Haven’t posted in a while, sorry. I wasn’t feeling up to snuff that last week or so, and have only just begun eating meals again; it would’ve been fraudulent to have expounded about food while consuming none. BUT NOW, I return, and I bring with me more tales of high adventure in the culinary world. Today, I actually cooked! Now, that seems like a dismally low bar to aim for, but hey, it’s been a while.


Well, except when a recipe on TV catches my eye (or I’m baking), nothing is pre-ordained. No, I don’t have the ability to instantly waltz into a grocery store or market, and bang out a whole meal on the spot, but I do like to see what’s available before committing to any sort of dish. This can be a detriment, as I may forget an ingredient or two vital to a recipe (especially when it’s a single dish with various spices and herbs, I’ll definitely forget something), but it’s never been crippling.  Sure, it may not be as originally intended, or as fully developed a flavour, but it’s pretty damn hard to make something inedible (I have a couple stories of those failures, but I’m in no rush to share them) if you’re applying basic cooking principles.  Hell, even tonight’s food wasn’t spectacular, but it certainly felt good to get back in the kitchen to do something beyond visit the fridge.

So, wandering the local Sobey’s, we picked up the various essentials one can expect (various veg, bread, cheese et al), but turned an eye towards thrift- all sorts of pork and beef products were on special, and what the hell, we wound up getting some decent steaks, among other things (eh, some pork ribs and sausages, if I recall). In our cart, we already had potatoes, so why not…wait for it…STEAK AND MASHED POTATOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, fantastically original, I know. Give a guy a break-it was late at night, I was in a pissy mood, and I wasn’t exactly giddy with inspiration. But, don’t fear! I now had a plan, and the means to execute it (also, surprised Jess didn’t say anything, but I’m sure she was probably hoping I would’ve dropped in some sort of veg side, since the starch and protein is kind of off the charts).

Steaks first-

Well, nothing especially exciting. I tenderized them first (couldn’t find a meat tenderizer, used an old ice cream scoop-sorry jess), then did a basic pepper and salt rub. (sorry for photo quality-taken quickly with my iPhone, which lacks a zoom or flash. And yes, that is my thumb in one of the photos >_<)

After that, into the pan with some grapeseed oil on medium-high for a minute and a half or so on each side

and then into the oven (400f, I believe, may have been 425f), for 10 minutes. The sheet is from our toaster oven, but I’m not really sure what the thing I put on it is-some sort of rack that happened to have holes in it.

The potatoes were really easy, but I still managed to over-boil them due to not watching the clock/getting distracted.Skin on, as I like mashed potatoes with them, and Jess thought the red skins would be an added visual bonus.

There is smoke coming from under the heating element. Something had previously fallen underneath, and now it was getting its own viking funeral.

Added in some basil, salt, pepper and butter, and they were done.

The final product.

Yep.Kind of frightening that the meat and potatoes are nearly identical in size and shape, but plating has never really been one of my strong suits. I also would like more interesting plates.
How did it taste?  The steak was cooked well (slightly closer to medium than medium-rare, but I wouldn’t have sent it back), but was way over-peppered and under-salted. This hampered the natural flavours of the steak, which weren’t anemic, but certainly could’ve used something a little subtler to enhance, rather than mask them. It certainly wasn’t as good as a similar-quality steak I had at a pub a few nights previously, but with a bit of work, I believe I can produce something of a much-higher quality (up to a certain point. the quality of ingredients is probably the biggest limiter, with frugal spending taking priority).

The mashed potatoes were actually pretty good, but texturally a little sticky (less boiling, next time). The basil probably needed to be in higher proportion, and more pepper might’ve added more bite and edge to compete with the rounder, sweeter flavours of the butter and milk. Garlic also would’ve been nice, but it hadn’t roasted in time (but it did roast in time to serve with the meal).

So all in all, a decent warm-up for some real fun. I’m a little rusty, but I’m starting to feel some inspiration flowing back. I still have more rants on the way, but there will definitely be some be some accounts of blood,fire and steel. Butter may come tomorrow, as I’m probably going to bake peanut butter cookies.



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