Recent guests at the Salmon Farm Inn (and airport) have been treated to steak dinners. They are incredibly easy to put on the table and are always received with rave reviews.
There are two secrets – good accompaniments and a tender, flavorful steak that is not too big. That last bit is easy with the relatively new Denver Steak.
I’m always asked, “what is a Denver Steak”. I can only answer thanks to Google. The steak comes from the same muscle as the chuck. Traditionally, the upper portion of the muscle was not big enough to deliver an “American Steak” aka a honking big slab of meat. However, it is a prime cut in a diminutive form. Here is a video showing how the Denver Steak is cut. Besides this being a very tasty cut, it is also ideally proportioned with each steak being between 4-6 ounces. That is just the right amount of meat for a good meal with side dishes such as grazed asparagus, baby potatoes, or pan seared tomatoes.
My preference for preparation and cooking is to bring the meat to room temperature and then kosher salt both sides. Let the meat rest for about 20 minutes. Rinse off the salt and pat dry. You can cook on the grill but I use a cast iron grilling pan on a gas stove. I heat the pan to 450-500 degrees. I ace the steaks in for 2 or 2-1/2 minutes on one side then turn and 2 minutes on the other. Let the steaks rest 3-5 minutes before serving.
The described process yields medium rare to medium. If your guests was a more rare steak, keep them cool rather than bringing them to room temperature.
Guess what’s for dinner
cook cinnamon buns in a waffle maker
I can not take credit for this idea but I’ve forgotten where I read it so feel free to share it freely !
You know those cheap canisters of biscuits and breakfast buns you find in your grocery store refrigerated section? Well, you can cook them in a waffle maker!
Heat your waffle maker up to medium-high. Spray some non-stick on both surfaces. Open the canister of sticky buns, cinnamon buns, or the like – the instructions say to press a spoon into the seam but we all know it’s a lot more fun to just whack the side of the canister against the edge of the counter. Place one or two of the buns on each side of the waffle maker (a full size waffle maker can easily take two per side). Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Check to see that they are golden brown and mostly firm. Remove and drizzle a little of the glazing.
Bon appetite !
just three ingredients
In preparation of an up coming celebration I needed to dust off and practice one of the first “recipe hacks” I created more than 10 years ago. It’s my personal take on a chocolate mousse.
It has just three ingredients and requires three pieces of equipment.
You start with about 4oz of a quality dark chocolate. In my case that is one that is in the 60-75% cacao range. You microwave the chocolate for a minute and then a minute more.
Next, you use an electric beater on low to start mixing the chocolate. To this you add about 1 cup of cold heavy cream but add it slowly, while constantly mixing. Once all cream is added, start to increase the speed of the beater. Once you reach soft-peaks, stop!
Using a spatula, transfer the combination to small ramekins. Chill for about an hour.
Remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle raw or cane sugar over each ramekin to cover.
Now the third piece of equipment – and one of my favorites – a small blow torch is used to melt and caramelize the sugar.
Gotta run. Desert is waiting !
a very large batch of Collection Chilli
My recipes are like clutter … they expand to fill the available space.
I wanted to try out my new (replacement) rice cooker. My old one lasted about 12 years and cost me $19.99. The new one is a bit smaller and set me back $16.97
I opted to make Collection Chilli to go along with the rice. It’s pretty simple to make, especially if you prescribe to the “building blocks” cooking method. The recipe has meat, beans, vegetables, and sauce.
Building block cooking simply means, you prepare components in advance. The goal is to have these building blocks on hand (typically in the freezer). Good building blocks are the ones which work in multiple recipes. In this case, pre-cooked ground beef.
A few weeks ago, the store had a deli special to sell off a bunch of lean ground beef before its expiration. I bought 12 lbs. I brought it home and cooked all of it. Then I portioned it into freezer containers.
Another building block was the sauce. I just grabbed a quart jar of the spicy pasta sauce from last fall. There are three different beans (black, kidney, and navy) in this Chilli and they were all from cans and all in the pantry. The only items from today’s grocery run was one whole bunch of celery and two green bell peppers. I chopped those up and tossed them in with all the juice from the cans of beans. I cooked the vegetables and at the same time I cooked down the bean juice. I then tossed in the beans, meat, and sauce. A little flavoring and it is done.
The only problem is the quantity. I filled my 15″ cast iron spider pan. I guess I’ll be filling freezer containers again.
cake in a cup … well, actually a mug
I was very skeptical but tar and feather because the “cake in a cup” cooking hack actually works!
It’s so simple and lazy you’d assume it would be blech. It’s not.
Next time you are grocery shopping, buy one angel food cake mix ($2) and one flavored cake mix ($3). I chose German chocolate. Take a big plastic storage container. Dump both mixes in; seal; shake like crazy.
Anytime you want a tiny tasty cake, grab a coffee mug from the rack and measure 3 tablespoons of the mixed cake mix. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Mix and microwave for 1 minute. “3-2-1″ !
The cake-in-a-cup is a little smaller than a cup cake but tastes just as good. They are light and fluffy.
A tiny bit of ice cream, caramel sauce, or topping adds a bit of presentation. I suggest you just eat right out of the mug – mostly since microwaved cake is less visually appealing than a baked cake. You can judge for yourself from the photo.
The taste quotient for my mix is very good. The laziness factor is off the charts.
Given the small amount of mixed mix you use for each cake-in-a-cup, you will want to store the plastic container in your refrigerator or freezer. It will go a long way !
clockwise from upper right – garbanzos, hominy, and two soy beans
Deep frying can be an addiction – once you get the oil hot, you’ll fry anything in sight. Perhaps not completely true but there is the fact that once you’ve decided to deep fry, you want to do as much as possible Since you only want to do the cleanup once.
So, this morning – in preparation for dinner with friends – I planned to do my deep fried soy beans. I also wanted to try garbanzo beans (chick peas) as suggested in a blog comment. By mistake, I grabbed a can of Hominy.
The Hominy clumped and one bat h didn’t float – the tell tail sign they are getting close to being done. So, one batch was crunchier than expected. It still good. The flavor suggested a desert so I sprinkled sugar rather than salt. A good choice.
The garbanzo beans cooked as expected. It’s best to try one once they start to float. The target is to hand no soft center. Mine turned out almost flaky (a very delicate crunch). I’m not sure if I should cook them even more. I found a recipe that suggested salt and crushed rosemary. Again, a good choice.
I’m still trying for perfection on the soy beans. Today’s were good but some have a subtle over-toasted flavor with throws off the flavor. The light salting amplified the problem. So, a hint of burnt flavor was I detectable when twist testing the soy beans out of the fryer but was noticeable once salted. The result isn’t unprintable but there is definitely room for improvement.