Beef it is… confusing.

Like many people I have gazed down upon display cases housing all sorts of beef cuts, and been utterly lost. I knew the basics, marbling is good, funny smells are bad. However I never really understood where on a cow the cuts came from. Now thanks to an image passed along from that’s so yummy I can easily identify what goes where.

retail_beef_cuts11

Also thanks to Peta’s all animals have the same parts campaign I know how that corresponds to my body, which makes things even easier. Parts that get a lot of use are tougher cuts, this is the round and the shank, your arms and legs. Parts that get relatively little use are very tender, so the sirloin and the loin, your lower back.

The more tender a steak the better it is for grilling, the tougher a steak the better for the crock pot or other slow cooking method.

Recipes: Pan Fried Steak

Earlier this week I pan fried my first steak, and it was glorious. The recipe can from the Momofuku book that I have on permanent loan from a friend.

The idea behind the is deliciously simple when typed out, to quote David Chang:

  • Season it.
  • Sear it.
  • Roast it.
  • Baste it.
  • Rest it.
  • Slice it.
  • Eat it.

The book claims the process is much more complicated then this but it really is not far from the truth. The seasoning part is quite easy, I laid down a hearty base of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Next is the hard part, sear the steak. This entails getting a cast iron skillet near smoking hot. As all of my Good Eats watching has taught me, the bigger and heavier the skillet the better. This prevents the skillet from dropping in temperature too much when you add the steak. I would estimate I had the skillet somewhere around 400°F as the fat started smoking immediately as it melted off. This is what makes the searing difficult, as you are not to touch the steak for two minutes on each side. No matter what you see leave the steak alone, no moving it, poking it or otherwise.

After searing the steak throw it in a 400°F oven for 8 minutes or more simply roast it.

While that is going on grab your unsalted butter, garlic, shallots, and thyme. Unsalted butter here will help to keep the salt content down of course, but also adds a bit of a sweet flavor to the dish. I chopped the ingredients but the recipe does not specify to do so.

After you are done roasting your steak it is time to baste it. Return the skillet to medium low heat and toss in the previously chopped ingredients. Get a spoon and constantly baste the steak in the resulting butter sauce. I went for two minutes on each side, and came out on the more medium side of medium rare.

The resting, cutting and eating are all pretty strait forward. The resting I have come learn is key to any good steak, and for that matter most meat. Ten minutes is recommended, and well worth the wait.

The results are delicious and I would highly recommend trying pan frying steak.

Some links to various version of the recipe:

 

New Year – New Resolutions

Like many people, I have decided to try and better myself in this new year. I am well aware that most resolutions fail but I am of the persuasion any attempt to improve one’s self is a worthy goal. For even if you don’t obtain your goal you will still have bettered yourself in some way. Take my friend Patrick, who I have learned is trying to make something every day. He works part time as a carpenter while going to school so this is a little more feasible of a goal for him then most but still almost certainly doomed to fail. However, who cares? If he averages making one new thing a week then he has gained that much more experience and is that much better of a person.

My personal goals, for those of you who care are loose and abstract. I intend to cook more, especially trying to utilize more fresh fruits and veggies. Ideally I will have found some new go to recipes by the end of the year. To accomplish this I have tabbed some cookbooks of mine with recipes I wish to try. While doing this I am to take notes so I can learn from my experiences. Don’t be surprised if I start blogging more food related items as a result.

Along with this goal to refine my cooking skills are some parallel goals: eat healthier, have more dinner parties, and work out more to offset the additional calorie intake.