making steak

I love a good steak. I don’t eat a ton of red meat, but sometimes I crave a steak like whoa.

I have been around the block searching for the perfect cut/brand. I’ve made and have eaten a lot of organic grass-fed steaks prepared in many MANY different ways. I’ve worked with local butcher shops and grocery store meat departments, and I’ve worked with farmers and hunters, all in an effort to find a consistently good, reasonably priced steak—beef, bison, venison, or elk.

My goal has been to find a cut/brand of meat I can return to and always end up with a fork-tender, juicy steak on my plate at the end of the night. You’d be surprised how difficult this is! *feigns fatigue* It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

I am happy to report that I’ve finally stumbled upon a consistently good steak. Please note, this is not an affiliate post. I’m gaining absolutely nothing in mentioning brand names here. This is for sharing purposes only: When you find a good thing, don’t keep it to yourself, right? So here goes.

No Name Steaks. Petite cut.

I know. I know. Your eyebrows are furrowed. Frozen steaks that come in a box? Really?
Guys, I’m picky. I like my steaks rare/med-rare and it can’t taste old or gamey. I don’t want stringy or mealy meat. I need to be able to cut it with a fork or slice it super thin without having it fall apart. I’ve taken time to arrive at this decision, I’ve cooked and served exclusively No Name steaks for over a year now as I have come to this decision, and I don’t share it lightly. So there you go! They are found in almost every grocery store across the country.

On to the recipe!

The methods for preparing a steak are endless and if you google “steak” you’ll come up with enough reading material to last you the rest of your life. So forgive the addition to the glut, but if you’re looking for a totally basic, perfect-every-time, weekday-steak cooking method, this is it.

Start with a hot skillet.
When cooking meat, cast iron wins every time. Melt one tablespoon clarified butter in the bottom of the pan and coat evenly. You’re going to sear your steak, but you don’t want it sticking to the pan. If you like garlic or onions on your meat, now’s the time to throw some in the pan. They can cook right along with your meat.

Once the pan is hot (medium-high) lay your cuts in the bottom of the pan and let them sear (bubbling and hissing against the pan) for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Then with a tongs, turn and sear the other side. Again, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like my steak rare/med-rare, which means the inside of the steak is still red and juicy, but hot. This takes about 4 minutes per side. My husband likes his a little more done. about 5 minutes per side. However you like your steak, it’s going to be a personal preference thing and you’ll have to figure out exactly the time it takes, per side, to cook your steak to your liking. You can cut into your cooking steak to examine the color/doneness of the meat while it cooks and determine what works best for you.
And here is a rough guide (from that will also help.


When your meat is cooked to the desired amount of doneness, remove it from the pan, set it on a cutting board and allow it it sit for 5-8 minutes, resting and redistributing the juices. This is the perfect time to sear a few vegetables (in the same pan you just cooked your steak—yay cooking juices!) or cook a soft egg to throw on top of or beside your steak.

Steak is mostly about preference. So experiment, have fun, and enjoy!

perfect pie crust


I always dreamed of entering a pie in the county fair and winning blue.
Silly, but it seems like one of those homemaker kinds of things my grandmother would have done and, no lie, I dream of being like her. She was an amazing woman. But her pies, though most likely blue-ribbon, were difficult. My grandma was a cold-lard-cut-into-her-flour pastry kind of woman, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that. Also, gross. Tiny bit.
I do things a little differently, but cross my heart, this pastry recipe is FAIL PROOF. Even for the most reticent of pie-crust makers. Trust me on this, okay? It’s simple. No lard or ‘cutting in” involved. And I think, despite my divergence from tradition, grandma would approve.


The apple filling recipe is pretty basic: 5-6 apples, peeled, sliced and chopped into bite size pieces. Mix them in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Set them aside.

1  3/4 Cup flour + 2 tablespoons (or as needed should the dough be too moist).
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil


Mix all four ingreedients together until a ball of dough forms. It will be perfect when it pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Divide it in half—one half will be used for the top crust and the other for the bottom.


Take the first ball of dough and lay it between two sheets of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is roughly 5-6 inches wider than the pie plate you intend to use, all the way around.


Gently peel back the top layer of wax paper


Lift the dough, still attached to the bottom layer of wax paper and in a single fluid motion, flip it over and onto the pie plate, dough side down. Then gently peel back the bottom layer of wax paper, which is now on the top of the dough in the same way you would remove a sticker from it’s backing.


The dough will be elastic enough to handle without too much fear of tearing. Settle it into the pie plate and smooth out any wrinkles until it lays evenly. Make sure there is enough excess dough hanging off the edges of the plate to crimp with the top crust.


Now the pie-in-process is ready for the filling. Take the apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and sugar mixture and dump it into the prepared crust, tucking it down and evening it out with a spatula. You’ll want to be careful not to damage the bottom crust as the filling could leak out while it bakes.


And now for the top crust! Using the same technique as with the bottom crust, roll your second ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper. You can reuse the same paper you used before. It’s perfectly good for several pies, if you so choose. Once the top crust is draped over the plate, use the palms of your hands to press firmly against either side of the pie plate while turning it gently. In this way the excess dough will be trimmed from the edges.


Remove the trimmed edges and set aside. You can either toss the excess dough or you can save it and make pie-crust cookies*.

Once the excess dough has been removed, you will need to crimp the edges of your top and bottom crusts together. This keeps the filling from leaking out of the pie while it bakes. There are lots of ways to crimp the edges of a pie, but my old standby is the simple pinch method. Using your thumb and first finger, push the edges of the dough together with the first finger on your other hand creating a sort of ripple effect.


Ignore my scary alien hands. Ahem.

Once the edges are crimped around the whole pie, you can cut a hole in the top for steam to escape while the pie bakes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is nice and bubbly.