Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spuds and Rubs

I know I've been writing about food a LOT lately, but we're pretty far out here in the country. Since gas is high and there aren't a whole lot of places to visit, I find myself spending way too much time on the internet looking at food blogs and recipes.

Then I get to thinking about what I should cook for dinner. Then I start looking at my recipe file. When I find something that looks interesting, I ponder it for a while, and usually decide that it could be even better with a few changes. Before you know it, I'm cooking something new.

Since that's what's taking up my time, that's what I have to write about, so once again, here's another food entry!

I recently read about a cut of meat that is completely foreign to me.. Called a flat iron steak, it comes from somewhere in the shoulder and is very close to the chuck roast. Apparently it was discovered just a few years ago and is supposed to be relatively inexpensive and quite tender.

In researching this meat, I came across a recipe for a Southwestern Flat Iron Steak.

I have to admit here that I'm unsure of the etiquette of re-posting recipes I find on the web. I've decided that I'll link to the one I found (even though there may be duplicates, I will link to the one I found first), then I'll post the recipe along with any changes I make. I sure hope this is correct!

ANYHOW . . .

This recipe sounded so good, I decided to try it. I went down to the only market here in Santa Rosa and talked to the meat man, who said, sorry, they didn't have any flat iron steak. But he was kind enough to point me to some boneless beef ribs that, he said were taken from the same part of the cow (ribs in shoulders? Oh well). So I purchased them and have been thinking about them for a day or two.

Today I decided to try this rub, and is it ever wonderful!

Here's the ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

As usual, I changed it just a bit. I decided since it was a rub, granulated garlic would work just as well as fresh, I probably used a full tablespoon. I also doubled the amount of red pepper. This might be a good place to mention that if you ever cook with brown sugar, when you measure It needs to be REALLY firmly packed. This is the secret to perfect chocolate chip cookies and any other recipe calling for brown sugar as a sweetener. If you don't pack it down firmly (as in hard as a rock) you won't get the correct amount of sweetness you're looking for.

So back to the rub. I now had a very thick paste. I donned my rubber gloves and rubbed this mixture into all the meat, then placed it in a plastic bag to sit for a while. Once again, I deviated because when I looked at the mixture in the bag, it looked way too dry, so I added a healthy hit of olive oil, then mushed it all up so that the mixture could work its' magic.

As the meat was marinating, I spent some time looking for something new to do with potatoes. I had wanted to make a potato salad, but truthfully, that sounded a bit boring.

Every morning, I read a food blog named the Paupered Chef and since I liked many of the recipes, I decided to look there. On the site, I found something that in a million years I would never consider, a potato salad with a tiny bit of mayonnaise, some yogurt and limes! This sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

Here's the recipe (you'll have to scroll down a bit on the original page).

But I'll repost it here just to make things easier.

1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch slices
1/4 c. mayonnaise
5 T's plain low-fat yogurt
3/4 t grated lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/4 t kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced

Now I didn't have red potatoes, so I used white. I also added a bit more mayo, since even with the yogurt, it was a bit dry. Then, when I gave it a taste, it seemed a bit weak, so in the end, I doubled the lime zest and added a bunch more lime juice and pepper. Also, I didn't have any scallions or green onions, so I omitted these entirely.

Then I put it in the refrigerator to cool.

After a couple of hours, we figured the meat was marinated enough and Terry fired up the grill. Have I mentioned our grill? We've tried several, most with pitiful results till we finally bought a Weber Baby Q. This is absolutely the best portable gas grill ever made! The secret to its' success is the cast iron grill, as opposed to those puny chrome things that every other gas barbecue uses. Also the heating element is considerably larger and heavier. Just a great grill, guaranteed to get hot enough to leave those beautiful grill marks we like on our meat.

Anyhow, the meat cooked up in just a matter of minutes and was perfectly flavored and oh so tender. This rub is a real winner and we'll be using it on a lot more meat in the future.

And the potato salad? WOW, it was such a unique flavor, unlike anything I've ever tasted. The lime juice added a different element that I'll definitely use again.

I do love cooking and trying new recipes, it makes our life so much fun.

Life is Good (and so are these recipes).

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