Fridays don’t count: Garlic butter steak

Posted in Beef on February 4th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

My friend Michael and I have began a Friday evening ritual of going to a coffee shop to write together (or procrastinate together, depending on the week, but the important part is doing it with someone.) But since both of us are trying to be diet and exercise conscious, and since coffee shops are calorie-laden gauntlets of hot cocoa, cookies, and pastries, we have picked up the mantra, “Fridays don’t count.”

The new place we found especially has the perfect atmosphere but nothing in the way of sustainable food. (That is “sustainable” in the sense of not leading to a sugar crash before closing time, not a comment on ethical practices.) This makes me glad I had already queued up Friday as the night to cook up a big chunk of protein to make up for it.

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter – but I did not use sirloin steak. Following my rule for buying beef, I found a “not-icky” looking piece of what turned out to be top round steak. I’m starting to realize however that “not-icky” looking is misleading when it comes to beef because this was quite gristly. I need to learn to accept this “marbled” idea.


  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 2 t. garlic powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 1/2 inch thick sirloin steaks
  • coarsely ground salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder and garlic, can’t go wrong there.


  • In a small saucepan, melt butter and add in garlic powder and minced garlic. Set aside

Oh my, that’s a lot of butter… and I quartered the recipe.

  • Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper.
  • Place steaks in frying pan and pour in the garlic butter mixture.

I wasn’t sure why you don’t just put the steak(s) into the same pan the butter was cooked in so this was another ‘hope I’m doing this right’ moment.

  • Serve on a warmed plate with a nice side of vegetables

Potatoes are a vegetable right??

That is must more of a meat-and-potatoes type meal than I’m used to eating, but much of the meat did go in the trash in the end. Besides, Fridays don’t count.

Braised Eye of Round Steak

Posted in Beef on January 19th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Being exceptionally busy at work, and trying to keep up a daily exercise routine, I don’t have a lot of energy left for standing in the kitchen right now. So I’m trying to find easy, yet still creative and interesting new things to make for dinner. This Braized Eye Round Steak has a relatively simple preparation but the long simmering time had me eating a bowl of oatmeal while waiting and writing. I understand the point is to tenderize a cut of beef that that tends to be tough for the same reason it appeals to me – lack of “icky” fat.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 12 (4 ounce) beef eye of round steaks

Twelve!! Even at two per person, that’s feeding a family of six. I suppose people with large families complain about all of the “recipes for two” (or one) but I can’t imagine cooking in the quantities most give. I used my grocery store pack of two round steaks.

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
  • 1 cup beef consomme

One commenter warned to make sure to use consomme, not bullion. Most of the other comments said they used bullion. I think I’m okay since I’m using Better than Bullion.

  • 1 cup Burgundy wine

Red wine that’s in the fridge… I didn’t look at the label.

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

This as well, I would love to use fresh parsley but it is not meant to be. Not for a last-minute ‘what can I do with this steak?’ plan.

I was afraid I was going to get myself in trouble for using an Allrecipes recipe and substituting so many ingredients after making fun of people who do that, but it’s not people changing things that bothers me. It’s the rating down a recipe based off of their own changes and/or mistakes. If this one doesn’t come out I’ll take full credit for my lack of fancy liquids.


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Along with cutting back the quantities, I cut this back to a small skillet.

  • Add onions; cook and stir until lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet using a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

As I looked at my onions browning in the skillet, I realized something was wrong… There is no garlic in this recipe. I considered chopping some garlic on the spot and adding it to the onions, but decided for simplicity in the name of authenticity and tired feet.

  • Season the steaks with thyme and seasoned salt, then dust them lightly with flour.

Sprinkling green onto raw beef doesn’t do anything to make it look more appealing… in fact quite the opposite.

Adding flour didn’t help any either.

  • Fry the steaks in the skillet over medium-high heat until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

Knowing my tenancy to overcook beef I did a bit less, probably three minutes per side. It probably could have taken five for proper browning.

  • Pour the red wine and beef consomme in with the beef. Return the cooked onions to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the aroma of wine dissipates, 2 to 3 minutes.

The recipe doesn’t scale down properly to have enough liquid in the pan so I guessed half a cup of each. This is also where I gave in and threw in some thin, whole cloves of garlic. Either they would cook or I could pick them out easily.

  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Serve steaks with the sauce and a garnish of fresh parsley.

Since I was under the impression this is supposed to be a gravy-like sauce, I dissolved a couple teaspoons of corn starch in water and mixed it into the sauce when it was near done, then brought it back to a boil. It didn’t do much. At least not until I was halfway done eating and had gone back for more onions, to see that it had thickened nicely.

