Friday, October 03, 2008

Steak Typhoon

Another typhoon visited Taiwan this week. This one was Typhoon Jangmei, the third in a month's time. The previous one seemed to have heavier rains, this one concentrated on wind. Typhoons were new to me when I came to Taiwan from Lubbock, and I have really only experienced one real knock-down, drag-out, take-no-names kind of typhoon in Taiwan. I live in Taichung so we are spared the worst of many of them because of the Central Mountain Range which usually can downgrade a big typhoon to a gutter cleaner. My favorite typhoon of my time here is, was and shall always be Typhoon Doug. Doug closed down work on Monday, like this one, but hit only a mild slap and left us to enjoy a sunny Monday.

Mondays are my worst day work-wise. I teach seven and a half hours with one 30-minute break for lunch. This is not too bad. It is not bitching. It is just griping. I know I've got it good but still enjoy the time off. Given that I have only 30 minutes, I must have food prepared to put in the one microwave in the office or eat the crappy bian-dangs from How Ma Ma. If I want to eat crappy fast food, its got to be the crappy fast food that I grew up with. How Ma Ma's steamed, plain, white rice, heavily breaded meat look-alike and a wilted, oily, stir-fried green veggie isn't enough to get me to change teams.

Taichung beat everyone, I think, by calling a typhoon day for Monday by 3:00pm. Places that were more affected, like Keelung and HuaLien, still had to work and study. Knowing that Monday was free, I went to my wife and informed her of the urgency of the situation. I was hungry, we needed food and there was a typhoon coming, dammit! We needed to stock up. So, of to Costco we went where we procured the basics: steak (obvious), cheese (nachos and tacos) and wine ( because if the power went, we still had potable and medicinal beverage - it was also 5 liters worth). Somehow we also ended up with a baker's butt-load of shiitake mushrooms. That package is now down to just a mere butt-load.

Next, I had to secure the grilling site. There's a lot of water falling and while we do have a covered porch, water from the outside seems to like our house the best to meet, hang around and accumulate. I have lived in several different residences in Taiwan and I seem to always choose the ones designed by the architects who went to the Putt-Putt Institute of Design and became infatuated with the Ant-Hill hole: all the drains require the water to travel uphill. But this time it was windier than rainier, so the shoe-soaking-but-not-grill-inhibiting rain was dismissed.

We started by preparing the side dishes: Spanish rice from the night before that we liked so much we both were just spooning it cold out of the tupperware, stuffed mushrooms which Petra added my full glass of wine for drinking to the chopped stems and veggies ( A little purple, but, what the hey? It was good ) and plain old grilled mushrooms.

The next step was to prepare this.

Then this: Combine ingredients for marinade.

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup of mirin or orange juice

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • 3-eleventy cloves of chopped garlic

  • 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tbs. olive oil

Method: Discard marinade (or use it for some cubed chicken breasts or chuck steak and make teriyaki kabobs). We're talking steak here. If you feel the need to alter the natural taste and bite of a good cut of beef, give me the good cut and dump your sauces on a bian dang from How Ma Ma.

Next was to throw our sirloins on my Lodge cast iron grill, listen to the sear, flip and admire the grill marks. Once ready, I poured myself some wine and hid it from my wife while the steak rested. If you don't let your steak rest for several minutes after taking it off the grill the juices will flow out. I actually like it this way as well as I always have a piece of sourdough to sop it up with.

Finally, everything was in place and I asked my wife to select some appropriate music. She chose Trisha Yearwood. Petra really likes her. Really likes one song in particular. Likes it so much that she played it 3 times in a row. She then went online to find the lyrics and I finished dinner with a pseudo-karaoke session with Trisha backing up my wife.

My next Monday off is in November and I'm already thinking about Steak Super SuPao.

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