Striploin Steak

DSCF6871 (640x457)And the beef saga continues.  This particular cut of meat is probably the most common in the market: a Striploin. It doesn’t cost as much and making money out of one cut is immediate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t also have a long shelf life not unless it’s frozen outright from the market.  Spoilage can set back the restaurateurs very slim bottomline, and that profitability margin is not exactly as robust as a big corporation as many might have known.   A striploin can be served for breakfast and lunch with eggs, hash or homefries and of course, for dinner, with dinner rolls and larger cut potatoes; the usual continental fare.

For the ordinary Filipino, a heap amount of greasy and salty garlic rice is its counterpart. It just never fails and after a long day at work, a succulent cut with some salty and garlicky aroma to match just blend perfectly well.  That’s personal satisfaction worth capturing everyday.  Many Filipinos have a tendency to overcook their steak and eat it salty, to somehow dry and crunchy.  If I had recalled, fond memories growing up in the suburbs, a ‘Bistek Tagalog’  cooked by the household help with sauted onions was murdered and soaked in heavy Filipino Dark Soy Sauce; hiding the spiritual imageDSCF6868 (640x456) and entity of the succulent cut.  Beef was not cheap growing up and having been treated that way was unforgiving.  Cantinas and cafeterias portion and slice them so thinly for a quick-fry and for a quick-buck and they tasted just as good; very similar to Roast Beef shavings which I have done countless times at work.  I recycled the Roast to the nth time I had lost count what I had done with it.  I did what just popped in my head.

DSCF6869 (640x513)Anyway, this was the first kind of steak I encountered in the market in New York way back in 1994 and never knew how to deal with it.  It was the cheapest I saw, bought one and eventually ended up pan-frying it well-done.  I had no inkling about cooking back then and I was just crashing-in at my then sister’s apartment.  Money was tight, I had no direction whatsoever in life, and eating steak was the only comfortable reason to exist.  That very day launched my quest to find work here; at all cost and despite living in my parents’ house for another decade.  I marked that path from a non-existent suburban utopian life to a clock that ticks to the value of time and effort; very similar to a steak cut, soft to firm to the touch, tender and rare to the pinch, and sweet and remembering to the bite.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Striploin Steak (a New York Striploin to many)
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Knorr Original Seasoning

Season the steak with the above ingredients and marinate it overnight. Prepare the grill or grill pan similar to the procedure of grilling a Prime Rib (previous post).

Tent and let the steak rest for five minutes after grilling and cut in a bias.  Serve with salad or in my case, for my Christmas Eve dinner, a two-day old steamed rice left untouched for a couple of days fried with finely minced clove of garlic and heavilty salted to pair with the very savoury striploin cut.

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Prime Rib Steak with Tarragon Butter

DSCF6848 (640x456)I never understood why Chinese food is considered a holiday dinner. Eventually, I believe, I would.  Like a doctor in an emergency room, I am ‘on-duty’ on the 24rth and the 25th; the eye of the holiday season. When everybody is busy preparing Turkeys and Hams, I am in the kitchen preparing Christmas Dinner for clients; answering to their every squeamish appetite for something Christmassy.    For the last couple of weeks, I’ve roasted about four Turkeys and carved two of those to feed a party of fifty. It was a small group, but the carving was tedious and on top of that, the regular lunch fare had to be served. Both were set at twelve and I was the only person ‘in-charge’ of ‘making it happen.’  I felt I was back in the line again; running around and keeping myself intact and on-time. It was indeed December. I have one more lined-up on Christmas Day, and hopefully, I won’t see another Turkey until the next Christmas.

I’ve been contemplating on what I would serve myself on the 24rth. I haven’t had a trip to the grocery for personal reasons and I haven’t really targeted any kind of game, meat, or poultry to work on on the night before Christmas itself.  I definitely won’t have Turkey or Ham. I know I’d be dead-tired and might just go for Chinese in Chinatown; a once in a lifetime experience and treat on Christmas Eve. The Pecking Duck is waiting (now I understand).

