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The Basics: How to Make Basic Steak


Traditionally, skirt steak is used for fajitas. I have had success with flank steak.

Dec 09, 2009
zendrive in Features

Oh glorious day! Oh wonderful year! Oh lucky me! I finally, finally, finally get to host Thanksgiving. I banish thee jarred gravy (tell me about your single favorite dish)

I think rworange has a good point about thanksgiving being about the classics. Fortunately for me, I have family and friends who love my interpretations of the classics and the extra goodies we throw in for fun. I say go nuts!

I can't narrow down my favorite dish. Last year, I hosted a party with these dishes and it was talked about for months afterwards. I never felt more appreciated as a cook.

My thanksgiving spread would not be complete wihout my deep-fried, wine/herb citrus brined turkey.

Last year, I made a delicious roast of heirloom tomatoes with cippolini onions and stonehouse blood orange olive oil, maldon sea saltm fresh thyme and pepper. It vanished.

I also decided to make Lee Ann Wong's turducken roulade. This was so delicious, but I was very nervous about the chicken mouse. Let me tell you, it rocked!

Last year, I ran out of time before going to Panera Bread for stuffing bread. All they had left was a classic white loaf as well as a sun dried tomato loaf. Well, I bought both loaves. I took a dare with the sun dried tomato loaf in the stuffing. I threw in a pound of mild jalapeno/bacon duck sausage, sage, onions, carrots, celery and butter. I cut the different breads in slightly uneven dice for a rustic quality. It was extremely well recieved and I look foward to making it again this year. The stuffing had a subdued, yet bright flavor that was a nice complement to the richness of all the other offerings. It paired very well with the tomatoes. One of these days, I will start writing down recipes.

This year, I will make savory onion marmalade in addition to delicious home made gravy. Home made gravy is a tough feat when you deep fry a turkey. For my gravy, I used trader joes organic chicken broth reduced by about one half along with roasted chcken bones, turkey giblets and scraps from the turducken roulade to make a savory stock which was thickened with a little cornstarch, fresh herbs, minced onions and garlic. It was very good.

Anyone who prefers canned gravy at my party can lay an egg. =) Jellied cranberry sauce cut along the tin lines is always welcome! I tried making a fancy cranberry sauce a few years back and it solidified on the table. It wasn't pretty.

Green bean casserole is about the only thing I make where tradition rings true every year.

My piece de resistance is my own potato dish. I make a truffled potato risotto with shitake mushrooms and loads of cream and parmesan reggiano that my friends go ape over. Its basically a gratin, but the potatos are cut in a ultra small dice and cooked "al dente." I remove the potatoes when they are still somewhat raw and make a sofrito of minced onions, garlic, rosemary, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Then I add the cream and parmesan cheese (by the cupful!) until combined and throw the potatoes back in for a few minutes. The potatos soak in the cream and cheese mixture and it gets nice and thick (reverse order of the true risotto technique). I pour them into a large casserole dish and top it with a layer of sauted shitake and crimini mushrooms right down the center of the dish lengthwise (truffle oil is added if its around). I love the reaction to this dish. Its probably 1000 calories a cup, but it tastes so good. I do have the recipe typed out for this one! =


I am glad that I am not the only one who is looking forward to thanksgiving as much as you! I keep it classic, but the foodie in me always twists things up a bit.

Its never too early for feeling greatful of your friends and family!

Oct 01, 2009
zendrive in Home Cooking

Most Overrated Dishes

I think that Tuna Tartare has had its run as a tasty dish. I still love it, but I have had enough of it now where I think it may have risen to "overrated" status.

The same thing can be said for most "seared tuna" dishes. They are pedestrian at this point.

I find beef tartare on the menu at a lot of high end restaurants, but I wish it would trancend high end and find its way into some of the innovative sports bars that dot the Las Vegas Valley. (I am aware of the liability involved, but there should be enough good beef to go around.)

I dont think it gets any more sophisticated, yet primal, than steak tartare. =)

Sep 18, 2009
zendrive in General Topics

Mandalay Bay recommendations?

I have eaten at Aureole inside the Mandalay Bay and found the food was wonderful, but the seating is a bit cramped. They use video cameras to see when you are close to being finished with a course, which I also found a bit disturbing. If you can get past that, I would recommend it.

Fleur De Lys is also a sublime dining experience.

I will not eat again at Prime at the Bellagio. The service and atmosphere was amazing but the food was overpriced. We ordered true Japanese Kobe and were left underwhelmed.

For casual fare, the Burger Bar inside the shops at Mandalay Bay is a unique experience. Dont forget RM seafood. They also have a more casual bar attached to their high end restaurant. I sometimes go there by myself to scarf down a couple dozen oysters. The oysters there are extremely expensive, but well sourced (unless you live in a costal area and are used to awesome shellfish).

