Sunday, November 27, 2011

The finished product

The kitchen is done!
We’ve still got some cleanup to do and the new dishwasher isn’t completely installed yet since it was delivered yesterday sans some sort of important part, but more or less, it’s done!
Those of you who have been following Make Mine Beef for the last few months may remember the hideousness of the original kitchen — green countertops, white cabinets that were chipping like crazy and a wallpaper border adorned with large grapes.
But now, after months of paint stripping, sanding and painting again, we’ve got: red walls, grey cabinets with new pewter hardware and painted countertops. We also replaced the faucet and replaced the dishwasher (though that last replacement was out of necessity, not for aesthetics).
Here’s a quick look. Decorations to come soon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

WebLove: Singing the praises of fat

I say it all the time — a little fat’s not bad. But why take my advice? Hear it here from one of the many experts who now says animal fat (in moderation, of course) can be part of a healthy diet.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Surf and turf at home

It’s been more than 3 weeks since I’ve been able to cook, so when the Mr. gave me the all-clear to cook tonight (as long as I avoided the section of countertops where the paint is still drying), I knew I had to make it something good.
I decided on the surf and turf meal I’d had planned since winning 2 rock lobster tails in an online contest from Certified Steak and Seafood last month. After all, what’s more celebratory than steak and lobster?
It’s also an opportunity to show you just how easy it is to make a super impressive restaurant-style meal at home for a lot less money. And with the holiday season upon us, who doesn’t want to do date night for less?
Note: I used a sirloin steak because it is big enough for 2, yet cooks in about the same amount of time as the lobster, but you can use any cut of beef and adjust cooking times accordingly. Additionally, though I used rock lobster tails, you can cook Maine lobster tails in the same manner.
1 sirloin steak, seasoned with your favorite steak seasoning (I used garlic pepper)
2 lobster tails
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Spray gas grill with non-stick spray and heat to medium.
Using a knife or kitchen shears, split the lobster tails in half lengthwise to expose flesh.
Melt ½ stick of the butter and add in ½ of the garlic powder.
Brush garlic butter mixture onto exposed flesh of each lobster tail.
Place steak and lobster tails (flesh side down) on grill. Cook about 5- to 6- minutes and then turn. Brush the lobster with more of the butter mixture. Cook another 5- to 6- minutes, or until the steak reaches desired doneness and the lobster is opaque and firm.
Melt the remaining butter, add remaining garlic powder and mix well. Use this batch to serve with the lobster. I served ours with steamed new potatoes and yeast rolls.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WebLove: Processed meat myth

Processed meats get a bad rap.
But you know what? Almost all foods are processed. After all, you can’t pick bread in a field — it’s the result of processed grains. And yet, that’s not a bad thing. Processed meat is still meat, and therefore another option for adding protein to your diet.
I came across the video today at work and thought you might like to hear a little more about why you don’t have to feel guilty for grabbing that deli meat or package of frozen hamburger patties along with your fresh meat purchases.

Do you enjoy processed meats? Which are your favorite beef products?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Closer to cooking

Are you as tired of reading about my kitchen remodel as I am of working on it? Well, if so, we’re both in luck. We’re almost done!
I started painting the last 3 cabinet doors this evening while the Mr. put the sink and oven/range back in place.
We still have one portion of the countertop to paint (we saved it for last since it was being used as a workspace), which we’ll probably do Saturday morning. Other than that, all that’s left is just putting a few doors back on and cleaning up our huge mess. We should be done working on everything this weekend, if all goes well.
I’ll provide plenty of pics when it’s complete. But in the meantime, here’s a little teaser.
Here’s a little bit of everything — the newly painted cabinets, countertops and walls:

And here’s a picture of our brand new faucet:

And, lastly, though it’s not related to the kitchen, here’s another painting project I completed tonight. I should have taken a before shot, but what I started with was a dark wood shelf with off-white tin on the front. It was one of those desperation purchases (surely I'm not the only one who has experienced a shelving emergency) I almost instantly regretted until I went after it with some $4 spray paint tonight. I didn’t cover the wood completely so it would look distressed. I’m pretty happy with it and look forward to hanging it on the dining room wall once we've repainted that room.

I’ll be back in the kitchen in the traditional sense ASAP and ready to make up for lost time. Look for a busy blog!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest blogging: Rural Women Rock

[A note from the blogger: Today’s post will be a little different. See, a couple of weeks ago, I was approached by Kasse over at Rural Women Rock and asked to contribute a guest post. I was honored when she not only told me she loved the site and what I was about, but more importantly, that she’d found a recipe on Make Mine Beef (my mini taco pizzas) she thought even her picky kiddos would eat. I told her I’d love to be featured on her site. And now, for that post...]
For those of you reading my words for the first time thanks to Rural Women Rock, I should probably get something straight.
I’m not a real foodie.
That’s the beauty of the blogosphere. Anyone — and I mean anyone — can have a food blog. There’s no test to pass (Based on the Friends episode “The One with the Cooking Class”, I can only imagine if that test did exist, it would involve questions like, “What is the difference between a BĂ©arnaise sauce and Hollandaise sauce?” But I digress...) and no fee to pay.
Lucky for me, because I’m basically an impostor.
I’m just a girl who loves food, and really believes in beef.
As a writer for a cattle industry publication, I have a backstage pass of sorts when it comes to beef production, and I’m continually thankful I get to work with and for the men and women who feed the world. Not only are they some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, their dedication to animal care, the environment and food safety are obvious in everything they do. I also know as Americans, we have access to the safest and most abundant food supply on the planet — and beef is a big part of that. It’s a wholesome, nutritious and delicious addition to any diet.
And so I started Make Mine Beef. It’s a place where I share recipes, tips and a general love for all things food.
While I can’t promise you’ll get anything at all from my ramblings, my hope is you might find a recipe you’d like to try or learn what to do with that mysterious cut of beef you’ve been eying in the grocery store.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

