Grilling 101


Category : grilling, hamburger, jerk chicken, steak

So two months have passed, and I haven’t blogged here. I’ll try to do better :-)

I’ve noticed I motivated a friend of mine to start blogging about food, but from the look of his blog he actually knows what he’s talking about. He’s doing a much better job posting than I am as well. Check out HungryKyle.

One of my excuses is that I moved to a new apartment near Alamo Square (near the Full House houses). Once we get a pot rack, and I get some stuff for my room, like a bookshelf, I’ll take some pics and post them up(so like 2 more months).

So I’ve got no photos about food, but I do want to tell some things I’ve learned about cooking.

So I really love a good steak. I’ve been to a few expensive restaurants, and the only one I’d really consider going back to is Bobo’s steakhouse because it was probably the best steak I’ve ever had. I’m sure I’ll go back and realize it was a fluke experience, but for now, I consider it the best steakhouse in the SF.

I had been bummed before about being in an apartment and having to cook steaks inside, but I started cooking and experimenting with different ways to do it, and now, I can honestly say I like cooking them indoors more than outdoors (and we have a communal grill at our new apartment). I watched Alton Brown cook steaks inside once, and after trying his method, I’ll never go back to anything else.

I like a good, peppery and well seasoned steak, so what I do is brush the steaks in a little vegetable oil, and then I use a generous amount of Montreal Steak seasoning (kosher salt and black pepper works as well). I put a cast iron (really needs to be cast iron as regular stainless steel doesn’t seem to work as well) in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 500 degrees (or however hot the oven goes…mine goes to 550). Then I take it out and put it on the stove at high. I throw the steaks on for about 1 minute each side, and then I put it in the oven and cook for about 2 minutes each side for medium rare. You gotta let it rest for about 10 minutes after that. I always know how long to cook the steak when doing it indoors, and they come out absolutely perfect.

I also learned how to make an amazing hamburger this weekend because I did a little more research online. Key things I really didn’t know: you need about 20% fat for hamburger meat, and you don’t want to squeeze the meat hard…you want to make the patty light and fluffy.

So I went to costco and got 12 lb’s of beef. The problem was it was only 12% fat, so I threw in some butter to get it more moist and juicy. A few hours before cooking, I tossed in some garlic salt and some worstershire sauce. I was afraid the garlic salt would dry out the meat, but I didn’t want to have to mix them at the bbq. It ended up being perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if it’s really recommended to salt a lot before cooking meat. Anyways, the other thing about hamburgers is you should only flip them once, or they might fall apart on the grill, especially since the patties aren’t particularly dense. It takes only about 4 or 5 minutes on each side to cook them.

The burgers came out absolutely perfect. Inbae had some spinach and grilled onions with balsamic vinegar. He also made some homemade bbq sauce, but what I really loved on the burger was some garlic aioli sauce I made. Garlic aioli is essentially garlic mayo, and it’s absolutely delicious. The recipe I followed was one from Emeril. I didn’t really like the way it came out initially (I realized after the fact that our olive oil might actually be going rancid because it’s gotten too much sunlight). To doctor it up, I threw in some dijon mustard, extra lemon juice, some cayenne pepper, and some garlic powder. Our kitchen wreaked of garlic, but the sauce was delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone ask for the recipe for a hamburger before, and this time atleast 3 people asked me how I did it. Christine even asked for some extra raw meat and sauce to take home, so she could make it herself.

One problem I’ve had at bbq’s before was when I tried making chicken, I felt the marinade made the chicken juicy but didn’t add much flavor. However, Inbae made jerk chicken, and I think it was the right move. He used a recipe I sent him off of epicurious, which is one of my favorite food websites because their recipes are top-notch. Anyways, the chicken was probably the best grilled chicken I’ve had in a really, really long time. The food at the bbq this weekend was just all-around fantastic.

Anyways, I hope to start taking more photos of the food, and I’ll try to post here a little more frequently :)

Bobo’s Steak

Category : san francisco restaurants, steak

I’ve had a lot of steaks in my life. I’ve eaten them at many different places. I’ve gotten it at a few fancy restaurants before, and I’ve nearly always concluded that these steaks are no better than the ones I cook at home. In some cases, I find it even worse (esp. for the money). Before this night, I had concluded the only slab of meal you can’t cook at home that is worth getting in a restaurant is the prime rib, which is really hard to cook well at home (though I plan on trying it at some point).

However, last week, I had a steak at Bobo’s, and I have to say it was the best meal I’ve had in San Francisco. The steak was absolutely amazing. When I dream about what a slab of beef tastes like — this was it.

Boboquivari’s is a fancy steak restaurant in the Marina district in San Francisco. My favorite cut of meat is a Ribeye, but they didn’t have that, so I was stuck deciding between a bone-in New York Strip or a bone-in Filet Mignon. I chose the former, and I’m glad I did. The filet was a little more tender, but the flavor of the new york was out of this world.

So if you like steak and are in SF, summon the courage to splurge a little on a nice steak (this is the jew telling you that, so you know it’s good). We definitely splurged when we went there and ended up spending $90 a person there. You don’t have to spend that much to have a good meal, but there were some other good things we got. The crab, mussel, and shrimp platter we got as an appetizer was filled with butter and garlic and quite tasty. The sides were also pretty good, especially the onion rings. For dessert we had some cones with chocolate mousse in them — another good choice. However, you’re going for the steak, and you won’t regret it.

At any rate, I definitely plan on trying some more steak places in the city, but I will no doubt be making a pilgrimage to Bobo’s every once in a while. I just hope it’ll be half as good as my first time.

My First Dinner

Category : asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, ribeye, steak

All right, so I’ve cooked before, but this is my first blog post about cooking. I tried the follow the format set in, which is an awesome blog. Somehow she was reading my mind and what I wanted for Valentine’s day (besides a girl) and posted the same meal on her blog today, but it’s all good. Mine may not be as good, but I cooked it, so that counts for something.

The meal: ribeye steak, garlic mashed potatoes, and balsamic glazed asparagus.

All right, so let’s start with the steaks. I’m a believer in some form of marinade unless it’s a prime cut of meat, and I usually find Italian dressing works out well, so that’s what I used. However, I just got some of Duke’s BBQ sauce from back home so I mixed that in as well. It’s a sweet, mustard based BBQ sauce,and is something I’ll showcase later on when I make some pulled pork sandwiches. I let them marinade overnight.

Living in the city, it’s hard to make a good steak. I’m used to a grill, but since I’ve been here a while I’ve tried a few different techniques (pan, oven, broiler). From them, I like the broiler the best; however, next time I’m going to give the pan method another try. Anyways, here they are:

And in they go:

After about 8 minutes, they look a little charred, and they’re ready to be flipped. I’ll flip and rotate them around since nothing cooks perfectly even:

After another 8 minutes and using my handy-dandy, brand new thermapen:

So let’s check them out:

All right, so it’s 115 degrees now — not quite ready. I actually learned this isn’t the best way to insert the thermometer — we should going through the side to the center. It’s more accurate that way. After this little lesson, I managed not to overcook or undercook the steaks, flipping and rotating to evenly cook them in the broiler. I cooked them to about 130, and after about 10 minutes of resting, I cut the bad boys open to check ’em out.

All right, now on to the garlic mashed potatoes. So after doing this yesterday and reading the pioneer woman’s rendition, I’ve decided her way is much easier. For one, roasting the garlic looks easier and turned out better and the potatoes are easier to deal with (try peeling hot potatoes while your hungry friends are waiting anxiously…). So from now on, I’ll use her method, but here’s what I did.

First, the candidate spuds.

All right, so first we get some water, throw those potatoes in there, turn it up high, and let it boil.

When it finally boils, turn it down a bit and wait about 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender (stick a fork in it).

While we’re waiting, let’s roast some garlic. One head of garlic is about right. We’ll use a saute pan to brown it.

Breaking the head apart into the bulbs, we’ll heat it on low heat with the cover on for about 20 minutes, making sure to shake them around a lot so they don’t burn.

About 20 minutes later, they’ve got some brown spots and they’re ready to go.

I let them cool and soften a bit in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then I took them out, peeled them, and cut off the hard ends. As you can see, I burned mine a little. I’ll try roasting garlic in the oven next time…

Our potatoes are done, so take them out, and start peeling with a small knife.

Taking the peeled spuds, I threw them back into the pot.

Throw those mushy, roasted garlic bulbs in there and take out the masher and get to work.

Last time I made these, I didn’t have a masher….much easier this way.

Now, we need to add some butter. One stick is good for the amount of potatoes I took out. To make it easier to add in, let’s melt it first.

Throwing that in there, we’ll work it around a bit

We’re not quite done with the liquid fat. Let’s take some half-and-half.

It works a little easier if you warm up the half-and-half first, so I took about 8 ounces and put it in the microwave. Then, we add it a little bit at a time and mix it into the potatoes. I found out that about 6 ounces was all we needed.

Lastly, a little salt and pepper for flavor. Since it’s garlic mashed potatoes, why not garlic salt.

While you weren’t looking, I also added some chives I had to give them a bit of color.

And there you have it, garlic mashed potatoes. Quite garlicy and tasty too.

Now for the greens. I know some don’t like asparagus, but I do, so I figured I’d give it a try. I figured tonight was cooking with the broiler so that’s how I prepared the asparagus. Let’s meet the bunch.

Grab each piece and just bend until it snaps. This gets rid of the hard, inedible part.

Lining them up on the sheet. I threw on some olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then into the broiler they go for about 8 minutes, flipping them in the middle.

As you can see, I think mine went in a bit too long, but just barely. Anyways, onto our sauce.

Take 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.

Put it into a pan over medium-high heat and let it boil.

After about 20 minutes, we get something much thicker. If we try to move it around, you’ll see it sticks together.

Pouring it back out, you’ll see it’s been reduced to about 1/4 cup.

We also want 1/4 cup of olive oil. I decided to add it to the same measuring cup, rather than just drizzle them separately onto the asparagus. They don’t mix very well and it made the drizzling a little harder, but in the end it worked out just fine.

One day, I’ll try to make some homemade rolls. For now, crescents out of the can work just fine (probably better). I did my best to roll them up well:

But in the end it doesn’t really matter :-)

All right, so that’s it. Overall the food was quite good. I thought the steaks were a tad sweet (italian dressing + sweet bbq sauce), so next time I’ll change it up or won’t marinade as long. The mashed potatoes were delicious and the asparagus not too bad for such a green veggie :-)

Hopefully I’ll continue to blog about my food posts. Let me know what you guys think.