Consider What’s at Steak.

Anderson Live!

I have respect for all people and all peoples’ stories” – Anderson Cooper.

Today I joined the audience at Anderson Live. Because my (ahem) schedule is somewhat flexible and I’m on the Anderson Live email list, I was able to attend at the last minute when the show’s audience coordinator sent an email begging for seat fillers. I like Anderson. He seems like a good guy. I’ve been to his show before and he’s approachable, interested and interesting and holds true to his statement of respecting people and their stories…no matter how bizarre those stories may be.

Today’s show was no exception. And the bizarre started from the get go. Anderson’s co-host was Howie Mandel – very funny guy, right? Right, but widely known for his intense germaphobia. So intense that when the production team set the desk with notes and drinks for Anderson and Howie, Howie’s water was unassembled. An Anderson logo Tervis tumbler was shrouded in a sterile plastic bag and next to it sat an unopened bottle of water. The Tervis tumbler and bottled water stayed undisturbed until Anderson hazed Howie about the hermetically sealed bag. Howie did at that point remove the plastic bag  but never touched or opened the water. He even joked that he couldn’t be sure who had handled the sterile plastic bag…too risky. Too much at stake.

In addition to attending the show, filling a seat, I volunteered to sit in the ‘Tweet Seats’ and tweet about the show while it was happening. There were about 10 of us there – designated ‘TweetSeat Tweeters’ and our tweets were scrolled on a screen during the show. The question wasn’t: how many tweets would a seat tweeter tweet if a seat tweeter could tweet tweets – But more of how do you tweet respecting all people and their stories when the stories were what they were today???

I tweeted a lot. Probably too many tweets for my follower. Yes, that’s right, I have a follower not a following. I’m working on the latter.

Anyway, Anderson’s first guest was the ‘Worst Mom in America‘ – a New York City mom who believes in free-range parenting – the opposite of today’s helicopter parenting. If the helicopter moms in the audience had decided to leap up in outrage, there would have been a lot I could have said. I could have mentioned that I find this helicopter-momming a bit too much. I would have mentioned that from the time my siblings and I were very young (maybe 8 or 10) my mother opened the front door at 8 in the morning and said; ‘Don’t come home until dinner’. This was par for our neighborhood…it was also, in the wake of the Etan Patz disappearance.

But the moms in the audience were surprisingly open to a happy medium between the helicopter hover and completely free-range parenting.

Ultimately, the free-range mom wasn’t half as difficult to tweet about as the second guest: a man who believes that a hair loss prevention drug caused him to be transgender.

Uhmmmm, OK. A veritable conundrum for the generally opinionated food/story/blogger/tweeter who doesn’t want to alienate her follower or the lovely team at Anderson Live.

As the interview started, ‘Mandy’ as she is known now, explained that she had even developed transgender and ‘physical feminization’ from hair loss prevention drugs. She bought these drugs online…from India…on the Internet.

There were so many groups to offend and I didn’t want to offend anyone – not transgender people, balding people, people from India, pharmacists.

I took a page out of Anderson’s book and tried to respect all people and all peoples’ stories. I tried to consider what was at stake: losing my follower? Alienating friends? Letting the Anderson Live team down? Regardless, I think I went pretty safe and hope I did ok.

With any decision, there’s always something at stake…And, at the risk of offending vegetarians, vegans and raw food eaters alike, I made this good, quick, easy and affordable skirt steak the other night.

Marinated Skirt Steak (serves 4)

Mise En Place1. In a small bowl, mix together:

1. In a small bowl, mix together:

  • 1 TBSP of brown sugar
  • The leaves from 4 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1 TSP Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt
  • 1/2 TSP of pepper
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil

The mix should be a thick but not a totally pasty consistency.

2. Rub onto 1 1/2 – 2lbs of Skirt Steak. You can use flank steak, hanger steak or skirt steak.

3. Cover the meat and refrigerate any where from 2 hours to overnight

Skirt Steak post Rubbing

4. About :30 minutes before cooking, temporate the steak: to Temporate is to remove the steak from the fridge and bring it to room temperature.

