Seasons’ Eatings: Bone-in Ribeye & Garlic Bread for Two
By Kara Rota
New York, NY – I’ve been looking forward to relaying off of Valerie’s Boiled Beef Sandwich this week. I agree strongly that good-quality beef should be savored sparingly, and I adore any opportunity to make my own bread. I began to brainstorm a local, handmade version of a romantic Valentine’s Day steakhouse dinner.
So, VALENTINE’S DAY, you guys, amirite? Terrible repressed memories of not getting enough cards in your doily-covered Kleenex box! Awkward high school double dates! Hanging out at the mall food court and driving donuts in an empty parking lot with your girlfriends this one time junior year! (No lies, that was awesome.) When, two years ago, February 14 fell awkwardly soon after I’d begun dating someone new, we coped by eating General Tso’s tofu and lo mein at China Fun. He gave (then-vegan) me a copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals; I wore an ironic pink dress. A year later, we sat in the same booth as newly minted roommates, trying less hard to play it cool and suddenly thrilled that we’d found a way, with this tsofu tradition, to permanently get around the horror that is negotiating Valentine’s Day at a trendy restaurant in New York. Which is, of course, an excellent reason to stay home.
CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.
I’ve congratulated myself as much as the next girl for laying a batiked bedspread on the floor with two couch cushions, unmatched wine glasses, only-slightly-burned chicken parm and enough tea lights to reconstruct Madame Tussaud’s Justin Bieber. Breakfast in bed is another viable option (at least for anyone who isn’t too Type A not to jump out of bed at the first smell of coffee and completely take over the egg scrambling).
At one point last year, I made a dinner for the two of us that completely upended all my ideas about a romantic meal in. After reading Mark Schatzker’s Steak, we shelled out for a pair of rib-eyes from Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Caryl and Glenn Elzinga are incredibly sweet, wonderful people who take immense pride in what they do, from the handwritten note on your receipt to the recycling process for their packaging. To eat their steak is an experience akin to the first time you ride a horse or a roller coaster or, I don’t know, swim with a dolphin. It is transcendent and visceral and, if you are a meat-eating person, something unmissable and well worth the investment.
Good steak is not cheap, for good farmers, good butchers or the consumers who support them. Raising good steak is an entirely different process than
how the majority of meat eaten in this country is produced. I have been vegetarian and vegan in the past, and even now, my meat consumption is probably under four days a week – my boyfriend’s possibly even less. When I eat steak, I want it to be wonderful. I also would rather invest in the best ingredients I can afford than go out for dinner. So in preparation for a pre-Valentine’s Day romantic weekend meal, I headed to that bastion of ambivalence: Whole Foods.
I prefer to buy directly from farmers and small local businesses. I can’t feel as positive about going through a corporation to source my ingredients. But Alderspring is decidedly not local for me, and I shopped for this recipe around 8:00 p.m. on a Friday, on my way home from Tribeca to the Upper West Side. The convenience of stopping at the Union Square Whole Foods was significant. And the large ‘LOCAL’ sticker that appears on items throughout the stores makes it easy for consumers who might not normally prioritize locality or seasonality in their shopping to do so. I found a beautiful bone-in ribeye from Simply Grazin’ Organic Farms in New Jersey (we usually buy a pound or so of steak to share – a reasonable amount of meat for two people). I also bought garlic bread making ingredients: King Arthur Flour – (located in Norwich, Vermont they are fans of RecipeRelay – bonus points!), Kate’s Homemade butter from Maine (this butter is so delicious you want to eat it straight with fresh bread, like very good cheese), and on a whim, minced garlic in soybean oil from New Jersey. The citric acid used to maintain the freshness of the garlic added a slightly tangy, vinegary note to our garlic bread that I could’ve done without – next time I think I’ll be less lazy and mince fresh garlic myself! But the bread was fluffy and buttery and the steak was tender and recognizably grassy. We paired it with a bottle of Brooklyn Local 1 Ale and ate in our pajamas.
Bone-in Ribeye & Garlic Bread
Prep time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
For the garlic bread:
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- half a stick of salted butter
- 1/4 cup pre-minced garlic in water or oil, or freshly minced garlic
For the steak:
- Bone-in ribeye, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Large glass or ceramic bowl
- Ceramic loaf pan
- Aluminum foil
- Good nonstick or cast-iron pan
For the bread:
- Measure one cup of warm water, about 110 degrees F. Not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast, so err on the side of room temperature.
- Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast, then mix well with a fork or whisk until bubbly. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Add 1 cup of flour and mix well until smooth. Let the mixture proof for 5-10 minutes, or until air holes begin to dot the surface, the same way you know when it’s time to flip a pancake.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and salt.
- Knead well, for about five minutes, until the dough is smooth, soft, elastic and stops sticking to your fingers.
- Make a ball and place it in a clean, large ceramic or glass bowl.
- Drizzle the dough with olive oil and turn over to coat.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or clean dishtowel and place it somewhere warm to rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.
- Once the dough is doubled, knead it again, shape it into an oval and place it in a greased loaf pan. Cover the pan with the same damp cloth and let rise again, somewhere warm, until doubled again.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Once the dough has risen, cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool, then remove from pan.
- With a serrated knife, cut slits approximately every inch in the loaf – about 3/4 of the way through the bread.
- Into each slit, tuck a small pat of butter and about a teaspoon of minced garlic (Feel free to adjust to suit your tastes. We’re huge garlic fans.)
- Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil, like a burrito. Reserve until it’s steak time! Then bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour just before you’re ready to eat.
For the steak:
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and set it on a plate to come to room temperature – about half an hour. Patience pays off here, so wait until it really isn’t cold to the touch.
- With a paper towel, gently blot the steak all over so that it’s dry on the outside.
- Preheat a clean, dry nonstick or cast-iron pan over high heat. Really high. Get that pan hot. If you live in a small apartment, you might want to open all your windows, turn on the fan, and possibly disable your smoke alarm at this point. Trust me.
- Just before you are ready to put the meat in the pan, when the pan’s already hot enough, salt both sides of the steak. This is a matter of taste – I prefer less salt than my boyfriend – but several experiments have convinced me that pre-salting at exactly this point in the process is the way to go.
- Drop that baby in the pan. You’re now in the sprint part of the meal preparation: every move is key. You can’t lose focus now.
- For medium-rare steak that’s about 1 1/2″ thick, it’ll be about six minutes per side. You want a good sear on the outside and, if you’re me, you want the inside to walk the line between rare and black-and-blue/bloody/still mooing/whatever vegetarian-unfriendly expression you prefer. That means four minutes per side.
- Plate the steak, let it rest for a minute, and dig in. Forks optional.
Note: They say you can’t put a steak back in the pan once you’ve plated it. This is false. You can do whatever you want, because it’s your kitchen and your meat. Sometimes I like to take the really really rare bites in the middle of the steak and pan-fry them in the remaining juices in a bastardized shabu-shabu/hibachi fashion.