Picture update!

So over the last few months of my non updating I have been up to a few things.

Including an AMAZING trip to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga. We also saw “Love” the Cirque Du Soleil show and it was one of the best things I have ever seen in my life. Not only did it reignite my love for the beatles, but it was so wonderful that I insisted we see it again. The food we ate was so delicious! It was such a great spur of the moment trip, I still cannot believe it happened. I also fell in love completely with one of the performers in the cirque show. Sad that he will never know it! (If you ever see it, the guy with the flowers /swoooooooooooon!!!!)

Covered in streamers from the end of the Love show!

We hit up the Bellagio buffet and check out our dessert haul, hah!

Lady Gaga was one of the most amazing concerts I have seen or will ever see, hands down. It was like a crazy amped up theatrical performance, I loved it! Β She also said how much she loved her fans about 50 times and it made me love her even more.

our VIP tickets were so great! πŸ™‚

We also ate at the most A-MAZING burger place I have ever tasted called BLT Burger. Omg. If you are in vegas, go to the mirage and eat there. The burgers are to die for, as are the milkshakes and the sweet potato fries. Nothing was bad! Oh my. We ate there twice!

Such an amazing trip! Though we didn’t win big at all, which was upsetting. 😦

 

We did see a guy walk right into a fountain and start stealing change….we named him Water Coins. Hah!

 

Since then there has been a lot of fantasy football (my team BLOWS), lots of sleeping over at Kevin and Alex’s house, and lots and lots and lots and lots of homework. Planning to go to a great grad school I’m super focused on my grades so I’ve got lots of work to do always. Sadly this makes for not a lot of cooking time 😦

 

I’ve also taken to absolutely hating my face-greased iphone 3G because it is the SLOWEST most awful phone ever. It keeps freezing and not loading anything about 50% of the time.

 

I may just smash it.

 

I’ve taken to using my amazing Love blanket I got in Vegas. πŸ™‚ I couldn’t decide what to get at the store but decided on a throw at the last minute because I’m perpetually freezing.

 

The same BFF of mine that got me the awesome lady gaga seats also got me a ticket to a great Rays/Angels game. πŸ™‚ He’s pretty freakin fantastic πŸ™‚ And he’s supposed to be here at the end of the month! I’m so excited!! I hope he has fun here in the O, we have plans for Universal and lots of movie watching!

 

The family next to me left when the Rays were down in the 6th.

Ahaha, my mouth looks crazy! I love it!

My moms chickens are also starting to lay eggs! Our fridge is filling up! She’s super excited. She actually just got 10 more chicks that lay fancy eggs. By fancy I mean they are dark chocolate brown eggs and sell for some serious $$.

 

Since a few months ago when I started using our cast iron pan to start seasoning it my Dad took an interest in it. Then when I made my restaurant steak he got REALLY interested in it and wanted to get some more pans. He took a trip with my mom up to North Carolina a weekend or two ago and they had a mission to find used cast iron pans at a flea market. They ended up finding quite a few and brought 3 back home in different sizes. Super exciting! They learned a lot about which ones are the best to get and which are the oldest American made ones and also how to tell if they weren’t made in America.

He’s really excited that one of the pans, which was really rusty, needed to be scrubbed and seasoned so he did that tonight.

 

The boys were really interested because of the...

Lard! Yum.

 

Phew! I think I covered mostly everything. If not, c’est la vie. πŸ™‚ It’s great to be back, my darlings.

Restaurant Steak

Hello, beauties! πŸ™‚ I have spent my day redoing so many things on my computer because I had to format on a whim the other night. Thank you, pop up ads! But everything is fine and I didn’t lose anything (that I know of…)

So after the chocolate pants cake fiasco the other day, I haven’t tried baking anything. I have been cooking delicious meats! Since my Mama is out of town I’m in charge of feeding the Papa bear so I’ve had a bit of leeway with cooking this week. I don’t mind cooking for myΒ Mom at all, but it is easier to cook for 2 thanΒ 3. You don’t have to double recipes and other things.

Β I have a brine for porkchops that is seriously to die for, I’ll make a post on that soon. This post is about steak πŸ™‚

Last year, Adam of The Amateur Gourmet posted a link about making the perfect steak. I’ve been dying to try it and finally gave it a whirl tonight.

Two things to start off with:

  • I did not use a New York strip steak, those are astronomically priced so I just cut up a sirloin we were going to use.
  • I would probably triple the amount of seasoning I put on as I didn’t get a “crust” on my steak like I was supposed to.

Get your steaks out, your seasonings ready (salt and pepper), a cast iron pan (or any pan but get it very very hot, but preferably cast iron or stainless steel), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Also take out 2-3 tablespoons of butter per steak and 2-3 cloves of garlic per steak. You will also want a few sprigs of fresh thyme, however, I had none!

Once your steak is cut up (or if you bought it pre-cut), time to season!

According to the video, you’re supposed to use pepper that is not finely ground and then top it with salt. This keeps the pepper from burning.

