A Ribeye Steak, French Toast, and some Sunday Sauce


Welcome to the debut of the latest Musick Channel blog. This one is for food.

No, I'm not a professional chef or even that experienced of a cook. My wife, Letty, is the cook of the family but I am trying to do my part to pitch in.

I've had some successes, and some failures (ask my son about 'caramel beef' sometime) but I am seeing a gradual and steady increase in quality of my cooking.

I've also found out that cooking good food to be enjoyed by others is actually really fun.

The weekends have become mine in the kitchen. Letty cooks a couple of dinners during the week so I'll give her a break and cook on the weekends. What the means, logistically, is that I'm responsible for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday plus dinner on Sunday (we go out to eat Saturday night).

My plan here on the blog is to present my Sunday menu (hence the name of the blog), with recipes and cooking instructions, to document my journey and, hopefully, to inspire you to pick up a spatula and frying pan to join me. After all, home cooking is the best cooking of all.

Let's kick it off with our first menu...


Breakfast: French Toast

The best way to use up your stale bread and have an absolutely delicious meal.


Dinner: Barbecued ribeye steak

The king of steaks and a classic meat to cook on the grill. 

Served with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

The Price of Beauty


A well-trimmed tree is a work of art. My neighbor has hers pruned every couple of years by her gardener.  This weekend, the crew showed up and did their magic.

The Japanese elm looks magnificent. Feathery, open, airy, without looking chopped.


The next morning, however, I go out to my patio and see this.  Seems like my walkway bore a bit of the brunt of their work.

No worries...when the gardener showed up for his regular Wednesday mow and trim, I pointed it out. He was over with a leaf blower immediately afterward.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

French Toast


You might notice that, although the recipes I put here don't take a lot of wok to put together, they often take quite a bit of time to get to the point. 

My French toast recipe is no exception.

This dish was created to take something old (stale bread) and turn it into something absolutely delicious and avoid throwing out wasted food.  We often buy some French or Italian bread to eat with dinner. We don't always eat it all.

What's leftover is put in the freezer to await it's turn to be changed into French Toast.

INGREDIENTS
1 loaf French or Italian bread, sliced an inch thick.
5 eggs
2 cups milk
Clarified butter (Ghee)



Start with a sealable bowl big enough to fit the slices of bread, laying flat, in it. I will stack 2 or three layers high, as tight as I can get them in the bowl.



In a mixing bowl, mix the eggs and milk.



Put one layer of bread in the plastic bowl and pour some mix on them, just enough so that the surface of each slice is just covered with the mix. Do the same with the next layer of bread.

If you notice that the mix will not be enough to cover everything, add another egg and some more milk to it and stir up.



Once you have all the slices in the bowl and covered with the mix, seal up and put in the refrigerator overnight.



In the morning, pull the bowl out of the fridge, turn over, and let sit like that for an hour. That insures that the bread is soaked thoroughly. Since my bowl's lid leaks, I put it in a bigger bowl to contain any mixture that spills out.



On a flat, hot skillet, brush a fine layer of clarified butter. Carefully (the slices are very delicate when soaked), lift a few slices...one at a time...and place on the hot skillet.



Cook for a few minutes on each side, place on a plate, and cover to keep warm while you finish cooking all the bread.

We served with our easy scrambled eggs.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Mashed Potatoes


While boxed potato flakes might be easier to make, they're not that much easier than making mashed potatoes from scratch.  Once you learn, you'll never go back to boxed potatoes.

INGREDIENTS
3 medium russet potatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup half and half
1/3 stick margarine (or butter, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper



The hardest part comes right up front, peeling the potatoes. Even so, we're not cooking for an army, peeling three potatoes is not too bad.  I peel over the sink to make cleanup of the skins easier.



Put the peeled potatoes in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat town a couple of notches. I like to do a low boil for an hour.



When potatoes are cooked to a soft consistency, drain off the water...keeping the potatoes in the pot. Get a masher and start mashing. This is the second hardest part of the recipe. Add the other ingredients.



