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Articles: 2009 February

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One Thing About Me (Beef Edition)
Sunday, 2009 February 22 - 2:07 pm
While I was doing the 25 Things About Me meme, it occurred to me that each item could almost have been its own blog post. So now, rather than posting another 25 things list, I'm just going to talk about one thing in excruciating detail. I'm an old-school bloggah, yo.

The One Thing for today is this: I know a lot about cuts of beef. This knowledge comes in handy in three situations:
  • one, when you're at a butcher or abattoir and you need to order beef;
  • two, if you're in the audience when David Letterman has his "Name Your Cuts of Meat" quiz; and
  • three, if you were on "Hell's Kitchen" last week and you had to correctly label the parts of a cow with the corresponding cut of beef.

For the uninitiated, here are a couple of tips. First, although a lot of restaurants seem to make a big deal about sirloin steaks, the typical bottom sirloin cut isn't all that great for steaks. It's a lean cut, meaning that it doesn't have a lot of fat marbling, and therefore it doesn't carry as much flavor (compared, say, to a ribeye). It's also somewhat tough. If you can find something specifically labeled top sirloin, that's a better cut than your standard sirloin. But it's also usually more expensive; you might as well get a ribeye or strip steak instead.

If you're looking for a less expensive but still flavorful steak, I'd recommend two things. One is the flank steak, which comes from around the belly area of a cow. It makes for a somewhat chewier steak than your top cuts, but it has great flavor, and if you slice it across the grain, it's easy to eat. It also takes marinades very well.

The other is the flat-iron steak, which comes from the blade (shoulder). Normally the blade has a tough piece of connective tissue running through it, but if you cut the meat lengthwise (like you're filleting a fish) and cut out that tissue, you end up with two tender, well-marbled steaks. You won't always find flat-iron steaks at your grocery store, but if you happen to find a "top blade" roast, you can fillet it yourself to make the steaks.
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Posted by Ken in: food

Still... Old Friend
Sunday, 2009 February 22 - 1:35 pm
"Kirk... you're still alive, my old friend?"

Yeah, it's been what, two weeks since I've posted anything? You can blame the idiots who call themselves engineers the job for which I'm very thankful in these depressed economic times. Work has been keeping me busy, because I've discovered that hey! lots of people don't care about writing good software, and it's up to me to clean up the mess they've left behind.

But enough about work. After all, it's American Idol season, also known as "the season when nobody wants to read my blog", because all I do is post meaningless reviews of semi-talented music performances by aspiring Kelly Clarkson wannabes. But whatevah, I do what I want.

The Idol blogs won't begin in earnest for a couple of weeks, but I do have a few thoughts about last week's performances. The format this year is interesting: we now start with 36 for the live voting, and whittle down to 12 over three weeks. Each week, only three of twelve contestants automatically move forward; after the country picks its nine finalists, the judges will throw in three wild-card entries as well. It seems like a good system; we'll weed out the poor performers more quickly, while the judges can rescue anyone who's a victim of wacky voting.

So Amy and I were pleased to see Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace move on, as they were the only ones who showed any talent in week 1. Country singer Michael Sarver also made it, but he's gonna have to show a lot more personality and versatility if he hopes to compete. I think Robert Downey Jr. would play Danny in the movie version of this year's show... I can't quite put my finger on who Alexis looks like. A blonder, cuter Molly Ringwald, maybe?

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Posted by Ken in: lifetelevision

Television: Chuck, Heroes New Season
Tuesday, 2009 February 3 - 11:24 am
Is it just me, or did the season premiere of "Chuck" kind of suck? The 3-D gimmick was uninspiring, and the plot seemed just phoned-in. The drama of Chuck's angst lacked any kind of depth or subtlety; the nerdity of the Buy More staff sunk to the level of mere buffoonery. This has been one of my favorite shows for the last few years, so it was disappointing.

"Heroes", on the other hand, looks to be improving after a couple of disappointing seasons. One of my main complaints of the past seasons was how all the heroes, despite running into each other all the time, never seemed to think about cooperating with each other. They might actually fix that this season.

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Posted by Ken in: television

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