December 29, 2011
As in most cultures, our holidays, here in the US typically have a food element at their core, and New Years is no different. When it comes to the New Years menu, it is all about luck. We thought we would share some New Years foods, and celebration ideas with you to help you get your New Year off to the right start.
Many of the traditional New Year’s foods are eaten for “luck”, or good fortune in the New Year. Round foods are especially popular, since the circle is a symbol of continuity. To some it also represents the shape of a coin, signifying monetary gain in the new year. We can’t help but notice that all of our , bacon wrapped filets are round. Pork is considered lucky, and our new line of Health Wise Request products includes delicious cubed pork cutlets. Whatever your choice of entrees be sure to couple them with black eyed peas, and cooked greens (again representing money) for even more good fortune in the coming year!
In researching for this article we have come across several great themed menu ideas. One simple idea is a finger food menu, where each guest brings their favorite finger foods. You might have some Chef’s Requested filets ground by your butcher for Robert Downey’s favorite, Filet Mignon Meatballs. (recipe on our Facebook page) Or have a menu based on a who’s who of 2011. You name menu items for people who were big in the news. (for example, mini wedding cupcakes named for Kim Kardashian)
One popular style for New Year’s dinners is a progressive dinner, where each course is eaten at a different location. Start off with soup and salad (like the delicious steak salad recipe on our site: http://chefsrequested.com/index.php/recipes/for-extra-lean-beef ) then move on to a main course and finally a desert. We have also learned that some prefer to turn the fine art of dining into a sport with a cookoff. Each of the guests is a judge with a prize going to the winning chef. (may we suggest a selection of fine Chef’s Requested products?)
Other New Year’s Traditions
Auld Lang Syne has been sung on New Year’s Eve for over 200 years, and is often called the most sung song that nobody knows the lyrics to! Whether you are standing in Times Square, or watching it televised, the dropping of the New Year’s ball is one tradition that many American’s will take part in. It has been dropped every year since 1907! The Chinese love fireworks and they have become a common part of America’s New Years celebrations as well. Last but not least, you can thank the Babylonians for our most notorious New Year custom, they were the first to break New Year’s Resolutions!
So, have a happy New Year, and don’t forget to keep someone special close by for that lucky kiss on the stroke of midnight!
December 22, 2011
Here at Chef’s Requested we are all about giving you a taste of the good life. We believe that good food, like premium bacon-wrapped steaks, should not just belong to a special few. Neither should New York getaways, which is one reason we are offering our Sizzle in the City Sweep-Steaks! We’ve been talking, and although we don’t think it’s fair that we can’t win, we have come up with some great ideas on how you could spend your $500 gift card in NYC! There is a lot of fun to be had. Remember, these are only suggestions of how your prize money COULD be spent and do not represent a recommendation or endorsement of any kind.
Start your trip with a little sight-seeing. For less than $200 a 72 hour key to the city is yours, via double decker bus tours! Several companies offer great tours that offer an all you care to see smorgasbord of New York sights and attractions. Some options include a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, several great museums and a trip to the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building! Since this is just a suggestion, you will need to check all pricing and accommodations yourself. Choice of tour company and options is up to you.
Broadway could be yours for a night. Great shows like “The Book of Mormon” and “The Adams Family” are currently taking Broadway by storm. For around $150 a pair of tickets can be had for most shows. If you are more adventurous, many professional Off-Broadway companies sell tickets for a lot less! Take in several shows for the same price!
New York City has always been famous for its restaurants. The city is truly a melting pot, with cuisine from the four corners of the globe available 24 hours a day! Premium dining can be yours for $40 to $100 a plate.
Well, that’s what we would do, if we could enter. But we can’t. So, good luck, now, get out there and enter! And if you win, send us an I “heart” NY T-shirt! Remember, even if you don’t win the grand prize there are still pairs of movie tickets each week of the contest. So go buy a package of Chef’s Requested steaks at your favorite store and enter for a chance to win. We promise, win or lose, you won’t regret the steaks!
