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Sunday Night – Steak and Brussel Sprouts

We have been trying to eat a lot better these days. For a short 2 or so months, we’ve been trying the 4 Hour Body/low glycemic/slow carb diet. We’ve weaned off of it and it’s been pretty effective thus far, but we just came back from traveling around and eating badly. We’re trying to get back into the swing of things. Tonight’s dinner was Brussel Sprouts and Steak.

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The steak was good quality beef done with a salt rub and cooked medium rare. Nothing more to it than that. (If we buy a skirt steak or another tough/cheap cut, we marinade with red miso paste and some mirin to get the right consistency for a softer paste for a few hours.) We seared it on a Le Creuset griddle, that we got piping hot. You want to get the perfect sear with some carmelization/browning, but leave the insides pink.

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The brussel sprouts were cleaned, roots cut and cut in half. We diced up some bacon. (You can use pancetta, but we have bacon.) We tossed the bacon in the pan for a few minutes. We let it cook to get the fats out and the favor. Then you toss the brussel sprouts, some salt (very little), and cook until the brussel sprouts are tender and a bit seared. Before turning the heat down, top it with a handful of blue cheese/stilton and/or something creamy. You can top the plate of it with some parmesan, if you have some.

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Most nights dinners don’t require any recipes. We try to be quick, use good ingredients, and throw together something tasty.

Autumn always says beer to me

Before meeting my husband, good beer to me was Japanese beer types (Kirin & Ebisu is still AWESOME) and Stella on draft. Now, my palate is so much wider. One thing he has done, is give me a taste for Northwestern hops.

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We’ve been enjoying tons of pumpkin beers. (There was an amazing Imperial Ale by Southern Tier.) Today we split the Rogue Honey Kolsch. It was mighty delicious. Summer is refreshing (and perfect for the Strawberry Abita beer), but there is something about Autumn…

Le Creuset

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My better half has been trying to get me on board on the Le Creuset bandwagon for a while. I loved my regular cast iron pan, but I didn’t think such an expensive piece was necessary. Over the years, though I’ve cooked in his parent’s amazing kitchen and got to use their blue enameled cast iron dutch oven, and slowly I was a convert. When we had an opportunity to pick up a red dutch oven and a blue skillet, we jumped, and I’ve been amazed ever since.

Just the other day, I made some tamagoyaki, which is essentially Japanese omelets, but they are rolled and cut into square pieces. I should have taken pictures when I topped my hiyashi chuuka noodles with it, but I don’t have that foresight anymore. Here is a google search to give you an idea. The most annoying part of making it was not having a non-stick pan. In the cast iron enamel skillet, it was easy peasy.

My coworker has also gotten me into dry beans. I’m embarrassed to admit, I always went for the canned variety. However, after taking his advice and soaking and cooking up some dry beans, I’m definitely a convert. (Price and taste wise.) I’ve been cooking them up in the dutch oven in the oven after soaking overnight.

I can’t wait until the winter stew season. I’ve braved the hot weather to cook cassoulet.

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One of the first meals Ryan cooked me was this pork dish, which was so easy. We picked up a pork roast, dry rubbed with salt, pepper, and some Sri Lankan curry powder. We oiled the dutch oven, cut an onion, MILLIONS OF CLOVES OF GARLIC, put the pork in there and cooked it all in the oven for around an hour at 400 degrees. Stick a thermometer to make sure the pork is done (depending on the size). It’s so juicy, and the garlic pieces are so soft. Remove the pork and deglaze the pan. Make gravy with the drippings. (I used some white wine/triple sec to deglaze the pan and tossed some flour into the gravy. Stir the gravy until the flour is dissolved and cooked. It will thicken. Pour the gravy onion garlic mixture on top of the cuts of pork.

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It was so so good. And so simple. Pork is pretty straight forward to cook. (a la Momofuku Bo Ssam Pork) It’s really juicy. I think I can’t go back to regular pork on the skillet. We accompanied this with roasted cauliflower. I tossed it with some salt pepper and garlic powder. (Another favorite is a floured and fried cauliflower. It crisps the cauliflower and is delicious savory snack with salt. Kind of like french fries, honestly.)

Let me know if you guys have some great dutch oven recipes. I’m going to try making some homemade yogurt and no knead bread. Stews, of course. Let me know if you have any favorites!

Age it!

My friend Lige told me about an aged cocktail party that she had recently and I love the idea. She got her barrels at Tuthilltown’s, but I got mine at Oak Barrels Ltd. They are charred white oak and they come with a stand and spigot. I’ve already made 3 batches of Manhattan’s. We might age a custom blend of bourbon in the Manhattan barrels to see how that would mellow.

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They are so absolutely cute, that it’s great for decoration, too. All the literature recommend filtering through a sieve or cheesecloth before bottling, but I haven’t bothered. I like drinking straight from the barrel. It’s cute. Next party, I might get multiple small barrels with different cocktails. I blended a custom Manhattan recipe with sweet vermouth, cherry bitters, and Bullet rye. First time around, I tried Maker’s bourbon. Overall, I prefer the rye and it mellows out really great.

It makes an awesome present too. You can fill it already with a cocktail, if you know the drink of choice of the person you are giving it to. Or you can do like I did and gift it with a bottle of something nice. (Like a nice suggestion.)

Just be sure to rinse the barrel out before using. Once rinsing, you want to fill the entire thing with water overnight so that the wood can expand, so your cocktail doesn’t leak. Once you confirm that there is no leaking, you can mix the cocktail of your choice and funnel it in. I liked to keep a little chopstick near by to keep the air out of the opening while filling. A 1 liter takes 1-2 weeks to age. 2 liters take around 2-4 weeks. The larger the volume the longer it takes. I think that’s it. Happy aging! I might pick myself up a bit more to start aging ciders, wine, and vinegar.

MEAT!

Buenos Aires
513 E 6th Street
New York, NY, 10009

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I’ve been meaning to post about this place forever. We dined here back in January. This must be our favorite steak house. It is an Argentinian steak place with an amazing skirt steak deal for 2. It is a 32 ounce steak. Yes, you read that right. We barely finished half of it. We took the other half home and ate it for brunch the next day.

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This place isn’t some crazy fad NYC restaurant. This place is down to earth, cute, and solid. We had a lovely salad that was done to perfection. (Baby arugula, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms.) The wine was good. And the steak was cooked medium rare to perfection with some chimichurri sauce. The meat they used was so good. I’ve never had a skirt steak that was so marbled. I mean, that’s normally a very lean cut of meat. It was just so rich, that the two of us could only finish half of the 32oz cut.

The service was nice… even though the server made fun of us for not being able to finish it. We later put the ounces into perspective… and knew that was WAY too much for 2 people. What the hell? Either way, definitely check this place out.