Friday, May 26, 2017

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks

Some people only want a Porterhouse or a T-bone steak. Some love a New York strip and then there are those that won't eat anything but filet mignon because they are convinced it is the most tender. But for me, the ultimate steak is the  rib eye also known as the Delmonico.  

It's the superstar of the steak world. An incredibly tender cut and known for it's extensive marbling. During cooking, that fat marbling melts and bastes the meat from within. The result is a richly-flavored juicy and tender steak! Rib eyes are flavorful enough that they don't need anything more than salt and pepper and a little garlic powder

Rib eyes do best when cooked on a high heat, so be sure to preheat the grill prior to cooking.  It is important to take them out of the refrigerator 35-45 minutes prior to grilling and allow them to come to room temperature on your counter.  Finally, it's important to allow your steaks to rest for five to ten minutes after cooking to allow the proteins to reabsorb the juices and the flavor within them.

How to Choose the Perfect Rib Eye

Look for bright red coloring on the meat.  It should be at least an inch thick, ideally more like an inch and a half thick. It should have abundant marbling. Good marbling should be obvious in good rib-eye steaks; the veins of fat running through the meat are a sign that the cut will deliver a rich meaty flavor. 

The fat melts into the steak, creating a buttery richness.  The proportion of the rib-eye steak is also important; when you are holding the rib-eye steak the right way up (with the widest part with the “eye” in it at the top) the top piece round the eye should be generously proportioned and there should be a decent sized defined fat nugget at the “eye” of the steak.  Most important is the amount of tenderloin surrounding the outer edge of the steak. This is the most tender part of the steak. I call it the melt in your mouth part.

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks

2-4 rib well marbled rib eyes cut 1 ½’ to 2” thick
Salt and pepper
garlic powder
olive oil 

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes. This is important if you want them to cook evenly with no cold spots.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 500 degrees). It is important to preheat your grill for at least 10-15 minutes to reach that temperature. Add some vegetable oil to a thickly folded paper towel or old dish towel and using tongs, oil the hot grill by rubbing the oil saturated towel across grill grates.

Meanwhile, Place steaks on a large platter and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Then generously season all sides with salt and pepper and garlic powder. When the grill is ready, place the steaks on the grates and cover the grill. Cook, undisturbed, for about 4-5 minutes. Flip steaks over, cover the grill and cook for another 4-5 minutes for medium rare.

  1. To check for doneness, use an instant thermometer to register 130 degrees for medium rare.  

    Rare: 120-125°
    Med-Rare: 130-135°
    Medium: 140-145°
    Medium-Well: 150-155°
    Well Done: 160°+

Or use my tried and true hand test as follows: 

For Rare Steaks:  touch the middle of the steak with your fingers. It should have a similar feel as when you touch your cheek. It should have plenty of give and cushion. 

For Medium Steaks:  touch the middle of the steak with your fingers. It should have a similar feel as when you touch your chin. 

Well-Done Steaks:  touch the middle of the steak with your fingers. It should have a similar feel as when you touch your forehead. 

Important:  Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.  I don't tent foil because the steaks will continue to cook if you do.  Just set them aside and allow the juices to flow back into the steaks.

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Slow Cooked Baked Beans

As soon as summer gets here, I start thinking about cookouts. Backyard barbecues and family gatherings that instantly make me think of hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and chops.  And especially those sides like coleslaw and pasta and potato salads. And what's a barbecue without baked beans? I like to make mine in a slow cooker so I don’t have to worry about heating up the oven for hours.  I don't use canned beans ...I usually start from scratch.  

Slow Cooked Baked Beans

1 lb. dried navy beans, rinsed and picked through for debris 
1 tablespoon salt 
3 cups water 
6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces 
1 ham shank 
1 cup onion, finely diced 
1 cup. ketchup 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar 
4 tablespoons molasses 
4 tablespoons honey 
1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
2 teaspoons garlic powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoons pepper 
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

Soak the beans overnight in 4 quarts of water and the tablespoon of salt. 

The next day drain the beans and pour them into your slow cooker. Add 
3 cups of water and the ham shank and cook on high for about 6 hours or
until  beans are tender.  Stir one or two times during cooking. If needed, 
add a little water during the last 2-3 hours of cooking. The bean mixture 
should be loose, but not watery. 

Remove shank and allow to cool. When the ham shank is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bone and chop into small pieces. Add to beans. In a large bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, mustard and honey. Add mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper and the apple cider vinegar. Pour mixture into slow cooker with beans and stir well.  Cook on high for another 45-60 minutes until heated throughout.

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      Sweet Corn on The Cob

      I'm a Maryland girl and you can't have grilled steaks without fresh sweet corn on the cob.  I add sugar to my boiling water to make it even sweeter. Maryland is known for Silver Queen corn in the summer time and there's nothing like it.  But I found some Super Sweet Corn up from Florida at a road side produce stand and it was incredible!  A little salt and pepper and a lot of butter and you've got the perfect side dish.

