Pan Fried Steak

Pan Fried Steak

 

Pan fried steak is one of my favorite meals. Maybe it is too cold during these late fall evenings to stand by the grill or maybe you are just tired of going outside when the kitchen is so near and dear to your heart. Good news! There is another way to make a moist, great steak; whether it is a cheap steak or fairly expensive one – and you won’t need to embarrass yourself by asking for steak sauce this time. First off, a refresher course about good beef. Here are a few rules discussed from my Target Beef Ratings article:

  1. There is absolutely nothing you can do to make a flavorless steak taste better. You can smother it with steak sauce, but you’ll only be tasting the sauce and not the beef.
  2. Tender steaks don’t always taste the best
  3. Expensive steaks don’t always taste the best either
  4. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a flavorful steak
  5. Target Club Steaks and Sirloins are the tastiest most affordable way to go

With the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at a simple steak recipe using the ingredients below that anyone can make, yet everyone will love.

Pan Fried Steak Ingredients

The pan fried steak recipe pictured above (sorry for the somewhat poor, iPhone photo) is made from the following ingredients: Petite Sirlon steaks from Target; garlic power, black pepper, butter and one roasted or grilled, large white or yellow onion. Judging by the appearance of the photo, you might be misled into believing there are more ingredients than there actually are. Don’t be fooled. Nothing could be simpler, tastier and easier to make – and it won’t take but a few minutes. Here is the recipe.

Pan Fried Steak Recipe

First thing you want to do is put aside the beloved, Foreman Grill. Not only is it not necessary, but it won’t do as good a job as a good ol’ cast-iron skillet.
Warm up your light-olive-coated, skillet to medium-high heat. Sprinkle the Target Sirloin steaks with garlic power and black pepper on both sides and place them in the hot griddle. In about 5 minutes, check the bottom of the steaks. They should be brown and semi-crisp, Now, turn over the steaks and coat each one with two or more slabs of butter. Turn the heat down to low and cover the steaks with chopped, roasted onions and cover your skillet with a lid. In about 5-7 minutes, you will notice how your butter, grilled onions and beef have magically turned into a beautiful, brown gravy. That’s it. What you see in the picture is what you get and that’s with no added water, wine or sauces to make it that way. By now, your steaks are done and they taste every bit as good as they look.

Optional:
Add mushrooms along with the butter and onions. You can’t go wrong with this recipe, but you do have to have a good cut of beef from either your local butcher; Target, Costco or even Walmart. Enjoy!

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The Myth about Steak Sauce

a1 steak sauce

“Pass the A1 steak sauce.”

“Don’t you dare ruin that good steak with steak sauce!”  How many times have you reached for the Heinz 57 or A1 Steak sauce only to get scolded as if you were about to do something sacrilegious or just plain evil and insane? It’s as if you were accused of dousing your neighbor’s steak with arsenic. Who’s the one eating it, anyway? I think it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Even those of us who have accused others of ruining a really good steak have done the same thing ourselves at one time or another – and we all do it for the same reason: we want to make something good even better. A tender, pink and juicy Filet is hard to beat on its own, or is it? Can you possibly make that pink, juicy, succulent cut of beef more flavorful; richer, zestier and exciting than it already is in its own natural state? Furthermore, have you ever seen or known someone who has done such an evil deed and regretted the way it tasted? You might expect them to react in such a way as, “Gee, you’re right – that last bit of steak, smothered in A1 steak sauce was awful. I’ll never do something like that again! I sure wish I had listened to you before I ruined my steak” That’s not the typical reaction of the accused. On the contrary, the steak sauce lover has that guilty look of extreme pleasure and satisfaction and is already anticipating how they can devour their entire steak in the same manner without creating an uproar the size of the next world war. It does’t have to be this way, nor should it. In this brief, steak sauce review I will prove why it is not only acceptable to use steak sauce on an expensive cut of red meat, but desirable. Here is why you should enjoy your Heinz 57 and A1 steak sauce guilt free.

