Wednesday, July 01, 2009

One step beyond.

My take on step-by-step cooking demonstrations.

Class 1: The Clear the Fridge & Make a Great Sandwich Lunch: Step-By-Step-Style

Start with your basic ingredients. Especially thick and wide (preferably from a boule) slices of sandwich bread. On one side layer main ingredients on top of say coarse ground mustard. Here we have thinly sliced Vidalia Onion, slabs of slicing tomatoes, and shave deli sliced garlic roasted Turkey. On the other slab deconstructed avocado slices plus some mayonaise with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Top the avocado half with cheese, in this case Jalapeño Cheddar slices and Crumbled Feta with Garlic and Herbs. Place under broiler until cheese is melted then remove.

Assemble sandwich, slice, and plate. Serve with any side. Here simply a few grape clusters. Chips or potato salad are other solid choices.

Remember whatever happens, ENJOY YOURSELF!

Class 2: Step-By-Step Steak on the Patio Meal

O.K. we're moving up several weight categories t a more elaborate dinner preparation. And that's the key: preparation. Thinking things out in advance and organizing ingredients and tools makes the cooking process ever so much easier. Here's what a professional chef would call his/her mise en place.

Tonight, we're attempting to grill and hickory smoke Marinated Bacon-wrapped Center Cut Sirloins and serve them with Caramelized Vidalia Onions and Sour Cream, Curry, and Chive Mashed Potatoes.

Set your stove on medium heat and put some olive oil in a skillet and onion slices. Saute for a minute or so and reduce heat to low. The key here is multitasking. Grill should already have been heated. I cheat and use gas for speed.

Place smoking cup on hot end of grill and two steaks on cooler end. Will cook with top closed for best smoking effects. Note setup of high temp and low temp on each end trying to set up a convection current inside grill as well. You cook steak about 8 minutes per side. For best grill marks at the 3:30 to 4:00 mark on each side spin steak 90 degrees to get nice crosshatching.

At the same time make sure your dining area is ready to go. If it's nice enough to grill outside, it's nice enough to dine al fresco as well.

Don't forget your main mantra: always be multi-taskin'. Check the brownness of the onions. Make sure to turn them to get them evenly cooked. When done remove from stove and if need be put in a pre-warmed oven below 175 degrees to keep warm until plating time.

One advantage of grillin' for guys is the elaboration of tools: charcoal rakes, tongs, flippers, grill mitts et cetera. But don't forget also the essential indoor tools that might be useful outdoors as well. Here a Santoku (Viking 7")—kinda for show really— and the workhorse implement, an offset serrated knife for cutting through the crisp bacon and neither scalding your knuckles nor mashing your sirloin in the process (F. Dick 8"—just ask Bourdain!) a timer for keeping track of when to turn and when to flip your steaks and a spatula for close in work as opposed to standard grill flipper.

As Neil Young once opined, "When I get big I'm gonna get an electric guitar. When I get real big." To which I respond, "when I get rich I'm gonna get a Global G2 Chef's Knife. When I get real rich."

for more on the art of grilling, check out this guy's book and ETV TV series.

When done, let the steaks sit at least 5 minutes to finish cooking and cool down.

I'm eating alone and this is, after all, a how-to, s we slice one steak to see if its medium rare: charred on the edges but pink in the center. Looks about right.

The we plate our steak, onions, and mashed potatoes up and bon apetit.

Improve your mood and dining ambiance with some music. "Music for evenings" from Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth sounds good place to start streaming on iTunes to some remote wireless speakers outside. Ahhh . . . dinner time. Just because you're single and maybe live alone is absolutely no excuse not to live and eat well.

This has been another Rat in mi Kitchen joint!


Francesca said...

I sense you were ENJOYING YOURSELF while doing the demonstrations! I'll keep in mind the mise en place!

Anonymous said...

Globals? Dude. I'm bringing the Bras ( or at least the Shun ( when I go electric.

See you Weds 15th.