Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: More with less

Happy Friday, friends! Today’s fun fact is coming to you from the road, so I’ll keep it short and sweet so I can get on to the day’s meetings.

Did you know American cattlemen and women produce 20 percent of the world’s beef with only 7 percent of the world’s cattle? And producing more beef with fewer resources isn’t just good business sense; it’s great for the environment!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend wrap-up and the week ahead

Greetings, beef lovers! I hope you all had a great weekend and got to eat something delicious.
The Mr. and I took a trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex this weekend to celebrate (albeit a little late) our 1st wedding anniversary, which was Aug. 23. We had a great time and some great food.
Saturday morning, we headed out. Our first stop once we hit the metroplex was lunch at Hooters. Now, I know what you’re thinking: 1.) Who eats at Hooters on their fake anniversary? And 2.) That’s a chicken joint!
But, as weird as it may sound, Hooters has a special place in our hearts. We ate there quite a bit together while we were still dating (and even once before), and we both really like the food. It became a bit of a tradition for us, and we’ve now eaten at Hooters in 5 different states (Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Hawaii and Maryland). We’re going for all 50!
And as far as the chicken goes, I actually eat beef there. Every time. They have a terrific hamburger and some of my all-time favorite fries (curly, well-seasoned and made even better with a side of jalapeno cheese sauce).
Later that day, it was off to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for their game against the Mariners, which the Rangers won, 7-3. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we headed to nearby Pappadeaux — something you definitely can’t get around here but we always fit it in when we’re traveling. Later that night, we saw Moneyball, the based-on-a-true-story movie starring Brad Pitt and that guy from Superbad. I definitely recommend it — we really liked it, and neither of us thought it was too long, which is saying a lot for 2 people who placed the 2+ hour length on the cons side of list when choosing which movie we would see. (What can I say? It's hard to hold our attention that long. My DVR was out last week, forcing me to watch the entire 2-hour season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. INCLUDING COMMERCIALS. I whined about it the whole time, and threatened to quit the show several times. Of course these whines and threats were directed only at Deuce, since the Mr. was understandably nowhere near the room where a 2-hour Grey's Anatomy was on.)
Sunday morning we got up in time to make it to Fred’s Texas CafĂ© for brunch. Fred’s brunch was a regular thing when we were dating (and I lived in the metroplex), but we hadn’t had a chance to get it in about a year. It did not disappoint — the sourdough biscuits and gravy were just as good as we remembered!
We got back yesterday afternoon in time for me to get my grocery shopping done and the laundry started — and to “pay” my dog sitter, who was nice enough to come take care of Deuce while we’re away in exchange for only a big container of my homemade salsa and a dinner that included onion rings.
This coming week is a busy one, and I’ll be out of town (and the kitchen) Wednesday through Saturday for work. But there’s lots of good stuff to come in October on Make Mine Beef, so I hope you’ll stick around. And, if you haven’t liked us yet on Facebook, be sure to visit
Have a great week!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: Location, location, location

I talk a lot about tenderness on this blog. And, for good reason — no matter how flavorful a steak is, if it’s tough you just aren’t going to have a good eating experience.

There are a lot of factors that influence tenderness, but that’s for another blog post and another time. Today’s fun fact is one of the easiest rules of thumb:
The most tender cuts of beef come from the least-exercised portion of the animal: the mid-section. Commonly called middle meats, these are the premium steaks, such as strip (top loin), T-Bone, Porterhouse, ribeye, rib and tenderloin.
The more exercise a muscles gets, the tougher the meat becomes. That’s why cuts from the round, chuck, flank steak and skirt steaks are naturally less tender — they’ve been worked a lot harder. (Of course that doesn’t mean you should avoid these cuts; it just means you have to prepare them a little differently. My easy flank steak marinade is a good example.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WebLove: Beef up your meat buying knowledge

Happy Thursday, friends! Here’s a great video from Today featuring my new favorite butcher.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beef buying basics: The right cut for the job

Want to know one of the easiest ways to make sure you have a great eating experience every time you cook beef? Choose the right cut for the job.
While it’s hard to go wrong with any of the most tender cuts (like the tenderloin, strip, T-bone, Porterhouse, ribeye, sirloin or flat iron), that doesn’t mean you always need to select one of those cuts to enjoy tender beef. Less tender (and often more economical) cuts like flank or skirt steak or those cuts containing the words “round” or “chuck” will become tender when prepared properly — either by cooking with moist heat or by marinating before cooking with dry heat.
Need more help? Here’s a helpful chart (click to enlarge) from my friends at the Texas Beef Council. For more information, stop by their Cook it Right page here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Beef taquitos

Tonight, for the first time ever, I made my own homemade version of one of my favorites — beef taquitos. These can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, require only 4 ingredients and are super delicious.
Here’s what you’ll need to make 10 taquitos:
10 corn tortillas (I got the largest ones, which are about the size of an average flour tortilla)
1 pound ground beef
Hot taco seasoning
Vegetable oil
Brown the ground beef.
Add taco seasoning/water mixture and simmer according to package directions (or longer).
Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave or oven.
Add the tortillas, 1 at a time, to the hot oil to coat them. I let mine sit in the oil about 30 seconds per side and then transferred them to a plate. This will make them more pliable and prevent cracking.
Add ground beef to 1 tortilla and roll up tightly. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat.
Add to skillet, 4 or 5 at a time to prevent overcrowding, and fry about 5 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels and repeat until you’ve finished. Remove toothpicks.
Serve with queso, sour cream or taco sauce, if desired.
They’ll look like this:

