Archive for the ‘beef’ Category

Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is my new favorite cut of meat, especially now that it’s summer. A hanger steak is a cut, not unlike skirt steak and flank steak, that has a long fiber. These cuts have a really great flavor and are best served rare to medium rare so they don’t get tough. I think that the hanger steak is more tender and less sinewy than a flank steak. The skirt steak is great too but has more fat and is thinner and thus easier to overcook. Traditionally the hanger steak is one of those cuts that the butcher used to keep for himself, but has become popular because of the flavor and lower cost. The hanger steak comes from an area near the diaphragm of the steer.

I used my go-to marinade for the steak: A few cloves of garlic chopped fine, a bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley, salt, pepper, and grape seed or olive oil. You can put all of the ingredients into a food processor, but I prefer to chop it on the cutting board. I don’t like turning it to mush. Slather the meat in the chopped parsley and garlic mixture and allow it to macerate for about an hour. If you like it medium rare, leave it out at room temperature. If you like it really rare, you can throw it in the fridge and put it on the grill a bit cold to slow the speed at which the internal temperature rises relative to the outside, which I prefer well- caramelized.

I have a searing burner on my grill. I sear it until it doesn’t feel too floppy, take it off, and let it rest for a few minutes.

Cut it into slices against the grain. Enjoy the summer weather and a glass of red wine.


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I put a well- seasoned cast iron skillet on very high heat until it started to smoke, turned on the exhaust fan, opened the front and back doors for added ventilation, removed the battery from the smoke detector, and seared each side of a new york strip steak for 3-4 minutes until well- caramelized. I like it on the rare side– add a minute or so per side for medium-rare. Your forefinger pushed into the fleshy part of your thumb [on same hand] is how the meat should feel for rare. Use your middle finger for medium, and so on.

Have steak at room temperature, and season well with salt and pepper. Allow meat to rest a few minutes to allow the juices to be reabsorbed.


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last fall i had purchased new burners for my gas grill, but it still was not hot enough. last weekend flora and i dragged it out to the end of the driveway and two guys in a pickup truck came and snagged it before we could get the “free– works but not good enough for us” sign on it. we went on a little adventure to find a new grill.

flora was enchanted by this behemoth grill that had gas on one side and an area for charcoal on the other; complete with a lever that allowed one to raise and lower the charcoal bed. my choice was a very modest grill that had a special “searing” burner; since i had the money i got my searing burner. she pouted on the way home but oh well… life’s tough. we brought it home, finished the assembly [only two screws left over], and marinated the beef.


i trimmed the flank steak and scored it. i added the zest and juice of one orange, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and a little sesame oil. we let it marinate for about an hour. we had asparagus, eggplant [sliced lengthwise], zucchini, and portobello mushrooms which we simply rubbed with olive oil and seasoned. and yes, that is my hammer behind the marinating steak; i’m working on a little project in my dining room where i photograph the food.


since i had so much hope and confidence in my new searing burner, i started the vegetables before hand. the eggplant was amazing, it got nicely brown outside and was very soft and silky on the inside. and the searing burner did, in fact, sear the heck out of the steak; it was medium rare inside and nicely caramelized on the outside. slice it against the grain on the diagonal, like dad used to.

we made a barbeque sauce for the meat and had the leftovers tonight. it was great… will post soon.

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my love affair with middle eastern food continues… kefta is a classic middle eastern dish of spiced lamb and beef [or just lamb or beef], and is found in countries all over the middle east. variations occur in north africa, the mediterranean, central europe, asia, and india. kefta can be prepared as burgers and cooked with olive oil in a pan, or it can be patted onto skewers and grilled. i made burgers, since although it would have been great to pat the ground meat mixture onto skewers, it would have been difficult to photograph alone. i mixed my own seven spice blend from whole spices which i roasted then ground, it made a huge difference in the depth of flavor. often kefta is served in pita bread as a sandwich with a yogurt sauce and tomatoes; we had it as small burgers with a cucumber yogurt dressing and sliced tomatoes.


