5/31/16

So…what’s up, guys? I know it’s been a couple weeks and I apologize. I did cook a few times over this hiatus and I took photos at the time, but never got around to updating the entries. I figure it’s better late than never, right? Since I still have the photos of the dishes I made, my next entry will just sum up what I remember from making each of them.

You know, I never noticed how creative you have to be in order to get into the cooking business. You don’t want to be cooking the exact same thing every single time–you want variety (despite what I made today). Not only that, but it also has to look good on the plate. If you’re missing an ingredient and don’t have time to look for it at the store, you need to improvise. Just wanted to point that out.

Today, I made steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans. My favorite dish. And I think I’ve gotten it down. Mostly. I still had to refer to the recipes a few times, but I didn’t measure any of the ingredients. Never used any of the measuring tools and they all turned out perfectly. Just sayin’. Just sayin’. 😉

No, there were still a few flaws. I was mostly worried about the steak. I still can’t quite cook it to pro-level, and by that, I mean make the top and bottom less crunchy. I think I slightly burned mine. Just a teensy bit. My dad bought me a book (that I’d actually read about when looking for cookbooks) about how to cook using science and I went over the steak portion. Apparently, it is a big deal how often you flip the steak. I didn’t really care about the details; just which way was better: flip once or multiple times. Answer: once. I only flip it a couple times anyway. I try to cook it on one side for a few minutes and hope that it’s halfway done and then flip, to try to get the other half. Then, I poke a hole in it to measure the temp. If it’s not ready, I flip it because it was, I don’t know, bleeding, and I wanted to cook that portion.

IMG_3194 So here’s the usual photo. I know it looks the same as the other times I’ve made it, but I thought I’d show you anyway. Usually, I’d add more green beans, but to be truthful, I guessed on the portions. Each ingredient. My mom said that they were all made perfectly this time (that steak is still iffy to my standards though) and, tasting each of them myself, I know they just taste the same as my previous attempts.

The biggest question I had is really how to fry steak perfectly. I know it’s typically grilled, but in our family, the men do the grilling. Since I can’t do that myself, I just use the pan. I think my biggest issue is the oil. I feel like that’s always the culprit whenever I cook meat. The more oil there is, the more it explodes and burns me (which is why I always put on long-sleeved sweaters now). I added a lot of oil–don’t know how much, but all I can say is there was about a half-inch depth in the pan, which doesn’t say much because the circumference of the pan I used could differ from yours. Although perhaps that doesn’t matter, because I only used a bigger pan to cook three steaks at once. If you’re just cooking one piece, then you can add enough oil for one pan?

When I made the mashed potatoes (which were first), I just added the rest of the butter that we had, which I’m guessing was 2 tbsp. Then, I added a bit of the milk and, after I mixed it in with the mashed potatoes, I knew I needed more moisture, so added the rest of the milk. I think we had enough. I can’t tell you how much, specifically. All I can say is I used the rest of the milk. (Shrugs.)

Before placing the steak on the pan, I washed the meat (of course), but also dried them. I especially dried them, too. Maybe that’s why it seemed more successful this time. I also just added salt, rather than salt AND pepper. I also put the salt on the steak more easily, I think. I carefully (not slowly) dumped one layer of the salt all over the surface of the meat using the dotted portion of the cap.

As I said before, I only used the recipe as a reference, but the recipes I looked at were, as usual, Rachael Ray’s green bean recipe; only used the Blue Bloods Cookbook recipe to look at that table of inside temperatures, since my brother likes it rare and I’ve never cooked it rare before; and The NY Times Cooking classic mashed potatoes.

I believe that’s about it. At least, I hope it is. I want to get to that update.

Oh, also, when I told my mom that I just guessed at all the ingredients, she told me that with more practice, you get better at your judgment of portion. When you look at the recipe, you can visualize how it tastes as you go over each step.

I will add one last reminder though: garlic salt with mashed potatoes. Perfection. Add it to taste.

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