For more, I’d love for you to stop by my blog or like it at Fellow Rural Women, thanks for inviting me into your world this Friday morning. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Piney Woods Gourmand's beef carbonnade

Determined to keep the content flowing on Make Mine Beef even while my kitchen remodel prevents me from cooking, today I’m sharing a recipe that was passed along from my editor. I can’t wait to try it myself, and feel confident to share it with you in the meantime after hearing her rave on the dish, which can be cooked in the oven or a slow cooker.
This beef carbonnade recipe is courtesy of The Piney Woods Gourmand. Be sure to stop by their site and order the book for more great recipes!
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pound rump roast, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon veal demi-glaze concentrate, dissolved in just enough hot water to make it pour*
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (14- or 15- ounce) stout beer
2 bay leaves
4 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper to taste**
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
1 French baguette
Coarse grain mustard
Shredded Parmesan cheese
If using the oven, lower the oven rack to accommodate a Dutch oven with lid. Preheat to 300 degrees.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Increase the heat to medium-high, and then add the beef. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beef is well browned and cooked through. When done, transfer to a plate. Cook the remainder of the beef in the same manner. It is not necessary to add more butter. Transfer to the plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions, garlic and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Be sure to scrape any browned juices from the meat on the sides of the pot back into the onions. Add the thinned demi-glace and stir until the onions are well browned. Transfer the onions to a plate.
Reduce the heat to low and pour any accumulated juice from the plate of browned meat back into the pot. Sprinkle in the flour; stir well. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the beer a little at a time, allowing the foam to die down as you pour.
Return the pot to the heat and simmer gently to thicken the sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the meat and onions, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper. Stir well. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Alternately, place ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook on low for 6- to 8- hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the Cognac or brandy.
When ready to serve, slice the baguette intro rounds and smear each with mustard. Place the bread rounds on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toast in the oven until the bread is lightly browned and cheese slightly melted.
Serve carbonnade in large shallow bowls with bread rounds on top.

*To dissolve, heat the demi-glace with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a cup for about 1 minute in the microwave.
**Be careful not to add too much salt and pepper since the dish cooks for a long time and the flavors become concentrated.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WebLove: 23 ground beef recipes

Well, my oven and range is still in the living room and my sink on the front porch (Can you believe it takes 3- to 4- full days for countertop paint to dry?), so it’ll be a few more days before I can get back in the kitchen in a non DIY-ing kind of way. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share these ground beef recipes I found via Pinterest today between napping, popping antibiotics and Mucinex DM, reeking of Vapor Rub and otherwise fighting my annual visit from the bronchitis fairy.

Ground Beef Recipes: Mexican Lasagna
Isn't this pretty? It's one of the many ground beef recipes in the above link from Southern Living.

And, since I’m sure you’re all dying to know what countertop paint looks like, here’s a look at the first coat. This is Rust-oleum Countertop Coating in Pewter. At $20 a can, it’s a cheap (and so far very good) way to revamp super-hideous green Formica without having to replace or refinish the countertops. I’ll be sure to post more pics when the second coat is up, the tape is down and we have all of the doors back on the cabinets.

And now back to the napping...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Top 3 in Texas

Good afternoon, blogosphere! I was in hopes I’d be able to bring you a cooking post by now, but a week’s worth of travel means a still unfinished kitchen. So, in the meantime, I thought I’d talk a little about beef away from home.
As much as I love to cook, I also love to eat out. That’s definitely the best part about traveling (well, that and fresh sheets on the bed every day) in my opinion, especially when you can go somewhere and get a good steak. And while my list of top steakhouses may not be as a much of a must-read as Texas Monthly’s edition, I thought you all might enjoy hearing about my favorites.
I could have easily made a long extensive list broken down by regions, atmosphere or pricing, but decided instead to showcase my top 3. They are that good, and deserve the prestige (Hey, it’s my blog. I can call this prestigious if I want, right?) of being 1 of 3.
So, in no particular order, here goes.
Perini Ranch Steakhouse This one is a Texas legend, and a must-visit. It sits on a ranch in remote Buffalo Gap and is a completely rustic, come-as-you-are kind of place that just happens to be owned by a world-class cowboy cook. I recommend the peppered strip steak and bread pudding. For more information, visit
Bob’s Steak and Chop House This place is a prime steak-only joint that does not disappoint. Ever. They have white tablecloths, but it’s not stuffy. They also have the most heavenly cream style corn ever. I recommend it on the side of a filet or bone-in ribeye. For more information and locations, visit
Margaret Heinen's Western Sky Steak House Located in San Angelo, this is the kind of place you’d expect to see on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. You’d never know it from the outside, but this 40+ year old establishment has some of the best steak you’ll ever eat (and really good Mexican food, too). I recommend the tenders (or a filet for a smaller portion) with German fries, and an onion ring appetizer. For more information, visit
What about you? What are your favorites in your part of the country?