The Finer Things in Life

If you go out to a restaurant, that serves prime cuts of beef, they would charge you 40 dollars for a meal like this. 30 bucks anyway, before drinks were included. And while I don’t cook like this all the time, it is nice to have a good meal once in a while. A meal consisting of…

A prime cut of New York Strip. (Prime is so much better than Choice.) I use the reverse sear method for prime cuts. (Choice can go right on the grill.)

A salad, consisting of…

  • two kinds of lettuce
  • sprouts
  • sliced black olives
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • Half of a hard-boiled egg
  • peeled and sliced cucumber
  • chopped pepper
  • hearts of hemp
  • ranch dressing

A bit of sweet potatoes left from a “practice” Thanksgiving some friends had over the weekend, since we are all doing the family thing on the actual holiday.

All of that for about what I would have paid for a burger at Chili’s or Friday’s or wherever.

Speaking of drinks… I had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon set aside for today, but I forgot about it until I was mostly done with the meal. So I am consoling myself for that great oversight with 1 finger of Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old single malt Scotch. Not the greatest, Scotch ever, but certainly not the worst. (Next time, back to the Lagavulin 16.) The Scotch is better than the wine would have been. (And the trick to saving wine, when you can’t drink the whole bottle? VacuVin.)

And my photos of food still end up looking like something out of the Gallery of Regrettable Food.

Reverse Sear Steak, Soup, Salad, Cabernet Sauvignon

I think I’ve mentioned I don’t take photos of a meal. It is mostly because my attempts always look like something out of the Gallery of Regrettable Food.

I do, however, love a good meal. A prime cut of steak, and a salad is always a good choice, even if it is harder to find prime cuts today. The big chain grocery near me only carries choice, and then they try to charge more by saying “Angus.” It is still choice. Not exactly institutional grade, but not great, either. I know people think sirloin is an inferior cut of meat, and perhaps it is, but it was delicious. And besides, sirloin is what my mother always fixed on my birthday. (And no, today is NOT my birthday.)

The reverse sear starts in the oven, with cuts that are about 1 inch by 1 inch by whatever. Or thicker. Once they are moving nicely along on the inside, you drop them in a hot skillet to give a nice char on the outside. Details are in that link. (You need a thermometer.) They turned out perfectly the first time I did them this way, and they continue to please. Juicy. Done on the inside. Beautiful char. I don’t use the salt and pepper the recipe calls for; I’m currently using a version of the Weber steak seasoning. I imagine you could use whatever is your favorite seasoning for steak. I get the steak to a nice medium-rare, verging on rare.

The salad deserves some attention, especially if it is the only side dish. (No potatoes on my diet – too much starch – and no Texas Toast, because of the gluten.) So a salad: Romaine and red leaf lettuce, sliced black olives, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, shredded Parmesan cheese, half an avocado, some chopped bell peppers, and avocado ranch dressing. My mother always said at least three kinds of lettuce in a salad, but living by myself, I would throw too much of it away. Should have had at least a half of a hard boiled egg, but while life isn’t perfect, it is good.

Well actually it wasn’t the only “side dish” as I made some vegetarian pea soup on Saturday. It is OK if you add a little Tabasco. And I love soup. Just a cup, given the salad.

And a Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Mondavi Winery. That was the winery that put California wines on the map, and introduced science to the world of wine. The Europeans are steeped in tradition; Robert Mondavi had computer controlled temperature regulation. The wine in general isn’t as good as it was 20 years ago, (I want to blame global warming, but it is really corporations chasing a buck) but it will do.

And since I can’t drink a whole bottle of wine by myself… Vacu-vin. Makes the wine last a few days, at least. (OK, that’s not true. I could – in my youth at least – drink an entire bottle of wine if I started early enough in the afternoon, but this system is better than having a nasty headache in the morning.)

Mmmmm…. Bacon


Watson – the IBM Research super computer is going to cooking school. Actual has gone, and now has a cookbook.

Fancy a tasty byte? Cookbook written by supercomputer – Telegraph.

For several years, the virtual chef has been poring over troves of recipes and food-related data, from classic meal combinations to research on flavour preferences and the chemical composition of foods.

The cognitive computer was programmed to produce ideas for food combinations that would taste pleasant at a molecular level and that, crucially, had not yet been tried.

Thoughts on Cooking Chili

When your house seems to have been the scene of a tear gas attack, I think it is safe to assume you might have put in too many peppers. Between the Anaheim peppers, the red chilis, the Serrano peppers and chipoltes in adobo sauce, this is going to be some hot chili.

I am so glad I resisted the temptation to add the habaneros. That would have pushed it over the edge, I’m thinking.