Keep mashing and stirring to get a creamy, smooth consistency. Taste test as you go along. Not salty enough? Add a dash or two until it is. Not creamy enough or soft enough?  Splash in a bit more half and half until it is.

Serve with your favorite protein.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Pan Fried Pork Chops


I cook a lot of Sunday dinners on the barbecue but not all of them. Today, I'll stay in the kitchen to make this entree.

When making pork chops, I prefer to cook them on the stove where I can capture the juices in the pan instead of letting them drop onto the coals of the barbecue. This means I can avoid the bane of pork chops, dry meat.


Like beef, look for good marbling. Pork fat is the key to a tasty, juicy pork chop.  I also have a secret ingredient that you'll need to gather when making breakfast...bacon fat.

INGREDIENTS
3 boneless pork chops, 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
2 green onions
1/4 white onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup bacon fat

I like to start several hours before cooking time. As I said, I have a secret ingredient that delivers great taste and juiciness to our chops. At breakfast, I'll make some bacon and reserved the leftover fat in a small, Pyrex bowl. This I'll set aside for later.


Take one green onion and chop up in a small food processor or dice very finely with a knife.  Put the chops in a sealable plastic bowl. Cover them evenly with the Worcester sauce and green onion. Seal the bowl and put in refrigerator.


When it's time to cook, sprinkle the chops with kosher salt and pepper on both side. Put the white onion and the other green onion in the food processor.


Chop up as fine as you can get them.

Preheat a steel pan (no non-stick) with the olive oil on high. Get it very hot.

Heat up your bacon fat so that it returns to a liquid state. 


Put the chops on the oil, they should sizzle very vigorously. Cover with a lid and cook three minutes. Turn them over and cook another three minutes, covered. This will brown the chops.

Turn the chops over, lower the heat to medium-low. Cook 8 minutes on each side. 


When done, put on a platter and cover loosely with foil.


Turn the heat back up to high on the pan. Splash some red wine vinegar over the cooked on drippings and scrape the stuck on bits with a spatula. Once you've got everything scraped up, put in the onions and bacon fat. 


Stir the onions in vigorously. Let the mixture boil for five minutes on high, lower the flame to low, and stir in the garlic. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Plate the chops and pour a few spoonfuls of your deglazed sauce over them and serve.

Leftover rating: 4

Darryl
Copyrght 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Basic Scrambled Eggs


Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I don't want to skip it but I get tired of how expensive and mediocre breakfast can be if I wait until I get to work and buy it each morning. I'm also short on time each morning so I need something fast if I'm going to eat it at home before I leave.

That's why I have a couple of scrambled eggs before I go. It only takes five minutes to cook (if I don't have even that much time, I'll make my omelet to go recipe the night before).

One of the first things you need to learn how to cook well are scrambled eggs.  Here is my basic and easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 eggs (or 4 eggs for two people, 6 for three, etc.)
1 teaspoon half and half or milk
pinch of salt
1/8 cup shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon olive oil



Preheat a non-stick frying pan (I use a 10 inch pan) with the olive oil at medium high.  While your pan is heating up, mix the eggs, half and half, and salt in a bowl.

Turn the heat on the pan up to high.  Spread the olive oil with a plastic spatula.  Pour in the mixture.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.



Mix the eggs in the pan nonstop with your spatula.  In about a minute or two, the eggs will be done.  You want them not to be liquid but still a little shiny on the surface.

Put onto a plate and let sit for a couple of minutes before eating so the eggs can finish cooking and so they won't be too hot to eat.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

The Rock of Side Dishes


Probably 3 out of 4 Sunday dinners around here are on the barbecue.  The main dish isn't usually too hard. Think Flintsone. Fred Flintsone. Meat...fire...sear...good.

The problem comes with the others say "what'll we have on the side?"

What? A grilled hunk of meat isn't enough?

Alright, let me see what I can do...

OK, this is my go-to side dish and cooking method for sides on the grill. It's easy. It's cheap. It's delicious.

While I use a zucchini in the recipe below, you can use any soft vegetable like broccoli, squash, asparagus, etc. Hard vegetables like carrots and potatoes would take a much longer cooking period.

Ready?



