Steak Frites

I had family over for this past Christmas holiday dinner. It is something that I always like to do, and I always enjoy cooking for others, and so this year I decided to make, once again, my garlic herb crusted New York strip roast. Hands down, this steak is just loaded with flavor and so tender it cuts like butter with a warm knife. I’ll admit I was even excited when I called to order it from our local butcher, Ray’s Butcher Shoppe. With that said, my goal was to make steak frites (literally steak and fries), but that is a challenging one to make for 13 people as I’m a big believer that when making homemade, twice cooked fries (the only way in my opinion), you need to serve them right away. So during the day, and as my wife fell ill to the flu, I cranked out relish dishes, a horseradish cream, chimichurri, caramelized onions, steak house mushrooms, and then decided on making a roasted garlic and rosemary  mashed potato, and a mixed green salad. Yeah, I was busy, but that did not discourage me from making steak frites the following day, yes, the following day for breakfast.

Steak Frites Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 New York Strip, cooked under medium
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 whole russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2 inch matchsticks
  • Large bowl of cold water
  • 6 cups of peanut oil, about 2 inches deep in a pot
  • blue cheese crumbles, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste

As you can see from my photo, I have a bit of those mushrooms with onions and capers from the previous evening from my leftovers, as well as some of the horseradish cream sauce which I will post later this week, but those are entirely optional at this point. Recommended, yes, but optional.

Start by heating your pot on medium heat. Add the peanut oil, and if you have a cooking thermometer, now is a good time to use it by inserting the bulb into the oil. You are going to cook these fries in batches, a couple of times. While the oil heats up, take a handful of the cut potatoes, and place them on some paper towel, or towel, and pat them dry. You do not want water going into hot oil, EVER.

Once the oil comes to 350 degrees, add the handful of dry potatoes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drain back into the pot.

Place the first cooked potatoes into a paper towel lined bowl.

How to make Steak Frites

Let the oil come back up to temperature, 350 degrees, then repeat with the uncooked potatoes (pat them dry, add them to the oil).

Now let’s focus on that wonderful piece of beef.

To a large skillet, on medium heat, add the butter. Let this slowly start to melt, then add in your steak. Mine was already precooked, just under medium, so at this point I am warming it up with some of the butter, and glazing it along the way. I also like to toss in any fresh herbs I have laying around such as thyme or rosemary, just to infuse the steak with more flavor. If you do not have the leftover beef, simply start grilling it, or cooking it in your skillet and finish off in your oven until you are ready to plate.

Steak Frites Recipe

The next step goes quickly. Once your steak is just about where you want it temperature wise, bring the oil back up to heat, but at this time, 375 degrees.

Once you have reached 375 degrees, add all of the fries, or if you want in batches, back to the oil. Cook for about 4 minutes or just until golden brown. Again, remove with a slotted spoon, or cooking spider, and add them to another paper towel lined bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper, and give them a good toss.

Now you are ready to plate. Add the steak and pan sauces to your plate. Load on the fries, and shower with blue cheese crumbles.

Steak Frites Recipe

Dig in. Yeah, you might just be thinking steak and french fries, but this is where you go wrong. The flavor profile is out of this world. First you have super tender steak, and when eaten with the crisp exterior of the french fry, while being nice an creamy on the inside, well this is when it is a game changer. Don’t even get me started on the blue cheese crumble, and swiping a french fry or three into horseradish cream sauce! Next time you are looking for something other than a baked potato with your steak, think of steak frites, you will be sure to impress anyone! Hope you enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Easy Pastrami Recipe

I’m making an attempt at purging my freezer in the basement so that we can get it cleaned out and thawed. On my way to doing that, I came across some corned beef that I wanted to use up. My initial thoughts are always to make corned beef hash, as I really do like corned beef hash, but then I decided to make an easy pastrami. I love a good pastrami sandwich, so I figured why not take my spin on an easy pastrami recipe. To say the least, it was dynamite!

