Where's the Beef? May 25 2017
Every Sunday evening my family sits down for dinner together. It is one of the few times during the week that this happens so I always try to cook something delicious and something that everyone will eat. That is more of a challenge than you would think when you are feeding a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. This past Sunday I made a brisket and it was good, I mean really good. So good in fact, that my husband asked what I did differently. We’ve been ordering from a new butcher called Grow and Behold. It is pasture-raised Kosher meat and you can taste the difference. This particular cut was called ‘Second Cut Brisket’. I mostly ordered it because I wanted to make a brisket and it was the right size for my family.
All this talk about what the piece of meat is called got me thinking about where does it actually come from. Here is a quick guide to a few of my favorite cuts of beef and how to prepare them. I’m going to keep it simple but if you want to dig further, I highly recommend the book Meat; Everything you Need to Know by Pat LaFrieda.
BRISKET – Cut from above the front legs of the cow, this cut is perfect for braising. Traditionally used for corned beef or smoking.
FILET MIGNON – A very ‘fancy’ cut of beef. This comes from the loin of the cow. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and is quite elegant. There are a wide range of preparations from sautéing to grilling.
SKIRT STEAK - This cut comes from the plate(belly) of the cow. It is great when marinated and then grilled. When you are slicing, be sure to cut against the grain.
RIB-EYE STEAK – Cut from about the ribs of the cow….with a generous amount of marbling, this cut is rich, tender and juicy. It can be prepared in a variety of ways but my favorite is simply putting it on the grill.
I hope this gives you some insight into the beef you’ll be cooking up this weekend for the unofficial start of summer.
Grilling 101 July 31 2015
In the summer I love to grill. The warm weather makes it the perfect time to be outside and the fresh fruits and vegetables available lend themselves to the simple cooking technique of the open flame.
Here’s my guide to ensure your next barbecue is your best yet!
- Gas vs. Charcoal: Gas is obviously the easier method of the two, but isn’t always available. Charcoal does offer that delicious smokey flavor you look for from a grill. From my experience, if you are using charcoal, buy a charcoal chimney. It makes setting up the charcoal infinitely easier.
- Get it Hot: A hot grill is going to cook everything better. It allows you to get a nice char on the outside of your meat or fish and provides those beautiful grill marks on sliced vegetables and fruits. Once you have a nice char, I advise moving more delicate items to a place on the grill where they are getting indirect heat.
- Use the right amount of oil: You do not need a lot of oil when cooking if your grill is hot enough. It is the extra oil that causes those flare-ups. Just lightly brush your meat, fish or veggies with a smooth olive oil and place on your hot grill.
- Season it: Seasoning is super important when grilling. You know you are going to get a nice smoked flavor from the grill but don’t forget the salt, pepper or maybe you are looking for something extra special. The spice blends from La BoÎte are perfect for the grill, especially Pierre Poivre N.7.
- Timing: You want your food to cook evenly, so if you cook your steak for five minutes on the first side, make sure you cook it for five more minutes once you flip it. My grandfather used a timer when cooking steaks. He would give them an extra turn on each side to get the nice square grill marks. The meat was cooked perfectly every time.
- Let it rest: I am sure your mouth will already be watering while you are grilling but it is really important to let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes once it comes off the grill. This allows the juices to settle and stay inside the meat, making it even more delicious.
Enjoy the first weekend of August. There are still 5 more great weeks of summer ahead of us. Fire up those grills and if there is a pool nearby, even better!
A Day in the Life of D.a.T. SaUce June 12 2015
By now, you are familiar with D.a.T. SaUce, the Louisiana hot sauce in our marketplace. It is a great blend of tomatoes, garlic, and spices with just the right amount of vinegar to keep you coming back for more. I was excited when an order came in last week for 4 bottles of the sauce. Someone is REALLY into this sauce and I wanted to figure out why. I’ve had a bottle in the refrigerator and tried it here and there but this was my cue to really figure out where to use D.a.T. SaUce. My goal was to try to use the sauce at every meal. Here’s what I learned.
8am – Breakfast
Usually this is yogurt and granola but I knew that wasn’t going to work with hot sauce so I made an omelet. I put some zucchini and cheddar cheese inside. It was delicious and even better when I poured a bit of D.a.T. SaUce on top. I’m not into super spicy so a little bit goes a long way for me. This was a winning combination and one that I would try again and again.
11am – Snack Time
I never quite make it directly from breakfast to lunch (or lunch to dinner for that matter) without a snack. What is a quick and easy snack that everyone loves? Pretzels! Would that work with hot sauce? The answer is YES. I dipped my pretzel sticks in D.a.T. SaUce and was surprised with the result. The extra salt from the pretzel balanced some of the heat and made a snack I really enjoyed.
1pm – Lunch
Today’s lunch was created from leftovers in the refrigerator. We used some leftover roast beef, asparagus & broccoli to make a little stir fry. I was tempted to use another spice from the marketplace but decided to stick with my experiment. Once again, D.a.T. SaUcE was a winner.
5pm – Snack Time
Trying to save room for the delicious dinner that was cooking in the oven, I opted for an apple as my afternoon snack. This is the one pairing with D.a.T. SaUcE that I will skip in the future. The apple was juicy and sweet and just didn’t marry well with the sauce.
8pm – Dinner
Following on the English Tradition, we typically have a Sunday Roast at our house. This Sunday was only slightly different as we made Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. You can find the recipe for the ribs here.
It is June, but the weather wasn’t too hot, so it was the perfect evening for such a comforting dish. Once again, D.a.T. Sauce was an excellent addition to the meal. I used it sparingly as the ribs were sooo delicious on their own. The heat and the vinegar from the hot sauce were a nice balance with the richness of the meal. We had a salad on the side to try to keep the meal moderately healthy.
It was a spicy day but you can see from my little experiment, D.a.T. SaUcE is good on just about anything. It is available in two sizes. If you still aren’t sure, go with the smaller one but I guarantee you’ll be coming back for more.
Warm up with Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs February 27 2015
It has been cold here in New York, really cold for that matter. I am always looking for a way to warm up and what better to do than cook some comfort food.
My husband picked up some beef short ribs at the butcher this week and that inspired a dish of Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs along with some mashed cauliflower and sautéed broccoli rabe. This dish is sure to warm you up from the inside out and uses spices from my good friend Lior of La Boite Spices.
Here is the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
RED WINE BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS
7 bone-in beef short ribs (you can use boneless if you prefer)
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons Pierre Poivre
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, peeled and cut into a small dice
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into a small dice
4 celery stalks, cut into a small dice
5 cloves garlic
10 large button mushrooms, cut into eighths
2 cups red wine (open something nice so you can drink the rest of the bottle while the beef is cooking, my husband suggests a Rhone wine but any good red wine will do)
2 cups chicken stock
Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Place 3 ½ quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Season the short ribs with the salt and Pierre Poivre. Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven. Sear the short ribs 3-4 at a time. Remove from the pot and reserve. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sweat until tender. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Then add the wine and reduce by half.
Add the short ribs and chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove the short ribs from the sauce and continue to simmer until it has reduced to a nice glaze. Add the short ribs back to the pot and glaze with the reduced liquid. Cover to keep warm while you prepare your other vegetables.