INGREDIENTS

1 large zucchini (or a vegetable of your choosing) for three people, scale up as needed for more

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon olive oil



Slice up the vegetable in quarter inch slices.



Stack them like poker chips and cut in half.

Slice again so they're quartered.


Put in a leak-proof plastic bag (I save old bread bags for this purpose). Add the salt and pepper.  Twist the bag closed a shake well to distribute. Add the olive oil, twist and shake again.


Pour out onto a sheet of foil paper and seal the foil around the vegetables.


Grill with your entree on the barbecue over indirect heat. About 20 minutes, around the same time it takes to cook your steaks.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Classic Barbecue: Ribeye Steak



Most of my Sunday dinners are cooked out back, on my Weber kettle grill. Since we live in Southern California, we can barbecue just about year-round. Nothing like standing over burning coals, cold beer in hand, coaxing the flavor out of the food.

This week's Sunday dinner is the classic ribeye steak, served with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob.

The recipe for the steak will follow but first, the sides.  Here's our basic roasted potato recipe.  The corn, simply wrap in foil for cooking.

Now to the main entree...you must start with a quality piece of meat.  A well marbled ribeye, at least USDA Choice, preferably Prime if you can get it for a decent price. Costco occasionally has prime steaks that are reasonable. If not, look for lots of marbling on the meat...the more the better.

I should mention that you should probably expect to pay at least $8 a pound, so this won't be a cheap dinner but will be much, much less that going out to a restaurant for it.

We've got 1 1/2 inch, Prime steaks.

INGREDIENTS:

2 - 12 ounce ribeye steaks, 1.5 inches thick (modifications for thinner steaks are noted below)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper



First, I put the steaks in a sealable plastic bowl about 4 hours before cooking.  I put the Worcestershire sauce on them and spread it out evenly.



Next, I put the green onion in my little, handy food processor and chop up.



The green onion goes on top of the steaks. I seal the bowl and put in the refrigerator until it's time to cook.



For cooking, I heat up coals in the barbecue and make sure they're all to one side. You need half of the grill to not be over burning coals.  Put the corn against the edge of the grill away from the coals. Salt and pepper the meat and put directly over the coals for three minutes per side (2 minutes for 1 inch steaks, 1 minute for half inch steaks). Watch out for flare ups, as shown above. Move the meat away from any flames during this searing period but keep over the coals.






After searing, move meat to the other side of the grill, without the coals underneath.  Cook 8 minutes per side (6 for 1 inch thick, 4 for half inch thick) for medium rare.

Remove and cover the meat for 10 minutes with foil before serving.

We serve a steak and a half for three people and save the rest for later.

Leftover rating: 4

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Potatoes: The Go-To Potato Dish - Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


Meat and potatoes, the ultimate protein and starch. Here's a really easy and delicious recipe that is very hard to mess up.

INGREDIENTS: 

1/2 pound fingerling, golden potatoes.
salt
pepper
olive oil

I like to use the small, fingerling, golden potatoes that I can buy for about two dollars a pound in my area. They are forgiving if you leave them cooking too long...they won't turn to mush like other potato varieties will.



Cut the potatoes into small, bite size portions. Depending on the potatoes you buy, that might be in half, thirds, or even quarters.

Put into a leak-proof plastic bag (I save bread bags for this this reason), put in a quarter teaspoon of salt and a couple of shakes of pepper. Twist the end of the bag closed and shake vigorously to distribute evenly. Put in half a teaspoon of olive oil, twist and shake again.



Dump out onto a sheet of foil paper and close the foil around the potatoes.



On the barbecue or in the oven (300 deg.), cook at lease 20 minutes before you start to cook anything else. Leave on the grill, on indirect heat but close to the coals while you cook everything else...about another 20 minutes.

Once everything else is done, then remove the potatoes and serve.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

It's Dragon Season


Eh, well we still got a few fruit from this plant in the corner. 


Now the question is, is this the last harvest of the summer or the first harvest of the winter?


Darryl

The Deer Hunter - This Week's Chores

Chores this week: deadhead roses , trim back citrus trees growing into walkway , pull weeds . No, I don't actually hunt them but it i...