5. Heat a non-stick grill pan on medium/high heat and spray lightly with Olive Oil spray.

6. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side. The meat will smoke up – so, apartment dwellers, open a window and door to keep your smoke alarms from going off!

Skirt Steak on the Grill Pan

Skirt Steak Grilled on one side

7. Remove from the grill pan, place on a cutting board and cover loosely with tin foil. Allow the meat to rest for :10minutes. This is a truly important step to ensure that the meat will be juicy. So plan for it.

8. Slice thinly against the grain and serve

I served this the other night with a side of Lemon Marscapone Gnocchi and Garlic Bread.

I enjoyed being one of the Tweeters in the Anderson Live Tweet Seats today – even when I had to hold my hands (that’s like biting your lip for a Tweeter/Blogger) a bit during hair loss transgender guest’s story.

Remembering what Anderson said about respecting all people and their stories helped me to select my words carefully and to consider what might truly be at stake.

A Moveable Feast…And, A Feast that Moved

Ernest Hemingway’s ability to say so much in so few words strikes a spot in my soul. His style isn’t for everyone, but I’ve always loved his words. His last book was A Moveable Feast. Published in 1964, three years after Hemingway’s suicide, the book is a compilation of autobiographical stories that his widow and fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, culled from the author’s personal notes. The book chronicals Hemingway’s time spent in Paris beginning in the ’20’s with  the likes of Gertrude Stein, F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, James Joyce and others. About the city of lights, he told his friend and later his biographer, AE Hotchner: ‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I think everyone knows of such a place – a place that stays with them forever. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be hosted by my friend, Sam, whose moveable feast is Nantucket. The tiny island off the elbow of Cape Cod isn’t everyone’s moveable feast…but, while up there, we did have a feast that moved. Sam’s sister who also has a home on the island arrived early Saturday morning after a 27 hour trek from Utah. With three friends coming to stay, she planned to host a barbecue at her home that night and invited us for dinner. Once settled in, Sam’s sister discovered her grill didn’t work…And at 4pm Saturday it was determined to move the dinner to Sam’s where we were happy to chef and host.

With only two hours and limited supplies, we created a truly impressive feast.

Flank Steak, marinated for two hours in a simple mix of garlic, soy sauce and olive oil. Grilled about 7 minutes per side on med/high heat and served sliced.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – seven medium sized. Whisk together a combination of 1 tbsp whole grain and 1 tbsp dijon mustard with the juice of 1 1/5 lemons and the juice of 1 lime. Once completely combined, slowly whisk in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk until the mixture is emulsified and all bubbles disappear. Stir in about a tablespoon of dried thyme – crushed in your hands to release the flavor. Add my new favorite ingredient: Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Pour over the chicken. Chiffonade a few basil leaves and add to the tops of the chicken. Marinade covered in the fridge for two hours.

Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes per side over med/high heat.

Corn on the cob -We soaked seven corns in their husks in water for about :30 minutes and then grilled over medium heat for :15 minutes. Let cool. Shuck and serve.

Roasted potatoes. To speed things up, I cubed a medium bag of yellow potatoes. In a bowl, I combined 1/4 to 1/3 cup Olive Oil, 1 large Diced Shallot, about a tsp of dried rosemary (crushed in my palms) and…1 tbsp of Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. This mixture was then tossed with the cubed potatoes and put on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Into the oven at 450 for :45 minutes. Warning! Yellow potatoes have a higher moisture content than regular russet potatoes and will emit a good deal of steam in the oven. The steam will burst out and curl your eyelashes when you open the door – I know because it happened to me. Take caution.

Easy salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and a olive oil/balsamic/dijon vinaigrette.

It was a last minute move and a quickly prepared meal. The nature reserve that backs Sam’s property provided the perfect back drop on a cool and breezy but rainless Nantucket night. It’s nights like these that help us understand why, for many, Nantucket is a moveable feast. The guests had a great time and we came away looking like kitchen rock stars…Isn’t it pretty to think so?