Tag Archives: summer

beefchart

How To Choose Beef: A Primer On Cuts of Meat, Beef Marbling & More

We started our summer blog series with a “How To Grill The Perfect Steak” guide, full of great tips and tricks on how to get that perfect crust, succulent texture and juiciness, every time.  Now, get your knives sharpened, because we’re continuing our series with an essential meat primer. Today: “How To Choose Beef”. Discover all there is to know about different cuts of beef, marbling, texture and more!

How To Choose Beef: Grilling Steak Cuts

Succulent steak cuts! Clockwise from the top, NY Strip, Rib Eye and Filet Mignon. Photo: GourmetFoodWorld.com

There is an incredible selection of meat cuts to choose from nowadays, and new ones seem to be popping up every day. Choosing a steak cut can be intimidating, when the selection includes same-sounding items like sirloin, toploin or tenderloin. How do you choose beef and steak cuts?

We once again turned to our favorite all-around cooking expert, Gary Jones, otherwise known as “The Reluctant Gourmet”.  If anyone could steer us in the right direction of the meat section, it was him.

BOVINE REAL ESTATE

How To Choose Beef: Beef Chart

Cheat sheet: It’s easy to choose beef when you know your cuts of meat!

The Reluctant Gourmet’s secret for choosing the right cut of meat?  Location, location, location. Specifically, the location ON the cow. We’re talking premium cow real estate here!

In very broad strokes, the meat that is cut from the chuck, brisket, plate, round and shank will be much tougher than the meat cut from the rib, loin and flank sections,” says Gary, “this is because those cuts are comprised of muscles that work hard.”

Essentially, muscle is tough, and fat is tender. Fat is what causes that beautiful marbling, the white webbing on the meat. The more tender sections of the animal are, generally, in the middle, where there is less muscle and more fat. Once you get closer to the legs and head, that’s where you get the muscle. So that leaves you essentially with two categories of cuts, ones that require a lengthy cooking to “soften” them, and those that you can “flash-cook” by grilling. If you choose beef that is tender (usually more expensive), you’ll want to grill it.

So the first question you should ask yourself when you go out and choose beef is, “how do I want to cook it?”

CUTS OF MEAT FOR GRILLING

How To Choose Beef: New York Strip

Left: New York Strip Ph: GourmetFoodWorld.com

How To Choose Beef: Rib Eye Steak

Right: Rib Eye Steak Ph: GourmetFoodWorld.com

If you’re going to be grilling, you’ll want a steak cut that has a good amount of fat and marbling, and that comes from the middle/center section of the cow, the Loin, Rib, Flank and the Plate. The steaks cut from this section are tender and have some or a lot of marbling. Steak cuts from the center area include therib eye, porterhouse, strip steak, tenderloin, sirloin, t-bone, top loin, tri-tip, filet mignon, flank, skirt, and hanger steak.  Any of these are tender (some more than others, of course), flavorful, and don’t require lengthy cooking.

Top Steak Cuts For Grilling:

  • Ribeye
  • NY Strip
  • Porterhouse
  • Strip steak
  • Tenderloin
  • Sirloin
  • T-bone
  • Top loin
  • Tri-tip
  • Filet mignon
  • Flank
  • Flatiron
  • Hanger (butcher’s) steak
  • Skirt

CUTS OF MEAT FOR ROASTING, BRAISING & OTHER SLOW COOKING

If you’re choosing beef for slow-cooked dishes like stews, roasts, chillis, or braising, you can use cuts that are very flavorful but tend to be too tough for grilling. These cuts benefit from the extended cooking time, which breaks down the tissue, tenderizes the meat and renders it soft and eminently chewable. For this style of cooking, you’ll want to choose beef cuts from the ends of the animal, like the Chuck, brisket, shank, rump, and blade.  They also are usually more inexpensive than center cuts. Look for anything that says rump, round or roast on the name. Of course, you can always use premium meat cuts as well, but it’ll end up costing you more. You can get similar results with the less expensive cuts.

MEAT BUYING TIPS

Things to looks for when choosing beef, according to Gary, are fat and marbling, “look for a steak that has marbling. It is the thin threads of fat running through the meat that makes it Prime and gives it that incredible flavor”. He also advises to, “ look for steaks with fine texture and firm to the touch; you want the color to be a light cherry red color, not deep red.

Our grilling expert: The Reluctant Gourmet is Gary Jones, a self-taught chef and stay-at-home dad from Philadelphia, attempting to overcome his own “reluctant” tendencies in the kitchen. You can find more great cooking info on his website, www.reluctantgourmet.com.

 

Products from this post:
Australian Wagyu Steaks >

Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

A Fresh Summer Meal: Tomato, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

Plump tomatoes, buttery crust and creamy goat cheese? Yes, please! Tomato Tart with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese. Photo credit: Laura Bolton for Fork Knife Swoon, http://www.forkknifeswoon.com.

We’re all about fast, delicious summer dishes this month at Gourmet Food World, so to continue on that trend, this week we’re featuring a great recipe that combines fresh flavors with delicious ingredients, and that essential touch of sophistication that all our gourmet customers look for. This week: Tomato, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tart, by Fork Knife Swoon.

Savory tarts, or quiches, as they’re also widely known, are probably one of the most versatile dishes you can turn out. First off, they’re light, but you can pack them heavy with veggies, so you get a nice, healthy serving of greens. A tart can work perfectly for brunch, lunch – we love it paired with a baby green salad – and can also serve as a nice appetizer for dinner. It’s even a great light summer dinner option when paired with a more consistent side dish, like quinoa or couscous.

