Thursday, October 27, 2011

Redbook's strip steaks with sizzle

This is not the post I’d planned for tonight.
The post I planned was going to be, in the words of Ron Burgundy, kind of a big deal. After winning 2 Florida lobster tails from Certified Steak and Seafood in an online contest last week, I’d planned to do a surf and turf at home post, featuring grilled sirloin steak, grilled lobster and, obviously, lots of garlic butter.
But, as Make Mine Beef regulars know, the Mr. and I are in the middle of a DIY kitchen remodel and thanks to last night’s World Series game being postponed, we got a little farther on our painting than expected. Which means my refrigerator, oven and range are in the middle of the living room, the dishwasher is in the dining room, and pretty much everything one would need to prepare a meal is covered in drop cloths. So, the steak and lobster went to the freezer yesterday and will be prepared (and blogged) as soon as my kitchen is a little more usable.
But, never fear, I still have a beefy blog post for you. I found these 2 recipes in this month’s Redbook and they look amazing! I’ll definitely be trying the classic steak frites soon, but wanted to share them both with you in the meantime.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mini taco pizzas

The Mr. and I frequent an amazing, local, family-owned pizza buffet. And, by frequent, I mean if we miss a week, they’re worried.

Every week, we see them put out a taco pizza and, every week, we sit there discussing how it just seems wrong to have lettuce on top of a pizza. But, we both love tacos and pizza, so I decided I just needed to make my own, sans salad. Now, if you like the idea of lettuce, tomatoes or black olives on top, feel free to add them to this recipe. (After you've cooked the pizzas, of course, because while I'm not a fan of lettuce on pizza, I don't think anyone is a fan of hot lettuce.)

These mini versions make for great party food, kid food or just a fun and inexpensive dinner. And, if your kitchen is torn up like mine is right now, as an added bonus, they are easy to make and don’t require very many dishes or utensils!

1 pound ground beef
1 packet hot taco seasoning
1 can of 10 layered biscuits (I used Grands Jr. Golden Layers Buttermilk Biscuits)
Taco sauce (I used Old El Paso Medium)
Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream

Brown ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain if necessary and add taco seasoning/water mixture. Allow to simmer according to package directions, or longer if you want a little more spice.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Separate each biscuit by layers. One layer will equal one mini pizza crusts, meaning each biscuit yields about 3-4 crusts. Place each layer on a baking sheet covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick spray.
Spread taco sauce on each crust, then top with taco meat and cheese.
Bake 7-10 minutes.
Serve with sour cream.
Ours looked like this:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: Cattle and America’s pastime

The World Series is in full swing, so why not make today’s Fun Fact Friday all about the cattle industry’s contribution to baseball?
Did you know one cowhide can produce 144 baseballs or 12 baseball gloves?
It’s probably no surprise who the Mr. and I are rooting for this series…

…but what about you? Rangers or Cards? No matter what team you choose to yell for, be sure to celebrate victory or comfort yourself in defeat with some beef!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to reheat a steak

Personally, I love cold leftover steak. Straight out of the fridge by itself, stuck between a bakery bun or on top of a salad — it’s delicious.
But, I recognize that not everyone shares my love for cold beef and some occasions call for a little warming. For example, those occasions I am serving leftovers to the Mr.
So, I did a little experimenting and have come up with what I consider the best way to warm up a leftover steak without increasing the level of doneness.
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
When it’s hot, add 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the skillet.
Once that’s melting pretty good, add your steak to the skillet.
Cook 1-2 minutes on each side to re-sear. It’ll take the chill off but won’t be piping hot. It also won’t change the doneness.
Remove from heat and serve, and feel good about getting 2 meals out of 1!

Monday, October 17, 2011

If it's the same thing, then why did you write "workspace"?

When I first started this blog back in May, I said in addition to the recipes, cooking and beef buying tips, I’d dedicate a few posts to my life as a cattle industry writer. And while I have made mention of my work travels in a few posts, it dawned on me today that I’d left out a huge part of my job — the things I do from my office.
So, tonight, I thought I’d share a little about what I do on the days I’m at my desk (and throw in a little tour of my workspace for good measure).
Here’s a picture of my desk. Here I write features, compile the magazine’s departments (such as the obituaries or industry news) and assign pieces to our many freelancers. I also conduct phone interviews, transcribe the interviews and do Internet research on the story’s topic here. I also plan our local cattleman’s meetings from the desk. Since you probably aren’t interested in expense reports, check requests or conference calls, I’ll move on…

On the right, you’ll see 2 framed photos. The top 1 is a gift from a Make Mine Beef reader and sweet social media friend from 191 Livestock Co. I feel cooler instantly when I see these Colorado cattle. The photo below is from photographer Russell Graves. He’s one of our regular, super-talented freelance photographers. I won this print in one of his Facebook contests. I got to choose from any of his awesome work, but immediately knew I wanted this shot I’d used in one of my feature stories. While I’m talking about awesome prints, I must also mention the beautiful print I received recently from Coastal Cowboy Photography. I haven’t chosen the perfect frame for it yet, but once it’s framed and hanging, I will definitely share it with you. I think I am going to hang it right above this…

By the way, I will be adding more photos and decorations to the top of the armoire. I just moved it in here Sunday and still have lots of boxes to go through…

The turquoise end table is a brand-new addition to my office. My mom scored the then-hideous green table on the cheap for me to upcycle (Isn’t that what the cool kids are calling it these days? Or did I totally use that word wrong?) into this. I picked up a $3 can of turquoise spray paint from Home Depot and $5 worth of leopard drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby and created this. I’m loving it. As an aside, this picture may prove the Mr.’s point that I can’t shut a drawer or cabinet door. Let’s hope he skips reading this post.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. Have a great evening!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our night in a nutshell: Ribeyes, Rangers and remodeling

Tonight, it’s all about the Rs. (Which, by the way, seems a lot less gangsta than being all about the Benjamins.)

