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What the heck is a Flat Iron Steak? June 29, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Business, Cooking, Food, Freezer Meals.
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A while back, I picked up a package of flat iron steaks on sale.

We had never had flat iron steaks – in fact, we weren’t even quite sure of what that cut of beef was.

Doesn’t it seem like there are new cuts of beef popping up every few months?  I mean, I was an Agriculture major in high school – I know my beef cows.  I have a working knowledge of where the basics are – the loin, tenderloin, brisket, chuck, sirloin. . . not so much of the flat iron or tri-tip or hanger steaks. I guess they didn’t have those cuts back then.

I guess cattle have changed since I was a kid.

Yeah, probably not.

So anyway.  Flat iron steak has been a popular cut of beef of late, and if you’re playing along at home, just know that it appears to be, basically, a specially-trimmed chuck steak – decent flavor, and enough fat to be reasonably tender.

But a  rib-eye, it ain’t.

While we were trying to dig through the freezer, we came up with these steaks, and we decided to dig out one of our old favorites – a recipe from when we had our meal prep business.

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First I made a spice rub – very simple, but full of great flavors:

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1½ Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed fennel seed

Don’t go crazy trying to crush the fennel with a mortar and pestle.  Just give it a bit of a mash, and call it a day.

You’ll thank me later.

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Combine your spice rub, and coat one side of the steaks with it.

I had some left over, but that’s OK – just put it in an airtight container and save it for another time.  It’s all good!

Remember, at this point you can freeze the rubbed steaks, too – the flavors will continue to develop as you defrost the frozen meat.

Now you’re just going to want to wrap your steaks and think about a dipping sauce.

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I made a lovely vinaigrette to drizzle over the steaks:

  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper

You’ll notice as you start to whisk this together that the oil and vinegar actually mix – that’s the mustard at work (you can freeze this, too, in a separate container or baggie).

I don’t understand how mustard emulsifies – I’m just happy to believe it’s magic.

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So, I put all that together in the morning before work, and it just sat in the fridge and got happy.  Then, once I got home from work, it was time to start grilling – Peeps started with the spice-side down, being careful not to burn the spices.

Doesn’t he do a fabulous job with the grill marks?

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We serve the steaks, spice-side up, with pan-roasted potatoes and a spoonful of the special sauce – I mean, vinaigrette.

Oh, don’t worry, we had some salad, too.

And just so you know – if you have vinaigrette leftover, it makes a delightful salad dressing, too.

Hey, I’m all about multi-tasking – you know that!

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This steak is delightful sliced into thin slices, with plenty of the sauce.

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And, just in case you have steak left over, it’s also not bad sliced, between two slices of bread, and griddled on the waffle iron. . .

You know, now that we’ve dragged it out anyway – but don’t forget the vinaigrette – definitely dip your sandwich!

You’ll thank me later.

Us and Martha May 27, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Business, Cooking, Food, random stuff.
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My husband is not a fan of Martha Stewart.  He thinks she’s smug and takes the credit for the hard work of her “minions.”

PhotobucketThis is one of those topics where we have agreed to disagree.

Do you remember, way back when Ellen Degeneres had her sitcom?  Back before she “came out” and stuff?  Now I didn’t watch this show religiously – it was the sort of thing that would just sort of be on the TV when there was nothing else on.

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And given that this was the early 90’s,  “nothing else on” kind of happened a lot.  Or at least it did to me – Surly Boy was small back then, and, well, it was a different world then, wasn’t it?

So anyway, I watched this Ellen show occasionally, and the only episode I actually remember was the one when Martha Stewart came to dinner.

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Seriously – I think that was one of the first times I’d ever even heard of Martha Stewart.  I picked up enough from that few minutes to be . . . intrigued.

What kind of domestic goddess could inspire such fear – and hero worship – in someone as laid back as Ellen was?  Who was this Martha Stewart person?

PhotobucketWhat I saw was a woman who may have been, in her own dining room, the “hostess with the mostest,” but in someone else’s home, she was the most gracious guest a person could hope for – and she had a sense of humor, besides.

Now I know, I may have read an awful lot into what was, after all, a scripted comedy.

But let’s not forget, Martha’s not an actress.  I don’t think.

PhotobucketThen, a few years back, when Peeps and I were running our business, I had occasion to read her book, The Martha Rules.  (Heck, at that point, I was willing to take business advice from anyone, even the guy who made a profit picking up soda cans on the street. . . )

And I learned a lot – about Martha, sure, but also about life in general.

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Basically, her philosophy is to do whatever it is you do, and do it The Best.

It doesn’t even really matter what it is you do, just pour all your energy into making it the best – in all respects and in every detail.

If you’re going to open a restaurant, it’s not just about the food.  It’s everything, from the design of the menu to the fabric of the tablecloths to the quality of paper in the rest rooms, and the best people to run the place.

In other words, the devil is in the details.

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Or in other other words, if you’re going to do it, do it right.

And that includes not only finding and hiring the best people, but treating them well.

(As an aside, and speaking as someone who has worked for others for an awful long time – just WOW.)

Given that kind of philosophy, and the energy to follow through, is it any surprise that Martha Stewart landed a spot on the Forbes billionaire list?

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And, given what I know about Martha Stewart, I’m more than willing to trust her judgment on most things, and I’m more than willing to try her recipe for Spicy Black Bean Cakes.

And Martha didn’t steer me wrong – these bean burgers were great – spicy and delicious, grilled with some Monterey Jack cheese melted on top and a dollop of Lime Sour Cream.

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