      Sweet Corn On The Cob 

      6 ears of Corn 
      2 tablespoons sugar 

      Prepare corn for boiling. Drop the corn into a large pot of boiling water that has been seasoned with sugar. Boil three minutes and remove corn right away. Spread melted butter all over corn and salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning for a real treat! But that's coming from a Maryland girl! LOL! 

      For even more sweet and tender corn, try Milk Corn 

      Fill a large saucepan with equal parts water and whole milk. Use enough liquid to fully cover the corn, but make sure the pot isn't more than halfway full, as the milk expands rapidly after it hits a boil; this allows you time to pull it off the heat.

      Put the saucepan on a burner over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Do not add salt to corn or it makes the kernels tough.  Add the corn to the milk and water as soon as it hits a boil. Cover the pot and wait for the liquid to hit a boil again. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove your pot from the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Cover and leave it on the stove but off the burner for about 3 minutes. Your corn is ready to butter up and add salt and pepper.  So tender and sweet!

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      Monday, May 22, 2017

      The Perfect Eye Round Roast Beef Sandwich

      Sometimes I love putting on a small roast in the morning so I can enjoy a fantastic roast beef sandwich at lunch.  Especially when it’s this easy! 

      The Perfect Eye Round Roast Beef Sandwich  

      3 pound eye round roast
      1 teaspoon kosher salt
      1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
      1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
      6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
      Mix together your seasonings and set them aside.
      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

      Remove your roast from the refrigerator and pat it dry with paper towels.  Allow it to sit on the counter at room temperature for at least 40 minutes. Roll the roast around in the seasonings, patting them down so it is covered and let it sit out on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes. This allows the roast to reach room temperature, plus it lets the seasonings settle onto the roast. 

      Place the roast in a roasting pan (I use my Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven) and put your roast in the hot oven.  Roast for 25 minutes.  Then turn the oven off and do not open the door for the next 2 hours. Don't open the door or the heat will escape.  After the two hours, take the internal temperature with a thermometer. 

      For rare the temperature should register at 125 degrees. 
      For medium rare- 140 degrees.
      For medium- 150 degrees.

      Once you reach the temperature you want, transfer the roast to a plate and cover with foil.  Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before carving.   Slice this as thin as you can and make your roast beef sandwich with whatever you like! 

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      Butter Cream Cookies With Chocolate Fudge Icing

      I love these cookies!  Not only because they are so wonderfully decadent, but because they are a show stopper.  They turn heads whenever I walk across the room with a tray filled with these beautiful little morsels!  They are simple to make and yet they look like you took hours to make them.

      Butter Cream Cookies With Chocolate Fudge Icing

      2 cups all-purpose flour 
      ½ teaspoon baking powder 
      ¼ teaspoon salt 
      1½ sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened 
      1 cup sugar 
      1 large egg 
      1 teaspoon vanilla 

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. 

      Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg until well-combined. Slowly spoon in flour mixture mixing on medium speed until well-combined, then add vanilla and mix just until combined. 

      Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon and roll with your hands before dropping them on to a large baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between each cookie. Press down on cookie dough ball lightly with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass until about ½-inch thick. Bake 10-13 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely before icing. 

      Butter Cream Frosting

      1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened 
      1 cup unsweetened cocoa 
      5 cups confectioner’s sugar 
      ½ cup milk 
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
      ½ teaspoon espresso powder 
      Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer.  Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.

      Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If you need to add more powdered sugar you can add a little at a time to get the right consistency.  Using a piping bag and tip, ice the cookies and allow to set. Makes two dozen.

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      Blueberry Peach Pound Cake

      I love this recipe for my Mom's pound cake and she loved it too. I've made this with fresh or frozen peaches.  And I always add that little hint of another berry to add to the color and the flavor. You can make it with strawberries, raspberries and even blueberries to go along with the peaches and all of them were delicious. Just remember if you decide to use frozen fruit, don't allow it to thaw first. Just chop it up and add it to your batter frozen. I made this for you this past weekend....hope you like it! 

      Blueberry Peach Pound Cake

      2 ¼ cups flour
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      5 large eggs
      1 2/3 cups sugar
      1 ½ sticks butter, diced, at room temperature
      1 cup peaches, chopped
      1 cup blueberries, washed and chopped fine. If using frozen, do not thaw first.

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then line with parchment paper leaving excess paper over each side to be able to use as handles for lifting cake out later.

      Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. With a mixer, blend the eggs, butter and sugar and then mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Then fold the diced peaches and chopped berries into the batter and pour into pan. Bake for 1-1¼ hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

      Transfer to a cake rack to cool and then lift cake with parchment paper handles and allow to cool completely before adding icing or drizzle.

      Vanilla Drizzle                                
      4 tablespoons butter
      2 cups of powdered sugar
      1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
      2 tablespoons heavy cream

      Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer. Add a little more cream if you need to. Stir in vanilla and then drizzle over cooled cake.  

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