As you can see, I went really light on the spices. Should have been a bit heavier. Primarily cover the large sides and any that has spilled around the steak, roll the sides of the steak in.

Now here is one of my biggest tips I have learned so far in my short jaunt into cooking: cast iron rules. So get yourself one ASAP! I use my pan for so many things, it works so well. Lodge is my favorite since it’s made in good ol’ Tennessee and has been for over 100 years.

Now, Make sure your pan is scorching hot*. You want the crust to happen so everything needs to carmelize and create that very quickly.

*A friend of mine just tried this and says I advise it should not be scorching hot. So make it very hot! I don’t want you burning your house down. πŸ™‚

After your pan is hot enough, add some oil (I used olive and I think I put a bit too much.)

Once your steak has sizzled for a few minutes, check it to make sure the crust is forming. Since mine didn’t really form one because of not enough seasoning + too much oil, I jus waited til my fat started to turn golden brown, then flipped.

This looks more like pork than steak! Woops πŸ˜‰

Β 

While the other side is sizzlin’ make sure you tip your pan and use a spoon to ladle and baste some oil to the top of your steak since it’s about to go into the oven.

Remove from the heat and place your butter, garlic, and thyme into the pan. I felt like there was too much oil so I drained some of it before I put the pan into the oven.

Β 

Also, I love butter. So…I used 3 T for each steak πŸ˜‰ mmmm. Cholestorol!

Check until the meat feels a little firm if you want a medium rare steak. It took me 6-8 minutes to get mine perfect.

Shiny steak is delicious steak πŸ™‚

Not usually. I have never thought that before but hey…I’m sellin ya on this!

Β 

The steak, despite my failure at making a crust, tasted freaking awesome. If I had made a crust and had the thyme in there, it would have been freaking fabulous. I really cannot wait to try it again now that I know what I did wrong.

One of my main problems is that I’m really worried I’m going to over season something. It gets scary sometimes! I don’t want to add too much salt! But on the other hand…I could care less about adding too much butter πŸ˜‰

I really wanted to have time to make another recipe post, Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run just posted a cookie recipe that has 14 tablespoons of butter in it and I swear to God I swooned when I read it. I’m also remaking her chicken and biscuits recipe soon for my Mama once she is back in town. So there’s two things to look forward to! πŸ™‚

As for this weekend, I have 2 VIP Lady Gaga tickets to use! One of my best friends surprised me with them and I had to throw together an impromptu trip to Las Vegas at the end of last week. Two of my best friends here were able to make it work to come with, and it works out because Alex is the biggest Lady Gaga fan I know! πŸ™‚ Huge post on that when I get back (or possibly while I’m there?), and a huge post on the buffets πŸ˜‰

Chocolate Pants Cake

Intrigued by the title? I sure hope so!

So remember a few posts ago (I tried to find it to link it but alas…I cannot! I type too many words per entry.) I told y’all I would be documenting my cooking triumphs and failures?

Well, I have another failure for you! πŸ˜‰ It seems like I post those more than I post triumphs! However, I think it’s more fun this way. I’m still learning! I know a lot of others out there in blogger/internet world are, too. I also know that I get frustrated and scream to the heavens (in my head) that these people who wrote the recipes never had to deal with these failures!!! Why me!?!?

Which of course we all know is false. Still. I wonder it.

Onward we shall go with my tale of chocolate pants cake.

The other night I was in my amazing google reader and I saw that Smitten Kitchen had updated. Now, I love that blog. It drives me to go bake things all of the time because her pictures are beyond amazing and she is so fun. So, she posted a wonderful chocolate cake recipe and I was amazed that I had the book she had gotten the recipe from! Hooray, so exciting!! So I vowed to make it the next day.

Her directions are very simple and require a very small amount of dishes so I was even more pumped up. That’s my least favorite thing about baking.

So here I am, mixing my ingredients, looking smug about how great the batter tastes and how it’ll be done before it’s too late in the evening.

Also smug about the batter I got on my counter.

I popped it into the oven and was ready to kick back for an hour when I realized….I forgot to add baking soda.

Well, poop.

Quickly, I whined to my Papa who told me to toss it and start over otherwise I’d just be more upset.

Onto cake numero 2!

Added everything!

Kicked back.

Chilled.

Wondered to myself “I wonder why the middle isn’t rising? Oh well. It will, it’s only been in for 30 minutes.”

Wondered again “There’s only 15 minutes left and it’s still not rising.”

Papa says “Your cake fell.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I cried. (In my head)

And this was the result.

😦

Sinkhole Cake

How upsetting!

I thought maybe I could get away with frosting it and covering the hole.

My cat judged me.

To the icing!!

See?! You can’t even tell. Kind of. Just that it bends a bit with the plate. Hrrm.

The foundation is crumbling!

Now, just because a cake doesn’t rise doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! This cake honestly tastes like rich brownies and I’d recommend baking it. However, mine cooked a little too long because my oven runs very hot. So keep a check on it after about 40 minutes.

And if your cake falls and you cover it in icing then eat a piece? Be prepared for a plateful of chocolate cake pants. πŸ˜‰