Thursday, February 23, 2012

The week in review

Driving the 140 miles back from a full day of meetings at the magazine’s headquarters, something occurred to me: I haven’t blogged all week.
It’s been a crazy busy week and I haven’t cooked once — but that actually has nothing to do with our hectic schedule. See, the Mr. and I have been living in a travel trailer in the driveway all week while 3 men have been painting away, helping us complete our transformation of the bachelor pad I moved into 1.5 years ago. It’s looking so good, and I can’t wait to share pics with you once I get the house cleaned up and the décor back on the walls! (And, most importantly, we didn’t have to paint it!)
I wish I’d gotten before pics, but the afters will have to do. While we don’t plan on staying in this house more than a year or 2, it’s much more resale-ready now and will be much more enjoyable for us in the meantime!
In addition to the alternate living/working situation, Tuesday I had a speaking engagement. I spoke to the area CattleWomen organization about my work at the magazine, beef advocacy and social media. They were all so nice and had lots of good questions, so it was a really fun meeting. Today, I had 3 meetings back-to-back, so I was either in the car or in a meeting the majority of my day.
The painters should be finished tomorrow evening, so we’ll be spending a big chunk of the weekend cleaning up and moving furniture around. We’re also headed a couple of hours away to a friend’s wedding Saturday night.
So, in a nutshell, that’s why I’ve been MIA this week. But, not to worry, I enjoyed lots of beef as always and look forward to getting back in the swing of things next week.
What about you? What has your week held?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WebLove: Salt-encrusted ribeye roast

Those of you who follow Make Mine Beef on Facebook or Twitter might have seen my excited posts Saturday night after I scored a great deal on a rib roast.
While I already had our Valentine’s Day meal planned, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a good price on this beefy treat.  I also knew I wanted to try something different with it and consulted a few of my favorite websites for inspiration.
I chose this recipe from my friends at the Texas Beef Council and it turned out amazing! The Mr. said it was the best rib roast I've ever cooked.
(Friendly reminder: Since rib roasts vary in weight, always use a meat thermometer. My roast was only about 3.25 pounds and took about 1 hour and 10 minutes to cook to medium rare.)

Picture courtesy of the Texas Beef Council. They're better carvers than I am!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dinner for my Valentine: Terry Chandler's sourdough chicken fried steak

As I’ve said before, there are a lot of good ways to make a chicken fried steak. Sometimes I use sirloin. Sometimes I use cube steak — that’s round steak that comes pre-tenderized and cut into squares perfectly sized for a chicken fry. And, for a treat, sometimes I user thin-sliced ribeyes. Other times, I’ll cut the steak into strips for the more portable and party-friendly steak fingers. But all of these have one thing in common: I use a buttermilk, beer and eggs batter and double dip the meat in well-seasoned flour.
In 2009, though, I was introduced to another type of chicken fried steak — Terry Chandler’s (of Fred’s Texas Café fame) sourdough chicken fried steak. That’s right, sourdough. And the recipe just happens to be in Grady Spears’ Cooking the Cowboy Way cookbook, the first gift the Mr. ever gave me.
Now, this isn’t my regular chicken fried steak recipe. I only make it a few times of year since I never seem to have sourdough starter around (I really should keep it on hand at all times, it makes for some yum-o pancakes) and it takes a couple of days to make. But every time I do make it, it is so good. And, it just happened to be the Mr.’s pick for Valentine’s Day dinner (also on the menu: homemade cream-style corn, yeast rolls, gravy and brownie sundaes), so I knew I had to share it with you.
Ingredients: Sourdough starter
4 potatoes
2 cups flour
Directions: Sourdough starter
Peel the potatoes and place them in a large glass bowl or crock
Cover with water
Allow them to soak at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight
Discard the potatoes
Transfer 2 cups of the potato water to another glass bowl or crock; discard the rest
Add flour and stir well
Place starter in a warm place, covered in a towel or cheesecloth for 2 days
Stir 2-4 times per day
After that time, transfer to a glass or plastic container with a few holes in the lid
Place in the fridge until you are ready to use it
(Tip: Starter will last forever if you feed it every few days. To do so, remove 1 cup and replace with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour.)
Ingredients: Sourdough chicken fried steak
4 cube steaks (or 2 sirloins cut in half)
2 cups sourdough starter
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Vegetable oil

