Tender Cuts

Last week, I completed the last of three beginning cooking classes for men as part of an East Grand Forks Community Education program.

There were nine students in my class, and we had a lot of fun. Over the course of three weeks, I talked about (and demonstrated) recipes for sauces, soups and meats. In the third and final session, I talked about meats, specifically how to prepare different cuts and the many ways they can be cooked.

The highlight of the night was cooking up some round steak, elk tenderloin, chicken breasts and pheasant breasts and thighs on a Foreman Grill. I had marinated the meats overnight, so it was really tenderized. If you have a tough cut of meat, marinating it is the way to go. 

One of my students, Troy Newhouse of East Grand Forks, e-mailed me recently and asked for the marinade recipe, which I had given out in class. It seems he misplaced his copy.

The recipe, which follows, is very simple. Ideally, you should leave the meat in the marinade for at least 12 hours, although I’ve found it works OK with as little as four hours. Also find another marinade recipe, which I plan on adding to my repertoire. It contains balsamic vinegar, one of my favorite ingredients.

Meat Marinade
1 cup of terriyaki
1/3 cup of orange juice
1/3 cup of honey
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary
Mix all ingredients. Place meat in marinade and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least at 12 hours before grilling.

Grilled Strip Steak with Olives and Feta
4 strip steaks (or other favorite steak), about 6 ounces each
½ cup canola or olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
½ cup sliced mixed green and kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Cut several slits on the fat side of the strip steaks so they don’t curl when grilling. Place the steaks in a plastic bag. In a small bowl whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Pour half of the marinade over the steaks in the bag. Seal bag and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate the other half of the marinade.
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Let steaks sit at room temperature while you make the topping.
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the onions and saute until soft. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, olives and feta and saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Oil the grill grate. Place the steaks on the grill and grill 5 minutes or until you get good grill marks. If desired, turn on an angle and cook 1 to 2 minutes to get nice cross-hatch marks. Turn and continue grilling until the steak is cooked to the desired degree of doneness. It’s best to have an instant-read thermometer. For medium-rare, the internal temperature should range from 125 to 130 degrees. Cover with the topping and drizzle with remaining marinade, if desired.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 422 calories, 49 percent of calories from fat, 23 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 7 grams carbohydrates, 45 grams protein, 641 milligrams sodium, 112 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.