Some Beef Should Be Cooked Longer

Grilling_Steaks_(with_border)I saw an interesting article on www.epicurious.com, one of my favorite recipe and food information sites, this morning and it raised some points I hadn’t thought of before concerning the degree of wellness that’s best for each cut of meat.

When we go out for a steak dinner my husband is an automatic medium-rare guy and I’m a firm believer that my meat shouldn’t walk itself to the table or be so bloody that it’s still cold inside, so my go-to temperature request is medium.

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, owners of Ox Restaurant in Portland, OR, give great reasons for venturing beyond medium-rare (130° F) on these specific cuts:

  • With tougher cuts like hangar, tri-tip, flank, flap steak, and skirt steak, “you need to allow time for the fibers to relax.” Any steak on which you can see the grain of the meat running down its length is at its optimal level of tenderness and juiciness when cooked to medium (140°F).
  • For short ribs, cook to medium to medium-well (140ºF to 150ºF) because “the connective tissues and marbling need time to render, so they’re best grilled over low heat for a long period of time.” This cut, which is often braised, has a lot of fat, so it can stand up to the higher level of doneness. Plus, Gabrielle says, “the tendons get crispy and satisfyingly chewy,” when cooked this way.

For purposes of safety and less chance of getting any type of food borne illness, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes. The USDA also recommends that ground beef should be cooked to a minimum 160°F (well done) and that temperatures should be checked with a thermometer.  Don’t rely solely on color as some meats don’t change a whole lot.

I would imagine the people at Certified Angus Beef  would be the ultimate experts on the ideal degree of wellness for beef.  They recommend:

  1. Inserting your thermometer through the side of your meat, with the tip in the center of the cut, not touching any bone or fat.
  2. Removing steaks and burgers from the heat when the thermometer registers 5°F lower than the desired doneness, and roasts 5-10°F lower, as the temperature will continue to rise while resting.

I see where I am screwing up!  I often overcook my husband’s steaks because I do rely on the color and/or wait for the thermometer to reach the exact wellness mark.  I’m changing my ways today. 😉

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Decadent Sunday Dinner

FullSizeRenderEvery once in a while I get a craving I just can’t shake for a thick, juicy steak and a moist, tender lobster.  Thankfully we are in an area where there are Asian markets with whole live Maine lobster in a tank, ready to be steamed for me on the spot, that are surprisingly affordable ($9.99/lb!).

Yesterday I got the craving while shopping in Costco (On a Sunday! What was I thinking?) and I just couldn’t face the weekend crowd we were sure to encounter if we trekked to the Ranch 99 Market.  I knew I had a pair of thick filet mignon steaks in the freezer and Costco had previously frozen Canadian lobster tails that looked meaty enough to satisfy my craving, so I decided to give them a try.

Knowing timing would be my biggest hurdle to making sure everything would be ready and warm at the same time, I set my cooking schedule for a true 30 minute meal:

FullSizeRender_35:30 – Get the steaks started.  I turned the burner to medium-high and pre-heated my favorite pan in my kitchen arsenal, my cherry Le Cruset Square grill pan, then added a spray of olive oil spray, seasoned the steaks with Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, then put them on the sizzling pan to cook.  Assuming your filet mignon steaks are at least 1 inch thick, turn steaks over after 8 minutes (for medium rare), 10 minutes (for medium/medium well), or 12-13 minutes (for well done).  When you have turned cook the steaks for the same amount of time for your desired degree of wellness and, when there is about 2 minutes left in your cooking time, put a pat of cold butter on top of the steak.

In a pan with a lid, put in 1 inch of water and a steamer insert then bring to a boil.  When water reaches a boil, place the lobster tails inside the steamer insert, cover, reduce heat to low-medium and steam for 8 minutes.  While the lobster tails are steaming, in a small pan (or a ramekin in the microwave) melt a half cube of butter to dip the lobster in.

Open a bag of frozen C&W (A.K.A. Birdseye) whole petite green beans, pour into a covered 2 quart dish and set the microwave for 6-7 minutes on high power.

FullSizeRender_2This timing will have all of your parts done at the same time so that you can quickly plate and serve your dinner at 6:00.  I opened a bottle of  Eberle Rare & Reserve 2012 The Ravelin red wine blend to serve alongside.  The wine was a perfect complement to the boldly spiced steak.  Bon Appetit’.

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Steak & No Bake Baked Potatoes

It’s a hot, lazy Wednesday evening and I’m not in the mood to cook.

I’m looking for something to make for dinner that:

  1. Won’t take a lot of time;
  2. Will satisfy post-basketball practice hunger;
  3. Won’t heat up the house more than the 89° day did already;
  4. Won’t make a huge mess in the kitchen; and
  5. Won’t interrupt my Girls Drinking Wine time

A quick review of items on hand resulted in a hearty dinner that satisfied my family and, bonus, took minimal effort on my part so I could enjoy a rare mid-week treat of girl time!

steakandpotatoesI pulled out my handy (practically hands off) go-to kitchen saviors, my T-Fal Electric Pressure Cooker & cast iron skillet and dinner was well on it’s way to being made.

Baked Potatoes & Boneless Rib-Eye Steaks with Garlic Mushrooms

First, get the potatoes started:

  1. Wash 2 Large Baking Potatoes
  2. Put rack and 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker pan
  3. Place potatoes on rack
  4. Brush Potatoes with a touch of olive oil & sprinkle with sea salt
  5. Close and lock pressure cooker, set to cook on high
  6. Once pressure cooker reaches temperature, cook potatoes for 20 minute
  7. When cooking time is done, unplug machine and leave closed until your steaks are done

While the potatoes are cooking:

  1. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat;
  2. Place 6 slices of bacon in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side (give or take) until crispy but not over browned;
  3. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  4. Salt and pepper 2 Boneless Ribeye Steaks on both sides & put in hot skillet;
  5. Add about 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic salt & pepper to the pan;
  6. Cook the steaks to desired degree of doneness while also stirring the mushrooms while they cook.  My husband likes his medium rare, so I cook them roughly 4 minutes per side at medium-high heat.

When the steaks are ready:

  • Turn off heat and immediately remove steaks from the pan;
  • Place steaks on a serving plate and mound 1/2 of the mushrooms on each;
  • Release the remaining pressure in the pressure cooker;
  • Place potatoes beside the steaks on plates;
  • Cut the potatoes open, butter generously, crumble 1/2 the bacon inside each potato and top with sour cream, salt & pepper.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood