Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mr. Hawthorne Fixes Dinner For Rosie.

Ya gotta love that Mr. Hawthorne.
I'd worked in the yard all day long and was tired
and wasn't doing anything for dinner.
Some evenings,
I'm perfectly happy with drinking my dinner..
I like a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mr. Hawthorne stepped up to the plate.

Mr. Hawthorne makes a nice setting.
Nice touch there with the flowers.

He's serving me Flat Iron Steak,
which is one of the most flavorful cuts EVER,
and a baked sweet potato full of butter.
He put some nasty green beans from a can
on my plate for the color.

I took the green beans one by one and threw them on the floor.
That'll show him. 
Imagine putting canned beans on my plate!

Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking
and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

The iron skillet was heated to 375 + degrees.
Mr. Hawthorne gave the skillet a light swirl and coating 
of ELBOO - that's Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil.
When the olive oil just started to smoke,
he put in the meat.
Seared on both sides.

Mr. Hawthorne judges rare by touch. 
This piece of beef was an inch or more thick.
Maybe two minutes each side.

This is our favorite cut of beef.
We don't eat a lot of beef,
but when we do, we turn to the Flat Iron.

If you're wondering about Flat Iron Steak,
I'd never heard of it 5 years ago.
Then it started appearing in Food Lion.
I asked the butcher about it
and he recommended I try it.
"If you don't like it,
come back to me and I'll refund your money,"
is what he told me.
That was endorsement enough for me.
(And FYI, if I hadn't have liked the steak,
I would never have gone back and asked for a refund.)

We tried it.
We loved it.

It has a deep, rich flavor.

Surprisingly, the Flat Iron Steak is from the shoulder of the cow.
That means this is a highly exercised piece of meat.
The muscle is well-developed
and the connective tissues running through are very tough.
Exercised meat is tough meat.

A lazier cut of meat,
say the tenderloin, is quite tender.

Different cooking methods are required 
for the working meat and the lazy meat.
The tough cuts need to be braised or slow-cooked.
The tender cuts can be quickly seared.

The Flat Iron Steak,
even though from the shoulder,
is an extremely tender cut.

It was developed by teams at the
 University of Nebraska and the University of Florida.
Originally, this particular cut was a waste cut of beef
from the shoulder of the cow.
In 2002, the National Cattleman's Association
commissioned a muscle profiling study
in order to find better, more efficient cuts
from the Round and Chuck cuts.
Every major muscle of the cow was
analyzed separately for tenderness and flavor.
The teams learned how to deftly cut this steak.
The Flat Iron is from the Top Blade,
which is off the shoulder of the cow.
Normally, the Top Blade is cross-cut into steaks;
however, the Top Blade Stakes are tough 
and full of gristle (connective tissue).
Flat Irons are cut from the two layers of the Top Blade
and have all the gristle removed.
The Flat Iron is the second most tender cut of meat from a cow,
after the Tenderloin.

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