Teaching the Active Writer’s Daughter to Feed Herself.

Since my little girl is growing up, I have instituted a new policy here at home.  Each week, she is to cook one meal.  We’ll get ingredients she needs that we don’t have on hand.  If it’s something that’s too expensive, we’ll talk about alternative. (No, we’re not doing sauteed humingbird tongues.) Today, she decided to do steak and potatoes.  But she didn’t want just steak (I generally go light on the seasoning–let the flavor of the meat dominate) but to really spice it up.  Not my thing normally, but okay.  The point is for her to learn to fend for herself when she’s out on her own and that can mean experimenting and seeing what happens.

So we go shopping.  The local supermarket has sirloin on special.  Reasonable price and about the bottom end of what I consider acceptable for pan-frying or grilling.   The cheaper cuts tend to be too tough when cooked in those conditions.  So we’ve got the meat.  At home, we’ve got a fairly extensive collection of spices and other seasonings but she wants to get some peppers.  She selects several serennos (I’m not sure I spelled that right) and a few habaneros.

Okay.  This should be…interesting.

She asks me to do the pre-salting of the steaks (rub kosher salt into both sides of the steaks and let them sit for about half an hour, then rinse off–this makes the steak more tender and improves the flavor) and I’m fine with that.  When it’s done I call her in to begin cooking.

I leave her to it.  Sometimes when I’m having her cook I give her instruction.  Sometimes I leave her to her own devices to see what she can do on her own.  This is one of the latter cases.

She starts by briefly pan frying the steaks in olive oil.  She then sets them aside and adds chopped peppers, soy sauce, and some other seasonings (I don’t think these others really mattered given how strong the peppers were).  The cooked the peppers and other seasonings together for a few minutes then returned the steaks to the pan.  Cooked them to about medium (more than I generally like, but okay).

Took them out, let them rest for a few minutes, and served.  The result was surprisingly good.  The “heat” wasn’t too bad, at least by my standards these days, and the flavor didn’t completely overwhelm the taste of the meat.  All in all, not a bad effort.



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