I’ve been a regular of the town for the last week or so feeding myself hearty and comfortable beef stir-fry meals.  I missed eating beef. I’ve held back on red meat for the last eleven months of the year and on the twelfth, I just went for it. Red meat will be off the list again as January steps in, eating healthier meals as usual to coincide to my once a week tai chi decompression chamber.  Best to go for it in full-circle rather than half-baked, although dimsum can never neglected.  That’s my life source. I need some quiet time after a very frenzied to crazy week before me (although the dimsum ladies can be loud and noisy). It’s the unusual culture I’m in for, and every week feels like a new visit to another gastronomic secret society. Lately, eating breakfast of eggs and bacon, food which I was succumbed to for the last six years, has slowly been creeping in as one of those meals I beckon to have in the mornings of my days-off.  Through this nightly visits, I’ve somehow also understood how Cantonese cooking work.  That would be my next assignment. I know I can’t forever feed myself stir-fry when I can cook it myself at home.

I originally wanted to cook steak for the holidays. I bought this AA Prime Rib steak to test it on my grill pan and was happy with the results.  The cut was not as expensive; just about $10.00, and it made my night. Although I had wished, I had another cut. It turned out insufficient to ebb for my growing appetite, and I can’t cook nor look at another potato for the next several years or so.  This was before all the Turkeys and the Hams and the parties were set and I still had that little extra time to decide. Right now, I can’t even decide what to feed myself after seeing all the food on an almost daily basis and being creative recycling what’s leftover in the walk-in fridges a few days later.

Ingredients:

  • Prime Rib Steak
  • Beef Stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tarragon, finely chopped
  • Salted Butter

Leave the butter and the steak at room temperature, and season the steak on both sides.  Clean and season the grill pan with oil and pre-heat it for ten minutes or so.

DSCF6844 (640x459) DSCF6846 (640x509)Chop the tarragon and mix it with the butter to make a compound butter. Shape the butter into a shell using two spoons. Wrap it using a plastic wrap or tin foil and return it the fridge.

Set the steak on the pan on a 90’ angle for several minutes. Flip it to 180’ to complete the grill marks. Do the same on the other side. Check the thickest part of the meat for desired doneness.  Remove from the grill and let it rest, covered with a tin foil.

DSCF6847 (640x455)DSCF6852 (640x426)Deglaze the grill-pan with beef stock to make some jus.  Set the butter shells atop the steak and dip each cut into the jus.

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Risotto alla Milanese

DSCF6841 (640x512)It’s not officially Christmas yet, but the season is definitely here. There is a bunch of catering and food reservations lined-up until the third week of December and the kitchen has just started processing orders to accommodate this gigantic task. The first of many will be tomorrow.  When that kicks in, I know it’s definitely the holidays.   Another set of similar functions (of roasting Turkey & Ham) will be recreated over Christmas Day, targeted specifically for the clients, and that will surely be another major prep work down the road. Roasting is fairly basic. It’s the portioning, serving and cleaning that makes work just a tad harder.  Moreover, hours are longer and time is slower.

I have been far and away lately, on most occasions after work, eating my heart out with a very huge meal of rice and beef just to clean my palate.  Although I cook rice almost every day now, I still crave for steamed rice topped with a heavy Chinese sauce; an Asian rice meal.  It just satisfies my hunger after cooking the whole day, and the accompanying light, jasmine tea makes me at ease and relaxed as I munch down on my almost only meal during the day. It’s just so difficult eating properly during work when there are a million things to be done. I take something every so often, but they’re not really considered a full rice meal with the works.

Rice is a Filipino staple, but for health reasons, I’ve switched mine to Basmati. It does not have as much starch as Jasmine, but it still satisfies. This particular blog, however, wouldn’t tackle either.  I have been searching and looking at an Italian Risotto recipe before I became pre-occupied with work and was intrigued with Risotto alla Milanese.  I’ve been really engaged working with Saffron and when I bumped into this one, I wrote it down as one of those I have to cook. It’s also rice, but it’s the Italian Arborio which I also love.  This should have been partnered with the Osso Bucco post I shared previously, but because of time constraints and the quick changing of the season, I had left it at the backburner for about a month or so until I found some time to make it. Here it is: Risotto all Milanese.