First up, dinner: I grilled Certified Angus Beef ribeyes seasoned generously with garlic pepper and served them with corn and yeast rolls. Yummy.

During dinner, we watched the Rangers play the Tigers in the fifth game of the American League Championship Series.

And, now, it is time to move to the kitchen (in earshot of the game) to continue our DIY remodeling project. A few of you have asked how it’s coming, so here’s a little update: We’re finally about 80- to 85- pecent done with stripping and sanding the all of the cabinets, doors and drawers. Once that’s done, everything (painting the cabinets, painting the countertops and painting the walls) should go pretty quickly and we both hope to never see a heat gun or a scraper again unless it’s on HGTV. Here’s a quick look inside the kitchen:

Of course, construction in the kitchen means a very messy, very cluttered dining room. That’s pretty brutal on a neat freak like myself. Here’s a not-for-the-faint-of-heart tour of my dining room:

Ack! Right?
So, what are you up to tonight? I hope it’s more fun than paint stripping, but just as yummy as ribeyes!

Garlic butter potato bites

You know how you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry? Well you also probably shouldn’t cook something for your blog while (really) hungry, because you may forget to photograph said item before it is devoured. Oops.
Last night, I had sirloin burgers on the menu but wanted something a little different to go with them. We’d had French fries the night before, the Mr. has requested the Pioneer Woman’s potato wedges so often I’ve grown temporarily tired of them (though I fully expect to be back on their bandwagon by next week) and I was pretty sure the 2 handfuls of Cheetos left in the bag wouldn’t be enough to feed us both. So, I created this garlicy treat.

1 baking potato
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse black pepper
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Wash the potato and slice it. Cut each slice into quarters.
In a food processor or mixer, combine the butter and garlic.
Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray with Pam or similar cooking spray.
Arrange the potato pieces on the baking sheet.
Crumble the butter mixture across the top.
Season generously with Lawry’s and pepper.
Cook 20-30 minutes, depending on potato thickness. Mine took 24 minutes to be nice and tender.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fried corn on the cob

It’s state fair time in Texas, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a little fried goodness on the blog!
Here’s what you’ll need to make 4 half cobs of fried corn on the cob:
2 ears of fresh sweet corn, husks and silks removed
2 cups flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
Sea salt
Cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat.
Cut the ears of corn in halves.
Pour the flour on a plate and season to your liking with the salt and peppers.
Pour the buttermilk into a small bowl. Add eggs and mix well.
Dip the corn, one at a time, into the dry ingredients, then the wet, and then the dry again.
When the oil is good and hot — about 350 degrees — carefully place the ears into the skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
I served ours with a peppercorn roast tonight. They looked like this:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Western burgers

Not long before the Mr. and I were married, we were talking about food one day (shocking to those who know us) when he said, “If you can ever find out how to make the western burgers like we used to have in our school cafeteria, that would be awesome.”
It took me a minute to get over the shock — he had home-cooked meals at his school cafeteria? Memories of my own elementary school cafeteria flooded back: the soy burgers served with ketchup (Even as a child, I was a Miracle Whip girl), the pizza so greasy you had to blot it with paper towels and all of the other frozen foods that inspired me to take my lunch.
Not long after, a friend shared the recipe via Facebook and I was so excited to be able to make one of his childhood favorites.  I’ve since adjusted the recipe to better reflect his tastes and my time constraints, but its pretty close. The jalapenos are one of my most recent additions, but feel free to leave those out if you’re not a fan or if you’re making these for kids. And, if you’re cooking for anyone who doesn’t like mustard (like me), you can prepare theirs before you add the mustard to the rest of the batch.
Here’s what you’ll need for 4 western burgers:
For the bread:
12 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
For the meat mixture:
1 pound ground beef
Garlic pepper
8 oz grated cheddar or Mexican blend  cheese

10-12 slices of pickled jalapenos, cut into quarters
Place rolls in clumps of three on a greased baking sheet. Let rolls rise according to the fast method on the bag. It takes a little more than an hour. When there’s about 15 minutes left, you can start cooking your meat. When the rolls are done rising, remove them from the oven and preheat the oven to 400.
Cook meat, seasoned to your liking with garlic pepper, until brown. Drain meat, if needed. Add a thin line of mustard in a zig zag pattern across the pan of meat. Add cheese and jalapenos to the mixture and stir well.
Mash/knead each clump of 3 rolls together into a circle (or a shape somewhat like a circle) about the size of a large hamburger bun on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until you have 4 circles. Spoon the meat mixture into the center, getting it as full as you can while still having room to fold the dough up around it. Fold dough around the meat.  Repeat.
Spray the burgers with Pam or similar cooking spray to help them brown. Cook at 400 until brown —about 10-15 minutes.
They’ll look like this: