Friday, December 18, 2009

Coolio's Fork Steak

So yeah. Went to Shaw's in our lovely 15 degree Boston weather to pick up the ingredients for Coolio's Fork Steak and The New York Times' Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Brown Butter and Sage Salt ( could be pithier eh?) last night. I guess I'm mixing my genres a bit here, with The Master Kitchen Pimp and The New York Times, but I like to live dangerously. One thing to note about the NYT recipe is that it's from Thanksgiving... three heads of cauliflower is A LOT. So you might want to pare it down. I didn't, and now we have many containers full of cauliflower... luckily it's really tasty, so that's not exactly a disaster... but if you don't want to be eating cauliflower for a week you might want to figure how to half or third it. The recipe is kind of weird because you put a pan of water on the bottom of the oven, so I guess it sort of steam/roasts the cauliflower... but it worked (though took more like 45 minutes in my oven) so I guess there is not much reason to complain.

Now, with the hoity-toity NYT dealt with, on to Coolio!

Believe it or not there is some chuck steak (your perfect braising cut of steak) under all that. Now, the recipe you'll find for Fork Chicken online with the video is slightly different than the one in the cookbook... mainly just in the fact that he gives you more exact measurements. In a somewhat heretical move, I overruled Coolio's request for exactly 6 mushrooms and just put the whole package in... braised mushrooms are too damn tasty to not pack them in there. I also threw in some diced jalapeƱos since I still have some extra after the pepper pickling. I used two, but it didn't really add any fire to the dish, which was a little disappointing (though obviously not Coolio's fault). As far as the beer for the braising liquid, I'm not entirely sure Raison D'Etre would be Coolio's choice... but I figured I'd already damaged my ghetto cred so badly by using an All-Clad pan (it was the right size and had a lid!) that there was no going back.

Here we are an hour or so later... I went longer since I had one steak that was fairly thick, and as the man says: if you can't cut it with a fork it ain't done. Pretty good stuff. It's basically just a pot roast, but with a substantially shorter braising time since you're using steaks instead of a roast. Nice, economical, and a quick prep... the meat was incredibly tender and well seasoned... I've got no complaints, though perhaps ideally I'd reduce or thicken that braising liquid for more of a gravy experience, but that's fairly far afield of Coolio's school of thought.

I'm gonna try one of his chicken recipes before I head down to Baltimore for the holidays, and that will probably be it for our Christmas of Coolio. I can't say I'm going to buy it, but I would say that the cookbook works as advertised... you could do a lot worse for quick and tasty home-style grub.

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