The Myth about Steak Sauce

Steak Sauce is Like a Good Bottle of Wine

If you want to enjoy your steak sauce without having to make excuses or apologize for it, you will need to educate those purist-steak snobs who are dining with you. Like wine, a good steak sauce does not hide the flavor of the meat you are eating, it enhances it.  How would your dining partners feel if you asked them the same question they asked you earlier: “You’re not going to ruin that good steak with that  bottle of dry, red Cabernet are you?” They might think you are nuts for asking such a question, but in essence is the very same thing as having steak sauce with your steak.The myth about steak sauce is that it ruins a good steak. Not so. The vinegar acids, sugars and alcohol from the wine enhances the flavor of steak in the very same way as your steak sauce. Now, obviously a bad steak sauce can overpower a good steak. The purpose of the steak sauce is to provide just enough subtle acid and sweetness to bring out the meat’s natural flavor. It is a myth that a good steak sauce is only for a bad steak. In fact, the better the steak, the better it tastes with a good steak sauce. So, which steak sauce do we choose and why?

A1 vs Heinz 57 Steak Sauce

heinz 57 steak sauceI realize there are a large number of steak sauce brands on the market. It is not the purpose of my article to review them all, but to provide some guidelines. A1 and Heinz 57 steak sauce are among the most popular and serve as a good standard for comparison of other similar brands. In my opinion, neither one of these steak sauces will ruin a good steak. Of the two types, Heinz 57 steak sauce has the stronger flavor and is therefore better suited for steaks that lack flavor. A1 steak sauce is the lighter, more subtle steak sauce and is better suited for very flavorful cuts of red meat.  Have you ever had one of those tender, juicy steaks that is perfect in every way yet lacks a beefy flavor? Heinz 57 is suited best for these kinds of steaks. The most flavorful steaks go best with A1 steak sauce. It really is liking taking a sip of Cabernet with each and every bite of meat. So, next time your friends and family members scoff at you at the dinner table between sips of their Cabernet, pass them the steak sauce and explain to them that it’s not the flavor of the steak sauce you’re enjoying, but the flavor of the steak. Teach them how even with the best steak there is always room for improvement or they wouldn’t be drinking their wine with dinner. A good steak sauce is an alternative for having wine with your meal – and there is no reason you can’t have both.

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Caribou Obsidian K-Cups

caribou obsidianIn the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to continue updating my ratings on the best k cups. When I learned that Starbucks K Cups would be coming out in November, I stopped by my local Walmart and Target at least once every other day to see if they were on the shelves. Each time, I ended up buying 18-pack box of something else to tide me over until the Starbucks is finally here. Last week, I reviewed the worst and the best in Grove Square (yuck) and Emeril Big Easy Bold (excellent). Once again, I need to revise my ratings and put a new one on the very top: Caribou Obsidian. I can describe Carbibou Obsidian in one word:  Delicious. Wait a minute – something’s missing. Let’s add a few adjectives:  bold, complex, smooth and deep. Will there be any reason to buy Starbucks after this? It depends on the price.

Price of Caribou Obsidian K-Cups

An 18-Pack of Caribou Obsidian K-Cups costs the same at Walmart as most of my other favorite brands: $11.88. I did notice another brand at my local Target store which looked suspiciously like Starbucks: Barista Prima, which sells for $14.95 for an 18-Pack in familiar Starbuck varieties like Breakfast Blend and Columbian. Honestly, I’m glad that I didn’t try the Barista Prima at that high price. The Caribou Obsidian K-Cups will be very difficult, even for Starbucks to beat. If Caribou Obsidian is priced considerably lower, it’s going to be hard for me to justify buying Starbucks. That appears to be the case.

Starbucks K Cups Available Now at Costco

Through answers.com, I found out that Costco is now advertising Starbucks Verona K-Cups at $36.00 for a 54-Pack. That’s 67 cents a cup. There are other brands of K-Cups at Costco in an 80-Pack selling for .45 cents a cup. Even in the small, 18-Pack, Caribou Obsidian is only 66 cents a cup. If I can find Caribou Obsidian in the 80-pack for 45 cents a cup, I’ll forget all about the Starbucks K Cups. So, here are the new K Cups Ratings.