December 7, 2011
Thanks to America’s beef producers, there are beef choices to satisfy all tastes, schedules and budgets. Don’t let choosing the right cut become confusing. This helpful chart can serve as your guide to find the best cut for your needs, whether it’s a weeknight family dinner or a special celebration. Above all, matching the correct beef cut to the appropriate cooking method is the key to moist, tender and flavorful beef.
Most tender steaks come from the center (rib and loin sections) of the animal and are usually cooked by dry-heat methods. You can find tender steaks at different price points.
Premium steaks, such as strip (top loin), T-Bone, Porterhouse, ribeye, rib and tenderloin, usually have a higher price per pound, but you can also find tender steaks that are a good choice for family meals such as ranch (shoulder center), top sirloin, flat iron (shoulder top blade), chuck eye and round tip.
Less-tender steaks are from the more exercised fore- and hindquarters of the animal and benefit most from moist-heat cooking. These cuts include full-cut round, eye round and bottom round; chuck shoulder, chuck 7-Bone, chuck arm and chuck blade; flank and skirt. Some of these less tender cuts, including top round steak, may be cooked with dry heat after tenderizing in a marinade.
A roast is a cut of beef, thicker than two inches, that is suitable for cooking by dry heat on a rack in a shallow open pan in the oven or in a covered grill (indirect heat).
Premium oven roasts, including rib, ribeye, top loin and tenderloin are typically more costly, but ideal for holiday entertaining and other special occasions. Plan to order the type and size of roast you’d like ahead of time to ensure you get your first choice.
For everyday family meals, casual gatherings, and for the health-conscious, the round and bottom sirloin cuts are leaner and economical. Moderately priced roasts include tri-tip, round tip, rump, bottom round and eye round.
Consider a boneless roast for large parties or buffets as it will streamline carving and serving.
Pot roasts also come from the fore- and hindquarters of the carcass. These muscles are more heavily exercised and contain more connective tissue, making them less tender. Moist-heat cooking takes more time, but the results are worth waiting for. The beef becomes fork-tender and develops a savory depth of flavor unique to slow-cooked beef.
Pot roasts from the chuck have more fat, and thus more flavor, than those from the round, but many beef chuck and round cuts can be used interchangeably in pot roast recipes, requiring only slight adjustments in cooking times. Take advantage of this fact when the cut specified in a recipe is not available, when certain cuts are on special or to accommodate family preferences.
Beef brisket is a boneless cut from the breast section, the underside of the forequarter. Available as a fresh cut, it is best prepared by using braising or stewing techniques. Brisket is also processed into corned beef, a technique that brines the meat. Corned beef is also prepared using moist-heat cookery.
There are several cuts of brisket available, including whole brisket, point half/point cut brisket, flat half/flat cut and middle cut. The point half is sometimes also called thick cut. The flat half, often referred to as first cut is less fatty and is often the most popular for making braised beef brisket. All the cuts have a layer of fat that can be trimmed, but adds to the flavor and tenderness of the final cooked dish.
Your goal when stir-frying beef is to have uniform size pieces to ensure even cooking. You may save time by purchasing packages of pre-cut beef, but it may more economical to slice your own. Almost any tender beef cut, such as sirloin, top sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin or tenderloin may be trimmed and cut into the appropriate size strips for use in beef stir-fry recipes. Even some less tender cuts, such as flank, top round and round tip steaks, are suitable for stir-frying. Remember this cook’s tip, too: Place meat in freezer for thirty minutes and it will be easier to cut into thin slices.
Beef for Stew
One of the homiest comfort foods, beef stew practically cooks itself as it slowly simmers on the stove. Beef for stew is boneless, pre-cut cubes, typically from the chuck or round. The ideal size for uniform cooking is about a 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch cube.
If you prefer to cut your own cubes, any chuck or round cut -except top round – may be used. Trim the excess fat and cut into the appropriate size for your recipe.
Visit: beefitswhatsfordinner.com for additional cooking tips and recipes!