Directions: Sourdough chicken fried steak
Place steaks in a bowl or casserole dish and cover in sourdough starter
Allow them to soak for 3-8 hours
Whisk together the flour and seasonings
Dip the steaks into the flour mixture and coat well; transfer to a plate sprinkled with flour
(Hint: don’t stack the steaks or you’ll end up with some steaks that are missing big chunks of batter and nobody wants that. If you must stack them, a sheet of wax paper between the two layers makes a pretty good barrier.)
Heat ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet on medium-heat
(Hint: Want to know if it’s hot enough? Drop a little batter crumb into the oil and, if it quickly rises to the top, you’re ready to go.)
Place steaks carefully into the oil and fry 3-5 minutes per side or until well browned
Drain on paper towels
Here's what they'll look like:

And, now for a look at the Mr.'s plate:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: Beef and your valentine

With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, how about a fun fact about beef and love?
Did you know, according to a recent consumer survey, a majority of Americans agree the best way to say “I love you” to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day is with a steak?
I tend to agree. I mean, what’s not to love about beef?
Not only does it taste great, but lean beef is a nutritional powerhouse. On average, one serving of lean beef is only 154 calories yet a naturally rich source of 10 essential nutrients — including protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins.
It’s also part of a heart-healthy diet. As I’ve reported before on Make Mine Beef, recent research called BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) found that adding lean beef to the most recommended heart-healthy diet can lower heart disease risk by reducing levels of total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Even the fat in beef is good for you — half the fat in all beef is monounsaturated, the same kind found in olive oil. And one-third of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels and is the same fat recognized in chocolate for its benefits.
While I haven’t finalized the menu for Valentine’s Day yet, beef will definitely fill the center of the plate Tuesday night. What about you? Do you show love with beef?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl recipe roundup

Earlier this week, I read that the Super Bowl is the second-biggest eating day of the year behind Thanksgiving. As someone who ate roughly 26 calf fries and 4 brownies at last year’s party, I’m not at all surprised.
For this year’s bash, my husband and brother-in-law are smoking briskets, I’ll be making my homemade salsa and banana pudding, and I suspect there will be tons of other goodies to graze on as well. But what about you, my beef loving friends? In case you’re in need of some beefspiration, I put together a list of a few party-friendly recipes that feature beef. Some are mine, some are from around the web — but all feature the most delicious protein of all.

Fun Fact Friday: That's a lot of steaks!

Who’s ready for the big game Sunday? I know I am! While I don’t particularly care for either team playing for the championship, I’m hoping for a good game and a win for fellow Red Raider Wes Welker, wide receiver for the Patriots. I’m also looking forward to lots of fun and good food at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s annual bash. Speaking of good food...
Did you know my home state of Texas produces about 7 billion pounds of beef each year, enough to supply 130 steaks to every person watching the game in the U.S.? And what better way to celebrate the biggest game of the year than with a juicy steak, hamburger or brisket? (Thanks to the Texas Department of Agriculture for this fun statistic.)
Look for more Super Bowl-themed posts on the blog, Facebook and Twitter throughout the weekend, and be sure to share what kind of beef you’re enjoying for the big game!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New potatoes

We eat a lot of potatoes around here.  I can’t help it — no matter how many wonderful side dishes we try, there’s just something about the marriage of a juicy steak and a starchy potato. But tonight I made what I consider one of the most underused and underrated potato dishes: boiled new (a.k.a. red) potatoes. They are super easy, delicious and bring a little color to your plate (something the Mr. could not be less interested in.)
4 red potatoes
¼ cup butter
4 garlic cloves
Sea salt
Coarse pepper

Add washed potatoes and garlic cloves to a large saucepan.
Cover in water.
Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
Bring to a boil and then continue to cook another 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Remove potatoes from water and add to large mixing bowl.
Add butter and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss around until well coated.
Transfer potatoes to plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.
The Mr.’s plate looked like this: