceptable?

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