So this post is dedicated to my audition for the show Master Chef. I honestly was not too excited to try and get on some reality show where Gordon Ramsay was going to yell and throw food at you if it was not up to standard. In addition, I knew there would be a lot of weird people there who sit around and watch these reality shows all the time with nothing better to do.
But I went through with it after being constantly harassed by one particular individual...And no, it was not my wife. The requirements were to make a dish that could be served at room temperature for the judges. You were not allowed to plug anything in to re-heat the dish and you had to be able to plate your dish and clean up your area in 15 minutes. The audition was at a Le Cordon Bleu location in Tukwilla, about 20 minutes from our house in an industrial park belching diesel fumes, and it was at 8:00AM in the middle of winter.
I chose to do an old standby from my family that is great right off the grill or at room temperature in a salad or on a sandwich. It's creative title is called Asian Flank Steak. I also included a spinach salad and a wild rice pilaf - both of which would also hold at room temperature and are excellent. I worked that night before and got everything in order - the only thing I had to do was grill the meat, let it rest, and put everything in containers to transport it to the complete dog show that was about to unfold in the industrial park cooking school.
I found the place nestled next to the Ikea distribution center, with a large parking lot and an even larger line snaking out of the front door. The temperature outside was not too cold, probably around 42 degrees or so, but it was damp and so after about fifteen minutes 42 felt like 22. Once in line I quickly figure out I was surrounded by complete psychos. In front of me was a ex-Navy sous chef out of some batter cruiser galley and the first question out of his mouth was, "Hey how's it going? So what did you make?" I told him hamburgers. The people watching almost reminded me of the Puyallup Fair. But everyone was nice and we made small talk until the line started moving into the school itself. From there we went into a large test kitchen that was full of work tables and were told we had five minutes to plate our dish and that after that a judge would come around to talk with us and try our dish.
The judge came around and took and bite and I described the dish and where it came from. I could not read her facial expression at all - it could have been dog poop and you wouldn't have been able to tell. After the tasting was over, they called about five names out of the fifty or so that were in the room and they made it to the next round. I however, was not one of them. After the whole process and stress of putting everything together, part of me was glad that I was not called.
The contest is over but the Asian Flank Steak lives on!!!! This recipe came from my uncle's ex-wife, about 30 years ago, and has been a staple in my family since. It is easy to take camping and hiking, and is very easy to assemble on vacation if you have a grill and a kitchenette on hand. The most important part of this recipe is to use ground ginger instead of fresh ginger. You would think that fresh ginger would add more flavor but fresh ginger actually has an enzyme in it that breaks down the tissue of beef. It does not do it with chicken, pork, or fish, just beef...And I have tested it out myself with flank steak skewers and they turned out mushy and the texture was not good at all. And with that, here is Asian Flank Steak.
ASIAN FLANK STEAK
1) 1 Beef flank steak.
2) 3/4 Cup vegetable oil
3) 1/4 Cup soy sauce
4) 3 Tablespoons honey (or sugar if you don't have honey - honey is better though)
5) 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
6) 1 Clove garlic, minced or mashed
7) 2 Teaspoons ground ginger
8) 3 -4 Green onions
Take all ingredients and process in a food processor until chopped up and fairly smooth. Rinse the flank steak, pat it dry, and place it in a Ziploc bag that will hold it and the marinade. Pour the marinade in. You may want to double-bag it because if it leaks, you will be very angry. Let it marinate overnight.
Start a grill, preferably charcoal. Over medium-high heat, grill the steak for five minutes with a timer and then turn it over for another five minutes. Do check the steak because there is sugar in the marinade and that tends to burn over a high open flame - turn it if needed. Take it off the grill and let it rest, covered with foil in a 150 degree oven for 10 minutes. Carve and serve. Wild rice and a spinach salad is money with this.