It was dark outside. There was a loud noise and sirens. I remember being carried by my Mom down the street to Wendy Court. There was a bright spot, huge flames and firetrucks. I was not yet 5. The flames appeared to be all over a garage. I heard the adults talking and what my child brain put together was a guy was working on a car and it burst into flames. He was killed.
I’m not sure how much time passed from the garage event to this next one, but I walked to this one. There were only sirens and I walked down the street to Mr. and Mrs. Brooks house with my Mom. My Dad was a volunteer fireman. There was a lot of smoke. I saw them bring the barrel of a dryer out Mrs. Brooks’ side door and douse something black inside. Then I remember seeing them lead Mrs. Brooks out looking very unlike the Mrs. Brooks who made us blueberry pancakes. I did not see Mr. Brooks anywhere.
We moved to the new house not long after this event and I don’t think I ever saw the Brookses again.
This left me with the idea that things can and did burst into flame. A fear of things like ovens, dryers and cars bursting into flame still haunts me today. It made cooking problematic. The broiler was the most troubling. Five hundred degrees! But as I cooked more and more in the oven and on the barbecue my fear lessened. Now I use the broiler all the time. It is a great way to cook steaks when you can’t barbecue.
The key to a good steak starts at the meat counter. You want to get a good cut with little white lines of fat running through it. The flavor is in the fat. Watch out for the clear white gristle. My preference is for rib steaks. They have several names, rib-eye, club steak, Delmonico etc., and are characterized by a swirl pattern and a tail. If I can’t find them, I will go with a strip steak or New York Strip. Porterhouse is to big and I don’t like t-bones, but they could be used if you like. 1/2 to 3/4 an inch is the best cooking thickness.
TIP: Steaks that have been discolored by counter lights are more tender than their red counterparts. Sometimes you can buy them for a reduced price. They may look a little green, but they are perfectly fine.
Perfect Steaks from The Oven
An easy, delishes way to make great tasting steaks in your oven.
Rib steaks are my favorites to use for this but you can use any good cut of steak.
Credit: Cynthia Franks
- 2 – 4 steaks
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 to 2 sticks of butter, enough for 1-2 pads per side of steak depending on size of steak
- Allow steaks to come to room temperature.
- Mix together salt, garlic and pepper.
- Rub mixture into both sides of steaks.
- Turn on broiler and leave oven door open slightly (It must remain open while broiling).
- Place steaks on broiling pan with 1 to 2 pads of butter on top each steak.
- Place steaks under broiler (steaks should be about 3-4 inches from broiling element). Broil for 8-12 minutes depending on thickness of steak.
- Remove from broiler and turn over. Place 1 to 2 pads of butter on each steak and return to broiler.
- Cook 8-12 minutes.
- Remove from broiler and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
A great go-with for any main course.
This recipe is very forgiving and can be altered to fit individual tastes. You can use any type of sliced mushroom you like or any type of onions. It works better if different types of onions are used, but it’s not necessary. I used 6 ozs. of sliced Shiitake mushrooms, 1 yellow cooking onion, 1 white onion and 1 yellow sweet onion. If you like mushrooms use more, if like caramelized onions use more or bigger onions. If you don’t like mushrooms, make only the onions. This works best in a large cast iron skillet, but any heavy bottom skillet will work. It freezes well and reheats well.
Credit: Cynthia Franks
- 6 -12 oz of sliced mushrooms
- 3 onions in quarter slices
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 stick butter
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat 3 table spoons of olive oil.
- Add onions and turn temperature down to medium.
- Allow onions to sit on bottom long enough to brown, but not burn. Shift them around. Repeat until onions are browned and there is a caramelizing scent. The browning releases the sugars in the onions.
- Add a little Kosher salt to draw water out of the onions and continue to brown.
- When it appears the onions are dry, add the mushrooms, turn heat down to medium-low or low depending on your stove top. You don’t want them to burn. (If you are making only onions, add a little water.)
- When they are caramelized to your liking, cut the butter into pads and add to pan, allow to melt. Stir. Serve warm.