Before we get into why this day is special, let’s get a few other National Days out of the way. The first would be the official birthday of the United States Air Force. While the Air Force was first formed on August 1, it was a part of two existing branches of the military. So while historically the creation of the Air Force is August 1, it wasn’t yet an independent branch.Continue reading “Welcome to an Extra Special Day”
While most “National” sites agree that August 28 is Red Wine Day, one lone site has declared today to be both National Mushroom Day and National Red Wine Day. As far as I am concerned, that’s a great combination. Who doesn’t like wine and mushrooms?Continue reading “Seared Steak with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce”
Today is one of those National Days that was just packed with inspiration. Right out of the gate, there were three very different styles to celebrate. Picking just one was impossible, so why even try?Continue reading “Get Along Little Doggie”
Today is National Nebraska Day. The Corn Husker State joined the union on March 1, 1867. Pioneers migrating westward along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails traveled through the area, marking off recognized landmarks along the way.
The beauty of a pan-seared steak is that you can have an awesome, charred steak without firing up the grill, braving the heat outside or heating up the house inside. Oh sure, you’re going to turn on the broiler, but only for a few minutes.
There are a lot of good reasons to plant a garden, even if it’s just a hanging patio garden. Working the soil is good for you. Eating what you have grown brings satisfaction unlike any other. Every year I look forward to our tomato plants for three reasons – freshness, goodness and full flavor. If you cannot grow tomatoes, please find a good small farm. Tomatoes that are allowed to ripen naturally, that have not been bred for shipping have a flavor unlike any other.
Montana – Big Sky Country. It will take your breath away. Glacier National Park and the northern tip of Yellowstone are part of Montana. Montana is the 41st state to enter the union on November 8, 1889. Montana is rich in western history. The Battle of Little Big Horn took place in what was then the Montana Territory in the summer of 1876. The Roosevelt Arch, the northern gateway to Yellowstone, is in Gardiner, Montana. Under the right conditions, the Northern Lights can be seen in Montana. A great place to visit, to explore, to embrace.
Here’s another quick lesson in cuts of meat. You have heard the expression in Real Estate it’s all about location, location, location. The same holds true for steaks. People often get confused when it comes to certain cuts of meat such as a New York Strip or a Rib-Eye. While both cuts can be purchased boneless, the New York Strip should NEVER have a bone as it is one half of a Porterhouse or T-Bone, the other side of the bone being a small taste of a Filet Mignon. And then there’s that whole location thing. The Rib Eye comes from (wait for it) the cow’s rib area. Imagine that! The New York hails from the cow’s loin area. Rib Eye is fatter and more tender than the New York Strip. The Rib Eye can be had boneless or bone in. Personally, I thing having a bone adds flavor, but that’s just me. Rib Eye and New York both are considered a premium cut of meat. Recently, while dining in the beef capital of the planet, Wyoming, Hubby and I ordered these two steaks. I chose the Rib-eye while Hubby had the New York Strip. This wasn’t done as individual preferences but rather because the Rib Eye had a smaller cut, 14 ounces, while the New York’s -smallest strip was 29 ounces. I’m glad we ordered different cuts of steak. It gave us a chance to sample them side by side. While the Rib Eye was far more tender, the New York had a more intense beefy flavor. While this recipe calls for Rib Eye, you could always use a New York Strip instead.
A few quick tips to help everything come together smoothly.
- Start preheating the oven to roast the garlic first.
- Make marinade and get the steaks into the refrigerator to start the marinating process. By now, the oven should be heated for the garlic.
- Pop the garlic into the oven, begin roasting. While garlic roasts, mix up all the ingredients for the glaze.
- If desired, strain grilling glaze for a smooth finish just before serving.
Grilled Rib Eye Streaks with Jack Daniel’s Grilling Glaze
INGREDIENTS – STEAKS
4 Rib Eye Steaks (8 oz each, ¾-inch thick)
½ Cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Olive oil or cooking spray for grill
INGREDIENTS – JACK DANIEL’S GRILLING GLAZE
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced white onion
1 tablespoon Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 tablespoon crushed pineapple
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
FOR STEAKS: Slice limes in half, rub fresh lime on steaks. Rub salt into steak. Squeeze lime juice into bowl. Whisk in Jack Daniels, garlic cloves and black pepper. Allow steaks to marinade for several hours in refrigerator. Don’t let the strange color of the meat scare you – the lime juice will start to “cook” the meat with its high acid content. The steaks will cook up beautifully.
