Tuesday, July 10

Baked Potato - restaurant style

I grew up thinking that a good baked potato needed to be wrapped in aluminum foil & then baked in the oven. But then I discovered this recipe - Restaurant-Style Baked Potatoes. You know the ones with the crispy, salty skin & are super tender inside?? These are hands-down the best baked potatoes ever!!

Restaurant Style Baked Potato

6 large baking potatoes, scrubbed & patted dry
1/4 cup quality olive oil
1/4 cup coarse kosher or course sea salt

- Poke several holes in each potato
- Place salt in shallow dish, large enough for a single potato to fit
- Lightly brush olive oil over outside of each potato
- Roll each potato in salt (no need to cover, but should be present on all sides of the tater)
- Place in center of oven, directly on the oven rack
- Bake at 375 degrees for 60-70 minutes until fork tender
- Let cool slightly before serving
- Carefully open each potato & serve with butter, sour cream & whatever else you like.

I like to serve mine with a perfectly done filet :)

Monday, July 9

Grilling Filet Mignon

One of our favorite "splurge" meals is filet mignon & since it is so expensive, we only eat it during the summer months when it can be grilled. I usually buy a 4-pack at Costco or Sam's Club for around $30 which I don't think is too pricey!?

Being the sous chef in the house, I usually end up doing all the grilling. Shane always says I am a much better "griller" than he is but I seriously think it is because he just doesn't want to be bothered with it which is fine by me. It's that "control" thing in the kitchen that I always struggle giving up :)

After many attempts of trying to "per-fect" way too many expensive cuts of meat & many countless hours of research, I think I have finally mastered grilling a perfectly cooked "medium" filet mignon. 

Here are my step by step instructions for grilling the perfect filet: 

Step 1Seasoning. The only seasoning I use is fresh ground black pepper. Why not salt? Some experts say salt draws moisture & juices out of the steak so I will usually lightly salt the filet at the end.

Step 2Leave it alone! Once the filet is seasoned, leave it on the counter for at least 45 min or until they are room temperature. By doing this you will reduce grilling time & ensure consistent cooking throughout the steak.

*now is the time when I get those "restaurant-style" baked potatoes prepared & in the oven
Step 3Fire it up! Fire up your grill & set it at the highest temperature setting & leave it there. You will know when the grill is ready when you can’t hold your hand 2 inches above the grates for more than 5 seconds. We use a propane grill so unfortunately I am not sure of the pre-heating times for a charcoal grill.

Step 4Sear in the juices! Using tongs only (you don't EVER want to puncture the filet), place your steaks on the grill, close lid & do NOTHING for at least 2 minutes. (I actually bring a cooking timer out to the grill for more accurate cooking times.)

Step 5Grill marks! After about 2 minutes (for medium-rare, a little more for Medium), lift, turn your steak 90 degrees & then set it back down for another 3 minutes (again, for medium-rare, a little more if you want it more done).

Step 6Flip once! After a total of about 5 minutes, it’s time to flip the steak for the one & only time. Gently lift, flip & set it back down in the same spot, close the lid & leave it alone again for about 2 more minutes.

Step 7Rotate again. Repeat Step 5 on this side now!

Step 8Check it. Now it is time to check your steak for the perfect done-ness. Test by pushing on the top of your steak & seeing how firm it is. Then compare against the feel of the muscle on your hand just under your thumb. The firmness when your thumb is against your pointer is what your steak will feel like if it is rare. Thumb against your middle finger is medium. And thumb against your ring finger is well done. 

Example for rare:

Step 9Remove & rest. Take it off the grill now & set it on a plate or platter & leave it alone. Let it rest again for 2 - 3 minutes. This allows the juices to re-distribute, so they don’t all run out when you slice into your beautiful filet.

Step 10Enjoy! Go ahead & enjoy your perfectly cooked filet!