Wednesday, November 01, 2006

*100th Post Celebration! *

** May all vegetarians and vegans please be warned, this post contains a lot of meat.

Gosh... I can't believe that this is my 100th post! I have gone past the realm of "two-digits" and am now in unchartered territory oooooh... haha. I felt that the 100th post warranted something really special, so here I am writing about my favorite most ultimate eating venue - my HOME. That's right folks, contrary to the popular belief, most of my most memorable and kickass feeds are partaken right here in my humble abode. This also covers the celebration of JT's birthday but more so a celebration of MEAT.

One of my most prized possessions. A 10kg slab of grilling stone that I lugged back from Korea. In fact I actually lugged back three! There's a funny story about how this Korean porter tried to lift my luggage containing all the stones with one hand after laughing in my face when I warned him that it was heavy but we'll leave that for another time...

Come to think of it, it is rather interesting that most of my dinner parties pretty much degenerate into a meat and alcohol fest. But let's have a closer look at the spread for tonight shall we?

Australian grainfed ribeye, one of my favorite cuts when I was in Australia. This was in the selection for nostalgia's sake.

One of the best things that happened this year was lifting the ban on USDA beef. This is USDA cornfed ribeye.

How can this be considered a meat fest where there's no star of the show? I present my favorite cut at the moment, Wagyu ribeye.

Look at the fine marbling of interstitial fat. I kid you not when I say that I was salivating when the butcher was slicing this.

No cast is complete without some supporting actors. Spicy Brazilian linguica, the sausages I've grown to love from my churrascaria days.

Cheese and red wine, this was recommended by the butcher but it sounded too classy for my liking. It tasted ok, abit salty but still all good.

And of course we can't forget German bratwurst, although I eat this for breakfast almost everyday, I still don't get bored of it. Amazing!

Wagyu beef patties. The would provide some amusement later on after all the steaks are taken care of.

Although this was very good quality pork belly (hand-sliced by yours truly), somehow it just played second fiddle to the beef that night.

I did enjoy frying the skins which I removed from the pork belly to make this nice bowl of crackling. This was an excellent snack to munch on while the stone was heating up.

Shrooms have got to be my favorite vegetable because they're not green, taste great and do not contribute any oxygen to our environment hahaha. Here we have shitake, shimeji and oyster.

Condiments are like the foley artistes and backstage crew, you need them around. Good quality steak does not need any marinade, just a quick dash of sea salt and sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper is all you should need. The whole-grain mustard, chicken salt and lemons are in for seasoning other foods like the mushrooms and the mashed ginger and garlic are mainly for the pork. Japanese chilli-pepper is good for anything.

And of course we needed something to wash it all down. My beverage of choice at the moment, shoju.

Australian grassfed ribeye was the first to go onto the grill. Since we wanted to make this somewhat "academic" we decided to do a taste test between the three ribeyes.

A steak should only be turned once. This ensures that the juices are kept in. NEVER press your steak down against the heating element, that only creates leathery dry steaks.

Although I eyeball most of my steaks to see when they are done, it doesn't hurt to have your meat timer on stand-by. Yes, I DO take my meat very seriously muahaha.

Medium rare, I reckon the most cooked a steak should be is medium rare, ok, medium rare plus if it's a bone-in cut but anything more than that and you're pushing it. To everyone who cooks their steak ultra well done because they're afraid of the mad cow disease, I have some sobering news, prions are just simple protein strands, i.e. they can't be denatured further, cooking it at maximal domestic heat is not going to hurt a prion. Anyway this tasted just as good as I remembered it down under.

USDA cornfed ribeye, as you can see the meat fibres are finer in this cut compared to the Aussie one and as such it was significantly more tender as well. This won the Aussie ribeye by a close margin.

Wagyu.... this looked so beautiful I couldn't bear put my blade to it. But, what the heck, I did so anyway haha.

This stuff literally melts in your mouth, like really, you put it in and it just melts. This blows away all the competition hands down. It is so tender that even a blunt blade just glides through it.

Grilling mushrooms on a stone grill is always tricky because it's hard to get even cooking especially on the larger ones. That's when we had this lightbulb moment. Covering it with a stainless-steel plate allows the heat to concentrate and build up to levels strong enough to create all round cooking.