Easy Pastrami Recipe

Now you can go a bunch of different direction with this and make your own spice blends, and brine it if you want to, but the brisket was already brined, so I went with just a lot of cracked black pepper. Again, super simple, and extremely delicious.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound corned beef brisket
  • Black pepper, enough to generously coat the corned beef
  • Smoker

Start by rinsing the corned beef with cold water. Pat dry.

Cover the corned beef with black pepper. I used some great pepper I purchased from the Milwaukee Spice House. Once the corned beef is rubbed, cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Homemade Pastrami Recipe

Next is the smoke. Prepare your smoker, and get it going to about 225 degrees. You can probably go with your favorite wood, and in this case I used apple wood chunks. Smoke the brisket, fat side up, for about 4 hours, then continue cooking for about another 4 hours. You want the internal temperature to be about 180 degrees.

How to make pastrami

Remove it from the smoker, and place it into a large pot to let rest, and cool. Once cooled place it in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, place the corned beef onto a steamer rack, adding water to the bottom of the pan, and cover. I used my Chinese steamer for this. If you do not have one, just add it to a wire rack on a large baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil, and steam for about 2 more hours, adding additional water when needed. Just make sure the water does not come in contact with the corned beef.

Remove, and slice.

I cannot tell you how awesome this was, and trust me, it did not last long. My boys loved it, and I was already in heaven. I served it onto a sandwich, slathering a bit of Dijon mustard on it.  I wish I would have made about twice as much!

It is a process, but it is well worth the time and effort. Hope you enjoy!

Grilled New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Finally. Yes, finally we are back to a few good months of weather in Wisconsin. Let’s face it, this past winter was brutally long, and finally everything is blooming. The smell of late spring and summer is here, and well, it’s just plain awesome. It’s funny how something so simple that mother nature provides makes us all cheer up a bit.  With that said, it is also that time of year where grilling becomes part of the everyday ritual. Whether it is lunch during the weekend, or by default the dinner cooking method during the work week, my little grill is getting it’s workout week, especially during this long holiday weekend.

As I got the ‘house’ ready for the long weekend, meaning, cut the grass, plant the vegetable garden, etc, I was really hungry and I knew I was going to want to fill up on a good meal. So with that said, about 80% through my cutting of the grass, I lit some coals in my charcoal chimney starter, and took a small break to season a New York strip, generously with salt on both sides, and cracked black pepper on the other. Then I thought, after having a recent conversation with a friend regarding morel mushrooms, that I would throw together a bit of blue cheese butter. Yes, blue cheese, and butter are amazing with steak if you have never had it, now then, please try.

New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

After I cut the grass, the coals were finally heated, and so I placed the grate onto the grill, cleaned it, heated it, and got pretty darn excited for lunch. Steak for lunch? Hell yes. It wasn’t that I was so excited as the steak, as it was for the blue cheese butter. Trust me.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 New York Strip, to your liking
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tsp chopped chives

That’s it. And TRUST me, the combination is out of this world.

Start by seasoning both sides of your steak with salt. Pat it into the steak. Season one side with the cracked black pepper. Let this sit on the counter, at room temperature for about 30 minutes. During this time, heat you grill. I always prefer charcoal, but do what you want on this step.

Take the butter and add it to a small bowl. Add the blue cheese, and chives. Mix well and set inside the refrigerator to cool.

How to make New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Once the grill is preheated, clean your grates, then take the steak, and place onto direct heat, cracked pepper side down. Sear the steak for about 4 minutes.

Turn, and cook until your desired tenderness. I go medium, to medium-rare nowadays.

Remove from the grill, and place onto your serving dish. Top with the blue cheese butter, and gently spread onto the top before slicing into it.

Yes, this is what I had for  lunch, and after 3 hours of working outdoors, it was well deserved.

The result is a perfect flavor combination. My brother-n-law turned me onto the blue cheese and steak combination years ago, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. As much as I love cooked mushrooms with my steak, this one tops it. The grilled New York Strip with blue cheese butter has this creaminess, along with that great kick from the blue cheese that will just blow your mind. Trust me, it’s a good one. Hope you enjoy!

