Jul 28, 2014

Food Adventures 101: Steak, Pure and Simple

Recipes this week that will make you bite off more than you can chew.

Food Adventures 101: Steak, Pure and Simple

This week's dinner idea to try at home is not good for you. It has a high caloric count (I'd honestly be too afraid to know how high), and it won't slim you down for summer bathing suit season.

But, it's good for the happiness of your soul, which is better than swimming, I promise.

The world of steak is intricate, to say the least. 

The considerations taken into determining a quality cut of meat are extensive and almost neurotically scientific, though one could argue that's how standards are born. 

Meat packers look at the ratio of fat to lean meat, the ratio of meat to bone, color, marbling of fat through the lean flesh, and overall carcass shape, to name a few.

Die hard steak eaters shriek in horror at the idea of cooking a flank well done, or marinating (a.k.a. smothering the flavor of), a filet mignon.

When choosing a steak to cook, think about flavor first and foremost. People tend to jump on the filet mignon train, since it is the most tender cut of meat from the loin, though in truth it is not nearly the most flavorful.

Other popular menu options include the rib eye steak, New York strip and sirloin, but my favorite is the porterhouse.

The porterhouse steak encompasses two muscles, the more flavorful top loin and the tenderloin. 

The best way to cook a porterhouse is with no fuss, broiled or grilled with salt, pepper and oil. If you want a similar hunk of meat at a slightly lower cost, the T-bone steak is nearly identical to the porterhouse, without as much of the tenderloin muscle. 

Serving it nearly by itself is the way true steak connoisseurs like it, which is why you often get served a steak, on a plate, with maybe a potato and some steamed veggies. It is the showpiece of the meal, and should be enjoyed as such.

There are many good steak houses near Lake Saint Louis, notably in , not to mention  serves a mean aged  New York strip steak, but until I can make it to all of them and eat my way into a coma, here are a couple great recipes for you to try at home.

All of the following ingredients can be found at the Lake Saint Louis  on Civic Center Drive.

Seared T-Bone Steak with Red Wine Sauce

Serves 2 people

  • 2 T-bone steaks
  • 1/4 Yellow onion, small dice
  • 1/2 - 1 C Red wine
  • 1/2 - 1 C Beef stock
  • 2 T Butter
  • 1/4 C Heavy cream
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Season both sides of the steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 10 min. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on high heat. Sear the meat on both sides, about 2 min. per side, or until a nice brown crust has formed. Remove from the heat, finish cooking in a 350 degree oven until desired doneness (I recommend medium rare). Allow the meat to rest 5 min. before eating.

In the pan you cooked the meat in, saute the onion in the oil 2 - 3 min. Add red wine to deglaze the pan, simmer until the alcohol smell has gone away. Add the beef stock, simmer 3 min. Add heavy cream and butter, reduce to sauce consistency (also known as nappe, it should coat the back of a spoon without dripping). Season to taste and serve on the steak.

Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Scallions

Serves 2 people

  • 2 Russet potatoes, rinse, cut into desired size wedges
  • 2 Scallions, slice thin
  • 2 T Dried or fresh rosemary
  • 3 T Olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

For that optimal crunchy outside and fluffy interior, place the cut potatoes in ice water for 15 min. Toss the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients, then spread evenly onto a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan. Cook in a 400 degree oven, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown and finished cooking.

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