And there we have them, perfectly and evenly grilled tender shrooms.

Grill the garlic slices in butter till they're golden for a nice fragrant condiment to any of the meats.

Grilled garlic goes particularly well with the belly pork slices.

By chance we found that a dash of sea salt and Japanese chilli powder made the pork taste superb!

We had no choice but to slice up the sausages so that they'll be well-cooked. The steel plate cover method works extremely well with these too.

These tasted so good I almost wanted to sing the Oscar Mayer Weiner song again but since none of these actually were Oscar Mayer Weiners, I thought it rather rude to do so. You have to respect your meat. And I'm talking about serious respect here, like West-Side-Tupac style respect.

I tried to create a Mickey face with these three patties but didn't want them to be too close lest the heat gets poorly distributed, so in the end they looked like this. Not really anything Disney about them really.

Although this was minced, you could still taste its Wagyu heritage. This was so juicy and beefy that you could almost hear "moo" with every bite.

All of this heat had to be extinguished with refreshing cold shoju lemon on the rocks.

The Korean stone grill is actually on a very slight gradient so all the oil drips to one end and flows out through this nifty oil drain. Since all the oil is gotten rid of, this must be healthy eating haha.

Of course no celebration is truly complete without a cake.

Ricciotti is another sister cafe from the Garibaldi group. It is actually really more of a tea and coffee house but still offers main courses like Menotti. They don't have the range of cocktails and more exotic coffees like Menotti. Their cakes are top-notched though and I find their cakes way fresher and tastier than the ones you get at Menotti, this is probably because they specialize in the cakes and they are baked fresh here and transported to Girabaldi and Menotti.

The cakes are very pretty. As you can see, quite abit of effort has gone into making them look good. However, looking good alone is meaningless if it doesn't taste good and fortunately this Mocha Passion tasted most excellent.

"Happy Birthday to JT. Happy 100th Post to D!" Hip hip hooray!

This is a very light mousse cake with layers of coffee and chocolate mousse. Despite being extremely light and fluffy, the richness of the ingredients still show through making this very enjoyable indeed.

Set upon a base made of chocolate and rice bubbles, this was so tasty that we finished it all in one sitting. That's quite spectacular as I'm usually not a big fan of cake.

With so much meat in the house, it was indeed a pimp-worthy night. And who better to grace this event than birthday Pimpdaddy JT showing off his birthday bling haha!


p.s: I do apologize if I sound abit wacked in this post but writing about so much meat gets me high like that haha. So far it's actually been quite fun blogging and all, I'm truly quite surprised with the amount of commitment I've had in this since I started and hopefully I'll be in it for the long run because I'll definitely like to do a *1000th Post Celebration!* as well.


Anonymous said...

Happy 100th!

All that meat reminded me of your undergraduate years...steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Shudder never seen so much meat in my life-time....until I met Mr Vitamin T of course ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ricciotti does offer main courses like Menotti. In fact, they offer the same dish of the braised lamb shanks. They have a selection of pastas and also do some daily pizzas.

All the desserts for the Garibaldi restaurants are baked here and delivered to the other outlets. Personally, I've tried a number of their small desserts and found them most blah although pretty. Their tiramisu sucks. Their gelato is nice though and made inhouse apparently.

Don't think I've ever tried Wagyu but agree, having all that oil render off does make things look healthier ;)

D said...

shoki: What does T in Vitamin T stand for? Wait... do I want to know?

cindy: Thanks for the correction, I checked their menus online and you're right that Ricciotti does serve main courses like Menotti as well. Have amended accordingly. I guess when the person at Ricciotti said, "We are more of a coffee, tea and cake place" when I asked him what's the main difference between the two, it was quite an understatement haha.

Yes, I truly agree that the small desserts are pretty pathetic especially the tiramisu at Menotti.

I've only picked up the large cakes from Ricciotti, not sure if their small desserts are any better because I never dine-in but since they are the distributor for the cakes, they may be fresher here.

Anonymous said...

Their food tends to be oversalted (when it is, it's very much so) but the more reliable items are the lamb shank and cannelloni which are pre-made and just nuked :P.

