Sunday, May 18, 2008

Feeding the Soul

and so the weekend began and i had two boys who really needed more than just another "i'm on a mission and, therefore, thou shalt deal with it." ya know, being a kid is freakin' hard. i remember those days and wouldn't go back if you paid me. and i mean, serious dough. cuz, kid-dom is confusing and out of control and i don't think there are any tools on the planet that could make it all work out without copious amounts of tears and pimples (although, in the pimple area, i was really lucky -- no major vast breakouts, just the really juicy one bump in the middle of my forehead or right in the middle of my chin... nice). there was this football camp that i submitted my sons for without them knowing just in case they didn't get in. it is a free camp to the first 1000 applicants and headed by herm edwards, head coach of the KC chiefs football team. it's one of those chance of a lifetime kinda things and i figured if they didn't get in, if they didn't know about it in the first place it wouldn't be horrible. well, i got word that my older son got in, but not my younger. bummer. however, late on friday, right before the weekend began, i found out that, yep, brandon did get in and just to bring him with nicholas to the camp and all would be well. so i figured the right thing to do would be to make them a dinner that evening -- saturday, their first day of the camp which was full-on football on the chiefs' practice field with 998 other kids for 6 hours plus a break for lunch -- that would really give them strength, energy and be healthy. my choice? lean steaks, baked potatoes and salad. easy. oh, and a splurge on dessert at cold stone creamery (which is tres yum, but so rich, i can eat, maybe, two bites, and i'm completely done in -- and, no, it's not because i'm a rail and i'm really good about my food. it's because i'm a 45+ year old woman who has, for as long as i can remember, had this horrible stomach issue with really rich foods that i need to pay attention to). okay, enough about that shit and on to what i was really talking about -- a good steak, baked potatoes and salad. that was for saturday. for sunday, this evening, i splurged on good yellowtail steaks for the protein. the kids really like it and i wanted to offset the beef with something from the sea. here's what i did and ANY-ONE can do it. really. honest. i'm not just making that up.

2-12 oz rib eyes -- nicely marbled, but not overly fatty
garlic powder
fresh ground pepper
ground cumin
ground coriander
season salt
1 tbs. olive oil (really good olive oil)

what to do:
1. if you've had the steaks in the fridge, take them out about 1 hour before you plan to cook them and have them come to room temp. then, sprinkle the seasonings liberally (but not scary liberal -- for example, think 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, cumin and coriander and 1/2 tsp season salt per steak per side. if that freaks you out, then start even smaller and season it heavier, if you wish, next time). massage the seasonings into the steaks, each side, gently and thoroughly then set aside to rest in the dry rub for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
2. when you're at the end of your marinating time, take a 12" skillet/saute pan (NOT NON-STICK, if you can help it) and heat it on medium to medium high, depending on your stove, for 30 seconds. add the olive oil and swirl around the bottom of the pan to coat. do not let it come to smoking. if it does. turn it off, wipe it out and start again. let heat up for about 10 seconds or until a drop of water sizzles (or dances, i like to think) across the surface.
3. when the skillet/saute pan is hot enough, put in the steak and sear it for about 5 minutes on one side. a crust will form then turn it over and sear it on the other side, about five minutes (six or seven, if you're more the medium kinda person). at this point, you can take the steak out and deglaze the pan with either some really good red wine (a nice pinot or a malbec could be nice here -- but make sure it's really good wine, if you can) or some earthy beef broth -- organic would work or some homemade which would be WAAAY better, as you know. let the sauce reduce to a sort of glaze and take off the flame. what we did, though, was to brush each side quickly with barbecue sauce just as they were coming out of the pan and let them rest, searing hot, on a plate with the sauce caramelizing naturally in the residual heat. the boys went NUTS for it and didn't even need any extra sauce at all for the steak. gotta love that.
4. serve the steaks whole with the sauce in a little dish beside it and the baked potatoes and some salad. simple, easy and way yum, if you're into steaks.

as for the yellowtail, this is what we did:
3 yellowtail filets
ground ginger
five spice powder
fresh ground pepper
kosher salt
ponzu sauce
black sesame seeds
toasted white sesame seeds
sesame oil
canola oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
granualted sugar
brown sugar
ground cinnamon

what to do:
1. sprinkle the first four ingredients onto the filets, both sides, generously, but just about two hearty pinches of the salt on both sides. not too much. set them aside to rest for about 15 minutes.
2. heat a 12" skillet/saute pan over medium to medium high heat (depending on your stove) for about 30 seconds then add 1 tbs canola oil and 1/2 tbs sesame oil (preferably toasted). heat for about 10 seconds or until a drop of water sizzles and dances across the surface.
3. sprinkle the marinated tuna with some ponzu sauce on both side (about 2 tsp. worth) then sprinkle the sesame seeds until they cover each side GENEROUSLY, like a crust, and place the tuna in the hot pan, searing it for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, then taking them out and placing to the side.
4. let them rest for at least 5 minutes, then cut against the grain and place atop a bed of white or brown or (even yummier) black rice. now, as for the last four ingredients, here's whatcha do:
mix together about 1 tbs sugar, 1 tbs brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. take some sake and deglaze your pan, get up all the yummy bits then sprinkle in the sugar mixture and stir. you can serve this on the side of the tuna in a dipping bowl. taste to see if it needs some acid -- a squeeze of lime or lemon, even some rice vinegar -- add it to taste and serve.

okay, so i'm writing this and thinking "these guys probably don't give a rat's ass about my own personal recipes", but it's fun to put them down. i do have some that are super top secret i will never share here, but you may not care, so that's cool. there may be no one out there even looking at any of this anyway, and that's cool, too. because, sometimes, it just helps to send stuff out into the black, into the great unknown, because you have to. because, sometimes, our hearts are so wanting that we need to write it out of us. i always sucked at journal writing, but this blog thing, well, i don't have to hold it for me to read ages from now and realize i haven't moved an inch. i can set it out, set it free, and not even think about it later. or, well, not have to feel alone in it.

whoa, deep for a food discussion, isn't it? but, i guess, the food we create, or, better yet, i create, which i put my soul into genuinely holds my heart and represents who i am, inside, on any given day. like a poem or a painting. my food is the artistic gift i give to the ones i love most. my people and, yes, my dog, because i make her dog treats, not buy them. and when they smile at me (even my dog) or say it's good, it makes me feel worthy of their love. so stupid, right?
but, perhaps, just the same desire we all have. to not only matter, but feel we have earned that consideration of self.
perhaps not.

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