Creamy and tangy goat cheese

Creamy & tangy goat cheese. Photo: GourmetFoodWorld.com

This Tomato, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese tart recipe is a perfect example of a classic savory tart.  It masterfully combines the freshness of tomatoes with the sweetness of a perfectly caramelized onion,  but the truly outstanding ingredient here is the goat cheese – tangy, yet superbly creamy and indulgent, with its winning tanginess. All of these perfectly-cooked ingredients are contained in a flaky pastry shell, the perfect buttery vessel to contain all these flavors.  The result is pretty and colorful, making it a beautiful dish to serve to guests.

Pair this mouthwatering tart with a chilled glass of your favorite crisp white wine, and toast to Laura from Fork Knife Swoon, who was kind enough to share her fabulous recipe with us.  Visit her blog at http://www.forkknifeswoon.com, where you’ll find delicious recipes for the home cook, with a focus on seasonal produce and whole foods.

Tomato, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tart

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 4 tarts

Serving Size: 1 tart

Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe paté brisée
  • 6-8 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 425º F.
  2. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8″ thick. Using a saucer as a guide, cut out four 6″ circles of dough. Place each one over a 5″ tart pan, and gently use your fingers or a dry pastry brush to smooth the dough into the pan. Using a knife, trim the dough so that it is flush with the edge of the pan. Place tarts on a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Peel the onion and slice it into thin rings. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Cook an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the onions become golden.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes cross-wise into thin rings, about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Remove the tart shells from the refrigerator. Crumble 1 oz of the goat cheese into the bottom of each tart in an even layer.
  6. Add 1/4 of the onions to each tart. Arrange the tomato slices in an overlapping circular pattern, with one slice in the middle. Top with 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake until the tarts begin to bubble and the crusts are golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Products from this post:

Goat Cheese >
Tart  Shells >
Olive oil >
Kosher salt >

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nut Mix

Jerk Spices & Fabulous Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nut Mix

Cocktail perfect! Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nut Mix, by Sue Moran of Theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.com

This blistering city summer gets us hankering for warm breezes in our hair, soft sand between our toes, and delicious regional cuisines. Instead of concentrating on work, we found ourselves fantasizing about an island vacation…somewhere divine, like the gorgeous beaches of Jamaica. And, because we are also constantly thinking about food, the next natural thought after Jamaica was, “oh, Jerk spices, yummy!”

Unfortunately, there was nary a Jamaican beach nor restaurant in the horizon for us, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t bring a taste of it to our tiny apartment. So, the challenge arose, how to get the warm heat of Jerk spices into a dish suitable for summer? Something with heat, but also heat-friendly.

Enter the AMAZING Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts, by blogger/chef extraordinaire Sue Moran from “The View From Great Island”!

This recipe works on so many levels, it’s amazing. Perfect as a poolside snack with a chilled soda, or for summer cocktails at sunset, these jerk spiced nuts give us a bold taste of the Islands and take old boring cocktail nut mixes to the next level.  And her personal twist to the traditional jerk spices of adding a bit of brown sugar to offset the heat, and lemon for contrasting tang? Culinary genius!

Heaven! And definitely tropical and exotic!

All the ingredients for a fabulous jerk spices mix.

Spice set-up: all the ingredients for a fabulous jerk spice mix. Photo by: Sue Moran, www.theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.com.

Jerk Spices & Fabulous Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts - Sue Moran

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 5 cups

Jerk Spices & Fabulous Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts - Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • Nuts
  • 5 cups mixed raw nuts (Sue used walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds)
  • Jerk Spices
  • 3 Tbsps. coconut oil (Sue used virgin oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. ground dried red peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsps. smoked sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Put the nuts in a large skillet and roast them for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir them often, and shake the pan gently. After about 10 minutes you should start to see a hint of color on the nuts. You will hear the crackle of skins crisping, and begin to smell the aroma. Continue roasting for another 5 minutes, being extra careful not to let them burn. Don’t walk away; nuts can burn in an instant.
  2. Gently transfer the nuts onto a baking sheet.
  3. In the same pan, add the oil, sugar and lemon juice. Heat until sizzling, and all the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the nuts and the rest of the spices back into the pan and continue to roast for a few more minutes, stirring to combine everything.
  5. When the nuts have absorbed all the liquids, transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet and spread them out to cool.
  6. After they have cooled you can store them in an airtight container.
  7. Just before serving, heat the nuts on a dry baking sheet at 300 for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts

Close-up on the finished product: Jamaican Jerk Spiced Nuts, by Sue Moran of Theviewfromthegreatisland.blospot.com

We are eternally grateful to have found this recipe for, THANK YOU, Sue, for letting us share it with our readers! For more fabulous recipes by Sue, along with gorgeous and instructive pictures, go to her blog at www.theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.com. To view her original recipe click here.


Products from this post:
Jamaican Jerk Spice >
Allspice >
Ginger powder >
Ground Cloves >
Saigon Cinnamon, ground >
Garlic Powder >
Smoked Sea Salt >
Brown sugar >
Macadamia nuts >
Almonds >
Walnuts >
Pecans >
Hazelnuts >
Pistachios >
Cashews >
Peanuts >