By Patrizia Cucca
How many times have you wanted to take a vacation but thought, I just have too much to do? How many times have you complained how exhausted you are but without doing anything about it? How many times have you been frustrated by the long hours you are working, but without giving yourself a rest? I find that taking time off is good for my mental and physical health, and when I come back, I am more productive and effective. It’s a win-win.
Traveling gives me lots of great memories I can always look back on. Sometimes getting out of my comfort zone opens my mind to more ideas and possibilities.
And while it gives me a peek into how the rest of the world lives, it also makes me appreciate more what we have back home. Certainly, traveling with the right partner or group is the key to any vacation.
Now, I must say that I have a few favorite places that I have visited and many unforgettable travel experiences.
On top of everything, travelling has taught me that sometimes, the most fulfilling memories happen where you least expect them. I can’t wait to find the next spot to try and experience.
Maybe it’s a much needed vacation getaway, or just another one of those business trips but when it comes to eating well while traveling-the struggle is real.
Through much trial and error, we have figured out what needs to be done before visiting different places in order to experience the true culture. Prior to departing, we look up and read about the different eateries within the city. We usually know exactly all the right places to go. During our most recent trip to Dallas we learned about the Dallas Pitmaster Picnic.
This walk-around BBQ featured some of the best and leading pit bosses from Dallas, Texas and from all around the U.S. We spent two hours of walking around in the sweltering heat, from both the sun and I imagine all the BBQ’s, while eating our share of meat, meat and more meat. There were ribs and tips, brisket and lamb, pulled pork and burgers.
Some was barbecued, some was smoked but all of it was melt in your mouth delicious.
While travelling we try to book a food tour to get us right under the skin of the most exciting food culture.
Food tours always help us uncover authentic, mouth-watering adventures. They get us munching, crunching, sipping and slurping just like the locals. Today, as I stared out my window and watched the rain pouring down I found myself dreaming about the meat coma I was in after the picnic in Dallas and decided we were going to have steaks for dinner. I use to think that the best way to cook a steak was on a charcoal grill however inspired by the cold and rain weather today our cooking method was going to be stove top and prepared in a cast iron pan.
My verdict, it was nothing short of spectacular. The chives and shallot butter was irresistible. Was it better than a charcoal grilled steak? It was different and awesome and you can’t go wrong either way.
Before I share my recipe for the most incredible steak, if you’ve been putting off your vacation, think again.
Take some time off, perhaps your vacation will help you sleep better, perhaps simply to recharge, be more productive, more relaxed, and healthier all around. You deserve it!
New York Strip Steak with Parsley and Shallot Butter
2 New York strip steaks, Kosher salt, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, 1½ tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, 1 minced shallot, salt and freshly ground white pepper (black substitutes just fine), half a fresh lemon, and oil.
1. Season both sides of the steaks with salt. Let sit at room temperature for approximately an hour before you want to cook them.
2. While the steaks are sitting out, place a cast iron pan in a cold oven and heat it up to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
3. Place the butter in a small mixing bowl and smear it around with a rubber spatula.
4. Add the parsley, garlic, shallot, chives. Add a few drops of lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon), a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Blend the butter until all incorporated.
5. You can either refrigerate the butter as is or you can roll it up in parchment paper, then foil and twist the ends to form a round log. The foil allows the ends to stay sealed.
6. When you’re ready to cook the steaks, pat dry your steaks as they would have released much moisture. Moisture will prevent your steak form the crust we are looking for.
7. Season both sides with fresh ground pepper. 8. Place the cast iron skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, you want it to start searing right away, add the steak.
9. On high heat, cook the steak for two minutes on each side. Lower the temperature to medium-high and continue cooking while flipping every two minutes. You are going to brown and caramelize your steaks by flipping them often and forming a nice crust on both sides.
Remove the steak from the pan when it has reached one temperature below where you like. If you want it cooked medium then cook the steak to medium rare and so on.
10. Remove the steak to a sheet tray. Place a slice of your parsley and shallot butter on top of each steak and tent with tin foil to rest your meat for about five or six minutes.
You won’t be sorry.