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6 posts from April 2023


~Grillmarked -- Things to Know about NY Strip Steaks~

IMG_7999Grill season is upon us.  For us carnivores, this means picking up a few of our favorite steaks and lighting the fire.  In my food world, my favorite steak to grill is the ribeye, for a multitude of others: the New York strip steak.  The strip steak is known by several names: New York strip steak, ambassador steak, strip loin steak, Kansas City strip, club steak, or the Omaha Strip, but, most people call it New York Strip.  Why?  That’s where it had its beginnings – in the great steakhouses of New York City.  It and the ribeye steak, along with the filet mignon are considered to be the high-end cuts of boneless steaks, but, the filet mignon, which does not contain enough fat is least likely to succeed over the dry, open flame of any seething-hot charcoal or gas grill grids.

What part of the cow does the New York strip steak come from?

Beefcuts_stripsteak_color-3255809c24b64d00980724db945aa6ef 2In the event you're asking what part of the cow does the the strip steak come from, "in butcher speak":  The New York strip is cut from the short loin subprimal, which is part of the loin primal.

Beefcuts_stripsteak_color-3255809c24b64d00980724db945aa6efThe loin primal is the source of many premier steak cuts – including the filet mignon. When the tenderloin is removed from the short loin, the strip loin remains. This subprimal is only about 16-18 inches long and yields 11-14 steaks, depending on thickness.  The strip is cut off the beef short loin to produce a boneless steak.  If the butcher leaves the strip loin and tenderloin intact through the short loin, the short loin transforms into T-bone and porterhouse steaks.

What's the best method to cook a New York strip steak?

New York strip steaks are among the easiest to cook on the grill but it's worth mentioning they do well under the broiler or in a cast-iron or grill pan on the stovetop too.  They can also be quickly seared in a skillet and then transferred to a 425° oven to finish cooking.  No matter how you decide to cook them, be sure to let them come to room temperature on the counter for about 60 minutes (or a minimum of 30 minutes) before cooking.  This will ensure they cook evenly at any thickness.  Just prior to cooking, pat them dry in a paper towel, which will ensure they sear quickly. Lastly, season with salt and pepper or steak seasoning just prior to placing on the hot grill.

IMG_7999"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ Things to Know when a Recipe calls for Citrus Zest --

IMG_1985The topic is citrus zest.  It's a common ingredient in all sorts of recipes.  In my kitchen I mostly use it in baked goods like pies, cakes, tarts, torts, puddings and custards.  That said, I use occasionally in soups, salads, sauces, many pasta, fish and/0r seafood dishes, and, of course, to garnish cocktails too.  Why?  It adds a fresh pop of citrus flavor without the tartness of the juice.  

Lemons are the most commonly zested citrus fruit, followed by limes, oranges and grapefruit. Depending on whether you need wide strips, thin chards, or fine pieces, you'll need a vegetable peeler, a citrus zester, or, a microplane grater -- it's worth mentioning that while an old-fashioned box grater can be used for any of these zesting tasks (it's what our grandmothers used), trust me, the peeler, the zester and the microplane grater do a must better job.  There's more.  When a recipe calls for both citrus zest and juice, be sure to zest the whole fruit before you juice it because it's almost impossible to zest a messy, wet piece of squeezed citrus fruit

Zesting a lemon is the same as zesting any other citrus fruit.

PICT3040 2No matter what size or shape of zest you're in need of, it's important to avoid what's called the pith.  What's the pith?  The peel of citrus fruit has two parts:  the rind and the pith.  The rind is the colorful exterior, which is where the zest comes from.  The pith is the white cotton-like substance just below the rind that clings to the fruit beneath it.  The pith is really bitter, so, when zesting with any tool, even a paring knife, do your best to avoid it.  The goal is to remove the colorful, thin outer layer while avoiding the thicker, white pith.  Once the fruit is zested, it's important to know the zest does not have a long shelf-life so, I recommend only zesting as much as you need at one time. While it can be frozen, even then it only lasts a week or two before the quality deteriorates.

1 lemon = about 1 tablespoon zest

1 lime = about 2 teaspoons zest

1 orange = about 2 tablespoons zest

1 grapefruit = about 3 tablespoons zest

Fresh is best so only zest as much as you need. 

IMG_2452"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ GF Manchego, Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites ~

IMG_7141If you entertain on occasion, it's wise to have one or two really good gluten-free recipes in your repertoire.  In the case of these delightful two-bite snacks, I love to serve them even when gluten-free is a non-issue.  On the topic of GF and speaking from my own experience, two decades ago I knew one person with Celiac's disease.  Currently I know three Celiacs.  Don't ask me to speak about people decide of their own free will to follow a gluten-free  diet without a doctors diagnosis --  a silly, somewhat irresponsible fad-diet trend which I'm starting see too much of.

One short list of easy-to-find ingredients & no measuring:

IMG_7112Listed in the order of assembly:

1 box Good Thins sea salt & pepper gluten-free rice crackers

apple slices, 1 thin apple slice per cracker, any type of apple will be wonderful

Manchego cheese, 1 thin slice per cracker

prosciutto or Serrano ham, 1 thin whisp per cracker

fig preserves, 1 small dollop per cracker

lightly-toasted coarse-chopped walnuts, 4-5 crunchy morsels per cracker

IMG_7115 IMG_7117 IMG_7120 IMG_7123 IMG_7126 IMG_7128~Step 1.  In the order listed, assemble the appetizers:  A cracker, a Manchego cheese slice, an apple slice, a dollop of fig preserves, a few toasted walnut walnut morsels, a a whisp or two of Prosciutto.  Serve ASAP but can be covered and refrigerated 1-2 hours prior to serving at room temperature.   