the seven spices in this blend are allspice, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, fenugreek, ginger, and nutmeg [this is different than chinese 5- spice]. to make the spice blend, combine equal amounts of the whole spices [allspice, cloves, black pepper, and fenugreek] into a pan and put on medium-low heat to toast. i used 2 heaping tablespoons of each. the fenugreek is smaller and heavier by volume and will sink to the bottom. it also burns quickly, so watch it closely and stir constantly. when it starts to get hot it will smoke a bit; remove from the heat immediately and pour spices into another bowl that is not hot and stir to cool the spices. put the spices into a spice grinder; a small, dedicated coffee grinder is perfect. grind spices until they are very fine. put back into the bowl and add the ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg [2 T each]. mix well and put into an airtight container. keep in a cool dark place.


to make the kefta, combine one pound each ground lamb and 90% lean ground sirloin. you can use varying amounts of lamb and beef, some use 1/3 lb lamb to 1 lb. beef. i like more lamb. add 3 T finely chopped parsley, one very finely minced *very small* yellow onion [or 1/2 normally small onion], 2 finely minced cloves of garlic, 1 t of the 7- spice blend, 1/2 t sumac, 1/4 t ground nutmeg, 1/2 t sea salt, and ground pepper to taste. mix well with your hands. you can refrigerate the meat at this point if you are not ready to cook.

when you are ready to cook, shape the meat mixture into oblong burgers. if you want to grill on skewers, a traditional preparation, take each oblong burger and squeeze it around a wood or metal skewer. squeeze the meat at the bottom, moving it little by little up the skewer until it is evenly distributed in a long cigar shape. i stole the photo below from another blog.

pan- fry in some olive oil or grill the kefta until medium. i like it medium- rare, but it is traditionally cooked more to medium.

i served the kefta with sliced tomatoes, and a cucumber yogurt condiment [below].

combine 1 cup of plain yogurt with 1/4 cup sour cream [i used low fat]. you can use just the yogurt, but the sour cream adds a little depth and richness and mellows the sour taste of the yogurt. add about 5″ of an english cucumber, diced, zest from 1/2 a lemon [wash it], 1 T of lemon juice [about 1/4 lemon], chopped parsley or cilantro, 1/4 t sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

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i love, but get so burned out on, regular barbeque sauce. this recipe [thrown together, not sure you could call it a ‘recipe’] combines some indian flavors with thai flavors and is really good and totally easy.

trim as much membrane and fat off of two or three racks of ribs. put in a roasting pan with sliced ginger and lemons and about an inch of water and bake them at 350 for about 45 minutes. meanwhile, make the sauce…

in a blender or food processor combine:

i jar of masala sauce [i get mine at trader joes, although you could make your own]
1/2 can of coconut milk
1T tamarind paste
about 2 inches of ginger root peeled and diced
lemon juice
1T worcheshire  sauce
salt and pepper to taste
puree until smooth 

when the ribs are done, smother them with the sauce and let them marinate for a while, refrigerated. grill slowly on low heat, basting with the sauce until they are all brown and gooey. garnish with a chiffonade of basil. great with grilled white corn, marinated green bean salad and sliced cucumber. make a dip for meat and cukes out of plain yogurt, chopped garlic, chopped parsley, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.


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i made it last night in the crock-pot and it was fantastic!

put in crock-pot:
one 2lb piece of beef or pork, cut into 4 pieces and browned
1 qt. chicken stock (1st deglaze pan from browning meat)
1 lg can mild green chiles (leave whole)
1 can hominy
cumin, s+p and oregano, few bay leaves



i should have served it with cilantro, shredded jack and avocado, but only had lime. homemade tortillas a la diana kennedy were SO easy:
2 C flour, 1/4 c room temp veg shortening, 1 t salt dissolved in 3/4- 1 c warm water.
blend fat + flour, add water until you have a soft dough and knead for about 4 min. make little balls (8-ish). let rest 15 min. roll. cook in iron skillet on med heat until brown spots appear. EAT!!

UPDATE: i made this again but added a can of chipotle peppers. they imparted an amazing, smoky flavor.

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