Would you like your steak delicious? Or well done?

it always happens. Tickets coming in  like crazy, dupes fluttering on the pass. The kitchen slaving away in a small space barely enough for four, let a lone a chef's table. The oven is buzzing, the idiot by the fryer is staring at the already golden crusted fish turn into shoe polish brown. Then a loner walks into the restaurant wanting, of all that is holy in the carnivorous world, a well done Prime Rib eye steak. I stare at the ticket. Prime Rib eye with grilled vegetables and mash. Ribe Eye. Well done.
'Oi' I call to the fryer idiot. 'Prime Rib eye! To be nuked!' Like time delay lock at the local bank, he springs into action.
From the refrigerated drawer, pulls out a perfectly marbled piece of meat, chilled. No blood drippings. Slice open the vacuum packaging. Then with the grace of a well lubricated Russian ballerina doing the pirouette, tosses the meat, marbling and all, into the 360F fryer. Then finishes it off on the grill. I turn around and do the fixins. I can hear you. You go WHAAAAT???
Let me tell you why I did not go into a rage. Why I did not dunk him and the guest into the fryer and be done with it. Why I hummed to the tune of 'Complicated' and just went my merry way clearing out the dupes.Why I did not ask the more able cooks to nuke the steak.
Have you ever had a steak well done? Referred to by Buddy Holly as 'Burnt to a crisp' in Pulp Fiction, it's pink on the inside, charred on the outside, and people with dentures will make their dentist richer by daring to take a bite. Like every well done steak I have ever had.
It's animal cruelty to order steak this way, an attack on the leisurely life the host cow had. It takes a long time to cook steak until its juices run clear, if any juice runs at all. And 90% of the time, the idiot guest would claim that it's rubbery, tough, bitter, 'Where did you get the steak? Where did you learn to cook?' tirade spewing from his maw.
It does not take great skill to make a well done steak. Hell, it does not take any skill at all. Pan fry, bake roast, and deep fry until it's cooked through. All the way through. Don't need to be Heston Blumenthal to figure that out.
Why do people order for a well done steak? I can think of many reasons:

Blood is disgusting
If they wanted raw food, they would go to a sushi bar
He wants to be man about it
Does not want to get sick
Recently got off vegetarianism
Got kicked by a cow as a child
Hated the Matrix
McNuggets was not on the menu
Didn't know any better

Let me tell you what a well done steak is good for:

As an effective door stop
A charcoal brick
A deadly weapon
Table leveller
Torture device
Time waster for the swab who does not know his way around the kitchen
Goes great with really cheap watery wine
For the ugly girlfriend or boyfriend
For the cruel wife or husband
Can go with the much passed around fruit cake during Christmas
Hockey puck
Premeditated indigestion

That is why I gave the order to the fry boy. Because the dishwasher is busy with the soiled plates. Because it occupies valuable burner space on a six top. Because guest dissatisfaction is not done deliberately on my watch. Because the guest does not know any better.


Oktoberfest! Beers! Pretzels!

Photo0832What can you pair with beer? Pretzels. salted, cinnamon, choco-dipped, whatever.

The following recipe is the base of many recipes that it can be built from. Have fun. Enjoy. please let me know how it goes.

15g active yeast
4g white sugar
240ml warm water

In a small bowl, combine and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes

625g all purpose flour
100g white sugar
9g salt
15ml vegetable oil

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt
Add oil and yeast mixture
Mix until you form a rough ball. Add a little water if too dry
Place dough on a smooth surface and knead until smooth, ‘ a baby’s behind’. Takes about 7-10 minutes
Place dough back into bowl, cover with cling film and let rise until double in size. Takes about an hour
Punch down dough, knead for a further minute or two
Divide dough into equal parts of 120g each
Roll into ropes about 2 feet in length
Form into pretzels
Transfer to baking tray

110g baking soda
950ml water
55g rock salt

Mix in a small bowl baking soda and water
Brush pretzels lightly with mixture
Sprinkle tops with rock salt
Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown all over
Let cool

Variations: for cinnamon pretzels, brush with melted butter instead of baking soda mixture. Then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture (100g sugar to 7g cinnamon). For chocolate pretzels, melt chocolate over double boiler. Do not brush pretzels with anything before baking. After baking, dip pretzels one side down into chocolate, then  let cool.

Now, what is your favorite beer?


A little under the weather

I wake up this morning feeling groggy, body heating up and generally not at the top of the world at the moment. And there are still loads of things to do. I recently purchased a few items for the test kitchen. Much of which I hope I will get my money’s worth.

Working in a professional kitchen is really tough. They do not teach you this at culinary school. Long hours. Doing a million things all at the same time, every dish identical all the time.

Down periods are meant for mise en place and hoping that you do not get in the weeds later on. You cover your bases. Cover the other cooks’ bases and asses. Maybe grab a bite. Standing up in a corner of the kitchen, grabbing any morsel, any scrap that may be lying around, just to feed the beast. Not garbage, mind you. Food. Real food. When did I eat last?

Lots of water. I think 8 glasses a day is not enough in a hot kitchen. Not enough. I drink maybe twice as that, and I still pee dark yellow, a sign of dehydration. Iced tea and coffee? Forget it. It’s a diuretic. Makes you want to grab the water pitcher after.

Burns, cuts. Circles under the eyes. Forgot to shave. I wish I did not have to shave. A goatee would look cool. But my face does not have that ability unfortunately.

Thankfully, I can still keep my whites impeccable during a shift. It would smell like food, but no stains, spills, oil or blood.

I need to encode some of my recipes. So in case I do lose my Scribe, I won’t cry. Costed out. Secret recipes and techniques. Anecdotes. The little black book is with me all the time, just in case.

Need to test out discovered recipes during my wonderings. Maybe the dead of night would allow some time to crank out a dish or two to see how it comes out, if it was even worth it.

Got boxes and crates of pasta, sauces and dressings last night. Something I can play with for the next two days. So much to play with. I can feed A whole village with this stuff for a whole week. Maybe that’s what I will do.

Need to catch up on my DVDs. Have gotten so many over the past few months, but never had time to view them. The ‘Back to the Future’ Trilogy is calling to me. Escape. Escape from the real world.

Personal problems. Physical problems. Financial dilemmas.

I love and hate Facebook. Too many opportunities. Let’s leave it at that.