I need a grill. And a man to grill my food.

Have you ever tried and failed miserably at cooking something? What ranks up at the top of your list?

Believe it or not, mine is an easy one. And feel free to laugh at my ridiculousness. I’m fully comfortable with my shortcomings in this area.

Which is… steak. I cannot properly cook a steak. Indoors, that is.  I am not yet in possession of a manly, burly gas-guzzling propane grill for my back deck. I think I’ll wait until there’s a man living me and make him do all the grilling. :)  Because Peach? Not a fan.

But one night not too long ago, I thought I’d buy a lovely grass-fed top sirloin and see if I could mimic some Iron Chef action on a cast-iron skillet.

One problem.

I don’t own a cast iron skillet. {insert disgusted GASP here}  Yes, I KNOW.

But I do have a heavy-bottomed dark skillet of good quality that holds high heat very well. I bought some Kerrygold Irish Butter (yum, btw) and melted a little in the hot pan, then plopped that bad boy in there with a dash of sea salt and black pepper. All the TV chef’s voices at once screamed at me “DON’T TOUCH IT!” You want a nice char on the outsides!! Leave it alone!!” So I did. For about 5-6 minutes on the first side.  Then I flipped it, delighted by my handiwork on the first side. And I left it alone on the second side for another 5-6 minutes – I’m a medium/medium well kinda girl.  Then I poked with my finger it to see how much it gave.

Uh oh. It was verrrrry mushy in the center still. Huh.  Okay. I’ll let it cook longer. And then the pan started to smoke. A LOT. I opened up the back patio door and cranked the exhaust fan, which only really succeeded in filling the whole downstairs with the scent of charred meat. I thought about putting the whole pan into the oven to finish it off, but the rubber/synthetic handle wasn’t exactly oven-friendly. I’d like my steak sans carcinogens, please. I flipped it again and turned the heat down, hoping that it would stop smoking as much. It did, but my house still smelled like Outback. My neighbors must think I’m having an indoor barbecue.

After about 5 more minutes I flipped it one more time, completing the cycle. Poke test #2? Only marginally less mushy.

So then I put the poor thing on it’s sides and rotated it to brown the edges too.

And then I deemed it to be done enough. But knew I needed to let it rest to redistribute the juices and hopefully! cook a little more.

When judgment time came, I took my sharpest chef knife and cut right down the center of that bad boy. And my bottom lip came out.

It looked like a barely seared Ahi Tuna steak – only about 1/2 inch inward was done. The rest was straight-up RAW. As in mooing at me. Well, like the genius I am, I tried to salvage it by continuing to cut it into slices, which went back into the pan for further cooking.

As you can guess, my poor steak slices were then cooked to my liking, but were tough, rubbery and impossible to chew. I’d just succeeded in obliterating a ten dollar, 9oz grass-fed steak. Well done, Peach!!! :/

I barely managed to choke down half of it by slathering it with avocado to cut the dryness. But it still felt like I was chewing the world’s gnarliest beef jerky. The next morning, stubbornly refusing to chuck the rest of it in the garbage, I thought I’d make a steak and egg frittata.

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Which made for an excellent Instagram picture, but not so much of a edible meal. I ate the egg around the now-near-petrified hunks of meat and tossed them in the trash with a disgusted string of profanity.

That’s the last time I’ll try to cook myself a steak. Lesson learned and I think I’ll let other people cook them for me.

The other “you shouldn’t have even tried” runner-up has to be the time that I bought a pound of shrimp from Whole Foods in New Jersey. The shrimp set me back sixteen dollars at a time when I could barely afford rent, but I was determined to cook myself a nice meal. And then I obliterated those too. Poor lil guys didn’t know what hit em. Sorry, dudes.

I can’t be alone out here, though. What foods have been your kitchen nemesis?

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I need a grill. And a man to grill my food.

14 Responses

  1. I don’t know how anyone cooks steak on a stovetop. I did it once, and it was a gross half charred and half raw mess. Until I got a big, burly propane-guzzling grill for my deck a month or so ago, I always did steaks under the broiler in my oven. It’s a much easier, and less fraught process. And now that I have a grill, I have no freaking clue how to use it, so David has been crowned king of the outdoor cooking, which suits me just fine.

    Samantha Brinn Merel June 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm #
    • Oh, Sam! I’m so glad I’m not alone. The broiler… could I just put the steak in a metal or glass pan? Or does it have to be cast iron?

      And agree – all hail King David. :)

      50Peach June 25, 2013 at 8:42 am #
      • I usually use a metal pan, because glass under that high heat makes me a little nervous. A tip…Cover the pan in aluminum foil before you put the steak in to make clean up easier. Otherwise you’ll be scraping the pan and soaking it for days. Put the broiler on high, and depending on how thick the meat it, it usually take about 5-7 minutes per side.

        Samantha Brinn Merel June 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #
        • You’re the bestest! Thank you!!

          50Peach June 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm #
  2. I don’t have a food nemesis, but I am kind of my own nemesis in terms of burning myself. My hands sre covered in scars from burns whole cooking. I can grill, but not without propane. I literally singed off half my hair in the front with a charcoal grill and lighter fluid. I’m lucky I still have a face. And now I want steak, so thanks for that.

    Kirsten June 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm #
    • What’s your address? I’m sending you ove-gloves and a facemask. (kidding!) Be careful, woman! Your face is too pretty to be scorched!

      50Peach June 25, 2013 at 8:44 am #
  3. I was going to suggest under the broiler. But then again, I either under cook or over cook mine all the time. Damn. Now I want a steak.

    Michelle Longo June 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm #
    • we’re both a mess, aren’t we? But hey, you made risotto so that WAY makes up for any steak deficiency.

      50Peach June 25, 2013 at 8:45 am #
  4. I can not survive without a cast iron grill pan – you get char but not burn, if ya know what I mean. My nemesis was a roux/white sauce until Ina Garten unknowingly changed my life – now I thicken sauces with (mostly) relative ease :-)

    Heili June 25, 2013 at 12:41 am #
    • Sigh.. I must ask for one for Christmas. Oooh, roux is hard! Go, you!

      50Peach June 25, 2013 at 8:46 am #
  5. That frittata was very pretty. Sorry to hear it didn’t taste so good.
    Two weeks ago I came across a website that explained how to cook a steak in a cast iron skillet. Finally, FINALLY I can end up with something edible. The only way I could manage before were to ask the butcher for thin-cut steaks.

    that cynking feeling June 25, 2013 at 9:21 am #
    • Yay for you, that’s awesome! :)

      50Peach June 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm #
  6. I am lame at cooking steak but my husband can do it perfectly (we are med-rare) either on the grill or the stove. That’s why I keep him around 😉

    Stacie June 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm #
    • Good reason! Haha!

      50Peach July 1, 2013 at 9:27 am #

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