Try the gelato, I do like it. Their house wines are cheap too but nothing special.

Hmm, looking at your meat fest I am reminded of churrascaria, I haven't had one in a long time. Which is your fav? Although truth be told, rather than a meat-flood, I'll rather just have one really good piece with a lovely bottle of wine in relaxing company. Mmmm

Sammy said...

You must have hell of a meatabolism...

Anonymous said...

I love mushrooms too! Especially those japanese ones! ;) looks kind of cute also hee~


I'm more of a fish person though~ salmon!!! x)

Anonymous said...

D: I'm not surprised about the Churrascaria. I've read elsewhere more than one report of them giving preferential treatment to Caucasians. I haven't been for a long time myself as have not been craving the food. I find only certain items really good, the ham, pineapple, fish and CHICKEN HEARTS. I prob hold a record for the last one...

Mama Lucia, I only tried their italian food.

Lord Dianabol said...

All you vegetarians out there, get bent.

If the meat is good, the meal is good.

Magnifique, magnifico, bravo! Licking the screen has never tasted this good!!!

cruel-intentions said...

great 100th post.
how long does it take to cook 1 side of the beef if i one it medium rare?

D said...

cindy: ahh yes, a good wine, a good steak and good company. What more could one ask for?

RE: Chicken Hearts?
You? The record holder? Bleah =P
I'll take you down anytime, I'll take you down alright, I'll take you down to Chinatown.

My last visit to Brazilian Churrascaria had chicken hearts which weren't cleaned out well enough leaving too much coagulated blood within, not too nice at all.

YD: Dude, I love your jokes, they're almost as bad as mine! (I mean that in a good way of course =P)

BBG: I believe you're talking about the shimeji. My favorite mushrooms are magic mushrooms, raw of course hahahaha and yes, you are right about the cake being droolworthy =D

lady dianabol: C'mon, they have their reasons for not eating meat. We have to respect that too as well.. not to the degree we respect meat of course, this doesn't warrant West-Side-Tupac style R-E-S-P-E-C-T haha.

D said...

cruel-intentions: Hi! Thanks for reading. I have not forgetten about your question, in fact I'm dedicating this reply entirely to it (because it really almost opened a can of worms). Here we go!

Actually, I've had this question posed to me a few times since I put up this post, so in order to give you a proper answer (and answer the questions from a few of my other friends as well), I'll have to discuss "cooking time" in conjunction with some other important factors for cooking a mean steak

Assuming you use a good tender cut for steak such as striploin, sirloin, ribeye, tenderloin, boneless primerib etc.. the other factors which dictate "cooking time" would be:

1. Thickness of your steak-
a. In a nutshell my rule of thumb is for every centimetre of thickness, I'll cook it about 30-40s on each side
b. To give you a rough idea of how thick is a centimetre, the Wagyu steaks in this post were about a centimetre thick
c. So for something that's about half an inch or roughly two centimetres I'll go for about a minute to slightly over per side

2. Quality of your heating element-
a. You have to use a strong heating element, that's why I always prefer gas to electric heating because electric heating elements do not have that intensity of heat that I so earnestly crave
b. Domestic burners are quite sad in that they only generate at the most about 50-60megajoules of energy, the ones used in industrial or commercial kitchens easily generate more than 100-150megajoules, if you have a peek at the wok-burner used by a zichar stall you'll realise that it's one BIG MAMA of a flame. This intensity is responsible for creating that "Wok Hei" (鑊氣) effect which in essense is the spirit behind true Chinese culinary greatness. Er ok.. I digress, but do not despair, there are some ways to overcome poor domestic heat

3. Overcoming poor domestic heat-
a. Use thinner cuts of steak, I won't cook anything more than an inch with my home gas burner.
b. Use a skillet or pan with a really really heavy base. Cast iron is the way to go I reckon. It gives you a great workout as well because a good one is pretty heavy haha. The best way to choose a heavy-base skillet/pan is to keep going up the weight till you find one that you can't lift and go back one. Haha, er ... this is a joke of course =P
c. Heavy and dense materials store heat alot better than a thin piece of metal, this way the heat is kept constant even if a colder slab of meat is chucked onto it. That's why I use a 10kg Korean grilling stone because it maintains heat integrity very well.
d. Teflon coated i.e. non-stick pans aren't my first choice for steaks, I'll use them for sunny-side ups or pancakes but you can't turn the heat to crazy levels with a non-stick pan. Besides, not using one gives you more reason to add more butter =D

