22 July 2009

Tri-tipping Point

Tri-tip steak is one of the least-appreciated, most delicious hunks of cow available for general consumption. Cut from the bottom of a sirloin, the tri-tip is an affordable, tasty addition to your usual steak lineup.

I had two of the long, skinny steaks in the freezer awaiting my return to the city, so I defrosted them yesterday and cooked them the French way - salt and pepper, oil, and a cast iron pan. I also made a spicy herbed butter to melt over them, and then roasted some asparagus with a breadcrumb-parmesan crust and served with an easy heirloom tomato salad. All recipes below. No photos - I forgot to take some as I was too excited - my boyfriend just returned from being away for 2 1/2 weeks so last night was a celebratory supper, too. Nothing says "welcome home!" like a good tri-tip and some asparagus.

Spicy, Herby Butter
1/2 cup of good salted butter
1/4 cup Italian parsley
5 chives
1 tbs chili-garlic sauce (the jar with the rooster on it was what I used)
1 tsp lemon juice - just squeeze a lemon quarter and you'll ge the right amount

Stick the parsley, chives, chili-garlic sauce, and lemon juice into a blender and grind as well as you can.
Melt the butter on the stove. Stick it in the freezer for like 3 minutes to let it cool down a bit. Then remove from the freezer and mix the spicy-herby mixture into it until it's all combined really well. Then stick all of it back into the freezer for another few minutes. Take out and whisk again. It should be getting more solid now. You can pour it into ice cube trays or whatever you find easiest - plastic wrap works okay too, as you can make like a little plastic wrap cup to cover your hand and pour the butter into it, then roll it into a log and wrap it up tight. Refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

Roasted Asparagus with Heirloom Tomato Salad
preheat oven to 400 degrees
20 stalks asparagus
2-3 tbs of breadcrumbs
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 tbs spicy-herby butter (yeah, the stuff you just made)
3-4 heirloom tomatoes
1 small shallot or 1/2 shallot, chopped really small
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar

Put washed asparagus into casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Cut spicy-herby butter into hunks and put on top of asparagus. Put into oven for 10-15 minutes.

Combine tomatoes, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper in a bowl and let it sit and mingle.

Remove asparagus from oven. Top with tomato salad.

Tri-tip Steak
however much steak you need/want
sea or kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
vegetable oil

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat up your trusty cast iron pan on medium heat. Add vegetable oil and heat. Carefully lay steak on the cast iron pan. Cook roughly 2-3 minutes each side - tri-tip has is kind of rectangular so it's pretty easy to flip. Once you've done that, put the pan with the meat into the 400 degree oven and cook for a further 5-6 minutes for mediumish (more toward medium-rare) meat.

Remove from heat. Top with 1 tsp of the spicy-herby butter and serve. Butter will melt over the meat.

It's a really good, easy summer supper. Use as many local ingredients as you can - Ontario summers are fantastic for produce.

21 July 2009

Keema over here...

So, this is my second attempt at posting this recipe. First time, blogger deleted it and I fumed and nearly gave up on the whole Desperately Seeking Sustenance thing. Today I have some patience and some time, so here we go.

Keema is essentially Indian comfort food. My boyfriend's family has it almost every Saturday night - Mrs. S. works during the day most Saturdays, and so Mr. S. makes keema. According to my boyfriend, keema sustained Mr. S. all through university in Newfoundland - it was quick and tasted like home and could be served with rice. Mr. S's keema is usually made with ground beef.

This recipe is not the one that Mr. S. uses to such great effect, mostly because he was away when I made it and couldn't ask him about it. I used ground pork; I tried to remember the basics of Indian cooking (fry the whole spices! let the tomato mixture bubble until the oil has separated!) and the spices that should be used, and I think it came out quite well.

Pork (or whatever) Keema

1 lb ground meat (pork, chicken, beef...)

1 small onion, chopped
2 tbs ginger-garlic paste (buy it - it's easier and tastes exactly the same)
(you're going to have to add the onion to the ginger-garlic paste, run it through a food processor, and essentially make it into an onion-ginger-garlic paste. might as well do that now. we'll wait.)

2 tbs vegetable oil
2 whole black cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbs cumin seed
1 bay leaf
3 cloves

1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp powdered coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups of tomato puree - not paste, puree.

1 cup frozen peas

So, let's get started. Heat your chosen large pan. Add oil. Then add all the whole spices - cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, cumin seed. Cook this until the cumin starts to hiss. Really - you'll know it when you hear it.

Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and combine with the spices. Cook until it turns a kind of light brown colour.

Add the other spices - turmeric, coriander, dried chili flakes, black pepper, and some salt. You're going to be adjusting the salt later so don't get too hung up on quantities right now. Just throw a shake of it in and you'll be fine. Cook this only for about half a minute.

Add the tomatoes and stir everything into a tomatoey goo. Add a bit of water if you like - maybe half a cup. Cook this for about 3 or 4 minutes until the yellowy oil starts to separate from the tomato.

Add the ground meat. Cook it with the tomatoey goo for about 10 minutes, adding water as necessary. Lots of people enjoy a tonne of sauce, so you may want to go for more water. Add the peas toward the end of the process, stirring through. Peas need about 4-5 minutes to cook with the meat and sauce.

As mentioned previously, this can be served with rice for a very very easy supper, or with roti or naan if you feel like putting more effort in.