Become A Steak Masterchef: Getting To Grips With Doneness

Life is full of little culinary pleasures, and we all have our own preferences for what they are and how they are prepared. We all have our own tastes. More seasoning for a bit of a kick, or less seasoning to let the natural flavour come through. Potatoes? Yes, but what kind? Baked, roasted, mashed, fried? Just thinking about it can make you hungry.

For many of us, the finest meal around is a good steak. You have the perfect recipe, now you just need something to go with it. As anyone who has spent long enough shopping for the right one will know, the quality of steaks can vary somewhat. When preparing them for a dinner party, it can be a nightmare in itself. One person prefers sirloin while another favors rump steak. One person likes a lot of seasoning while another wants just a dusting of salt and pepper. And then how well do they want them cooked?

London_broil

 

Image From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steak

The spectrum of different ways to cook steak runs from blue to well done. And how you like your steak, in some people’s opinion, says a lot about you. Do you like it just about seared and bloody in the middle, or brown right through with the merest hint of juice? It’s a minefield.

“Barely Cooked At All, Thank You”

In some social circles, the less cooked your steak is, the more of a “man” you are. It comes from the caveman days, when early man would eat meat just about raw. In France, some people joke that steak is cooked by walking it briskly through a hot room. And we know how seriously the French take their cooking! “Blue” steaks, which are almost not cooked at all, retain a lot of the flavour of the meat, but aren’t for the squeamish.

“Medium Rare, And A Hint Of Blood”

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doneness

Overall probably the most popular way of serving steak, the medium rare gives the best of both worlds. A satisfying texture with a lot of flavor, and if the seasoning is just right it is a taste explosion. It’s a tricky one to get right: cook it too little and it’s chewy, too long and it’s stringy. Remember presentation as well- there’s no point going to all that effort if it doesn’t look delicious! Go for a small square plate so it’s the focus or serve it on SteakStones serving sets – have their taste buds excited even before they take a bite!

“I Want It Incinerated, Please!”

Some people like their steak cooked so that it is practically black on the outside and brown right the way through. Others will argue that this makes the steak a lot less flavorful, and they do have a point. There is certainly more flavor in a steak that has not been cooked for as long. But the key point here is that it’s a matter of personal taste. It’s easy to understand why some people don’t want to see blood in what they’re eating. And a good steak cooked well done is still pretty nice.

How you enjoy your steak is entirely up to you. One piece of advice if you are cooking for a lot of people is to ask everyone how they like theirs. Cook the rarer ones first, as the implement for cooking will get hotter and cook quicker as it goes along. Don’t cook them all to your taste – everyone has their own preference, after all.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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The Differences Between Non-Mineral and Mineral Sunscreen

IMG_3071Not having any sunscreen can turn a fun family day outside at the park or beach into a nightmare situation. Don’t tarnish what is likely to become a great memory with loved ones by not using the right kind of sunscreen. But with so many varieties it’s easy to get lost in all the terms and jargon. The topic has even been brought to the national stage, with President Obama signing the Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014 to help bring more safe UV-regulated ingredients to the public.

 

There are two main types of sunscreen to familiarize yourself with: non-mineral and mineral sunscreen. This article is going to go over the pros and cons of both varieties to help you make an informed decision regarding the future of your skincare.

 

Non-Mineral (Chemical) Sunscreen

Typically, you will find anywhere from two to six of the following active ingredients inside non-mineral sunscreen: octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate. These ingredients absorb rays as part of a chemical reaction that dissipates the heat off the skin.

 

              UV Protection:  There is no evidence to support that Sun Protection Factor (SPF), higher than 50, is correlated to better protection against UV rays in any substantive way. For example, a sunscreen with a SPF of 50 may guarantee protection for up to five hours, but that doesn’t mean that a SPF of 100 will protect you for 10 hours.  In fact, an SPF of 50 will block about 98 percent of UVB rays, while 100 SPF will block a mere 1 percent more for a total of 99 percent.