Latest K Cups Coffee Ratings

5-stars is the highest

  1. Caribou Obsidian: 4.90
  2. Emeril’s Big Easy Bold: 4.75
  3. Newman’s Organic Extra Bold: 4.5
  4. Green Mountain Sumatra: 4.45
  5. Donut Shop: 4.40
  6. Green Mountain Breakfast Blend: 4.00
  7. Van Houtte Kenya Kilmandjaro K-Cup: 3.95
  8. Folgers Black Silk K-Cup: 3.00
  9. Grove Square Coffee: 1.00

As of this writing, Caribou Obsidian K-Cups are my favorite.

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Grove Square Coffee

K Cups Ratings

grove square coffeeIn the past couple of weeks I’ve tried two new K Cups brands; one really good and one not so good. I am not afraid to try new things especially when the price is really low. Grove Square Coffee K Cups are only $7.98 for an 18-pack. The premium brands that I’m most familiar with cost $11.88 for an 18-Pack at Walmart, including popular ones like Donut Shop Coffee, Newmans Organic Extra Bold, Green Mountain Dark Magic/Breakfast Blend and Van Houtte. Then,  last and least was the Folders Dark Silk which was cheaper, not worth the savings,  and previously ranked in last place in my previous K-Cups Coffee Ratings. Well, step aside Folgers – there is a new kid in town and he just knocked you out of the last place spot in the latest K-Cups Ratings: on Grove Square.

Grove Square Coffee Tasting Notes

Grove Square coffee tastes unlike any other coffee, I’ve ever tried, including k-cups, canned coffee and whole bean bags. I’m not sure how to describe Grove Square except for that it reminds me of instant coffee. When I brewed my first Grove Square K-Cup, I immediately noticed the aroma of coffee was missing. I feared it would be very weak, but it looked dark in my cup. It smelled sweet and tasted sweet, but not very rich and not very tasty. In fact, the smell of the coffee when you bring the cup up to your mouth is a turn-off. Though Grove Square is described on the box as a medium bodied coffee, I don’t know how anyone could tell because it simply doesn’t taste much like any type of coffee. It’s also hard to believe the claim on the box that Grove Square is made with Arabica beans. Another interesting observation: the grounds inside an unopened K-Cup Grove Square have a looser rattle to them as if the grounds are bigger. Sure enough, there were grounds left on the bottom of my cup. If you’re wondering how I could finish a whole cup of it based on my unappetizing description, I needed the caffeine. The Grove Square is not outright horrible – it just doesn’t taste like coffee.

emerils big easy bold k cupsNow that I’ve told you about the new entry in the last place slot, it’s time to tell you about the one that replaces Newman’s Organic Extra Bold in the Best K Cups Coffee category: Emeril’s Big Easy Bold. I was hesitant to try Emeril’s Big Easy Bold because the box described it on the dark side, and as a Parisian Roast. Typically, I don’t care for European Roast coffees which almost always taste over-roasted, smokey and burnt to me. Not so with Emeril’s Big Easy Bold.

Emeril’s Big Easy Bold Tasting Notes

This particular k-cups coffee is very adequately named. It is bold, yet it is easy in that it doesn’t have that over-powering taste of burnt-smokey water of some of the over-roasted European brands. It is full, bold, rich and smooth – everything I like about dark coffee. Emeril’s Big Easy Bold comes is the closest thing I’ve had to the Starbucks Tassimo T Discs which are my favorite. In fact, when the Starbucks K Cups come out, they better be competitively priced, or they may lose my business to Emeril’s Big Easy Bold.

If you made the same mistake I did buying the Grove Square, just save the remaining k-cups for your boss or other unwanted guests who ask for a cup of coffee next time they visit.

