Unfortunately, T is having too good a time in France to expend any effort to write a post for you bunch of unwashed miscreants. Her words, not mine. Double unfortunately, she has asked me write a guest post for you. I, of course, am J.
So what is this post going to be about? Chocolate making? Oh no, already done. How about how to make some nice juicy meat balls? Yet again, the prolific little T has beaten me to the punch (which is a nice change from her usual beating-me-with-a-punch). So what can I write about?
You see, T’s readers, the answer is so clear. Food for when you miss your baby. Aka the old ball-and-chain is outta town, time for some meat. Aka the freedom steak.
So, let’s talk steak. With cooking, as with writing or even sex, if you’re really good at it, you can do the simple things well. If you are good at it, you don’t need to hide your inability with fancy sauces, semi colons or leather costumes, even though it is fun to throw them in every now and again. In my mind, if you can get a thick steak, medium rare, char marks on the outside, well rested and tender, you are good enough. So how do we go about achieving this?
Well, they say, and by they, I mean a collection of cookbooks and TV chiefs, that meat should be room temperature when you cook it. This is a tricky thing if you have frozen meat, because it is that heath and safety no-no to defrost meat on a bench or in the sink. You should defrost it in the fridge then move it out to the bench or sink once it is completely defrosted. I always feel a bit weird about leaving meat out to warm up in the sun, so to speak. But it is what ‘they’ say, and who am I to say ‘they’ are wrong
The next stage is to season. T has trouble with a lot of pepper, but she is wrong. Beef loves lots of pepper and salt. It just loves it. It is gagging for it. So be nice and give it heaps (all sides and rub it in if you are game). There is a debate about whether to season the steak before or after you cook it, but I have done both and it takes a better man than I to tell the difference.
While all this warming up and seasoning is taking place you should get your pan hot. Now I like a grill pan, or “crinkly pan” as T calls it. Man, how cute is that? She is the best. Anyway, if you don’t have a “crinkly pan” you can use a normal pan. But get a thick one so it can get hot and heat evenly. Once you pan is hot, and I mean hot, you can slap that heavily seasoned, room temperature steak down. If it is about an inch thick, you can cook it for about four to four an a half minutes each side. A quarter way through (every two or so minutes) you can turn the same side 90o to get a nice square char mark.
Now I did give you eight to nine minutes to cook the thing, and that is from medium-rare to just over medium. But, really, you should learn to feel how cooked it is. I have some pictures for you. Get your hand, got it—good, now touch the part I am touching.
When you hand is relaxed, that is what rare meat feels like.
When you fingers are straight, that is medium and when your fingers are stretched, that is well done.
Practice a bit, and it’ll be a helpful guide for the rest of your life.
Now that it is cooked, to you take the meat and leave it to rest in a warm place. I wrap it in alfoil and leave it on top of the oven (I am usually cooking potatoes, but that is for another post). Depending on how warm the place is the meat might cook a little more, so be aware of that.
After at least four minutes of resting, the steak is now ready. When you cut it, it should be a mostly even colour, rather than clearly defined areas of grey and red. Also, it should not ‘bleed’ (the juices should not burst out). There should be a pool of juices where is has rested, that is fine. If it bleeds or it is not mostly one colour, it needs more resting.
And that is that. I recommend eating your freedom steak in the dark, alone, feeling a profound sense of loss because your baby is far far away.
PS: love you T. Have fun in France.