4. How to know it's ready-
a. If you want to be crazily accurate, a meat thermometer is the way to go. The inner core should be:
i. Rare - 60degC
ii. Medium - 70degC
iii. Well Done - 75degC
However, I only use my meat thermometer for roasts or thicker cuts because it's rather impractical for an inch of steak and besides I don't want to perforate my steak and lose all the precious meat-juice
b. Let the steak "sit" awhile before eating/serving it. This allows any residual heat to be distributed evenly throughout your steak and finishes off the cooking. My general rule is that if you cook one side for 1 minute for a total of 2 minutes you need to let it sit for at least 30s before eating it i..e half the cooking time of one side.

5. Some other random tips
a. Always use well-thawed steak, that means it should be at about 20-25degC. Never try to fry a frozen or semi-frozen steak thinking that it'll thaw and cook at the same time. I've made every mistake there is in the cookbook so learn from my mistakes rather than your own =S
b. Some of my crazier steak friends (yes, I'm pretty sane really) claim that cooking differs between cuts. As a general rule: fattier cuts e.g. ribeye cook quicker than leaner ones e.g. rump but the good thing about fatty cuts is that the fat content in it allows for greater "cooking buffer" i.e. you can risk overcooking it abit and it'll still be tender, besides, fatty cuts taste soooo much better! :D
c. Don't apply pressure to your steak i.e. press it from above in an attempt to "push" heat in, pressing your steak hard only squeezes out the juices and make your stick dry

Well I hoped this didn't make too boring a read but I've already tried my best to make it as concise as possible.

Happy steak cooking!


Unknown said...

D, you are a carnivore!!!!!!!! I'm drowning in your meaty post! Btw, happy 100th post :)

cruel-intentions said...

thanks alot for ur explanation! u did a great help in providing me so much details~

will try out ur cooking tips soon..=D
cont'd blogging great entries!

Anonymous said...

Haha did u actually count?

That cake looks so gooooood! And lots of meat indeed! But I dont eat steak, so my loss. Still the steak looks goood manz!! That grilling stone is superb! I shd have thought of it when i was there...but manz wont u be charge for excess baggage?

D said...

cruel-intentions: you're most welcomed

michie: Nah... Blogger does the counting for me =) Oh you don't eat steak? Yes, I was pleasantly surprised with how good the cake was

D said...

angie: I believe mushrooms and cake do not count as meat =P

Anonymous said...

whahaha i was wondering when an all-meat post would come up! thx for the steak tips~ i shudder to think what you paid for the wagyu! but i'm sure it was well worth it. i've just had dinner but your post is starting up my drool system again!

D said...

gene: All meat, yeah that's my favorite pizza as well haha. The wagyus did cost quite a bit, it's becoming quite an expensive addiction to maintain =S

Jono Chiew said...

A question: do you know where I can get some wagyu (in Perth of course)? I had heard of it before, but never saw the marbled fat (*drool*). And just how much does it cost? Great blog, D.

D said...

Jono Chiew: You can try -

Mondo Di Carne Pty Ltd Vince & Robert
Tel: (08) 9371 6350
Inglewood, Perth, WA Retail,
Wholesale and Export Butchers.
All cuts of Wagyu available.

Anonymous said...

I like this post the most!!! The stone grill, the meat and soju - Shoik!!! The cake looked damn nice too. By the way, your stone grill comes with a electric heater or you have to use your own stove? I'm interested to get one myself. By the way (II), can add miso to meat (instead of salt and pepper)... nice too!

- Wendy

D said...

Heya Wendy, I know! That stonegrill feeling is absolutely heavenly. A pity we can't take an after-dinner stroll in light snowfall in hot humid Singapore like in Korea =(

Anonymous said...

Dude I think you made an error in your measurement for the steak thickness, half an inch is roughly one centimetre.

D said...

anon: Hey thanks for dropping by and pointing out that error, I meant half an inch which is about 1.2cm.