K Cups Coffee Ratings

k cups ratings5-stars is the highest

    1. Emeril’s Big Easy Bold: 4.75
    2. Newman’s Organic Extra Bold: 4.5
    3. Green Mountain Sumatra: 4.45
    4. Donut Shop: 4.40
    5. Green Mountain Breakfast Blend: 4.00
    6. Van Houtte Kenya Kilmandjaro K-Cup: 3.95
    7. Folgers Black Silk K-Cup: 3.00
    8. Grove Square Coffee: 1.00

 

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Snoboss Shovel

snoboss shovelSince first seeing the Snoboss shovel at Home Depot last year, I decided to look up some actual user reviews on this large, peculiar-looking snow shovel. My large driveway requires a lot of horizontal and vertical distances to cover with a standard shovel, so I’ve often wondered if there is a better way. The Snoboss (Snowboss or Snow Boss) is a drastically looking looking different tool than the typical, snow shovels I’m used to. While my other two snow shovels are ergonomically designed, they do not have the deep, double-hand scoop of the snoboss. In theory, the snoboss makes the job of shoveling a driver quicker and easier on the back. What specifically is different about the features and physical properties of the Snoboss that supposedly make it superior for shoveling snow?

Snoboss Shovel Physical Properties and Features

The snoboss is described as an Ames True-Temper Snow pusher. A quick glance at the snoboss will tell you that it is better suited for pushing larger volumes of snow. Hopefully, this means you don’t have to cover as much distance, going back and forth to do the job. Additionally the snoboss is ergonomically designed in such a way to minimize lifting and strain on the back. The double u-shaped, handle gives users a dual grip for dispersing the weight of the snow when lifting and pushing. If that’s not enough to push through heavy snow, the snoboss also includes a ledge for

ergonomic snow shovelusing your feet. Why would I be interested in a big shovel like this? Well, because the current shovel I use (See Picture to the left) is incapable of paving across the width of my driveway without leaving behind streaks of snow on both sides of the shovel. So, even a relatively light snow storm of say 4-6″ means that for every path I pave, I have to make two trips back and forth to pickup the leftover snow. My hope is that the Snoboss is big enough and holds enough volume in snow that I can make a spotless path from one side of the driveway to the other. This looks and sounds great in theory, but before I plop down $38.00 on a snow shovel, what are people actually saying about the Snoboss shovel? Does it do a good job and can I find one review that proves the Snoboss will accomplish the task of being able to shovel a spotless paved path across the width of a large driveway?

Snoboss Ratings

snoboss ratings
Over 34 users of the Snoboss rated it 4 stars on Amazon and another 9 ranked it 4 stars from Home Depot. A 4-Star rating out of 43 users is not bad, but what could keep this product from getting 5 stars? For one, thing there seems to be a number of users disappointed in the bottom blade edge of the snoboss, citing that the metal was soft, poorly made and didn’t stay flat against the pressure of the snow. Well, okay, not a deal killer, but how about making a clean sweep across my driveway without leaving streaks of on both sides of the path? Well, apparently, the snoboss isn’t perfect in that respect either. A small number of users reported that while the snoboss does much better than a standard shovel in this regard, there is still some spillage over the sides when going across the driveway. The other small gripe is that the snoboss shovel is a little bit cumbersome for maneuvering corners. So, what about the positives? Nearly all users of the snoboss unanimously agreed that it makes the job of cleaning the driveway much easier and quicker than your standard snow shovel. Everyone also agreed that this shovel is far easier on the back and makes the job much less straining. Even those, who didn’t rate the Snoboss with a perfect 5-star rating, admitted that they preferred it to their typical snow shovel.

Pros and Cons of the Snoboss

PROS

  • Better Ergonomics for less strain on the back.
  • Multiple handles provide better leverage for lifting snow.
  • Large Volume scoop gets the job done quicker.

CONS

  • Flimsy Metal blade on bottom (May have been fixed in newer models)
  • Large size makes it rather difficult for negotiating turns
  • Despite large scoop still suffers some spillage of snow out the sides.
  • Price is about $10 to $15 higher than your typical snow shovel

 

Conclusion

The Snoboss is not the perfect snow shovel, but I have yet to find one that is. If you live in an area where you can expect more than a handful of rough, snowy days, why not arm yourself with all the help you can get? The fact that the snowboss will help minimize back pain is reason enough alone to buy one. The benefits of getting the job done quicker are merely the icing on the cake – or should we say the snow off the driveway? We’re expecting 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow morning, I wish I had already bought a snoboss shovel

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