Thursday, April 10, 2014

I don't know what to do with steaks, but beer does

I never understood why so many people go so dogmatic over steaks. It's slices of dead cow, not a religion. However, they're expensive slices of dead cow, so much so that they just don't really figure into my little existence. I got these thinking "eh, cheap enough" and when I got home realized I've got no idea how the hell to cook them.

Beer Steaks
I really don't think I need to write this, but since I've put a recipe in a box for each other one...

Salt, pepper

Soak steaks in beer to cover overnight, cook as desired (if cooking on the stove, turn frequently or they may curl too much to cook right), rub on lots of salt and pepper when they're done.

Manager's Special, baby!
Honestly, the only reason I had the beer was because I sent some bottles to someone in an online gift-swap. If I had people to drink beer with, I'd have it more often. So far, the remaining bottles have been used in a batch of macaroni and cheese (yes, you damn well should try this), two loaves of beer bread, and now this. Drinking beer by yourself is just too depressing, so I dumped it over raw meat instead.
There was just a little bit of foam when I poured it out.

But it turns out that one bottle of beer doesn't cover four steaks, so I got out a bottle of this stuff to keep them immersed (it was either that or actually remember to come downstairs and shake the thing occasionally)- I figured it tastes kind of like beer and anyway I've had this sitting around forever, so it's not like I absolutely must save it for some special night.
I've only used this by the splash in sauces- a recipe called for "rice wine," this was cheaper, and I was conveniently ignorant that there's a difference.
This led to a lovely physics demonstration of how denser liquids sink-not quite a river flowing under the ocean, but this has steaks in it.
I call it a white Russian doing a headstand.
Anyway, lacking a grill or the ability to cook anything on one, I decided to slap them on my griddle and call it dinner.

Digression: As some people know, antique cast iron has a lot of collectors who eagerly pore over different brands. But did you know that apparently they all go for skillets? This griddle was priced about what you'd expect to pay for one-step-up-from-crap-but-still-not-all-that-great saucepans, and I've seen skillets from the same company sell for the cost of a completely new set of expensive pots and pans with no markdown at a specialty store.
Then again, who wouldn't shell out extra when says right on the bottom that it's your favorite?
I like antique cast iron- since makers used to machine them smooth, they're so much easier to clean than modern-day ones with their pitted, sandy surfaces. Anyway, this thing came to me looking like it hadn't been cleaned since it was new, and so it spent about a week soaking in oven cleaner in a trash bag in my parents' back yard when I was home for Christmas. I haven't got a yard and would you want oven cleaner stink in your house for a week? (Although it did occur to me- "Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Nice to see you! I'm just going to douse this nasty looking pan in lye and leave it bagged in the yard! How've you been?") This is what it looked like right after I'd seasoned it (don't ask why I tried to go artistic and shot it in the yard, I think I just wanted a shot of it where it had spent the past week).

I have to have at least one good picture on this blog.
I don't know why griddles aren't collect-worthy and skillets are, but it means that you can go online and get some really nice ones without a wallet-walloping.

Like I said, since I have no idea how to cook steaks, I just put them on the stove and hoped for edible.
I don't care how small they are. Two steaks at once just doesn't happen in my kitchen.
At this point, I must confess what is apparently a sin among those who are Into Steaks: I like them cooked through. I know, I know, apparently I'm supposed to just barely warm the things over. I think the reason so many people don't like them is because hardly anyone does it right- every time I've had steak either it was barely above room temperature or it was reduced to a sad, dried-out husk. No one seems to be able to take them off the heat just as they're done. You get steaks raw or burnt.
But, since the Opinionated Steak Police were absent from my kitchen, I cooked them just until they were done to the center. Since I didn't do it over excessively high heat, they stayed nice and tender. Then I dumped on a crapton of salt and pepper and ate them out of my hand because I didn't want to have to wash a fork. Lacking patience to cook them all before eating, I ended up doing the old-style keep-your-left-hand-out-of-the-bread-bowl thing- I turned the steaks with one hand (yes, I still don't have a spatula) and ate out of the other.

Lightly seasoned? Feh!
I'll be watching the discount bin for steaks again- this was really good! If anyone has some secret to making them come out perfect, go right ahead and say so. But I'm happy with what I got.

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