Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Perfect Steak

We bought a grill a few months ago, and it’s been a lot of fun to grill. I’m convinced that everything tastes better on a grill. You could grill old shoes and they would taste good. We had asparagus on the grill the other night and even it was good. In fact, it was delicious.

The best thing though has been grilling steaks. I love a good steak, and I’m pretty anal about grilling my steaks. First, it’s an expensive piece of meat so I don’t want to ruin it. Second, there is nothing more disappointing than an overcooked steak except maybe a BYU loss to utah. Those losses sting for the entire year; whereas, overcooked steaks generally haunt me around 2-3 months. With the steaks, redemption can be found much sooner.

So here’s my method for grilling a great steak. Turn the right and left burners on high and leave the middle burner(s) off. Season the steak with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I like to keep the seasoning simple so you taste the beef not the marinade. Place the steak over the right burner on high heat for 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. Flip the steak over onto the left burner over high heat and cook 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. The rotating will give your steak a nice diamond pattern. If your steak isn't very thick, it’s likely done at this point. If the steak isn't done, move it to the middle of the grill and letthe remainder of the cooking happen over indirect heat. You will want to turn the steak every few minutes so it doesn’t over cook on one side. You can tell by touch when the steak is done or use a meat thermometer. I like 133 degrees internal temp for a nice medium rare. My meat thermometer is off by 4 degrees (I took my temperature with it to find this out) so my steaks come off at 129 degrees. If you use a meat thermometer, make sure you know how accurate it is because a few degrees are the difference between a great steak and a dry disappointment. Finally, let the steak sit a few minutes before cutting so the juices redistribute and then ENJOY.

For Father’s Day I decided to treat myself with some steak, and I picked out two huge bone in rib eyes. (See above) They were thick and perfectly marbled. My first rib eye turned out absolutely wonderful. It was a perfect medium rare, tender, juicy, and nice and beefy. Eating it was pure bliss. Coupling it with a baked sweet potato made it even better. The second rib eye that I made didn’t turn out as well. I placed too much faith in the meat thermometer and not the touch method. Technology failed me! It was still a good steak but just a little over done. It’s been eating at me ever since, but I redeemed myself last week with two perfect, medium rare, juicy New York strips. No sweet potatoes this time, but it was still a great meal.

Stupidest quote of the week: "God is so gangsta. That is what I love about him. That's why I'm not trippin."

What's the dumbest thing you've heard this week?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Would You Like a Hair with That?

Last weekend Jocelyn and I had nothing to do so I decided it would be fun to go on a drive to Llano. Llano is a little town about 90 miles west of here in the Hill Country. I had driven out there a couple of months ago when I went turkey hunting and all the wildflowers were in bloom which made for a very pretty drive. Marble Falls is also on the way to Llano and has a nice little cafe with good banana cream pie so it was a plan.

I looked around online and found some restaurants in Llano and other things to do. Llano is an old town that has some historic buildings and President Bush's favorite barbecue joint. The drive was enjoyable and quite green since we've had so much rain, but Llano was pretty anti climatic. We went to a little bakery that was also a historical monument. But it was nothing special.

Next we went to a rock store. Llano has a lot of mineral deposits and granite so I thought maybe the rock store would be nice. It wasn't. A couple of old hippies were running it, and one of them talked Jocelyn's ear off. That was funny. She was telling her all about how she got stopped by the Border Patrol and the impending police state we were about to experience due to Bush's draconian national security policies.

We got out of there quickly and decided to get something to eat at the Badu House. Another historical marker. It'a an old house made of granite that has been converted into a restaurant. I really like these kinds of restaurants. It felt homey and the people were very nice. We did have a minor incident involving a hair in our food though.
We ordered smoked bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese for an appetizer. They came out and and smelled amazing. The aroma of the smoke was delicious. We both started eating, and then Jocelyn noticed a long black hair on our plate. No big deal to me, but Jocelyn wanted me to say something. I hate inconveniencing people in any way so I didn't want to say anything, but Jocelyn insisted. So I got the waitresses attention and said, "Sorry to be so picky, but there's a hair in our food which my wife doesn't really care for." The waitress was horrified and quickly took away our food promising to bring back more. Jocelyn said that I shouldn't have blamed it on her, but I didn't care if there was a hair. I ate lots of hair on my mission.

Well the waitress came back and said that the whole meal would be free. We thought that was overly generous, but she insisted. So then I was glad that I had said something! The bacon wrapped jalapenos were delicious, but some of them lit me on fire. The first one I ate was a little warm, but the second one started a fire in my mouth and down my throat. They were so tasty though that I couldn't stop eating them; however, after Jocelyn got a hot one, she quit eating them.

Jocelyn asked the waitress to bring us some cucumbers because the chef had said that cucumber works to soothe the heat. I'd never heard of that working, but I gave it a try. Not sure that it worked, but that was the first time I'd ever eaten a raw cucumber and kinda liked it. I usually eschew all raw vegetables. Maybe I'll have to try some more raw veggies, but I doubt it.

Our main courses were good too. I had chicken fried steak with great mashed potatoes and the best haricot verts (green beans for the culinary challenged folks) I've ever eaten. We decided that a free meal was too generous just because of one hair so we left a large tip. The drive home was nice too, and we stopped in Marble Falls for pie. This little trip was a nice way to waste some time on a Saturday, but I doubt that we'll ever do it again. There's good fishing and hunting around Llano so I'll probably be back, but Jocelyn wasn't too impressed with the little old country town. No big surprise there I guess.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dog Fighting Holocaust?

