Monday, January 12, 2015

The Winter Griller Gets Confused

I had a long standing tradition.

If I did it here in Florida, this far South, it would require a scene worthy of a disaster movie, so it's something best done up North.

I would wait.  Bide my time.  Eventually it would happen.

I knew it was coming, I can't remember a year that it didn't.


When it came I was ready.  I had to go out back and grill.

Back then it was a flying saucer shaped Weber grill, a chimney to start the charcoal without that nasty starting fluid, matches and newspaper.

Come on, nobody really likes the taste of that starter fluid stuff on their steaks!

The charcoal starter was a nice, safe way to work through any lingering pyrotechnic/pyromaniac frustration you had leftover from when you were a wee brat.  Just crumble newspaper, set a steel cylinder on top of it, fill with charcoal and light the paper.  It would burn, catch the charcoal, and in about 10 minutes you could cook.

That was the plan.  Any breeze coming up the driveway and you had to get more paper since it would fan the flame and burn it all up too quickly.

I'd do that every time the first snow happened.  I would usually do it on any notable snowstorm during winter.   In and out the back door with steaks prepared to my liking along with burgers for the nay sayers and some corn to grill.

I was That Guy.  In the side yard.  Laughing at the weather.

All that went through my head as I pulled Lisa's Pepper Steak from the freezer.  Lisa passed back in summer, and when Bill moved off he dropped off two steaks at the house.  One was an amazing Delmonico steak that was tender like butter.

This second one was labeled "Pepper Steak" and "Product of Australia".  I promised to cook it upside down to make sure it wasn't confused.

A full pound of upside-down Frozen Pepper Steak was in my hands.

Slapping this freezer-aged steak on the counter, I went about my business dreaming of snowy afternoons and grilling food for friends, all the while looking at my swimming pool and the palm trees of the backyard.

When the time came, I laid out some plastic wrap to pound the steak with a big metal mallet.   Opening the package I realized I was confused.  The meat had been sliced down to thin ribbons.   Pepper steak?  This was sliced for someone to prepare a savory Asian Inspired delicacy, not for some confused Jersey Boy to pound to a pulp and grill in the backyard by the pool.

Cue the laughing.

Cue my grumbling as I went Australian in the kitchen.  Upside down under the oven.  That's where we have the Wok.  Actually, much to our chagrin, I have two.  You can never have too many Woks.

Never mind that, I enjoy Asian Inspired Cuisine (TM) and make it well.  Actually I make it well For Me.  You make it well For You.  It's like a burger.  The best burger in the world is one you make to your own specifications - for me it is Meat, Heat, and Eat.

I'll (TM) that one later.

I dutifully put it all on the heat, added a tablespoon or five of olive oil and another tablespoon of Anise Seeds.  When that all started to bubble and pop, I tossed in Lisa's Steak.  Add in some Hoisin Sauce for flavoring, about an ounce or two, to give it a sweet and savory sauce.

The house smelled like a restaurant, so I was on my way.

When the steak was cooked through, which took about 4 minutes, I dumped a two pound bag of pre-cut Asian Inspired Vegetables.

Hey, that's what they called it on the bag.  "Asian Inspired".

Politically Correct Water Chestnuts, Chopped Broccoli, and Red Bell Pepper chunks that I actually didn't pick out to nibble on as it cooked.

Still frozen, I had to wait for the wok to warm up again.

The noises and smells of the feast drew my faithful sidekick, Rack the SuperDog (TM). 

"Dad, can I have a taste too?" his brown eyes said as he caught me nibbling a choice chunk of Pepper Steak now cooked perfectly.

I flicked a piece to the side and handed it to him.

Doggy heaven.

Human Heaven too.  I forgot how much I enjoyed home made Politically Correctly Named Asian Inspired Pepper Steak.

Like a good old friend, even if it wasn't made in the backyard swatting Mosquitoes away.

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