Remove steaks from refrigerator and allow to continue to marinade while coming to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes.
While steaks come to temperature, prepare grill. Wipe or spray grill grate with olive oil or cooking spray.
Remove steaks from marinade. Pat dry and brush with grilling glaze. Grill to desired doneness, about 3-5 minutes per side, turning only once.
Remove steaks from grill, transfer to round plate (stack if necessary) and cover with stainless steel bowl inverted. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. (If you don’t have a stainless steel bowl, cover serving platter with foil).
Serve steaks with any remaining grilling sauce on the side for “dipping” if desired.
FOR JACK DANIEL’S GLAZE: Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Cut about 1/2-inch off of top of garlic. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove the papery skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Put garlic into a small casserole dish or baking pan, drizzle olive oil over it, and cover with a lid or foil. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 45.
Remove garlic and let it cool until you can handle it. This should take about 15 minutes. As the garlic cools, spread the bulb open to allow for faster cooling.
Combine water, pineapple juice, Teriyiaki sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat. Stir occasionally until mixture boils then reduce heat until mixture is just simmering.
Squeeze the sides of the head of garlic until the pasty roasted garlic is squeezed out. Discard remaining skin and whisk to combine. Add remaining ingredients to the pan and stir.
Let mixture simmer over medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes or until sauce has reduced by about 1/2 and is thick and syrupy. Make sure it doesn’t boil over.
Let glaze sit until ready to use, stirring occasionally.
A few years back, Kiddo elected to celebrate his 20th birthday in a big way – by retracing some fond childhood memories “out west”. Yeah, I know, we live in California, can’t get any more American west geographically speaking than California unless we move to Hawaii, but when it comes to a western cowboy attitude, nothing compares to Wyoming. We had such a great time, that we did it again this year.
I know, I’m all about posting a few memories and a recipe or two, but I’d like to take a moment here and promote a wonderful place to call “home” in Wapiti, Wyoming. Wapiti is situated about half-way between Yellowstone’s east gate and Cody, Wyoming with easy access to both. You can take in all the wonder of Yellowstone by day, and the sights of Cody by night. Cody is home to the Buffalo Bill Museum, a nightly rodeo throughout the summer and the Irma Hotel, built in 1902 by Buffalo Bill. There’s even a shoot ’em up western gunfight right outside the hotel. And let’s not forget about Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone, with its ever-changing thermal features and abundant wild life is never the same visit from one day to the next. The fresh air (away from the geysers – those do smell like rotten eggs), the beautiful meadows and wide open spaces are spectacular. With any luck, you might even see a wolf or a grizzly feeding. What an adventure! At the end of the day, you’ll want a place to stay that is quiet and relaxing. A place to sit and take in the stars, to ponder and reflect at the end of a perfect day.
Rand Creek Ranch is just the place – with cozy cabins, the most comfortable beds and friendly owners. Krystal and Joel not only welcome you to their ranch when you arrive, they continue to socialize with their guests in a unique way – with fireside chats each evening around a campfire. Guest gather, share their adventures of the day and get to know one another. Krystal bakes up fresh goodies each morning, leaving her wonderful muffins or coffee cakes on your porch along with fruit and juice to greet you each day. She even has a cookbook, which of course I’ve added to my collection. The recipes all look yummy and the pictures of the ranch are wonderful. If you ever travel to the Yellowstone area, I highly recommend you stay at Rand Creek Ranch for a relaxing get away you won’t soon forget. For more information, here’s a link to the ranch with all the details: http://www.randcreekranch.com/index.html
Obviously, I’m feeling rather western after such a wonderful vacation from life. It’s only fitting that I share a little cowboy cooking. There are two things that are synonymous with cowboy cooking – grilled meats and a good pot of beans. These are foods that are easy to cook while out on the range. And let’s face it, we all love a good cut of steak sizzling on the grill. Just thinking about it will get my mouth to water.
Let’s start with what the heck is Cowboy steak? A true cowboy steak is a rib eye steak with a long section of rib bone still attached, known as the “handle”. It’s said that cowboys of the old west used the rib bone to pick up their steak and eat it right off the bone, hence the name “cowboy cut”. The steak can weight as much as two or three pounds (for a double-cut), and stand as much as three inches thick. A true cowboy cut with the long rib bone isn’t something you can get from your local grocery store, even if it has a butcher’s counter. Most grocery stores receive their meat already cut into sections, with the long-handled rib bone removed. I’ve chatted with a couple of butchers at my grocery stores, and they are all of the opinion that the bone is more a matter of presentation rather than flavor. While bone does add flavor, the “handle” doesn’t actually come in contact with the meat so you will have the same flavor results with a thick cut of bone-in rib eye. While I was disappointed, I reasoned that the extra bone was an additional cost that truly isn’t necessary. If you feel you absolutely need a true cowboy cut rib eye, you can order them online for about $50.00 per 22 oz steak.
