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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Buffalo Steaks.

Buffalo meat is fantastic, and you can now get it at most major markets.  In addition, you can get it online at places like here and here.  I would definitely suggest that you try it out.  Buffalo has some health benefits, being leaner than regular beef.  It is much less marbled and has significantly less fat.  Compared to 8-10 grams of fat in 100 grams of cooked steak, buffalo has only 2.5 grams.  It therefore carries less calories than beef; It has about 50% less cholesterol; And it also has a little bit more iron and Vitamin B12.

Notice how the buffalo steak (right) has a much deeper red color than a regular strip steak (left).

Seasoned simply with salt and pepper.

Because it has less marbling you have to cook buffalo a little differently than the way you would cook a regular steak (fat acts as an insulator causing other meats to take a longer time to cook).  It’s very easy to overcook, so you have to use some caution with your heat source.  Best served Medium in my opinion.  If you want to grill it, make sure it’s over indirect heat rather than direct.  If you want to use your broiler, use the lower rack.  If you want to do it in the oven try to keep the temp around 275 degrees.  Use your meat thermometer, and cook to an internal temperature similar to beef (130-135 for medium rare, 140-145 for medium).

I think you’ll very much enjoy the taste as well.  It is much richer and more tender than beef, but it doesn’t taste “gamey” like some other types of meat like deer, rabbit, or quail.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Recipes

 

Fire and Ice.

Simple, refreshing summer appetizer.  Watermelon and jalapeno peppers.  Dice a quarter to a half of a seedless watermelon (depending on size).  Seed a jalapeno pepper and dice.  The pepper itself is not too hot and carries a nice crisp taste, but if you’d like a little bite then keep some of the seeds.  Also, I like to have latex gloves in my kitchen arsenal for working with peppers.  Nothing worse than getting pepper juice on your fingers then rubbing your eyes (or worse, parts lower…).  Add a sufficient quantity of minced fresh cilantro.  Mix and devour.

Now for a few science points.  First, it’s commonly thought that the heat from a pepper comes from the seeds.  While the seeds do impart some of the heat, it is generally because of their proximity to the “pith” which is the rubbery flesh generally residing on the rib of the pepper which support the seeds.  Capsaicin, the chemical which causes the burning sensation, is made in the glands of the pith and therefore gets onto the seeds.  If you’re not aware, capsaicin is also used as a pain agent for arthritis (kind of like Ben Gay).  When applied to the skin it has been found to deplete substance P—a neurochemical that transmits pain—which desensitizes a person to pain.  Cool huh?

Second, the scale which is used to rate the “hotness” of peppers is called the Scoville Scale.  For reference, bell peppers have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of zero, jalapenos are around 3500-8000 SHU, and the Habanero come in at a whopping 100,000-300,000 SHU.  Again…wear gloves while handling peppers!

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes, Science

 

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Hash House a Go-Go!

Vegas always does things right.  Like breakfast at Hash House a Go-Go.  This place is ridiculous.  The food is fresh and rich.  The atmosphere, bright and airy.  And the company?  Well, a group of skeptics from TAM were the subject of this “morning after” experience.

This is the place where Adam Richman visited and famously devoured the Chicken Fried Benedict…  Which is this Bad Mofo…

As always, the menu at a place like this is deep, expansive, and always difficult to choose from.  It includes things like the “House Hashes” which contain your given gourmet meat or vegetable (meatloaf, corned beef, pork tenderloin…) topped with crispy potatoes and two eggs; Fresh scrambles like House smoked fresh salmon, basil pesto, fresh tomato and melted brie cheese; Uber-midwest words like “flapjacks” scatter the menu.  If I had my own TV show I would definitely employ the “let’s order one of everything and have one bite of each.”

After much perusal, I “settled” on the “Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken Benedict w/ maple reduction, 2 eggs, bacon mashed potatoes & biscuit…”  Be still my beating heart.  First, bacon and potatoes mashed?  Ridiculous.  The biscuit was as big as my head, light, fluffy, and supremely buttery.  I got my eggs over-easy as I like the gooey middle.  And the chicken…  Light batter, but fully flavorful with sage, salt, and pepper.  Th only way to attack this is to have a little bit of everything on one forkfull. The salty chicken and bacon potatoes, the sweet maple reduction, the juicy of the chicken and eggs with the denser biscuit…  Heaven.

TGA APPROVED!

 

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Cooking, Restaurants

 

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The Chemistry of Cooking

The Chemistry of Cooking!

This is EXACTLY what I’m talking about!  It’s a great short video featuring Shirley Corriher who is a retired biochemist.  She basically explains a few basic reactions that relate to everyday cooking.  Turn your kitchen into a lab…

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Cooking, Science

 

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TAM 2012

Just got back from TAM 2012.  Still recovering from fun and jet lag…  Awesome time.  Made great new friends, had good conversation, saw fantastic lectures, ate bacon, and of course bought too many books (a trademark of mine).

If you don’t know what this is about, and you enjoy science, skepticism, magic, etc please check out the links to The Amazing Meeting and the JREF and plan on going next year:

http://www.amazingmeeting.com/TAM2012/

http://www.randi.org/site/

Also, check out the video series on youtube here, and watch the interview with The Grilled Atheist!

Food posts to follow…

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Atheism, Random Thoughts, Science, Skepticism

 

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Udon Noodle Bowl

I may have posted about this already, but man it’s really good…  Udon noodles are traditional Japanese wheat noodles.  It’s a larger gauge noodle with a lot of texture and flavor.  And when cooked you can serve hot or cold, and you can add just about anything to the bowl.  Many times they are used as a soup, but in many ways I like a noodle bowl with fixings.

This is the one I made last night.  Boil the noodles according to the package directions.  I like them a little salty so I add a fair amount of kosher salt to the water.  When done, drain (serve hot now if you like).  Run under cold water and let cool through.  I do this because I like to add a sauce and it reduces the starchiness and stickiness of the noodles.  For the sauce:

1 T neutral oil (Sunflower, etc)

1 T soy sauce

2 t sesame oil

1 t minced lemongrass (I actually like to use a product called Garden Gourmet which makes squeezable products…and it might be easier for you to find than fresh lemongrass if it’s not at your local market)

1/2 t garlic powder or fresh minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk all of the ingredients and toss with the noodles.

Then add whatever you would like to the bowl.  My favorite is with jarred pickled cucumbers and chili bamboo shoots, both of which I buy at my local Asian market.  I also like to serve with steak or chicken.  The steak I make is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and Turkish red pepper (I’ve discussed this in a prior steak post).  Grill to medium and serve.

I LOVE this steak.  With just salt, pepper, and the Turkish red pepper you get a nice spicy crust and a beautiful Medium cooked middle.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Ingredients, Recipes

 

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xkcd volume 0

Yes.  It’s a comic.  Yes.  It may be childish.  But it is rocking science at its comic best.  Get it.  It’s freakin really funny.

Couple for you:

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Books

 

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The Cuban…

Oh, the Cuban Sandwich.  If I had to rank my favorite sandwiches, the Cuban (more specifically MY Cuban) would probably make the top 5.  It is just a perfect combination of meaty, cheesy, gooey, mustardy loveliness.  And the ingredients are relatively simple…  Ham, roast pork, cheese, pickles, mustard, and bread.

It’s not entirely known when the Cuban was invented, but there is some evidence that it goes back to the turn of the century.  It apparently was very popular in sugar mills, where vendors would set up shop and serve these “mixto” sandwiches to the mill workers for a quick bite.

When I’m not making my own version, my favorite one is at Kaya in the Strip District in Pittsburgh PA.

It’s one of those things where I SAY that I’m going to order something else every time that I go…and then I always get the Cuban.

Ok.  Ready for the simplicity that is the Cuban sandwich?

Bread – The best to use is obviously Cuban bread.  There’s a special variety called “pan de agua.”  Here’s a description: “This bread is longer and thinner than a typical bakery loaf and slightly under baked so that when it arrives from the bakery the crust is only lightly browned. This allows the sandwich to spend more time on the plancha (griddle) without getting overly brown. The result is a sandwich that is golden brown and crunchy.”  If you can’t get it you can use French or Italian bread.  But in my opinion the best at your disposal is ciabatta.

Ham – Roast ham or sliced ham from the deli.  Without any of the flavorings (eg, honey baked).

Roast pork – Same thing.  If you have the time make your own…I will eventually include my recipe.

Cheese – Swiss or provolone

Mustard – It must be whole grain.  Well, it doesn’t have to be…but it should!  I am partial to Maille.  You can use yellow mustard in a bind.

Pickles – Sliced kosher dill pickles.

Slice the ciabatta rolls and spread with the mustard.  Add your ham, pork and cheese slices.  Easy, right?  Now it’s actually the WAY that you cook it that makes the Cuban so fun.  There are several things that you can do:

The traditional way is to use a plancha, which literally means “grilled on a metal plate.”  Think panini press without the ridges.  But if you don’t have one, have no fear…

A panini press.  Fine.  Quick and easy.  Grilled in a skillet.  On the grill (my preferred way).  Over a coal fire.

But the real secret is the pressing.  You want to thin the sandwich out by about one-third.  If you’re using a panini press this is easy.  If not, you have to be more creative.  Butter both the top and bottom of the sandwich (use melted butter to brush, or better yet there are parts of Cuba where they use garlic butter).  Then when cooking place a brick or heavy cast iron skillet on top of the sandwiches.  When using the grill I also like to wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil.

When finished (maybe 15 minutes…you’ll know, the cheese will be nice and melty) cut diagonally.  You can serve the pickles on the side or place them on (you can put them on before or after cooking; I prefer them to be cool and crispy so I put them on after).  You can serve them like Kaya does…with a chipotle, garlic, mayo dip that I describe in the Flank Steak Taco entry.

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Recipes

 

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