If anyone wishes to eat a Buffet, the Manadlay Bay buffet is still one of the best weekend brunches on the strip. Ask to be seated next to a window overlooking the pool area. Great atmosphere, stone and dungeness crab, fresh berries and myriad food selections will please even picky eaters. (Disclaimer: I hope they havent changed their formula due to the economy as I have not eaten brunch there in close to a year)

Enjoy your stay!

Apr 27, 2009
zendrive in Southwest

CUT at The Beverly Wilshire Review - I don't even eat beef, but I was quite impressed!

Awesome review. I am looking forward to visiting his LV location for the sole purpose of enjoying bone marrow. I am sure I can construct the rest of my dish around that.

I tried true Japanese Kobe at Prime at the Bellagio and was left overwhelmed. I might try it again at Cut just to make up my mind if it doesn't live up to the hype.

Apr 27, 2009
zendrive in Los Angeles Area

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

Furthermore, Piedy, I used table manners as a euphemism for the editorial decisions at Chow. Knowing how to talk about politics (without alienating people in the process) does not make the assumption, as Chow has, that everyone is just peachy with the Obamas. If you think of Chow as a great big table that we all come to before filling our own, you will see my point of view.

It would not matter if Chow's commentary was pro right or pro left, as I have said. I think Chow made a dumb move and the editors at should care if their readers will take your suggestion to heart because the website became politicized, which right now, it isn't. I know more people who dont care at all about politics until they are shoved in their face. (for me, that means Chow is my homepage and the first thing I see when I turn on my computer at home.)

And yes, I did imply in a very passive aggressive way that my political leanings are not in check with the Obama administration. I am a centrist independent who believes partisanship will divide and conquer us. I believe that partisanship is right in line with what both sides of the spectrum want, and that is control.

I am really not up for making Chow my next stop on my political rounds on the internets. Perhaps I will make an exception for this post. Sorry for wasting anyone's time. LOL

Just shoot me for wanting what most people get when they turn on the TV in the form of escapism when I come to Chow. I want food porn. I want excessive Fois Gras. I want stories about oysters and the best chinese buffet.

I am enjoying my day without regard to food police, who slaved to bring me my sweet chilean blueberries or the NAFTA/CAFTA polices that made that transaction possible. Just pass me the bone marrow with roasted garlic and parsley on toast and leave me alone. (I will stand on a political leg and say that I think the lack of all parts of the cow in the local megamart, such as bone marrow, is a travesty)

(Disclaimer: The above post is full of dry humor, a bit of self-mockery and sarcasm and is not meant to imply a lack of comfort with, or compassion for, the greater world view. I did not support Bush/Cheney, but I do think the best thing about a tree is what you can do with it when you cut it down. I know where the back button is on my browser and how to change my homepage.)


Apr 22, 2009
zendrive in Features

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

Peidy, you are so witty.

Apr 22, 2009
zendrive in Features

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

You said, "Why should the politics of food here only reflect yours?"

That is not what I said at all. I said it should be apolitical.

Ditto that.

It is presumptuous to assume that because I dont like Chow's political commentary that I would somehow agree if it was a different point of view. I never said or implied that. I have exercised restraint in discussing my political views because, again, thats not what I come here for.

I am not going to discuss my political viewpoints here. That does not mean I dont make the connection between living in a country where we are blessed enough to worry about what we would like to eat at night, rather than "can we eat at all." I am greatful for that fact. I am not hiding behind some wall of "escapism" as a form of political commentary. It is what it is and nothing more.

I am simply not on that intellectual plane. I want a food site that is a food site. End of story.

Chow can keep the stories about being green and about politics. Sure, lets celebrate by making Spend Our Way out Trout, Chile Con Commie, and Pork with Pinko Peppercorn Sauce and wash it down with a Maker Marxist Coctail. I would rather not read such things.

I am unabashedly sticking my head in the sand when I come here. I want to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

I have already violated all those rules in one post =)

Apr 21, 2009
zendrive in Features

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

I am misunderstood. I appreciate Chow for all the wonderful recipes, Chowtips, pop culture articles, such as table manners, and all the great restaurant recommendations. I think the community is fantastic as well.

I question whether or not it is wise of Chow to open up their forums to political commentary based on a slanted politicized menu. I stand by my opinion that it is very insincere to post a "celebratory" menu based on the actions of an unproven administration. I think Chow's decision sort of crosses a line that might be regarded as poor table manners. There are some subjects that we all might be wise about that just have a proper time and place. If this is a direction that Chow and the rest of their readers want to go in, so be it. I just hope that Chow doesn't take that route.

I cook as a way to release stress and have some down time where I can focus on my friends, family, ingredients and maybe a great glass of beer or wine. I need a little down time from politics as I am rather politically active.

