How to cook a good steak.

Good steak is like good bread. The reality is that if you want to have the really great results, you are going to have to spend a little bit more for the high quality products.

I love steak. I love good steak. Once I felt off for a couple of months and in desperation asked my dad to make me a good steak and after I had eaten it I was instantly all better. Good steak is my best friend. Sadly, bad steak is not, and in my experience most home cooked steak ends up in the bad steak category. Because of this, I have spent some time looking into what makes a good steak, and it turns out it’s not as complicated as it seems to be after so many failures. It’s quite simple. Good steak requires:

High quality meat
Olive oil (or another cooking oil)
High temperatures

And that is pretty much it. My bad steak days ended when I started buying my sirloin from Costco. Costco, is nearly always the answer, it seems. So, once you have purchased a package of high quality steak from Costco, the rest is easy peasy.

Grilling steak is a great way to go. But, in the winter months, I’m not one for grilling, so I broil. And since the winter months apparently include May in Utah, I went ahead and broiled my dinner a couple of nights ago. The process is simple. You want your grill or your broil to be hot. Never ever ever put meat onto a warm surface to cook. It has to be hot. The heat sears the meat and prevents moisture from draining while it heats up. This is why broiling is so great, because it’s that hot instant heat. (The same is true of pancakes and french toast, if you wonder why your pancakes stick to the pan and peel off in strange ways, it’s because your griddle isn’t hot enough).

Now, it is important to do some minor prep work on your steak before grilling/broiling it. I place mine on the broiler pan, then I coat liberally with kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic. Then, you either rub the steak with olive oil, or you can spray it liberally with Pam cooking spray. And that’s it. Broil as closely to the heat coils as you can, and on high. Allow it to cook for about ten minutes per inch of thickness, then turn it over and crisp up the other side (this will give you medium/well doneness, adjust a bit for a pinker or more brown internal meat). I repeat the seasoning and oil when I turn it as well.

Once you pull it from the oven, let it “rest” for about five to ten minutes before cutting. After you pull the meat from the oven it will continue to cook for a few minutes as the internal temperature rises. This means that all of the tender juices are still really runny. If you cut into your meat during this time those juices will run out, leaving  nothing but dry steak.

And what to do with the leftover meat? We went for stroganoff last night, but you could also make steak salad, or fajitas. (Those Costco packs of steak are big, so I broil two steaks and then use one of the additional steaks for each following meal.)


Steak Salad

1 steak, broiled and seasoned, then thinly sliced
1 head romaine lettuce, torn for a salad
1/2 onion diced
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 T. butter
1 tomato diced
Croutons
Blue cheese (or another steak friendly cheese, fresh mozarella, gogonzola)
A1 steak sauce
Ranch dressing

In a skillet, melt butter, then saute onion with mushroom until nice and soft and golden. Set aside.

Spread romaine lettuce on large platter. Top with steak slices, followed by onion and mushroom, topped with tomato, and cheese.

In small mixing bowl combine two parts A1 to one part ranch salad dressing and mix. Drizzle over salad and top off with croutons.

This is one of my all time favorite summer meals. It’s super flexible too, which is great. You can leave anything out, or substitute with what you have on hand, or simply throw a new bite into the mix. The secret is the “A1 Ranch” with the steak and greens. It’s amazing.


Stroganoff

On Sunday I crock-potted two lovely roasts. Only to discover that my family doesn’t particularly eat roast. So, now I’m struggling to make use of all of the yummy tender meat I have in my fridge. Stroganoff is always a hit with my kids, so here we go.

1 pound of cubed beef (or left over roast, or steak)
1 onion, diced
1 cup sliced mushroom
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 t. beef base
1/8 t. allspice
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 t. thyme
2 T. worcestershire sauce
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Egg noodles or rice to serve it over.

In a large saucepan saute the meat with the onion, mushrooms, and butter. Once the onion is nice and golden, add the tablespoon of flour. Toss it around to coat and cook the flour lightly. Now, add in one cup of water and the beef base (or beef boullion) and allow to thicken. Add the allspice, pepper, parsley, and thyme and stir, then add the cream cheese. Stir this mixture well until the cream cheese is dissolved into the broth and nice and thick. At this point, turn the temperature down to low and allow to cool off a bit. Once it has cooled, add the milk to get a good runny but thick consistency, then add the worcestershire sauce. Now, take a spoon and taste your stroganoff. Add salt as needed. 1/4 t. increments is a good start. Once you have the saltiness perfect, add in the sour cream. Once the sour cream has been added, don’t allow it to heat above low on the stove as the sour cream will curdle.

Serve over egg noodles or rice.


Easy Homemade Meatballs

Two slices whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/8 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 thyme
1/8 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese
1 pound thawed ground beef
two cups water
1 small can tomato puree
2 tsp. beef base

In a large bowl tear bread into small pieces, pour vinegar and milk over bread. Add the egg and mix well until mushy.

Next add the onion, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper. Stir evenly.

Toss in shredded cheese and ground beef. Mix until mixture is evenly colored and meat and cheese are incorporated.

Heat large non-stick skillet to medium-high. Once skillet is heated, form meatballs into golfball sized lumps and put into the skillet.

While they are sizzling and browning, quickly pour two cups water into bottom of pan.

Spoon tomato puree and beef base evenly around meatballs and cover with a lid.

Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for half an hour.

Add additional water as needed to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Beef Boullion can be substituted for the beef base.

Serve with pasta or cottage cheese.

Makes about 6 servings