Ingredients:

  • Arborio Rice
  • Beef Stock
  • Saffron Threads ( or Saffron powder)
  • Spanish Onion
  • Olive Oil, finely diced
  • Butter
  • Sage, chopped
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Lemon Juice

Heat a small pot of Beef stock with the Saffron threads and let it steep for about half an hour. Start sweating the onions with the olive oil and butter in a saute pan, and add the Arborio rice until toasty.

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Slowly ladle the stock into the pan, and gently stir the rice.  Check the doneness of the rice every now and then or until the rice has absorbed most of the stock.

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When the rice is Al Dente, sprinkle the cheese and garnish with chopped Sage. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season according to taste before serving.

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Classic Filipino Chicken Broth (Tinolang Manok)

DSCF6830 (457x640)It seems that chicken is a major staple for the people I am feeding. For three weeks of the four-week menu cycle which I almost religiously follow, chicken, coming in boxes as whole thighs or drumsticks is served twice to thrice a week. More often than not, it’s usually chicken drumsticks marinated in an off-the-shelf BBQ sauce or chicken  thighs done as oven-fried on a busy Tuesday lunch when visitors are welcomed to the centre and there is an open house. As much as I want to prepare other recipes if I can, given the allotted prep time I have and the available ingredients, I am always bounded by limited herbs and spices and aromatics and doing a minor twist to the already prix-fix, rotating monthly menu may only ruin the outcome.  So far though, I have been successful in pleasing the clients by working on tested recipes with three to four ingredients.  Some spices may also be too strong or too pungent for them and that further limits my already limited arsenal of spice rack.  Salt is taboo.

In the grocery where I shop, chicken thighs are almost always ‘affordable.’ I have them in my freezer for easy braising and frying given the limited time I have now in my own kitchen. Apparently, my workweek has been extended until early in the evening and coming from work and preparing food for myself has already become a chore. I’d stop by a Chinese restaurant before heading home to relax, to have my fix and to eventually clear my palate. I’ve also allotted time for something I would recreate in my head a few days before my own ‘weekend’ begins, and from there, start my shopping.  I only shop for what I really need now.

Tinola was also major staple growing up.  It’s probably one of the easiest chicken recipes that can be converted into a meal and is a one-pot wonder.  I don’t have anything against Tinola like Adobo, but I consider this dish more of a broth dish where it acts as a base for sauces and other main dishes.

For this blog, I broke down each element of the ‘Tinola’ and concentrated on enhancing the flavour of the broth by adding lemongrass.  I enjoy eating my chicken separately from my soup and vegetables unlike others who have them altogether in a bowl.  Dried squid cooked with the broth is also a major element in this broth. I missed the opportunity of buying a pack when I was in Chinatown. I was still half asleep so to speak and all I really wanted was to hit the sack after a nice meal.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Spanish Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Red Thai Chilis
  • Lemongrass
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Sea Salt
  • Coriander
  • Bayleaves

Optional:  Dried Squid

 Sides:

  • Parsnips
  • Spinach

Seasonings:

  • Patis
  • Ground Blackpepper

Start a pot of water with the chicken thighs and throw the first boil. Rinse the pot and chicken in cold running water, and set aside.

DSCF6826 (640x510)DSCF6827 (640x458)Combine the chicken with the other ingredients in another pot, covered and let it poach for an hour or so or until the chicken has been fully cooked through. Gently lift the chicken from the pot, carefully avoiding the skin from ripping apart and let it hang-dry on a strainer. Strain the broth in another sauce pan, and adjust seasoning to taste.

Pre-boil the Spinach and Parnsips in a different pot using the same broth.

DSCF6828 (640x512)DSCF6829 (640x426)Chop the chicken Chinese Style and set the plate together with the sides. Drizzle with Patis and season with ground black pepper before serving and garnish the chicken and soup with finely chopped green onion.

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