Saturday, January 31, 2015

How to cook a really damn good piece of meat

I'm standing in my kitchen, letting the smell of my first cup of coffee lull me into consciousness. My two-year-old is bringing me Spot it! cards (to play? who knows with a 2-yo?). I notice he's taking the longest route from where I'm standing to where the box sits on the coffee table in the adjacent living room, over and under the baby's 'stim gym.' He calls me to help him on the potty and I'm grateful he does a little dance to put his pants back on, instead of getting upset that I flushed the toilet before he had a chance to do it himself. He is, after all, two.

This post is not about potty-training, although I'll humble brag that he's not even 26 months old and pretty solid all day. It took his sister an additional... long-ass time to get to this point. It was different with her, I was working when she was this age and, now, I've been home for at least 12 weeks. I can't believe the baby is almost three months old. I'll write up his birth story, I promise.

The real purpose of this post is to share the method I used to make the London Broil we had for dinner last night.

I found a link to a piece called "How to Cook a Steak and Influence People" a couple of months ago. The steak cooking method and the link to the very different "How to Cook a Fucking Steak" intrigued me. I fell in love, over the summer, with the simplicity of the little Weber charcoal grill we acquired from our former neighbors. Fire, salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and we had amazing meat. It didn't matter if it was pork tenderloin or steak or venison or chicken legs, it all disappeared to a melody of nummy noises. So, I think, maybe there's just as simple a way to accomplish the burning of meat inside, in the winter? I've experimented with a combination of the methods on various pieces of meat and I'm going to go out on a limb and say:


I put a frying pan on medium heat and generously sprinkle Kosher Salt into the pan. A cast iron skillet works but I'm cooking for four and usually cooking enough meat for extra meals, so I'm using my 13" All-Clad French Skillet. Once the pan is hot, I place the meat of choice (seriously, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, London broil, doesn't matter), fattier side down, Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let it sear for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness and intended doneness. Place a couple of pats of butter on top and flip, so the butter ends up under the meat when you flip it. It isn't magic, you just want to flavor that top side a little more and make sure it doesn't stick to the still very hot pan. The salt took care of the first side, but some of that will stick to the meat when you flip it. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes to sear the bottom, again depending on thickness and doneness.

For steak, that's it. We like it rare to medium rare (yes, even the kids) and a 2-pound London Broil was perfect after 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second. I turned off the heat and flipped it again, so the remaining melted butter and steak juices could coat the first side. Then I moved it to a cutting board (and poured remaining butter and juices over the top) to rest for 5-10 minutes.

For chicken, I turn the heat down a bit and put a lid on it, letting it cook through, for at least another 10 or 15 minutes. I want the flavor of the seared outside and I want it super tender inside. I'm usually cooking about 2 pounds of chicken breasts at a time, so we're only eating one that first meal. The rest (2# is usually 3 pieces of meat) is going to stay in the warm pan until we're done eating, then it will be put away and either sliced or pulled apart for future meals. Salads, tacos, in soup, or with sauce and pasta.

For pork tenderloin I want to cook it a little more thoroughly than steak, to medium-rare or medium doneness. Pork can be served almost as rare as steak with no ill effects, so make your own decisions, folks. I'm definitely going the full 5 minutes, per side, and then I put a lid on it to 'bake.' Typically, I will pull one of the tenderloins (they come in packages of two, at least from Harris Teeter) and let it rest. Again, I want it super tender and moist inside, but this one will be closer to medium-rare in the thicker part and we like it that way. Whether I'm putting the rest in the actual oven, or not, depends on how much time I have. Either way, it gets more done and will pull apart for 'barbecue' leftovers or taco meat.

This method is easy, it is fast, it is delicious. I promise, it really is as easy as it sounds and will make anyone seem like a rockstar cook. More involved stuff is completely ok, too, but when you're beat from fighting toddlers who won't nap or traffic or commercial developers, steam some frozen vegetable, add butter, salt, and pepper, and serve it along side your lovely meaty goodness. Enjoy with your favorite beverage and your favorite people.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014



 More later...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Seven Months Later

It's been a little over seven months since DH and I set a new 'course.' He brought it up the other day and so I thought I'd take stock of our progress.

Mentally, I feel like I've made some headway. I'm much more thoughtful when it comes to 'stuff,' both in terms of getting rid of excess possessions and the acquisition of new ones. Yes, I bought four pair of stretchy pants at Target two weeks ago, but that's because I read jeans are bad for your alignment (and, therefore, overall well-being). They also look pretty good and are comfortable as hell for sitting in the floor (also better for you than chairs), playing blocks or trains or reading with my 2-year-old.

I forgot to mention that DD turned two, two weeks ago. That's for another post but I'll just say that "play witt me" are my favorite three words right now.

26#, 9.9oz. of T.R.O.U.B.L.E

I made her an 'Easter bunny' cake. I dyed coconut and then put a chocolate bunny and a couple of peeps to hold the candles on top. It was adorable, as was the look on her face.

Anyway, now that we've moved back home (and twice in 4 months), we've definitely gotten rid of a lot of excess stuff. There's still more but we're down to the potentially interesting/valuable stuff and will sort through and try to sell whatever we decide we can't display. We do have some room in the attic to store stuff but it really needs to be reigned in, as well. If we can keep it to seasonal and necessary, as opposed to mountains of yarn and fabric I'll never make into anything or boxes of old and never 'might need it' computer parts, we'll be able to breathe easier.

Did you notice my new kitchen in the cake photo above?!?

It's so nice to have something, well, nice. It's just a house but hopefully one we'll really get to enjoy, as long as we're here. Then, if and when the time comes to sell, hopefully it will be one that will make a nice return on our investment.

We've talked about some sailing classes but I'm back working part-time and we're just trying to get through the final bit of unpacking and returning to 'normal.'

Working part-time means my parents keep DD and DS, part-time. DS has taken his time getting used to taking a bottle (although he does fine for me and for DH), so it's been a little stressful for my folks. This is only the fourth week, though, so I'm sure things will settle down. DS has the best smile, not to mention the dimples! His eyes are still just barely hazel but are heading toward brown. They're the biggest, brightest, smiling-est eyes. We even had to trim his hair to keep it out of them. He's working on rolling over and makes the most interesting noises. He's a big fan of his hands and feet and he thinks his sister is pretty cool, too.