Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beef and Onion - preparation, seasoning, cooking

Read Part I. The secret affair continues...

Stay on stay on, you are on the right page, though I am talking beef, yet showing an onion

Under circumstances YOU GET TO SEE the GRAIN LINES (obvious lines) on that piece of meat...when you see them, then SLICE AGAINST THE GRAINS LINES! One (but not the only) tip to get tender piece of beef. I HEARD YOUR TIPS and TRICKS! :) Thanks.

SECOND TIP during preparation. I'm not so sure about this but many Chinese cooks and chefs believe SALT will make beef more chewy (less tender). Is that true ? Probably a more appropriate statement when seasoning uncooked beef before you cook it. Once the beef is cooked, you can seasoned with salt without worries and to taste, since a different science concept would have applied. you want to season uncooked beef with salt, make sure it is minimally seasoned with salt. Minimal ? Okay. Let's say you are grilling a chunk of sirloin steak. Sprinkling a pinch or two of salt on it should be fine? Relativity measurements.

I'm beginning to understand why Chinese cooks and chefs say that. Most of the beef dishes whipped up in Chinese cuisine uses strips and thin fillets of beef. I am trying to vision - when they have to season many strips/fillets/pieces of beef (VERSUS one single slab of 9-oz, typically calls by in the Western cuisine), the amount of salt contacting the beef surface area is different. OH, SAVE ME SAVE ME...and save you from all my talk. Professional chefs out there, don't throw your eggs at me ok? I'm learning and starting to appreciate the science of cooking. Hmmph....did Alton Brown ever had an episode or snippet on explain the molecular or atomic reactions? I miss Alton Brown (though he does not know me)!

WHY? WHY ? I hope I am not being technically incorrect. But I deduced --> when salt contacts blood, it will cause blood channels/vessels to constrict. If you bring this back to beef, the salt that contacts the "blood" in the beef (thus, called red meat) will cause the muscles/grains lines in the beef to constrict further - tensed muscles, constricted grain lines, contracted meat structure ---> hard-to-bite and less tender beef ? Tender beef = beef with a "relaxed" meat structure. Does it sound logical? Enough said. This post is getting longer.

Then, why on earth am I featuring an ONION ??? Am I getting a second throw of eggs here? Please don't....

I wanted to bring you to a point about slicing an onion, AND it has got to do with SLICING AGAINST the "lines". THIS.

Onion: I'm not beef but if you slice me like that, I will appreciate it and be milder to you :)

If you ever find raw onions too pungent or too sharp to be consumed as-is, TIPS are:
1. Cut or slice against the "grain" or lines (shown in the 2nd & 3rd photo, compare that with the first which is slicing along the "lines")...yes, and you thought that "theory" only applies to tenderizing beef ? When you slice them this way, you break up the channels that produce the evil tear-inducing chemicals, also the channels that cause onions to have pungent and sharp raw taste.
2. Soak sliced onions in cold ice water bath for 5-10 mins. The chemicals that result in pungency and sharp biting taste gradually "leaks" out to the water.

Well, depending on how brave you are when facing an onion. Some people do enjoy its pungent and sharp biting taste as distinct characteristics but some shun onions for the same reason. If you ignore step (1) --> slice it along the "lines"--> step (2) can also give you milder-tasting raw onions -OR - if you are cooking onions in a dish, and wants your onions to turn sweet (the longer you cook onions at low-medium heat, the softer and sweeter it becomes) in a shorter period of time, step (1) slicing/cutting will help release the onion "sweetness" faster.

Now by understanding an onion, you will love your onion more, raw and/or cooked. Specifically, you will enjoy raw onions in future - make your crisp clean salads or burger much more appealing and welcomed by all. No more will you say "I wanna order a burger, without onions...puh-leasse..." (maybe it's just me?)

Hey, why am I discussing and having this monologue here? It is natural, basic, inherent instinctive knowledge to all of you. It is ME, THE ONE who has NOT been PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION to an ONION for so many years. D0 all cooking schools teach this ? :Pat

I would love to share these onion tips with Astrid at Paulchen's FoodBlog for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging.

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