 

Ingredient Safety: It’s hard to make any meaningful distinctions between the active chemicals in sunscreens, if you don’t happen to have a master’s degree in chemistry. What does the layperson know about these ingredients and what they mean? What is the real difference between avobenzone and oxybenzone? For starters, oxybenzone was gifted an 8 out of 10 hazard rating by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on account of its skin penetration, hormone disruption and allergy problems.

 

Instead, the EWG suggests avobenzone, which has a much lower hazard rating, comparable with more mineral-based solutions, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

 

 

 

 

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens will contain active mineral ingredients, such as zine oxide and titanium dioxide. Instead of using chemical-based reactions to deflect the sun, they function more as a mirror to reflect the harmful UV rays away from exposed skin.

 

UV Protection: The whole point of sunscreen is to protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful UV rays. In that regard, mineral options take the cake according to the EWG – in particular, zinc oxide delivers the best broad-spectrum coverage (defends against both UVA and UVB rays).

 

Ingredient Safety: Traditionally, mineral sunscreens are gentler on skin than their chemical counterparts. Although, just because it is mineral-based, does not mean that it’s altogether harmless. Avoid titanium dioxide in its spray form, as the EWG reports higher levels of toxicity when it is inhaled.

 

It is important to wear sunscreen every day, but not just sunscreen – protective hats and sunglasses will also help limit exposure to harmful UV rays. With the right protection and a little bit of care, you can soak up the sun’s rays while still staying safe.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Why Buy It – When You Can Win It! #win #giveaways

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Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Why But It When You Can Win It! #win #giveaways

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Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Take A Trip Around Weird Britain

The thing about getting older, or so I’m told, is that you inevitably give less of a care when people think you’re odd. It must be pretty liberating to not be hung up on what people think of you. And be honest, we all know at least one older person who either literally or metaphorically says “OK, so this is me. Take me or leave me, you’re not going to change me!”. And we think “I hope that’s me at their age”.

If that person were a country, they would be the United Kingdom. In various forms, it has been there for some time and everyone knows about it. It’s played its part in a long and deep history and as a consequence it has plenty of stories. So, when you think about part of Britain’s culture or landscape and think “Well, that’s weird”, Britain looks right back and says “Yes! Does that bother you?”.

So for any traveler looking to give the UK a closer look on a holiday break, by all means you should visit the obvious places. But it makes sense to take a look at some of the more bizarre parts of its history, too.

A Trip To Stonehenge

For the history fan, or indeed the Spinal Tap buff in your touring party, a visit to Stonehenge is indispensable. Countless theories abound as to exactly what Stonehenge is, but because there are no documents from the time, no-one really knows.

What is clear is that it is some sight to behold. Getting up close to the standing stones means you’re next to something constructed up to 5,000 years ago. Which is pretty wild – check comparestonehengetours.com for more information.

Whitby Bay

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Credit: Wikipedia

In the 1890s, a young Irish writer by the name of Bram Stoker took up residence in Whitby. During the day, his landlady would kick him out of the house in order to do the housework. Stoker’s walks around Whitby would become the inspiration for the novel he would go on to write. Dracula was quite a hit, and the locations in the novel are still here today; as an aside, Whitby has become a center for the UK’s goth music scene.

Conwy, North Wales

 

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Credit: Flickr

North Wales in general has a relaxed and offbeat feel to it. Conwy, in particular, is home to a castle which straddles the main road through the town and overlooks a majestic sea view. But for fans of the weird, Conwy has one particular attraction which cannot be missed – Quay House. The smallest house in Britain, which stands just ten feet tall, has a floor space of six feet by ten. It was once home to a fisherman who himself was 6′ 3 tall. Once he left, it was declared unfit for human habitation.

If you are a fan of the weird, spooky and wonderful then Britain has a lot for you to see. There are other places besides those listed above, but it helps give a taste for the offbeat nature and history of Britain. There’s a great deal of pride about this oddness, which is fitting for a country of such character

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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