Lao Tomato Salsa – Jeaw Mak Len

My family is a pretty big fan of Thai style sticky rice. Personally, I could probably eat it every day, just a little bit, for dinner. If you have never experienced sticky rice, let’s just say that it is unlike any rice that you have probably ever had. It is not a fork or spoon kind of rice, rather a rice you eat with a few of your fingers. It’s fun to say the least, and a few of my favorite things to eat with sticky rice is larb gai, nuoc cham, and this lao tomato salsa, known as jeaw mak len.  Do not, I repeat, do not even get me started on my wicked Asian slang. Basically what ‘Jeaw Mak Len’ translates to is a bad ass tomato dipping sauce, or what I consider another Asian style salsa that will rock your world.

Jeaw Mak Len Recipe

I created a spin on a Thai salsa in the past using lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, but the jeaw mak len is a bit chunkier, and smokier in flavor, and trust me, it goes great with pretty much everything.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole, large Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled (I love garlic, reduce in half if you are the opposite)
  • 5 whole Thai chili peppers *reduce for less heat
  • 1 whole white onion, halved
  • 1 tbsp good quality fish sauce *I like Red Boat
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, stems and all
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Now you have a couple of options here. You can figure out how to do all of this on a grill, over charcoal, or you can get a nice hot cast iron skillet in the oven, super hot, and roast the vegetables. Me? In the oven, on high.

Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees with a large cast iron skillet inside.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Give a good toss to make sure everything is lubricated with the oil.

How to make Lao tomato dipping sauce

Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron skillet, obviously with a kitchen mit, and toss in the mixture from the bowl. The sound is like sizzling fajitas. Love it.

Return the skillet back to the oven and let this cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until things are slightly charred. Once charred, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Now you have another couple of options. Food processor, or mortar and pestle. I go with the food processor as it is less labor intensive, and heck, I can train myself on being a pulse master. Not sure if that is a good thing or what, but whatever. Toss in the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Pulse or mortar the vegetable mixture until you have a nice, chunky consistency.

Pour into a bowl and you are ready to roll.

This is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy, so who could go wrong with that, right? This is perfect with sticky rice, but let me tell you, it goes perfect with regular rice, heck, even tortilla chips. Don’t even start me on things like fresh cucumbers, or other raw vegetables. Let’s leave it at that, and you let me know what you decide.

*Again, use caution with the garlic an chili peppers. That’s how I roll, you decide on how garlicky and spicy you like it. Hope you enjoy!

Lao Tomato Salsa - Jeaw Mak Len
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauces
Cuisine: Lao, Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole, large Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled (I love garlic, reduce in half if you are the opposite)
  • 5 whole Thai chili peppers *reduce for less heat
  • 1 whole white onion, halved
  • 1 tbsp good quality fish sauce *I like Red Boat
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro, stems and all
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Now you have a couple of options here. You can figure out how to do all of this on a grill, over charcoal, or you can get a nice hot cast iron skillet in the oven, super hot, and roast the vegetables. Me? In the oven, on high.
  2. Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees with a large cast iron skillet inside.
  3. To a mixing bowl, add everything but the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Give a good toss to make sure everything is lubricated with the oil.
  4. Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron skillet, obviously with a kitchen mit, and toss in the mixture from the bowl. The sound is like sizzling fajitas. Love it.
  5. Return the skillet back to the oven and let this cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until things are slightly charred. Once charred, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. Now you have another couple of options. Food processor, or mortar and pestle. I go with the food processor as it is less labor intensive, and heck, I can train myself on being a pulse master. Not sure if that is a good thing or what, but whatever. Toss in the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Pulse or mortar the vegetable mixture until you have a nice, chunky consistency.
  7. Pour into a bowl and you are ready to roll.
  8. This is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy, so who could go wrong with that, right? This is perfect with sticky rice, but let me tell you, it goes perfect with regular rice, heck, even tortilla chips. Don’t even start me on things like fresh cucumbers, or other raw vegetables. Let’s leave it at that, and you let me know what you decide.
  9. *Again, use caution with the garlic an chili peppers. That’s how I roll, you decide on how garlicky and spicy you like it. Hope you enjoy!