Food is my art and the way I show people that I care. Food is a place where I can drop my ideology for a moment and focus on what we all have in common. All I am doing is asking Chow to reconsider mixing popular politics with everything that makes the site so great, that's all. Its not meant to be arrogant or to start a flame war with people I would probably enjoy sitting down at a table with.

For any negative comments I made, I sincerely apologize. It painted me in a negative light and that's not what I came here for. Its really easy to marginalize people when it comes to politics. It paints everyone in a bad light.

Apr 20, 2009
zendrive in Features

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

Food is also escapism from the things that are polarizing in life, such as politics. I read Chow because of the depth of knowledge about food, not for political commentary. Andytee was right on the money. Everyone is cashing in on the Obama bandwagon.

Refdem, what are you? Some sort of jerk? Talking down to someone because they make a request makes you...well, just like rest of the people in government who think they know better than everyone else. Check your elitism at the door.

It must be hard balancing your head with that chip in your shoulder.

Apr 20, 2009
zendrive in Features

100 Days in the White House: A Garden Menu

Hey Chow,

Please don't mix food with politics, please? I wont if you wont.

Apr 18, 2009
zendrive in Features

Inauguration Party -- What to bring?


How about...

Liberal Latkes
Spend our way out Trout
Chili con commie
Roasted Peaches with pinko peppercorn sauce a la mode

Jan 14, 2009
zendrive in Home Cooking

2009 Presidential Inauguration Menu

Liberal latkes pair very well with chili con commie.

Jan 14, 2009
zendrive in Features

2009 Presidential Inauguration Menu

Its a great thing Howard Dean never made it to the white house. He banned fried food for the 2008 democratic national convention.

I hope the food police are kept at bay during the president's tenure.

Jan 13, 2009
zendrive in Features

Oxtail and Barley Soup

This sounds so good to me right now.

Jan 11, 2009
zendrive in Recipes

Brown Bread Stuffing with Chestnuts, Apples, and Sausage

Some specialty butcher stores, like Village Meat and Wine in Las Vegas, sell rendered duck fat.

Nov 25, 2008
zendrive in Recipes

The Basics: How to Make Basic Steak

Hey Sox Foodie,

That is honestly the most sensual way I have heard anyone suggest to prepare a steak.

Relax, go for the O, and it gets....well, you said it.

Oct 10, 2008
zendrive in Features

The Basics: How to Make Basic Steak

Wow coconuts, that just sounds...well, nuts! Different strokes I guess. I cant imagine meat without some sort of carmelization or searing. Eating around grill marks? Thats one I have never heard of!

Jan 19, 2008
zendrive in Features

Jamie Oliver to Cut Up Corpse

Gridder, I think what AK21 was getting at is that most people who are fat, even those who are genetically predisposed, have not adopted exercise and proper nutrition as a lifestyle. This is a far cry from dieting and is not the same as such.

I am really interested in the statistics you speak of.

Jan 16, 2008
zendrive in Features

The Basics: How to Make Basic Steak

Duck, are you absolutely sure you heat your steaks to nearly 200 degrees?

140 degrees is rare, thus, you should cook to an internal temperature of around 125-130 degrees for for a nice rare steak after the residual heat does its job.

160 is well done. If you heat your steaks to an internal temperature of 195, I cant help but feel sorry for whomever you serve it to.

Jan 07, 2008
zendrive in Features

Can I touch-up paint cast iron cook top grates?

I am not an expert on industrial paints and finishes, but my guess is that the finish on your grates was baked on at ludicrously high temperatures, I doubt you could touch them up in some way. Are they rusting? If they have a matte finish, you might be able to clean them thouroghly with an abrasive to knock down the shiny parts. If they are no longer black, then what color are they?

Your best bet would be to order new grates as its much cheaper than a new Viking range (doesnt every chowhound lust for one of those?)

Jan 03, 2008
zendrive in Cookware

Best food city in North America.


Jun 21, 2007
zendrive in General Topics

Cured Salmon

My favorite way to serve citrus cured salmon (basically the above recipe with loads of lime, orange and lemon zest in the cure) is to shave fennel, toss with mixed greens and extra virgin, blood orange olive oil. Serve with a few candied grapefruit supremes (just dredge the sections in sugar and saute for a min or two)

Jun 21, 2007
zendrive in Recipes

Cured Salmon

Truthfully, I dont know why most chefs avoid fresh, farm raised salmon. Farm raised salmon is fed with a pellet meal that is not prone to the parasites wild salmon may encounter (bear dung, deer dung, etc)

When I cure salmon I mostly use wild Coho salmon due to its higher fat content and rich color, but I dont know why farm raised salmon gets the bad rap?

Could someone elaborate? Wouldnt farm raised be safer?

Jun 21, 2007
zendrive in Recipes