Fun Fact Friday: Agriculture and the job market

Did you know?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), for every $1 billion worth of agricultural goods exported, approximately 8,000 jobs are created.  Just another way agriculture is an invaluable part of our economy!
Happy Friday, everyone! What does your weekend hold?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later

No doubt there will be a lot of tributes to 9/11 in the blogosphere today — as there should be. It’s a day that will never be forgotten. A day to pause to remember those lives lost that Tuesday morning, as well as the lives lost in the resulting war on terrorism.
And while I don’t have anything poignant to say that won’t be said in thousands of other blog posts today, I will share what I was thinking about this morning as I went for a walk with my Doberman and reflected back on that fateful morning in 2001.
I was a sophomore at Texas Tech University. When the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, I was getting ready to go to my 9:30 a.m. introduction to public relations class. Like any other morning, I was fixing my hair and doing my makeup while listening to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning on the radio in my one bedroom apartment. Jennifer Paige was on the show promoting her new single. Kidd interrupted her to announce the first plane had crashed. Soon after, we learned the crash was no accident — we were under attack.
By the time my class started, we were still learning details. That class proceeded more or less as scheduled. By chance, the professor had planned to cover an introduction to crisis public relations that day, so we did. We talked about how this crisis would and should be handled by the airlines and other companies affected.
By the time that class was dismissed, we knew a lot more about this attack. I walked to my next class —an 11 a.m. electronic media class — to find professors and students watching the news on a projection screen in the computer lab. We all sat there watching the news together for awhile, and then went home. Class was cancelled. That Friday, the entire university would be closed in honor of the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance.
I was on one of the first planes out of Lubbock later that week, flying home to Dallas/Fort Worth for the long weekend. The airports and planes felt deserted, but I felt safe. I trusted God, I trusted President George W. Bush and I trusted our armed forces.
Today and every day, I’m so thankful for the men and women who work both here and abroad to keep this country safe.
And, I am thankful for you all who read my little blog. What were you doing on Sept. 11, 2001? How will you remember that day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sirloin steak breakfast burritos

Rule No. 1 in DIY-ing: start with a good breakfast. No one works well hungry! So, this morning, before we kicked off another day of kitchen remodeling, I whipped up some breakfast burritos with lots of ZIP (that’s zinc, iron and protein and lean beef is a great source).
Here’s what you’ll need to make 4-6 breakfast burritos, depending on tortilla size and how full you stuff them:
(1) 1-pound sirloin steak, seasoned with garlic pepper
4 eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Splash of milk
1 large potato
Olive oil
Shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas
Sea salt
Coarse black pepper
To get started:
Cook a whole potato (with a few holes poked in it) in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes to get it started.
Cut into slices, and then cut each slice into quarters.
Use just enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Heat to medium-high.
Add potato pieces and cook until brown and just a little crisp on the edges, about 12-15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with the sea salt and coarse pepper.
While the potatoes are cooking, grill the steak for about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
When it’s almost done, whisk the eggs and a splash of milk in a small bowl. Add the butter to a non-stick skillet and heat to medium. Add the egg mixture and scramble to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before cutting into cubes.
Layer steak, eggs, potatoes and cheddar cheese on a flour tortilla and fold/roll. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Any extra potatoes can be served on the side. Serve with salsa.
Alternately, you can substitute frozen tater tots for the potatoes. This is also a great way to use leftover steak from the previous night’s dinner.
The Mr.'s plate looked like this:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twice-baked potatoes

Today’s post isn’t so much of a recipe as me sharing my technique for making a classic side dish. It’s more about the how-to than the what’s in it, which works out pretty well considering you can put just about whatever you want inside a twice-baked potato. If you like it in a baked potato, throw it in, blend it up and call it good.
Here’s what you’ll need to make 2 of my version, but feel free to customize based on your tastes:
2 baking potatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt
Coarse pepper
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Here’s what you do:
Brush or spray potatoes with olive oil and dust with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until tender —about 1.5 to 2 hours. If you need to speed them up a little, give them a head start in the microwave. Just make sure you poke a few holes in them first.  (I’m told if you don’t, they’ll explode. And while that sounds like a super cool science experiment, it also sounds like a huge mess. And, if you’re like me, your love for science is not nearly as great as your love for clean.)
When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool off for about 5 minutes before slicing each in half, lengthwise.
Scoop the insides out of 2 of the halves and add to a mixing bowl, while trying to preserve at least 1 of the skins. (I like to do the potatoes one at a time since the Mr. and I don’t like the all of the same ingredients in ours, but you can do them all at once if you’re making them all the same.)
Add desired toppings, a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Mix well with an electric mixer.
Identify the most intact potato skin and scoop potato mixture back into it. Top with more cheese and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the next potato.
Now, you’re ready to do the second baking. I recently learned from the Pioneer Woman that you can, alternately, place these potatoes in the fridge if you’re not ready to do the second baking yet. Sometimes I do this a few hours ahead, and it’s a real time saver.
But when you are ready to finish them up, just place the baking sheet in the 350-degree oven for 15- to 20- minutes, and you’re all done! I served these tonight with ribeyes, and they looked like this:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: Safe at 160

This Labor Day weekend, many Americans (my family included) will be firing up their grills and cooking hamburgers for family and friends. But do you know just how done your burger should be?

Hamburgers should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (medium), as read by a meat thermometer inserted sideways into the center of the patty. Of course, if you prefer your burger a little more done, that’s perfectly OK! Just know it’ll be safe and juicy at 160 degrees.
For more information on ground beef safety, visit