Grilling a steak that is this thick is a challenge. First, you’ll want to season and salt the steak well before grilling. A day in advance is great, but at a minimum, give yourself at least an hour or two. The most common mistake when salting meat is to do so just before grilling. As rumored, salt does draw out the moisture when first applied. It also breaks down the proteins and tenderizes the steak. So while the moisture is drawn out initially, allowed to sit, the meat will then reabsorbs its juices, drawing your seasonings deeper into the meat. Secondly, you’ll want to brush the meat itself with olive oil prior to grilling. This will prevent the steak from sticking while aiding the searing process. Thirdly, unlike a typical 1-inch steak, you’ll want to cook the thick cowboy steak in two stages – direct and indirect heat. Direct heat sears the meat, giving it that nice crust and beautiful color. Indirect heat cooks the interior of the meat without burning. A two or three-inch thick steak will take a while to cook – as much as 20 or 30 minutes depending upon thickness and prefered “doneness”. To help in the overall grilling, you should let the steak rest on the counter about an hour or two before grilling, depending upon thickness. This will allow the steak’s temperature to even out before throwing it onto the grill. The best “fuel” for grilling is real wood or coals. Since the coals may need to last a while, be sure to stoke a full chimney. Pile the coals at one end of the grill, with ample room at the other end for indirect cooking. After about 20 minutes, check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. The best way to cook a steak is medium-rare, warm in the middle while retaining its natural juices and tenderness. The longer a steak cooks, the tougher the end result. For medium-rare, you’ll be looking for an internal temperature of about 130 degrees. Keep in mind, once the steak is pulled from the grill, covered and allowed to rest, the internal temperature can raise as much as five degrees. Let’s get to grilling . . .
Cowboy Steak with a Dry Spice Rub
1 Double-Cut Rib Eye Steak (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee or instant espresso
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon Ancho chili powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Butter Baste Finishing
4 tablespoons butter,
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, pressed
leaves from 1 sprig of tarragon
Mix the spices for a dry rub. If you’ve got a jar handy, simply place all the ingredients into the jar, close the lid tightly and shake away. If not, simply whisk until well blended. Spray or LIGHTLY brush steak with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with rub, and massage into the meat. Let rest on the counter at least an hour or two before grilling.
While meat is soaking in the rub, make the finishing butter baste. Place the ingredients for the butter baste into a small sauce pan and heat over low heat until the butter melts, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow flavors to marry nicely. Keep warm and fluid when ready to use.
Build a fire for direct and indirect grilling. Place steak over hot coals, close lid and sear about 7 minutes, turn and sear other side for about 5 or 6 minutes longer.
Move steak to cooler side of the grill. Brush steak with finishing butter. Cook about 8 minutes longer with the lid closed. Turn, brush with finishing butter and continue to grill about 6-8 minutes longer with the lid closed.
Transfer steak to a warm (not hot) serving platter, cover with foil and allow steak to rest about 10 minutes before carving.
For a real, authentic cowboy dinner, serve with ranch beans and plenty of corn bread. Grilled corn on the cob is another nice touch.
Rib Eye Steak has awesome flavor all on its own. Season with salt and pepper, grill it up and there you go. The most prized cut of roast is the rib eye roast which is boneless and cut from the most tender portion of the rib section. Ask any cowboy and they will say it’s gotta be Rib Eye all the way.
This year, I want to plant some Rosemary bushes in the back yard. I love the smell of Rosemary. It will be a few years until I can “harvest” clipping for skewers. In the meantime an early morning stroll through the farmer’s markets is always a joy.
Many, many year ago, Hubby and I took a road trip, just the two of us, to New Mexico. I can’t remember the last time a road trip, or any vacation for that matter, didn’t include Kiddo. This was one of those “we are a couple, right?” kind of trips. Just the two of us, doing whatever we pleased. While in Santa Fe, we had an unforgettable steak dinner at Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe. Hubby and I both adore spicy foods, and New Mexican cuisine is out-of-this-world delicious. You haven’t truly experienced heat on a plate until you’ve dined in New Mexico!