By popular request: Steak & oven frites.
I had to try this again, just to get photographic evidence. First, the steak part.
I used Kobe flatiron steaks, because they are the best deal going, steakwise. Considering that Kobe beef can hit upwards of -- no typo -- US$180/lb., this steak at a piddly US$5.99/lb. is practically theft.
These steaks come from what is most commonly called the "top blade roast." As you can see, it has one serious line of connective tissue down the center. Until fairly recently, this roast was sliced into steaks (the top blade steak) which preserved intact the connective tissue. Which made it really cheap, because even the 2nd tenderest steak with incredibly beefy favor (look at that marbling, and groove mightily therewith) will suffer in price when you have that inedible hunka gristle dividing it.
The trick is, simply to cut (or have the butcher cut) the icky bits out. In butcher parlance, you want the top blade roast (in case it's called something else where you are, use the picture...it comes from the chuck/shoulder area), and you want it "seamed out" and then you want the two main hunks cut across equatorially. Like so...
This should give you three decent steaks of about 10oz each (we cut one of those into halves for the kids) with some fiddly bits left over. Which you then grill ("barbecue") or sear in a hot skillet until done to your liking. (I like to season them very simply and give them a hard 3 minute sear per side, and then let it rest over a low heat. This results in medium-rare. TFBIM likes medium better, but we're working on her.)
This is how they look coming off the grill.
Now the frites. Start with the humble potato. In this case I was trying out a russet (any other "starchy" potato should prove equivalent) to compare it with the waxy ones of last week.
Cut them into the appropriate frites shape. Approximately 16 per potato.Put them in your steamer basket. Steam them until JUST PLIABLE. If you go beyond this two things (both bad) will happen: The starches in the potato's cut surface will gelatinize and will inhibit crispness and the potato flesh will overcook and break apart. You want the potatoes, duly steamed to offer SLIGHT resistance to a knife tip, but not so yielding the knife exits the other side with ease. This means 3-5 minutes (depending on the frites' dimensions) over a rolling boil.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Put in a roasting pan drizzled with oil (for this, I prefer peanut oil, you do whatever).
Toss in the steamed frites and drizzle more oil (You'll use less than a 1/4 cup for two whole potatoes) and then toss. Plunk back in the oven at 350F. In three minutes...
Set the oven to "broil." Blast the frites for 2-3 minutes (you should hear the sizzling, otherwise it's OK to peek once or twice).
Throw on paper towels (if you can find the brown paper towels you're in beautiful shape) and season generously with coarse sea salt.
Now, for a quickie tomato-shallot/spring onion pan sauce.
Take a pat of butter.
Chop a spring onion or shallot or even an sweet onion as fine as you can stand. This is halfway fine for me. (No pix of the later stages as I was weepy.)
Sautee the onion in the butter. When it's translucent, add a good tablespoon of tomato paste or, in this case, a couple of tablespoons of some leftover marinara sauce and a quarter cup of beef stock and any of the collected steak juices. (The latter is key.) At the very end add another pat of butter and OFF THE HEAT stir it in to dissolve it. If you let it melt first and then dissolve it, your sauce will be all separated and greasy looking and disgusting. This, for you lurid types, is called "mounting."
This is the pile o' steak with some steamed asparagus.
This is NOS's plate (he put the sauce on the asparagus for some reason)
This is TFBIM's steak --perfectly medium, trust me, even though the photo is bad-- and this is the excellent wine:2001 Sterling Merlot, Napa Valley...the tannins have pretty much yielded to the fruit, and it complements the rich-ish steak beautifully.
There ya go!