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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Apparently there’s a cut of cow that’s never been used for a steak, at least not in modern memory. It’s a small cut from the shoulder that’s super tender, if the marketing materials are to be believed. From Vegasstripsteak.com

There’s nothing else quite like steak and it epitomizes the pleasure of eating beef. That’s what prompted a meat scientist, a chef and a university to team up to find a new steak, saving an undervalued muscle from the fate of the grinder and moving it to a far more valuable place – the center of the plate.

Oklahoma State University helped develop the new cut, and is seeking a patent. From NPR.

“The patent actually claims the kind of knife strokes that you make in order to create this cut of meat,” Steve Prince of OSU told NPR. “You take this muscle, you make cuts here, here and here and you end up with this Vegas Strip Steak.”

Via vegasstripsteak.com

The Farmers’ Market has finally opened downtown. Two glorious days a week three blocks are transformed into an open air market filled with colors and smells that triggers a flood of endorphins and serotonin in my brain. As the wife and I strolled by the booths last week I saw some of the biggest, deepest scarlet colored rhubarb I’ve seen. I just got into using rhubarb in cooking/jamming and I couldn’t let those beautiful stems languish there, wondering why, despite their beauty, everyone was passing them by.

That night I decided to try my hand at some small-scale rhubarb jam. It turned out amazing, and perfect for spreading on biscuits, bread, or any other baked good. I halved the recipe.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 1/2 pounds of rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of strawberries, chopped
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup black tea
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Pectin as directed on packaging

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Sterilize jars in boiling water bath if you’re canning, if you’re not, just clean jars and stick finished product in fridge.
  2. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and tea in a sauce pan or pot. Bring to boil. Cook down for about 10 minutes
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, cook over medium flame for 10-15 minutes
  4. If canning, following the boiling water bath process, and process for 10 minutes. If not, put jam in jars and stick in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy!

Don’t worry, you’re not losing your mind, you read that title correctly. But just in case you’re second-guessing yourself I’ll say it again, Thai peanut butter.

If you’ve been to a Thai restaurant this shouldn’t be a huge shock. Peanut sauce is common in those eatateriums. I just turned what is usually a sauce into a butter, ready to spread on bread or use on chicken.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 8 oz peanuts
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T red curry paste
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
WHAT TO DO:
  1. Put peanuts in food processor and process for about a minute
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor blender and process for 2 minutes
  3. Enjoy!
It really is that easy. Put your finished product in a jar, put a lid on it and it’ll keep for months in a cabinet, though I doubt it will be around that long. I made an open-faced sandwich with the spread the other day on rye bread. I added some garden onions and fresh basil to finish it off. It was pretty fantastic. I’m contemplating making a basil jelly to make a unique and, some might say, strange peanut butter and jelly.

I’ll be the second to admit I’m a sucker for the nostalgia linked to the new “back to the land” movement, my wife being the first. There’s something noble and romantic in the idea of growing and producing your own food that could easily short-circuit other parts of my brain a.k.a. sell a bunch of stuff, take out a loan and buy 40 acres to farm.

All that to say that this is a pretty fascinating interview about an old form of brewing that’s making a comeback in the craft brew arena.

“I don’t think the man ever lived that could drink two eight-ounce glasses and walk 10 minutes later. I don’t believe so.”

Accompanying article via NPR.

I’m thrilled to watch seeds turn into plants in our garden. The latest guys to poke through the soil are hot peppers. The 30 plants we’ve started are mainly for making hot sauce, the one condiment I couldn’t do without. I love hot sauce, from Tabasco to Frank’s, so I figured I’d take a run at making the stuff with my own plants. In preparation for turning the summer’s crop into liquid gold I grabbed some jalapeno peppers at the store and decided to try to make my first hot sauce. And it worked, kinda. I try to lay out on the blog what you’ll need to make what I’m describing, which I’ll do here. But be warned, this stuff might almost be there in terms of taste, but it’s way too watery for me.

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 lbs of jalapenos, seeded
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 T of salt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar

What to do

  1. Put the vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan, bring to boil, remove from heat.
  2. Add everything but the vinegar/sugar mixture to a food processor. Pulse 5 times
  3. Add liquid mixture and mix until pureed
  4. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a jar or whatever vessel you want.
  5. **OPTIONAL** I boiled down my hot sauce and it still wasn’t as thick as I wanted or as hot. This helped but it’s not quite there.

I’m going to rejigger the recipe, maybe not straining it out completely, maybe not seeding all the jalapenos. I’m not sure,  but I’m hoping to have something near perfect by the time our peppers flower in the warmer months.

 

Yes, you read correctly, tomato sorbet. If you stop to think on it, it makes sense. Tomatoes are sweet, some claim they are fruit, so why not make a sorbet out of them?

My parents got me and the Mrs. an ice cream maker recently. It’s not the old kind that require bags of ice, it uses a different system, message me if you want more details. We started talking about making tomato sorbet while sitting around the dinner table at my folks’ house. Then, one of our friends brought back way too many tomatoes from sunny Florida and graciously offered us some. Of course we accepted.

The sorbet was delicious, super easy and something we’ll definitely replicate as the temperature increases, though there are some modifications to the recipe we’ll likely do.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 lbs of tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup of sugar (which we will likely reduce to 1/2 cup in the future.)
  • 1 cup of water
  • A handful of fresh basil

What to do:

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to boil, basically making simple syrup. Set it aside and let it cool.
  2. Cut an X in the bottom of the tomatoes. Boil a big pot of water, dip the tomatoes in for 30 seconds, then drop them in a bowl of ice water for the same. Peel.
  3. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and de-seed.
  4. Combine the syrup, tomatoes and basil in a food processor. Blend until fine

And that’s it. Follow the directions of your ice cream maker and you’ll get a delicious, cool treat that is decidedly summer. As noted above, we both thought the final product was a bit on the sweet side. So we’ll cut the sugar in half next time. I’m also interested in experimenting and using honey instead of sugar. Just some thoughts. Let me know if you modify the recipe, or have any other crazy ideas.