Re Heat, Don’t Re Cook

We have tried so many different ways to reheat a good piece of meat and yet not overcook it.

A couple of Christmases ago Francene gave me a Panini pan and Panini lid as a present. The difference between a ribbed pan and a Panini pan is the inside of the pan and lid has also been coated.

The secret is to reheat the meat the same way you would cook a Panini sandwich. You preheat the cast iron until it starts to smoke, then turn the heat off, lay the meat in the pan, and place the lid on top of the meat.

The cast iron will give out heat quickly, and the meat will be warmed but not raised above the original temperature; 129 degrees in this example. Let meat sit between the cast iron pan and lid for 4 to 5 minutes.

As you can see here, we still have a rare steak, as the crust has been toasted and dried out (the absorbed moisture from the meat while in storage has been removed).


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Flat Iron Steak crusted with Drunken Hazelnuts

Flat Iron or Butler’s cut is an incredibly flavorful steak.  It can be a little on the tough side as it may have a gristly fascia membrane that can be removed.

Flat Iron steak is not the same as a flank steak.

Here I am using a 48 blade meat tenderizer. The stainless blades are very sharp and leave very clean cuts into the meat. I am not a fan of pounding meat to tenderize it. Pounding is best used to flatten a piece of meat, generally a chicken breast.

Here you can see the small cuts

I cut one direction on side A  and the opposite direction on side B.

For a coating, I will be using Hazelnuts that have been soaked for a week in vodka. The Hazelnuts can also be used in baking cookies, Christmas cake etc..

Why do I have drunken Hazelnuts? Well I made a Hazelnut liqueur and didn’t want to throw away $50 worth of Hazelnuts.

The coating consists of 1/2 cup nuts and 1/2 cup of our homemade seasoned croutons.

Egg wash the steak and then pat the Hazelnut and crouton mixture onto and into the steak.

I am a huge fan of cast iron and use it whenever I can. Here the coating is browned and then the cast iron skillet and steak are placed into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until an internal temperature of 129 degrees has been reached.

Let rest next to a good red wine like our pictured Syrah. This doesn’t do anything to the steak but does help wet the appetites.

Slice across the grain and serve.

Served here with caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli and our bottle of Syrah.


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Leftovers, no, not leftovers again. Ah, Sous Vide leftovers.

Those dreaded leftovers, if they are a casserole or maybe a stew, chances are they will better on day two, All that time for the flavors to meld and get yummy.

But it’s not stew, it’s not a casserole, it’s a great T-Bone steak that was cooked to perfection, and I mean perfection. What are you going to do, how are you going to destroy that perfect rare steak. Well, you could eat it cold, maybe slice it and have a beef sandwich, but no. You want to eat the rest of last night’s steak, and you want it just as good as it was last night.

In all my years I have never found a way to have that steak as good tonight as it was last night. Until now.

The closest I ever came was to heat my panini pan and lid over heat till it smoked, turn off the heat, place the steak on the pan, then the lid on steak and wait till it stops sizzling, about 2 minutes. You now have a steak, warm inside and marginally more cooked on the sides. Good, but not the same.

Enter right, Joule, a sous-vide * see definition at end of article unit that will save the day. Now the internet and YouTube are full of sous-vide demonstrations, showing how it cooks the perfect steak, as well as countless other things. How this perfect 129° steak, ugly to look at is just the best meat you have ever eaten. Throw it on the grill for a minute each side and use a blow torch to crisp the fat on the edge.  Now you have a steak that is also beautiful to look at as well as yummy to eat.

But with all the articles and videos, I haven’t seen that leftover steak brought back to 129° and not overcook the meat until now.

We did the Joule thing to two great T-Bones, but I should have just done one. Too much food. So I vacuum-packed the two left over steaks and stuck them in the fridge.

Sort story, shorter. Next evening I heated the water, immersed the steaks, and thirty minutes later served them. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two night’s steaks.  Each tasted just the same. Now on the other hand, the broccoli and greens didn’t fair as well. But in the end. Two great nights of steak without night number two being a leftover night.

What is sous vide cooking?

From the Joule web site:

A video

From the Anova website:

What is sous vide cooking?

Once limited to the pros, sous vide (pronounced sue-veed) is a cooking technique that utilizes precise temperature control to deliver consistent, restaurant-quality results. High-end restaurants have been using sous vide cooking for years to cook food to the exact level of doneness desired, every time. The technique recently became popular for home cooks with the availability of affordable and easy-to-use sous vide precision cooking equipment like the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker.

Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique produces results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method.

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Cheap Steaks or Holiday deals

We all love a bargain, I especially love a great bargain when it comes to steak. The holidays always bring out the good sales and this Labor Day has been no exception. When I can save over 50% of the retail price for something I would buy anyway, I go for it.

We all can go look through the prepackaged product, make our selection and enjoy. But what you need to know is the butcher. You don’t have to be friends, have him over for dinner or even know his/her name. You need to know how to be polite and let them know you appreciate their trade. Many a time when making a selection I will ask them to point out the item they would buy, and if it looks as good as what my selection would have been, take it. The butcher will remember you. If you are a jerk, they will remember that as well.

So, my choice option was either a 4 precut family pack on the shelf, or to ask the butcher to take care of me. I chose the latter. In Oregon it seems that the steak name, Porterhouse, is no longer used, as they are all T-bones. So I asked the butcher to cut me 8 steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick with as large of a loin as possible (Porterhouse’s). I came back 10 minutes later (always let them know that they can take their time) and picked up what I have shown here.

Now these are big steaks, but a slow cooked thick steak will always be tastier than a thin steak, and these are big enough that my wife and I will only cook 1 and share it.

Okay, 8 big steaks, what’s next. If you’re like most of us, you will have to freeze the meat for future use. Between my brother and my son, I have been introduced to Sous Vide, the act of cooking under vacuum. I was a doubter until I tried it, and have changed into a supporter. Now some claim that Sous Vide can cook everything, well it might be possible but I still enjoy many other methods.

What I am doing is freezing each steak as if it is to be Sous Vide. This is preferable to defrosting and then repackaging. If I choose to throw the steak on a hot cast iron skillet and finish in the oven, or toss it on the grill or cook it in a wood pellet grill/smoker I can. The meat will be ready to go with some salt and pepper on it.

First, I chill the meat till solid and brush with a thin coat of ghee, this will possibly add a sweet butter taste or not. I don’t really care for everything buttered. But what it will do is provide a layer between the salt and the meat helping to preserve the natural juices and moisture already in the meat. I only started doing this since I started packaging it as if the product will be cooked via Sous Vide.

So now I have added 8 beautiful steaks and 4 packs of 4 each Tilapia fillets. This puts you ahead of the game, good food and good cooking shouldn’t be rushed but you can shorten the time to prepare a great meal by prepping ahead of time.

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