The sprinkling of green isn’t helping much here either… (that’s dried parsley.)

Another trend I always see is to rate a recipe based on how much someone’s kids (especially their picky kids) liked it. So I think my imaginary kids (who magically have the same tastes as me) would say something like, “This was pretty good… but let’s have something different for dinner tomorrow.”

I do have to say the sauce really grew on me though. I ended up mixing my vegetables and barley into it, and made sure to get every onion out of the pan.

Something Resembling Stir-fry

Posted in Beef, Vegetables on December 6th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

My problem with stir-fry is that it always sounds like a such a great idea in the grocery store, and I never want to eat it when I get home. A pre-seasoned teriyaki flank steak is what made it sound like a great idea this time. I’ve heard that flank steak is supposed to be the “good” stuff, or at least the expensive stuff, but it always looks too weird to me. The teriyaki sauce seemed to make it look more normal, giving me the opportunity to try it out.

This might as well be a game of “Guess how many of my own cooking rules I’m (nearly) breaking!”. That’s pre-marinated beef, a package of pre-cut stir-fry vegetables, and a package of yakisoba “stir fry noodles” with teriyaki seasoning.

With the sell-by date on my meat approach and my ‘but I don’t feel like stir-fry tonight’ syndrome not improving, I started thinking of ways to trick myself into eating it, by making something that wasn’t actually stir-fry but used the same ingredients.


First I broiled the meat…

There that looks done…

Another problem I have with cooking beef is that by the time it “looks done”, it’s already overcooked.


For the vegetables I used this Ginger Broccoli recipe, using the mixed bag in place of just broccoli.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

I nearly went all the way with my “cheating” and used Andrew’s minced garlic from a jar, but he was nearly out. I always use minced ginger from a jar though.


I was going to try to stir-fry the noodles into the same pan but there wasn’t enough room. I gave the seasoning packet a sniff and my nose was assaulted by powdered salt. I do mean I felt salty powder physically go up my nose, painfully!

I fried the noodles with some of my own soy sauce instead. The noodles themselves were good and I don’t think that’s something I should be expected to make from scratch quite yet.

The vegetables were good but.. dare I say it… almost too gingery. But I can’t blame a recipe that calls itself ginger broccoli for being gingery, I think I just wasn’t in the mood.

The meat was good but unmemorable.

Looking at the recopies I bookmarked this weekend, I don’t think I’ve managed to convince myself yet that stir-fry isn’t actually a good idea for me, so I look forward to convincing myself to eat things like Pork & Bok Choy Stir-Fry after I’ve brought the ingredients home in the future.

Korean Grilled Beef

Posted in Beef on November 30th, 2010 by admin – 1 Comment

Of the basic kinds of meat out there, the one you’ll probably see me write about the least is beef. I am still stymied by all of the various cuts and what to do with them, which I like and what to do with them, and why does nothing I see in the grocery store look like the steaks I remember my dad barbecuing when I was a kid? The other problem with beef is it’s more prone to the parts I don’t like about meat, what I call the “icky bits” – stuff like the fat, gristle, and ‘is that a vein??’

I tend to browse the meat section and pick up some kind of beef only when I see one that looks properly “icky-bit free”. This one was just labeled as “Rancher’s Reserve Beef For BBQ”.

Since the label told me it’s for BBQ I searched that direction and found this Korean Grilled Beef. This was also my first time attempting to make a Korean dish so I can’t speak to its authenticity. I wasn’t able to plan ahead so I made the marinade as soon as I got home and put off cooking as late as possible so it would have a few hours to marinate.


  • 2 lb Sirloin, rib, or flank steak

I have no idea what part of the cow my meat came from but it was mostly icky-bit free!

  • 3 Green onions, finely

I assume this was meant to be ‘finely chopped’. If I was supposed to finely something else with them then I did it wrong.

  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 tb Soy sauce
  • 2 tb Sesame oil
  • 1 tb Sesame seeds
  • 1/4 c Sugar
  • 2 tb Sherry or mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/8 ts Black pepper

I used the mirin, having finally restocked at Uwajimaya.

Slice the steak diagonally against the grain into very thin strips. Score each piece lightly. (This prevents meat from curling as it is grilling).

I totally ignored this part since I don’t think I’m using the right kind of meat to begin with.

Combine remaining ingredients in bowl, mix well, then add meat. Allow to marinate for several hours or overnight.

I left this in the fridge for about three hours and had a late dinner.

This is our version of grilling.

The verdict was good, but needed more than just the rice the recipe suggested. With more time to plan, this would have been great incorporated into a vegetable stir-fry served on top of rice.