So if you're a sports fan or just a breathing human being, you've almost certainly heard about Michael Vick and dog fighting the past week. The media and public have worked themselves into a tizzy about this case. And you know what? I couldn't care less. Yeah, I'm probably in the minority, but until there are no more PEOPLE being raped, murdered, molested, tortured, etc., I don't have the time or energy to care about dogs. I’d much rather see my tax dollars used by law enforcement to catch criminals that have injured people not dogs.

It’s really no surprise that guys are fighting dogs. I can turn on Spike TV any day of the week and watch two guys stripped down to nothing pummeling each other inside the Octagon. And that’s accepted by society but dog fighting isn’t? Seems rather incongruous to me, and I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

Why don't we see the same level of outrage when people are murdered, women are raped, or kids are molested? These crimes happen everyday; yet, as a society, we express little outrage over them. We’re disgusted by them, but then we just move on with our lives. I’m sure that if Michael Vick committed any of the above crimes, the public and media would be outraged, and rightfully so, but I find it disconcerting that the level of outrage over dog fighting is equal to these heinous crimes against people.

I'm not advocating animal cruelty, rather, just a little perspective. They’re dogs! I once watched my dog spew a huge pile of chunky disgusting puke and then fight with my other dog over which of them would get to eat the vomit. And I’m supposed to care that Michael Vick was fighting animals dumb enough to fight over eating vomit? I don’t think so.

It's not murder as I've heard insinuated. That's an insult to all the victims of actual murder. It's certainly not a holocaust of dogs as I heard today on the radio. There was one Holocaust and referring to dog deaths as a holocaust is absurd and severely diminishes the horrific nature of the real Holocaust. Animals are vicious. They will literally eat each other alive. Stated simply, they’re animals. I wish there wasn’t any dog fighting; I really do. It’s a nasty disgusting activity in which I can't imagine ever participating. But until all the real problems in the world are solved, don’t expect me to care much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Need Motrin!

Last night we had quite the incident at our house. Jocelyn stubbed her toe! Of course, she was sure she had broken it. I've stubbed my toe before, just like everyone else, and it definitely hurts, but it is just a stubbed toe. Well, Jocelyn isn't exactly the silent type when it comes to pain. She'll let you know she's hurt which is exactly what she did last night with her stubbed toe. The way she was wailing, I thought maybe she had lost an appendage. And when I say wailing, I mean wailing. Think middle eastern woman that just lost her son. It was something to behold.

The first words out of Jocelyn's mouth were "I broke my toe" which were immediately followed by "I NEED MOTRIN!" At this point I'm trying to be nice and consoling, but I'm laughing too hard because she's so over the top. So you're probably thinking, "Who laughs at injured people?" to which I reply, I think it's genetic. My father is also much more likely to laugh at you than console you if you've hurt yourself. I guess sympathy isn't part of the Staller genome.

So I got Jocelyn the Motrin, and then she let me know that it was all my fault that she stubbed her toe. I guess it happened while locking the door and since "I never lock the door" it was my fault. This insinuation made me laugh even more. At this point Jocelyn didn't think I was being very nice. So I helped her over to the couch and went to get her a bag of ice. By now the wailing had diminished a bit, but there was still a good amount of histrionics left in her. So I got the bag of ice and put it on her foot to which she shrieked, "It's freezing cold." Yeah, it's an ice bag. I thought she would take it off right away, but she toughed it out and left it on her foot for quite awhile.

Luckily, the ice and the Motrin seemed to do their job and the wailing finally came to an end. Unfortunately our video camera battery was dead so there is no evidence of last night's incident other than a bruised toe. You'll just have to imagine the scene, which if you know Jocelyn and me, shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, July 23, 2007

There's No Crying in Reality TV!

So we watch a lot of reality TV in our house. Actually, Jocelyn watches it, and I sit here making witty, a.k.a. obnoxious comments. Yeah, I know it's not the most mature thing, but I'd go crazy if I sat here watching this garbage without making some kind of comment. I mean how can you watch So You Think You Can Dance, Big Brother, America's Got Talent, Age of Love, Pirate Master, etc. and not make comments. As an aside, if I were to end up in Hell, I'm certain it would consist of me being forced to watch So You Think You Can Dance over and over. I can think of nothing worse. I can't.

One disturbing trend that I've noticed in these shows is people are constantly crying. Why so sad? I'm anything but sympathetic and take great pleasure in ridiculing and laughing at these cry babies as they sob for all of America to see. Don't these people realize they look terrible! No one looks good crying. And those close ups of their sobbing face look hideous. The worst offender is some chick on Big Brother. She's constantly sobbing and her face looks like a boxer's that just went 10 rounds in a prize fight. Not exactly the image you want to present to America. Here's some pictures to back up my point.
Someone needs to shake this girl and tell her, "Stop it!" "Just stop it" "You look like an idiot!"
I wish all this crying would stop, but I guess psychologically unstable cry babies make for good TV. Anyway, I wish these people would buck up and stop all the crying. Until they do, I guess I'll be sitting here laughing at them.