Casual yet elegant & perfect for any occasion:

IMG_7136GF Manchego Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites:  Recipe yields instruction to make as many appetizers as you want to make.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; small spoon

6a0120a8551282970b02b75175dd2a200bCook's Note: I have a handful of favorite ways to enjoy Manchgo cheese here in my kitchen, but, truth told, my favorite way is the simplest:  put a thin slice of Manchgo on a French bread slice with a dollop of fig preserves.  That's it.  Just three ingredients (bread, cheese and jam).  It is marvelous -- sometimes, when I'm hungry and in need of quick, snack, I skip the bread and use Club or Ritz crackers as the crunchy base.  Combined with a few other easy-to-find ingredients, these two-three-bite three-ingredient appetizers go from marvelous to over-the-top in a few short moments.  Try my NOT gluten-free ~ Manchgo, Apple Prosciutto, Arugula & Fig Crostini ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ A Cutlet, Escalop, Medallion and/or Paillard of Meat ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1ba9d7c970c 2In culinary terms, cutlet is a catch-all American word referring to a boneless, evenly-thin sliced piece of meat, sometimes but not always lightly-pounded which cooks quickly --  it is usually coated with flour or breadcrumbs prior to cooking.  Escalop (eh-SKAL-ohp) is the French word for a very thin, also sometimes flattened piece of meat, poultry or fish which requires only seconds of sautéing on both sides.  Here in the USA, the term for this cut of meat is a scallop.  Paillard (PI-yahrd), which is both a verb and a noun in French, means "to pound", and also references a lightly-pounded slice or medallion of meat, poultry or fish.  It's done with a flat-sided meat mallet and the intention is not to "smash the meat to smithereens".  Pounding should make it wider and thinner, just enough to make it even in thickness and break down the fibers, just enough to tenderize it and make it cook evenly.  A medallion refers to a coin-shaped slice of meat (beef, pork, veal, lamb) taken exclusively from the tenderloin -- only tenderloins become medallions.

Oh my ~ Tender Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlets ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2dbb03a970cTry my ~ Tender Steak Scallops w/Herbed Mustard Sauce ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c8304776970bOr my ~ Pork Tenderloin Medallions w/Dijon Cream Sauce ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb07cb7bbc970d 2And my ~ Apple-Pie Chicken Paillard & Stuffing Casserole ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0278802834cf200dOr my ~ Barbecue-Sauced Sautéed Chicken Paillards  ~:

6a0120a8551282970b026bdecb7ea7200c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary, Photos and Commentary courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~Corned Beef Brisket & What Corned Actually Means~

6a0120a8551282970b0240a51e1d74200bCorned beef isn't just for St. Patrick's Day in my kitchen.  We enjoy it in several different ways more than once a year.  Corned beef is beef brisket that has been brine-cured in a solution of salt and water typically used for pickling or preserving food.  Brisket is the cut of beef taken from the breast section under the first five ribs.  It is sold without the bone and divided into two sections.  The flat-cut has minimal fat and is more expensive than the more flavorful point-cut. 

Brisket requires long, slow cooking and is best when braised.  The term "corned" comes from the English use of the verb "corn", meaning: a process in which small particles, such as grains of salt have been added to liquid.  Two types of corned beef are available and depend upon the butcher and/or the region.  Old-fashioned corned beef is grayish-pink in color and very salty.  New-style, the kind that is vacuum-sealed that most of us purchase, has less salt and is a bright rosy red.

Try my ~ Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0240a44ada52200cOr my ~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl w/Sauerkraut & Swiss ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09ed6d31970dAnd, a ~ Cheesy Corned-Beef on Rye Reuben Casserole ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0240a51e8910200bOr my ~ Lazy Lady's Homemade Corned Beef Hash ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1be3dad970cHaha, and ~ Another Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe ~:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb08d1025d970d"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


~ The Pullman Bread Loaf and the Pullman Loaf Pan ~

6a0120a8551282970b026bdeced75c200cThe Pullman loaf is the quintessential white sandwich loaf. The name Pullman comes from its use in the kitchens of the Pullman Company's railway cars of the 1800s, and, the Pullman company is credited with inventing the rectangular-shaped lidded baking pans (which coincidentally resembled the shape of the railroad cars).  Baking bread in a pan with a lid is, functionally a bit different than baking bread in an open-topped pan, which, of course, affects the crumb structure. The confined space, which doesn't allow most of the steam to escape, prevents big air bubbles from forming, which keeps the crumb fine and tight, which renders it easy to slice thin, and, it keeps the crust to a minimum too. There's more. Because the Pullman loaf produces perfectly square slices, it's hands-down the bread-of-choice for making sandwiches, plus, the thin crust means there's very little waste when a perfect presentation requires trimming off the crust.

Pullman_LNER_255_CAR_NO_84_Pullman_Parlour_Third_built_1931Named for the Pullman Railway cars of the 1800s.

6a0120a8551282970b026bdececee7200cThe traditional Pullman loaf is an enriched white bread.  This means besides yeast and white flour, the dough is enriched with butter, sugar and salt, and, milk is often used in place of water.  The ratios of ingredients depend on the level of sweet or savory desired, at the discretion of the baker, but, only judicious amounts of each are used to keep the bread's signature mild, buttery flavor.  Once the dough is kneaded and proofed, it goes into the Pullman pan to rise again prior to sliding the lid on the pan and baking it in the oven.

~ How to Bake a Pullman Loaf in a Pullman Loaf Bread Pan ~:

6a0120a8551282970b0263e9a1852b200b"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy  of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)